Saturday, October 31, 2020

China and Democracy

If I may, in all humility I recommend that you read this post in conjunction with my post of last Sunday, entitled, Is China the New Evil Empire?

The following report comes to us from the Times of London. It offers a snapshot of today’s Chinese millennials. I will not, in the interest of advancing good feeling, offer up a picture of America’s millennial generation. (via Maggie’s Farm)

“These millennials represent a radical change from previous generations,” said Keyu Jin, a professor at the London School of Economics and consultant to Richemont, the world’s second-biggest luxury goods company. “They are confident. They’re prosperous. They’re privileged. And, most importantly, they’re incredibly proud of their nation and its economic prospects.” 

Imagine that-- they are proud of their nation and are proud of what they have accomplished. If you imagine that these people are going to accept our attacks on their pride passively, you have gotten it seriously wrong.

More sobering is their assessment of democracy. For some reason, while watching America’s political scene they have concluded that, whatever we are selling, they are not buying it:

Despite the caveats about measuring public opinion, Jin said: “There has been a radical shift, even in the last few years. The new generation does not believe that democracy is suitable for China. It does not even believe that a multiparty system might be better for China than what it currently has.” 

The fractious US election campaign is a source of fascination but also of reassurance in a country where there are no democratic complications. “Many Chinese watch the US presidential election with a sense of astonishment and relief,” said Andy Mok, a Beijing-based American business analyst. “Astonishment that so much money and political energy is spent. And relief that they do not live under a system of such political dysfunction that erupts in this sad and wasteful spectacle every four years.”...

We can all console ourselves with the thought that China does not have free media, and thus, that all of these young people, prosperous and confident for having achieved great things, have been duped.

Nevertheless, while we thrill to our own freedoms, the American media has long since abandoned the pretense of being free. While not quite a state media, it has certainly been turned into the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party:

And Yun Sun, director of the China programme at the Stimson Centre think tank in Washington, said: “I think the Chinese are often confused about how chaotic and ‘indecent’ American election politics could be. To a large extent, it signifies the undesirability of the western democratic system to the Chinese and the genuine conviction in China that the US system is flawed.... In a country where there is no free media or free flow of information, independent public opinion is a myth, if not an illusion. Since the information about US elections and US-China relations is processed and provided by the state and the Chinese public, including the youth, do not have an alternative source of information, their views have indeed become more pro-Beijing, patriotic and hawkish.”...


David Foster said...

"While not quite a state media, it has certainly been turned into the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party"

Just ran across a quote from an NYT article, written early in the Trump presidency. The Times reporters faulted Trump for:

“…believing that he can master an entrenched political press corps with far deeper connections to the permanent government of federal law enforcement and executive department officials than he has”…the president “is being force-fed lessons all presidents eventually learn–that the iron triangle of the Washington press corps, West Wing staff, and federal bureaucracy is simply too powerful to bully.

This is a pretty clear assertion that the real government consists of the listed entities, and the president..any president..will must have his actions circumscribed by their desires…and that any ‘bullying’ will be done by those entities.

Perhaps what is really in process is the government falling under the increasing control of the media (including social media), and the bureaucracy.

Rob Weatherill said...

China - the most materialistic, nihilistic country on earth. It can only survive by exerting total control soon over the whole planet via 5G. It brings unprecedented security at the price of freedom. And given terror attacks, viruses, climate change and so on we will willingly opt for that. China, please save us! Will increasingly be the cry.

trigger warning said...

Today's Chinese millennials were obviously educated under the rubrics of the Chinese basic education curriculum, described in a report to the OECD:

"The emphasis on value development and the prioritisation [sic] of ideological development while retaining the importance of skills development are key components of the new curriculum."
--- "Education in China: A Snapshot", OECD 2016.

Using the same Dalioan utilitarian calculus that praises the surveillance and social credit system for its "efficiency", prioritization of ideological development in basic education is also "efficient" and much less messy.

I guess one could say there's hope for us, since our public schools are rapidly evolving to a model that emphasizes "ideological development". But I think our curriculum missies the skills development (e.g., 2 + 2 = 4) piece... unless you include "activism" as a skill (a mistake the peacemakers of Tiananmen Square would never make).

Sam L. said...

And ne'er the twain shall meet!

Is China the New Evil Empire? Yes! Boy, howdy!! Putin is just a piker.

"While not quite a state media, it has certainly been turned into the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party:" As I keep saying, I don't know if the media are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dem Party, or it's the other way round, but it's obvious (OBVIOUS) that they're in cahoots!