Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Mirror Facing North

China Emulates Putin in Attempts to Quell Riots 

Russia has a history of information monopolization. And of oppression of what most would consider to be basic human rights. And moving from totalitarianism not into democracy but into quasi-autocracy.

And now, a country with many similar proclivities is borrowing some tactics. Much like Putin's response after protests in 2012, the Chinese government is now dealing with protests in Hong Kong about oppression, the demand for civil liberties, and information liberalization. This situation

is reminiscent of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 - a time which most Chinese citizens don't even know happened. The Chinese government hopes to continue that trend with the protests in Hong Kong - but this time, there's a different strategy.Tiananmen ended with soldiers firing into a crowd of largely peaceful protesters, killing over 100. However, in Hong Kong, the leaders are following the strategy of containment adopted by Vladimir Putin - a strategy which involves simply waiting for public opinion to shift back to the status quo, and then enforcing punitive measures on all those who had a hand in the fomentation of rebellion. And sadly, history makes it seem like this plan might just work. 

Humans are fickle by nature, and the protesters in China, similar to many of the Russian protesters, actually have more to lose the longer the ordeal drags out. Democracy isn't the ultimate goal - they feel that the good life is already achievable via the resources available in Hong Kong, just as many Russians felt they weren't fighting for basic rights, but rather luxurious rights. 

The fortunate news is that the situation currently looks far better than a different Putinist response to protest - Erumaidan in Киев. If the containment strategy fails and China continues to follow the lead of their товарищи to the North, the square might not look so much different from Tiananmen did 20 years ago. 


1 comment:

Jared Carver said...

Привет Юсэф,

How do I add a post to the blog? I don't see anywhere that lets me add a post. I appreciate the help.

Best always,