Guest Post: Why Wasn’t There A Chinese Spring?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Steve Hass of

Why Wasn’t There A Chinese Spring?

It has now been two years since the self-immolation of the Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, provided the spark that set the Arab world aflame. A wave of protests spread throughout the region in quick succession and led to the overthrow of long ruling autocrats in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, and possibly Syria.

The collapse of regimes like Hosni Mubarak’s in Egypt, which many considered “an exemplar of…durable authoritarianism” was a salient reminder to many that such revolutions are “inherently unpredictable.” Before long some began to speculate that the protest movements might spread to authoritarian states outside the Arab world, including China. Indeed, the Chinese government was among those that feared the unrest would spread to China because, as one observer noted, China faced the same kind of “social and political tensions caused by rising inequality, injustice, and corruption” that plagued much of the Arab world on the eve of the uprisings.

Alas it was not to be as the Chinese government has proven far more durable than many of its counterparts in the Arab world. This inevitably raises the question of what factors differentiated the Chinese government from its Arab counterparts in places like Egypt?

Fortunately,in the more than two years since Mubarak fell, a number of theories have been advanced to explain the Arab Spring.

One set of explanations has centered on social and economic drivers. According to this reasoning, unrest in the region was driven by a highly discontented and mobilized society. Youth unemployment and official corruption enraged citizens throughout much of the Arab world and the diffusion of new communications technologies, particularly social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, enabled these individuals to channel these grievances into effective anti-regime collective action.

One shortcoming of this explanation is that the same sources of discontent and social media websites are available throughout the developing world, but successful revolutions are rare. In China, for example, official statistics suggest youth unemployment is low, but independent research has found that the problem may be large and growing, particularly among the type of young, urban and highly educated groups who have spearheaded many revolutions historically. Meanwhile, cross-national measures of corruption place China squarely between Tunisia and Egypt. Finally, Internet penetration rates also place China shoulder-to-shoulder with Tunisia and Egypt, and social media has increasingly appeared as a critical tool for mobilizing Chinese protestors in frequent “mass incidents,” and spreading news of sensitive topics, such as official corruption and public health threats posed by environmental pollution.

Many academics have made the case that the quality of authoritarian rule in Egypt, Tunisia and other toppled dictatorships has lagged behind that in China, causing a breakdown in the former but not the latter. Beijing has developed crack internal security forces for dispersing crowds and constructed its regime around a hegemonic, well-established political party. While these explanations have merit, researchers had identified similar authoritarian support in the Arab world immediately before the turbulent year of 2011. One key to the resilience of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt were their “robust” security forces, which were well-trained and armed – thanks in part to generous American support – and supposedly fiercely loyal to the regime.

Meanwhile, Mubarak and Ben Ali were carefully institutionalizing their regimes by constructing hegemonic political parties and skillfully using nominally democratic elections and legislatures to maintain regime cohesion and co-opt potential challengers. Meanwhile, in China, presumed to be bolstered by more effective institutions, public scandals surrounding high-ranking leaders, such as the wealth of Wen Jiabao’s family or the dramatic fall of Bo Xilai, and the malfeasance and corruption of middle and low-ranking officials, reveal that politics within the CCP may not be as orderly, managed and predictable as once imagined. 

But, of course, the Chinese regime has not collapsed and does not seem to be in its death throes. This is puzzling in some respects, because the country experiences annual protests that reportedly topped 180,000 as recently as 2010. Clearly popular discontent is high and Chinese citizens participate in contentious politics in large numbers, but these remain mostly localized affairs targeted at local issues, such as corrupt, low-ranking officials who engage in land grabs. Aside from the June 4 incident of 1989, they have not transformed into protest movements coordinated on a national scale and positioned against the central government itself, as appeared rapidly in Tunis and Egypt’s Tahrir square.

So why have Chinese citizens trended towards localized protests rather than the national protest movements seen in the Arab spring? As discussed in an important body of research, one source of this difference is linked to the structure of the state itself. In China, unlike most autocracies – including Mubarak’s Egypt and Ben Ali’s Tunisia—the state is highly decentralized. Local governments are given a substantial level of autonomy over development policies as well as social management – decisions related to dealing with popular challengers through repression or alternatively, the extension of concessions.

Since local authorities make decisions over the carrots and sticks used to address the demands of citizens with a high degree of autonomy, these officials rather than the national leadership or the regime itself are the primary target of most protest actions. In fact, it is a common phenomenon in China that aggrieved locals will appeal to the Center for assistance against corrupt local officials, even making reference to local officials’ poor enforcement of central directives and policies.Thus, the struggles faced by everyday Chinese are often directed at particular local officials and local issues, limiting the desire of protestors to take the dangerous leap of coordinating their actions across local communities to challenge the regime itself.

As a consequence, much like the Middle East, the years 2011 and 2012 have been ones characterized by very high levels of protest activities in China. However, because of the decentralized nature of the Chinese state, these battles have been ones won and lost by claimants contesting local officials rather than challenging the regime itself.

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Mr. Hudson's picture

Do you have any web sites that support this claim?

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture


To the limited degree that numbers exist, they suggest that the proportion of intermarriages of American Jews and Asian-Americans is growing. NY Times


Shanghai was an important safe-haven for Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, since it was one of the few places in the world where one didn't need a visa. Wikipedia


a study titled "In Search of the Right Spouse: Interracial Marriage among Chinese and Japanese Americans," which offered this insight:

…it appears that there is a propensity for our interviewees to meet and date Jews in college or in their professional fields and marry them. Eighteen percent of the Chinese and Japanese American women and men we interviewed were married to Jewish partners. Five described how they shared a cultural affinity with their Jewish spouses; most often they mentioned how both cultures valued strong family ties and educational achievement. Interviewees also described their Jewish spouses as having a sense of "ethnic tradition" and an immigrant legacy found lacking in non-Jewish whites they had known or dated. 


TrustWho's picture

Very interesting, China is decentralizing and America is centralizing. The central state is viewed as the protectorate for the people against the crimes of the more local state. This is pure genius as the central state can appease the muppetts while raping them at the same time. People are like herding speies and are ripe for the slaughter as they do not understand: "Power corrupts and Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely". By definition, no government institution cares about anyone, but POTUS wins the argument every time as he is fair, just and balanced for all while he tells us he has joined the wealthy 1% class and his net worth continues to grow.

World of Debt's picture

Skip: what a twisted, anti-Semitic, uneducated, and deluded world you ive in... so sad.

algol_dog's picture

I knew there had to be a Jewish contingent involved in this. Isn't there always?

Amazing to me that the Jewish world population amounts to some 0.2%, yet they have all this amazing power and wizidary to control the rest of the worlds sheepy populous. They must be truly "Godlike".

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

Jews are Natural Born Killers.

When asked to kill their only son, they comply!

(Genesis 22.2)

shovelhead's picture

Circumcision= Superpowers.

Ask Superman...

Little Ka-el got clipped.

jballz's picture

There were 28 self immolations in Tibet last November, china implemented a domestic spying program called skynet (seriously) to try and stop them before they got the match lit. Tibet has been in Tunisia mode for decades. The difference is a state powerful enough to identify the uprisings before thy start and send thought criminals to labor camps to build our shit long before they can organize a popular revolt.

See falun gong, Dali lambaaaa etc. long history.

Also there is plenty to infer the Arab spring was covert regime change by our Langley peace corps. Mainly to lock in the north Africa oil and lock out china (Egypt not much of a producer but they had signed long term deals with china under Mubarak that included the largest refinery in the world to be constructed, giving china regional strategic points....)

People are sheep mostly everywhere, this grass roots myth is almost always just that. They are always following someone and the powers that be stay on top of that. Arabs are particularly malleable, mossadegh, the shah, the ayatollah, Mubarak, ka daffy duck, these are all assclowns by any measure. The people have low expectations over there.

Taterboy's picture

Chinese springs are on sale at the auto department at Walmart!

AssFire's picture

There was no China Spring because our government does not have the resources there to undermine and incite as it does in the rest of the world (except of course, Israel).

When our "fairness ideas" like government hand outs and destroying the family etc.. are put in to play it will have a disastrous effects as it has in Europe and the USSA.

akak's picture

Make me laugh.

Chinese Spling not needed by good obedient peoples of glorious Chinese Communist Sharty ruling-overness, provided by whom of overabundances of roadsides to indulge ancient roadside squatting traditionals of fabled Chinese past.  Chinese shitizenism manifested in daily public roadside deblutions making for much blameplacing happiness aside from priding of work in locked FoxConn sweatshops, dog wokking adds to double lucky joy thereof, resulting forcing of stool to the posterior sends joyness of Middle Kingdom being towards heavenly realms, insanitation of lockstep citizenism squeezing all monolizings of thinking means into collectivstic condemnations of suchlike non-Chinese foreign devils via blobbing-up hypocritizenationalistic inability to self-indict sordid running-dog imperialistic invasion and annexations of neighboring nations such as Tibet moreover self-justificationizing such as "liberation" rather than genocide as is factualized.

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

spoken like a true 'chinese shitizen'.

akak's picture

It's their eternal nature, don'tcha know.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Chinese shitizenism manifested in daily public roadside deblutions making for much blameplacing happiness aside from priding of work in locked FoxConn sweatshops, dog wokking adds to double lucky joy thereof, resulting forcing of stool to the posterior sends joyness of Middle Kingdom being towards heavenly realms, insanitation of lockstep citizenism squeezing all monolizings of thinking means into collectivstic condemnations of suchlike non-Chinese foreign devils via blobbing-up hypocritizenationalistic inability to self-indict sordid running-dog imperialistic invasion and annexations of neighboring nations such as Tibet moreover self-justificationizing such as "liberation" rather than genocide as is factualized.

Alas, alas, nothing from nothing leaves nothing alas, increased by three, speeching of that there single sentence gives wording to said a roadsides full downthere, both sides, somehow spoken thusly.

Seize Mars's picture

Sorry to pooh-pooh the article, but asking "why not" isn't really the right question. In my advanced stage of skepticism and cynicism, I think that tinpot revolts happen really becaue of one thing. Food. Food prices "are" inflation. Inlfation is made - on purpose - from banks. All banks (except those in Syria, Iran and North Korea) are all in the same clearing system. Some people refer to this as "Rothschilds" banks. (BTW Iran has a peg to the USD anyways so the link is firm although slightly less direct.)

So if the Great Eye says so, Egypt has runaway inflation. It was caused. On purpose. The reason China hasn't is because the Great Eye didn't say so.


magpie's picture

'Coups that fail are seldom remembered'

SDRII's picture

Entire article premised on notion that springs are always organic. There is a reason McCain said Spring is coming to Russia and China. Tibetian immolations just havent had same media impact for a variety of reasons - unlike say the Bo-UK-Haklyut -France.

SDRII's picture

& China operates on a different timeline than upticks

magpie's picture

The Russians moved fast to crack down and defuse with outlets to the discontent. In the Chinese case, probably the venality of certain actors was overestimated. Moscow followed the Kiev/Tahrir "Color Revolution" script, while China was meant to get the Benghazi/Homs treatment. So not all revolutions are the same...

Ribeye's picture

Earth Spring,


Missiondweller's picture

Why? I'll tell you why.


The Egyptian military wasn't willing to run their own people down with tanks the way the Chinese proved so willingly to do in Tianamen Square.

partimer1's picture

Uninformed as hell. The author is at best a salaried mouthpiece for someone, and failed to know anything about history of any country. You can ask why there is no American Spring, no European spring, etc. the injustice in this country in the last 5 years is no less to many people. China is owned by a small group of people, and America is owned by a slightly bigger group of people. You think you make any difference, think again.

disabledvet's picture

basis of the get you to think exactly as you have namely "why no American Spring?" but you and i must "connect the dots" to achieve that goal...and indeed "by naming dot number two" you have moved the goal post forward fine sir...and we thank you. "but now you need to be our guide as well" and surmise from the inference "from whence comes the American Spring" only "without the Chinese one." and whether or not "it was a five dollar spring that i'm being charged $350...." well, we'll leave that for another day.

maskone909's picture

fuck china. when does shtf in good ol usa

Floodmaster's picture

The State is not social, but purely anti-social, it's an economic exploitation of one class by another,indistinguishable from a criminal class/mafia.

Manipuflation's picture

"One shortcoming of this explanation is that the same sources of discontent and social media websites are available throughout the developing world, but successful revolutions are rare."

Bullshit.  We are taking over the InterWeb one domain name at a time.  You bankster cocksuckers really have no chance against us.  This place is ours and you can fuck right off.  Note to Banksters:  The more you do, the more we are going to do to make it hurt you. 

e-recep's picture

the chinese are getting richer. why would they want to change the regime??

laomei's picture

Because generally, people in the west who read the propaganda articles about china written by hacks, they have zero clue what's actually going on in China, how China works nor why it works.

Missiondweller's picture

Oh we know.


Because its a police state where they have no problem running you down with a tank.

earleflorida's picture

the chinese are very ingenious, adaptive, and inherently resourceful. once the internet becomes ubiquitous throughout all provinces... is when the people will define their intrinsic business skills. why is this important? they will virtually cut out the middle-man bringing about a refined cost structure of true price discovery via trade from within. all the bureaucrat's need do is let commerce flow with a classical, eye-popping embossed... caveat`empto,r as the `ignoble?bottom-line curs[e]ive, defining regulatory structure framework!  in other words, use the inverse of the usssa business model! the year of the snake... this nascent zeigeist has signs of blossoming! ironically, the chinese government has made great strides in the last ~ quarter century?

Smartphones and tablets/notebooks are the future. africa has also shown financial life and semi-independence since the introduction of the internet and satellite technology, with lots, and lots of valuable spectrum.


Ps.  like it or not, the chinese are evolving more towards a true democracy, whilst the ussa is headed in the opposite direction.

excellent read to the author...

and thankyou Tyler, as always 

maskone909's picture

its a curious thought; does a global system need a balance of dictatorships/deomocracys? when one falls, another pops up. is it our turn to be a slave nation to provide goods/services to the world for pennies? certainly appears to be the trend.

kevinearick's picture

China and the US are two sides of the same coin, giving each other escape routes. How long can the US Navy keep up? Where is it at now on the margin?

Mr. Hudson's picture

The Chinese people have no guns; thus, no "Chinese Spring". This makes sense. But, Americans on the otherhand, are armed to the teeth, and yet, why isn't there an "American Spring"?

besnook's picture

americans are fat and stupid and so far the people who would get actively, kinetically angry are still able to eat pretty easily.

it is pretty clear, however, usa .gov doesn't seem to want to mess with millions of armed americans with a gun grab especially after the huge philisophical support dorner received for actually shooting the first line enforcers of the state as part of his grievance.

Curiously_Crazy's picture

... and highly medicated.

It's got to be almost 1 in 5 that's on some form of either antidepressant, calmative, synthetic opiod or benzo. Not to mention fluride levels in the water or the chemicals in the food stuff.

I'm sure that's keeping a lot of the people happy sheeple (ok if not happy at least to out of it to care)

Cardinal Fang's picture

The difference between the Arab Spring and any hypothetical China Spring is the lack of preponderance of weapons and tools. In NA, there is an AK behind every grain of sand. In China, there is one Party Authorized 6 foot ladder or screwdriver per 100 square miles. Not gonna do much without 'equipment'.

I know, I know, they make a lot of shit over there, but it is a capital offense to leave the screwdriver factory with a free, unauthorized Peoples Liberation Army screwdriver.

magpie's picture

The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt may have been violent but the people weren't armed either.

Flakmeister's picture

On a lighter note...

Dicks Wok Inn, 388 Copper Bay Rd, Sandspit, BC

Good food, ate there a few years ago...

WmMcK's picture

I'm sure it's a fine restaurant --
but what I want to know is when do the dicks wok out?

Edward Fiatski's picture

Smell the splendid flavours of Sakura in the haze of radioactive dust.


Radical Marijuana's picture

The "Arab Spring" was covertly caused and controlled by the Western banksters. Its real purpose was to destroy those leaders and countries which might otherwise become a threat to the originally Western, and now globalized, fiat money systems.

China has already been integrated into that system, and therefore, is not any kind of radical threat to it. As China becomes the biggest country in the world, along many different dimensions, China is now surpassing the USA in creating money out of nothing!

China is more and more becoming the paradigmatic pattern for the rest of world to be forced into following. After China becomes the world's leader in making money out of nothing, it also becomes the world's leading plutocracy, where the power to make money out of nothing is the supreme form of "wealth."

Those words should be put in quotes or italicized, because AFTER "money" ceases to have any intrinsic value, but rather is created out of nothing, and can return to nothing, because fiat money is simply triumphant fraud, backed by force, THEN the meaning of words like "money" and "wealth" become inverted and perverted.

China is emerging as the new world's leader of force backed frauds. The current Chinese system is becoming the test case of the degree to which it is possible to continue to sustain that system.

A "Chinese Spring" would have to be a radical revolution, that actually went through enough social collapse and chaos to cause the downfall of the current Chinese (and related global) ruling classes ... with the possible emergence of some new ruling classes out of that civil (and global) chaos.

The PROBLEM with that pattern of human history repeating itself one more time is that everything now has been astronomically amplified in size, and therefore, a sufficiently real collapse into civil war to overthrow the current ruling classes, and thus, actually enable some new ruling classes to emerge through that process, would also be astronomically amplified in size, which practically goes beyond human comprehension, since it goes beyond anything that has previously happened in known human history.

The mass media presentation of the "Arab Spring" was a totally bullshit view of what was happening. There was NO "Arab Spring" ... there were simply some Arab countries slipping down into an even worse "Arab Winter."

There will be no genuine Chinese Spring, nor North American Spring for that matter, until we go through a "global winter" that will practically go beyond any known ice age in previous human history.

A genuine revolution must primarily be a revolution in the paradigms of militarism, where warfare is viewed as the oldest and best developed social science, which must be profoundly transformed.

A genuine "Global Spring" would be the emergence of better death control systems, negotiated by the organized crime gangs that are dominating the world.

As long as the current systems of fiat money, made out of nothing, as force backed frauds, continue, then we are still within the established political economy, which is a fascist plutocracy. China has already been integrated into that system. Islamic countries are being resistant to that process, since their basic beliefs against usury etc., are in the way of more globalized triumph of the fascist plutocracy systems.

The alleged "Arab Spring" events were merely more minor episodes in making sure that there were no Islamic countries which were coherent enough to be able to challenge the dominant system of international finance. Since China has already embraced and been more fully integrated into those systems, there are no real reasons why the global ruling classes would be interested in covertly causing or controlling any "Chinese Spring."

In North America, the destruction of individual liberties is accelerating, in order to reduce Americans to similar social status as the Chinese now endure.

What is happening, mostly subconsciously, is that the laws of nature are working through human evolution, in paradoxical ways, due to our social systems being based on triumphant dishonesty about all of that.

There is no evidence that human beings can make energy out of nothing, nor send energy to nothing. Rather, all the evidence indicates the opposite. Therefore, we are circumscribed by real limits, that we adapt to live within. However, the paradoxical ways that we have adapted to do that is through social systems of organized lies, operating organized robbery, which take the symbolic form of a fiat money, forced backed fraud.

Therefore, the global fascist plutocracy is based on controlling people through legalized lies, backed with legalized violence. The primary manifestations of those processes have been the ways that different old-fashioned systems of organized lies and robbery (such as Islam) still compete with the more modern systems, such as fascist plutocracy.

The "Arab Spring" was only another deliberately driven and managed set of deceits, which fit into the overall goal of defeating Islamic systems of organized lies, by the more dominant globalized systems of organized lies.

All of that is actually taking us deeper and deeper into the "Global Winter." Any genuine "Global Spring" must be some radically different set of organized lies, operating organized robbery, that surpasses the fascist plutocracy, as well as all of the other old-fashioned social systems, as expressed by various religions and ideologies.

A genuine "Global Spring," IF we survive through to that, will be the emergence of a new kind of ruling class, which I believe will emerge out of the transnational scientific community, that may perhaps survive through the severe social storms and chaos that will be caused by too much "success" by the current systems of organized lies, destroying themselves with their own madness, since too much "success" of that system means too much triumphant force backed frauds, which refuse to admit more truth about themselves, and therefore, can not resolve the problems caused by too much of their own "success."

The chances of any genuine "Global Spring" are the same as the survival of the human experiment of developing enough science and technology that becomes sufficiently self-reflexive to be scientific about itself. The paradoxes we now face are that events which are referred to as the "Arab Spring," etc., were simply more runaway frauds, NOT the emergence of more social truth.

The possible emergence of more social truth is sublimely paradoxical, because it would have to include revolutions in the paradigms of militarism, which faced the facts that warfare was the oldest and best developed social science, wherein success in war was based on deceits.

A genuine "Global Spring" is over the horizon of history, since we are now heading towards the deepest "Global Winter" there has ever been!

That is why there is NO "Chinese Spring" and NO "American Spring." Collectively the human species is not remotely close to becoming more scientific about itself, since it actually controls itself through the maximum possible deceits, due to the history of warfare enabling a monetary system which is force backed frauds, based on runaway fiat money, made out of nothing.

besnook's picture

you are missing one key aspect of your thesis. the chinese have largely excluded the western mega banks from the main party inside china. they have been relegated to the periphery. that will not stand. that is the central catalyst for conflict.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Yes! I agree with that besnook.

There is also a deep racism that persists from the history of the Western powers, that created the fiat money debt engine, along with the steam engine, etc., which were used to conquer the rest of the world, including China.

China was forced into assimilation and imitation of Western systems of physical and social technologies. The resulting new, emerging Chinese ruling classes have been forced to adopt those systems, and have become able to duplicate those even more than the original Western powers originally did. (I.e., China now makes more money out of nothing than the USA does!)

However, China is not yet given an equal seat at the global table, and is still discriminated against, by the previously established dominant world powers, which were primarily Anglo-American (Zionist).

Somewhat similar things could also be said about Russia too. Therefore, those are real reasons why we are more likely headed into some horrible Global Winter, rather than some better Global Spring.

besnook's picture

the article is correct on the mechanics but the bigger reason is also in the 1989 uprising. chinese are chinese first. china is as diparate as the old usa was when one would find, sometimes, stark differences in custom and language just crossing state lines or even intrastate but they are all chinese first. listening to chinese banter on the internet and it is clear they smell the fresh air on the mountaintop of the world. they will not let local disagreements get in the way of their ascent to the peak to plant their flag. ironically, giving all the china doomsayers, the only thing about the central leadership that might upset the whole of the people is if the grand poobas back down in any way from what the chinese now think is rightfully theirs. the chinese people will be willing to sacrifice and suffer if they see the value which the central .gov will easily define as uber nationalism to defeat the west(usa).

Radical Marijuana's picture

Indeed, besnook, I agree with the view that power lends scope to previously existing depravity. I find that every group that ever gains more power then tends to abuse it.

I undertand that the Chinese are about 90% from the general ethnic group called the "Han." That is different than North America, where there is, or soon will be, no more single dominant ethnic group, but rather a plethora of varoius different minorities.

All of this is wildly out of control, and, as always, I would add the extremely important emergence of an industrial ecology, which may surpass the human ecology, since computer/machine entities have the potential to become more than human beings currently are.

How any of these astronomically amplified potentials play through is WILDLY UNPREDICTABLE!!!

MeBizarro's picture

Han Chinese are the Chinese first.  That's the key.  The other ethncities even if they speak a Chinese dialect are mainly tolerated.  Those in the Wester provineces who are Muslim and don't speak Mandarin are subhuman just as they have been regarded by the Han Chinese dynasties for over a millenium.  Foreigners are foreigners. 

Difference between China and the US is that the Chinese leaders are still genuinely nationalistic in their outlook and actions, have long-term memories (including grudges and willingness to plan/act), and have always been willing to literally build on top of the bones of some of their people if necessary.  

lovemesomeZH's picture

Because CIA can't penetrate the commie heart.


W74's picture

Oddly the Chinese are allowing a revival of Buddhism because it knows citizens are losing faith in communism.  The reason it's odd is because it's an ancient import from India and any and all religions must be suppressed anywhere the communist belief system (indeed it is a living belief system based on hope and change and false notions of prosperity by stealing from anyone who has more than you) but they also know it's either going to be a soft landing or a hard one and the government in the Northern Capital would rather adapt than have adaptation forced upon it.

MeBizarro's picture

There hasn't been a 'Chinese Spring' simply put because the average Chinese citizen has seen a profound improvement in their lives within even 2 generations.  My wife's friend is a great example.  Here father grew up starving, he has feet issues to this day due to the lack of proper shoes, and largely survived during the Cultural Revolution because his family was incredibly resouceful including illegally trading for all kinds of good including pigs with nearby mountain villagers for locally-grown produce they hid. 

He worked incredibly hard to pour all of his resources into his 3 children's education.  His daugther (wife's friend) did very well on her exam scores, was at the top of her class in industrial design engineering (close equivalent to mechanical engineering), and just finished her PhD at an American university on thermflow dynamics in closed systems.  Didn't pursue an academic tenure track though & instead took a high end with a US nuclear power plant whose staff is overwhelmingly white and nearing retirement.  Even after having her first kid, she is still on track to run her dept in another 2 years.  His other 2 children have done incredibly well for themselves with one in Beijing and another in Australia.

So basically within 2 generations you have gone from a large number of people in China who were fortunate enough to eek out a substitence living during the Cultural Revolution to children who score enough on university exam scores to have a profoundly better level on par with upper middle class folks or better in the Western world.  That kind of profound success can't be underestimated.  Now in order to get there the Chinese had had to sacrifice a hell of a lot and are going to have a lot of issues because of the huge amount of change & turbulence.  

The other issue is that life in rural parts China still pretty much sucks and in some ways is even worse than it was for substience farmers.  Rural Chinese folks aren't serfs but they aren't much better off either because there is a huge 2-class system in China and even the university exam system which is the only way out (besides the military) is rigged and almost impossible for someone without the educational means to do well & escape.  The other issue is that the Chinese are disaterously copying the Western-style of urban development that is based around the personal car.  You think they would have learned from the issues the US has today due to its dependence on the car.  At least the Chinese though have had the common sense to build a world class rail network.  Light years better than anything in the US and on par with anything i have been on in France and Japan. 

MeBizarro's picture

It always amusing to read on here the dopes you think the 2nd amendment is what 'preserves freedom.'  Couldn't be more wrong and every modern domestic surveillance intelligence agency has understood is that information is power (assuming everyone is feed because a lack of food/starvation has always been the classical reason for rebellion or revolution).   The only difference is that in the past it required massive efforts by large-numbers of human agents to begin to gather this kind of intelligence and even in communist regimes it was sometimes difficult to gather.    If they know where you go, who you associate with, what you read, and generally what you think, they know you and know if you present a real threat or not.  

Western intelligence agents were shocked when they went through various archives in the Eastern Bloc in the 1990s & just how widespread these efforts were & how many people were invovled in spying on one another.  The best example was in East Germany where the statistical odds were that one of your closest friends/family members was reporting to the Stasi or one of of the local police paramilitary units information about you of some sort.  What these intelligence agencies didn't have was Western technology but they made up for it in spades with good old-fashioned human surveillance on a scale that was severely understimated by the West. 

All intelligence agencies took these lessons to heart and in the US we have built a Frankenstein-like monster with droves of personal information that is consulated (and often supplied by the person themselves) that would make their Stasi counterparts jealous with envy in comparison.