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1 hour ago, Sublime said:

And sure we know  there isnt going to be any revolution of students there.. because we and the students know theyd be gunned down by the PLA. Look at trump in the us.  you say theres no doubt theres support for the CCP but of course  noone knows how much. One definitely can say theres support in America for trump.  I can also tell you his supporters are a minority, just a very loud one.  Id also add hes probably one of the most hated presidents ever by far.  Yet by your logic since some Americans support him America loves trump. 

I'm not so sure comparisons from what I've said mean that by 'my logic' America loves Trump because there are people that support him there. If that's the message you took from what I have written then you've misunderstood me, which may be my fault in the way I have written my points.

I don't mean to come across as facetious, but have you ever spent any decent amount of time in China? I have. I've been to every major city along the coast, from Hong Kong to Harbin. I've been to countless factories and met thousands of people in the last 8 years. I ran a project management curriculum for three years and had countless conversations with countless students/business people from all walks of life. I'm not a visitor who comes to China, I live here, and I've been here continuously with the exception of the occasional two-three week holiday and one three month stay back home in 2016, and I'm telling you, I've met maybe 3 or 4 people who didn't think the CCP was just about the greatest thing that ever happened to China.

Imagine Trump has been in office for 8 years, and every single person you talk to about him bangs on about how great he is. Many bring it up in the first minutes of conversation because you are one of the few foreigners they have met in their life and they are so proud they feel they have to tell you. In 8 years you meet 4 people who said they didn't like him. That's the level. Forget communism, its all about nationalism. Communism as an idea is only ever brought up in the name of the party anyway. The official doctrine is 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics', with the recent wonderful addition of 'Xi Jinping thought on...' added before. Which means that basically whatever the party leadership deigns to be the policy is the policy, no matter if it fits a communist or capitalist criteria by other peoples measures.

I'm not interested in applying 'my logic' to american politics - the whole reason I started posting in the first place is, as I said, too many people are viewing China through a western lens. Please don't take this response as snarky - oftentimes responses on the internet come across as pretty sharp and that's not the spirit of my writing here.

 

We all know that the CCP Government does not abide any criticism, and people who start "causing trouble" really do have a tendency to vanish for months on end, before the family find out they've been tried for "breaking social harmony" or some more serious charge. But that doesn't mean everyone is living under the oppressive yoke and aches in their hearts for freedom haha, again, most people think the CCP are the saviours of China. This is in the face of the great leap forward, the cultural revolution, and the Tiananmen square massace. 

 

The idea that students "know they will be gunned down by the PLA" - I'm sorry that's completely ridiculous. I just told my Chinese wife that one and she burst out laughing. Nobody thinks that, only westerners. It may be true, but again, that is NOT the perception here.

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I've got an idea.  Let's NOT trust scientists & doctors who ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. Let's trust Fox news, who've done a stellar job of brainwashing people into being very unsafe

JFC Kettler could you just once not spread your conspiracy bull**** all over the place.  Goddamn man.

Here are some shocking news from the UK. Perhaps @Warts 'n' all can confirm:

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16 minutes ago, roadiemullet said:

We all know that the CCP Government does not abide any criticism, and people who start "causing trouble" really do have a tendency to vanish for months on end, before the family find out they've been tried for "breaking social harmony" or some more serious charge. But that doesn't mean everyone is living under the oppressive yoke and aches in their hearts for freedom haha, again, most people think the CCP are the saviours of China. This is in the face of the great leap forward, the cultural revolution, and the Tiananmen square massace.

This is somewhat similar, for many of the same reasons, to Russia today.  The biggest thing that scares Russians isn't the increasing autocracy of the Putin regime, it's the fear of going back to the times of the 1990s where the economy was wrecked, violent crime was massive, and Russia was perceived as a basket case by its peers.  Putin has spent much of his energies creating the illusion that his leadership is what is keeping people from a return to those horrible days.  People might not like Putin, they might not like the obvious ineptitude of the Russian system of governance, but they prefer "the devil they know" to the one they used to know and might once again meet up with.

Russians, like Chinese, do not look to the West as an alternative to what they currently have.  Decades of propaganda and genuine shortcomings in the West have seen to that.

There's few other countries that fit into this sort of mindset.  Cuba comes to mind.

Steve

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Thanks feedback anyway guys, I'm happy many of you read my post.

1 hour ago, SimpleSimon said:

roadie perhaps you can add. My impression of Chinese leadership is that it is highly decentralized and for the most part Beijing does not normally concern itself in rural or regional affairs. Federalism is present but its resources are rather limited and this goes further to explain failures (of any kind) in the Chinese response to the virus than HURR COMMUNIST REPRESSION does. 

From what I have seen, the central party has surprisingly little control of the vast majority of China, though its grip has really tightened in many respects. I came here in 2012 just after Xi came to power. As the years have gone by, the anti-corruption drive that he instigated has picked off thousands of corrupt officials, and conveniently those who belonged to regional power bases that could be a threat. You have Guangzhou, the capital of the province I live in, Guangdong, which is the main manufacturing hub, Chongqing, the capital of Sichuan in the sort of middle west (actually the middle of China but really the last proper Han-Chinese province before you get into the autonomous regions like Tibet, etc), Shanghai, Beijing of course, Tianjin (major port city next to BJ), Xi'an in the centre and then DongBei - literally EastNorth (North-East to English speakers, better known as Manchuria to westerners) where you have the heavy industry areas of Heilongjiang and Jilin. Each of these areas produces powerful people with large support bases, and they have run with their own interpretations of the rules from BJ for a long time.

The downfall of some serious players over the last few years has made for some seriously pop-corn worthy TV, with in-court broadcasts of big boys getting their due. Just go to wikipedia and read up about Bo XiLai - Xi's major rival for the throne. If you want a good laugh read up about his wife's trial for the murder of Neil Hayworth (not a laughing matter) and the obvious double who appeared in court in her place (the funny bit) who looks nothing like her.

The culmination was when Xi was made President for life. That was the endgame - he could never have done that had he still powerful rivals to defeat.

These days, his picture is on billboards everywhere. Every TV report starts with a report on Xi, and every news website carries stories about what he's doing on their front pages. And everyone thinks he's the bees knees because he cleaned up the corruption.

How much real power he still has over different areas is debatable. You tend to know the central party has been getting ignored when suddenly they send some head honcho from BJ to replace someone in some town or city somewhere, usually due to some public outcry over some scandal. 

 

BTW, as nightmarish as this may sound, life is actually pretty good here. I wouldn't live here if it was bad, and I'm not in some sort of weird bubble like you get with expat communities in places like Thailand or the Philippines, where the small salaries they sometimes make are still enough to let them live the high life compared to locals. My income is pretty much the average middle class professional income. Life here is just like any other major western city, probably even more developed in many respects, with high property prices and all the other joys increased wealth brings to an area. 

 

8 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

when I say that the Party is concerned about what would come from hundreds of millions of unemployed workers, it's more akin to a Western corporate officer or manager worried about keeping their job more than it is worry about their company going bankrupt.  At least that's the way I've thought of it for quite some time now.

Actually, not to blow your trumpet, but pretty much everything you have said is pretty spot on. But that's just my opinion.

 

I'd like to answer some of the other points others have made but its 20 past midnight here and I'm off to bed. Thanks again for the feedback guys and I'll go through some more points tomorrow, before I go back to work on Monday haha.

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7 hours ago, roadiemullet said:

Just listening to the first few minutes of that reminds me why I never read or watch American news media. So many loaded statements. Just like the Chinese media haha.

'People being bundled into police vans to be taken god knows where' - Ummm probably either to the local police station or taken home, but not before having their ears chewed for breaking quarantine. The 'god knows where' bit is just tapped on the end, as though those people were never seen again.

As for infected people being locked in their homes and left to starve - while I have no doubt that happened, it wasn't exactly policy. More like that person fell through the net. Everyone had a choice if they tested positive for the test - go to the quarantine centre or choose to stay at home, but if you stay at home you must agree not to leave your apartment (most people live in apartments). A paper tag was placed over the door - loose enough to allow the door to open to allow food deliveries, but the deal was if that seal is broken, then you gotta go to the quarantine centre, whether you like it or not.

These measures are awful, but they aren't quite the picture that is painted. Infected people aren't being sent to a field and shot in the back of the head after being picked up by the gestapo.

You may have seen in the news the videos of people being properly barred in their homes, with a metal bar welded over their door. This kind of stuff did go off and its completely disgusting, but the reaction among the public here (this was not some secret that leaked to the west, it was shown on primetime news as evidence that the government is taking care of the situation) was pretty supportive. I don't agree with this, but many people here do as its for the collective good.

And guess what, it turns out hundreds, maybe thousands, of New Yorkers also died in their apartments, so even if the Chinese gov trapped people in their homes who would otherwise have sought care, there was probably also a large number who succumbed to the same psychological trap as people did in New York, and no doubt went similarly uncounted.

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23 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

Russians, like Chinese, do not look to the West as an alternative to what they currently have.  Decades of propaganda and genuine shortcomings in the West have seen to that.

There's few other countries that fit into this sort of mindset.  Cuba comes to mind.

This exactly. Why would anyone here want to copy the American model when they are constantly told how terrible it is. 

An interesting facet of the perception of the USA among some people I've met that I'll just quickly add before signing off, is the idea that the US government is the bogeyman that all the corniest conspiracy theories make it out to be. All those impressions of China being a police state that spies on its own citizens is flipped around and amplified when talking about America. The same for their own government is scoffed at though, which I remember being incredulous at the first time I had this conversation with someone.

Another reason is that many people think America is super dangerous. A few years ago a guy somewhere in Shanghai went nuts and ran into a kindergarten with a pair of knives and murdered a bunch of young kids. Didn't even make the evening news - they were too busy covering a school shooting in the USA that happened the same day. I once had a conversation with a guy about guns and he said if he went to the USA he would insist on carrying a gun around with him. In his opinion if the locals tell you its their right to have a gun, then you should listen to them, the cities they live in must be lethally dangerous. It was kinda hard to argue the point back (especially as I'm a Brit haha).

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1 hour ago, roadiemullet said:

The downfall of some serious players over the last few years has made for some seriously pop-corn worthy TV, with in-court broadcasts of big boys getting their due. Just go to wikipedia and read up about Bo XiLai - Xi's major rival for the throne. If you want a good laugh read up about his wife's trial for the murder of Neil Hayworth (not a laughing matter) and the obvious double who appeared in court in her place (the funny bit) who looks nothing like her.

The political theater here amuses me quite a bit and conjures up some parallels with the great Stalinist Play Act Trials of the 1930s, though it seems more in tune with the Denunciations among Soviet Leadership that came after his death. 

Factionalism within Communist Party Leadership seems to lead this sort of event, but it's not as if America and Europe don't have their own ideas of-and uses for-political theater. 

Quote

The culmination was when Xi was made President for life. That was the endgame - he could never have done that had he still powerful rivals to defeat.

These days, his picture is on billboards everywhere. Every TV report starts with a report on Xi, and every news website carries stories about what he's doing on their front pages. And everyone thinks he's the bees knees because he cleaned up the corruption.

How much real power he still has over different areas is debatable. You tend to know the central party has been getting ignored when suddenly they send some head honcho from BJ to replace someone in some town or city somewhere, usually due to some public outcry over some scandal. 

Right, so Xi's push is the most logical path for what is actually a campaign by Beijing to strongly assert Federalism in China. 

Xi's act isn't new either, "strongman cleans up local corruption" tends to be the pretty common line and indication of a recent trend toward authoritarianism, and was the same the basis upon which Jair Bolsonaro and Viktor Orban have claimed power not to mention Vladimir Putin. Is Xi the same sort of authoritarian as these guys? I'm unsure, but the cult of personality stuff going on with him is probably more a legacy of Maoist tradition, which he is trying to connect with. It does not seem to me that he's explicitly going for totalitarianism though. 

1 hour ago, roadiemullet said:

An interesting facet of the perception of the USA among some people I've met that I'll just quickly add before signing off, is the idea that the US government is the bogeyman that all the corniest conspiracy theories make it out to be. All those impressions of China being a police state that spies on its own citizens is flipped around and amplified when talking about America.

If you ask me American leaders legit just don't know how to be authoritarian since they're almost universally unqualified for their positions lol. When oppression and spying are perpetuated in America it is almost entirely by the negligence and ignorance rather than any kind of concerted effort by its leaders to control people's lives. What there is plenty of in America nonetheless is oppression and spying, it's just crucial to understand that the mechanism that emerges these things doesn't always emerge from Washington, but frequently from America's unfree free market system. 

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1 hour ago, roadiemullet said:

The idea that students "know they will be gunned down by the PLA" - I'm sorry that's completely ridiculous. I just told my Chinese wife that one and she burst out laughing. Nobody thinks that, only westerners. It may be true, but again, that is NOT the perception here.

Oh god know, please tell me your wife isn't gonna start going on to her friends about some wacky American forum at some place called battlefront that has the best jokes!

The posted clip with Tucker take with a grain of salt.  Tucker makes his money on being dramatic, drawing in viewers and therefore revenue.  He's an heir to the Swanson fortune and somehow calls himself a deadhead which most of the deadhead community would likely be horrified to hear (I know I am).  Unfortunately he does have a significant viewer base.

My direct experience with China is a handful of trips of a week or two duration each.  Not enough to really know much but to get some interesting surface observations.  I have to agree with what you have said above about folks not ever raising a suggestion to me of feeling "oppressed" or in some kind of cage.  On the other hand China is the poster child of censorship.  I support an infrastructure in about 60+ countries and have to deal with issues of blocking SIP protocol in a lot of locations, sometimes for weird reasons like high school exam time where some countries will shut down the internet for 2 weeks. My experience is if a country really wants to manage their internet and social media, they turn to Chinese expertise.  The extent of China's scrubbing all conversations as much as possible reflects a sensitivity and basic insecurity of those in leadership.  I think I'd agree with Steve it is likely more an issue of individuals looking to hold onto power rather than a complete overturning of the political structure.  However the level of insecurity is clearly based in something and isn't just an outsiders perception.

People in general worry about food, housing, basic financial and health security.  That is pretty much true anywhere.  After that comes the rest.  My perception is China handles most of that pretty well though with a severe cost on some health issues.  I can recall being in Beijing one week and being unable to clearly see the building across the street due to pollution.  My wife's family is from Kyushu and they are particularly sensitive to what goes on in Northern China affecting their air quality.  Still going to India, particularly Delhi isn't significantly different.

 

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Quick comment on cause and effect.  For sure the Party is very concerned about its future otherwise they would not have created the most advanced and reactive surveillance state on the planet, not to mention the other tools of oppression such as arrests, military crackdowns, etc.  So by Western sensibilities, this shows a regime that is insecure and inherently unstable.  And they're right to think that.  But it does not follow that the Party as an institution is under threat.  That's a very important distinction to make, especially for those who are responsible for establishing policy towards China.  The Party is most likely here to stay for quite some time even if their economy goes to complete crap.

Steve

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12 hours ago, roadiemullet said:

You may have seen in the news the videos of people being properly barred in their homes, with a metal bar welded over their door. This kind of stuff did go off and its completely disgusting, but the reaction among the public here (this was not some secret that leaked to the west, it was shown on primetime news as evidence that the government is taking care of the situation) was pretty supportive. I don't agree with this, but many people here do as its for the collective good.

Well, if the government says it's for the greater good, who are we to question their motives?

This is why people here in this thread criticize China. Because they largely accept a draconian reduction in their liberty and rights that would very quickly lead to an armed response among the citizenry here in the West. Well, in the few places people are still allowed to bear arms anyway.

 

7 hours ago, Sublime said:

Im on quora alot. I noticed when I debate people if they cant debate without getting personal and have no good argument they almost always run to insults or ad hominem attacks. its almost always a surefire sign your opponents got nothing.  As you you noted youre already fighting a losing battle on that.

There is also the resulting to personal attacks driven by the fact you realize you're wasting your time arguing with someone who's as dumb as a brick.

I'm just saying. There's not some 'instant win card' you get to play just because your opponent got fed up with you. I think any time a debate or argument ends along those lines BOTH sides need to do some reflecting as to how things got derailed, and why.

 

7 hours ago, Sublime said:

What I think is alarming and shocking and most Americans seem to not care is most of our media is now censored by the chinese communist party!  Look at the game contest where a winner held a #free HK thing up. blizzard took his winnings and banned him for life! because chinese pressure.  In top gun 1 maverick has a  taiwan cruise patch.  The patch has been erased in top gun 2.   The reason it made no sense in Red Dawn 2 that N Korea had occupied the US was because it didnt.  it was supposed to be china but they flipped out and wouldnt show it in china, so we changed it because we want money.

Censorship is not voluntary. These are voluntary decisions companies make to avoid losing a large potential marketplace. If you don't like their decisions, stop consuming their products.

I certainly don't.

 

7 hours ago, SimpleSimon said:

To me it's incredible because all of it is shameless repetition of canned arguments and propaganda literally recycled from the decades of the Cold War and now combined with a crude sort of euphemistic racism against Asians. The idealist notion of the 80s that a free internet would become some kind of antidote for lies and disinformation rather than a highway for those things has been rather clearly sunk. 

https://gking.harvard.edu/files/censored.pdf  <- Try reading that.

The internet DOES allow for the free dissemination of information, unless you live in China. That's not just "racism against Asians", it's the truth. If you lived in China and clicked that link, you would run the risk of being arrested, because in China censorship of the internet is emplaced by law. If you read or disseminate information officially classified as 'censored' by the government, you are in violation of the law and subject to criminal charges.

I've literally seen video leaked to the internet of people being arrested in their own homes because they 'posted inappropriate content on the internet'.

 

7 hours ago, Wicky said:

The Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming also was only a few days ago speaking on the BBC denying Wuhan China was the source and pointing the finger at the French as the source of the infection.

He also denies there are no camps in Xinjiang holding Uighurs despite all the evidence to the contrary.

"I'll answer your question, you just need to give me time to answer," is what the liar says when he can't think of lies fast enough.

People who tell the truth don't need time to think, they simply speak what they know to be true. They may think briefly about how to compose their words, but they don't use the phrase, "I'm trying to answer your questions, you just don't give me time to answer them," as an excuse for not answering a question.

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6 hours ago, roadiemullet said:

The idea that students "know they will be gunned down by the PLA" - I'm sorry that's completely ridiculous. I just told my Chinese wife that one and she burst out laughing. Nobody thinks that, only westerners. It may be true, but again, that is NOT the perception here.

Students don't NEED to be gunned down by the army if they've been raised their whole lives to be indoctrinated into the system, and are now willing participants in their own repression.

What your wife needs to understand is that on a fundamental level, Western society respects the value of the individual's right to do what they wish with their own life.
Even if it's to the overall detriment to society at large.

Foreigners I talk to play up the U.S.A.'s social problems as indicative of a flawed and failing society. That's because they are removed from the perspective that the massive drug, obesity, and crime problems we have here are indicative of a society that lets people make their own decisions, for better or worse.

You can argue the respective merits of both sides, but a direct comparison is foolish, and rather stupid.

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Starting to wonder if the mega cities trend is off the menu now in the US and worldwide in general. Hearing a lot of young people in the US are now scared to death to live on top of each other and want to move away from potential epicenters like New York City and mostly work from home or at times a rented suburban office space as needed. Hearing a lot of young people with rented apartments in NYC are now living with parents is the suburbs because of the China virus. And these kids are the cream of the crop – Ivy MBAs. There is a lot of empty suburban office space vacant up and down the NE corridor. Been that way for years now as young graduates went into NYC and other urban areas for various reasons.  Just a tip guy$. Not saying the mega cities trend is going away for the long run in developing countries … but there is a lot of suburban office capacity to be filled in the US in the short term while people are being careful. 

Kevin
 

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2 hours ago, General Jack Ripper said:

This is why people here in this thread criticize China. Because they largely accept a draconian reduction in their liberty and rights that would very quickly lead to an armed response among the citizenry here in the West. Well, in the few places people are still allowed to bear arms anyway.

Yeah but this the amusing bit to me. The false dichotomy between American liberties and Communist oppression neither of which exist anywhere near the sort of strictly true stereotypes they're often pushed around on. Respectfully the problem with addressing just about any point you make Ripper is that you obviously expect people to take this premise for granted in your discussions with them.  Yet it collapses quickly under basic scrutiny. How can Americans claim liberty and rights are so sacred while sitting on top of 25% of the world's entire inmate population? Where's the NRA? Where was the promised insurrection when law enforcement was given the right to search people's homes, emails and telephone conversations without consent 19 years ago under the Patriot Act? Like where's the line in the sand here?

If American gun ownership is supposed to be some kind of guarantee of the rights of Americans it's track record for this has proven rather unimpressive to me. Even access to heavy weaponry is taken for granted at the average American gun club so it clearly isn't an issue of firepower or anything. My own thoughts here are based on accepting the notion that gun owners are universally invested in the rights of all Americans and not merely white gun owners by the way. 

It's hard to read roadie's post and not at least walk away with the impression that simplification and stereotyping are not the answer to dealing with China. 

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3 hours ago, kevinkin said:

Starting to wonder if the mega cities trend is off the menu now in the US and worldwide in general. Hearing a lot of young people in the US are now scared to death to live on top of each other and want to move away from potential epicenters like New York City and mostly work from home or at times a rented suburban office space as needed. Hearing a lot of young people with rented apartments in NYC are now living with parents is the suburbs because of the China virus. And these kids are the cream of the crop – Ivy MBAs. There is a lot of empty suburban office space vacant up and down the NE corridor. Been that way for years now as young graduates went into NYC and other urban areas for various reasons.  Just a tip guy$. Not saying the mega cities trend is going away for the long run in developing countries … but there is a lot of suburban office capacity to be filled in the US in the short term while people are being careful. 

Kevin
 

I vote for that!  While I do like access to resources etc in an urban area I overall don't like the feeling of always being on top of someone.  I live in San Jose and am walking distance to downtown and yet the neighborhood is single family detached homes.  It is a nice middle ground. I lived in Brooklyn (finished high school there) for 4 years and I would never go back to living like that.  Lived in SF for about 10 and couldn't see moving back there ever again either.

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8 minutes ago, SimpleSimon said:

It's hard to read roadie's post and not at least walk away with the impression that simplification and stereotyping are not the answer to dealing with China. 

That is pretty much true in any conversation and part of what is going wrong right now in American politics.  We all stereotype each other's positions.  Part of that is social media bubble and part human nature.  Learning to listen to what another person is saying and truly understanding their concerns isn't how we function.  Maybe never did, but with the advent of so many platforms where any individual can yell at the world (and buy as many voices as they want to do it - See Roger Stone) it has really devolved.

 

And on a more amusing note - Essential services Texas style!

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/strip-club-fights-to-stay-open-amid-city-s-nonessential-business-closures/ar-BB13whXk?ocid=spartanntp

 

 

Edited by sburke
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Posted (edited)

On a different note I have been watching the debate on contact tracing apps for mobiles and people's reactions and I can't help but laugh.  Apparently most people have no idea how much they are already tracked and by pretty much anyone that wants to pony up a little cash.  If the thought of having a contact tracing app on your phone concerns you I'd suggest reading the article.  Your phone is already snitching on you.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/19/opinion/location-tracking-cell-phone.html

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And think about the vacancies in college dorms and college spaces across the US. All with wifi and pretty much ready to go for business to use the space. 

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11 hours ago, roadiemullet said:

I'm not so sure comparisons from what I've said mean that by 'my logic' America loves Trump because there are people that support him there. If that's the message you took from what I have written then you've misunderstood me, which may be my fault in the way I have written my points.

I don't mean to come across as facetious, but have you ever spent any decent amount of time in China? I have. I've been to every major city along the coast, from Hong Kong to Harbin. I've been to countless factories and met thousands of people in the last 8 years. I ran a project management curriculum for three years and had countless conversations with countless students/business people from all walks of life. I'm not a visitor who comes to China, I live here, and I've been here continuously with the exception of the occasional two-three week holiday and one three month stay back home in 2016, and I'm telling you, I've met maybe 3 or 4 people who didn't think the CCP was just about the greatest thing that ever happened to China.

Imagine Trump has been in office for 8 years, and every single person you talk to about him bangs on about how great he is. Many bring it up in the first minutes of conversation because you are one of the few foreigners they have met in their life and they are so proud they feel they have to tell you. In 8 years you meet 4 people who said they didn't like him. That's the level. Forget communism, its all about nationalism. Communism as an idea is only ever brought up in the name of the party anyway. The official doctrine is 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics', with the recent wonderful addition of 'Xi Jinping thought on...' added before. Which means that basically whatever the party leadership deigns to be the policy is the policy, no matter if it fits a communist or capitalist criteria by other peoples measures.

I'm not interested in applying 'my logic' to american politics - the whole reason I started posting in the first place is, as I said, too many people are viewing China through a western lens. Please don't take this response as snarky - oftentimes responses on the internet come across as pretty sharp and that's not the spirit of my writing here.

 

We all know that the CCP Government does not abide any criticism, and people who start "causing trouble" really do have a tendency to vanish for months on end, before the family find out they've been tried for "breaking social harmony" or some more serious charge. But that doesn't mean everyone is living under the oppressive yoke and aches in their hearts for freedom haha, again, most people think the CCP are the saviours of China. This is in the face of the great leap forward, the cultural revolution, and the Tiananmen square massace. 

 

The idea that students "know they will be gunned down by the PLA" - I'm sorry that's completely ridiculous. I just told my Chinese wife that one and she burst out laughing. Nobody thinks that, only westerners. It may be true, but again, that is NOT the perception here.

No. I have never been to Asia, only Europe and here in America.

Im glad I amused your Chinese wife.  I wasnt joking or trying to be offensive.  Frankly the US government would do the same to an serious enough uprising.   But seriously, do you really doubt if there were HK like protests on the mainland there wouldnt have been a draconian response with many dead?  And who would do the killing?  I seem to recall the military gunning down people in Tianemen Square - but perhaps your wife doesnt even know it happened because of the Chinese government.

All I know is what I read and hear from my position here in the west.  However living in Boston and working as a cleaner I clean a lot of buildings with college students and have met many Chinese students.  They are all proud to be Chinese but the ones from HK that I got to know confided they despised the 'mainlanders' etc and the 3 I got to know more than passively ( one from hong kong 2 from elsewhere) all said they only desired to go back because there family was there.  They said their society felt stifling now theyd lived in the west. 

If youre reading into my post like its a 'punch back' youre wrong - its just a basic response to your post and so you basically can tell your chinese friends that most of us dont really care or think about china besides passing thoughts much like how you guys probably think of us. frankly most of us dont care or wonder whether the chinese are yearning to rise up or crawl down at all frankly.  the saying 'whats that got to do with the price of tea in china?' doesnt exist for nothing on the other side of the planet.  But no one I think whose intelligent in the west thinks the Chinese are an oppressed, stifled people.  we know they are proud, etc etc. I think we look at them more with a sort of sadness, knowing they will never truly be our friends and feeling we fundamentally view the same issues differently and in toxic ways at times.  Much like any one thinking theres any movement in N Korea to seriously overthrow the regime from within is kidding themselves.  The North Koreans dont even know wtf is going on outside north korea, and are simply trying to survive.

I know its not half as desperate in china, but I fundamentally distrust how much factual information an average chinese citizen whose only lived in China has access to about all world events and history.  I will say that.  Otherwise I could care less about the entire issue.  Im sure there'll be a war with them some day but I hope not. I wont be alive anyways.  Im glad you found a cool new place and culture to live and exist in and wish you the best - I couldnt do it. I dont like asian women (not curvy enough )or culture enough to do live in it.

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10 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

This is somewhat similar, for many of the same reasons, to Russia today.  The biggest thing that scares Russians isn't the increasing autocracy of the Putin regime, it's the fear of going back to the times of the 1990s where the economy was wrecked, violent crime was massive, and Russia was perceived as a basket case by its peers.  Putin has spent much of his energies creating the illusion that his leadership is what is keeping people from a return to those horrible days.  People might not like Putin, they might not like the obvious ineptitude of the Russian system of governance, but they prefer "the devil they know" to the one they used to know and might once again meet up with.

Russians, like Chinese, do not look to the West as an alternative to what they currently have.  Decades of propaganda and genuine shortcomings in the West have seen to that.

There's few other countries that fit into this sort of mindset.  Cuba comes to mind.

Steve

Venezuela, Iran, North Korea..

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58 minutes ago, sburke said:

On a different note I have been watching the debate on contact tracing apps for mobiles and people's reactions and I can't help but laugh.  Apparently most people have no idea how much they are already tracked and by pretty much anyone that wants to pony up a little cash.  If the thought of having a contact tracing app on your phone concerns you I'd suggest reading the article.  Your phone is already snitching on you.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/19/opinion/location-tracking-cell-phone.html

oh your phones been snitching on you

I laugh at dark web types who sneer tor browsers are unbreakable by the government. I mean sure. the US Navy made a program and didnt leave a backdoor. riight.

also that snazzy facial recognition software or fingerprint unlock?  The police cant force a numeric or writtten password out of you but they can hold your phone to your face and unlock it or place it against your handcuffed hands to unlock and now theyre in.

this is also on top of it automatically pinging towers on the regular which is another way it tracks location.  so if you go within the realm of government they dont even need apps.

but yes sadly our informations been - illegally I suspect - sold and traded around endlessly by the mega software companies

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Here's the thing.  Every culture has its own pros and cons.  The funny bit about Humans is that those two things are subjective.  VERY subjective.  When I lived in London I had very educated people ask me how I could possibly live in the US with all the fear of being shot at any minute.  And this was during The Troubles and one of the guys having this discussion with me lost an uncle to an IRA bomb.  And while I was there I was evacuated from the Tube more than once because of a bomb scare and I marveled at the camo clad British infantrymen with armored cars routinely patrolling airports.

So there I was with people living in the middle of a wave of genuine domestic terrorism saying that they were afraid to go to the US because they might get killed.  Interesting, eh?  Even more interesting... after months of being there I didn't necessarily disagree with them.  I always felt EXTREMELY safe in London, despite the terrorism and the fact that the cops on the beat didn't care guns.

The more years I rack up on this Earth the more I've adopted a mentality of "to each their own".  If the Chinese want to live in conditions that I would never accept, fine.  If someone in Denmark would rather pay more in taxes to have superior health outcomes than we have in the US, fine.  If someone wants to live in an aboriginal tribe in the Amazon, fine.  As long as it doesn't affect the way I want to live, I'm largely OK with it.

What I'm getting around to saying is... unless China deliberately released the virus in order to mess up my neighborhood (which they didn't), I don't care too much about what happened over there.  The economic and social mess here in the US is 100% on us.  My government had plenty of time (e.g. decades) to prepare for the pandemic, develop a rational response to it, and faithfully execute it.  The pitiful list of "China ate my homework" excuses I'm hearing from the party in charge and "I didn't do my homework because he didn't do his" from the other party is not surprising, but they are still very disappointing.  China should not be blamed for that.

Steve

P.S.  for you non-Americans out there, we have an tradition of using the phrase "the dog ate my homework" to represent someone offering up an excuse instead of taking responsibility for being too lazy or distracted to do the work they were tasked with doing.

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2 hours ago, Sublime said:

but yes sadly our informations been - illegally I suspect - sold and traded around endlessly by the mega software companies

It isn't even illegal.  Read the article.

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Morning guys, I can see this thread is starting to move on so I'll make these my final observations, and just talk about one or two topics that have come up.

Part Six

5 minutes ago, Sublime said:

No. I have never been to Asia, only Europe and here in America.

Im glad I amused your Chinese wife.  I wasnt joking or trying to be offensive.  Frankly the US government would do the same to an serious enough uprising.   But seriously, do you really doubt if there were HK like protests on the mainland there wouldnt have been a draconian response with many dead?  And who would do the killing?  I seem to recall the military gunning down people in Tianemen Square - but perhaps your wife doesnt even know it happened because of the Chinese government.

All I know is what I read and hear from my position here in the west.  However living in Boston and working as a cleaner I clean a lot of buildings with college students and have met many Chinese students.  They are all proud to be Chinese but the ones from HK that I got to know confided they despised the 'mainlanders' etc and the 3 I got to know more than passively ( one from hong kong 2 from elsewhere) all said they only desired to go back because there family was there.  They said their society felt stifling now theyd lived in the west. 

If youre reading into my post like its a 'punch back' youre wrong - its just a basic response to your post and so you basically can tell your chinese friends that most of us dont really care or think about china besides passing thoughts much like how you guys probably think of us. frankly most of us dont care or wonder whether the chinese are yearning to rise up or crawl down at all frankly.  the saying 'whats that got to do with the price of tea in china?' doesnt exist for nothing on the other side of the planet.  But no one I think whose intelligent in the west thinks the Chinese are an oppressed, stifled people.  we know they are proud, etc etc. I think we look at them more with a sort of sadness, knowing they will never truly be our friends and feeling we fundamentally view the same issues differently and in toxic ways at times.  Much like any one thinking theres any movement in N Korea to seriously overthrow the regime from within is kidding themselves.  The North Koreans dont even know wtf is going on outside north korea, and are simply trying to survive.

I know its not half as desperate in china, but I fundamentally distrust how much factual information an average chinese citizen whose only lived in China has access to about all world events and history.  I will say that.  Otherwise I could care less about the entire issue.  Im sure there'll be a war with them some day but I hope not. I wont be alive anyways.  Im glad you found a cool new place and culture to live and exist in and wish you the best - I couldnt do it. I dont like asian women (not curvy enough )or culture enough to do live in it.

Thanks.

Everything you have said here is on point. I was just in the middle of writing up a response to something else but as you've brought up some points here I'll frame my answer a bit more around this.

I feel exactly the same as you in that what other counties do, and how they go about forming their societies is totally up to them. I live here as an observer with the caveat that if I don't like it I can bugger off back to where I came from or go somewhere else. I used to be really "passionate" about western values and my perception that the Chinese are being trodden on. A few years here has rubbed that out. It is sad that some of the answers to problems in Chinese society are right there for the taking but due to the way they run their country, they just can't fix them. To go to your points though;

Firstly, would the Government resort to machine gunning down masses of students like they did in 1989? This is not such a clear cut answer as you might think. On the one hand, they've done it before, and by nearly any measure, they totally got away with doing it. It worked. They survived the international backlash, they convinced the public at large that the movement had been hijacked by foreign forces and needed to be dealt with, and wiped the slate of any future attempts, and today there are people here who think they did the right thing.

You can bet your bottom dollar after 1989, such plans to reactivate such a force have been refined, the most trustworthy people chosen to be key players in the organisation, and the methodology to match a modern technological environment has been perfected (shutting down all social media, for example). The shutdown due to COVID I'm completely convinced used the some of the same logical channels. They can snap their fingers and *poof* everyone has to stay at home.

Tiananmen was as brutal a shock to the party as it was to everyone else observing the events. Again, going back to the factionalism that makes up the party, there was a schism that ruptured the top powers and the army leadership. The aftermath of Tiananmen and what happened to the commanders of units who refused to take part when they realised what was going on is a sad coda to the entire nightmare.

(This would be a great place to insert a reference to an account of a brigade commander I read a few years ago but for the life of me I can't remember where I read it and I've spent about 20 mins trying to search it to no avail. If anyone else knows what I'm talking about, please throw a link)

On a slightly side note, for those that have mentioned they have been to China, you will probably have noticed the security guards on every building entrance and residential area. The Chinese name for them is 保安 Bao'An. They are everywhere, and when I first came here my impression was definitely that all of my suspicions were confirmed, that this is a police state. The real every day experience is more like a retired Mall Cop though lol. Their job is first and foremost to prevent petty crime, rather than spying on residents. Sometimes when you read about the military strength of China, you get references to a millions-strong paramilitary force. This is in reference to the Bao'An "force", if you can call it that. Most of them are Grandpas who want to earn some easy money sitting in the sun playing Chinese Chess, or young guys/girls who maybe don't have the best qualifications. China is a society where stereotypes often dictate jobs, and being a Bao'An is the job for old farts.

There are other 'police' units that exist within the framework of everyday life. The police themselves, the 警察 Jing Cha, are self explanatory, though they play a functional role in everyday administration that doesn't exist in our world. For example, the law states that every time you stay for 24 hours in a place outside your designated address, you must register with the local police station. I'm yet to meet any Chinese who are even aware that such a law exists, including the police themselves. I'm aware because the rule is more strictly enforced on foreigners. Or rather, the stamped bit of paper you get when you do it is needed every time you want to do something official, like renew your visa, driving licence, etc etc. Nobody bothers (an example of a law by Beijing that is ignored for the most part outside the capital), unless they need that stamp for something, in which case they go to the local police station and apply. I'm talking about foreign nationals here, Chinese themselves don't need the stamp as they have national ID cards that are the backbone for all their administration needs (the Chinese LOVE, and I mean LOVE red tape). The law about registering when you move around though is still true for everyone, but again, nobody does it and even if they wanted to and went to the local station, they police would just tell them to forget it. I've been to some police stations to register and they have the dedicated officer waiting behind a desk, and yet you go to another and they have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

A similar experience I had was trying to get registration forms for my dog, as is the law. I bought my dog from a wet market (more on that later) and I've had him vaccinated as per all the requirements, but after a run in with a neighbour who totally overreacted to my dog approaching her, tried to exploit me for petty cash by calling the police and saying my dog scared her. This is a common method of arbitration by the police when dealing with arguing parties - they become mini judges and decide who has to pay or apologise to who when dealing with petty arguments. I apologised, lost face to everyone's satisfaction, and the argument was closed without needing petty compensation (as a "rich" foreigner though she was trying to get some decent payout out of me). As it happens, the Bao'An at the gate to our residential area came to my defence and afterwards told us she'd tried this with other dog owners in the area. There's more to this story lol but its starting to derail from my point so I'll try and keep on track. 😂

In the aftermath we decided to get the dog fully registered so that the police wouldn't confiscate him if something happened again and we didn't have him sorted. My wife looked up the relevant requirements on the net and found that we needed to register the dog, which we hadn't. We spent the next two weekends being passed around different offices in the city as nobody had a clue what to do or who should deal with it. In the end we gave up. This is a level of involvement by the state in everyday lives that just wouldn't fly in the west, even if in many respects it isn't even properly followed throughout China. (Different places have varying levels of enforcement. I'm sure if you wander over to XinJiang or Tibet, you better pucker up that butthole and have your stamped forms ready.)

Anyways, back to the Tiananmen point, the other forces one encounters are the 特警,TeJing, which means 'special police' and is translated as SWAT on google translate but really they mostly perform checkpoint duties, and seem to spend most of their time unarmed. You see them in subway stations checking ID cards (Chinese ID cards double up as subway cards that can be loaded with credit. Pretty nifty really).

Another force is the 城管, Cheng Guan. Their job is as an auxiliary unit to enforce city and town health and safety practices, and to clean up hawkers and people selling wild animals and other illegal stuff. You tend not to see them so much in the last three years or so as the public backlash against them after a video made the rounds was pretty bad. In the video, while enforcing the rule that shops cannot put goods on the street outside their shopfront, blocking the pavement/sidewalk, a group of ChengGuan started trashing some bikes outside a bike shop. The thing was, the bikes belonged to a bunch of customers who were visiting the shop and had parked up outside. Obviously nobody is going to be happy to walk out of a shop and see some idiots in uniform kicking in what looked like really expensive bikes, so a fight ensued between the spandex clad bikers and the ChengGuan. It sounds kinda funny but it ended with one guy being knocked over and then a ChengGuan jumping on his head.

The backlash was pretty severe, with protests going off about their behaviour. The city authorities (I can't remember which city, maybe Hangzhou near Shanghai) came out with apologies and the lame excuse that the jumper was only a temporary worker who had been quickly sacked. I'm not sure if the biker got compensation or not. Since then I haven't seen them about. To be fair the ones I've seen in my city again were just regular Joe's doing a job, clearing up the annoying pedlars selling fake goods on street corners.

My point behind listing these different 'police' units is to highlight how much of a presence the state has in everyday life. Bao'Ans are everywhere, I can walk to my balcony right now and look down on some across the road. Would they be used in party with the PLA to start murdering people in the event of protests? Maybe, but not without a degree of resistance. Because they are so embedded within local society, they are part and parcel of the fabric. I know all the Bao'Ans in my area and they know me. They know all the names of the kids in the area, not because they are spying but because they see them every day, smiling and giving a friendly 'good morning' as we walk through the gates. Would they turn an AK on us and start spraying because Beijing ordered them? I don't know. Its not clear cut. History has shown that amazingly sometimes people do become like this.

I'm not under any illusion that given the right circumstances, the friendly Bao'An downstairs would be telling a team of TeJin which apartment I live in so they can kick my door in for crimes against the state. The PRC does some shady stuff, locking up human rights lawyers is just he tip of the iceberg. Last year a local lawyer in Guangzhou started an online campaign for the city's utility workers to get better pay and working conditions. He vanished and hasn't been seen since. Earlier last year in the city south of here, Shenzhen, some students who had apparently been taking Mao Zedong's teachings to heart decided to help local factory workers form independent workers unions. The two students involved vanished and haven't been heard of since. Will they be quietly murdered? Certainly not. They are in some jail somewhere that unlike in our countries, the government doesn't feel it has a responsibility to divulge with the families.  The right to a speedy trial isn't even mentioned, they'll be there for ages. In the end they will be released - Probably. 

The other counter point to this Tiananmen question is that protests take place in China all the time, every day. There have been two major protests in the city I live in since I've been here, and many smaller ones. Most cities have public squares outside the main government offices for this very purpose. Some protests are contrived - the big one happening when I arrived in 2012 was the protests over the DiaoYu Islands dispute with Japan. Anti Japanese sentiment is a poison that pervades Chinese society, so its easy to stoke up. I learned a few years later from a factory boss that he had been paid by the local government to shut down for a day and encourage his worker force to go protest, with meals provided for everyone, banners provided and all in all a jolly good old jap bashing throughout the day. Sushi restaurants in the city were smashed up, and anyone unlucky enough to have parked their Nissan or Toyota in the path of the protest march came back to find it flipped or all the windows smashed in. 

The other big one was about 4 years ago, when the Chinese version of Uber, called Didi, was launched. Taxi drivers across the country went up in protest, and there was a major demonstration that lasted days in the city centre here. The police cleared them using the same tactics used in my own country. Nobody was crushed under any tanks. Other demonstrations happen across China all the time. Entire villages get together to protest some local government decision. You can easily google vids of villagers beating up police with metal rods, and going well beyond the acceptable line of protest anywhere in the world. And yet nobody gets shot. It seems that the risk of something spilling out into a bigger anti party protest is so negligible as to no even enter the thoughts of the authorities.

What about if the Hong Kong democracy protests had taken place in China? Would there be another Tiananmen? Again, its not so clear. I mean, why don't they just pull a Tiananmen in Hong Kong? Is the city *really* so well protected by outside influence that they couldn't do it? I'm not convinced. I was sure they were gonna start doing it at one point in the protests. They still might. I think though that they are trying to use HK as a statement that they don't need to crush the demonstrators with tanks. Not yet anyway, it would be pulling the pin on the grenade. They certainly have violated the non-interference clause however - you can easily find videos of Hong Kong "Police" speaking mandarin. 

 

If you could understand Mandarin and Cantonese, you could see what a totally incongruous thing it is to see a supposed HK Police officer speaking Mandarin. Its like A French Policeman in Paris suddenly talking in English with an Alabama accent.

I think most of the points I'm making here are probably things that most people are agreeing with anyway, but just thought I'd add some insights to show the complexity of the picture. There are so many points about many topics I could add, but these posts are really long.

 

4 hours ago, General Jack Ripper said:

What your wife needs to understand is that on a fundamental level, Western society respects the value of the individual's right to do what they wish with their own life.

Lol I'll make sure to tell her.

 

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Thanks for all that.  Very interesting stuff to read, for sure.

About HK, I've signed onto the opinion that the primary reason China didn't move too forcefully against the protests is because they worried about the money side of things.  As you say, they did get away with Tiananmen BUT those were slightly different times as the West (especially Europe) wasn't heavily invested in China and so leverage was not what it became only a few years later.  However, the big thing was right after the crackdown things started unraveling with the Soviet Union and that took up much of the West's limited attention bandwidth.  China had, as it turned out, excellent timing.

Perhaps more telling is the crackdowns in the western provinces in more recent days.  Now it's the other way around where the West has a lot of theoretical economic clout, but it won't use it for something like this because money is more important than principles.  In fact, the current US administration actions which indicate it has dispensed with the illusion of having principals at all (Kashoggi, NATO, etc.) gives them even less pause to crack down with force.  And Europe has it's own problems to deal with before it would have the attention and energy to effectively go after China for even a significant crackdown.

What China does have to worry about is economic problems from Western corporations having concerns about doing business with Chinese companies.  There are already conditions that are diverting business to other countries that would have gone to China, so effectively putting HK's role in the Chinese economy into doubt would not be good.  Especially in 2019 with China's economy on a natural cooling trend.  This gets back to my earlier point about the Party understanding the need for a positive economic story to sell to its people.

Mind you, I also am surprised they didn't move in on the HK protestors with more force sooner.  I'm not a careful China watcher, as it were, but I did think at the time that they were probably "this close" to doing it.  If the protestors had played things a little differently or the HK and Beijing governments hadn't made some key mistakes, I'm guessing that's exactly what would have happened.

Steve

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7 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

What I'm getting around to saying is... unless China deliberately released the virus in order to mess up my neighborhood (which they didn't), I don't care too much about what happened over there.  The economic and social mess here in the US is 100% on us.  My government had plenty of time (e.g. decades) to prepare for the pandemic, develop a rational response to it, and faithfully execute it. 

You may have a tendency to mock the heavens themselves with your games... but you have the correct narrative on this thing.

China is not the issue (heck it's an astroturfed argument anyway & probably is being used as part of a "play off Indian peasant workers vs Chinese peasant workers" scheme)... the West has had a LOT of issues, getting progressively worse, long before this virus ever emerged.

Climate Change has been mentioned a few times in this thread... consider the latest Michael Moore documentary on how "the West" has "chosen" to deal with the issue (basically make rich men richer whilst burning down forests) for decades.

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7 hours ago, roadiemullet said:

Morning guys, I can see this thread is starting to move on so I'll make these my final observations, and just talk about one or two topics that have come up.

Part Six

Thanks.

Everything you have said here is on point. I was just in the middle of writing up a response to something else but as you've brought up some points here I'll frame my answer a bit more around this.

I feel exactly the same as you in that what other counties do, and how they go about forming their societies is totally up to them. I live here as an observer with the caveat that if I don't like it I can bugger off back to where I came from or go somewhere else. I used to be really "passionate" about western values and my perception that the Chinese are being trodden on. A few years here has rubbed that out. It is sad that some of the answers to problems in Chinese society are right there for the taking but due to the way they run their country, they just can't fix them. To go to your points though;

Firstly, would the Government resort to machine gunning down masses of students like they did in 1989? This is not such a clear cut answer as you might think. On the one hand, they've done it before, and by nearly any measure, they totally got away with doing it. It worked. They survived the international backlash, they convinced the public at large that the movement had been hijacked by foreign forces and needed to be dealt with, and wiped the slate of any future attempts, and today there are people here who think they did the right thing.

You can bet your bottom dollar after 1989, such plans to reactivate such a force have been refined, the most trustworthy people chosen to be key players in the organisation, and the methodology to match a modern technological environment has been perfected (shutting down all social media, for example). The shutdown due to COVID I'm completely convinced used the some of the same logical channels. They can snap their fingers and *poof* everyone has to stay at home.

Tiananmen was as brutal a shock to the party as it was to everyone else observing the events. Again, going back to the factionalism that makes up the party, there was a schism that ruptured the top powers and the army leadership. The aftermath of Tiananmen and what happened to the commanders of units who refused to take part when they realised what was going on is a sad coda to the entire nightmare.

(This would be a great place to insert a reference to an account of a brigade commander I read a few years ago but for the life of me I can't remember where I read it and I've spent about 20 mins trying to search it to no avail. If anyone else knows what I'm talking about, please throw a link)

On a slightly side note, for those that have mentioned they have been to China, you will probably have noticed the security guards on every building entrance and residential area. The Chinese name for them is 保安 Bao'An. They are everywhere, and when I first came here my impression was definitely that all of my suspicions were confirmed, that this is a police state. The real every day experience is more like a retired Mall Cop though lol. Their job is first and foremost to prevent petty crime, rather than spying on residents. Sometimes when you read about the military strength of China, you get references to a millions-strong paramilitary force. This is in reference to the Bao'An "force", if you can call it that. Most of them are Grandpas who want to earn some easy money sitting in the sun playing Chinese Chess, or young guys/girls who maybe don't have the best qualifications. China is a society where stereotypes often dictate jobs, and being a Bao'An is the job for old farts.

There are other 'police' units that exist within the framework of everyday life. The police themselves, the 警察 Jing Cha, are self explanatory, though they play a functional role in everyday administration that doesn't exist in our world. For example, the law states that every time you stay for 24 hours in a place outside your designated address, you must register with the local police station. I'm yet to meet any Chinese who are even aware that such a law exists, including the police themselves. I'm aware because the rule is more strictly enforced on foreigners. Or rather, the stamped bit of paper you get when you do it is needed every time you want to do something official, like renew your visa, driving licence, etc etc. Nobody bothers (an example of a law by Beijing that is ignored for the most part outside the capital), unless they need that stamp for something, in which case they go to the local police station and apply. I'm talking about foreign nationals here, Chinese themselves don't need the stamp as they have national ID cards that are the backbone for all their administration needs (the Chinese LOVE, and I mean LOVE red tape). The law about registering when you move around though is still true for everyone, but again, nobody does it and even if they wanted to and went to the local station, they police would just tell them to forget it. I've been to some police stations to register and they have the dedicated officer waiting behind a desk, and yet you go to another and they have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

A similar experience I had was trying to get registration forms for my dog, as is the law. I bought my dog from a wet market (more on that later) and I've had him vaccinated as per all the requirements, but after a run in with a neighbour who totally overreacted to my dog approaching her, tried to exploit me for petty cash by calling the police and saying my dog scared her. This is a common method of arbitration by the police when dealing with arguing parties - they become mini judges and decide who has to pay or apologise to who when dealing with petty arguments. I apologised, lost face to everyone's satisfaction, and the argument was closed without needing petty compensation (as a "rich" foreigner though she was trying to get some decent payout out of me). As it happens, the Bao'An at the gate to our residential area came to my defence and afterwards told us she'd tried this with other dog owners in the area. There's more to this story lol but its starting to derail from my point so I'll try and keep on track. 😂

In the aftermath we decided to get the dog fully registered so that the police wouldn't confiscate him if something happened again and we didn't have him sorted. My wife looked up the relevant requirements on the net and found that we needed to register the dog, which we hadn't. We spent the next two weekends being passed around different offices in the city as nobody had a clue what to do or who should deal with it. In the end we gave up. This is a level of involvement by the state in everyday lives that just wouldn't fly in the west, even if in many respects it isn't even properly followed throughout China. (Different places have varying levels of enforcement. I'm sure if you wander over to XinJiang or Tibet, you better pucker up that butthole and have your stamped forms ready.)

Anyways, back to the Tiananmen point, the other forces one encounters are the 特警,TeJing, which means 'special police' and is translated as SWAT on google translate but really they mostly perform checkpoint duties, and seem to spend most of their time unarmed. You see them in subway stations checking ID cards (Chinese ID cards double up as subway cards that can be loaded with credit. Pretty nifty really).

Another force is the 城管, Cheng Guan. Their job is as an auxiliary unit to enforce city and town health and safety practices, and to clean up hawkers and people selling wild animals and other illegal stuff. You tend not to see them so much in the last three years or so as the public backlash against them after a video made the rounds was pretty bad. In the video, while enforcing the rule that shops cannot put goods on the street outside their shopfront, blocking the pavement/sidewalk, a group of ChengGuan started trashing some bikes outside a bike shop. The thing was, the bikes belonged to a bunch of customers who were visiting the shop and had parked up outside. Obviously nobody is going to be happy to walk out of a shop and see some idiots in uniform kicking in what looked like really expensive bikes, so a fight ensued between the spandex clad bikers and the ChengGuan. It sounds kinda funny but it ended with one guy being knocked over and then a ChengGuan jumping on his head.

The backlash was pretty severe, with protests going off about their behaviour. The city authorities (I can't remember which city, maybe Hangzhou near Shanghai) came out with apologies and the lame excuse that the jumper was only a temporary worker who had been quickly sacked. I'm not sure if the biker got compensation or not. Since then I haven't seen them about. To be fair the ones I've seen in my city again were just regular Joe's doing a job, clearing up the annoying pedlars selling fake goods on street corners.

My point behind listing these different 'police' units is to highlight how much of a presence the state has in everyday life. Bao'Ans are everywhere, I can walk to my balcony right now and look down on some across the road. Would they be used in party with the PLA to start murdering people in the event of protests? Maybe, but not without a degree of resistance. Because they are so embedded within local society, they are part and parcel of the fabric. I know all the Bao'Ans in my area and they know me. They know all the names of the kids in the area, not because they are spying but because they see them every day, smiling and giving a friendly 'good morning' as we walk through the gates. Would they turn an AK on us and start spraying because Beijing ordered them? I don't know. Its not clear cut. History has shown that amazingly sometimes people do become like this.

I'm not under any illusion that given the right circumstances, the friendly Bao'An downstairs would be telling a team of TeJin which apartment I live in so they can kick my door in for crimes against the state. The PRC does some shady stuff, locking up human rights lawyers is just he tip of the iceberg. Last year a local lawyer in Guangzhou started an online campaign for the city's utility workers to get better pay and working conditions. He vanished and hasn't been seen since. Earlier last year in the city south of here, Shenzhen, some students who had apparently been taking Mao Zedong's teachings to heart decided to help local factory workers form independent workers unions. The two students involved vanished and haven't been heard of since. Will they be quietly murdered? Certainly not. They are in some jail somewhere that unlike in our countries, the government doesn't feel it has a responsibility to divulge with the families.  The right to a speedy trial isn't even mentioned, they'll be there for ages. In the end they will be released - Probably. 

The other counter point to this Tiananmen question is that protests take place in China all the time, every day. There have been two major protests in the city I live in since I've been here, and many smaller ones. Most cities have public squares outside the main government offices for this very purpose. Some protests are contrived - the big one happening when I arrived in 2012 was the protests over the DiaoYu Islands dispute with Japan. Anti Japanese sentiment is a poison that pervades Chinese society, so its easy to stoke up. I learned a few years later from a factory boss that he had been paid by the local government to shut down for a day and encourage his worker force to go protest, with meals provided for everyone, banners provided and all in all a jolly good old jap bashing throughout the day. Sushi restaurants in the city were smashed up, and anyone unlucky enough to have parked their Nissan or Toyota in the path of the protest march came back to find it flipped or all the windows smashed in. 

The other big one was about 4 years ago, when the Chinese version of Uber, called Didi, was launched. Taxi drivers across the country went up in protest, and there was a major demonstration that lasted days in the city centre here. The police cleared them using the same tactics used in my own country. Nobody was crushed under any tanks. Other demonstrations happen across China all the time. Entire villages get together to protest some local government decision. You can easily google vids of villagers beating up police with metal rods, and going well beyond the acceptable line of protest anywhere in the world. And yet nobody gets shot. It seems that the risk of something spilling out into a bigger anti party protest is so negligible as to no even enter the thoughts of the authorities.

What about if the Hong Kong democracy protests had taken place in China? Would there be another Tiananmen? Again, its not so clear. I mean, why don't they just pull a Tiananmen in Hong Kong? Is the city *really* so well protected by outside influence that they couldn't do it? I'm not convinced. I was sure they were gonna start doing it at one point in the protests. They still might. I think though that they are trying to use HK as a statement that they don't need to crush the demonstrators with tanks. Not yet anyway, it would be pulling the pin on the grenade. They certainly have violated the non-interference clause however - you can easily find videos of Hong Kong "Police" speaking mandarin. 

 

If you could understand Mandarin and Cantonese, you could see what a totally incongruous thing it is to see a supposed HK Police officer speaking Mandarin. Its like A French Policeman in Paris suddenly talking in English with an Alabama accent.

I think most of the points I'm making here are probably things that most people are agreeing with anyway, but just thought I'd add some insights to show the complexity of the picture. There are so many points about many topics I could add, but these posts are really long.

 

Lol I'll make sure to tell her.

 

thanks for the fascinating response. Actually my knowledge of Tianeman Sq is barebones at best - I only know the extreme basics.  I didnt know some PLA units refused, I wasnt even aware there was a backlash internally in the party. If you could elaborate?

Look people in America make the exact. same. argument.  They say 'dude if the govt did x the military isnt going to do y, or the cops I see every day are gonna side with the people'

And some would.  Thats what causes civil wars.   The problem though is with tech like now, and large powerful countries like america or china your neighbors or the BaoAn you know wont be doing any shooting.  Indeed theyll be shot as well, or at least heavily questioned in the aftermath of how they allowed such a thing to happen.   My take on it is if there was a large insurrection in America the government wouldnt be stupid enough to send local Natl Guard in - theyd send in regular federal troops.  You think some farmboys from AL are going to be as hesitant to shoot some militia in Oregon?  Or going to China, all those police - thats all fine.  But at Tianemen it wasnt the police that were the issue - what stands out in my mind is the tank footage.  The PLA was doing the machine gunning.   In that situation it wouldnt matter if you knew your local law enforcement as they wouldnt be called upon, or if they were wouldnt be callled upon to do the actual shooting.   Thats my assumption.

I have seen how the Chinese use their phones / ids for almost everything now.  Again its interesting to note our divergent POVs. it does sound very slick modern and interesting.   A little nugget about me - Im an ex criminal/heroin addict.  Im insanely mistrustful of any authority and government and police.   So to me while 'nifty' I also see ENDLESS potential for the CCP to monitor EVERYTHING its citizens want to do.  And whilst they may not enforce many laws, the laws are still there right?  This is a trick cops in the US /the US govt uses too. We simply dont get rid of laws. its still illegal for women to have sex on top in MA (religion thing)  now the sex thing is just silly but the other laws?  ITs a way of burying someone for crimes they dont even know exist if theyre bothersome.   Indeed its probably good in an authoritarian/police state to have several laws that are on the books but largely unenforced and ignored.  Because then you can arrest anyone at anytime really and its actually a lawful arrest too!

On the students and being shot - well I could say the same if it were the 40s and we were discussing the USSR.  They didnt shoot everyone they took in the night. It doesnt change they shot A LOT OF PEOPLE.   And it doesnt change the fact they had a joke that you either got  10 years, 25, or shot.  So yes, maybe they wont be shot. Of course since they're just.. gone.. how would anyone know?  And dont even get me started on the Uighar situation.

the Anti Japanese stuff is almost comical.  Ive seen clips from Chinese action films where a soldier does a flip kick on a grenade and takes out a Japanese zero with it. (seriously) VICE news did an interesting piece on it a few years ago.  They even have the same like 10 actors as Japanese in all their films, and theyre told to act as rapacious and stereotypical as possible. and of course they have their anti japan museums that foreigners arent allowed in.

No offense to bring your wife up again, but since you mentioned her laughing at the idea of protestors being shot.  I wasnt describing some small protest. I was talking about like HK or Tianemen once the tear gas starts getting shot.  Even in America dozens end up dead in those situations.  But seriously, am I really off the mark so much as to spark out right laughter? Or is she also biased?  I mean, to play devils advocate, if I learned to say in Mandarin Mao Zedong was a bastard and started shouting it with a megaphone do you really think Id only be punished with disturbing the peace?  Or say if I was Chinese and started posting pictures of Tianemen on their internet - how long do you think Id be in circulation? Seriously now.  I mean I have zero doubt the US federal government would kill people in any insurrection as theyre now traitors and treasonous - I highly doubt the PLA would be more restrained.

AHH ! how interesting! Ive been answering and scrolling up to read and I got to your video which did EXACTLY what I was describing but in a more insidious fashion! That is, not sideline local LEO but just insert military or police from 5000 km away.

 

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