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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

 

PRC nationalism has "ominous implications"

The British socialist website, Socialism In An Age of Waiting, has again commented on political issues in the People's Republic of China, arguing the country "is governed by a 'party' of self-perpetuating gangsters for whom 'democracy' ... means only having to bring in troops from the provinces to massacre workers and students."

SIAW usefully links to a major article on nationalism in the PRC by Geoffrey York in Canada's Globe and Mail. "As Communism slides into irrelevance,' York reports, "the new nationalists are emerging as a powerful force in China, with ominous implications for its neighbours ..."

The nationalist mood seems to be gaining strength every year here. The schools are filled with patriotic education' classes. Young people are organizing boycotts of Japanese products. Web petitions against the Japanese government are attracting millions of supporters. The Japanese are routinely denounced as 'devils' and 'little Japs' in chat rooms on the Chinese Internet, and one bar in southern China went so far as to post a 'Japanese not welcome' sign.
A few years ago optimists had hoped democracy would be nurtured by China’s growing personal freedoms and its new internet culture. But in reality it is the nationalists, not the democrats, who have scored the biggest victories from the relaxed atmosphere

Thousands of petitioners and protesters in Beijing had been rounded up by police during the Communist Party meeting to avoid any embarrassment to the political elite. Yet, even as arrests continued, the Chinese patriots were allowed to carry out their demonstration freely, under the noses of police officers who carefully supervised the event and even escorted one of the organisers inside the [Japanese] Embassy’s fence to deliver his petition.
York concludes that China's communist leaders "are seeking to harness Chinese nationalism as a unifying force, a sentiment that can be tapped by authorities to build loyalty, to quell opposition, and to fire the passions of young people who might otherwise drift into dissent".


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