Flick Harrison on Mon, 13 May 2013 22:45:02 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Digital Politics <--> Digital Economics

Mark!  I am digging this discussion.  Although you imply that I don't know enough to have an intelligent conversation, I know you just got that line from Eric Li at Party HQ.


I don't think one needs a PhD in eastern philosophy to discuss Tiananmen Square, or the banning of Facebook.  In fact, that's obscurantism bordering on apologism.  At the very least it's a kind of academic technocracy.

I suppose I should ask, what is the purpose of the elections in China, if not for Democracy?  Are they kind of like the quack "alternative medicine" gurus who denounce the medical system while still wearing a lab coat, knowing that the soothing effect of these symbols of legitimacy make the patient more gullible?
When Sparta and Athens had their rhetorical battles it was always Democracy versus Authoritarianism.  I repeat:  that much is not new to the CIA or the Soviet Union.  Even the American Revolution put "Representation" against the "Tyranny" of George III.

Instead of me going to school for four years, maybe you could explain how either the banning of Facebook or the crushing of dissent at Tiananmen embodies the concept of Shi?  I'm not being sarcastic, I'd seriously like to hear it.

I mean, the supreme legitimacy of the "Communist Party" is supposed to originate in some primordial sino-specific soup?  Doesn't the C-word come from, I don't know, Europe maybe?  Even though they have "communism with Chinese characteristics," as it was officially called...

Might as well claim that China has a different form of feminism which, to our Eurocentric eyes, might appear to be patriarchal oppression of women, but you just need to understand them, man.

"Zheng Ming" might be more useful here than "Shi."  That is, things must be called by their proper names.

In my opinion, banning Facebook is partly just economic protectionism.  But to hear the people I met, it's important to prevent TOO much free speech!  Did any of the people you met in the street criticize the Communist Party?

Yes, people can travel and they do return.  Certainly there is a part of the middle class who aren't terrified of the Chinese government, and perhaps feel very secure as members in good standing of the CPC, just as there is a giant segment of the Western middle class which is painfully clueless about the violence of Capitalism. But it's also possible that individual travellers can be held accountable by loved ones remaining behind.

But in any case, massively banning speech is not acceptable, "Shi" or no "shi."  China is not Cuba, beset on all sides by well-funded 'outside agitators' and a looming US military industrial complex with slavering jaws.  Quite the opposite.

Also, my definition of a dictatorship includes any place that makes you go through customs on the way out as well as the way in.  I've gone through a lot of borders. ;-)

- Flick

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