What's the fhhell is wrong with the Chinese government? (note i said government, not China or the Chinese)
Yeah they are not the only government doing screwy things, actually who isn't. And just like when Spiderman was told "With great power comes great responsibility" I kept wanting to tell that to Bush & Co, now I really want to yell it at Hu & Co. At least when it's a democracy you can blame the population a little bit too, and there is hope for better. But what's the hope the Chinese totalitarian regime will loosen up its criminal grip on the country? Somehow we had almost forgotten how vicious they could be. After all, most people can now move around freely (except sometimes Tibet and Xinjiang, we'll get to that) and get rich if they work hard AND are lucky (fundamental Chinese concepts). They're now capitalists, more like "us". So democracy and free speech should follow suit right? Just be patient.. And hey, they got the Olympic Games and made a ton of nice promises back then (we'll get to that too), so things should normalize right? There are a few gigantic pollution problems, but hey they're not the only ones and they seem to be doing their best. They're not the among countries with the highest number of people executed on death sentence.. though that's probably because the numbers simply are not reported. All we care to know is that they are fighting corruption and are tough on crime. Good say the Texans, they're like "us". Plus they do it cow-boy style with a bullet in the head. It's not getting better. How could we forget?
Now political time bombs are catching up. First the issue of freedom of speech. Movies banned, actors banned,.. but that's only the tip of the iceberg. Their support to Sudan government in the Darfur massacres was alleviated by nice promises and the fact that many other countries have dirty hands in Africa too. But the real big deal is elsewhere this year : years ago the Chinese government played its usual game of being very polite, smiling and making promises to get the Olympics, but no imprisoned journalist or "cyber-criminal" has been freed. Check out this awesome new Olympic logo and read the story before dismissing it as exaggerated. The information barely comes out of locked up zones in Tibet, in a situation eerily similar to Burma. Now the sad thing is that you might think ooh mean Chinese government, if it were a democracy they would be more laid back about Tibet getting at least autonomy. Well, every single Chinese person I have talked to in the past few years thinks Tibet should be part of China. They are more mixed about Taiwan but not by far. The fact that Tibet has a different language may not be a strong argument for more autonomy, or in fact any autonomy (all that the DL request, btw) because there are many languages in China already, but one difference is that they also have a different script and a entire culture based on it. And, as I understand, other regions were conquered long enough ago and citizens are not so oppressed and separated culturally from the Han Chinese. Tibet on the other hand was (re)conquered militarily in a very recent past. Here is a nice simplified overview of the evolution of China's territory. The Chinese government may have done good things there, many roads have been built and a new train line opened, and some say, well see the Chinese government develops the regions, etc. I guess that's good too for all the Chinese immigrants. But, so what? Wouldn't a truly autonomous Tibetan government have done similar things without Chinese iron rule? Maybe less industrially but is that bad? So i don't know how life for Tibetans there, how bad or not-so-bad it is.. but what i can see now is tragic (lazy to put links on that, suffice to google the news). Again the sign that the Chinese have a rogue government are showing by how journalists are prevented from doing their work. So most people (and I) thought, well, there are huge problems but things are getting better. They're not. Remember Tienanmen? Well, the mothers do. It's happening again and again, in a different form, at a different scale.
On the other hand Taiwan rejoices to have a new leadership friendly but firm toward the Chinese government. Let's hope that, unlike the International Olympic Committee, firmness will prevail for now. At some point things may get better, as the educated Chinese diaspora may weigh in more power. Or it may need another revolution. That's how we do things in France too.