Now that the 2008 Olympics are in full swing, I’m reminded of how a new kind of sport has lately become fashionable — the sport of China-bashing. Now, China certainly does deserve a good lot of bashing oftentimes: Olympic smog is a bad idea, and beating people up is simply totally wrong. But this?
Another echo of the past [autocratic ideology of China] is evident in how the Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, reacted to this year’s natural disasters. In the West, it is part of any national leader’s job to fly in to assure victims that their pain is shared. Less so in China. But when winter weather disrupted public transport in southern China, Wen popped up unannounced with a loudhailer at a railway station in Hunan province to tell stranded migrant workers unable to get home for the Lunar New Year holiday he was “deeply apologetic”. […]
But “Grandpa Wen’s” visits to the disaster scene fits neatly into the historic pattern of the concerned ruler speeding to care for his people and [Paramount Leader] Mr Hu [Jintao]’s chat-room excursion can be seen as the emperor going down among his people.
That is, when a Western leader visits victims of a natural disaster, it’s a sign of freedom and democracy and good stuff; and when Chinese leaders visit victims of a natural disaster, it’s evidence that they have the mindsets of dictatorial autocrats! Wow.
In other news: We should free Tibet, and Hu Jintao is fat. (Hey, it rhymes…)