Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More bad news for the cadres

The revulsion to Olympic fakery continues to ripple around the world (Boycott 2008, National Post, National Review Online, and the Washington Times). The "protest zones" that were supposed to be a model of the regime's human face have become a mocking symbol of its iron fist (Washington Post). To top it off, when the regime finally gets a hand from one of its best friends (ex-Canadian PM Jean Chretien - CanWest) local media responds by finding the whistleblower who started an investigation into Communist espionage that said friend thought he had buried and turning him (the whistleblower) into a household name (Ottowa Citizen via Small Dead Animals).

Yet as bad as all of this was for the Communists, nothing compared to what Joshua Kurlantzick found in the rural hinterland (National Post via Boycott 2008, emphasis added):

Interior China’s GDP lags far behind eastern China’s, and as China opens to foreign imports small-plot Chinese farmers will find it even harder to make a living, since they’ll be competing with the massive Brazilian, American and Australian agribusinesses. Worse, the pollution caused by Chinese industry is destroying farmland and water sources — vast parts of the agricultural heartland will virtually run dry within 30 years. Meanwhile, rural people actually face higher tax levies, according to their income, than many richer city citizens, partly because local officials just want to make more money.

Not surprisingly, for many of these rural dwellers the Games might be an interesting distraction on TV, rather than a source of major pride. “It is something that only the people in cities around Beijing care about,” one young Chinese in a rural town told Rian Dundon, a photographer who studies youth culture in China’s interior. “People from Hunan [an interior province] and other far away places don’t really feel very excited about it, and I don’t feel a personal connection to it.”

Indeed, Dundon found that young people in the interior were angry that whatever positive impact the Games had would be limited to the cities. “The Olympics can only affect a very small part China. The rest will be left behind,” another young rural Chinese told him.

That statement is exactly what the Communists did not want from these Games. The entire purpose of this propaganda exercise (and from the cadres' point of view, that's all this is) was to set off a wave of pride that would engulf the rural interior. Yet Communist China's continuous brainwashing and coddling of urban Chinese has clearly angered rural Chinese in a way that no level of propaganda can cure.

I'm not sure if the folks from the hinterland have made the full separation of the Chinese Communist Party from China, but they certainly understand the difference between China as a whole and the urban pockets the CCP has fostered. That may be enough to make most rural Chinese completely immune from the propaganda effect of the Games.

In which case - for the Communists - these Olympics are already a failure. There will be no reservoir of memory from which to draw when the time comes to bail out the Korean colony again (One Free Korea and Washington Times), continue the persecution of dissidents (Between Heaven and Earth and Epoch Times), and deal with the upcoming corruption exposure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm in China, so I won't leave contact info, sorry.

Anyway, I've been reading your posts for a while and comparing to my personal experience here. On one hand, I think in Beijing, the feeling is still quite euphoric, with foreigners and with Chinese, everyone is pretty excited about the games.

But with my friends outside of Beijing, in Tianjin, Shenzhen, Changsha...everywhere I know people, there is little interest in the games. Does it mean people will be angry? It depends on how the government goes about parading it's gold through the country in the coming months, I reckon.

I've got some good friends at official party newspapers here, and it has been interesting to see how much influence the central propaganda bureau has had on their publications. When Liu Xiang dropped out of the race, half of their Olympic coverage was sent back for redesign with the instruction from beyond their chief editor to reduce focus on Liu Xiang. Similar moves have come on all sorts of topics. Weird, eh?