Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Freedom of the press in China---unstopable?


I watched with interest a BBC item about journalists protesting in the streets in Southern China. They seemed to be doing this without regard for the ‘safety.’ They are brave because the authorities are becoming increasingly nervous at the number of such actions, some much more violent than this one.

It began when journalists wrote an article critical of the ruling Communist Party. That item was then ‘watered down’ by officials. The result: many journalists and supporters taking the decision to get out there on the streets and protest. What was noticeable in the news item was that numerous bystanders were recording the actions of the police and no doubt that will be widely circulated; not just in China, but around the world.

The ‘old men’ who make the decisions in China are way out of touch with their people. Yes, they announce that there will be less corruption and they talk about ‘green issues,’ but the bottom line is that the Communist Party does not take kindly to criticism. The leaders of China cannot keep the ‘genie in the bottle.’ As is the case of all societies, once the masses reach a standard of living that takes care of the ‘basics’ in life, they turn towards other ideal, like the freedom to write and read what they like. That becomes an unstoppable movement; causing the Government to either go along with the wishes of the people or becoming more repressive.

China is at a crossroad. Does it embrace the growing desire of its people for real change or does it look backwards to an oppressive past? Somehow, I think it is too late---China has only one choice. It must join those nations that espouse the basic right of their people to have a real choice in how they want their country to run. That of course brings the chaos that ‘democracies’ enjoy as the people play out the act of having multiple choices. It is going to be a torrid time in this massive and powerful nation. Its irrepressible people will have the final say.