Like Tree260Likes

detention of artist Ai Weiwei

Reply
Page 4 of 21 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 12 ... LastLast
  1. #31

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Back in California (finally!).
    Posts
    2,079

    Football, while you are absolutely right that no country is 'lily white', your blase equating of those famous police states, Canada and the US, with a government that regularly locks up and kills even the mildest critics is insulting to the millions of brave dissidents out there and an insult to your own intelligence.

    I criticise my government all the time; nobody keeps files on me, and nobody follows me around and harasses my family. You write about 'McCarthyism' like it is some horrible stain on America's history but fail to point out that being a Communist was never against the law in the US and nobody has been locked up for it; plenty of mistakes were made (over 50 years ago!) but it is hardly a reasonable retort to a criticism of a totalitarian government to utter the dreaded "McCarthy" name. Please also remember that McCarthy himself was actually brought down by a Republican president and the US Congress, and that his supposed 'reign of terror' actually lasted for only a few months.

    You also make the same mistake as some of the 'team China' people - I don't think that even the PRC government is all bad. They are making progress in many areas, and they certainly seem sincere about wanting what is best for their country. But so does any dictatorship. The question is how long a dictatorship can hold power (and any sort of moral legitimacy) while violently crushing any dissenting views. As we have seen even in the Middle East, the world has evolved to a point hoding power by force is simply not acceptable any longer.

    Gatts likes this.

  2. #32

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    4,028

    FT... the one thing that is different in the PRC is that the people there have hope and many are making economic progress. The risk is that they won't get to the economic prosperity for the masses fast enough ergo, they have tight enforcement of their laws regarding dissent.

    I was wrong to pick the McCarthy hearings as no one from that did go to jail - just ruined lots of lives and careers. The Americans have their own long list of dodgy skeletons and committees including the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

    While not absolving China of bad moves against this guy, a lot of bad things go even today in western democracies of which the USA is certainly one of the best. And I am not in any way anti-American. Canada while lesser known has a long, long list of things that should not have been done by gov'ts.

    I think we in the West while not having to agree this is right need a bit more understanding of where they are coming from in the PRC as well as recognizing that we from the west live in glass houses.


    House Un-American Activities Committee - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA) or House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC),[1] (1938–1975) was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. .... When the House abolished the committee in 1975,[2] its functions were transferred to the House Judiciary Committee.

    "... the committee focused its investigations on real and suspected communists in positions of actual or supposed influence in the United States society."

    According to The Harvard Crimson:[24]

    In the fifties, the most effective sanction was terror. Almost any publicity from HUAC meant the 'blacklist.' Without a chance to clear his name, a witness would suddenly find himself without friends and without a job.

    Precursors to HUAC:

    Overman Committee (1918)


    The Overman Committee ...investigated German as well as Bolshevik elements in the United States. ...The Committee was originally concerned with investigating pro-German sentiments in the American liquor industry. After World War I ended in November 1918 and the German threat lessened, the Committee began investigating communist Bolshevism.

    Fish Committee (1930)

    Congressman Hamilton Fish III, who was a fervent anti-communist, introduced on May 5, 1930, House Resolution 180, which proposed to establish a committee to investigate communist activities in the United States... . Among the committee's targets were the American Civil Liberties Union and communist presidential candidate William Z. Foster.[7]

    Special Committee on Un-American Activities (1934–1937)

    From 1934 to 1937, the Special Committee on Un-American Activities Authorized to Investigate Nazi Propaganda and Certain Other Propaganda Activities.... Its mandate was to get "information on how foreign subversive propaganda entered the U.S. and the organizations that were spreading it."

    Special investigation committee (1938–1944)

    In May 1938, the House Committee on Un-American Activities was established as a special investigating committee...to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and those organizations suspected of having Communist ties.


    Standing committee (1945–1975)


    The House Committee on Un-American Activities became a standing (permanent) committee in 1945..... the committee of nine representatives investigated suspected threats of subversion or propaganda that attacked "the form of government guaranteed by our Constitution."

    Under this mandate, the committee focused its investigations on real and suspected communists in positions of actual or supposed influence in the United States society.

    Last edited by Football16; 07-04-2011 at 02:54 PM.

  3. #33

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gold Coast Marina
    Posts
    17,934

    Football - your posts are thoughtful and informative and certainly put the events in China into context. Nice.

    Football16 and Skyhook like this.

  4. #34

    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    3,553

    What does comparing other countries history have to do with what is happening to Ai Wei Wei and other activists in China? Sure there are injustices committed by almost any country in the world, this thread is not about them. If you want to compare so hardly just compare how any of these countries are CURRENTLY handling the human right of free speech.

    squid likes this.

  5. #35

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    4,028
    Quote Originally Posted by MovingIn07:
    Football - your posts are thoughtful and informative and certainly put the events in China into context. Nice.
    I am very torn on this issue. While I don't think China needs to fear their people as the despots in the Middle East have to fear theirs, China as a developing modern nation has just some 60 years and the scope and size of their population alone makes the problems in western nations seem quite minor.

    During the Olympic torch backlash I was taken aback by the anger of the Chinese people - I am sure the government was seeing that same response as they quickly came in and calmed it down. I found it hard to have a rational discussion with anyone from the Mainland over that even those who did not like their own gov't. I even mentioned how masked demonstrators took over the 2010 Winter Olympic clock unveiling in Vancouver and how Canadians just looked at them for what they were - total idiots. Still the mantra this was an attack against the Chinese people.

    At the same time I am very aware that those that break the laws like this Chinese artist push the envelope that ultimately leads to improvements for everyone.

    I just think in the context of all things China there needs to be new ways for the West to build bridges and dialogue with the Chinese rather than the attacks done primarily for the media at home.

  6. #36

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Back in California (finally!).
    Posts
    2,079
    Quote Originally Posted by Football16:
    FT... the one thing that is different in the PRC is that the people there have hope and many are making economic progress. The risk is that they won't get to the economic prosperity for the masses fast enough ergo, they have tight enforcement of their laws regarding dissent.
    Football, you continue to try to alter the discussion by equating some unhappy events 60 or 80 years ago to events today of a completely different nature. We can discuss the 1950s or before on some "McCarthy" or "MadMen" thread if you like. Despite what Moving has stated - your comments don't put the current issues into 'context' at all. They attempt to remove all context. You are certainly intelligent enough to understand the difference between a democracy attempting to investigate a political party that advocated violent overthrow of an elected government with a police state that throws people in jail for 20 years (or shoots them) for uttering the most indirect of criticisms. You know better than that!

    I have nothing but contempt for members of the Harvard Crimson who would dare use the word 'terror' to describe the so-called witch hunts of the '50s. You want real terror - try mass executions, starvation, and crushing of dissent. It is, I suppose, one of the benefits of being a rich Westerner that we can compare a screen writer who had to write under a synonym while remaining quite wealthy (e.g., Carl Foreman, screenwriter of the "Bridge on the River Kwai") to a dissident whose name no one knows who is executed for complaining about a corrupt official. The ability of some privileged people to see equate the two is nauseating.

    China is becoming prosperous - but the question being asked today is, 'for who?' The PRC government has always had a policy of favoring the city dwelling intelligentsia over the rural dwellers who have basically no rights at all. I have many Chinese friends, as I am sure you do, and they are reasonably happy with the direction their country is heading. But that is because my friends, and yours, are members of an elite group that has benefitted greatly from the liberalization of the last 20 years. I am not saying the liberalization was wrong (far from it - I don't call myself 'Freetrader' for nothing) but the fact remains that the large mass of Chinese citizens remains without a voice, and our friends in China are not 'typical' Chinese. No government that crushes criticism has any 'moral high ground' to stand on, and by crushing all dissent, the PRC government is provinig to the world how pathetically weak they truly are.

  7. #37

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    7,317
    Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that police were investigating Mr Ai for unspecified economic crimes.

    "It has nothing to do with human rights or freedom of expression," he said. "The public security authorities are conducting an investigation according to law.

    "China is a country under the rule of law and relevant authorities will work according to law," he said.
    RTHK News

    April 1 was last week.
    bookblogger likes this.

  8. #38

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    7,317
    Last edited by drumbrake; 07-04-2011 at 06:32 PM.
    Freetrader, virago and squid like this.

  9. #39

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    6,076
    Quote Originally Posted by Football16:
    #2 is where you get dissidents being locked up as the PRC laws are very, very strict versus looser laws in places like Canada and the USA where people can say quite a lot.
    I have to take issue with this. These are not the laws of a normal civil society. They are edicts. The police in any city or town in China apply edicts as they see fit, and law rarely comes into it.

  10. #40

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Back in California (finally!).
    Posts
    2,079

    Bookblogger is correct - the atty who recently got sent to jail for 8 years did absolutely nothing wrong under Chinese Law. That doesn't matter in a country where a group of cronies control all aspects of government. And that guy is famous. If you aren't famous you simply dissapear.

    People sometimes foolishly ask why a government needs democracy and a viable opposition. This is why. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    squid likes this.

Reply
Page 4 of 21 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 12 ... LastLast