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Our Amazing World of Connectivity
originally posted March 04, 2011

I subscribe online to the Washington Post and the New York Times.  Both send me email notification when they have stories or opinion pieces, and often those opinion pieces have to do with China.  One of the more recent ones carried the headline:  Why China Is Nervous About the Arab Uprisings   It's an interesting article, but even more interesting were the comments under the article.  Along with the usual China bashing, there were some very interesting thoughts from Americans who actually seem to understand modern China and its position in the world, and how essential it is to the welfare of western countries and western economies..  What REALLY got me excited was the realization that many of the comments were coming directly from China.

Policemen breaking up crowds in Shanghai on Feb. 27 after anonymous calls for protests circulated on the Internet. Picture stolen from the NT Times.
              - Peter Parks/Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images

These direct from China comments included the usual party line flag waving, like these:

Beijing, CN
March 1st, 2011 3:37 pm
Long live the Chinese People! Long live the Chinese Communist Party!

Chen Shui-bian
Taipei, Republic of China
March 1st, 2011 2:08 pm
Some Westerners, 'Taiwan' separatists, and oh, yes, of course, the Dalai Lama and his ilk would give their eye teeth to see China disintegrate like the Soviet Union. Dream on!

Lady Gagas Biggest Fan
March 1st, 2011 4:15 pm
Yeah. Instigate all you want. For a populist/democratic movement, you need PEOPLE. Nobody in China wants a revolution.
This whole thing is a perfect example of how the West projects its own distorted visions onto the Chinese people.

But the point is, this was in a major American newspaper, being read by people all over the world, and these particular comments came directly from China.  There were any number of thoughtful and intelligent comments from both sides of the big pond.  Here are a few of them:

CD, China
March 1st, 2011 12:47 pm
Instead of covering mass protests elsewhere in the world like in India and on its own soil, the U.S. media tend to fabricate protests that have slim chance to happen in China. The hypocrisy stinks. People in China cherish their hard-earned peace and prosperity and hate those (including the redneck Jon Meade Huntsman, Jr., and the Fa Lun Gong followers) intend to stir chaos in China

Aron Lee
March 1st, 2011 11:04 pm
In China, most people are busy doing daily work necessary for the betterment of life. Most of the time, they just concentrate their full energy on their lives and won't try to protest out of their dissatisfaction about the system unless they have no choice. However, they don't think that time has come. For the workers, they have to focus on their work, and students have to focus on their study. Everyone is just too busy to go to a square to protest under the threat of ruining one's career. And someone who is really disappointed with the present government always remain scattered and disunited so that they will never form a real impact to introduce a drastic reform towards a Western-styled political system.
As for the Jasmine Revolution in China, it's just an illusory concept in the present China. This concept is almost completely unknown to most of the people. Only those few capable of circumventing the Fire Wall have the chance to be informed. However, it's also unrealistic to launch a Middle-East styled protest on these ones.
Before the transformation to a more democratic society of China, a revolution or enlightenment of thought will be desperately needed. The ideas of democracy, liberty, equality are almost insulated from the people. This has prevented the people from forming a true force to adopt the social change
Without healthy organizations and full progress in the mind of the people, true democracy will never come to China.

A. Smith
March 2nd, 2011 1:12 am
One thing China has that we don't: Leaders that actually know what they're doing.
Their leadership are from backgrounds of economics, engineering, chemistry etc. Our political leaders are just bunch of liberal arts majors.

new england
March 2nd, 2011 3:15 am
"would give their eye teeth to see China disintegrate"
This is false. No one in their right mind wishes ill to China.
What this article points up is government control of communication.  Here, this effort is headed by Governors engaging in union busting. In China it is official policy.  Americans need to be aware. The crackdown in China is normal and logical in a totalitarian governmental design. Here, it is normal when the wealthy have the opportunity to buy Governors.

I've selected just a few of the many comments from beneath this article.  I hope my students will go and read them all.

Think about this.  For the first time in the history of the world, people in China can find out instantly what is being said about them in major American newspapers, and FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER they can talk back.  Is this not amazing and wonderful?

I've told my students how easy it is to subscribe to the New York Times or the Washington Post.  Just click on these links: New York Times or Washington Post and sign up. Then, just as I do, my students can get a notification of any opinion pieces. They can drop in on articles that mention China and let their own opinion be heard in America.  Instantly.  How cool.

Students, if you think China is misunderstood or misrepresented in America, make your voice heard there.  You have the technology to speak directly to the American people.  Use it.

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