China's 2004 Report on US Human Rights Record
March 28, 2005 9:20 PM   Subscribe

A look at the US through China's eyes. The US has been critical of China's human rights practices for decades. In retaliation, China examines the US, and finds it comes up short in many ways. Instead of indulging itself in publishing the "human rights country report" to censure other countries unreasonably, the United States should reflect on its erroneous behavior on human rights and take its own human rights problems seriously. Summarized text in NYT
posted by crunchland (53 comments total)

 
Nelson Muntz in China:

Life, Liberty and Security of Person

American society is characterized with rampant violent crimes, severe infringement of people's rights by law enforcement departments and lack of guarantee for people's rights to life, liberty and security of person.

The United States has the biggest number of gun owners, and gun violence has affected lots of innocent lives. About 31,000 Americans are killed and 75,000 wounded by firearms each year, which means more than 80 people are shot dead each day.

The United States characterizes itself as "a paradise for free people," but the ratio of its citizens deprived of freedom has remained among the highest.

According to statistics from the Department of Justice, the number of inmates in the United States jumped from 320,000 in 1980 to two million in 2000, a hike by six times. The number of convicted offenders may total more than six million if parolees and probationers are also counted.


I'm y2karl and I approved this post.
posted by y2karl at 9:25 PM on March 28, 2005


We do have some troubles of our own.
Meet Jon Burge.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 9:33 PM on March 28, 2005


This was previously discussed. China has been doing these things for 6 years. I will quote Richard Stallman again, as I did the first time this came up:

"The report's conclusion is that the US, being guilty of human rights abuses, should stop criticizing other countries. That conclusion seems to rest on the view that criticism of human rights abuses is nothing but a way of harrassing another country--so that China is really telling the US, "Hey, lay off, or I can do the same to you." That cynical view assumes that human rights have no real importance and no one ought to stand up for them. That cynical view is present implicitly any time someone says, "My country is ok because some countries are worse," or, "You can't talk; your country is guilty too."

Again, human rights abuses anywhere are bad, but this is a really cynical effort by China to whitewash over very bad things.
posted by blahblahblah at 9:41 PM on March 28, 2005


While this seems to be a pissing match, can it be bad that countries are arguing about human rights? At some point, maybe the argument will escalate and China will move to stop capital punishment within its own borders... the US will then seek to trump them by calling a halt to torture... then China will...
posted by mania at 10:17 PM on March 28, 2005


Amen, blah(x3). The people in the US who most genuinely speak out about China's human rights abuses welcome scrutiny of any abuses wherever they occur.

I look forward to the day when China's #1 newspaper can print articles detailing the USA's critiques of China's human rights record.
posted by straight at 10:18 PM on March 28, 2005


I might agree with Mr Stallman regarding the conclusion.

Rather than ignoring the meat of the report on the basis of one opportunistic sentence at the end, perhaps the more moral course would be to address the issues at hand... even if it is the nasty Chinese that raised them. To take any other course would seem to me to be much like "My country is ok because some countries are worse," or, "You can't talk; your country is guilty too."
posted by pompomtom at 10:31 PM on March 28, 2005


That's really a key issue here: we're lucky to be able to open the front pages of one our largest papers (NYT) to read a laundry list of our own faults — China, not so much.
posted by dhoyt at 10:33 PM on March 28, 2005


ah, the good old american freedom of speech smokescreen. as an outsider what i see in the american press is alot of blahblah but very little action comes of it. would it make you happier if china's press printed those articles of which u speak and their government still ignored them? you know, the american way?
posted by canned polar bear at 10:40 PM on March 28, 2005


Instead of indulging itself in publishing the "human rights country report" to censure other countries unreasonably, the United States should reflect on its erroneous behavior on human rights and take its own human rights problems seriously.

Yea... so there!
posted by Witty at 10:40 PM on March 28, 2005


That's really a key issue here: we're lucky to be able to open the front pages of one our largest papers (NYT) to read a laundry list of our own faults — China, not so much

So "not as bad as China" is the human rights goal of the US?
posted by pompomtom at 10:42 PM on March 28, 2005


While I certainly appreciate everything that China's done wrong, I think it's important to remember that the purpose of this fpp seems NOT to focus on China's comments so much as to focus on where ANY comments point to a serious error in American policy, recently.

Sure, we can divert the issue in the EXACT same way we're accusing China of doing by pointing the finger back at them again... or we can actually BE what we're falsely claiming to be, and do something about our own problems.

See, whether China said it or not doesn't make it any less true. And China being a hypocrite doesn't make us any less so.

For instance, while it may be true that Chinese citizens are worse off for having far less ability to openly criticize their government than we do, the reason we're better off is because sometimes we even use that ability. But using China as a reason NOT to criticize ourselves and NOT to hold ourselves to a higher standard undermines the whole point of our system of government.

1776:

Thomas Jefferson: writing When in the... course of human... events...

George Washington: Never mind, old boy. Turns out the rest of the world is oppressed by a despot, too. So don't worry about it! When everybody else starts going democratic, then we'll deal with it.

1963:

Martin Luther King: writing I have a... dream that one day... this nation will rise up... stops writing What? South Africa? What's that? You mean, they still oppress blacks there? Oh, well crumples up the writing paper if they're still doing it, then what the hell am I worried about? We're lucky we can even read about our oppression in a newspaper!

and on and on...
posted by shmegegge at 10:53 PM on March 28, 2005


So "not as bad as China" is the human rights goal of the US?

more like: things aren't so great, but at least we can bitch about them.
posted by canned polar bear at 10:59 PM on March 28, 2005


as an outsider what i see in the american press is alot of blahblah

I am pleased to be featured so prominently (although the correct spelling is blahblahblah).

On the serious side, it is possible to worry about equivalency on two levels. Individual equivalency is saying that every human rights abuse is bad, whether it happens in China or the US -- I don't think anyone disagrees. Abuses should be fought wherever they exist. On the other hand, to say the two countries are systemicly equivalent is to be blind.

China has neither an independent justice system nor basic guarantees of human freedom, let alone a democratic government. China's abuses are secret, while the US, for the most part, has mechanisms for exposing its abuses, whether governmental or the free press. The result is that China's list looks particularly like a parody when it quotes US agencies that are designed to combat human rights problems. For example, the report says: "The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the United States received 29,000 complaints in 2003 of racial bias in the workplace." This is an indication that a mechanism exists to correct bias, rather than an argument that the US is abusing human rights. Only a totalitarian country would believe that admitting problems is a bad thing.

The goal is not to be "better than China" but it is to set up mechanisms for social justice or democratic social change, rather than pretend that having social problems is somehow a blanket condemnation of the US.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:01 PM on March 28, 2005


In other news China increases censorship of internet forums.

Of course they are helped out by US companies like microsoft and Sun who sell them the technology necessary for the censorship.
posted by afu at 11:04 PM on March 28, 2005 [1 favorite]


For example, the report says: "The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the United States received 29,000 complaints in 2003 of racial bias in the workplace." This is an indication that a mechanism exists to correct bias, rather than an argument that the US is abusing human rights.

It could easily be both.

Having said that, points to you for being the first person to imply that the content of the report may approach the importance of its provenance.
posted by pompomtom at 11:10 PM on March 28, 2005


If you want the content of the report, or something essentially similar, why not just read what Amnesty International or Freedom House or similar organizations report instead of the propaganda of a dictatorship?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:23 PM on March 28, 2005


why not just read what Amnesty International or Freedom House or similar organizations report instead of the propaganda of a dictatorship?

Do you really need to ask that question?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:37 PM on March 28, 2005


For example, the report says: "The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the United States received 29,000 complaints in 2003 of racial bias in the workplace." This is an indication that a mechanism exists to correct bias, rather than an argument that the US is abusing human rights.

It could easily be both.


It could, but the thing is that are these 29.000 complaints of racial bias government sponsored? I think that in the long run, as crappy as it is, Washington is able to be held much more accountable than Beijing.
posted by taschenrechner at 11:44 PM on March 28, 2005


It could, but the thing is that are these 29.000 complaints of racial bias government sponsored? I think that in the long run, as crappy as it is, Washington is able to be held much more accountable than Beijing.

I don't know that that is quite "the thing", though I'd agree on the accountability point in most areas. Of course, this is still employing the "well at least I'm not in China" method of dismissing the legitimate concerns raised in the report.

If you want the content of the report, or something essentially similar, why not just read what Amnesty International or Freedom House or similar organizations report instead of the propaganda of a dictatorship?


Why not read both? How would one know if they're "essentially similar" without doing so?
posted by pompomtom at 12:10 AM on March 29, 2005


pompomtom

Having said that, points to you for being the first person to imply that the content of the report may approach the importance of its provenance.

I was thinking the same thing. Then I thought, "points to pompomtom for appropriate use of the word 'provenance.' "

taschenrechner

It could, but the thing is that are these 29.000 complaints of racial bias government sponsored? I think that in the long run, as crappy as it is, Washington is able to be held much more accountable than Beijing.


Really? I thought the thing was that Washington is working daily to make itself less accountable than it should be. Shouldn't we be working to keep Washington accountable, despite its best efforts?
posted by shmegegge at 12:10 AM on March 29, 2005


At one time, I think our human rights abuse report probably meant a great deal. But I just can't see most places taking it too seriously anymore. I view that human rights report as an artifact of another time in the US... a leftover remnant of when we really were trying to be both ethical and moral in the world.

Now, I'll cheerfully admit that we blew it often and prodigiously, but at least we were really trying.

But with this administration, and the public's broad acceptance of its policies and principles, we have ceased to even have the facade of morality any longer. We're not about spreading human rights, justice, and (as a side effect) democracy. Now we're about fucking over anyone that threatens to upset the gravy train. We don't give a rat's ass about human rights abuses in Russia or China, not really. We don't care in the slightest about the welfare of other countries. We're in this for us, and we'll do whatever it takes to protect our interests, including mass murder, torture, and 'disappearing' people we don't like.

Rest of world: the US, over about the last 15 years, has gone from a mostly benign tumor to a malignant cancer. All through the Clinton administration we consumed too much and took on far too much debt.... we took your goods and gave you little green pieces of paper in exchange. We can manufacture all the paper we want for free, and you'll send us valuable goods and services for it. What a deal!

But we've overdone it, and are now totally dependent on the flow of your wealth, in exchange for future promises to pay nothing. As a benign tumor, we accepted whatever you wanted to freely trade with us. We fooled you, but you, perhaps, wanted to be fooled. As the malignancy we are becoming, however, we will simply take what we want instead.

The best way I can think to register disapproval with the way America is being run is to stop accepting American dollars. Use Euros whenever possible. Don't store wealth in dollars either. Don't take out loans in dollars.

The US will feel this kind of pressure most acutely. If enough of you do it, the economy will get bad enough that it won't be able to finance wars abroad anymore.

Just, dear god, don't do anything else... almost anything can be called 'terrorism' if you are willing to stretch the definition. And I suspect this administration will be. Don't go to demonstrations or marches or any of that. Just quietly stop using dollars, and tell your friends why you are doing so. Don't threaten, don't bluster, don't call attention to yourselves. Just use Euros instead. (it's a better currency anyway, so you're protecting your own wealth somewhat by doing so.)

If enough of you do this, the so-called American Empire will be forced to rein in its imperialism... and save instead of spending for a decade or two. The only reason we can spend all that wealth in Iraq is because you are sending it to us.

And sorry for the (possible) derailment. I didn't intend to stray this far afield, but that's where my train of thought took me.
posted by Malor at 12:10 AM on March 29, 2005


blahblahblah writes "China has neither an independent justice system nor basic guarantees of human freedom, let alone a democratic government. China's abuses are secret, while the US, for the most part, has mechanisms for exposing its abuses, whether governmental or the free press."

Let me add a few to your list: China is not where I live. China is not my country of citizenship. China is not where I can do the most to effect change. China's human rights abuses are not in my name -- but as a US citizen, America's abuses are.

China's not at issue here, America's human rights abuses are. Unless your issue is to derail any consideration of the US human rights record by distracting us with China's record.

For a guy who has twice quoted Richard Stallman, you don't seem to have read him closely, because he's arguing against precisely what you're doing. Stallman, as you quite him, said: "That cynical view [that human rights have no real importance and no one ought to stand up for them] is present implicitly any time someone says, 'My country is ok because some countries are worse,' or, 'You can't talk; your country is guilty too.'"

But that's precisely what you're doing: you've twice, in this thread and a previous one, used Stallman to say that since China is worse, the US must be ok. You're using Stallman to distract us from a frank discussion of US human rights abuses, by telling us -- and it's no surprise -- that China is also abusive.

I really have to ask, did you not realize you were doing exactly what the quote warns against, or did you just not care because the quote gave cover to your agenda?

And incidentally, why Stallman? Because you truly think the best thoughts on foreign policy and human rights come from a software writer, or because you figure Stallman's fame in geek circles will distract your readers from the contradictions in your argument? Would your argument be as compelling if Richard Smith, not Richard Stallman, had said it?
posted by orthogonality at 12:16 AM on March 29, 2005


Steve_at_Linnwood quotes "ROU_Xenophobe " 'why not just read what Amnesty International or Freedom House or similar organizations report instead of the propaganda of a dictatorship?'

"Do you really need to ask that question?"


Steve, famous for adding to threads snark but never a substantive argument, apparently can't even generate his own snark these days, and instead piggy-backs off a non-snarky comment by ROU_Xenophobe.

It kinda of reminds me of viruses, which are able to be so small because they commandeer the protein-making facilities of the cells the infect. Like a virus in a test-tube full of proteins, Steve is able to cut down his "DNA" even further, and just grab pre-made arguments out of the genetic soup around him, making not arguments, but tiny, tinny, fading meta-echos of other people's arguments.
posted by orthogonality at 12:31 AM on March 29, 2005


whew. them's fightin' words.
posted by shmegegge at 12:44 AM on March 29, 2005


a leftover remnant of when we really were trying to be both ethical and moral in the world.

The platypus has an appendix?
posted by trondant at 12:47 AM on March 29, 2005


You know, China does pretty well for having a billion plus citizens. And I bet they do, within the party, have some discussion on various policies. They are making clear progress.

America? I don't know. Now that all the elections are pretty much fixed, the Democratic party is sort of a strange appendage. The administration seems to be run by people who have absolutely no interest in what anyone else thinks. Progress? I don't know.

Malor wrote Now we're about fucking over anyone that threatens to upset the gravy train.

You know, now that I think about it, given the fact that we have probably hit the oil peak, this is probably the best (only?) way to ensure American supremacy/sustenance. There's really no room to fuck around with petroleum anymore. China is realizing that quite quickly, too. Oil gives us food (fertilizer) and makes our machines go. Perhaps the PNAC people have it right. (I can't believe I just said that.)

Even given that, though, US freedom & human rights need serious work, but I think it's going to be largely ignored for... a while. Good PR move by China.
posted by blacklite at 1:15 AM on March 29, 2005


I hate to be a troll, but it's 5AM, and, as usual, some of you hardcore mefi'rs really provide me no end of amusement. I swear if I didn't actually live in the USA I would think it was some horrible shithole regressing into pseudo-despotism, just because the guy you didn't vote for won four more years in office.


Although, I can't blame you really, I wasn't too happy when the other party was in power and the Republican party was some sort of strange appendage, and we were regressing into some Clintatorship, and our unborn-babies were being murdered for sport, and blah blah blah.
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 1:56 AM on March 29, 2005


Yeah, but when the republicans were bitching about abortions, it was BS. Abortions are up under Bush.

As is despotism.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:53 AM on March 29, 2005


Isn't China still communist? Isn't that what communists do, manipulate the people by telling them how horrible free countries are?

and yes, yes, I understand our media is used for the same purposes.
posted by gminks at 3:13 AM on March 29, 2005


gminks, "communism" is not the opposite of "freedom"; it's an economic (and political) theory that hasn't been practiced in China for more than 20 years. Like the US, the Chinese government is a representative democracy. In rural areas, local representatives are directly elected, and they in turn elect higher-level representatives, all the way up to Beijing. The same is true in larger cities, except only Party members get a vote.

That's not really the point of this post, though. Here's a summary:
posted by twisted mister at 3:47 AM on March 29, 2005


...some horrible shithole regressing into pseudo-despotism... But, why "pseudo"?
posted by acrobat at 3:50 AM on March 29, 2005


"...that criticism of human rights abuses is nothing but a way of harassing another country..."

Most human right abuse reports are indeed a way of harassing another country! We don't have any intention (God forbid) of actually doing anything about these reports. Some of our best friends have the worst human rights records. To name a few well known examples: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan (who we recently rewarded for human rights violations, nuclear proliferation etc by F-16s), Israel etc.
posted by lowgfr at 4:15 AM on March 29, 2005


"The United States is the only country in the world that rules out ex-inmates' right to vote, which disenfranchises 5 million ex-inmates and 13 percent male black people"

I was chatting to a couple of college kids when in Vegas last week and they said that, as well as being barred from voting, former felons have their passports confiscated for 7 years. Any American MeFiers care to confirm?!?
posted by runkelfinker at 4:30 AM on March 29, 2005


"The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success"

Sun Tzu
posted by IndigoJones at 4:54 AM on March 29, 2005


gminks : " Isn't China still communist?"

Nope. Hasn't been communist in quite a while, actually (though they call themselves communist, much in the way that America is a republic but usually calls itself a democracy).

gminks : "Isn't that what communists do, manipulate the people by telling them how horrible free countries are?"

Nope. That isn't generally what communists do, it's what countries that call themselves communist do.
posted by Bugbread at 5:05 AM on March 29, 2005


"former felons have their passports confiscated for 7 years"

This doesn't appear to be true. From the US State Dept's Passport Information page:

Passport revocation may be effected when [...] the person would not be entitled to a new passport under 22 CFR 51.70 (a) or (b). The physical revocation of a passport is often difficult, and an apparently valid passport can be used for travel until officially taken by an arresting officer or by a court.

Convicted felons are required to report their status when applying for a new passport, but issuance is at the discretion of the Passport Agency.

See also 22 CFR 51.70
posted by twisted mister at 5:10 AM on March 29, 2005


runkelfinker

I have no idea about that, but it sounds familiar. But be very careful what you hear about the prisons/prison-industrial complex from college kids in America. Few people in this country are as likely to know precisely what happens in our prisons, true, but few people in this country are as likely to readily believe every horrible thing they hear about them without much fact checking.

It might be true, though.

twisted mister

Mefites argue that China probably is worse than the US, is a bigger hypocrite, and is therefore in no position to judge.

Your forgot some things:

* Other MeFites argue that that doesn't change the fact that America needs to take more accountability on itself for its own actions, and stop acting like the moral authority of the planet.
*This is because it doesn't matter WHO charges us with hypocrisy because it's true.

There's not a whole lot we can do about China, but we need to start doing stuff about ourselves.
posted by shmegegge at 5:14 AM on March 29, 2005


That cynical view assumes that human rights have no real importance and no one ought to stand up for them.

*cough*PATRIOT ACT*cough*
posted by clevershark at 5:38 AM on March 29, 2005


That's really a key issue here: we're lucky to be able to open the front pages of one our largest papers (NYT) to read a laundry list of our own faults — China, not so much.

You know, that's pretty much the same argument that China makes in its "report"... "don't criticize me because I can criticize you too."

Maybe both sides should STFU, really... America's addiction to cheap Wal-Mart crap is certainly a factor in enabling China to keep up the repression, and to its credit China doesn't spend so much time whoring out "freedom" and "liberty" as increasingly meaningless PR labels.
posted by clevershark at 5:45 AM on March 29, 2005


I hate to be a troll...

Doesn't that sound about as genuine as "I'm not a racist, but..." spoken before a racist joke?
posted by clevershark at 5:51 AM on March 29, 2005


Orthogonality, you are willfully and caustically misunderstanding me again,

But that's precisely what you're doing: used Stallman to say that since China is worse, the US must be ok. You're using Stallman to distract us from a frank discussion of US human rights abuses, by telling us -- and it's no surprise -- that China is also abusive.

Not what I have argued at all. Where did I excuse the United States for its injustice? I believe I ended my quote with a (quite rousing) call for social justice. I did, however, want to make the point that we do not have to be perfect to talk about the human rights in other countries, and that we should be looking at the system level in trying to develop laws and policies that encourage respect for human rights. I agree with both sides of the quote -- where it comes from does not excuse the abuses it mentions, but that it is also a cynical effort by China that (for some MeFites) seems to be accomplishing its purpose of simultaneously addressing even greater systemic abuses abroad by arguing that our house is not in order.

And incidentally, why Stallman? Because you truly think the best thoughts on foreign policy and human rights come from a software writer, or because you figure Stallman's fame in geek circles will distract your readers from the contradictions in your argument?

Oy. This is silly. I was reading background on this online and found the Stallman quote and liked it. I could have quoted Michael Walzer or Stanley Hoffman or any one of a number of international human rights theorists, all of whom would say the same thing. I thought the Stallman quote was neat and succinct and wouldn't get me in trouble for being pretentious. Instead I get accused of being manipulative. But thank you for assuming the worst.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:06 AM on March 29, 2005


Last sentence of my second paragraphy should have read:
I agree with both sides of the quote -- where it comes from does not excuse the abuses it mentions, but that it is also a cynical effort by China that (for some MeFites) seems to be accomplishing its purpose of distracting us from simultaneously addressing even greater systemic abuses abroad by arguing that our house is not in order.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:08 AM on March 29, 2005


And at the same time you are distracting everyone in this thread from the content of the report, i e the US Human Rights violations.
Ironic, isn't it?
posted by mr.marx at 8:34 AM on March 29, 2005


Mr Marx, you have caught on to my evil plan to distract the world from US human rights violations. Or maybe better sources for this information would be here and here, rather than a transparent attempt by a dictatorship to cover over its own abuses, often with odd claims. Every social ill is not a human rights violation, despite China's claim. Giving China's disingenous report support, rather than turning to Amnesty International, Freedom House, or other available sources for human rights information is ironic for anyone who cares about rights at all.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:53 AM on March 29, 2005


blahblahblah writes "Where did I excuse the United States for its injustice? I believe I ended my quote with a (quite rousing) call for social justice."

Oh, maybe I failed to give you the benefit of the doubt. So, blahblahblah, since you're not trying to distract us from US human rights violations -- since that's not your purpose at all--, tell us -- just a bulleted list, if you will -- what you consider to be the major US human rights violations in the last four years.

It shouldn't take you too long, and once I see it, I'll apologize for mischaracterizing you.
posted by orthogonality at 10:24 AM on March 29, 2005


I think that the important thing to remember about the China report about human rights abuses in the US is this:

All of the information they have and are using to criticize the US come from US sources, from newspapers, journalists, and activists.

This already puts the US many steps ahead of the human rights abuses in China: no one is allowed to talk about them there. You do not ever see Renmin ribao talk about the systematic neglect of Chinese citizens with AIDS and hepatitis or abuse of poor farmers by local bureaucrats; instead, the rest of the world finds out through the work of international journalists and NGOs.

Yes, the United States has problems but we know about them and we are talking about them.
posted by moxyberry at 11:34 AM on March 29, 2005


moxyberry : " This already puts the US many steps ahead of the human rights abuses in China"

This is not a race.
posted by Bugbread at 11:41 AM on March 29, 2005


I never would have thought that the US is the only country to bar convicted felons from voting. I searched around and couldn't find an example of another country with the same policy. As if we don't have enough people not voting, we disenfranchise even more: http://www.hrw.org/reports98/vote/
posted by mjresin at 11:48 AM on March 29, 2005


Elvis, the philosopher king, said "Clean Up Your Own Backyard."

Jesus said "Remove the plank from your own eye before criticizing the mote in your neighbor's eye."

Both China and the US have serious human rights issues. Both are wrong on many of these issues. It does bear pointing out that the US was critical of China long before China reciprocated.

NGOs do a much better job of these things.
posted by nofundy at 3:02 PM on March 29, 2005


moxyberry : "This already puts the US many steps ahead of the human rights abuses in China: no one is allowed to talk about them there.

That's a bit of an exaggeration. While I agree with you that the Chinese press is not as free as the US, perpetuating the myth of communist thought-police is ridiculous in an age when anyone can go to China (or read blogs about it) and see what it's really like.

I live in Shanghai, where the people are notoriously apolitical, and I still hear criticism of government policies nearly every day. In Beijing, any taxi driver would be happy to complain to you about the government (corruption, bribery, Cultural Revolution, etc) as you're stuck in traffic for hours on end. Log on to any Chinese BBS, and you'll see thousands of people criticizing virtually every aspect of the government.

None of this is illegal. However, organization and publishing are not allowed. The formation of a "club" of any kind technically requires registration with the local government, and distribution of printed materials requires a license. So, you can't get together with like-minded people, discuss the issues, and publish a pamphlet.

"You do not ever see Renmin ribao talk about the systematic neglect of Chinese citizens with AIDS and hepatitis or abuse of poor farmers by local bureaucrats"

The Chinese government rarely publically acknowledges it's mistakes. What you do see in the People's Daily are articles describing what the government is doing to solve the AIDS problem and eliminate corruption. For people who've learned to read between the lines (ie, anyone who relies on the Chinese media for information), this amounts to a tacit admittance of guilt.
posted by twisted mister at 5:16 PM on March 29, 2005


moxyberry

Yes, the United States has problems but we know about them and we are talking about them.

Whos is this we? The administration that has yet to punish lyndie (sp?) England? The MeFites who insist that we're not that bad because we're not as bad as China?

sorry, but since everyone keeps dismissing our own injustices as "not as bad as china," that "we are talking about them" bit sounds pretty empty.
posted by shmegegge at 5:33 PM on March 29, 2005


You know, A friend of mine was rased in a medium-sized city in china. One day me and another american friend were telling some offensive jokes and she mentions how Human fetus soup was a delicacy in taiwan. At first we just assumed she was joking, but she really seemed to belive this. Didn't even think it was that bad, just a thing that they did.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there.
posted by delmoi at 8:46 AM on March 31, 2005


The foetus story is a pretty famous urban legend.
posted by Bugbread at 7:35 PM on March 31, 2005


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