Friday, May 9, 2008

Multiple Shades

An interesting post at Inside-Out China among other things relate to dates in modern Chinese history in which youth movement were at the forefront of the events. May 4th 1911, June 4th 1989, or the spring some 19 years after, they are of different contents, but are they so fundamentally different? There are certainly similarities: they are all of buoyant youth, of multiple shades - maybe not Rashomon but prism of color. Unfortunately people are so used to simple messages, often neglecting the fine details, one way or the other.

I've come across a very interesting quote by someone who was there from a bbs. I'll put it up here in original entirety(including typos) without commenting. Without further ado:

...Over the years, I've chatted with people on welfare, but also sat in the same car with FDIC chair; attended speeches by major Chinese dissidents, but also participated meetings by pro-China scholars; done charity work, but also engaged in profit-driven activities; worked with plaintiffs, but also helped defendants. In a word, I've dealt with many many different things from many many different angles. 19 years after Tianmen Square and 14 years after living in the freest country in the world, however, I must admit that I am a changed man.
(...omit to protect privacy.)
We were definitely manipulated by an invisible hand (hands?) behind the scene. I was given a loud speaker that was so advanced at the time that it could only came from certain sources. Too bad we didn't know better. But once again we were only a bunch of unsophisticated college kids and the only thing we had was passion. I think we had and still have too much "Bushism" in our blood, that is, you're-either-with-us-or-agains-us kind of thinking. People who think that way can be easily manipulated. In our history it's never been an honorable thing to comprise. But politics is all about comprise, an concept even many people in this country start to forget. Just listen to how Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Fox News talk about the democrats and the Clintons, and how New York Times and Stephanie Miller talk about Republicans and the Bush administration.

I label myself a "quasi" dissendident in that as a student I partipated in almost all the anti government demonstrations from 1986 to 1989. But I was never a professional dissendent and will never become one. I'm of the opinion that I can make better contributions by discussing solutions rather than by pointing fingers all the time. As for China's political future, I'm with the school of thoughts that structural change will come in due course but we'll have to "cross the river by feeling the stones" like we did with our economy for the past three decades. It has always been my firm belief that we have to find our own path to freedom rather than copying the western model. China is so big, so complex and has so much historical baggage that we simply can't afford to have half the country hate the other half. Eventually, every relevant party in our society needs to look at what happened in the past with a reconciliatory attitude because we do not need another revolution. As for the small number of professional dissendidents living in the west who want to become China's future ruling class, well, they can continue to enjoy their dream but if they don't clean up their act and start to rule themselves in a democratic way, I suspect that their number will continue to dwindle. - by James

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