Why are the Chinese Government such Dicks?

So I think it was likely one of the more recent articles about Chinese web-censorship (re: Tibet in this instance) that lead me to once again ask myself if there are there perfectly rationale (perhaps even ethical) reasons for some of the more brutal (for lack of a better term) Chinese policies and laws.

For example, the 1 child per family policy, as undemocratic as it sounds, seems rather logical and fair (to a laymen like myself) within the context of China’s huge population (esp. pop per capita). Its is arguably in the greater good of China to impose seemingly brutal restrictions on the number of kids allowable (and even forcing abortions in many cases) because the policy will save lives and improve the quality of lives.

So what about censorship (or other policies that are in stark contrast to western norms), can anyone defend the controversial Chinese policies of filtering the web? Are these ‘brutal’ policies rational or are the Chinese government just a bunch of dicks?

Why are they dicks? Because they are a bunch of old men trying to stand in the way of the tide and halt it because it is running contrary to their own world view. They have now made to many compromises to make their old system work…and yet they don’t want to embrace the logical conclusion, that being that their old system could NEVER work and the only thing propping it up is something contrary to the very core of their old doctrine. So…they can’t go back and they don’t want to go forward. Sounds like a perfect scenerio to get hit by traffic in both directions.
ARE they dicks? Well…to be sure they are. And they are OLD dicks, which is even worse! :eek: China will be hitting the wall very soon…the current situation can’t continue indefinitely. How it all falls out is going to determine whether China becomes the next great superpower or if it self destructs. It could go either way at this point…


China’s population per capita has held firm at 1.0 for as long as records have been kept. I don’t think that the one-child policy could do anything to change that :).

Find me a period in Chinese history where, from the average Chinese perspective, doing any of these things would be considered “dickish.”

There’s not enough societal outrage to undermine the legitimacy of the government in China.

That doesn’t make it moral, but that is indeed why and how they are this way. China’s always been pretty extremely conservative socially (speaking broadly), and that’s tap-dancing back and forth across the “oppressive” line- to Western eyes, at least.

I think part of the reason for their behaviour is that they saw what happened to the Soviet Union when the leaders n the Kremlin tried to relax their control. The country broke up, and the Russia that emerged is an economic mess. They are trying very hard not to make the same mistake, while having enough economic reforms that the country can prosper.

In case its helpful, perhaps I could rephrase my query to simply “If you were running the Chinese government, what reasons might you have to implement/continue policies like net censorship?”

what does it accomplish objectively speaking?

Keeping the hoi polloi from demanding more voice in government by showing prosperity in nations where, incidentally, the government is different? Perhaps you have a moral reason for this, but there it is.

Oh, and keeping your propaganda appearing believable.

Its very simple: as xtisme indicates, they want to stay in power.

So no one here thinks that a “good” leader with entirely selfless intentions who wants whats best for their country might run China in a similar way to how its run now? I guess I just find myself torn between the logic that most of what the government does seems kinda evil, but at the same time, I believe that only enlightened brilliant people get to run Countries the size of China.

From top to bottom (top being Hu Jintao) currently China is led by career bureaucrats/technocrats. These are people who have essentially been in bureaucratic, specialized offices for many years while concurrently moving up the political ranks in the Communist Party.

By and large I don’t see outright maliciousness from these, “fourth generation” Chinese leaders. A lot of these guys were educated as engineers within China itself. Hu Jintao started out in a hydroelectic facility and eventually worked his way up through party bureaucracy until he basically became the paramount leader of China.

This generation of leaders see themselves as the rightful “administrators” of China. I don’t get the impression that these are people necessarily interested solely in keeping power, they just think they are the rightful administrators and that they know best. There’s a big difference between the Fourth Generation and previous generations in that this generation came to power in the first transition in Communist Chinese history that was genuinely peaceful (although the transmission from Deng to Jiang Zemin was relatively peaceful.)

In fact Fourth Generation leaders specifically seek rule through collaboration, this is the ultimate result of the work of the third and second generation leaders. By and large one of the most important developments in the third and second generations was the move away from “cult of personality” leadership. It was actually seen as disadvantageous by China’s leaders for there to be “one man” who ran the entire state by fiat. While even Deng Xiaoping recognized this, he himself essentially had consolidate so much power that he was essentially running the state in just such a manner.

By and large the Chinese leadership isn’t stupid, they understand that when “one man” surrounds himself with a cult of personality and rules like Mao did, the country is prone to excesses and train wrecks. Chinese leadership isn’t so much focused on democratic ideals–that isn’t why there has been a movement to more structured/collaborative governance, but rather they just have realized that such structure and collaboration is necessary.

While Hu Jintao has an immense amount of power–control of state, party, and military, he has been selected in a very orderly, structured manner and there is a fairly structured timeline after which it will be expected that he cedes power to another leader.

I’m not saying I agree with China’s leadership, I just think that by and large these are a group of essentially career bureaucrats who look at China much like we would a corporation. They view the people as shareholders and are simply trying to shepherd the state in the best manner possible, that tends to result in fairly conservative change and decision making.

What will be very interesting is that the next generation after Hu will be an extremely profound change. Hu’s generation didn’t come to power through the military like all the generations prior, but rather they are technocrats who took power through bureaucratic politics. However Hu’s generation are still committed Communists by and large. The next generation of leaders are primarily entrepreneurs and people educated in business, people with vested interests in a free market system.

It’s also worth noting that in China there is very little tradition of active participation in government by the people. Going back for generations the Chinese have essentially been ruled by a combination of powerful political leaders and an extensive bureaucracy of civil servants.

China has always very much been a country where the government is viewed in a paternal manner, and the “children” are expected to recognize that their parents know best, to obey.

You have got to be kidding me. Even the most cursory study of history shows otherwise.

Have I been totally wooshed, or do you actually think that Chairman Mao was enlightened? Brilliant, yes, because no-one scrambles to the top of a heap that size without a lot of smarts, but that’s a whole different thing from being nice.
Normally ruthlessness and near-total self-interest are also important.

In fact you could argue that enlightened brilliant people are destined NEVER to run countries the size of China, because they will always end up competing against at least one ruthless brilliant person. Unless you define ‘enlightened’ to include “for the good of my country I’d better dedicate at least 75% of my time to power-broking, influence-peddling, corruption, intimidation and flattery so that I can keep up with the pack”.

Well, in all seriousness, if I were put in charge I’d implement a free, unmanaged market and basic human rights and freedom of speech gradually. I wouldn’t want to risk destroying the economy or internal security / cohesion.
At the end of my first term (because democracy is something I definitely would implement), I wonder whether there would have been enough change to avoid being labelled a tyrant myself…

Is most ancient and illustrious tradition.

It is also traditional that when a Chinese government gets too dickish, it loses the Mandate of Heaven and the people have a right to overthrow it.

Although if you can get a party of five adventurers through trials and tribulations to the point where they can nuke the hive of the demonic invaders, you can restore the Mandate of Heaven that way…

I have always maintained that the difference between regular Communists & Maoists is that Maoists are no fun at parties. :cool:

Tradition. They’ve always done it this way.

Stodginess. They just can’t, in their wildest dreams, imagine doing it differently.

Fear. If they did, they’re afraid they soon wouldn’t be the Chinese government anymore.

That’s a good point. It’s fairly true even in democracies, but if the leaders aren’t really beholden to the common people, then they don’t have to mitigate their narcissistic and often ruthless ways.

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.