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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Why Isn't this Getting More Coverage...Alot More Coverage?

There hasn't been a peep in the press about this incident, or what appear to be widening social unrest:
SHANGHAI, Dec. 9 - Residents of a fishing village near Hong Kong said that as many as 20 people had been killed by paramilitary police in an unusually violent clash that marked an escalation in the widespread social protests that have roiled the Chinese countryside. Villagers said that as many as 50 other residents remain unaccounted for since the shooting. It is the largest known use of force by security forces against ordinary citizens since the killings around Tiananmen Square in 1989. That death toll remains unknown, but is estimated to be in the hundreds
And there's more:
The use of live ammunition to put down a protest is almost unheard of in China, where the authorities have come to rely on rapid deployment of huge numbers of security forces, tear gas, water cannons and other non-lethal measures. But Chinese authorities have become increasingly nervous in recent months over the proliferation of demonstrations across the countryside, particularly in heavily industrialized eastern provinces like Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiansu. By the government's tally there were 74,000 riots or other significant public disturbances in 2004, a big jump from previous years.
Seventy four thousand riots, by the Government's tally?!? This is the same government that has a tendency to vastly underestimate any bad news. So that means there are many more riots than reported, by an order of magnitude. Does this strike anyone else, besides Hugh Hewitt, as a really, really big story?

Following Hugh Hewitt's lead, here's a little bit more on the story, from The American Thinker:
As a student of Chinese history under the late great John K. Fairbank at Harvard, I long ago learned the importance of just such waves of unrest in China throughout the millenia, and have told readers here that China’s current mandarins cannot help but be severely alarmed, fearful of losing control. Dynasties in China come and go, and all political leaders are conscious of the possibility of losing the “mandate of heaven.” Particularly when their regime overthrew another regime that was viewed as corrupt and ineffective. The fact that China has bungled its handling of SARS and the chemical river pollution in Manchuria, which cut off the water supply for the major city of Harbin, does not augur well for the future. The possibility of bird flu spreading from human-to-human has got to be giving the autocrats the shivers. Historical dynastic cycles often ended with a major disaster – floods, earthquakes, collapse of dikes – which demonstrated the ineffectiveness of the rulers. That the Pacific Rim of Fire seems to be undergoing a period of enhanced seismic activity cannot be of much comfort. Nor can the seemingly erratic weather patterns.China puts up a brave front as a centrally-controlled state. It is indeed that, but it is also ruled by a regime whose hold on power is far shakier than most Americans realize.
As the winds of democracy spread, China shudders.

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