Wouldn't It Be Nice to See Freedom Break Out in China?
Posted by scapozzola on 01/20/2010
Yes, we here at ManufactureThis are constant critics of China's ruling regime. But there's just so much to critique: 1. Human rights violations; 2. Labor abuse; 3. Continuing disregard for environmental standards; 4. A general repression of free speech and democracy; 5. Flagrant violations of world trade law; 6. Continuing export of toxic products without regard to human safety. In fact, just adding the words "freedom" or "democracy" to this blog posting is enough to ensue that it will be banned from entering China's Internet. So, it's no wonder we'd like to see a change come to China-- one where all of its citizenry have a real chance to experience open, expressive freedom and democracy. Thomas Friedman at the New York Times suggests that the ruling regime in Beijing may not have a long future ahead of it, though. And that would be great news. He says that because the use of knowledge and information is becoming the key driver of economic growth, China will have to embrace a more open, information-driven society. Otherwise, it will lose its economic advantages and growth:
I would argue that Command China, in its efforts to suppress, curtail and channel knowledge flows into politically acceptable domains that will indefinitely sustain the control of the Communist Party — i.e., censoring Google — is increasingly at odds with Network China, which is thriving by participating in global knowledge flows. That is what the war over Google is really all about: It is a proxy and a symbol for whether the Chinese will be able to freely search and connect wherever their imaginations and creative impulses take them, which is critical for the future of Network China.Information repression is vital to keeping a lid on China's citizens, but it will stifle the country's long-term growth. Friedman says that "China will only thrive in the 21st century — and the Communist Party survive in power — if it can get more of its firms to shift to the 21st-century model of Network China. That means enabling more and more Chinese people, universities and companies to participate in the world’s great knowledge flows, especially ones that connect well beyond the established industry and market boundaries." But giving them access to information means exposing them to real democracy...So here's hoping that Beijing loses its tight, repressive grip, and freedom begins to break out.
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