China not quite the sophisticated, humane country Tom Friedman thinks it is

Lately, you can’t read a Tom Friedman article without gagging.  Oh, sorry.  I didn’t mean to say that.  Let me try again.

I mean that you can’t read a Tom Friedman article without having him praise China to the skies as the example America should follow.  (I gather that the Saudis have fallen somewhat in his estimation.  I don’t know if it was the misogyny, the homophobia or the antisemitism that did it, or maybe he took umbrage when the Saudis turned on Al Qaeda.)  In any event, I thought Friedman would find this story interesting:

Wang Cuyun was attempting to prevent a demolition team from knocking down her house when she was allegedly beaten by a worker with a wooden stick and then pushed into a ditch that had been dug around the property.

A bulldozer then covered Mrs Wang with earth, burying her alive. By the time her relatives dug her up, she was dead. The incident occurred last Wednesday in Maodian village in Huangpi district.

Mrs Wang’s case is the latest in a series of cases in China that have drawn widespread public condemnation of the behaviour of rapacious property developers and the government’s failure to intervene. Last year, Tang Fuzhen, a woman in Sichuan province, climbed on to the roof of her three-storey house and set herself on fire to protest against being evicted.

With house prices rocketing across the country, developers often team up with local governments to force homeowners out of their property, according to a recent report by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), an NGO based in Hong Kong.

It is not possible to refuse an eviction in China, since the government technically owns all the land.

Chinese law also does not require developers to agree a compensation fee before they demolish a property.

“The current framework offers little protection to homeowners,” said a spokesman for CHRD.

Read the rest here.

Admittedly, the story’s not about direct government action (rather, it is about government inaction), but it does indicate a certain cavalier attitude towards life that we might not wish to emulate here.  I’m sure Friedman will find some convoluted, cliche-ridden, soporific and illogical way to explain why this act of cruelty, one that seems to be part of a pattern, reflects well, rather than badly, on our primary debt holder.

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  • Gringo

    I had a grad student roommate from the PRC  some years ago who informed me that if  a typical Chinese saw someone in need, no assistance would be forthcoming unless the person in need could pay. Call it the Good $amaritan policy.

  • rockdalian

    The Three Gorges Dam is the grand example of Chinese indifference, replete with the destruction of ancient villages and their inhabitants.
    To date, the government has ordered some 1.2 million people in two cities and 116 towns clustered on the banks of the Yangtze to be evacuated to other areas before construction, promising them plots of land and small stipends—in some cases as little as 50 yuan, or $7 a month—as compensation.

  • David Foster

    “It is not possible to refuse an eviction in China, since the government technically owns all the land”….which is one major problem with is socialism, since the same entity has economic power AND political power, a possibility of appeal to a fair referee is eliminated.

    Also a problem with economic fascism, since although the entities with economic power maybe theoretically separate from government, in practice they will be in bed with it and their actions will almost always be supported by it.

  • Oldflyer

    Think about this.  The generation that is now at the upper end of the ruling age in China is the generation that so enthusiastically formed the membership of the Cultural Revolution.  Their brutal excesses have been well documented. I do not know what the following generation learned from the experience.
    Although it is wise to  read  historical fiction with a certain level of skepticism, I believe that it can provide broad insights into particular eras.  If the author performed due diligence with research, and tries to present an honest portrayal, understanding  of history is enhanced.  I have recently read a series of novels, set in Tibet, by Elliot Pattison. They are chilling in their descriptions of both casual and systemic  brutality perpetrated by the Chinese..

  • suek

    >>They are chilling in their descriptions of both casual and systemic  brutality perpetrated by the Chinese..>>
    Hmmm.  Maybe that’s the underlying force behind the willingness of the people to accept socialism/communism?  or at least, the underlying mechanism?  So…what happens when you get such a system in a Judeo-Christian country?  Look at Europe – they can no longer be considered Judeo-Christian, I think.  And England.  Ditto.  It seems to me that religion _is_ a terribly influential factor.  Nature abhors a vacuum etc.  A socialist type system can be successful if the population is just basically a hive of some sort.  “We are the Borg”.  But if you have recognition of each _individual_ as a unique citizen within the population, it may not work.  Are US citizens going to be willing to become members of the hive????
    Interesting times.
    And just because a little humor is necessary – especially in “interesting times”…


    So…what happens when you get such a system in a Judeo-Christian country?
    You start with Earth Day, keep driving home the message over successive generations, that the much needed dam that some state wanted to build would displace ‘tweety bird’ or ‘willie the worm’  continue minimizing the 10 Commandments and follow up with a climate crisis.