The bloodily suppressed civil unrest in Dongzhou Village continues to leak slowly into the world media. The South China Morning Post, published not very far away from the village in Kwangtung Province where police opened fire on demonstrating citizens, carries some interesting details on the aftermath: (link by subscription only — excerpt limited to fair use copyright restrictions):
While police hunted for those involved in Tuesday's riot in Dongzhou village, Shanwei city , families of some victims hid the bodies of their loved ones, fearing the authorities would take them in a bid to cover up the deaths.
Villagers say dozens of people were killed or injured when police opened fire on protesters.
One villager gave the South China Morning Post a photograph of one victim, Lin Yutui, a bullet hole clearly showing in his chest.
Shanwei and provincial officials, meanwhile, have either denied the shooting happened or declined to comment. [....]
Officers carrying photos of villagers involved in the riots were on the lookout for suspects trying to leave the village and checked the identity of anyone entering. All outsiders were barred from entry. [....]
...villagers are afraid of a cover—up. "We fear they are attempting to destroy all the evidence because they insist so far that no one has been killed," one said.
Another villager whose relative, 31—year—old Wei Jin, was killed in the shooting, said local officials had offered the family hush money if they surrended Wei's body.
"They offered us a sum but said we would have to give up the body," the villager said. "We are not going to agree." [....]
...The clash in Dongzhou was not reported in any mainland media
It is very clear that the government is embarrassed and attempting to cover up the details of the brutal massacre. As I emphasize yesterday, China is consistently bungling tha handling of disasters, in the face of considerable evidence that "the masses" (a little sauce for the gander in applying the favored Marxist term for oprdinary people) are distinctly unhappy with their treatment by the government.
Never forget that the communist regime's claim to legitimacy is that it acts as a committee of the proletariat and peasantry, and that it overthrew a previous regime on the ground of its corruption and incompetence. These sorts of incidents pack a triple wallop for the Beijing autocrats:
1) No government likes a massive wave of unrest (70,000+ acknowledged incidents last year alone). See; France.
2) Unrest such as this challenges the very basis of the regime's claim to power — similar to a Supreme Court ruling against an American administration, only much messier. As I wrote three months ago:
Mao Tse—tung replaced the venerable imperial system with Communism, but after decades of indoctrination, Communist ideology has been discarded, with nothing else replacing it. There is only the logic of power sustaining the regime now. Corruption has re—appeared big time, and officials collude with newly—wealthy businessmen. Together, the concentrated wealth they enjoy finances a lifestyle unavailable to the masses. Upscale motorcars, lavish banquets, travel, fine clothing, and other lifestyle markers now distinguish them from the majority of their countrymen.
China's Communist indoctrination period provides plenty of memes with which to condemn an elite class. Teach a nation that a corrupt exploitative ruling class deserves to be overthrown at your own risk, comrades. China's rulers have reason to worry about their lack of popularity.
3) Two words: Dynastic Cycle. To quote myself in yet another article:
In the course of its long history, China has been subject to regime disintegration a number of times. This is the basis for what historians call the dynastic cycle, a fact of Chinese history of which every ruler must be conscious. Over a period of centuries, a dynasty is established, flourishes, becomes corrupt, ingrown and ineffective, and then portions of the state break away, signaling the end of the rule of of (for example) the Ming, Ch'ing, T'ang, or Chou Dynasty. A period of chaos usually ensues before another ruler emerges and consolidates the state. That chaos, with its attendant death, civil war, and destruction of important facilities (canals, and levees in particular), is rightly feared.
China is unique among nations in the length of its history and in the historical size of the of its empire. Rome's empire at its height is the only thing in the West which can compare to the size of the Emperor's domain in good portions of the historic dynastic cycle. But the Roman Empire came and went. China endured.
Beijing's modern mandarins must fear that history does indeed come in cycles, rather than progress in a 'scientific' Marxist dialectic. They have discarded so much of Marxism that nobody has any particular reason to embrace dialectical materialism. That must be why they react so strongly to anything suggesting Taiwan has an independent government and nationhood. Such admission of a breakaway is seen as a sign of dynastic disintegration
Hat tip: Brian Schwarz
Thomas Lifson 12 10 05