Talking Back to Power: China's 'Haves' Stir the 'Have Nots' to Violence

James A. Donald jamesd at
Sat Jan 1 18:26:09 PST 2005

The title of this post is misleading:  The protest is anti 
government, and pro property rights.

For example:
> [...] "People can see how corrupt the government is while they 
> barely have enough to eat," said Mr. Yu, reflecting on the 
> uprising that made him an instant proletarian hero 

If he was a "proletarian" hero, he would say "the capitalists".  
Instead he said "the government".

> [...]
> Last month, as many as 100,000 farmers in Sichuan Province, 
> frustrated by months of fruitless appeals against a dam 
> project that claimed their land, took matters into their own 
> hands. [...]

Gee.  They took the defense of their own property rights into their 
own hands. 

> "I work like this so that my daughter and son can dress 
> better than I do, so don't look down on me,"

They are rioting for economic mobility, not for a classless society, 
but for a society where classes are not hereditary.

> "I heard him say those exact words," said Wen Jiabao, 
> another porter who says he witnessed the confrontation. "It 
> proves that it's better to be rich than poor, but that being 
> an official is even better than being rich."

The bad guys are not the rich, but those who obtain wealth through 
poliical power.

> Cai Shizhong, a taxi driver, was angered when the 
> authorities created a company to control taxi licenses, 
> which he says cost him thousands of dollars but brought no 
> benefits.

The bad deeds of the bad guys are economic regulation

> Peng Daosheng's home was flooded by the rising reservoir of 
> the Three Gorges Dam. He was supposed to receive $4,000 in 
> compensation as well as a new home. But his new apartment is 
> smaller and less well located, and the cash never arrived.

The bad deeds of the bad guys are violation of property rights 
without fair compensation.

> Li Jian, 22, took part in the plunder. A young peasant, he 
> had found a city job as a short-order cook. But he longed to 
> study computers, said his father, Li Wanfa. The family 
> bought an old computer keyboard so the young man could learn 
> typing.
> "He wanted to go to high school but the school said his 
> cultural level was not high enough," Mr. Li said. "They said 
> a country boy like him should be a cook."

Again, the call for social mobility, equality of opportunity, not 

> They did not attack any of the restaurants or department 
> stores along the government square, focusing their wrath on 
> symbols of official power.

A riot against the state, not against the rich.

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