omnibus omnia

Social unrest hits Chinese city (from Asianews)

In Asia, China, Economy, Government, News, Politics, Society, Thoughts on December 4, 2008 at 21:39

Is China’s Communist Party losing the mandate of heaven?

I’ve been a while away from blogging, but anyway, Asianews.it recently reported on Urban warfare in Longnan. Curfew imposed, roads blocked”. The unrest began when a small protest against the local government’s failure to provide homes was joined by a surge of popular support that led to–or was responded to by police with– violence. Nor is the problem isolated, according an earlier report of the same news agency:

Every year mainland China sees tens of thousands of protests, often involving people affected by land grabs by developers in collusion with government officials against which the former have little or no recourse.

Considering the character of China’s de facto economic system, modern consumer capitalism–the motive power of which, to describe it in apparently reductionist but nonetheless valid terms, is founded on greed and gluttony–, the unrest tells us how far China has “progressed” in its adoption of post-Westphalian Western systems. Consequently, we see the strange spectacle of a country still ruled by a nominally Communist Party acknowledging that it needs more social justice.

So, is the Party starting to lose the mandate of heaven? Not yet, I think. While the central regions have reaped less from Chairman Deng’s policies and are restive under the rising inequality, the Party has exhibited a readiness–a cynical and opportunistic readiness, vide China e-Lobbyto make policy adjustments (and appeal to jingoism) when necessary and will continue to do so for a foreseeable time. But it had better beware. Rural revolts in periodic times of troubles had helped topple dynasties despite their control of, and by, the literati (to a degree unmatched by the Western alliance of ruler and “university man”); and the present urbanization in China’s littoral is creating an analogue of the petit-bourgeois intelligentsia that, since the Hildebrandine Reformation, has made the West a hotbed of ideological revolution. In fact, the pincers have already begun to close.

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Today we join the Latin Patriarchate of the one true Church in honoring, among other heroes of the Faith, St. John Damascene (under the ordinary Latin calendar), who so deepened and defended the storehouse of truth that his apparent error on the procession of Holy Spirit (see our very brief summary here on the filioque/per filium controversy) cannot diminish his name. We also remember St. Barbara and St. Peter Chrysologus according to the extraordinary Latin calendar. Blessed be God in His angels and saints!

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