Sunday, 27 February 2011

Jasmine tea at a Shanghai Starbucks

Those who had been quick to dismiss the possibility of a Chinese version of the Jasmine revolutions may have been given food for thought by today's events. Whilst reportedly the Harbin demo was a no-show and at least one reporter was beaten at the Beijing demo, the protest (if that is the right word for an event at which no-one seems to have said much) in Shanghai seems to have been well attended.

Whilst many of the people in the above picture may simply have been there out of interest to see what happened (kan-ing the renao as someone I know used to put it), it cannot now be said that such gatherings are impossible, or that no-one would be interested in such a gathering. It also appears highly unlikely that these protest are being organised as a provocation, despite my earlier suspicions to the contrary.

However, a small demonstration like this is a million miles from the kind of mass-movements which have rocked autocratic regimes in the Middle East, but it is a start.

[Picture: People gather outside the Starbucks near the Raffles City Mall in Central Shanghai, 27th of February, picture via @Singaporeano AKA Kenneth Tan]


Anonymous said...

Like the tweets there, FOARP.

Over-reaction due to paranoia and fear?

Supreme confidence by a well funded security apparatus?

Pure contempt for the whole notion, thus the use of street sweepers?

Im prepared to consider the idea of performance art. Creating a repressive weekly spectacle which, sooner or later, may capture the attention of a small part of the urban population like a hanging apostrophe. Sort of posing an existential question for the more open minded citizen."Should I step forward or maintain my silence and stew in my knowledge of the type of country I live in."

China: the graveyard of the imagination, but the home of material aspiration (for the moment).

Whatever, the continuation of this weekly shadowplay will be interesting. This is also not doing China's soft powers strategies any good in western eyes, and is now locating PRC well behind the people power waves in the Middle East.


Gilman Grundy said...

China has a soft power strategy?

Anonymous said...

China is a dictatorship.