Saturday, 2 April 2011

Where Mao is Mickey Mouse

Just saw the best explanation I've ever read as to why people won't turn on the Chinese Communist Party just because they have (limited) access to uncensored reportage on, and criticism of, the Chinese government via the internet:

"Think of it this way. You’re a kid. You’ve wanted to go to Disney World your entire life. Grew up watching the cartoons, the movies. Had the shirt. Had the hat. One day, your parents finally take you. And the next thing you know, you’re inside the park, next in line for Space Mountain, and some guy comes up to you. Hey kid, Mickey Mouse is one bad dude, he says. How about you get out of line (pun intended), kick Mickey in the shin, and burn his house down?"

I honestly can't remember whether I thought access to criticism on the internet would ever automatically spell doom for the Chinese government before I arrived in China in early 2003. I don't think I did, but if I had, a few month there certainly gave me the impression that this was not the case.

This said, it has helped in the toppling of the Tunisian and Egyptian dictatorships, neither of which were so much worse than the CCP for us to automatically dismiss the idea that a similar thing could happen in China.

[Picture: A sculpture by Frank Kozik entitled "Bird is the Word". From Neatorama.]

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