"Give me liberty, or give me death."
--Patrick Henry, 1775
"Give me liberty, or give me death."
--Chinese crowds, this week
Looks like the young people on mainland China have studied American history. But their own history shows that the Red Chinese government is more apt to hand out death than liberty. So protesters there should prepare for casualties.
That is, more casualities.
The Chinese people on the mainland were already complaining about the covid lockdowns--their government having decided on following the "no covid" policy, which is hubris if we've ever heard it.
But then 10 people died in a fire in Xinjiang the other day, because emergency workers were initially prevented from getting to the scene. Dispatches (and videos) show vigils turning into political rallies.
As these things are wont to do, the rallies went from protesting covid lockdowns to . . . demanding free speech, democracy, the rule of law, and other such Western improprieties. And unlike most protests in Red China, the protesters this time decided to get specific, and many were calling for the end of the Xi regime.
The authorities in Beijing won't be easily cowed. They control a heavy police state, a surveillance system that rivals North Korea, and the ability to shut down most social media networks. And Beijing controls the state media.
CNN reports that, when asked about "the widespread display of anger and frustration" among the Chinese people, a Foreign Ministry spokesman dismissed the question: "What you mentioned does not reflect what actually happened." In other words, who ya going to believe? The Party, or your lying eyes?
The protests might soon be known as The White Movement, given the color mascots of other protests around the world. This time, young Chinese protesters are walking around holding blank white paper before their faces to symbolize all the critical posts that the government has erased over the years. The white papers might also help hide faces from prying government eyes. Clever people, these Chinese.
And although cell phones are everywhere, and many pictures of the protests (and arrests) have gotten out of the country, the government still has the upper hand. Or upper fist. Word around the campfire is that Beijing's operatives have flooded Twitter with porn and other "adult material" to cover up posts about the protests.
Yahoo News reports that Chinese police are stopping people in the streets, demanding access to citizen cell phones, the better to determine if they have illegal apps or private networks that allow them to record the protests.
There is an old Chinese proverb: Close the door to beat the dog.
The Xi government hasn't forgotten that one.
The national and international media were filled with end-of-the-regime headlines early this week. President Xi is facing a coup . . . . Biggest protests since Tiananmen . . . . Chinese revolution . . . . No turning back . . . .
We are reminded of a scene in 1989, when secretary of state James Baker looked out at the weather one June weekend, and called his son: Get your clubs. Let's hit the links.
His son was watching this new thing called CNN, which was an all-news channel that was the rage at the time. "I don't think you are going to be playing golf today," Jamie Baker said. "I'm sitting here watching the tanks roll through Tiananmen Square on CNN."
"You're kidding me," his father replied.
At that point, so many of us in the Western world just knew the end was here for The Party. Oh, if the Luces could see it now! Freedom is in the air!
And the hammer came down. With a sickle, too.
We expect the people of Red China to want their freedom, like any other people. We also expect the government of Red China to do everything to keep it from them. Like any other totalitarian regime.