A reader named Paul Stinchfield left a very interesting question at this post.
I have seen accounts of Chinese citizens becoming violently enraged at even the most polite disagreement with Chinese policy regarding Taiwan, Tibet, etc. And yes, I mean literally, not figuratively, violent. What do you know about this, Mr. Rummel, and what clues might this give us to what the Chinese government might do?
For many years Chinese children were educated to hate ‘foreign [capitalist] devils’ as the ruling elite found that fear and hatred of a foreign menace was an effective method of control. (See Natan Sharansky’s “The Case for Democracy”.) Now, perhaps, we have a ruling elite which was itself educated to believe the propaganda that an earlier generation of rules cynically implemented.
I would be very interested in the thoughts of somebody who has actually studied China.
I’m more interested in military history than current political reality, so most of my studies have concentrated in that area. But there are a few things that jump out when someone takes even a casual glance at China.
As other commenters have pointed out, China is incredibly fractious. The only reason that this very large, incredibly diverse country doesn’t splinter into dozens of smaller states is due to Communist control. An omnipresent and powerful central government dictates virtually every aspect of Chinese life so dissent is always a losing strategy.
The second reason is a bit more insidious. The Chinese culture is a remarkable blend of arrogant self-regard and raging racism. At the base, it claims that China and it’s people are the end-all be-all of human perfection. (An obvious holdover from Confucian thought.) The reason why China hasn’t taken it’s rightful place at the forefront of everything and everybody on the globe is due entirely to underhanded tricks by non-Chinese, particularly the Western democracies.
If you look at it in this light, China is surrounded and beleaguered on all sides by cultures and regimes bent on it’s total destruction. As long as the Communists can convince enough people of this, then the country will hold together.
That’s why democracy is probably not going to happen, at least not for awhile. As soon as people can vote, China will Balkanize and become many smaller countries. They’ve always had trouble convincing everyone that they’re a world power, that would sound the death knell for any chance of the greater role in world events that they’re convinced they deserve. Until the majority of people decide that self-determination is more important than cultural superiority, the Communist government will have a pretty strong hold on the country.
The Communists use the repatriation of Taiwan as a major justification for their continued control. The only reason the island is outside of their influence, so they say, is because of some of these underhanded tricks that I mentioned previously. Keeping Taiwan a democracy is seen by many in China as a scheme to keep them from gaining the wealth, influence, cultural dominance and glory that they know they deserve simply by virtue of being Chinese. Odd though it may sound, if you disagree with this then they take it as if you’re trying to screw them over in a most personal way.
Anyway, take all this with a grain of salt. Like I said, I’m hardly an expert on China and my impressions could very well be wrong.