Sunday, October 14, 2007

Returned from the land of censorship

Well I hadn't disappeared, more I was unable to blog whilst behind the firewall of an authoritarian state. Now I'm in central Europe and "free" again.
^
Mainland China is invigorating, it is absolutely astounding - and is so incredibly different from Hong Kong. Setting aside the choking pollution (at times), the selective censorship (which frankly is subtle enough to not be apparent to those who wouldn't think different) and the usual handful of those wanting to cheat you, it is full of life, people who throng the streets at 7am on a Sunday! The spectrum of humanity from the friendly and ever helpful, to the grumpy, lying and remarkably poor, the cheerful families with cute kids, the helpful policeman (yes really!), the annoying salespeople, the joking taxi drivers - well and the driving.
^
Take a taxi in Beijing, in fact take dozens - you will learn to develop a fearlessness that will put you in good stead for life - you'll see that the way to cope with traffic jams is to cut in, to pull across, to push in, to overtake, and everyone does it. In fact, walk around. If you walk you'll learn you get nowhere obeying the signals, in fact it could kill you to rely on them - just look out and walk, walk fast, be prepared to stop fast, and you'll be fine.
^
I'll say more about China, how there is much reason to be optimistic about it - and how difficult it is to understand. If the capital has very few who know English outside shops in the main shopping street, then figure out how easily they understand the world.
^
China's Communist Party Congress will, secretly, be debating across the political spectrum about reforms either to have more socialism and state control on the one hand, or to separate state and party, have the party accountable to the law and party discipline not equivalent to criminal law. Meanwhile, those in the centre are increasingly aware of the corruption that their own "free market" capitalism engenders without an independent judiciary, guaranteed individual freedoms and property rights.
^
It's worth understanding China, to see confucianism, Marxism-Leninism and entrepreneurialism co-exist - and because by the end of the decade its economy will be second is size only to the United States.

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