Harmony with Chinese Characteristics

By Cindy Li, BASC Research Assistant


As social unrest spreads rapidly across the Middle East, “social management” is once again a great concern for the Chinese government. In their efforts to curb the initiation of a “Jasmine Revolution,” government leaders further limited access to social networking websites and text messaging services and have detained several activists linked with the proposed protests.

Stanley Lubman, a long-time specialist on Chinese law and professor at the UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, writes on instances of rights violations that occurred in the name of maintaining social harmony. Lubman’s blog post on the Wall Street Journal’s website criticizes Chinese authorities for using violence and interfering with communications technologies in order to “maintain social order.”

A smooth transition from the rule of the party to the rule of law remains an obvious determinant of the long-term success of the Chinese economy. The government’s continued struggle with its desire to maintain harmony in the present at the risk of significant social unrest in the future should be a concern for many people. Lubman’s blog post offers much needed exposure of the faults of the government, but, like many of its predecessors, fails to provide alternatives for addressing the very real concerns the party leaders face today.

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