Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

China’s grieving parents told to stop protests

Posted by Chris on July 9, 2008

I wrote two posts recently on the Chinese government’s “leniency” in allowing parents to have more kids to “replace” children who died during the tragic Earthquake in May. They are here and here.

I left off saying that the government’s decision was a good one, but is hardly worth applauding since it commodifies children. I saw a news story today that shows more frustration from grieving parents about a different criticism of the government.

In China quiets parent protesters about earthquake, the AP reports that the parents who were protesting will no longer be allowed to “march, wave banners and vent their rage in public.” Why are they so angry at the government?

The grieving mothers and fathers believe that nearly 7,000 classrooms crumbled so easily because corrupt and incompetent officials didn’t build them properly.

Ouch. Sounds familiar to Americans who remember the criticisms levied at the US government, the president, and others after Hurricane Katrina and the failed levees in New Orleans (and these criticisms are now coming up again in light of Midwest floods).

The article is surprisingly not very objective (at least my understanding of news writing), saying:

After winning global praise for acting like an open society and allowing the parents to protest after the disaster, China is reverting to the tactics of a communist police state ready to crush any dissent.

It’s important, in drawing a comparison, to point out that 70,000 Chinese people died, as opposed to 3,000-4,000 I believe from Katrina. I don’t weigh those 70,000 to mean a greater tragedy, but it is certainly equally as tragic. While American generosity is noted in response to international disaster, I think we have a serious empathy and perspective deficiency. What we do in our daily lives and our foreign and domestic policy should be more influenced by what happens in the rest of a globalized world. For instance, I am for free trade, even if it means that certain jobs are lost by some Americans, because it benefits foreign workers (and Americans by giving us lower prices).

It’s also valuable in comparing the two to see the reaction of people. The AP article describes the parents…

As they tried to cope with their losses, some parents seemed to be driven by a deep sense of nihilism, a feeling they could challenge the government because they had nothing more to lose now that their only child was gone. They were poor farmers or workers who obeyed China’s one-child policy.

Americans who challenged our government did not do it for this reason. We want and expect justice. Whether or not it will make a difference, people knew they could go out and vote either for or against politicians who will do a better job managing America’s infrastructure and making sure disasters like Katrina don’t have the same effect.

We should be thankful for this outlook– that’s about as patriotic as I’ll get during this July 4th season. It says something good about the place we were lucky enough to be born. We don’t expect people to die. We expect government to do something about it. And we know they can.

I’m also thankful for the prevalence of theistic and religious worldviews that are present in America. While our society has secularized in many ways, we are far from Western Europe which is certainly post-Christian (although perhaps entering a phase of pre-Islamic?) and not at all like China where religion has been suppressed for several generations. During times of distress, rare is the average American who will turn to nihilism or postmodern hopelessness- most will pray, cling to family, and be thankful.

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One Response to “China’s grieving parents told to stop protests”

  1. Hiscency said

    Tahnks for posting

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