Ah, capitalism and communism, hand in hand (Criticism)

by bluerunner @, Music City, Thursday, October 10, 2019, 14:28 (299 days ago) @ Ragashingo

Personally, I think this stuff with China is a much larger and more widespread issue that will continue to get much worse before it gets better. :(

I've been giving this some thought over the last few years. Through work I have traveled to China several times, and I have made some very close friends there. They are great people, and I wish I could spend more time with them there. But I also see that they just don't see the problems with their government that we see. I've seen the censorship and propaganda first hand, but I see it from a perspective of knowing what it is. Some of my friends there have only known that, and anything but that is foreign to them.

Back in January I was traveling around the Shanghai area. I was on a train with a friend and saw a picture of Mao. My friend just started talking about how great he was and how he helped so many people. Of course, I know what she doesn't, but I was at a loss of how to tell that to her without personally offending her. What she was telling me was what she had been taught all her life, and there isn't any good way for her to find out any different.

Another friend of mine has traveled out of China many times and is more aware. We have conversations about higher topics like personal liberty and democracy. We also discuss Chinese history and she is much more aware. I've noticed though that she only talks with me about stuff like that in a whisper, and only in places we aren't over heard. I do enjoy our back alley coffee shop talks though. It shows me that there is hope, and maybe more people than I think there are looking for change. Probably like her they just keep their heads down since the consequences are high.

I visited Hong Kong in January and then Guangzhou. It's such a stark difference between the two. In mean, Guangzhou has nice buildings and looks modern, but culturally the mainlanders and Hong Kongers are different. It's like the people living in the Matrix and the people living outside it. I did notice there at dinner a couple of my hosts cracked jokes about the government. It just didnt seem like something my Shanghai friends would do though.

All that said, people are people. My friends there go about their lives relatively unscathed. They live their lives, enjoy food and movies, and many things we do. Of course, they arent part of the groups getting imprisoned. As long as they're left relatively alone and have a job and a little free time, they're not going to push for anything more. They seem to have a fear of stiring the pot, and they see the folks who do get taken out quickly. So how do you start a change?

A few other observations:
I use a VPN whenever I am there. I had people see me use it (I pulled something up on Google and they asked how I did that), and they told me I could get away with that because I was an American businessman, but they would be jailed for that.

The only outside news I saw there was CNN and BBC. If a story about China came up, the channel would go black during that segment.

They really want to learn English, and asking a good ol' boy from Arkansas (me)for help was not a good idear.

I enjoyed thinking about the virtues of communism while standing next to the factory boss's Rolls Royce Phantom while watching the workers ride bicycles to work. Inside the lobby they had pictures of the top brass of the company hand in hand with top officials of the Party. Oh, and that factory makes a lot of the grills you can buy at Lowe's and Home Depot.

I've been in factories where it was 120-130F and the workers worked 12 hours shifts. Guys were handling glowing hot pieces of metal in shorts and flip flops.

On one trip in July a couple of years ago I lost 7 pounds in a week just touring factories.

In one of those factories I watched a bunch of people crammed into a small room place labels on dog food bowls for hours on end. I wasnt allowed to take pictures. I picked up a bowl and looked at the brand on the bottom. It was an Ellen Degeneres brand dog food bowl.

I walked around Hong Kong on a Sunday. I passed several churches having service. I can count on one hand the number of churches I have seen in mainland China. I know an American pastor who was arrested on an airplane and interrogated because they found out he had started some home churches in China. He did not give up any names of the people he was meeting. He was put back on a departing plane and had his visa revoked.

It's dirty there. Like not just the smog and air pollution. There's just trash everywhere.

Anyway. I can go on, but it's quitting time and I want to go home.

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