Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Musings about China

President Jacob Zuma and 13 cabinet members recently visited their communist brothers in the East where they also had talks with, among others, Wen Jiaboa, premier of China. The visit took place from 24 to 26 August this year, while uncontrollable chaos was reigning at home in South Africa.

While Zuma was gallivanting about in places such as Beijing and Shanghai, where he supposedly witnessed the signing of several business contracts between South African and Chinese companies, and also placed his own signature on various memorandums of understanding, he must surely have, at some stage of his visit, asked for guidance on how to deal with the chaos reigning at home, -- or did he simply down-play the seriousness of the situation to get the memorandums signed and sealed?

Strikes over low wages and long hours are not uncommon in modern China. In May and early June 2010, a two-week-long strike involving more than a thousand workers at the Honda transmission plant in Foshan triggered a wave of strikes across China. Click here for more details. This occurred only two months prior to Zuma’s visit.

The subject of striking workers must surely have cropped up, because let’s face it, South Africa’s last strike by 1,3 million government employees was no ordinary affair! Besides the fact that schools and hospitals were being disrupted on a massive scale, the strike was costing the country more than R1-billion a day. It lasted for 20 lawless days, so you can figure for yourself how much that cost! A most conspicuous feature of the strike-action was that the same people who placed Zuma in power were demanding his head. It is thus no wonder that Zuma was feeling jittery at the time, and why he departed so suddenly to seek counselling from the experts in the east.

We will never know what recommendations, if any, the Chinese offered Zuma. The only way we can contemplate this, is by looking at the Chinese way of dealing with lawless people who refuse to work. The facts do not sketch a pretty picture!

In order to understand the Chinese way of doing things, one has to know how the socialist-communist mind works, for China has been ruled by these evil vipers, an autocratic socialist system, for many years.

“Socialists do not give a hoot for the poor. Socialism is simply a tool of the super rich and powerful to come to power, stay in power forever and enslave the population forever. Socialists do not want to share wealth, they want to own it and control it.”

The communist mind is an evil, ruthless, and shrewd one. It has no respect for the people it governs, and will develop a world-class market-oriented economy no matter how much blood is shed in the process, or how many of its workers live in sickness, poverty, and despair. In a communist-socialist system people are mere numbers. Even people within their own ranks are mere pawns on a chessboard.

The Chinese have always had a hand in igniting conflict in Africa, especially if they can gain economically from the situation. When South Africa was at war with the communists, the country and its borders were flooded with Chinese manufactured arms and ammunition, - I saw it with my own eyes! It is thus no coincidence that today the country is still flooded with cheap Chinese products. That they are shrewd businessmen is an understatement, - they’re downright evil! For example, in July 2008, evidence of the Chinese fuelling war in Darfur, in direct contravention of a UN arms embargo came to light, but the whole sordid business was deviously covered-up.

Communist rulers are also renowned for making promises they cannot keep, and for making laws they cannot or don’t implement. In China, for example, the government bans kids under 16 from working but does very little to enforce the law. In South Africa there are also numerous laws that are seldom implemented. The only laws that are put into practice are the ones that affect the pockets of the elite rulers. Laws that have a direct bearing on protecting the environment, the rights of minority groups, or the wellbeing of children, are seldom implemented.

One of the rare similarities between South Africa and China is the income gap between rich and poor. China has thousands of billionaires whereas the average income of its 1,33 billion people is the lowest in the world. The same trend is beginning to feature in South Africa. The only difference is that in China the unemployment rate is a mere 4,3% while in SA it is a whopping 25,2% - and growing by the hour!

In a recent publication, “The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa” the author, Deborah Brautigam, claims that China has ended poverty for hundreds of millions of its own citizens. This book is the first comprehensive account of China's aid and economic cooperation in Africa, and basically predicts that China will end poverty in Africa. My question is, - at what price?

China’s astonishing productivity levels and economic growth can be attributed mainly to the fact that its citizens are victims of slave-labour. The international media has recently singled out Foxconn, which makes iPads and iPhones for Apple among other things, for criticism. The 400,000 workers at its Shenzhen base sleep on bamboo mats in overcrowded dormitories in the factory. The majority of these people work 12 to 15 hour shifts under constant camera surveillance, in a quasi-military atmosphere, - very similar to high-class prison conditions. Some Chinese factories even have wire fences in front of top-storey windows to prevent workers from committing suicide. Google the words, “Foxconn and suicide” to see the atrocious stories of suicide among the Chinese people.

It sickens me when I hear ‘westerners’ praising the Chinese way of life. I often hear folk endorsing eastern philosophies, values, and eastern religions, for various reasons. Some are flattered by Chinese laws that forbid access to harmful online material such as pornography and other stuff that corrupt the minds of westerners. These same people do not realize that the ruling Communist Party in China also prohibits the surfing of websites that are critical towards government. Incidentally, it is also forbidden to depict dragons negatively, as Nike discovered in 2004 when one of its adverts was banned because it showed American basketball player LeBron James taking on a pair of dragons and two kung fu masters.

Others admire their stern educational policies and the fact that children are required to attend 9 hours of schooling per day. They are not told how many of these kids commit suicide every year in the month of June when millions of teenagers write a two-day university entrance exam. June is known as “the black month” in China. Although the June suicides are linked to exam stress, China has a spiralling suicide crisis in general. In fact, suicide is the main cause of death among Chinese aged 15 to 24.

Many South Africans think highly of the Chinese system of justice, and are envious of the fact that they implement the death sentence, while we don’t. Be careful what you wish for! In China you can be sentenced to death for at least 68 offences, including:
  • Arson
  • Counterfeiting
  • Illegal fundraising
  • Drug smuggling
  • Tax fraud
  • Selling contaminated food or drugs
  • Government corruption

5000 people were executed in China in 2009.
One in 10 executions were for non-violent economic crimes.

Lastly, I must stress that I have no quibble with Chinese or Asian folk, provided they do not have an appetite for Rhino horn.

Much of the information in this posting was sourced from an article in You Magazine, dated 9 September 2010 # 196.

The picture of the "death truck" was sourced from an article @ www.dailymail.co.uk

The picture of the Chinese soldier pointing a rifle was enhanced using photoshop. The original image (very interesting) can be viewed here.

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