In a recent article about the media alleging that China was oppressing restaurants by passing a law against wasting food, I wrote:
(Furthermore, there is a total misunderstanding about how Asian law actually works. It’s more of a suggestion and a guideline. Cops are not actually going to go into restaurants and fine them or shut them down. As a rule, cops in China aren’t ever going to do anything, other than stand around.)
I wanted to expand on this, so as to give people a better understanding of the absurdity of the claim that China is some kind of police state. On the scale of things, it is actually closer to “total anarchy” than to a police state. Primarily, this stems from the fact that Asians view justice as coming from the community, rather than from authority.
The fact that there are white people – and in fact, most of them – that believe that “Asian police state” is even conceivably possible demonstrates that there is such a massive lack of understanding that no Westerner really has the ability to comment on anything that is going on internally in China.
Basically, the entire Hong Kong riots thing was an exploitation of the fact that Asian cops have literally no idea what they’re supposed to do if people just start going nuts. Yes, Asians do have the capacity for extreme, heartless brutality that whites probably couldn’t really ever grasp, but that only has ever happened in situations of total societal collapse.
In general, if one Asian person flips out, a crowd of Asian people gather around and say “hey man, just relax.” If the cops show up, they will also just stand around as part of the crowd and urge the person to relax. I’ve never in my life seen a single Asian cop arrest a single Asian person. The closest thing I’ve seen is Thai cops shaking down Chinese tourists, I guess. The way Thailand deals with foreigners is the closest thing you will find to a police state, and that is just entirely about shaking people down for bribes, which is looked at as a kind of tax.
(But even Thailand has very serious and incomprehensible limits, in that it is literally only a money-making scheme, and has nothing to do with public order, which is considered a community issue. There was an infamous incident in Thailand where a white guy beat another white guy to death in a bar fight, and the cops showed up and stood around for a long time doing nothing and then basically asked if someone was going to pay to clean it up. I’m sure the killer had to pay a significant “fine” for making the mess, but otherwise it was just “he say bad you? ok, ok, you pay money.”)
Foreigners are shocked if they end up in a situation where the cops are called and the cops show up looking either confused or deeply intrigued as they stand around and do nothing about whatever is happening. Unless it is a clear conflict between a foreigner and a local, in which case the cop will tell the foreigner he has to pay money, regardless of whatever the details of the situation are, the cops will almost never do anything about anything. Crime is very low in the first place, but even in the event someone is murdered, the cops have to be explicitly ordered by their superiors to go arrest someone, otherwise they will just stand around, occasionally asking someone a question, which is usually “can you explain that again?”
The level of anarchy on the streets of Asia, and the total lack of any sense of an active authority, is going to make any foreigner uncomfortable. However, this is pretty much the exact opposite of the thing that is being portrayed in the media and by Mike Pompeo, wherein there is a narrative of governmental and police oppression that is frankly preposterous.
The only interaction that any Chinese person is going to have with cops in his entire life is in a traffic scheme. And even traffic law is only vaguely enforced in “trap” areas, which are basically publicly announced. The idea of Chinese cops going into a restaurant and closing it down because they violated a food waste law is so far outside of any reality in China that it is absurd to even consider. If they ever tried to do that, a gigantic crowd would gather round and start shouting, and they would have to leave. The cops themselves would be viewed as disrupting the community order.
So basically, laws are made to say “this is what the community standard should be,” and they are followed or ignored based on how much or little people agree with that.
The bottom line is that justice is considered a community issue, not an authority issue. You can say that’s good or bad or whatever, and it is obviously both, but it is primarily just the way it is. The Chinese social credit system, far from some kind of communist oppression scheme, is considered a community measure, a way of holding individuals accountable to the community.
To what degree the Chinese Communist Party has exploited the Asian community-driven social order for their own purposes is obviously up for debate, and probably arbitrarily true on some level, but I don’t think anyone could ever really come up with a clear answer to that. Regardless, when you get into dissecting the sociology of a foreign people to that degree, you must be doing it for academic reasons, rather than foreign policy reasons.
One could certainly say that Chinese people behave in a way that is more acceptable to Westerners when they grow up outside of mainland China. Chinese Singaporeans for example are much more jokey and jovial, and much more interested in foreigners. However, it should be noted that virtually all of them will go full racial nationalist on the topic of the mainland, and totally defend the CCP. The only Chinese people who take issue with the CCP are the various cultists that the CIA has nurtured.
This is to say: “the CCP is oppressing the people” is an almost completely meaningless statement. Making it meaningful would require a complex dissection of the Chinese social order, and would require making assumptions about the nature of social interactions in China that cannot ever be proved.
That said: Moslems in China presumably are oppressed to whatever degree, because they are not viewed as Chinese, and thus are outside of the Chinese social systems that govern the average person. That said, they are literally terrorists. This thing where Republicans defend Islamic terrorists all over the world while telling us we have to have all of our rights taken away from us because of terrorists that they brought into our country is actually ridiculous.
I’m sure there are Chinese Moslems that are not terrorists who have had a bad time. That is unfortunate, but you know: things are tough all over. The fact that the government and the media are suggesting we should go to war over that is beyond the pale. Furthermore, this stuff about death camps and organ harvesting is literally a total hoax. No evidence has ever been presented to support these claims, and while Chinese might be generally cold and indifferent (unless it is some sappy love thing), they are not sadistic. In order to be sadistic, you have to have a strong emotionality, obviously, which is something that they generally do not have (excluding, again, sappy love story gibberish).
None of this is to defend China. I have literally no desire to do that, and I wish I wasn’t even talking about it. I have no dog in that fight, and am only interested in this issue because the American media and government have made attacking China their number one priority, and they are attempting to suck people into a weird narrative where it is our job to liberate Chinese people from their government. Not only is it none of our business what the Chinese government does to their people, but in my expert opinion, it is not actually true that anyone is being oppressed.
I didn’t choose this topic of discussion. The media and the government did. All I’m doing is countering this stupid narrative that the media is promoting, which is close to being the diametric opposite of the reality on the ground in Asia.