Growing ‘Occupy’ movement makes China nervous

Mark Mackinnon

Beijing — According to a Chinese joke, there are three parts to any newscast on the official Central China Television station.

The message in the first block of stories on each night’s news is: Your leaders worked hard today. This is proven with eye-glazing footage of President Hu Jintao and other top Communist Party officials meeting foreign dignitaries, ordinary Chinese people and each other.

For those still awake when the second block of stories airs, the theme is: The Chinese people are happy. Great things are happening in the People’s Republic.

The third bit is the counterpoint to the second chunk, and the message is equally simple: The rest of the world is in chaos. Europe is falling apart! The Arab world is on fire! Aren’t you glad you live in China?

When the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began on Sept. 17, it nicely fit into the third block of that news agenda. American capitalism, China’s great rival, was in crisis (although it does put a few million people here to work), and the masses were taking to the streets against it.

Could Occupy Wall Street be America’s Arab Spring? the China Daily asked gleefully before going on to argue the Arab Spring was in fact “objectively non-existent.” (China’s leaders have opposed the uprisings in the Middle East every step of the way, perhaps seeing a little of themselves in Hosni Mubarak, Moammar Gadhafi and Bashar Assad.)

With no apparent sense of irony at all, the state-controlled Chinese press even joined those accusing the mainstream U.S. media counterparts of imposing a blackout on the Occupy Wall Street protests.

But that was back when the “Occupy” protests were safely an ocean and a bit away in New York City. But the movement’s rapid spread across North America and Europe to Asia – Occupy Tokyo, Occupy Seoul and Occupy Taipei protests began on Oct. 15 – has clearly rattled the Communist Party leadership. There’s even a small but ongoing Occupy Hong Kong protest camp in front of the HSBC headquarters in that separate-but-still-part-of-China city’s financial district.

The chuckling from stability-obsessed Beijing has ceased. On Sina Weibo, China’s popular Twitter-like microblogging service (the real Twitter is blocked here), the search terms “Occupy Beijing,” “Occupy Shanghai,” “Occupy Guangzhou,” “Occupy Lhasa” and so on were blocked, right down the line to “Occupy Haikou” and “Occupy Shijiazhuang,” smaller provincial centres where there’s not much of a financial district to camp in anyway. ….

Read more » THE GLOBE AND MAIL 

Imran Khan has no coherent message and no coherent ideology

Pakistani middle class gets really excited about Imran Khan..

By omar

In my opinion, he has no coherent message and no coherent ideology (both terms obviously depend on my definition of “coherent”). He is getting support in the middle class because the middle class in every developing country seems to pass through a phase of disappointment in actually existing democracy (and the “ignorant masses” who keep electing bums the middle class does not like). Witness the middle class excitement around Anna Hazare in India. And in Pakistan in particular, he gets even more support (some of it now outside the internet burger-jihadi class too… I dont mean to imply that ONLY the middle class likes him, or Anna Hazare for that matter) because the existing parties and leaders are so bad;, but even though he has genuine popularity in some sections of the population, he has insufficient grass-roots organization. I still think he cannot come to power without ISI support, and will not last long unless he is a completely pliant puppet in their hands. If he does act as their pliant puppet, he may last longer in office, but people will get tired of him rather quickly because many fundamental problems will not change one bit and some will get worse.

IF he actually tries to make his “policies” work, then we are in ever more serious trouble since he has no workable policy prescription for many serious issues. For example, his solution to the Pakistani Taliban is “stop military operations, stop supporting the US, stop drone attacks, and our brothers will come to the table in peace and brotherhood”. Apart from the obvious problem of how he expects NATO to leave this safe haven alone, what does this tell you about his understanding of the Pakistani Jihadis and their agenda? (not talking about the burger-jihadis who dream of 72 virgins and a job in microsoft in the course of the same lonely night). What happens when they want to enforce their will in the Islamic emirate? and what happens when they want to expand the emirate to Islamabad?

In a smoothly working western-style democracy, he might even do good work because he is relatively honest and well-intentioned and the system and its basis is already set, so his shallow understanding of history and political evolution is of no consequence. In Pakistan, where fundamental problems of identity and political direction are not yet settled, this 6th grade “Pak studies” version of history, sociology and political science is not going to get far. In short, he is a confused man, with very superficial and shallow notions about politics and religion. Many of his everyday opinions are relatively liberal, but he has no idea where those liberal notions came from and how they are (or are not) compatible with other 6th grade Islamiat and Pakistan Studies BS he also holds dear.

ALL politicians repeat simplistic 6th grade bullshit in speeches because of practical exigencies of modern mass politics, but he (Imran Khan) repeats them because he doesnt know any better, THAT is a problem.

Courtesy » Brown Pundits

The dubious left – By Nadeem F. Paracha

Excerpt;

….. Benazir too always treated the PPP as a social democratic party. On her return from exile in 1986 when millions arrived to support her bold challenge against the pro-US dictatorship of Ziaul Haq, Dawn reported how during a mammoth rally in Lahore when some PPP radicals began torching a US flag, Benazir asked them to stop. And let’s not even get into how those media men who scorn at today’s ‘establishmentarian PPP’ and lament the loss of Benazir were the loudest in their condemnation of her being a ‘US stooge’ when she returned in 2007 to challenge Musharraf’s regime.

The truth is the PPP today is quite like what it has always been, i.e. a roller-coaster political soap opera involving bickering comrades, populist, joyous eruptions and heartbreaks. In other words, it is still very much a party that continues to reflect the emotional and intellectual disposition of its founder, Z A Bhutto: spontaneous, reckless and intriguingly, but at the same time highly pragmatic and somewhat Machiavellian.

Read more » DAWN.COM

Violence is unacceptable at all in Sindh, we condemn attacks on PMLN offices

– PML-N offices attacked, set ablaze in rural Sindh

KARACHI: Unknown miscreants attacked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) offices in different cities and towns of rural Sindh and set them ablaze late on Saturday, DawnNews reported.

Unknown attackers escaped after setting PML-N office in Hyderabad on fire, which was located on first floor of the district council building.

According to the watchman of the building four attackers opened fire and escaped after setting the building alight.

General secretary PML-N Hyderabad told DawnNews that PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif’s posters and pictures were also being burnt in different parts of the city.

NawabShah, Kindhkot, Jacobabad and Khairpur were among other cities where PML-N’s offices were targeted and set ablaze.

Residence of PML-N district chief’s brother in Sukker was also attacked with a petrol bomb, however no casualty was reported.

Sindh Home Minister Manzoor wasan ordered for the judicial inquiry of the incidents and asked IG Sindh police to submit report on priority basis.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM