Sunday, June 6, 2010

Beijing: In Power, But Not In Control

21 years after the Chinese Communist Party massacred thousands of peaceful protesters in Tiananmen Square, the same thugs are still ruling China and its occupied territories. They are still in power no doubt, but are they in control?

The answer to this question can be found in the Tiananmen Mothers, the fearless critics of Beijing's denial of history. Ignoring the threats of arrest from the police, the Tiananmen Mothers continue to demand that the government apologize for killing their sons and daughters on June 4, 1989. Last week they published a moving essay to commemorate their children who have been denied even their death.

The answer can be found in Tibet, where virtual martial law and surveillance cameras and rooftop snipers have not silenced the creative minds who continue to write about freedom, sing about their imprisoned friends, and call for Tibetans to observe civil disobedience to weaken the regime's hold over Tibet. Beijing has increased internet police and shut down cyber cafes, but that hasn't stopped the Tibetan blogosphere from churning out an endless stream of words affirming Tibetan identity, investigating Tibet's history, and advocating Tibet's future.

The answer is so simple it can be posed as a question: If Beijing cannot control a dozen elderly mothers, if Beijing cannot control six million Tibetans, how can it ever control one billion Chinese?