Friday, July 16, 2010

North Korea facing collapse, China facing change

I just read this insightful New Yorker article titled, "Is North Korea Finally Facing Collapse?" by Barbara Demick.

For the people of North Korea, living in perpetual famine under a ruthless dictator, the best thing that can happen actually might be the collapse of their state. It will provide the opening, if nothing else, for the birth of a real nation liberated from the oppressive system engineered by the Kim dynasty.

As a Tibetan, I'm interested in what will happen to China in the event of a North Korean collapse. Dictators have a tradition of looking out for each other - a sort of a brotherhood among thugs. Beijing has been propping up the regimes in North Korea and Burma and Sudan, and these countries give their votes to China in return.

But when North Korea changes, China will be left as one of the only countries in Asia that are nondemocratic and oppressive. Might this phenomenon rush China toward democratic change? Or might it make Beijing even more defensive and careful about keeping their stranglehold on power?

There is no doubt Beijing will fight harder to delay democracy. But if the one billion Chinese fight back, there's no doubt who will win.