Saturday, February 26, 2011

From Tahrir Square to Tiananmen Square

Yesterday, I learned that the jasmine flower is believed to have originated from Tibet! If this is true, there is a poignant serendipity in the fact that "Jasmine" has come to be a term applied to the revolution in Tunisia, and now it has become a banned word in China. In fact, "Jasmine" has not only been banned as a word, but it's been banned also as a flower.

Last Sunday, when Chinese responding to an online call for a Jasmine rally turned up outside a McDonald's in Beijing, they were immediately arrested. A few Chinese were arrested for carrying jasmine flowers in their hands!

First they banned "Egypt." Then they banned "Jasmine." What will they ban next?

Click here to read a longer article I wrote in the Huffington Post, explaining why China is not immune to the winds of change blowing from the Arab world.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tahrir vs Tiananmen

The Chinese govt is censoring the words "Egypt" and "Cairo" online, because obviously they're scared to death of the infectious nature of peaceful uprisings. I can't help secretly thinking what a great moment this would be for the Chinese people to rise up for democracy, and apply the lessons they've learned from the Tiananmen Square movement. Or will China miss the boat again?

How is Tahrir Square different from Tiananmen Square? That is a question worth asking, even though history is still unfolding in Tahrir Square as Egyptians are holding their ground against Mubarak's thugs.

Will Egypt succeed where China failed? And why did Tiananmen fail in 1989 in spite of the hope and idealism with which the movement began? It is worthwhile to examine the strategic and tactical flaws that prevented the Tiananmen movement from succeeding.

If the democratic uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt spread to China today, are the Chinese people better prepared for the fight?