Human Rights in Post-Olympic China
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Chinese government broke its promise to the international community after it was chosen to host the Olympics. The Beijing Olympics should be considered as an event only, not a milestone. Its effect on China’s politics and social transformation must not be overestimated. Some scholars believe that “Beijing embraces classical fascism.” I don’t share this belief. In my opinion, it doesn’t have this ability. Judging from some incidents, we can really see signs of political fascism, such as collusion between officials and organized crime, collusion between officials and bandits, growth of the secret police, law enforcement turning into organized crime gangs, widespread torture, shooting civilian protestors, and nationalism incited by the official media. However, it is unlikely that China as a whole will move toward fascism.
A human rights movement based on grassroots activism for the masses’ personal interests is in full swing in China. Though the government has never relaxed its suppression, the game pattern between the state and the public is turning in the direction of benefiting the legal system. Hardliners and reactionaries inside the government have lost power to strangle the multi-faceted human rights movement in society as a whole. The rapid development of the Internet has made it more technologically difficult to control information. The opening up of information and the convenience of communication have in turn further woken up the awareness of democratic rights and promoted the mobilization of a human rights movement. Moving toward a true republic is a mighty trend of the world and times. I don’t see any force that is strong enough to enable post-Olympics China to go upstream and return to classic totalitarianism.
Still, hosting one Olympics cannot change the judicial system, the news system, or nature of the regime. China’s democratic progress needs the continued growth of civil rights awareness, continued spreading of the idea of freedom, and continued growth of social movements. During this process, the weak, the demonstrators, and the pioneers will be subjected to suffering and must pay a price.