Friday, April 8, 2016

The Price of Freedom in China? Four-and-a-half years ....

"Freedom is priceless."
(Read about the blue banner protesters on
China has sentenced two activists to 4-1/2 years in prison.

Their "crime"? Displaying a blue banner with the words "Freedom Is Priceless! Support Hong Kong’s Fight for Freedom" (during the Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong eighteen months ago).

Oh yes -- and they were asking some unpleasant questions about bank accounts of Chinese leaders and their families.

(Well that's embarrassing -- just as the Panama Papers are exposing the massive offshore accounts of China's elite . . . . )

Here's my question: when are US business leaders going to start to question the risks their investments face in a country in which information doesn't flow freely? Or do they think that what they don't know -- don't see, don't hear, don't listen for, don't look for -- can't hurt them?

Don'tcha think it would be better to stop sweeping things under the rug, and let the chips fall where they may?

Related posts

When you hear "panda," think "China jails journalists." Yes, pandas are soft, cuddly, cute, and adorable . . . . They're also black and white and live behind bars.

(See CHINA: What's Black and White and Lives Behind Bars?)

Can you think of a concrete symbol of a social protest movement that has gained as much traction?

(See HONG KONG'S UMBRELLA: An Icon for the Ages )

Beijing has an intuitive understanding that, in a way that is determined by conditions of unequal information, it can monolithically dictate terms, and that other, "distributed," parties will be hard-pressed to stand up to those terms. Specifically, Beijing observes a cynical cost/benefit calculus which says, "Sure, a few players will always wise up and exercise their options to move away from us; but, by and large, everyone else is too paralyzed to move."

(See Merry Christmas, Mr. Liu: The Prisoner's Dilemma in China)

"How can it be that no one is speaking directly to what happened?" I wondered. "Should I say something? Is it just me? Can it be possible that most people aren't like me, tremendously troubled by how we should respond to what has happened in China?"

(See Remember June 4)