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Video postcard: After the rally, a march in Wukan

When the rally was done today, the entire crowd stood up and began to march through this Chinese village that has rebelled against local police and officials. They stretched into a line that was longer than the eye could see.

Reviewing the video, I noticed that many people glanced over their shoulder, to something off camera when they passed by. They were looking at the barricade erected at the mouth of the village, where a jumble of downed trees keeps the police out, but a Chinese flag waves atop a tall bamboo pole.

China video postcard: A rally in Wukan

Leaders of the local uprising in Wukan held a rally in downtown today -- a regular occurrence since police and officials abandoned the village in the face of local anger over allegations of massive land grabs. I shot a quick video of the crowd doing call and response before the main speakers took the microphone.

The crowd made sure to praise the Communist Party of China and ask for help from the central government. It also screamed that local officials are corrupt and demanded that their land be returned.

It's not at all clear what will happen here. For the time being, the fact that an entire village has gone into revolt in a nation known for strict social control is remarkable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

China postcard: Checkpoint Wukan

Am just back from a trip to a couple checkpoints here in Wukan, the Chinese village in open revolt against local officials and police, and wanted to pass along some photographs. (My stories from the past two days can be founding by clicking here and here.)

IMG_0844
Journalist moped convoy

Food at cp
People from nearby villages bringing food

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Chinese flag, tied to bamboo pole, flaps above villagers' checkpoint

Images from Wukan

I am on my second day in Wukan, the village that has rebelled against government control on China. (My story from last night can be found by clicking here.) Some images from today:

IMG_0836
Mourners at funeral service for Xue Jinbo

IMG_0838
Mourners at funeral service for Xue Jinbo

IMG_0835
An abandoned government building in Wukan

IMG_0827
Crowd at memorial service-rally in Wukan

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Crowd at memorial service-rally in Wukan

China is fully committed to democracy! Who says? The Communist Party of China.

I was at dinner in a hotel a couple days ago and, having finished the only book I had and with little to do that evening, I picked up a copy of China Daily to give it a second look.

There in the Comment section was a lengthy speech by Dong Yunhu, vice minister of the State Council Information Office. The headline: "China fully committed to democracy."

A few passages called for further contemplation, including:

“China’s democracy is to implement the rule of law. It is an important 

principle for China’s building of political democracy to integrate the 

people’s status as masters  of the country and the rule of law.”

and ...

"The grassroots democratic self-governance system is the most effective

and widely-used way for the people to directly exercise their democratic

rights and realize their positions as masters of the country.”

and …

“China’s democracy is to put people first, respect and safeguard human 

rights."

The full text of the speech can be found by clicking here.

 

 

America, China and the map

"America's first Pacific President"

--President Barack Obama, referring to himself, November 2009 speech in Tokyo.

Mapeasiaoceania

After writing a story this week about foreign affairs observers in China and their views on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's trip to Myanmar, I got out the map. There are some in Beijing, perhaps many, who see Washington's push in Asia and the Pacific as a campaign toward encirclement or, dusting off the Cold War term, containment.

American officials strenuously deny the suggestion, saying they want to engage the region as a whole, including China. 

I wondered what it would look like if one plotted out recent trips (I picked 2010 and 2011) to the neighborhood by Obama, Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden.

Above is a decidedly unscientific attempt along those lines, with the red dots for Obama, the blue for Clinton and green for Biden. (Again, unscientific -- am sure I've missed something, and this isn't plotted versus two-year periods of previous administrations, etc.) It strikes me that the map's message is in the eye of the beholder. If you throw in Obama's trip to China in 2009, it suggests the blanket approach that the Americans have claimed. And there are, of course, many non-China reasons for trips to places like Pakistan and Russia.

But if you don't trust the United States and see its increased engagement in Asia as a way of hemming in China's rise, well, it might suggest that too.

As we noted on Wednesday:

"When President Barack Obama said Nov. 18 that Clinton would visit Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, he emphasized 'flickers of progress' by President Thein Sein and American desires to 'empower a positive transition.' He said he'd received support for U.S. engagement from Myanmar's most famous democracy activist, Aung San Suu Kyi.

A senior Obama administration official said later that day, speaking anonymously as a condition of the briefing, that 'it's about Burma, not about China.'

But the backdrop of Obama's announcement suggested that China and its clout in the region were very much on the minds of those in his administration.

Obama announced Clinton's trip while he was attending a summit in Bali, Indonesia, where American officials pushed for an open discussion of China's ongoing territorial disputes with neighbors in the South China Sea. It was a conversation, with Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in the room, that China had very much wanted to avoid.

A day earlier, Obama had told the Australian Parliament that the United States had made a 'deliberate and strategic decision, as a Pacific nation' to take 'a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future.' While in Australia, he unveiled plans to post a rotating group of 2,500 U.S. Marines in the country."



 

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Tom

"China Rises" is written by Tom Lasseter, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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