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Brittney Stewart

Special Education Aide, education

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When will China be free?

What will it take for China to end its human rights abuses? With the burgeoning youth of China becoming acutely aware of the oppressive nature of their government, how long do you think it will take them to change this, or convince the goverment to change? Will it be a revolution like Tunisia or Libya, if so would the U.S. aid the rebels? Will it happen in the next decade or continue to bubble beneath the surface?

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  • Oct 24 2011: I think the main flaw in this question has to come from the view that China is not 'free'. Freedom is simply one persons perspective on a situation, and not a universal truth. The 'freedom' we have in the west may be of a very different nature to that in china. However who are we to say that it is better.
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      Oct 27 2011: That reminds me of Voltaire. Man is free at the moment he chooses to be.
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        Oct 27 2011: QUOTE: "That reminds me of Voltaire. Man is free at the moment he chooses to be."

        Even in China?
        • Oct 27 2011: I'm don't think that's exactly what I meant. I mean that what volataire would have thought of man being free may be very different from a Chinese view of freedom. Where in the west freedom may be the ability to speak against the government, elsewhere it may be that freedom comes from equality or a 'freedom from suffering'.
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      Oct 27 2011: Hi Benjamin,

      Yes, that's exactly right. And it is a point that many people do not seem to understand: different cultures, and different people define "freedom" in different ways.

      In the West "freedom" is usually interpreted, in part, as freedom of the individual to do what they want; in China "freedom" is interpreted, in part, as freedom to fulfill one's responsibility.

      The West interprets "Chinese" freedom as restrictive ("'They' have to do what they are responsible for, so they are not "free" to choose otherwise.); China interprets Western freedom as adolescent or childish ("I want to do what I want, and if I can't do it, I'm going to pout and stomp my feet.")

      The West views "Chinese 'freedom'" as restrictive; the Chinese view it as responsible (and a privilege.)

      China views "Western 'freedom'" as irresponsible and selfish; the West view it as individual liberty (and a right.)

      A difference is the West feels it is their right to define Chinese freedom in Western terms; China, while they do have an opinion, also have the maturity to keep it to themselves.

      I expect that might change as China becomes the most powerful nation on earth. But maybe not.

      Another difference is that Westerners, in general, seem incapable of defining freedom in any terms other than their own, again, demonstrating what to the Chinese is seen as an intellectual weakness.

      For example, Westerners will have a tendency to read a sentence like that and retort with a whole series of "Yeah buts." Yeah but, look at what you cannot do in China. Yeah but, look at the bad stuff going on in China. Yeah but, look, China is not like the West. [No kidding!. Who would have guessed?] Yeah but, if the Chinese knew what "real freedom was" they would choose "Western freedom." [Like the Chinese cannot actually see what Western freedom is, and might choose to reject it for a more socially responsible form of freedom.]

      Personally, I do not define "freedom" in Western or Chinese terms. So I just notice.

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