Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Civil Unrest in China

"The Chinese government has a choice: it can let people take their cases through the courts, or it can let them take to the street."

- Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch

The Beijing Justice Bureau has recently undergone the task of removing or refusing to renew registration of many successful Civil Rights lawyers. While China currently has its fair share of civil unrest, the city officials have turned to silencing the effort that keeps hope in the citizens of China that one day their social injustices will be brought to court and justly refuted. Many civil discrepancies in China focus around a past tainted milk scandal from recent years. Other surfacing problems include improper healthcare, land disputes, and forced evictions.

These problems sound similar to the problems faced by African Americans during the United States civil rights movement. We have seen in throughout the course of this class the struggle to overcome these problems. When African Americans would try to register to vote in small counties, forced evictions would become a problem, just as it is currently a problem in China. Also, the African American struggles can also be characterized by poverty that existed among the African American community during the civil rights era, which parallels the Chinese struggle related to poor living conditions through overpopulation and poverty.

The tactics employed to remove Civil Rights lawyer certification bare similarities to those tactics used to increase control over African Americans in the United States. The most popular tactic the Beijing Justice Bureau employs is the all too familiar taxing we have seen in the past. In a specific case in the Huffington Post from July 2009, the Beijing Justice Bureau targeted a specific nonprofit law firm for failing to register as a nonprofit forcing them to pay taxes on all activities over the last year as if their cases had generated the profits a typical law firm would, totaling over two hundred thousand dollars. We have seen this specific tactic at work in the form of poll taxes keeping African Americans from registering to vote.

Regarding the quote above, is it possible to predict the series of events that are about to unfold in Beijing? Can we expect similar riots and party formations as we have seen in the United States civil rights movements? To what degree will these injustices be carried before the Chinese government responds to the needs of its citizens?


1 comment:

  1. China and the United States are definitely dissimilar enough that the crisis will not unfold in the same way that it did here. Any unrest that does develop will most likely be put down immediately as protesters here were able to fully exercise freedom of speech and the right to organize.