Unrest in Ferguson: China's state-run Huanqiu poses a novel question

about the crisis: how do Americans cope so well with a problem that

would much more greatly disturb Chinese?



How Does U.S. Remain Calm in the Face of Ferguson Riots? (Huanqiu, China)


The Ferguson riots have been cause of some soul-searching in Beijing – but not for the reasons one might think. According to this editorial from state-run Huanqiu, such social unrest would create great concern in China, whereas in the United States there appears to be a sense that this crisis, like so many others, will soon pass. In seeking to explain this, the editorial confesses that this may reflect a lack of Chinese self-confidence.




Translated By John Chen


December 2, 2014


People's Republic of China - Huanqiu - Original Article (Chinese)

Riots triggered by a grand jury decision not to indict a White policeman who shot a Black teenager have spread to about 170 cities nationwide. After deploying some 2,200 National Guardsman to forcibly suppress people where the riots began in Ferguson, Missouri, the situation seems under control, although the impact on American public opinion is extremely pronounced.


CNN and other high-profile U.S. media outlets declared that "America has a problem" and The New York Times said that Ferguson residents regard the police as an "occupying force." When increasing numbers of people express suspicion toward law enforcement agencies, it poses a huge threat to the structure of the country. Some time ago, media outlets reported on a survey that showed that more than half of Americans believe that their political and economic systems are broken.  


If such a situation were to prevail in a developing country, it would be considered similar to a "color revolution." Yet even if American society has numerous vexing difficulties, on the whole the country remains calm. Barring any major surprises, the current pretests will soon cool. Such is the view of a majority of America's elite.  


Where does this confidence come from? Some people believe it derives from the American system itself. That is too simplistic to be accurate. Yet some American elites aren't concerned about the rioting in Ferguson and continue to act with composure and self confidence. Nevertheless, the media response shows that self-confidence is wavering and the nation is shaken.


U.S. social confidence has a number of sources.


First, the U.S. is the largest developed country with a high standard of living and GDP, and cannot be compared to a resource-limited country like Japan. The gap in per capita incomes might be small, but at the end of the day the United States has far more potential staying power.


Second, America's global standing is great, and on a number of major global issues it has the final say. Every so often when a problem arises that would hobble a small country, it serves to verify U.S. strength.


Third is the preeminence of U.S. soft power and the perception that the country is has the world's "least bad" system – a statement that so many Americans believe. It has become almost a mainstream conviction of American society to say that the system of the United States is not a good one, but there are no countries with anything better. Therefore, some U.S. leaders remain unmoved, seeing that U.S. society is in crisis from time to time but remain sure these will pass.


Will this always be the case? Probably not. One hypothesis asks: If China overtakes the United States as the leading economy the world and the standard of living in the world's most populous nation rivals that of the United States - will American society remain so confident?


Resource consumption in emerging countries will certainly have to rise for the foreseeable future, perhaps even doubling. This will squeeze consumer consumption in the U.S. and Europe and will indeed have an impact on the confidence of American society.

Posted by Worldmeets.US


Understanding of politics is rooted in the material world, as is the looting that took place in Ferguson. Yet in the United States, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Ukraine or Egypt, preconceptions and many other subjective elements decide how distinctive interpretations are given to riots and protests.


Certain factors make China wary of political instability because they are supported by the West, and when elaborated, Western positions have significant influence here. China's political system is still at an early stage when compared to its Western counterparts, and it still needs "nurturing" in order to develop the "sophistication" to deal a variety of issues more confidently.


The Ferguson riots show that the United States is probably more riven by social problems than China, particularly since the U.S., if not in "decline," is no longer "rising" like China is today. We must consider the question of why American society can remain calm as a whole, whereas if confronted with similar issues, Chinese society would have a far greater sense of concern. This could reflect more of an awareness of crisis in China, but it may also be due to a lack of self-confidence. In order to rebuild that confidence, we need to understand the root causes of the problem rather than look for the right prescription in the United States.




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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Dec. 2, 10:19pm]










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