Why is China so terrified of dissent?
The last year has seen an escalation in the harassment of dissidents by the Chinese authorities, leading some to claim that there is less freedom than before the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989
Because China was a totalitarian state and is now a highly authoritarian one. And in that transition from entirely oppressive to just mostly so there\’s always a worry among those doing the oppressing that they have liberalised too far. That having given and inch the people will take a mile.
They\’re also correct to worry so. The lesson of states that have liberalised a little bit is that you\’ll end up with a lot of liberalising (thankfully) unless someone is prepared to go out and shoot a few hundred/thousand people to stop it.
Another way of putting it: proper totalitarianism, however foul, is an equilibrium state. A \”you can have a bit of freedom here but not freedom there\”….say, some economic freedom but not political freedom, isn\’t. Oddly, it\’s not really political freedom in the sense of democracy which is the equilibrium state at the other end.
Neither Hong Kong nor Singapore would really be described as such but their near total economic and civil freedom (rather than democratic freedom) does seem to be an equilibrium.
Note please that this is not to praise places which only have two of the three freedoms: of course it is better to have all three for freedom and liberty are indeed more important than either equilibrium or economic success. This is just to note that the current Chinese situation doesn\’t seem to be stable. Thus the reactionary attempts to prevent movement in one, by those being reactionary, direction.