Though I now live in this beautiful Scottish town, far remote from my homeland, I know for a fact that China is facing some major difficulties.
1. “Li Gang is my father!”
A college student crushed two girls to death in Hubei University campus with his Volkswagen wheels. This drug-intoxicated man attempted a hit-and-run and, when finally arrested by the police, shouted, “Li Gang is my father!”. Li Gang is the Deputy Police Chief in the Beishi district of Baoding, Hubei Province.
The news of a “privileged” transgressor using his name to try and avoid punishment is pretty much unfindable in the Chinese media. However, the Chinese people are well aware that such things happen frequently. During the twenty years I have spent living in China, I have witnessed many other occurences of the sort. They just keep happening again and again, in slightly different ways.
2. “Shanghai is on fire!”
In Shanghai, as sixty residents of a building (all retired teachers) died in a fire, the entire city was in mourning. A few days later, the authorities announced that four suspects had already been arrested. The four suspects are migrant workers which have absolutely nothing to do with the incident; the true culprits can be found in the higher circles of the government, as (to put it simply) the fire was in fact part of a governmental business scheme. What is more, the Shanghai authorities secretly compelled the media to stop covering the story as the Shanghai Expo had only just ended.
Hundreds of thousands of Shanghai citizens gathered to show their sadness. This is the first time I hear about Chinese people gathering to voice their anger since the events of 1989. But their grief and anger transcends the mere evocation of the tragedy: it seems that after more than sixty years of passive acceptance, Chinese people can no more be propagandized and manipulated by their authorities. They just want to say, “We are not stupid! It is time to stop fooling us!”
3. “CPI is higher than we expected but within control!”
Of course this is a lie. China is now suffering from serious inflation. Note that most Chinese people’s income is about one tenth of that of British people; but now they have to pay the same price as British people do, if you take into account the exchange rate of 1:10.6.
For two years, since the 2008 economic crisis, the Chinese government and some so-called “scholars” had kept on saying that there would be no serious inflation, and even if there was it would be easily controlled. About 8 trillion RMB has been invested into the market, especially into the construction of infrastructure; as a result, many ordinary people’s homes were taken away by the central and local governments.
Most Chinese people have never enjoyed the prosperity brought about by economic development; and now they are back to being poor. Again.
It is therefore necessary to realize that China is not all about economic boost – nor will it ever be.