Monday, July 20, 2009

One perspective on the pyschological landscape of Modern China

Image of Mao Ze Dong from Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China.Dear Gentle Reader,

The social contract in modern China is something like this:

We, the State, provide you, the Worker, with the privilege of the opportunity to make more money; we grant you economic liberties.

In return, you, the Worker, agree to not seek other liberties, or to cause unrest which would perturb the equanimity of the State.

Chinese people, the Workers, have largely accepted and signed onto this social contract in modern China.

And, all good contracts need enforcement clauses.

The following are images that one sees if one dips off the tourist routes onto the locals' pathways, onto the traveller's routes.

Apart from troubled regions, where the social compact appears to be crumbling, or where parties feel that the other side's fulfillment of the bargain has not been maintained, these images are not intended as a show of force per se; they are intended as a reminder of the potential enforcement mechanism, should it be required.

Image of a heavily armed PLA (People's Liberation Army) solider.

Image of a naval team found in Shenzhen's domestic air terminal, Guangdong Province, China.Image of a PLA special forces unit in China.
Image of the symbol of a military garrison located in the centre of a major tourist destination in China.

Image of regular People's Liberation Army soldiers going to daily guarding duties in Yunnan Province, China.

Image of the State, China.



Teresa said...

Excellent post, Chris. Each picture is worth more than 1000 words, so there is not much more to say.

murat11 said...


It's an interesting syncretism of capitalism and the authoritarian state. Not completely unlike that found here, though the "potential enforcement reminders" are positioned farther out of view, and to an extent, are internalized via the myths (to my mind) of capitalism as pre-eminent eco-system. No, I am not suggesting that ours is an authoritarian state, but the jingoism of capitalism begs to be left alone and unquestioned.

Sepiru Chris said...

Dear Teresa,

I thought that you would appreciate this.

Dear Murat,

I also strongly suspected that you would draw the parallel that you did, Murat, and I concur wholeheartedly.


Barrie said...

Those photos really show a strong message. I would be uncomfortable walking past that first soldier--the one with the gun the size of New York.

Heidelweiss said...

Fabulous post. Scares the hell out of me.

Teresa said...

It's good to be scared, Hedelweiss. We need more information balancing China's systematic propaganda blitz around the world. They call it "smile diplomacy." This is the side of China they don't want outsiders to see or hear about. Hence all the blocked blogs from Urumqi and other hot spots.

Barbara Martin said...

This is not unlike what I saw shortly after 9/11 in England at the airports or in the Tube in London. A show of force puts fear into the people just as it was intended.

Take care, Chris, as the internet has eyes.

Cloudia said...


Missed ya, buddy. glad to see this post. Hope your absence wasn't because you were being, um, disciplined. This post a mea culpa?

Grab Pommes and RUN!!!!
(Our wise heroine no doubt is OK)

Comfort Spiral

Travis Erwin said...

Teresa is right. great pics.