I have just returned from a productive but exhausting research trip to the countryside of Heilongjiang, China’s most northeasterly province. In one county, I was 200 km from the Russian border. More on the adventures will come.
I just had to repost this incredibly amusing piece that I found at Prof. Brad DeLong’s blog on “Chinese Society.”
In comments, Tom H. provides his diary entry from his lunch with Chinese Society:
Grasping Reality with Both Hands: Brad DeLong’s Semi-Daily Journal: Thomas P.M. Barnett Is Unhappy with the Fearmongers: [Thomas Barnett] “It is a self-liquidating model: eventually the society wants more political freedom to go with that wealth.”
[Tom H:] Note to diary: Lunched with Chinese Society today. She had the noodle soup. I ate a hamburger. Things are going well for Society. Thriving factories, rising middle class, new roads going everywhere. But I could tell she was secretly unhappy. I urged her to confide. She looked around for eavesdroppers, and then leaned close to whisper: “I want more political freedom. I mean, not yet exactly, but when I get a little wealthier.” She urged me to get the message out as soon as I returned to the States.
I explained to Society that I have my own blog, and I’m often quoted by others as an authority. I promised to pass along her important message to the American people. Then she paid the check – so liberated!
Posted by: TomH | May 22, 2007 at 07:25 AM
The poor farmers of Heilongjiang face radically different conditions and problems than do the poor farmers of Jiangsu, let alone the middle class office workers in Beijing or Shanghai. “Chinese society” is not a unitary rational actor.