The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


"In heaven there is the Thunder God, on earth there is Lufeng and Wukan."

Wukan? Have you heard of it? I had not, until now. And what a way to have a grand introduction! A report published in the online edition of The Telegraph titled Rebel Chinese village of Wukan 'has food for ten days' caught the eye to read more, to know more.

Wukan’s rise to fame owes to the resilience of the villagers who have overthrown the communist government officials as well as the rich and affluent of the village protesting the seizure of their farmland in an economically developed area of China. If one goes to google Wukan (knowing it’s a place somewhere in China), one would not find the usual Wikipedia link that tells us about less than ordinary status of the place in the Guangdong province on China. But at the same time, one would find nine out of the ten links on the front page of the Google ‘Wukan’ search reporting on the ongoing crisis in Wukan. That would now give enough of the information about Wukan. And soon we may expect a friendly Wikipedia page on the village.

But for the moment, it is about exemplary courage of the villagers put perfectly by one of the villagers in the form of an ancient saying given above. The trouble started in September when the villagers refused their farmland to the China’s major real estate developer, Country Garden, the report says. The unrest was brewing and the fury spilled over on street after the death of Xue Jinbo, a village representative, in police custody. His family alleges he was killed by the police. Xue Jinbo was one of the 13 temporary representatives working to reach at a settlement between the local administration and the villagers on the issue of land seizure. Five of these members were taken away by the police on December 9. Fearing that more of them could be taken away, villagers set up blockades that resulted in clashes with the police next morning. The police had to retreat to the checkpoints and now the access to the village is blocked.

Now this fishing village of 20,000 is under police siege of 1000 armed policemen and is cordoned off with almost of the supply lines cut. The villagers are firm that they will not budge come what may and are ready to starve to death. Many of them have started rationing their daily meals in order to maximize the food reserve that is enough to hold out for 10 more days.

  • Wukan’s incident is symbolic of problems China is going to face in the future.
  • Wukan crisis is symbolic of the indicators that say China may fall under its own weight if it doesn’t go for political and civilian reform process soon.
  • Wukan crisis is an endorsement of the reports that talk about growing social disparity, widening urban-rural divide, corruption and collusion involving every level of the administration and unbridled run of the industries backed by the politicians of China.
This can happen only in China. On December 12, they allowed some food to go in but no one can leave the village without signing the name (and signing on government records in China is scary when you look to take a stand against the communist part government, sayings of the days of China’s factory systems tell this), students can’t go to the schools in the nearby town as buses are not allowed to enter the village, main business of fishing is stopped, fishermen can’t leave the port.

What a novel way to crush the genuine public grievances! Make your own people aliens! Make your own people enemies! Put them in conditions like starving to death! It also happens in China.

A segment from one of my earlier write-ups, ( on China when it had vehemently opposed the Peace Nobel to Liu Xiaobo, a relevant add-on here:

For China, democracy has a different definition: Off late, there has been much media debate, locally as well as globally about Wen Jiabao’s comments on political restructuring and democracy. But all this talk is within the realm of maintaining ‘one-party’ supremacy and here China finds people like Xiaobo difficult to assimilate in its fold who demand the universal definition of democracy to be applied. One of the demands in the ‘Charter 08’ is establishment of the multi-party system in China, a blasphemy by the standards of the Chinese elite of the day.

Though having a very narrow spectrum, the economic liberalization has started making a dent in the Chinese fortress of one way entry and government fears voices like Liu may give fuel to the unrest that is already being reported. Let’s come to some economic indicators and what they foretell about China of tomorrow.

1978, when China opened up its economy, its rural and urban per-capita income was $19.6 and $50.3 that shot to $606.2 and $2018.4, respectively, in 2007. According to latest World Bank figures, the current Chinese per capita income is $3,590. Though impressive growth, the perception about its prowess and mighty status, militarily as well as economically, that the world’s most populous country has been very deliberately developing since 1978, has an inherent risk and it makes people like Xiaobo even more relevant and the decision to award him Peace Nobel a proper one.

China’s per capita income was 2.52% of that of US in 1980 that improved to the level of 4.05% of US per capita income in 2005. Current per capita income of US is around $40,000. So the gap is huge. Chinese rulers are feeding its middle class base with a dream of life of luxury in the days ahead when China will be world’s largest economy. It is already the second largest when it overtook Japan last quarter. China’s GDP for the last quarter totaled $1.337 trillion ($1.288 trillion-Japan) that is 90 times bigger than what China had in 1978. The dream to chase and bridge this gap is presently the prevailing nationalist sentiment among the burgeoning Chinese middle class. Their income is growing and no doubt, China has tried to distribute the gains to its rural areas too, and where its corrupt system has failed it. Here we need to remember the treatment meted out to the poor while evicting them out of Shanghai and Beijing.

Even by the most liberal estimations, here China might fail in the coming future. Once people are fed-up of what they have achieved, they look for the next level. And the problem is, the swift pace of change in recent times ($2018.4 per capita income to $3,590 in just three year) has made the middle class sentiment change even swifter. The economy growth is bound to slow down and even stagnate in coming years. But, by then China will have a middle class thriving on technological sophistication, connected more to the world and to the Diaspora, and demanding for more and more. When such a huge and aspiring middle class doesn’t get its ends met, it starts questioning the state policies. And given the large population bases, it seems like an unachievable task for countries like India and China to surpass the per-capita income of developed countries, if we talk in terms of the perceivable future.  

The system that China has right now cannot handle it as it has fed its people with a very glossy future, to the very same people who have survived the Chinese Cultural Revolution and its factory and rationing system. Anyone who is aware of China’s factory system and social habitation built around it, very well knows about its darkness. Chinese middle class will do anything to run away from it. They cannot not be treated like they were before 1978. But in a crisis situation now, they won’t have any alternatives to look for to express their dissatisfaction, like in a democracy, and that is bound to fuel the unrest. Alternative was out of question way back in 1978. But, is China of the day in a situation to adopt crushing tactics like the Tiananmen? Certainly not. It needs to give its citizens options in case of unrest and it has to decide its formations and configuration.

A crisis situation is handled well by a country when it believes in its subjects, the citizens, to say more aptly a democracy that China is not. It can begin a process by assimilating voices like Liu in the mainstream. It should welcome its first Nobel Prize as a way forward to propagate a healthy national debate on political reforms. Economical and political reforms have to be complimentary otherwise China may fall due to its own weight. It cannot have the definition of democracy that it is trying to propagate in the name of political reforms. It needs to have a democracy like that propounded in the ‘Charter 08’. 

Otto Hermann Kahn has very rightly said: The deadliest foe of democracy is not autocracy but liberty frenzied.
YouTube video link: CCP's Reprisal Triggers Mass Protest

All the photographs are sourced from the Internet:

Photo courtesy: The Telegraph

Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty Images

Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty Images

Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty Images