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« A Taoist Thanksgiving | Main | Head on »

November 25, 2005


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Thanks for the trackback on the Peking Duck entry I posted (I pinch-blog for Richard, the site owner, at times). I wanted to take this opportunity to mention that an article you published a few years back in the Los Angeles Times, about Daoism, your son and becoming Chinese, was so meaningful to me that I clipped it and saved it and still have it. Used it for an oral presentation in my Chinese class, in fact.

Thanks for that!

You stated about the tragedy in China, "This is old-fashioned Leninist secrecy at its worst, and it kills people."

I beg to disagree with your analysis. Secrecy is the domain of government -- whether that government be Leninist, a dictatorship, a monarchy OR a democracy.

Think of 3 Mile Island. Though the threat was serious, for several days OUR government downplayed the severity. OUR government didn't tell the people downwind from Hanford (in Washington) of releases of radioactive materials for over a decade!

In fact, US history is littered with similar incidents.

In my estimation, the problem is power. Those in power (whatever the political system) don't want the public to question their legitimacy. If people KNEW the risks a government placed its people under, it would place that legitimacy in question.

Therefore, the tendency is to leave people in the dark. It's far easier AND cheaper (in the short-term).

I agree with you partially. It is true that deception and secrecy are to be found in any governmnet, and they must be eternally struggled against by citizens. But that struggle is harder, much harder, in a Leninist political system than in the US. Bush and Co. have taken deception to new levels, but I can write about them, condemn them, organize against them. My Chinese friends cannot do that in their own country. Indeed, this blog, as politically innocuous as it is, cannot be read in China; it is blocked. So, yes, secrecy is a problem for every people; but it is a bigger problem for people facing harsher political repression.

Point taken.

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