There is much for Three Percenters to learn from the way technology is aiding the Iranian Greens as they seek greater freedom from the kleptocracy of the mullahs. However, contrarian that I am, I have not been giving the bulk of my attention to the riveting story of Neda and the street clashes with the religious militia thugs. No, like the trooper walking drag in a combat patrol, I've been keeping my eye on our strategic rear. I have been watching China. The incident described below by Malcolm Moore of the London Telegraph found here is of greater long-term strategic importance to the United States and the cause of liberty world-wide than the success or failure of the Iranian Green Revolution. Not that I don't hope the Greens succeed, but even in the unlikely event that it does I doubt that it will stop the Iranian nuclear threat or their support for Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.
But China . . . China is another thing.
Much has been said about the ability of the Chinese to bring down the American dollar with a shrug. And it is true, they can, thanks to our spendthrift leadership. But this is why they can't. Not easily. Not without fatal consequences to their own regime. The PRC communist Politburo cannot risk the Chinese people discovering their own strength. Talk about sleeping giants! More on the other side.
Tens of thousands of Chinese fight the police in Shishou
By Malcolm Moore
It was a dramatic weekend in the relatively small city of Shishou in Hubei province.
Tens of thousands of rioters torched a hotel and overturned police cars, after the authorities allegedly tried to cover up the murder of a 24-year-old man as a suicide.
The deceased, Tu Yuangao, was the chef of the Yong Long hotel. According to the cops, he committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the building and left a note.
Witnesses said there was no blood on the scene and Tu's body was already cold just after it hit the ground. His parents were surprised at the suicide note, since he was allegedly illiterate.
There are plenty of rumours flying around - that two other employees at the hotel had died in the same way, that the boss of the hotel is related to the mayor of Shishou, that the hotel was a centre for the local drug business and Yu was killed for threatening to expose what was going on. There's also a rumour that three further bodies have been found at the hotel.
It's a strange story, and it gets stranger. A huge mob, of anywhere between a few thousand to 70,000 people, depending on which report you read, quickly gathered outside the building. Tu's parents refused to let his body be taken away, and instead placed it inside the hotel on ice.
The crowd defended the body against waves of policemen. However, on Saturday, a fire was lit inside the hotel, but the corpse was saved. Tu's cousin apparently armed himself with two barrels of gasoline and threatened to blow himself up if the body was taken.
The police restored order yesterday, imposed a curfew and took the body to a funeral parlour. Today, the website of the local government has been defaced by hackers.
What's extraordinary is the speed in which the riot blew up, and the venom directed against the local authorities. Whatever was behind Tu's death, there's clearly something rotten in Shishou.
But after months of calm, there have been a spate of reported riots recently. Is this because media restrictions have been lifted, allowing news of riots to spread, or has there been a genuine increase in social tension in the countryside?
It is impossible to tell. China no longer publishes the figures for how many riots take place each year, but most people put the figure at around 80,000 and the vast majority go totally unnoticed.
The fact that there have been a dozen riots reported in the last couple of months may not demonstrate anything out of the ordinary. There is no theme that connects the recent protests - some are about property, some have been triggered by work disputes, some are because of corruption.
But then again, a huge number of migrant workers are still out of work because their factories have not recovered from the economic crisis, the harvest is finished and people's savings may be running low. Perhaps the tinderbox is drier than usual.
The dry tinder of millions of unemployed Chinese, smarting under a regime which has sold out its ideological patrimony for the Marxist equivalent of a mess of pottage -- betting its entire legitimacy in the process on the very un-Marxist concept of prosperity -- can easily flare up into a prairie fire that will burn the PRC's Politburo elite to the ground.
They dare not deliberately increase this pool of discontent without an alternative. War? That has been the fallback plan of despots throughout history when faced with restive populations. But with who? Only if Barack Obama has given them a wink and a nod on Taiwan would they dare cross the Strait, even with the sellout KMT party now in power willing to sell the whole show for private profit.
No, war would probably bring them down too. Marxists have long studied the original Bolsheviks and how they toppled the Tsar together with willing useful idiots in the wake of an unsuccessful war. There are plenty examples from Chinese history as well. The PRC Politburo is riding a tiger, and it is a tiger that is acutely self-aware, despite Google-bought censorship, of things like the Iranian Greens, and the Ukrainian Oranges, etc.
No prosperity equals no stability, and I suspect that a Tienanmen Square now might put their whole Chinese Communist Party spinning down the Tidy Bowl of history. But what will they do?
I don't know.
The Chinese people are a great people, a magnificent culture, old and wise beyond our years. If they ever get shed of collectivism in all its forms, they will show us all how we should have done when we had the chance. Imagine their billions freed from centralized tyranny, working harder than anyone else in the world ever has, with the possible exception of our Founders, luxuriating in liberty and opportunity. Their rising tide could float the boats of the world. But will it?
I don't know. But I'm keeping at least one eye open for what will prove to the truly thunderous historical event of the 21st Century. And it will come, I guarantee you, out of China.
Count on it.
The alleged leader of a merry band of Three Percenters.