Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

It all Belongs to the Emperor

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 3, 2009


I was just shutting down the pc and feeling sorry for, uh, those people who must use proxies etc. to access sites that some governments decided to block…

I wondered just how many spy bots my pc may contain ( many articles on this one here, or here), the government has supposedly backed of on many mandates, but who knows.

As I pondered it, it struck me. Historically in China, EVERYTHING belonged to the emperor. Thousands of years ago, you may say. Well, not really, actually China operated as a feudal society until 1911, so we are talking thousands of years. In modern times, the situation doesnt look better. Under the formation of the PRC, all private property was taken away. Actually this was a concept philosophically similar to her history. Over the past 3 millenia, the people had around 44 years to get things, then had it stripped away.

That right was not given back until 2004…Yeah, which means that basically if you are over the age of 5, you lived a life where you literally had NOTHING of your own, it all belonged to the emperor or party. (Actually the law was really finalized in 2007, so I could have modified the previous statement to read 2 years old.  article here, or here, and here).

Then it became clear, historically everything belonged to some leader who was not me, to this era of people, I really have few rights, my pc should be open to the use of the state as they wish. It is odd to live here and witness this strange dichotomy of fierce capitalism from the west and some of  the strong handed policies. I guess it is probably more difficult for me as I dont want rights taken away, but would be relatively easy to accept if the whole notion of private property took so long to develop.

Beijing is a great place, irrespective of the details…

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