As I write this post, I am unsure of what the title should be. I am pretty sure media have all along painted a bleak picture of the Chinese ‘Communist’ Government in how it restricts human rights, makes dissidents and activists pay for their disobedience. What if the Chinese Government does this for the sake of public security? Remember the Tiananmen incident? Everytime there is a revolution, it causes a huge loss to the economy of a nation, the exodus of people from the nation and a stall in any infrastructure projects. I mean who would want to visit a nation or invest in projects where there is political stability? Thus the only way for China to prosper is to maintain political stability and ensure continued economic growth to support the development of the nation. If we look at this bigger picture, we can perhaps look at the perspective at which China goes after activists, dissidents and organizations that aim to de-stabilize the state of equilibrium. After all, if someone is to mess up my work desk, I would try to make that person ‘pay for it’.
And that is precisely what the US Government is doing right now in the way it chases after Edward Snowden, the fugitive wanted in his role for publicizing state secrets. What Edward Snowden did essentially de-stabilizes foreign relations of the United States with some of the largest nations like Russia and China. Furthermore there is the issue of ‘National Security’ as the United States prefer to call it. What constitutes ‘national security’ for the United States might be different as to what China ‘defines’ it. But it can broadly be deemed to represent anything that might cause damage to the foundation of a nation. Again the foundation of a nation is built on varying ideas and principles depending on the state of development of a nation.
While I do not want to point out who is right or wrong, I do have to point out how large governments now act aggressively to protect national interests and pursue stability. The gist is whether there should be limits to what they can and should do. It is easy for any other country’s government to act in a manner they deem fit for the sake of ‘national security’. Another issue is the treatment of ‘activists’, ‘whistleblowers’ and ‘dissidents’. It has never been a good idea to be either one of these people as they are just like taking on the role of David versus the Goliath which could either be governments or large corporations. In my personal opinion, it is important for the public to support the actions of these people and protect them from the tyranny of power. However, should we as the public question any motives behind the actions of these ‘activists’, ‘whistleblowers’ and ‘dissidents’? What Edward Snowden did definitely undermines the good the US government does for its people, similar to what a bunch of Chinese activists (Chen Guangcheng, Ai Weiwei and many more) does over the years.
After all while we may like to discount the US and Chinese government, we should not forget that the United States has stabilized economic growth with goals to pursue a sustainable growth. The United States has also allowed entrepreneurship and technology to flourish. On the other hand, the Chinese government has pulled millions out of poverty, and developed infrastructure that has made lives better for its citizens. As the public, we should not just look at the actions of governments through a one-sided lens and we have to understand that the roots of government lies in public service, which means if it has served to improve the lives of the society it functions in, the government has done a pretty good job. What governments cannot achieve is to ensure equality for all of its citizens, but it sure should be a responsible one!
With all that said, I believe governments need activists to let them know what is wrong with the way some people in the government handle situations. Governments on the other hand should not let ego and ideals in the way of coming to a solution. Better communication and transparency could be one of the few steps towards solving a stalemate between the government and the public. On top of that, there requires some sort of co-operation from the public to maintain stability and prevent an upheaval even when they have any disagreements with the way the government is run (which is only possible in a civilized and educated nation). Perhaps there are alternatives to solve the quandary in any situation, and what is lacking is just the perseverance and diligence to pursue a better method and solution.