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20 Years After Tiananmen Square

Chinese police have Tiananmen Square on virtual lockdown to prevent protests commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the student massacre there today. Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama also paid his respects to victims.



(photo by Stuart Franklin Magnum,

Remember that picture?

There is much to ponder here. The Chinese government is such an interesting case study. One of my main questions, which I’d love to hear comments on, is why have historical Socialist countries been not so talented at preserving and fostering the free speech of their citizens? There doesn’t seem to be anything inherent to the system of Socialism which would make suppression of expression necessary. Or is there? Does a government controlling the means of production and distribution – which provides many benefits like health care and education – mean that the government also has to try to control the way people think and move?

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posted June 4, 2009 at 9:08 am

There are many examples of socialist countries that have preserved and fostered free speech of their citizens. Scandinavia has several examples of these.
Also, China is a lot more capitalist than socialist these days.

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posted June 4, 2009 at 9:18 am

True, China has moved toward certain capitalist institutions, but certainly was more of a command economy in 1989.
Scandinavian countries wouldn’t technically count as socialist, I don’t believe. They are free-market countries with strong safety nets and socialized aspects.

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posted June 4, 2009 at 11:40 am

It seems the idea of socialism/communism as well as democracy seems idealistic on paper. However, when you add the element of the human condition (ie greed/corruption) it can and will taint government. I think we’ve seen a great deal of misrepresentation of a democratic republic the last eight years in this country. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

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posted June 28, 2009 at 12:15 am

To my knowledge there has never been a truly Socialist or Communist government on the level of a nation state. Communism is the ultimate evolution of hu,an society, but we as individuals are not prepared for it yet as we are still far to greedy and self centered for it to work properly, that is why we have gotten the bastardizations of it that we have today and throughout history.

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posted January 14, 2010 at 7:25 am

Glad to hear your points of China.

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