Over the last six months, Chinese officials have responded swiftly to domestic protests inspired by the Arab Spring. The detention of high profile individuals like artist Ai Weiwei demonstrated the uncompromising methods of a government intent on maintaining stability in the world’s most populated country, i.e. the one most vulnerable to popular protests. But the Middle East and China are hardly analogous: “Economically, countries throughout the North Africa/Middle East crescent have been stagnant. China, as you might have heard, has been an economic success.”
What’s the Big Idea?
What are the real prospects for a democratic revolution in China? Detained Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo believes popular revolution is on the brink and has written that the country “rests at the brink of a volcano”. The view to the contrary emphasizes China’s authoritative history where, even though corruption may be known to be widespread, the desire for a popular uprising remains muted. This has been the case with the increasingly liberal Chinese Communist Party which, despite its sometimes antidemocratic tactics, is viewed as slowly but surely bringing prosperity to the country.