Does China need a revolution?

A bit over 2 months ago I travelled to China for the first time from Ukraine on a plane that still had a compartment to put out cigarettes. Needless to say, I arrived safe and sound in Beijing. Open minded as I always am when set foot on new land. Yet slowly but surely the cracks began to appear upon the surface. We often hear by the left-angled western media that ‘China is coming’ and ‘China is the next super power’. Not only does this surprise me it also worries me. Why are some media outlets pushing the agenda that china will have future dominance? They are still under an authoritarian fascist government from memory, right?

I think our media should be more focused on what’s really taking place. That is, of course, the ever-increasing amount of ingredients for a citizen’s revolution for the Republic of China.

When I was living in France on an exchange university program my French language subject was full of students from all over the world. One way we would learn would be to discuss topics about the differences between our nations. One lesson we were all explaining how many weeks off work or school we receive per calendar year. Coming from Australia I said roughly 4 for work and 12 for school. European nations were approximately the same but when it came to my friend from China she explained that it is zero for both. We all had a little chuckle and tried to make light of the situation but in reality, this is really, really fucked up. Not only is it a sad thought that 1.4 Billion people live this way but it’s a depressing thought for my good friend. How could she possibly go from zero holidays to living a liberal European lifestyle enjoying freedom, travel and time to be a human then back to zero holidays? And don’t even get me started on those sweat shops…

One of the first things that alarmed me whilst on foot was just how shut off the Chinese citizens were from the rest of the world. The internet truly is strictly filtered. You can forget about trying to access Facebook, YouTube and Instagram unless you install a VPN before you arrive. This is known as the great firewall of China and to be honest it’s just ridiculous. One may argue that it is to challenge the USA’s influential dominance over the world and that it’s a jab towards the American economy. Yet this is not a smart move as the relative strength of the U.S. economy supports the value of its currency and their open internet plays a big part in that. This can be shown further with the U.S dollar owning approximately 65% world currency reserve and the Chinese Yuan at less than 2%.

The latest news from the dictatorship government is that it is introducing a Social Credit System. And, before you double check, yes this featured in the dystopian TV show ‘Black Mirror’. The system will work like this: jaywalk the street, miss a payment or cut a line and before you know it you have been blacklisted by authorities, labelled as “not qualified” to book flights or high-speed train tickets just as a start. Losing social credit points for anything from misdemeanours to breaking the law. The Chinese government is planning to launch the system nationwide by 2020 to rate the trustworthiness of its 1.4 billion citizens. With a mission to “raise the awareness of integrity and the level of trustworthiness of Chinese society”. In my opinion, I think their government should be worrying more about their own integrity and be trying to reinstall trustworthiness to its citizens.

But back to my time spent in China. Another thing was concerning was the amount of security there was. There was at least one on every corner in Beijing, along with squads of 2, 3 or 4. To add to this there were multiple security checkpoints to get to Tiananmen Square and more security check points to catch a train. High amounts of government employed security guards for what? In case the citizens revolt?

This may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Zero holidays, unnecessary security everywhere, filtered internet and now a real life ‘big brother’. I’m curious to see what happens with China over the coming years. I really hope the citizens of China decide to make a change. A change that may involve a revolution.


By Aidan Green