Last year the New York Times’s Thomas Friedman, lamenting the political paralysis that was hindering the Obama administration’s legislative agenda, made this remarkable comparison: 'One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.'
Last month on Meet the Press, Friedman warmed to his theme: “I have fantasized—don’t get me wrong—but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day,” he said. “You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions … on everything from the economy to environment.”
Tommy's the best the Times can muster -- and his recommendation is as follows: Let's ignore thousands of years of brutal experience and the counsel of Polybius, Plato, Aristotle, Montesquieu, Locke, Jefferson, Adams and Madison, and follow instead the model of China's dictators.
Okay, Tommy Boy, let's check out the news from inside the PRC:
[In December], Wuhan City organized over 800 law enforcement officers to forcefully demolish nearly 40,000 square meters of illegal buildings that are near the Wuhan City to Huangshi City railway construction site. The phenomenon of local famers rushing to “grow houses” is very common.
Protesting the forceful demolition, a farmer woman was blocked out by hundreds Chengguan (city management) from her illegally built building.
...Experts pointed out that farmers “grow houses” are directly motivated by profits, however a deeper reason was because they fear for their lives after losing their land to the government project. In order to stop the root of the “growing houses” problem, the government should make efforts to find employment opportunities for the farmers and include them into the new city lives.
Well maybe that's just a fluke, because Thomas Friedman is oh-so-very knowledgeable about China's despots!
The case of Nail household is a common occurrence in China, however this incident is by far the most escalated conflict between residents and the government demolition team. Ms. Fan attempted to defend her house from the demolition squad by throwing home-made fire bombs…
Today, Ms. Fan’s house in Minghang district was to be forcefully demolished, Ms. Fan standing on the 3rd floor threw home-made fire bombs (at the demolition squad)... Upon seeing this news, I am pleased that after two decades of development, society has progressed. Sub-machine guns are replaced by high-pressured water gun. Then why would it lead to such brutal resistance? Because of the large-scaled building project of Hongqiao, Ms. Fan had an area 480 square meter home, but the government is only willing to offer the compensation of 670,000 yuan, which is 761 yuan per square meter of housing subsidies and 1,480 yuan for the compensation of the land.
When the city’s average commercial housing is measured by tens of thousands (per square meter), forced eviction’s price is still calculated with the hundreds, this is the reason why residents threw fire-bombs. That is, they were living in a 480 square meter home, you acquired their land for so called construction, that’s also business, your compensation for the family only is enough to buy a 40 square meters home, and then the demolitions team came. I think anyone who had weapons probably could not help themselves but to take them out in this situation.
But that kind of brutal repression must be an outlier sort of situation... because Thomas Friedman thinks tyrants are cool!
“Ten thousand girls go to Lingnan (South of the Five Ridges – the area covering Guangdong and Guangxi), millions of whoremasters go down to Dongguan”, this is an up and coming popular phrase and also depicts an image of how prosperous Dongguan is...
Prosperity is people’s first impression of Dongguan – in the past 30 years, Dongguan’s economy was developing at an unbelievably fast pace... As famous as its prosperity is the city’s sex industry...
Dongguan’s Tourism Bureau released data from the first half of this year showed that the city had a total of 96 hotels of various stars. In the past year, the financial crisis ruined Dongguan’s export-oriented economy. However in Houjie, this famous town in Dongguan, even in the middle of the night, there are young girls who are dressed sexily on the street. They wear short skirts, black stockings, high heels, carry a small handbag and hold a cigarette in their hands. Their faces are covered with heavy make-up, and they do not seem to mind the chilly night.
As for Friedman's desire for a command-and-control approach to the climate "problem"? Yes, sir, that's a compelling proposition.
Hebei Province Shexian Tianjin Iron and steel plant (河北省涉县天津钢铁厂) is a heavily polluting company. Company scale is still growing, seriously affecting the lives of local residents. Thomas Friedman Approved!
Guiyu, Guangdong province, (广东省贵屿镇) rivers and reservoirs have been contaminated, the villager is washing in a seriously polluted pond. Thomas Friedman Approved!
In the Yellow Sea coastline, countless sewage pipes buried in the beach and even extending into the deep sea. Thomas Friedman Approved!
In Inner Mongolia there were 2 “black dragons” from the Lasengmiao Power Plant (内蒙古拉僧庙发电厂) covering the nearby villages. Thomas Friedman Approved!
Large amount of the industrial wastewater flowed to Yellow River from Inner Mongolia Lasengmiao Industrial District (内蒙古拉僧庙工业园区) every day. TFA!
Longmen town in Hanchen city, Shaanxi Province (陕西省韩城市龙门镇) has large-scaled industrial development. Environment is very seriously polluted there. TFA!
There are over 100 chemical plants in Jiangsu province coastal industry district. (江苏滨海头罾沿海化工园区) Some of them discharge wastewater into the ocean; some heavily contaminated sewage is stored in 5 “Sewage Temporary Pools”. During the 2 high tides in every month, the sewage then gets discharged into the ocean with the tides. TFA!
Anhui Province Cihu Chemical Industry District (安徽省慈湖化工园区) built a underground pipe to discharge wastewater into the Yangtze River. The wastewater sometimes is black, gray, dark red, or yellow, wastewater from different chemical factories has different colors. TFA!
Shanxi Province is the most polluted areas of China. It is also the province with the highest rate of birth defects. This loving farmer couple adopted 17 disabled children. TFA!
15-year-old boy from Tianshui, Gansu Province (甘肃天水), dropped out of the school after 2nd grade, followed his parents to Heilonggui (黑龙贵) Industrial District. He earns 16 yuan a day. TFA!
Inner Mongolia province Heilonggui (黑龙贵) Industrial District, the couple who worked at the Plaster Kiln and just got home. TFA!
Villagers from Kang village in Linfen City, Shanxi Province (山西省临汾市下康村) due to long-term consumption of the polluted water contaminated by industrial waste, there were 50 people who have cancer and cerebral thrombosis. 64-year-old Wang Baosheng got ill since 2003, he has fester all over his body so he cannot go to bed and lying face down on the edge of the bed each day. TFA!
Zhaozhuang village by the Hong River in Wugang City, Henan province (洪河边的河南省西平县张于庄村), Gao Wanshun’s (高万顺) wife died of cancer. Now he lives in poverty. TFA!
In Shanxi Province there are a lot of charitable nursing homes, to help disabled infants abandoned by their parents. TFA!
The oldest is 9, not going to school. The youngest is less than 2 years old. They lived in severely polluted area. They hands and faces were always dirty. TFA!
Every year, a lot of deficiency babies in Shanxi Province were abandoned. Kong Zhenlan (孔贞兰) in Qi town (祁县) who was making a living by recycling trash adopted 25 abandoned children. TFA!
Xuanwei (宣威) in Yunnan province is a cancer village. Every year there are more than 20 people die of cancer. 11-year-old student Xu Li (徐丽) is suffering from bone cancer.
The world is flat? No, Thomas Friedman's world-view is seriously f-ed up.