Friday, May 12, 2006

Those who do not learn from History

The saying goes, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  That is why I find the history of China since 1949 such a fascinating topic.  As would happen to any continent-sized country with a huge population, China is awash in contradictions.  Not only that, but it seems that many in China are losing the ability to distinguish reality from hype.  There is a sobering piece today in the Times (UK) about the woman who is credited with creating the spark that started the cultural revolution 40 years ago this month.
"With the gap between China’s rich and poor growing steadily wider, and anger rising among tens of millions of impoverished peasants, they [the Chinese government] are acutely aware of the danger of another extremist movement. Thus they have ordered a complete news blackout on the anniversary next Tuesday."
In spite of over 5,000 years of history from which to draw lessons (which happens liberally), the Chinese seem to cling obstinately to certain ways of doing things--like attempting to control information and a population--which can lead to nothing but the chaos trying to be averted.

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