Doomed Dogs of Democracy


Substantive political reform in China has stalled since the late 1980s, when the reform-minded Premier Zhao Ziyang tried to push China in the direction of greater democracy. Hopes for reform were finally dashed with the Tiananman crackdown on June 4, 1989. But with the Party’s 18th National Congress just around the corner, and many such as current Premier Wen Jiabao saying democracy is inevitable, there is renewed discussion and speculation on the sidelines about whether the meeting (early October?) could set the stage for greater political reform. Nevertheless, open discussion of political reform and democracy remains difficult in China. In this cartoon, by an unknown artist posted to Sina Weibo (and then deleted by censors), a uniformed policeman with a spiked club asks: “You want democracy?” “Yes!” answers a dog to the policeman’s right, leaping leaping up to grab a bone suspended over a pit of spikes littered with skeletal remains. The message: in China, you’re welcome to leap for democracy, or not — either way, the authorities will show you who’s boss.

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