The possibilities are rather limited, one would think, when it comes to messages emanating from the media. Pious pontifications mostly, about the pros and cons of a certain piece of legislation, or why there should be less taxes and more welfare measures, and so on and so forth. The Chinese State media, though, is not circumscribed by any such unwritten rules of operation. In an opinion piece published in the Global Times newspaper (part of the government mouthpiece People’s Daily family), a professor of political science has held that if Indians doing business in China delayed or defaulted on payments, then local Chinese traders had the right to abduct them.
The incensed Indian embassy has already sent a letter to the newspaper, expressing its unease at the tone of the article and the suggestion put forward. The Indian businessmen at Yiwu, the trading hub in eastern China at the heart of much of the controversy, may not be swooning with delight at such an idea either. But those of us unconcerned with diplomatic propriety (or personal safety) can actually go a step further and begin to compile a primer of conduct, based on the opinions and actions of Chinese authorities in recent times.
So, apart from waving the green flag for abduction (as the newspaper piece has done), it would be fair to hound artists one is uncomfortable with, imposing huge penalties on those that market their works and mounting surveillance cameras to monitor their activities. The fate of blind dissident Chen Guangchen — from imprisonment to eventual asylum-seeking — will show the dangers involved in case one has the gumption to criticise government policies, in this case the strictures around family planning. Also to be included is the fate that will befall those feeling curious about Tibet or Taiwan and deciding to access the internet to satisfy that thirst for knowledge. The rulebook will then become a compendium of science really, spelling out how certain actions beget certain reactions.