Gadhafi Goes From "Strongman" to "Madman" in Chinese Media

As former dictator’s corpse lay gawked-at in a commercial meat refrigerator in Misrata, The Associated Press reported on Moammar Gadhafi’s seamless reassessment by the Chinese media:

… [State] media outlets began referring to Gadhafi in disparaging terms not seen before. As recently as late August, Gadhafi had been portrayed in relatively complimentary terms as a “Middle Eastern strongman” who defied Western threats and pressure. On Friday, however, the Web sites of both the official Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily newspaper ran photos of him, including those of his corpse, alongside side captions describing him as insane.

“The death of Gadhafi concludes the Middle East’s era of madmen,” people.com.cn said, while xinhuanet.com wrote simply, “The Middle Eastern madman Gadhafi.”

Yang Hengjun, meanwhile, bade farewell to Gadhafi’s rule at China Media Project, and argued that his fate was inevitable in the end for all autocracies:

One-hundred years ago, perhaps 90 percent of nations on earth were ruled by despots who relied on military might. Fifty years ago, such countries represented less than 50 percent of the total. And today, less than 10 percent of nations in the world are under autocratic rule.

I would argue that against this historical tide, one could write a “goodbye” essay about any despot and then sit around waiting for their undoing. The people won’t keep you waiting long, and history won’t disappoint you.

… As tyranny goes against human nature and public feeling, regardless of how splendid things seem on the surface, no matter how much rulers whitewash reality and employ machines of propaganda to inspire a glorious image of public loyalty and love, it will all unavoidably come crashing down, and this will happen faster than anyone can expect it.

See also China’s calls for an “inclusive political process” in the wake of Gadhafi’s death, via CDT.