China’s Loyal Youth

Matthew Forney, a former Beijing bureau chief for Time, writes on the New York Times:

Many sympathetic Westerners view Chinese society along the lines of what they saw in the waning days of the Soviet Union: a repressive government backed by old hard-liners losing its grip to a new generation of well-educated, liberal-leaning sophisticates. As pleasant as this outlook may be, it’s naïve. Educated young Chinese, far from being embarrassed or upset by their government’s human-rights record, rank among the most patriotic, establishment-supporting people you’ll meet.

…Barring major changes in China’s education system or economy, Westerners are not going to find allies among the vast majority of Chinese on key issues like , Darfur and the environment for some time. If the debate over turns this summer’s contests in Beijing into the Human Rights Games, as seems inevitable, Western ticket-holders expecting to find Chinese angry at their government will instead find Chinese angry at them.

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