Evan Osnos’ Letter from China and the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Report blog both look at Chinese reactions to the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and several others in Arizona on Saturday. Some see it as part of the inevitable turmoil of Western democracy, while others ponder who might find themselves in the crosshairs were the Chinese to have ready access to firearms. From Osnos, in The New Yorker:
The attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been almost too foreign for the Chinese public and media to digest. Chinese lawmakers do not shake hands at supermarkets; they do not have the leeway to criticize their own laws. China has its share of violence by the mentally disturbed, but none of the perpetrators have ready access to nine-millimeter Glocks.
But when Chinese commentators confronted the recent news from America, they were struck most of all not by differences between life in Beijing and Tucson, but by the differences between the current mode of American political discourse and its own history ….
For years, the Chinese press trafficked in a caricature of American politics. It played up stories of corrupt lobbyists and wacko longshot candidates—and sprinkled it with the occasional fistfight in the Korean and Taiwanese legislatures—all part of an unsubtle message from Party propagandists about the dangers of rampant democracy. But in recent months, the Chinese press has shown a dwindling need to exaggerate the dysfunction. From afar, the notion of virulent polarization over the prospect of reforming a health-care system has baffled the Chinese.
Meanwhile, China Real Time Report provides translations of varying comments from Netease, Youku and Sina Weibo:
This is part of American Democracy. –- Youku user “Ontario Rabbit”
This is the result of American-style human rights. So is the economic crisis. The U.S. is the biggest threat to the world. Everything would much easier without the U.S. Things in China would be easier to handle, and there would be peace in the world. –- a Netease user in Guangdong Province …
If private guns were also legal in China, then us common people could have taken care of all those Li Gangs and their sons instead of involving the courts. –- a Netease user from Nanning.
China doesn’t allow private guns because officials know perfectly well it is they who would end up eating the bullets! –- Sina Weibo user “Dou Erwan”
We have the gall to mock others? One of own citizens was run over by a bulldozer, with the law enforcement standing by, watching and smiling…should we not feel ashamed? –- Youku user “Yi’ershan”