Re: quality journalism sighting

From Jonathan Lassen <>
Date Mon, 25 Oct 2004 03:32:55 -0500
In-reply-to <>
References <>
User-agent Mozilla Thunderbird 0.6 (Windows/20040502)

Hi Bob Ware,

What I found interesting about York's article was how (in my reading) 
class was at the very heart of the article: for him it was the struggle 
over 'China's soul.' Mr. Zhang the capitalist is counterpoised to Ms. 
Xu, who is losing control over her land, and then the legal activist who 
represents landless peasants is contrasted with the 'wine marketing 
consultant' and other privileged people in the middle class activist 
circle. In my reading this was the nature of the struggle that York was 
trying to illuminate, not some stylized notion of the big bad Party vs. 
civil society.

It reminded me of an article on Beijing elections from the BBC about a 
year ago:



Bob Ware & Diana Hodson wrote:
> As a regular reader of the Globe and Mail, I never have found Geoffrey
> York's dispatches analytical or probing. His stories are appropriate to the
> increasingly more conservative and neoliberal Globe.
> This piece on China has a few anecdotes and promotes the idea that China
> just needs less ideology and corruption and more multi-party politics. This
> is standard bourgeois fare. And the problems are attributed to losing land
> in the 90s and the inefficient SOEs. (Now York has to struggle with one of
> the SOEs buying up Noranda in Canada and China in general being a threat to
> our resources.)
> Sure, the wealth gap in China is troubling, but there wasn't egalitarianism
> in the 60s and 70s (remember the eight-grade wage system), and land losses
> and agricultural problems started growing in the early 80s with the breakup
> of communes. It is harder to focus on the problems of those days if issues
> of class and class struggle are neglected or denied. Bill Hinton has pointed
> to these matters.
> China's problems are legion, but China is still one of the few countries
> that is actually trying to solve those problems with some socialist ideology
> and concern about class. They also recognize that they do not have to take
> lessons on democracy and human rights from the US and Canada. York would
> have them import North American ways, but they see the problems in North
> America at least as well as we do.
> I'm not impressed by York's claims. He would have a lot to learn from this
> listserv.
> Bob Ware, Prof. emeritus
> Univ. of Calgary (Alberta, Canada)