China!

China!

These have been stirring days. The popular uprising in China, begun by students and then taken up by hundreds of thousands of workers, farmers, and other citizens—who could witness this, however fleetingly, on television or read about it, however skimpily, in the newspapers, without feeling a sense of exhilaration?

What strikes one most of all about these remarkable events is the sudden upsurge of energy and flowering of ingenuity among people without any previous experience in politics, indeed, people who have been held down for decades by a repressive dictatorship. True, there has been “participation” of a sort in the recent politics of China, but a “participation” arranged and manipulated by the ruling Communist party (which the students, with delightful wit, call “the emperor,” tacitly comparing present-day tyranny with the tyrannies of their country’s past).

...

Lima