Tony Blair, just now, as relayed by Talk Politics:
a modern market economy needs the attributes of innovation, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit. These qualities thrive best when we can be critical of authority, when people can make the most of themselves without feeling constrained by their background. This is precisely the ideal of the open society that we value.
All of this is true. But to help communities in the modern world, restore respect, these changes in lifestyle need to be accompanied by a new settlement between people,
Hu Jintao, President of China, from a while ago:
The CPC and the central government have made it an important task to build a harmonious society, which served the fundamental interests of the people," said Hu, who is also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
A harmonious society will feature democracy, the rule of law, equity, justice, sincerity, amity and vitality, he said.
Such a society will give full scope to people's talent and creativity, enable all the people to share the social wealth brought by reform and development, and forge an ever closer relationship between the people and government. These things will result in lasting stability and unity, he said.
So how do you build a harmonious society? In Britain, you have a Respect Agenda, which:
would bypass cumbersome "judge and jury" court processes and introduce more summary justice.
No need to do that in China, where administrative punishment, run by the cops and the Public Security Ministry, has been in place since 1957. Some aspects are remarkably similar to what the government proposes; notably fines, compulsory evictions and withdrawal of welfare benefits. It applies to the following categories of people:
1. Those counterrevolutionaries or elements who oppose the CCP or Socialism, where their offenses are minor, but do not merit criminal punishment;
2. Those who commit minor offenses relating to group crimes of murder, robbery, rape and arson, but whose acts do not merit criminal punishment;
3. Those who commit minor offenses such as hooliganism, prostitution, theft, or fraud, but whose acts do not merit criminal punishment;
4. Those who gather to fight, disturb social order, or instigate turmoil, but whose acts do not merit criminal punishment;
5. Those who have a job but repeatedly refuse to work, and disrupt labor discipline, complain endlessly, as well as disrupt production order, work order, school and research institute order and the peoples normal life, but whose acts do not merit criminal punishment;
6. Those who instigate others to commit crimes, but whose acts do not merit criminal punishment.
Categories three and four seem most relevant here, and maybe five.
The document’s slightly out of date. Counterrevolutionary crimes were abolished in 1996 as a category, and re-branded as disturbing social order, revealing state secrets and similar. They were fully criminalized, so to speak. Which brings me to this disturbing item of Blairspeak dug up by Justin at Chicken Yoghurt:
If we are to achieve the vision of the Britain that we all want, then there is no room for cynicism.
That’s a pure expression of the authoritarian mind. Spraying grafitti on a wall or demonstrating in Parliament Square: it all boils down to cynicism – a refusal to be harmonious. And just as demonstrating peasants are jailed for disturbing social order in China, demonstrators in Parliament Square are arrested under the Serious Organized Crime act.
Is the comparison between the world’s oldest parliamentary state and the world’s oldest continuous dictatorship outrageous? I can think of one difference, namely in direction: China partially abolished some of its administrative punishment laws in 2005.