With its team of sleek public relations evangelists donning the latest Western hipster wardrobe, complete with sinuous tattoos and piercings that would turn the ancient weathered stone of the Great Wall from gray to a technicolered dream, the propaganda mechanism of the Communist party paints the struggling nation, as an innovative theme park of impossible vast public megaprojects and razor sharp skyscrapers.
The breathtaking images of scenic vistas and smiling beautiful young people navigating seamlessly through grand and polished corridors and kept under constant surveillance by the latest facial recognition generation of camera software controlled by the precursor to the thought police, provides the stark and telling contrast of a totalitarian government editing the present with cool jump cuts to control the past and the future.
In reality, the stumbling dragon of the Far East, is struck by poverty, limited human rights, and a government that is as broke as Jim Carrey in feebly and pathetically attempting to brainwash the rest of the world that all is well, and overcompensating with gaudy displays of architecture. The most telling compartment of the current societal crises, is the legions of People Liberation Army veterans roaming the country in a state of trance onset by a complete absence of retirement funds, and physical and mental healthcare. This is the same generation of soldiers in the height of the dot com boom of the late 1990’s, who founded middle companies to do business with the power brokers of the West in directly funding defense research and cauterizing the large-scale hemorrhaging of billions of dollars lost to corruption.
The once proud troops and alumni of the years marking exponential growth in the military-industrial complex, have now reached the threshold of a breaking point, and in desperation are publicly protesting the government and the Communist party, reports the New York Times. Somehow, the idea pertaining to freedom of speech in China, is convoluted by dancing thoughts of forced labor camp, torture, and total extinction from all realms of time. For the unfortunate citizens of the country, ceasing to exist is a horrific and possible fate, as the government can simply push a button, and in a poof of digital smoke, an individual is erased from the universe. However, the ex-military lobby is making their own rules forwarded by ingenuity, in organizing dissent and interacting via social networking, which has piqued the collective interest of President Xi Jinping and prominent party officials.
Allegedly, a medium sized nation mass of retired military professionals numbering a staggering 57 million, are at the whim of the limited resources plaguing the regime. While the majority remain loyal to the three pronged malaise of the federal government, communist party, and PLA, there is a burgeoning trend of resistance fueled by skepticism, especially among the older demographics.
Even with activation of the jaw-dropping infrastructure of 170 million cameras and an aggressive campaign by the government using smart data to track, predict, and control the personal behavior of citizens, it will be interesting to note how efficacious the growing public demonstrations of the ex-military in changing policy, or will the group unlikely be surgically pared back to the root until the echoes of discord exist only as faint traces of wavering memories.
Fortunately, for the frustrated veterans the chances of complete annihilation are slim, and in fact it seems the government is between a rock and hard place in angering a powerful hornet’s nest, as the complexities and influence of loyalties forged with politicians over the years in successfully navigating the “strongest survive” chaotic underbelly of Chinese politics, far outweigh the processing power of innumerable digital cameras and the empty threats emanating from Beijing as to the consequences of treason. In a society where scalability is off the charts, strength lies in optimization.
Read the New York Times story here.