Do harsh measures disguise a weakness?

If you've been perplexed by China's response to the Tibetan protests in recent weeks, Canadian journalist and writer John Fraser offers an explanation. You may have surmised it yourself. It relates to fear.

Seen from afar, the Chinese government's heightened indignation over the protests seems hard to understand, no matter how many times authorities refer to "subversive elements." Many have also tried to understand Beijing's uncompromising restrictions of Falun Gong practitioners. China bristles at any criticism, it seems. It has steeply increased spending on its military.

Meanwhile, Western economies have become dependent on Chinese factories and labour.

While the gradual opening of Chinese society is encouraging, recent events have been discouraging. Should the West just butt out?

In the current issue of Maclean's magazine, Fraser, the author of three books on China, reflects the concerns of many outsiders. "Why does China overreact so badly? Why does the government care so much about small and insignificant groups?" He says the Chinese Communist Party "lacks the confidence of its own people" and "the party's endurance is based on never underestimating the power of small but dedicated protest groups. Because the party knows from its own successful experience 60 years ago that a small but dedicated protest group can take over and control an entire country, it can never let its guard down. Not once. Not ever."

You can read the full article here.

I would appreciate hearing the opinion of my Chinese friends and colleagues on this perspective.

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