Maurice Strong Asks: Does China Have it Right?
I have never been to China. Maurice Strong has been going there for years. In Maclean's magazine, he recently made an attempt at smoothing out our impressions of China here in the west; Strong argues that our optics are off when it comes to China.
As one who has been coming to China for more than 40 years and who now spends most of his time here, I cannot help but contrast, with dismay, what I see and experience here with the negative image to which so many in the West are exposed. Even the outpouring of sympathy at the tragic earthquake that caused such severe death and suffering in Sichuan province is accompanied by attempts by some to blame this on the Chinese government. Yet, no government could have responded so efficiently and expeditiously to a disaster of such immense proportions, and few if any are better prepared to do so.
I don't know whether Maurice Strong, as a member of the transnational elite, has any experience in his 40 years with living the average person's life here in Canada, let alone China. In all likelihood, his impressions of China are comprised of a series of Potemkin vignettes. Today, we learn of the 'fake' 9 year old singer who opened for the Olympics; yesterday, it was how the fireworks were digitally enhanced.
China is excellent if you're at the top of the food chain, and so I don't blame him for trying to defend this form of social structure. However, I'm not so sure we in the West have China that wrong. It's a fake plastic society that glosses over harsher realities.