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April 20, 2005

Chin Up

Saveface

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With large scale demonstrations being planned for May 1st (Labor Day), the Chinese government has decided to put the brakes on anti-Japanese protests.  Apparently, party leaders don’t want to see things get out of hand (or let organizers start feeling too independent).

Having spent time a few weeks ago analyzing the protest images from Lebanon, I’ve been planning on giving more attention to the emerging drama in Asia.  As I sift through the visuals, I’m impressed by something many of you pointed out while commenting on the massive Hezbullah demonstration in Beirut.  These regional protests are become so conscious of western media and the global audience, it’s now almost conventional to see signs that are either strictly English, or at least bilingual.

 

In the midst of studying the political wars at home, it’s interesting to appreciate how much the battles elsewhere can play on completely different terms.  Here in America, for example, it almost doesn’t matter how much face a politician loses as long as he comes out on top.  In Asia, on the other hand, it seems that keeping face is practically the whole point.

(image: Alex Hofford/European Pressphoto Agency.  April 10, 2005 in The New York Times )

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