Thomas Gallatin / September 6, 2016

China’s G20 Façade

Hangzhou residents sent packing in order to impress world leaders.

The history of totalitarian socialism is one filled with charades and symbols over and against reality and substance. A recent example of this took place this past weekend at the G20 summit in the city of Hangzhou, China. With the arrival of so many significant leaders from the world’s largest and most powerful economies, the Chinese communist government staged an impressive image of a clean and well-ordered society. Days before the Chinese government had issued a mandatory seven-day “holiday” where citizens were instructed to leave the city. Almost overnight, a busy, bustling city of six million residents was reduced to a virtual ghost town. How did the Chinese authorities ensure the mass exodus of citizenry? There were positive incentives such as discounts to “places of interest” and cheaper travel fares, and there were negative incentives of police force for those residents who were not so “voluntarily” inclined to leave.

As the world leaders arrived for the summit, there was no stinky smog in the air since all the factories had been shut down days before. The roads were free of heavy traffic, as those folks who were still left in the city had been instructed to stay home. And most importantly, there were no picketers protesting human rights issues. No, China would look good to all outsiders as a testament to the benefits of a communist society, just as China’s leaders want it. (The same thing happened for the Beijing Olympics.) The message to the residents of Hangzhou and the rest of China: Government knows best, so get in line. Which is the foundational belief of leftists everywhere.

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