Tha Murray MacLeòid a’ meòrachadh air an duilgheadas le Sìona

Saoil dè dhèanadh iadsan a tha a’ cur an aghaidh na banachdaich agus riaghailtean a’ ghlasaidh nam biodh iad a’ fuireach ann an Yuzhou, am baile Sìneach far an deach lagh a chur mu choinneimh an t-sluaigh fuireach am broinn an dachaighean às dèidh mar a chaidh triùir a dhearbhadh leis a’ ghalar, ged nach robh fiù ‘s càil a’ choltais tinneas orra.

Daoine ann an Taiwan a’ sealltainn taic dhan phàipear-naidheachd, Apple Daily. Ann an Hong Kong, chaidh ceannard a’ phàipeir, Jimmy Lai, a chur dhan phrìosan agus dhùin am pàipear. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

[English-language version below]

Chaidh na seirbheisean còmhdhail a stad, chan fhaodadh càraichean gluasad agus bha saighdearan a’ dearbhadh gun robh daoine a’ dèanamh na bha còir aca.

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Ach, a dh’aindeoin dè cho mì-reusanta ‘s a tha sin a’ coimhead dhuinne, cha do thog na Sìnich an guth, bhon nach eil an riaghaltas ann an sin a’ gabhail ri eas-aonta no càil sam bith a thèid an aghaidh an ùghdarrais.

‘S dòcha gu bheil e ceàrr dha na dùthchannan democrataigeach agus libearalach, ach chan urrainn dhol às àicheadh g’ eil e a’ cruthachadh àrainneachd far an urrainn co-dhùnaidhean agus gnìomhan luath is làidir a stèidheachadh – agus e cuideachd a’ sealltainn an duilgheadais a tha aig dùthchannan an iar nuair a thig e gu bhith a’ dèiligeadh le neart Shìona, mu thimcheall Hong Kong, Taiwan is gluasadan eaconamaigeach eile.

Fhad ‘s a tha luchd-poileataigs anns na dùthchannan democrataigeach ann an suidheachadh far an tèid an càineadh as bith dè nì iad, agus far am feum iad siostaman toinnte a làimhseachadh, cha leig pàrtaidh riaghlaidh Shìona a leas bodraigeadh le leithid; tha saorsa aca an rud a thogras iad a dhèanamh gun ceannachd air, nan dùthaich fhèin co-dhiù, agus gun aca ri taghaidhean is an leithid a làimhseachadh.

Ged a tha sin a’ faireachdainn ceàrr dhuinne, bu chòirear cuimhneachadh gu bheil muinntir Shìona (a’ mhòr-chuid co-dhiù) toilichte gu leòr leis an t-siostam a tha aca – tha e a’ dèanamh ciall dhaibh-san agus tha an t-ath-nuadhachadh a tha air a thighinn air an eaconamaigh taobh a-staigh ginealach na dhearbhadh gu leòr dhaibh gu bheil e feumail.

Ged a tha mar a tha Sìona a’ dèiligeadh le riaghailtean Covid dhaibh pèin, tha rudan eile air tachairt fo sgleò a’ phandemic a tha a’ toirt barrachd adhbhar iomagain, mar eisimpleir, mar a tha iad a’ dùnadh sìos pàipearan naidheachd ann an Hong Kong agus a’ cur luchd-naidheachd dhan phrìosan.

Chan eil duine a’ faicinn ionnsaigh armachd mar fhreagairt (taing do shealbh), fiù ‘s le cuisean a’ teasachadh timcheall Taiwan, ach chan urrainn dhan iar seasamh air ais agus leigeil le seo tachairt, gu h-àraidh leis a’ cheangal eachdraidheil a tha aig Breatainn ri Hong Kong.

‘S e fear dhe na duilgheadasan le bhith a’ dèiligeadh ri seo, ‘s e gu bheil eaconamaighean dùthchannan an iar cho mòr an eisimeil fhactaraidhean is luchd-obrach ann an Sìona agus tha cunnart ann, ma thig càil a dhèanamh, gum faodadh iad tionndadh agus cron a dhèanamh air an eaconamaigh againne – dìreach mar as urrainn dha nabaidh Shìona, Putin, leis a’ ghrèim a tha aige air gas na h-Eòrpa.

Tha adhartas ann an teicneòlas a’ ciallachadh gu bheil sinn a-nis beò ann an saoghal far a bheil sinn nas motha an urra ri chèile. Ach, dha dùthchannan an iar, tha duilgheadas a bhith an eisimeil dhùthchannan as urrainn gluasad nas luaithe agus nas cinntiche air cùisean, gach cuid san dùthaich aca fhèin agus nuair a thig e gu cùisean an t-saoghail.

Ach, dh’aindheoin a h-uile càil a tha sin, ged-tà, chan fhiach dhuinn cùlaibh a chur ri democrasaidh.

Fios bhon neach-deasachaidh:

Tapa leibh airson an aithris a tha seo a leughadh. Tha sinn an eismeil ur taic nas motha na bha riamh agus buaidh a’ Choronbhirus air buaidh a thoirt air luchd sanasachd. Mur eil sibh air a dhèanamh mar-tha, ma se ur toil, nach beachdaich sibh taic a chumail ri ar obair-naidheachd earbsach, a tha sinn a’ dearbhadh a tha fìor, le bhith toirt a-mach ballrachd digiteach.

One wonders what the anti-vaxxers and lockdown deniers would have made of it all had they been resident in the Chinese city of Yuzhou, whose 1.2 million citizens where this week instructed to remain inside their homes after just three asymptomatic cases were discovered.

Public transport was suspended, cars not allowed on the road and sentries ensured full compliance with the strict lockdown. The dystopian society had become a reality.

But no matter how Draconian the approach, as viewed from here, the acquiescence of much of the Chinese public is assured as the ruling regime tolerates no impertinence or challenge to their authority.

It may be an approach that’s oppressive and wrong and anathema to liberal and democratic societies, but it's mightily impressive in being able to take swift and decisive action – and it also demonstrates the very real challenge that western countries face in trying to combat the aggressive rise of China, both in terms of Hong Kong, Taiwan and its wider economic ambitions.

While democratic leaders of capitalist economies wrestle with the prospect of “damned if they do; damned if they don’t”, with having to negotiate bureaucratic systems designed to ensure checks and balances, no such pitfalls need enter the minds of the Chinese ruling party; they are free to pursue their objectives with impunity, domestically at least, and without the dead-hand of having to face elections.

While viewed from the prism of the west, it feels wrong both intuitively and rationally, it should be remembered that a good deal of the Chinese public (as far as we can ascertain anyway) buy into the system; for them it makes perfect sense and the economic transformation of the country in the space of a generation is ample evidence of its benefits.

While actions on combating Covid are entirely an internal matter for China, there are other developments happening under the shadow of the pandemic which give further cause for concern, such as increased censorship in Hong Kong, with newspapers closed down and journalists jailed.

The prospect of any kind of armed conflict will hopefully be avoided by all sides, even with tensions over Taiwan rising, but the west can hardly sit by and allow this aggressive strategy to unfold, particularly so given the UK’s historic responsibility to Hong Kong.

One of the problems in tackling the rise of China is that western economies are now so economically dependent on its production capability and cheap labour and so any action has to be tempered with the very real danger of counter-action and damage – just as with China’s neighbouring autocratic ruler, Putin, and his strangle-hold over Europe’s gas supplies.

The progress of technology has left us with the inevitability of a smaller and more interconnected world, and that brings benefits.

But for the western world it also imposes real challenges in having to engage with countries that are able to act more swiftly and decisively, both domestically and globally. Yet for all that, and for all its imperfections, democracy remains by far society’s best option.

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