14 survived, less than 50 missing, 396 dead. As of the writing of this blog post, this is the latest count on the sinking cruise liner in the 揚子江 (Yangtze River). Reuters reports that state security on the bereaving loved ones is a concern. They kept in quarters to prevent from talking with each other for the most part.
This is a problem with China’s entire system at large. They all want a 明君 (Benevolent ruler), who does good for all the people. Yippy. They forget that when the so-called “benevolent ruler” abuses his powers without checks and balances, you get the 大躍進 (Great Leap Forward), which led to 三年大饑荒 (Three years of Great Famine), where it’s covered up as the 三年自然災害 (Three years of Natural Disasters) in the history books, that is, if it’s mentioned at all.
The problem is, the Chinese selective memory in conveniently forgetting its own historical mistakes lets people move on with their lives to become productive proletariat, and blah blah blah, “communist-paradise on earth” will give you all the material possessions that the decadent West, so everybody just move along now, OK?
So, while China hammers on about Japanese war atrocities, or its island disputes with Japan and in the South China Seas. Heck, it will report on anything that will tug at the nationalistic heart strings, just to get your attention away from the issues that shows the Communist government as incompetent. Which is why, even when reporting on this ship sinking, it will stop short of giving you good investigative journalism, because the company that ran the cruise liner was a state-owned enterprise.
Now, I’m not a Republican who believes that privatization is the key to magically solves these problems, because even if you switch the owners from government officials to rich businessmen (who just so happen to have heavy ties with government officials), the structure won’t change at all. Safety is not a good business, and costs money. Whether its safety for its own factory workers, or safety for passengers on a cruise, investing in the right infrastructure for safety means it’ll have to drive up costs to operate. I’m not defending the business, but this means that the fat-cats will not have any incentive to pocket more money, and they have no economic incentive to do so. So what do you do, when you know you have a market full of a new low-middle class who want to go on a cruise for a cheap price?
You cut corners, and in a 明君 (Benevolent Ruler) System, you cannot ask questions. What ”the 明君 gives, the 明君 takes away”, blessed is thy name of the 明君. That’s right! You have no course of action against the cruise liner! They MIGHT give you a measly compensation, but most they will give, is a promise to change their practices without actually doing anything. They can get away with it too. Because in a 明君 System, what would entice the leaders to increase security? You could ask for checks and balances, but no 明君 would want that, as it would hinder their ability to rule with complete control.
And, because the Communist Party is so holy, and can do no wrong, every card-carrying member is a 明君. So if you propose a check and balance on some other guy, you’re stepping on someone’s toes, and they might not be happy. However, if you get all these 明君s to ban together and protect each others interests, then you get an oligarchy. And now, true communist ideology, where a group of people with shared interests come together in a common goal: To protect their own interests by helping protect the interests of others. After all, “同一個夢想，同一個夢” (One World, One Dream) —everybody else, including the common person be damned.