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Dispatch: Mainland China's "Occupy Wall Street" Reaction

Released on 2012-03-02 01:00 GMT

Email-ID 1346433
Date 2011-10-19 23:03:43
Stratfor logo
Dispatch: Mainland China's "Occupy Wall Street" Reaction

October 19, 2011 | 2044 GMT
Click on image below to watch video:

China Director Jennifer Richmond explains why the "Occupy Wall Street"
movement failed to gain traction in mainland China.

Editor*s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition
technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete

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The "Occupy Wall Street" movement has gone global and there have even
been attempts to capitalize on this movement in various Chinese cities.
The "Occupy China" movement, however, has failed to gain traction on the

We really didn't expect to see this movement transfer to mainland China;
however, given the Jasmine protests earlier this year, there were many
who were waiting to see whether or not this movement could be
rejuvenated by the global call to action. The global Occupy movement
lacks a nucleus or leadership. Despite a common theme of corporate
greed, there is very little direction on how to proceed and, under these
circumstances, we have seen no contagion effect in mainland China.

However, the Tiananmen protests in 1989 also started with very little
leadership or direction, and many Chinese activists that I've spoken
with feel that all that is needed is a spark to ignite a fire. After
all, there are plenty of protests localized daily in China, revolving
around issues such as land grabs, the environment and even corruption.

The Jasmine Movement provided a spark for organized action in China;
however, it quickly fizzled under an aggressive government response. The
Occupy China movement hasn't even gotten that far. While it is not
unforeseeable for a small movement to gain momentum in China, the
problem with both the Jasmine and the Occupy movements are that neither
were home-grown.

Although the Jasmine movement was spearheaded by Chinese, it was done so
from overseas. The Occupy movement had supporters and organizers within
China, but the concept was foreign-generated.

Moreover, the Chinese government and media has actually acknowledged the
Occupy movement in the U.S. and in the EU, taking the opportunity to
point out the failures of Wall Street and capitalism, while at the same
time, censoring any indication of an Occupy China movement. Also, many
Chinese do not have access to the social Internet sites that have helped
to ignite these movements in Western countries, namely Facebook. And
those that do, find this information quickly scrubbed off of similar
Chinese sites.

Ultimately, the Chinese, even those that want change, are wary of
foreign influences. Anything emanating from outside of the state will be
used by the state to highlight foreign interference. That said the
domestic wealth gap and its ensuing tensions could generate a homegrown
movement that would threaten Beijing much more so than any Occupy Wall
Street movement could muster.

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