Challenging the status quo

The Chinese president on a visit to the United States told a group of people that he met on the street that they needed to challenge their government and change the status quo, and that people’s privacy must be respected if they are to breathe free.

You did not hear about this? That was because it did not happen. If a foreign leader on a state visit to the US incited Americans against their government, there would of have been howls of outrage and the media would have had blanket coverage.

And yet vice president Joe Biden on a state visit to China did the equivalent, telling a group of regular people that they needed to “challenge the government, challenge religious leaders”, that “innovation can only occur where you can breathe free”, and that “children in America are rewarded – not punished – for challenging the status quo”.

These are all sentiments that I heartily agree with but I find it grating when Americans feel that they can lecture other countries on how they should behave, as if they are the paragons of virtue and uphold the qualities they find wanting in other nations. After all, we know how well rewarded Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning were for challenging the status quo.


  1. Jockaira says

    there would of have been howls of outrage and the media would have had blanket coverage.

    I doubt seriously that it would have happened in this way. More likely the media would have reported it straight and left the “howls of outrage” to commenters. readers, and politicians. Of course our native pundets would have been all over themselves in joy at being able to point out the ironic hypocrisy of the Chinese President and some might even have called it an “act of war”.

    The lack of official notice or comment by respective regimes would only have been polite and diplomatic, and apologies would not have been forthcoming.

  2. smrnda says

    Children are not encourages to challenge the status quo. They are taught to be cogs in a machine and to accept that they’ll have diminished opportunities and will have to work harder for less as time goes by, and in some states and places, education comes along with religious brainwashing.

    People aren’t punished for challenging the status quo? Then why were the cops beating down protestors in the Occupy movement?

  3. lanir says

    I suspect the rest of the world is used to Uncle Sam and knows he tends to be a bit senile and out of touch. Not to mention occasionally getting all riled up after watching Faux News. Yes, he’s one of those uncles. I think the main reason the rest of the world puts up with him is he also happens to be Uncle Moneybags.

  4. says

    If the PRC’s leader had done that, there would have full court press coverage about Chinese brutality and violations of human rights.

    If the leader or key politician of a functioning democracy had said it (e.g. Canada, Europe, Australia, etc.), the usual propaganda would have ensued about “they don’t have as many freedoms as we do”. In a choice between Canada’s stricter classification of hate speech than the US, and Canada’s lack of a near police state in everyday life, I know which one I’ll take.

  5. Richard Simons says

    children in America are rewarded – not punished – for challenging the status quo

    Since coming to Canada, one thing that has struck me about North American society is how conformist it is, despite the claims. There seems to be strong pressure both in schools and the workplace to be a ‘team player’ and a desire to go your own way is seen as being anti-social

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