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NY protests offer warning to Chinese rich

http://en.youth.cn   2011-10-28 09:14:00

There aren't many Chinese camping in Zuccotti Park, the home of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement. Not a surprise. Chinese immigrants have long been known for being silent and invisible at political events, especially one like this that was started mainly by young white hipsters.

But it doesn't mean there aren't Chinese at the scene. These days tourists from China coming to visit the site of the destroyed World Trade Center and the newly opened 9/11 Memorial seem to have added Zuccotti Park, which is only a couple of blocks away from Ground Zero, as a must-see.

The Chinese tourists won't usually walk into the protesting crowd. They like to walk around the edges of the park, taking some pictures and making some comments within their own groups. The middle aged man I met the other afternoon was a typical example. He exaggeratedly waved his fist to the crowd and shouted jokingly, "We Chinese people support you guys!" before he was pulled away by his laughing wife and daughter.

The curiosity is understandable. Protesting is nothing new in American history and marching and protesting have almost become street fixtures in New York since the 2008 financial meltdown. But for many Chinese tourists, who have only just started to come to the US in large numbers, Occupy Wall Street may be the first major American demonstration that they have witnessed in person, thanks to the long lasting nature, the convenient location of the protest and the lavish coverage in the Chinese media. 

But if the Chinese tourists, who presumably belong to the wealthy class in their own country, simply take what's happening in Zuccotti Park as an exotic street drama without thinking about how it reflects on themselves, they may have cause for regret.

Resentment against the rich, which is a major engine of the movement, exists in both the US, where wealth has been flowing for a long time and China, where wealth has been accumulating rapidly. But the American rich, who are the target of the Wall Street protesters and the Chinese rich, who are mainly amused gawkers here, couldn't be more different.  

In the US, the rich have a tradition of giving back to society. The donation from robber barons in the 19th century blessed New York with many gifts, such as the renowned Carnegie Hall and the Rockefeller Plaza.

The foundations of George Soros and Bill Gates are pushing earthshaking changes in the nation and in the world. Even Zuccotti Park was built and maintained by the real estate firm Brookfield Properties for the public as part of a planning deal with the authorities. In China, philanthropy is still an infant idea that scares many rich people away.

source : Global Times     editor:: Ma Ting
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