I finally read/listened to this interview
with Liu Cixin, the author of the Three-Body Problem. I first heard about it about a year ago because he got drunk and said he doesn’t care about the Uighur internment camps.
That part is exactly as I thought it would be. Like most Han Chinese, he feels the Uighurs should just fall in line. I think there may be an institutionally racist winners-and-losers mentality like the kind many Whites in America have.
The surprising parts are 1) the choice his grandparents made with respect to hedging during the rise of communism and 2) the shrugging at democracy.
The second part shouldn’t be surprising because I have been thinking a lot lately about how democracy isn’t really valued by possibly a plurality of Americans and about how disastrous US attempts to export democracy have been, in large part to many people throughout the world not finding it to be that attractive a system. In the West, this is unthinkable, and so it leads to condescending and destructive policy.
Liu imagines that democracy in China would be chaotic and corrupt, and average people’s lives would be far worse, given that he thinks they mostly care about getting enough to eat and getting healthcare.
I think he’s right about people’s common concerns, but not about democracy being chaotic and prone to corruption. There’s forms of democracy I can point to that could mitigate that, but unfortunately, I can’t point to a real example that has been pressure tested. I certainly can’t point to the US, which is almost a counter example about about democracy lately.