Letter from a fan asking about public protests in China

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Dear Jeff Brown,

Greetings from a grateful follower of your work. I’ve been reading and re-reading the Big Red Book for a couple of years now and greatly appreciate your efforts to set the historical record straight and shake up the media discourse on China.

I wonder if you could point me in a fruitful direction to learn more about protest in China. I seem to remember your writing that protest was surprisingly common when you lived there, and I think you even put some numbers to it in your Big Red Book. What are some good, up-to-date sources to learn about how common popular protest is – say, at the local level? Or, perhaps good books or articles on Chinese netizens as they debate social and political issues?

It’s tiring to hear professional critics of China repeatedly decry the lack of protest and social-political discourse there; it’s a common criticism I also hear from people around me. I’d love to have substantial data to show them for a more accurate picture, and I’d greatly appreciate any advice you might have.

Best regards,


My response,

Dear RY,

Thanks for reaching out.

The hundreds of protests a day are happening in China, but for obvious reasons, the government wants them to be kept focused on the local level for the problem at hand. Then, get their concerns addressed as soon as possible.

Most are not known about outside the local area, since the problems are local. Only the occasional one is big enough to get publicity (Foxconn was an example).

There is no public data on protests, but everyone knows they are happening, and the problem are getting resolved. That’s why about 80% of the Chinese say their country is moving in the right direction and that they are satisfied with their government, one of the highest rankings in the world. That kind of support speaks volumes, and shows that the 300-500 daily protest issues get resolved. See the attached.

So many outside-China groups are CIA chop shops that it’s hard to know if they are telling the truth. I trust the Chinese people’s opinions more, which are reflected in these polls.

Please check out my new 501c3 foundation. There is lots to see and learn,

Jeff J. Brown




6 Responses to “Letter from a fan asking about public protests in China

  • Agree. When I was living in Shanghai, I have seen dozens ov street demonstrations. Most of these demonstrations are about very local issues. A company that hasn’t paid salaries on time, construction works which are too moisy, …
    I as a foreigner have participated in two of such demonstrations. One was about the extension of the MAGLEV train track, the other about subway construction work that caused a dangerous traffic situation.

  • Fang, I have registered complaints with city hall and the police on a number of occasions. For example, one was a crooked landlord, another was a traffic circulation problem in our neighborhood, etc.

    My concerns were reasonable, they were addressed by the authorities and the problems were quickly solved.


  • Here’s a report from a German think-tank which debunks the alarmist myths surrounding China’s social credit systems. TLDR: Such systems were plural (systems), experimental (trialed by various local authorities), and ultimately shut down (by the central government, which saw that they did not adequately enough promote trust and fairness).
    The fact that Westerners continue to bring up “China’s social credit system” indicates a serious problem of thinking and debate in our countries. If you can be this wrong for so long, how in fact are you making use of your freedoms?
    Speaking of which, as a Chinese immigrant living amongst Chinese immigrants, I’ve never met one who is a political refugee. Most of us are here because of the U.S. dollar, and I’ve noticed that the newer, younger generation of immigrants have plans to return to China at some point down the road.
    Lastly, on the topic of central bank digital currencies, this indeed is a serious problem – for all nations, especially Western ones whose central banks are private and have more authority than the governments elected to protect the public. If you value national sovereignty, you need to fight against CBDCs in the West. China’s central bank is public.
    If you believe that North Americans should not move to China, there I wholeheartedly agree with you. China is authoritarian in a particularly Chinese way. It’s a de-centralized authoritarianism, Confucian and meritocratic, socialist in its ideals, and clan-corporate in its traditions going back thousands of years. The people there are savvy enough to live in its complex milieu because they’ve inherited the cultural smarts to do it. North Americans simply don’t have that kind of social cognition, as social psychological research indicates:

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