Friday, October 25, 2013

China is cracking down on wealthy dissenters

A dissenter, or someone who dissents, is someone who disagrees with others in regard to an issue.  When a government 'cracks down' on someone or something, this means that the government uses force to stop someone from doing something or to stop something from happening.

In the following article we see that the Chinese government has arrested a very wealthy Chinese businessman who seemed as if he was going to provide money to a group that does not agree with the current governmental system in China.  The article states that the Chinese government will allow business people to become rich, but it will not allow these rich business people to try to change the government or economic system.

Most Americans would condemn what the Chinese government did to this businessman. (to condemn something is to say it is wrong)  Yet, I feel that it's important to look at both sides of this issue.  The Chinese government has been trying to make various reforms (changes) and it has been moving slowly in making various changes.  For instance, the level of poverty (poorness) has decreased significantly in the country.

It seems to me that the Chinese government is following a plan to slowly change the economy and improve life for more Chinese.  I think the government is concerned that wealthy businessmen will try to bring about changes too quickly, or that these businessmen will not show adequate concern for all the Chinese people in regard to the changes they hope for. 

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to be arrested - to be taken in by the police for a crime

crossing the 'red line' of political activism - there seems to be an unwritten rule that businesspeople in China can make money for themselves, but they must stay out of politics.  This is referred to as a type of 'red line' that a person should not cross.  Political activism means political change.

a crackdown - when the government uses force to stop something

dissent - when a person or people disagree with some policy. It is a noun and a verb.

crucial - very important

gathering - meeting

a billionaire venture capitalist - he has over $1,000,000,000 and he likes to loan money to businesses that are starting so that he can make more money. A 'venture' is a risk.

human rights issues - such issues would be freedom of speech and other freedoms

detention - when someone is kept against his will by the police or other authorities

rising entrepreneurial elite - an entrepreneur is a business person, to be elite is to be one of the 'highest' or 'best'.  In China now there is a social and economic class of people who are growing in numbers and who have a huge amount of money.  The Chinese government seems worried that they will try to take control of how the government is being run.

to agitate - to cause trouble, to try to change things

reform - change

ascendant - rising, increasing

supremacy - dominance, control

a prosecutor - a lawyer for the government

seized - grabbed, taken

suspicion - if you suspect someone of doing something illegal, you think he may have done that illegal thing

disrupt order - cause disorder or chaos

paves the way - makes it possible for

a court trial - this is when a person goes to court to defend himself against charges that eh did something wrong.  The court will have a judge and lawyers etc.

urbanites - people who live in cities

to advocate - to speak out for, to say that something should happen

enshrined in China's constitution - these activists say that there are freedoms promised to Chinese people in China's constitution (main legal document) that the Chinese people do not have yet. Enshrined in means: to have a special place in.

government transparency - to be able to see clearly what the government is doing

disclosure of assets - this group wants to know how much money each government official is making

integrity -  a deep sense of honesty and honor

outspoken - someone who has strong opinions

causes - political movements can be called causes.  Human rights is a cause that many people are fighting for.  A 'cause' is a social goal that people are trying to make real.

to portend - to predict, to point to

his ilk - his type or his kind

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