China Tells People to Prepare for War

The Chinese government continued their now-deafening nationalistic drum beat.

The People’s Armed Police News said a “political mobilization order” had gone out to security forces telling them to prepare for an arduous time ensuring order and control before and during the Games.

“The drums of war are sounding, a decisive battle is at hand,” the newspaper said. “For the sake of the Chinese nation’s image and for the honor of the People’s Armed Police, let us never forget our duty.”

The Olympics are a battle? China is preparing for a war? Tell me – who’s making sure that the Olympics are a political event again? Indeed, by the looks of things, the Chinese government would be happiest if the Olympics became a pitched, violent conflict on the streets of Beijing.

One thing that history has shown us – be it in protests at American political conventions, meetings of the G8, or even going back to the Hells Angels in Bass Lake, California – when police and paramilitary forces are told to act like violence and riots are coming, the militaristic preparation for how to deal with civil unrest tends to lead not to peace, but to more violence. Teach people to look for “a decisive battle” and you increase the likelihood that those people will assume any situation they are in is such a decisive battle. And when the stakes of the battle are “the Chinese nation’s image” then even someone sitting in non-violent protest in Tiananmen Square might be seen by these police as what “the drums of war” had sounded to alert them to. That is, China’s nationalistic rhetoric, use of bellicose language, and preparation of police forces for a “battle” make it all the more likely that these police and security forces will respond to any situation with violence. We have seen China’s military and police forces use deadly force against peaceful Tibetan protesters in the last month. Statements like the one above in the People’s Armed Police News seems to make certain that similar actions will continue up to and even during the Beijing Olympics.

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