China

Enforcers with Fire Extinguishers

Planning to set yourself on fire? The Chinese government is ready.

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While the Chinese Communist Party meets in Beijing, firefighters are stationed in Tiananmen Square. This may seem unusual, Max Fisher writes in The Washington Post, "since they're standing in the middle of a giant open square, with nothing flammable anywhere nearby. Except, that is, for the other people in the square, which may be exactly what they're worried about. More specifically, the firefighters are likely there to put out any protesters who attempt to set themselves on fire."

They've had practice:

last November, a man walked into Tiananmen and lit himself on fire, but police were ready. According to tourists on the square, police pulled out fire extinguishers and put him out within 10 seconds. Within about a minute and a half, police bundled him into a car and drove him off.

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  1. Within about a minute and a half, police bundled him into a car and drove him off.

    …never to be seen or heard from again.

    1. Perhaps. But I’ll bet he received excellent medical care.

      1. Excellent free medical care.

        1. I thought the Party charges the family for the bullet.

          1. Technically, that’s not medical care. It’s re-education.

            1. Huh – I always thought the bullet was considered a “medical device” (and therefore subject to the special MaoCare “Medical Device Tax”, OBTW).

              Ya learn something ebby day!

            2. I’ll get around Reason’s ridiculous spam filter by saying

              Touch

    2. Probably served him to the Lizard People for dinner. I’ve heard they like their meat flame broiled and rare.

    3. And who said that big government isn’t efficient? Oh wait, I did. Sorry.

  2. You know that it would be untrue
    You know that I would be a liar
    If I was to say to you
    Mao, we couldn’t get much higher

    Come on babe,put out my fire
    Come on babe,put out my fire
    Try not to set the square on fire

    1. Please cease.

      1. I got my eye on the fuel
        my hand upon the lighter
        I got my eye on the fuel
        my hand upon the lighter

        So let’s roaaaaaaast baybee roast
        Roaaaaaaast baybee roast
        Let’s roaaaaaaast baybee roast
        Let’s roaaaaaaast
        All night long.

        1. I loathe you.

    2. Bought some lighter fluid
      ’bout an hour ago.
      Took a look around
      see which way the cops go.
      Set myself on fire in the
      center of the public square.

      Just another lost angel…
      now I’m alight.
      Now I’m alight!
      Now I’m alight!
      Now I’M ALIGHT!

  3. So self-immolaters need to add thermite to the mix?

    Could they use really big firecrackers for a suicide vest, since I assume it’s hard for the average Chinese subject to obtain high-explosives?

  4. If there is one thing the War on Terror has taught us, is that you don’t get anywhere unless you set other people on fire.

    1. “Napalm sticks to kiiiiids….”

      /Marine Basic Training song

  5. I never understood the “Ima light myself on fire – THAT’LL learn ’em!” Then again, I’ve never lived in Tibet, China, England…maybe with the re-election of His Excellency The Half Wit I’ll get a chance to see what horror would drive people to such an action.

    1. I wouldn’t mention that to the former leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and coming soon, Syria. I’m not saying they “learned” much, in the strict sense of the term, but they certainly felt its effect.

  6. Check out the comments on the WaPo story in case you think things are all that different here.

    To be fair, if the government is expecting people to light themselves on fire, then having firefighters nearby is the responsible thing to do.

    If we in the West knew someone was about to attempt suicide, we would try to prevent it too.

    To be fair…fuck off, slaver.

  7. But I thought that people said that “free trade” with China would bring freedom to China. Seems like it has just given the Communist Party the money to stay in power.

    1. Remember, free trade with China will bring them freedom. Free trade with Cuba will reinforce the regime.

    2. And the Cuban sanctions worked? I don’t care about bringing freedom to China through free trade, although it would be a nice side effect. I care about free trade with China as a way to make money.

      1. So you would have been first in line to trade with Stalin’s Gulags since you could have made a nice profit on it?

        1. Sure. Do you think we should have charged IBM with war crimes because the Nazis used their equipment to collate data on Jewish populations in occupied countries?

          If the Chinese people want freedom, they must get it through the only way history has shown, watering the Tree of Liberty with the blood of tyrants. The onus of such a task falls directly on them. Until such a day, I see no reason as to why doing business with willing Chinese firms is immoral in anyway.

          1. So dealing in stolen goods is OK. Does this mean that I can trade in goods stolen from you?

            1. So dealing in stolen goods is OK.

              Where are you making that giant leap in logic from? The vast majority of Chinese are actually pretty supportive of their government and economic system.

              1. And if they are not the they are put in prison. Problem solved. Stalin had the same solution to those who did not agree with him.

                1. Not my problem.

                  1. Thanks for the information.

            2. So dealing in stolen goods is OK. Does this mean that I can trade in goods stolen from you?

              We need to distinguish between international trade and intranational trade. If you steal from me and sell the goods to someone in the same country, both you and the buyer are under the same jurisdiction and should be punished accordingly. If the buyer is in a different country he is not under the same jurisdiction, and as such, shouldn’t be punished, especially if he has no knowledge as to the origin of the goods. However, the seller of the goods should be punished as he is in the same jurisdiction as the person he stole from.

              In short, it is up to the Chinese people to punish their government for their unjust actions, not me. You can argue that it is not ethical to trade with oppressive governments, but under the principles of free trade, it certainly shouldn’t be illegal.

              1. Did not even get to the point of asking if it should be legal, I asked if you would do it.

                So how about Stalin and his Gulag industries. Is it a good label, should I buy up as much as I can?

                Seems like even talking about it gets some people nervous. Or is it best not to ask questions and just think about the money to be saved?

                1. So how about Stalin and his Gulag industries. Is it a good label, should I buy up as much as I can?

                  I wouldn’t lose much sleep over it. Sanctions are worse in that they prevent people here from engaging in free choice of livelihood.

                  1. Did not mention sanctions. I asked if you would do it.

                    So I should follow the example of Armand Hammer who went off to the Soviet Union in the 1920’s and 1930’s buying up things from the Soviets no questions asked and selling them in the USA for big profits. Then using that money to get tight with American politicians and create crony businesses to make more money since this is all free trade and free market.

                    Free trade and Free market can be defined down to if someone makes money on it then its free trade and free market.

                    1. So I should follow the example of Armand Hammer who went off to the Soviet Union in the 1920’s and 1930’s buying up things from the Soviets no questions asked and selling them in the USA for big profits.

                      That first step is just good business.

                    2. Ok so I can buy up your former property that was stolen because it was just good business. As long as there is one degree of separation between the theft and me then i am a good free marketer.

    3. It’s none of yours – or the U.S. government’s – business who I want to trade with.

      1. So if someone steals your car and I knowingly buy it for $100, then you are out of luck?

        1. Analogy fail. If I buy a shirt manufactured in China, nobody’s rights have been violated.

          1. Even if it was made by political prisoners? Or if the land the factory was built was stolen by a State Industry? Or if the workers had no right to even own land so that they had to work at the factory or starve?

            1. How is that any different in the US?

              1. How is that any different in the US?

                In Chinese prisons, the prisoners actually do something constructive. In American prisons, they get 3 hots in a cot, all the anal sex they want, and spend most of their time working out, filing frivolous lawsuits, and learning how to be better criminals once they get out.

              2. Its more about the degree. However I think its in my interest to not support the larger criminals politicians of China so that my own politician don’t move in that direction. I would prefer to live in an area where Chinese standards are not considered to be acceptable. Or next thing we will have people like Klugman praising China and its methods and advocating them here, oops that is already happening

                Plus I prefer a definition of free trade/free market to be that of trade between free people and at least trade between semi free people and leave out state industries, industries owned by government officials, and public/private partnerships. Once you start calling trade with such state connected industries ‘free’ then you are no longer talking about anything close to a free market or free trade.

            2. Once again, that’s not your or the U.S. government’s business. I would not buy something that I knew was produced through slave labor, but the correct solution is for the Chinese government to stop violating the rights of its citizens, not for the U.S. government to violate my rights because the Chinese government is violating the rights of its citizens.

              1. When did I say anything about the state stepping in? However some people get very defensive when I point out that much of what is called free trade with China is tightly tied to the Chinese government and if you start calling that free trade then I no longer agree.

                1. much of what is called free trade with China US is tightly tied to the Chinese US government and if you start calling that free trade then I no longer agree.

                  (feel free to substitute any government above too)

                  There is no real free trade at all, short of the black market, well, maybe to Antarctica. So by default the state already steps into any trade. The fact that an exchange happens is because the state allows it.

                  We aren’t allowed to import sugar without a hefty tariff. McNab served 8 years in prison for importing some lobster. 4 others are also felons because of this. Reason also covered it a few years ago. Ironically, that was a truly free trade.

                  And it goes on and on..

                  1. and there’s a shitlist like this, seriously criminalizing real free trade over small crap, not just big contraband items, for every supposedly free country. Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, are some of the ones I know of

    4. It is an improvement in every way compared to how it was decades ago. This is also partly due to soft-power the internet, the West, S. Korea and Japan among the young, free trade has brought with it to the locals. The farther away you are from national politics, the more free you are in practice as well.

      The party will stay in power, but will change, just as the PRC today isn’t Mao’s party. There’s very little actually “communist” about the party today. Fascist, yes, but CCCP, get-in-line for your ration, earnings-cap commie? Obviously not. However while they’ll become freer, I don’t think they’ll ever be that free. There’s likely some kind of limit that comes from trying to maintain political control, especially one that embodies a kind of nationalistic fervor (though I guess most states are that way)

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