those turning points in history when a citizenry, so far pleased with economic gain, wants more than material comfort,” said Chanda. “They want recognition of their rights; they want quality of life and, most importantly, the good governance they have come to expect by watching the world.”
Ditto China. In December, noted Chanda, “when a Chinese censor in Guangzhou committed the unprecedented intrusion by physically entering the premises of Southern Weekend paper and rewriting their New Year editorial — turning a critical one into a panegyric of the Communist Party — Chinese journalists exploded. For the first time in history, they publicly demanded the resignation of the censor and China’s Twitter, Weibo, lit up with anger.” And, of course, the Arab Awakening was triggered, not by middle-class college students, but by an aspiring-to-be-in-the-middle-class Tunisian vegetable seller who was abused by corrupt police. Leaders beware: your people don’t need to be in the middle class any more, in economic terms, to have the education, tools and mindset of the middle class — to feel entitled to a two-way conversation and to be treated like citizens with real rights and decent governance.