Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Asian Astroturf

'Astroturf' is the plastic grass that will tear your legs to shred when playing a fast game of football or hockey on it. It is also a PR/political term for phoney or assisted public oppinion. It can take the form of interest groups set up by companies to support causes they are interested in, it can consist of local party members writing letters to the newspapers disguised as ordinary citizens and, in its most extreme form, it can be demonstrations where the demonstrators have been bussed in by government, given placards and then told to be 'spontaneous.'

Today The New York Times is writing about the recent protests in China against Japan and how they are scripted by the government to assist them in taking a leadership role in Asia.

By talking to Chinese students in London there is no doubt that the resentment in the population is deep and widespread. But that the government has a say in the demonstrations can be seen by the mere fact that the demonstrators are allowed at all. Thus they are harnessing the nationalistic sentiments of the country as to further a Geopolitical goal. I am trying to think of examples of that calculation leading to catastrophic results...


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