New Roots for Democracy

I recently read two articles that attracted my attention. They are different for the topics discussed, but similar in content.

They both take place in China; one describes the accident when Xiang Liujuan has been eaten by the escalator in Jingzhou. The other one is a comment that follows the blast in Tianjin.

Why are they similar? They both talk about the social power that social networks have in China on rising up discussions about topics that are quickly skipped by Chinese authorities. People find their word to say what they think…… in public. The Internet enables discussion and let people comment and argue about event of the everyday. The Internet, which nevertheless is controlled by the Chinese authorities, enables people of a kind of freedom, which else wouldn’t not be possible in a traditional public space.

Is public space migrating towards the digital realm? Chinese dissent artist Ai Wei Wei has been already using the Internet as medium to engage people worldwide. Even tough kept in captivity since 2011 (he recently received back his passport) Wei Wei has been capable of keeping his ideas public.

Space is the place of discussion, debate and confrontation. Ancient Greeks and Romans designed their cities around the space where discussions about politics and philosophy were the everyday. The agora and forum were the heart of the city. People met there to talk.

I am aware that such treat is no longer present in our cities. Nevertheless I am quite happy to see that people find their way, which adapts and camouflages according to the time and technology.

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