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Missouri an inalienable part of the United States

By Jules Quartly | China Daily | Updated: 2012-11-20 09:47

I was going to talk about how the Net is a nicer place these days when a look at's top 10 diverted me.

Missouri an inalienable part of the United States

Apparently, the most searched item on the Chinese Web on Sunday was whether or not the United States is going to dissolve into an un-united state.

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It sounds serious and clearly caught the imagination of many Chinese, but it's actually just a series of requests filed on the US government's "We the People" website.

To give some idea of the levity with which this is being treated in the US, one petition reportedly called for a giant pizza party if Missouri seceded from the Union.

In reality, of course, it's far more likely the US will expand, as a recent referendum in Puerto Rico indicated the majority of its people wanted to become the 51st US state.

So while devolution of the US in the near future is as likely as the end of the world in December, this did not prevent a number of Chinese enjoying the schadenfreude.

"Ha ha" and, "A single spark can set a prairie fire", were typical comments on the world's most popular micro-blogging site, which presented the discussion item somewhat inaccurately as, "Fighting for independence of the 50 states of the United States".

"Beyond the Great Wall in the Village of Han" went a bit further, gleefully suggesting the US was in the grip of a "Jasmine Revolution" - referring to the domino effect of the Tunisian revolution in 2010 that led to various Arab leaders being deposed from their thrones.

At the time this led to feverish speculation and what proved to be the wholly wrongheaded idea that China's leaders, too, would soon buckle under the weight of historical necessity.

Meanwhile, the commentator "Cold End to the Month" wrote that "white people can't tolerate a black president" and suggested that President Barack Obama's re-election led to a right-wing and racist reaction among the country's elite, by which I presumes he means the Republicans.

A more reasoned approach was put forward by the blogger "Xinjiang Bamboo", whose opinion pieces are hosted by some major portals.

His basic argument is that US hegemony has existed for 50 years or so because of its strong economy and military. Since it is a democracy and values free speech, the "independence petitions" allowed disaffected supporters of the beaten presidential candidate Mitt Romney to blow off steam and show their dissatisfaction.

"Although the independence movement of the US states is a farce, we can also see from the trajectory of the US that its glory days are over and it is at the sunset stage," Xinjiang Bamboo opines.

He goes on to quote the Chinese saying: "A centipede dies but never falls down," meaning old institutions are difficult to dislodge, and then predicts that the US will maintain its seat at the head of the international table for another 50 to 100 years.

As for the Net being a nicer place, the thought was put to me by a UK social worker who believes making virtual friends is a great way of learning to make real friends, especially for those who lack confidence.

A quick troll of cyberspace convinced me this was a non-starter.

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