The way the Spanish government is handling the Catalan problem, in full view of the world, brings us ever closer to the Chinese model. Using its strength as a state to silence political dissent. This can mean postponing a football match [Barça-Madrid, which should have been played on Saturday 26] in order that protests won’t be seen in the stands. Putting pressure on internet service providers to shut down the free access to information and means of communication, with the excuse —a blatant lie— that it is used by terrorist and criminal organizations [Spain’s Guardia Civil has sent letters to Spanish internet service providers telling them to block Tsunami Democràtic’s (1) communications, a group which up until now has called for peaceful protests]. Threatening the Belgian justice system with reprisals, if they do not do what they ask [issued by Minister Carmen Calvo, in the event that Belgium does not hand over Carles Puigdemont]. Forcing Canada to close its doors to President Puigdemont. Forbidding the Catalan government from engaging in lawful foreign actions.
They are actions against dissent, against the freedom of expression, against the separation of powers. They are not the actions of a country which fully embraces democratic values, but instead of a country which feels powerful and which believes that certain political and economic objectives are above all else. It is the Chinese model. Or maybe it is China who has made the Spanish model their own: "If you get something wrong, stick to your guns, don’t amend it” is an old Spanish saying. When you have a problem, never ask yourself what you’re doing wrong, instead double down on and protect your error. Stick to your guns.
(1) a pro-independence protest group which uses social media, apps and other online resources to organise itself