It is a long legacy of Bureaucracy in The Middle Kingdom, and perhaps Kafka did not see this exact result. And perhaps even Kafka did not foresee this total yoke of control. But he probably did. [DE]
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The Red Chains of Bureaucracy That ‘Torture’ Chinese
The Germans coined a word for its excesses: Behördengang. Franz Kafka, the great novelist of pain, described its dehumanizing effect when he wrote: “The chains of tormented mankind are made out of red tape.” And Confucian China may have perfected it: bureaucracy.
In the southern city of Guangzhou, Cao Zhiwei caused a stir this week when he demonstrated the scale of bureaucracy in China by unrolling a meters-long scroll at a meeting of the local committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a government advisory body to which he belongs. On the horizontal scroll, he listed 103 official documents needed by the average Chinese over a lifetime, The Nanfang Daily reported.
Mr. Cao, 46, named his scroll “On the Document Road” (人在证途), with an alternative Chinese character supplying a pun: “On the Trek” (人在征途).
“On the Document Road/Trek” details the fat clutch of papers that Mr. Cao said people need in six major phases of life: before birth, before school, at school, at work, in retirement and after death. The work phase alone requires 59 documents, the newspaper wrote.