The New York Times Enrages Netizens

The Anti-CNN folks are up in arms again, so much so that their webmaster has written a news story about it in English. This time, the target of their displeasure is the New York Times, who apparently edited photo captions for photos of the riots in Xinjiang. The photos came with captions from the Associated Press, Reuters, and the Agence France Presse, but Anti-CNN has discovered that the Times edited those captions, in some cases giving the photos improper context and in other cases making them downright wrong.

NYT: Injured Uighur
NYT: Injured Uighur
For example, the New York Times ran this photo with the caption: “Uighurs injured at a hospital in the city during a media tour by the authorities on Monday.” When Anti-CNN netizens noticed the name tag (as well as the man’s face) clearly indicate that he is of Han ethnicity, they contacted Reuters, where a photo editor explained that the original caption of the photo was “People who were injured during riots in Urumqi, rest in a hospital in the city during an official government tour for the media” and further noted that Reuters cannot control whether clients change their photo captions.

Further accounts of NYT caption editing came to light in another Anti-CNN thread where users posted screengrabs and photos. For example, compare the captions of the following two images. The first is the original photo and caption as released by the AFP/Getty, the second is a screen grab from a New York Times website slide show:

AFP/Getty image and caption
New York Times image and caption

What was originally reported as a Uighur “riot” by the AFP was changed to a “clash between rioters and police” in the New York Times. Other examples in the thread do indicate that the Times appears to have been rewriting captions to play up the police vs. Muslims angle, and to play down the Muslim-rioters-killed-lots-of-innocent-people angle.

The most damning evidence, though, is probably these two photos, where it appears clear the New York Times is trying to use a rather shocking image to drive home the idea that the police beat and killed Uighurs, despite the fact that the original caption doesn’t indicate the photo is related to police violence at all:

Original AP image and caption
Original AP image and caption
NYT image and caption
NYT image and caption

Anti-CNN members have also written an open letter to the paper’s editorial staff:

NYT owes the public an explanation as to why its photo editor altered the captions in such a way to fuel the enmity between the Han and the Uighur ethnicities of China and to stigmatize the Chinese law enforcement. The caption manipulation has led the public to believe that NYT did so to deceive its readers. We therefore request that NYT publish this protest letter and withdraw or correct its captions. In light of the insults to the riot victims by NYT’s caption distortion, it is highly appropriate for NYT to apologize to the riot victims or issue a statement to that effect, in order to regain its credibility with its Chinese readers.

Pending any reasonable explanation from the New York Times, the netizens complaints seem entirely legitimate. Intentional or not — and it’s hard to imagine how one could change the caption to an already-captioned photo by accident — these captions are misleading at best, and destructively ignorant at worst. That this seems to happen every time unrest breaks out in China does also seem to indicate an agenda on the parts of some members of the Western media.

With that said, the conspiracy theories that have followed these revelations on Anti-CNN are equally ignorant. One netizen wrote, “I have finally realized why Obama had rushed to a decision of withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. It is a grand strategy to demolish China into pieces by redeploying them to join the NATO forces in Afghanistan adjacent to China!” Another wrote, “The ultimate goal of the West is to render China powerless forever, by fragmenting China, after USSR and the Yugoslavia, to as many small pieces as possible.”

This level of paranoia is — there just isn’t another word for it — stupid, but at least the people espousing these opinions aren’t employed by one of the largest and most respected media sources in the world. They, too, are spreading ignorance — perpetuating the somehow still-extant idea that the rest of the world (1) is basically just one big country called Foreign or The West and (2) cares enough about China to put an awful lot of effort into destroying it — but their stage isn’t as big, and they’re mostly preaching to the choir anyway.

In conclusion, shame on the New York Times, for writing the same old Tiananmen Square stories even when the facts clearly point in another direction, and shame on Chinese netizens for taking the bait and trotting out the same old tired generalizations about the anti-China West. This isn’t the way anything gets resolved, and the longer this crap keeps up the longer everyone in China and in the West is going to be uncomfortable about what remains a tenuous international relationship.

UPDATE: Part 2.

0 thoughts on “The New York Times Enrages Netizens”

  1. @Hemulen:

    Patronizing and preachy, I can accept that. I don’t have any illusions about satisfying everyone and there’s a broad spectrum of people in this world. For every person like you who finds bullet point suggestions of import patronizing and preachy, there’s another person who finds them poignant (when serious) and amusing (when tongue-in-cheek). And then there are others who have entirely different feelings about them. When I write on CNR, I struggle with the Fallows admonishment that we not fall into the trap of writing for our in-country audience (English readers experienced in China) but for audiences abroad that do not necessarily have the benefit of all the information and experience we ourselves take for granted. My impression of myself and past writing suggests that I haven’t done a good job of this, as I can see how many of the things I say are dependent upon being familiar with an assortment of things that audiences abroad cannot be reasonably expected to know or understand. This is not their fault, this is my fault as a writer.

    That said, you’ve made your decision not to follow CNR or my writing there. That’s your prerogative. Frankly, I don’t know you or where you haunt online, but I’m sure you’ve found websites and writers you enjoy and don’t feel unduly talked down to. In my defense, I don’t assume anyone talking in English is from America or working in Beijing (especially the working in Beijing part). However, I do offer the fact that much of our traffic comes from America.

    I don’t think there is any point in having one public point of view in Chinese and one in English, except to avoid being accused of being a “sell out” by other Chinese.

    I don’t think you’re being fair and you’re misrepresenting my position with the above characterization. I don’t have one PUBLIC point of view in Chinese and one in English, I TRY to spend my energy as efficiently as I can. I don’t think it is efficient or effective to spend my time writing in English on CNR to reinforce notions that are already popular with my audience. I prefer to challenge them and push them out of their comfort zones because that’s where I personally believe growth can be experienced. This doesn’t mean I won’t acknowledge, agree, or even discuss those notions (i.e. Chinese hypernationalism) in English amongst other English-speakers, it just means I don’t generally feel it is a good use of my time when I’m writing on CNR. Do you understand what I mean? This has nothing to do with being accused of being a sell-out and I find it rather narrow-minded of you (and offensive) to frame such a dichotomy.

    Chinese hypernationalism is a much larger stumbling block to East-West communication than “Western bias,” be it in media or not.

    This is your personal subjective opinion, one that implicitly accords “blame”. My opinion is that I find both to be interconnected. I also find challenging preconceptions and unjustified biases on their respective sides to be a far more effective and meaningful course of action at removing this stumbling block than trying to say which side’s flaws/mistakes account for more of that stumbling block in the middle.

    I know that there are just as big variety of opinion among Chinese in private on any given issue, but these voices are rarely heard in public.

    Right, I understand that and that’s why I offered the explanation that language barrier is a big element of this perception. You see, the Chinese naturally look towards the West or Americans because the West IS the dominant geo-political and cultural influence in this world. The Chinese invest time to translate, observe, and try figuring out the sentiments of the West. The reverse is less so. I submit that the general Chinese populace generally cares more about what Americans think, for example, than Americans do of the Chinese. You have more Chinese able to foray into English than vice versa, and not just because there are simply more absolute Chinese people. There are more Chinese people with sufficient English skills to venture into the public sphere of average Americans than vice versa. If Americans cannot venture into the Chinese public sphere of discourse, then of course they don’t hear the voices. It isn’t that the Chinese aren’t making their voices heard (within this context), it’s that foreign observers generally can’t hear them. Or is it the responsibility of the Chinese to make themselves heard by translating their speech into a language that those who are listening can understand? I don’t think that’s reasonable.

    You have to take your cues that are disseminated through media and then adapt accordingly. There is no counterpart in the West to the disturbing uniformity of viewpoints that is being enforced among Chinese right now.

    I don’t have to because I don’t depend on the government-controlled and shaped Chinese media to take my cues on what Chinese people think and feel. So long as you’re dependent upon the English that’s coming out of these mouthpieces or the translations of these mouthpieces, then yes, you’re going to have a reasonably distorted and disturbing uniformity of “Chinese” viewpoints.

    Of course, I want the Chinese to pursue a more free and representative media, but it is laziness on the foreigner’s part to settle with taking cues of Chinese viewpoints from this media especially when they know it isn’t representative. The current inability for the Chinese population to reform their media is not an excuse for foreigners to ignore these facts and take their cues about overall Chinese sentiments from the media.

    I liked reading your sharp criticism against Chinese nationalism, because it seemed to be honestly meant and it gave me some hope about the future of China.

    It didn’t seem honest, it is honest.

    I’m sure you liked reading it. We all like reading what we agree with. However, in my opinion, the benefits of reading what we agree with are limited. If you’re able to, go on Tianya or Mop and I think you’ll find plenty of sharp criticism against Chinese nationalism that should give you more hope. I might avoid Tiexue though.

    Given the high social cost of turning against Chinese nationalism in public, I know I might be expecting too much.

    You’re exaggerating. I’m not denying that there are certain people who are hyper-nationalists and cannot tolerate anything short of what they themselves think or that there are certain powder-keg mob-mentlaity situations, but for the vast majority of everyday situations, communicating one’s thoughts rationally and tactfully doesn’t exact a “high social cost.”

    No one wants to be become the next Grace Wang – because regardless of the personal qualities of Grace Wang or the sensationalist coverage, that is what the Grace Wang affair was all about. Reinforcing boundaries. Making sure that no Chinese publicly argue with Chinese nationalists in front of non-Chinese. Or else.

    You’ve never been to pro-choice anti-abortion rallies/protests before, have you? How about pro-gay, anti-gay rights rallies/protests? The Grace Wang incident was all about mob mentality and single-issue emotions. This is idiocy common in any group of people who work themselves into a frenzy. It is despicable and retarded, but its not unique to Chinese or Chinese nationalism.

    People have gotten the message and moved on. And public discussion on what is going on in China is much more muted 2009. Even China experts in the West are now wary of saying things in public. Everybody knows what happened at MIT in the spring of 1996.

    Sorry, I find this segment of your comment to be ridiculous. I do not share your impression of public discussion on China in 2009 more muted nor do I think “China experts” in the West feel wary of speaking in public. I am slightly curious as to what you base this impression on though.

    So I think your silence on the topic of Chinese nationalism is disturbing, if understandable.

    I think your disturbed reaction is understandable, but disturbing. If I may say so, it isn’t “silence”, it’s just silence in your eyes because you want me to criticize it more, you want Chinese people to criticize it more, you want everyone to reinforce your opinion. Natural, understandable, just not very objective.

    But Chinese people will have to deal with Chinese nationalism sooner or later, because otherwise it is very likely China will go the wrong way.

    I agree, and I think they’ll deal with it sooner if the topic is breached with them in a language they can understand and discuss in easily. I don’t think a bunch of foreigners agreeing with each other in English is the best approach.

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  2. @Kai

    Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed response. I still think that you take Chinese nationalism to lightly, perhaps because it doesn’t bother you as much on a daily level as it may bother a foreigner in China, who has spent the better part of this life studying the country but still feel shut out? I accept your point that more should be done in the West to understand China and more Westerners should study Chinese. But, has it crossed your mind that all said and done, most Western countries are more open to any foreigners than China is?

    As a matter of fact, once upon I time I did try to interact with Chinese on these issues in their own language, but I have given up. I am not interested in reinventing the wheel. First, you have to spent an incredible amount of time explaining who you are, why you speak Chinese and reassure people two million times that you are not a China-basher. Second, the moment you depart from the “laowai script” that has been handed to you and say what you think, you are likely to be heaped with abuse at some point or completely ignored. For all the talk about “Western bias”, you will find that many Chinese don’t want you to be knowledgeable about China, they are more interested in debunking anything that they perceive as Western bias.

    So take ScotLoar’s point more seriously and don’t dismiss him out of hand. I don’t feel closer to China because I speak and read Chinese, I feel much more alienated because I understand what people around me say about me and I realize how strong the 内外有别 mentality is. You would be surprised how widespread this feeling is among foreigners who have spent years and decades in China.

    My modest insights in Chinese nationalism comes from these interactions, not from what I read in the New York Times, Le Monde or the Guardian. And I daresay that if more Westerners actually knew what is being said out there in Chinese, you’d hear much more trenchant criticism of Chinese nationalism from there quarters.

    You are right in saying that hypernationalism exists everywhere, but what bothers me in the case of China most is not the noise of the nationalists, but the silence of moderate people. The silence from moderate people like you. One thing I have learned is that once you get attacked by nationalists in a Chinese forum, there is no one there to defend you. The stigma of being a foreigner or a traitor (汉奸) is too strong. Once that word has been uttered there is no way back, and I wonder if you know what it feels like to be completely alone. The problem is not mob rule, the problem is that in Chinese discourse, there is no value system that can provide a counterweight to nationalism. Outside of the nation, there is nothing. That is why it is pointless for a non-Chinese like me to try to forage into these forum. And I have given up.

    I appreciate your efforts for better communication and I am not half as eloquent in Chinese as you are in English, but I insist that the real block to a better understanding between China and the West is this nationalism, this 内外有别 mentality. I can interact with people from a number of countries in the world, because we can agree that there are things that are more important than your nation (mine happens to be a very small one). And that applies to the US too, despite all the Ann Coulters and Rush Limbaughs out there. But there is no such internationalism, or whatever you want to call it in China. This is something only you can deal with.

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  3. @Hemulen:

    I still think that you take Chinese nationalism to lightly,

    That’s understandable. I do want to state that there’s a difference between me taking Chinese nationalism too lightly and you just being witness to less of me addressing Chinese nationalism. This is one of those tree falling in forest things. 🙂

    perhaps because it doesn’t bother you as much on a daily level as it may bother a foreigner in China, who has spent the better part of this life studying the country but still feel shut out?

    There are a lot of factors involved in this. I think one can be bothered by things that happen to them and by things they go looking for. When you say you study the country, do you tend to study examples and incidences of Chinese nationalism? If so, is it possible that the problem just seems larger to you simply because you pay more attention to it? That said, I’m not trying to diminish any real experiences of Chinese fengqing proactively going up to you and bombarding you with hypernationalist rants.

    But, has it crossed your mind that all said and done, most Western countries are more open to any foreigners than China is?

    I really don’t think we can make that conclusion yet without allowing China and mainland Chinese society to reach a point that is more comparable to the Western countries you want to compare it to. China was closed off to the world just half a century ago. Those people are still around. That they are influences the general sense of “openness” in modern day China. Wait a few generations and let’s revisit this question.

    As a matter of fact, once upon I time I did try to interact with Chinese on these issues in their own language, but I have given up. I am not interested in reinventing the wheel.

    Not sure how trying to interact with Chinese in Chinese is reinventing the wheel.

    First, you have to spent an incredible amount of time explaining who you are, why you speak Chinese and reassure people two million times that you are not a China-basher. Second, the moment you depart from the “laowai script” that has been handed to you and say what you think, you are likely to be heaped with abuse at some point or completely ignored.

    I can’t judge why your experiences pan out this way without witnessing them myself. It is also possible, I grant, that your experiences do pan out this way entirely because of your skin color. I just don’t think your efforts of this nature should be dominated with the negative outcomes you’re telling me. Either you’re extremely unlucky with what kind of people you’re trying to talk to or there’s something in how the conversation unfolds that predisposes it to having a negative outcome.

    For all the talk about “Western bias”, you will find that many Chinese don’t want you to be knowledgeable about China, they are more interested in debunking anything that they perceive as Western bias.

    I don’t see how knowledge of China and debunking Western bias is tied together. I don’t see how them debunking anything they perceive as Western bias means they don’t want you to be knowledgeable about China. I actually think you can learn something about China through their efforts to debunk Western bias too!

    I do think Chinese people aren’t very good at making sound arguments and I do think their education system is partly to blame for this. I HESITATE to be too damning about this because the vast majority of foreigners I know and witness aren’t much better, if at all. I do think a low ability to articulate good arguments rapidly devolves into emotional tit for tats that could then be interpreted as the Chinese not wanting you to be knowledgeable about China.

    So take ScotLoar’s point more seriously and don’t dismiss him out of hand.

    No, I took him seriously. It’s just that in my encounters with him, he’s always been somewhat snippy and confrontational (just as others have impressions of me, I have impressions of others too! I’m human! I think…). As I said, my point that he was responding to still stands. I just think the “but they’re so hard to talk to” excuse is one that both sides can use. I also know for a fact that both sides feel that way often in their attempts to communicate with the other. If both sides feel the same thing, it’s a problem between both sides for both sides to be tackled by both sides, not attributed to or blamed on one. No one said communicating across language and cultural barriers was easy, right?

    I don’t feel closer to China because I speak and read Chinese, I feel much more alienated because I understand what people around me say about me and I realize how strong the 内外有别 mentality is. You would be surprised how widespread this feeling is among foreigners who have spent years and decades in China.

    Trust me when I say sincerely that I’m not trying to belittle your feelings on this. I think China’s history hasn’t given Chinese society enough opportunity and time to get beyond both its narcissism and its insecurities (I’d say each contributes to the other, but there’s a gross yin yang reference in there somewhere). China needs to come into its own before they start thinking foreigners knowing Chinese isn’t the least bit odd. At the end of the day, the vast majority of Chinese people do not expect foreigners to learn or understand Chinese whereas Westerners (especially English-speaking) take for granted that people try to learn English. This is a psychological phenomenon to me. Think of the ghetto kid never once expecting the rich kid across the tracks to bother with or understand his life, culture, experiences. You, as the foreigner, are the rich kid.

    And I daresay that if more Westerners actually knew what is being said out there in Chinese, you’d hear much more trenchant criticism of Chinese nationalism from there quarters.

    Interestingly enough, I feel the opposite. I think its easy to find ignorance, intolerance, and hate. Negativity jumps out at us and leaves us with a stronger impression, especially if we’re on the receiving end. However, I don’t think Chinese nationalism is any more prevalent than, say, American nationalism. I could say “if more Chinese actually knew what is being said out there in English, you’d hear much more trenchant criticism of Western bias from their quarters” and it would be just as true.

    You are right in saying that hypernationalism exists everywhere, but what bothers me in the case of China most is not the noise of the nationalists, but the silence of moderate people. The silence from moderate people like you. One thing I have learned is that once you get attacked by nationalists in a Chinese forum, there is no one there to defend you. The stigma of being a foreigner or a traitor (汉奸) is too strong. Once that word has been uttered there is no way back, and I wonder if you know what it feels like to be completely alone.

    I understand how you feel about the “silence of the moderates.” However, I don’t think they’re necessarily silent. I think often, it could just be that the extremists are really just that much louder! LoL. Kaiser Kuo shared with me an interesting analogy for what us self-styled moderates often feel: We’re like a lonely island between two shores, yet each shore sees us as a peninsula extending from the opposite shore. I’ve always felt moderates are the most lonely, catching flak from both sides.

    The problem is not mob rule, the problem is that in Chinese discourse, there is no value system that can provide a counterweight to nationalism. Outside of the nation, there is nothing. That is why it is pointless for a non-Chinese like me to try to forage into these forum. And I have given up.

    I wouldn’t go that far. I don’t think nationalism is that dominant, prevalent, widespread, deep. I think we have different experiences and meet different people. Rationalism is a counterweight to nationalism. The problem is, most people in the world just aren’t rational, and the vast majority of Chinese are most certainly not excluded! Nationalism is a refuge for insecurity. Chinese people are pretty insecure as a whole about their place in this world. Again, I submit that their history and circumstances lend to this. If China ever becomes a comparable world-power to (example) modern Americans, I’m willing to wager they’d nut-swing with comparable zest. But China isn’t there yet because in recent modern history, they’ve been pretty embarrassing and they know ultimately the fault lies with them, their own inability to get their shit together. Everyone blames themselves in the end, but they might not do it in public, in front of you. The insecurity leads to overcompensation, and nationalism is but one manifestation of that.

    But there is no such internationalism, or whatever you want to call it in China. This is something only you can deal with.

    I may have a bit more sway with the Chinese just because of my skin color, but I think all of us have a role to play. Patience and understanding is part of your role as much as it is mine. Sleep time. Cheers.

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  4. Well said, Helumen. I, too, have just given up. My patience in arguing against commonly held prejudices and premises that are wild-assed wrong is exhausted, my understandings abused and ridiculed, and I have little tolerance left for yet another apologist telling me why mainland Chinese are the way they are; for this I’m rewarded as being snippy and confrontational.

    It is no accident that those outsiders who best understand Chinese and the Chinese are finally the ones driven furthest away by that understanding.

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  5. I’ve heard the exact same thing from many Chinese that they had given up talking to westerners because sooner or later they’re going to be labeled “brainwashed.”

    This is never a one-way street.

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  6. @woodoo

    Well, you have to have patience with that kind of argument. Most Westerners are quite used to the rough and tumble politics of immigrants and political refugees. We are used to cultural politics on campus and student debates. But most of us are not used to the idea of foreign students joining government-sponsored organizations that orchestrate pro-government manifestations, where the same foreign students repeat verbatim what they learned in school, insisting that they actually believe in this. That is what we saw all over the world in April and May 2008. And it looks very much like the behavior of indoctrinated people to us. Yes, there are many nuances here, but what is the big picture? And do you think it looks like from the other side of the fence?

    When we go to study in China, we have to sign pledges that we won’t engage in any political activity there. Our embassies warn us not to get anywhere near of any political activity. We put up with our countries being vilified in media at regular intervals. When internal unrest break out in some border region of China, sometimes our governments are accused of being behind it all. Sometimes our heads of state is singled out for meeting with some We witness periodic outbreaks of nationalistic student protests, are adjust our movements accordingly. But most of us say nothing. Because we can’t. Our movements, words and behavior are being monitored by students, some of whom do not hesitate to stir up trouble if our behavior is not deemed respectful enough. If you happen to be Japanese or American (I am neither), you have to be extra careful about what you say or how you appear.

    It is often said that if you treat China like an enemy, it will become one. But China treats foreign students like suspects, like enemies, already now. Yet we are told that it was much worse a couple of decades ago, so we should be grateful that we are allowed to live in China at all. So many of us are grateful.

    Then, after a couple of years, we return to our countries and we witness the latest nationalist stunt of the Chinese student and scholars association. Is this a two-way street? Doesn’t seem so to many of us. And it seems to me that the Chinese government, and the people who willingly follow its directions on foreign soil, are preparing the groundwork for a huge backlash against China.

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  7. @ Hemulen:

    I really have to disagree with your suggestion that it isn’t a two-way street. There are differences, I grant, but just how different are Chinese students expressing their pride or anger in foreign countries with, for example, some foreign activist like Eddie Romero coming into Beijing and vandalizing hotel rooms with political speech (and then running off without paying) and then broadcasting such shenanigans onto YouTube? They’re both expressing themselves in another country against perceived affronts to them.

    You warn the Chinese of a huge backlash against them. I think this is ridiculous. The Chinese are not in a position where they risk losing respect, they’re largely in the disadvantaged position of trying to earn respect. Of course, their attempts are a mix of whiny demands and actual irrefutable action, but no different from other countries, societies, or people. It’s a big human game.

    I think you’re being extremely unfair in your lop-sided characterization, as if foreigners have always warmly cuddled and coddled the Chinese. This just isn’t true and Chinese wariness of foreign criticism and motives is at least understandable enough to not be categorically dismissed. The Cold War mentality of ideological warfare is NOT a thing of the past. Neither you or I are representative of the vast majority of foreigners and foreign attitudes the Chinese encounter.

    woodoo is absolutely correct in saying this is never a one-way street.

    @ ScottLoar:

    Are you really going to deny being snippy and confrontational, especially right after you declare how little patience you have left? Cripes, man, at least own up to what you’re responsible for. Remember, it doesn’t detract from what others are responsible for. I most certainly don’t think I’m an apologist, but at least I have the humility to understand why some people like you might feel and label me that way. Geez.

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  8. Hemulen;

    Understanding that the Chinese will tolerate any extreme and excuse any sin if that makes China stronger demolishes any claim to morality. The same Chinese who excused the blight of the KMT went on to apologize for the CCP; the same Anna Chennault, head of the KMT-funded Committee of One Million, had the gall to appear on national television in the PRC and brag about how she had associated with kings and presidents, touting herself as a spokesman for China, without a smidgen of shame, remorse, or admission of error now that her agenda was mooted by China’s rise. Han Su Yin wrote A Mortal Flower without introspection or shame about being a KMT then a CCP loyalist without contradiction, ad nauseum. To my mind this is unconscionable. Then Zhang Yimou produces Heroes; yes, the same one who produced and directed The Old Well would, sooner or later, produce an apology for Chinese totalitarianism, and on and on.

    Years ago in Taiwan I witnessed a girl at Taida stand up in an auditorium and loudly declare to a visiting Chinese alumnus and lecturer at a US university that she “hated foreigners”, followed by wild acclaim. I felt sorry for the lecturer who was surprised – and maybe a little frightened – by the intensity of the crowd’s reaction and admonished them to control their prejudices, but that day that girl was the darling of the student body. Were that the US she would have been hissed and booed for being the narrow-minded, spiteful thing that she was.

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  9. @Kai

    You warn the Chinese of a huge backlash against them. I think this is ridiculous. The Chinese are not in a position where they risk losing respect, they’re largely in the disadvantaged position of trying to earn respect.

    I do, with the best of intentions. It’s one thing to organize and protest for self-respect, it’s quite another to side wide your government and demonstrate in a foreign country. In support of repression in a remote province. 2008 was a turning point in that regard. If you doubt what I mean by backlash, you should check media reports in Australia or South Korea in the wake of the pro-government demonstrations last year. These were not lone activists vandalizing a hotel room or mere soccer hooligans, these were people bussed in and encouraged by their government, who sometimes turned violent on bystanders and then were cheering each other on openly on BBS:s. You talk about being disadvantaged as if these conflicts were only between a strong China and a stronger US. But the fact is that in the last couple of years, the Chinese government has started to twist the arm of smaller countries to get what it wants. The Chinese government treats the EU with open disdain and openly exploit rifts between member countries. That’s not a surprise- the PRC is after all a dictatorship. But Chinese patriots seem to cheer on this development and engage in hate propaganda against foreign leaders like Sarkozy as if it was the most natural thing to do. That is where a backlash could come from. Try to see the larger picture here, it’s not just a China vs. US thing.

    I think you’re being extremely unfair in your lop-sided characterization, as if foreigners have always warmly cuddled and coddled the Chinese. This just isn’t true and Chinese wariness of foreign criticism and motives is at least understandable enough to not be categorically dismissed. The Cold War mentality of ideological warfare is NOT a thing of the past.

    I never suggested that Chinese are being coddled or that Chinese do not get unfairly targeted in China. All I am saying is that China is more guilty of cold war mentality than most countries. But China gets away with it because we are so used to it that we stopped reflecting over it. Foreigners are treated like enemies in China and we can get singled out just because of our nationality when your government is in a bad mood – often with the support of its population. You feel unjustly treated by media in the West? You organize. We feel unjustly treated in China? We go home. Sorry, I have to run. I don’t have time to develop this, more later.

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  10. @ Hemulen:

    I do, with the best of intentions.

    I agree, and I think this would be a good time to acknowledge that we both want happiness for the countries and people we’re talking about. Also, I want to thank Custer for allowing us this lengthy and now largely tangential conversation on this post of his blog.

    It’s one thing to organize and protest for self-respect, it’s quite another to side wide your government and demonstrate in a foreign country.

    What does “side wide” mean?

    In support of repression in a remote province.

    I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think the vast majority of Chinese students who protested or demonstrated in foreign countries last year were in support of repression for the sake of repression alone, which is the message I think your simplistic statement here wrongfully conveys. I think most Chinese protesting were protesting against perceived grievances against them, very much demanding more respect. Even amongst the minority that were singularly defending or protesting FOR the repression of a remote province, you need to consider THEIR reasons for doing so. Did they do so because they think it is the Chinese people’s right to do as they please, or was it because in their minds, they’re against Tibetans they see as recipients of preferential policies suddenly running amok killing innocent people? Would you be for suppressing such violence? The key here is not conflating or misrepresenting the reasons of the Chinese for what their protests. You know better (I think) and you’re being unfair.

    2008 was a turning point in that regard. If you doubt what I mean by backlash, you should check media reports in Australia or South Korea in the wake of the pro-government demonstrations last year.

    I don’t doubt “backlash” in the sense that foreigners are getting sick of nationalistic Chinese, I doubt “backlash” in the sense that foreigners were previously neutral or even positive towards the Chinese. This is the difference between “the Chinese have lost the foreigner’s respect” and “the foreigners have even less respect for the Chinese now.”

    These were not lone activists vandalizing a hotel room or mere soccer hooligans, these were people bussed in and encouraged by their government, who sometimes turned violent on bystanders and then were cheering each other on openly on BBS:s.

    I know what you’re referring to, but are you going to assert that all or even the vast majority of these demonstrations and protests were government coordinated? That all of these students assembled so and voiced a script instead of their own genuine feelings? For the record, I’m sure you’re also aware of the various activities foreign Free Tibeters organized in protest of the Olympics within China as well, right?

    My point was that both sides do these things for their own reasons. There’s a tendency amongst Westerners to dismiss, excuse, or justify what they do because they feel they have the moral high ground. However, actions are actions. We can’t even claim the West hasn’t funded ideologically subversive propaganda themselves. If we’re going to be objective, it all boils down to a ideological warfare and each side is going to think ill of the other side’s actions when objectively, each side is just looking after its own interests.

    You talk about being disadvantaged as if these conflicts were only between a strong China and a stronger US.

    No. I talk about being disadvantaged in that China and the Chinese have far less respect on the world stage than Westerners.

    But the fact is that in the last couple of years, the Chinese government has started to twist the arm of smaller countries to get what it wants. The Chinese government treats the EU with open disdain and openly exploit rifts between member countries.

    And this is different from the West (or any country) how…?

    As I said before and above, China acts in its own interests. This is what everyone does. It is silly and of course hypocritical to vilify China for something that is not unique to China.

    That’s not a surprise- the PRC is after all a dictatorship.

    Wrong, dictatorships and nations acting in their own self interest have nothing to do with each other. You’re conflating the two and that’s intellectually dishonest.

    But Chinese patriots seem to cheer on this development and engage in hate propaganda against foreign leaders like Sarkozy as if it was the most natural thing to do.

    Uh, because it the natural thing that happens. What? Americans didn’t express animosity towards the French over the Iraq War? What nation or people doesn’t look out for its own interests and dislike those that oppose them? I would say the Chinese seem more frightening only because there’s more of them. I would say they seem more frightening to you only because you actively pay attention to them, whereas you pay far less attention to Western examples of similar behavior. Remember when I asked if you’ve ever attended abortion, gay rights, even gun rights rallies? You’re biased because you’re attention is biased.

    Try to see the larger picture here, it’s not just a China vs. US thing.

    I’m just using US examples in my responses because they’re more likely to be well-known (though I recognize you’re not from the US). I think I’m seeing the larger picture, especially when I’m framing all of these behaviors and motivations in terms of human psychology not “Chinese” psychology. Wouldn’t you think that’s seeing the larger picture?

    All I am saying is that China is more guilty of cold war mentality than most countries.

    I’m curious: Which countries would you say are ALSO more guilty of Cold War mentality than most countries? You don’t think the Americans or many Europeans are also guilty?

    But China gets away with it because we are so used to it that we stopped reflecting over it.

    I dunno about this…I see foreigners in China everyday reflecting upon elements of this Cold War mentality. Take all the most passionate discussions on these English China blogs, always about politics and ideology, communism vs capitalism/democracy, etc. etc.

    Foreigners are treated like enemies in China

    I generally find foreigners in China to be treated like guests, mostly to be hosted graciously and occasionally (and too often) exploited for a quick buck, but not so much “enemies” until they engender themselves to being one. Or maybe you’re just mixing with a lot of hypernationalistic people.

    I’m starting to get the feeling that you treat the Chinese as enemies because you feel they treat you as an enemy. I grant you may not have always been like this, but it does feel like you’ve gotten to this point. I hope you know that evil begets evil, and if you can’t force yourself to give each Chinese person you meet the benefit of the doubt that they don’t see you as their enemy, then you’ll subconsciously contribute to fulfilling your own prophecy.

    and we can get singled out just because of our nationality when your government is in a bad mood – often with the support of its population.

    Wen Ho Lee?

    Dude, two way street.

    You feel unjustly treated by media in the West? You organize. We feel unjustly treated in China? We go home.

    To be fair, I think foreigners in any country do pretty much the same things when they feel unjustly treated. They go home, they complain, or they fight back. I agree its easier for Chinese in the West to organize and fight back against affronts than for foreigners in China to do so. This is a testament to the greater civil freedom of Western countries. However, short of that, I don’t see much difference. Chinese students whine on mitbbs and you whine on ChinaGeeks or ShanghaiExpat or chinaSMACK or whatever. Chinese complain with their own just as you complain with your own too. I wouldn’t exaggerate the differences given how rare it is.

    Cheers, good conversation.

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  11. I promise that the following is relevant, not off topic, and written only after reading through the comments.

    Why are drivers in China so bad? Bad means bad based on the best drivers in China and the expectations of following the established Chinese driving rules; I’ve have several provincial driving tests in my possession. It also means bad based on my experience driving in the US. There are many terrible drivers in the US but generally the quality/skill of driving in the US is so far superior to China as to be utterly laughable. But why? Is there some inability for Chinese people to learn to drive? They can learn to be the best at other basic motor-skill things. Are the rules different? I looked at the driving rule books and based on my experience they seemed to be the same. Is lack of enforcement? There places in the US where few if any traffic rules are truely enforced.

    Doesn’t it come down to a mix of learning culture/environment, exposure, and the arrogance that money buys? 10 years ago there were almost no cars on the road on China. The few that were there, were stand-out good drivers. I’ve lived in China a long time and have only started notcing batshit crazy drivers with zero skill in the last few years. Then all these people with cash, in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, start buying cars, with no driving experience, no driving parents, no years of riding around in the back of other people’s cars watching how they do it, no or few friends with cars, no TV shows about cars, no obsessions with collecting toy cars, or tinkering with real old ones. China has had this instant-noodle car culture develop with nothing to support it; just carlife magazines and a fistful of cash to buy a benz and a license.

    Ever thought about why so many old people in the US drive like crap? It’s not just cause their old. It’s cause they are like the current generation of Chinese drivers. They started driving when car culture was in its infancy. They invented it and didn’t get to enjoy the refined pre-made version. They have the gritty old version, with all the nasty chunks. They were learning to drive in the 20s and 30s. They had nothing to teach them how to be good drivers. But, eventually, the driving culture sprouted and grew and each successive generation of driver learned from it.

    Now isn’t the media savy thing also like that? China hasn’t had the same media experience as the many countries in the West whose citizens love to bash it. Even if there hand’t been all of the hurdles to a free, intelligent press in China over the last 60 years, China still wouldn’t have the same experienced media as the US, the UK, etc. Isn’t this all a learning process? Many people, especially the diligent, the dedicated, the passionate, and the tragically hip, can squirm their way out of backwardsness and catch up and surpass the newest of the new. However, the mainstream, and that is what we are talking about, are conservative and slow. They need several successive generations of exposure for that new thing to really soak in.

    It’s late…. I’m drifting.

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  12. @ Mike Fish: That’s an interesting point, and a pretty good one, although I would argue that old people are bad drivers because they are old. It might also be a culture thing, but I know plenty of old people who used to be good drivers but have started getting into accidents as they get older.

    Yesterday I saw an old woman driving down the street on the wrong side of the road. My guess is, regardless of how lawless car culture was a century ago when she first got behind the wheel (who am I kidding, they didn’t let women drive back then), she hasn’t been driving that way this whole time or she would be dead by now.

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  13. @Kai

    I think most Chinese protesting were protesting against perceived grievances against them, very much demanding more respect. Even amongst the minority that were singularly defending or protesting FOR the repression of a remote province, you need to consider THEIR reasons for doing so. Did they do so because they think it is the Chinese people’s right to do as they please, or was it because in their minds, they’re against Tibetans they see as recipients of preferential policies suddenly running amok killing innocent people?

    I am completely with you here, every demonstrator had his or her reason to demonstrate. But even so, I found two reasons to feel profoundly uncomfortable with the demonstrations. First, it was obvious that they were orchestrated by the Chinese government, which took a hard-line stand at the time. That created obvious constraints on what could be said. Second, at the end of the day, the demonstrations were not about cross-ethnic solidarity in the PRC, but about showing off Han Chinese pride in the West, which is bound to alienate almost anyone who was not a Han. Now, you can say that there is nothing intrinsically wrong about that, but did you notice all placards saying “One nation 56 ethnics” propped up everywhere, as well as some people dressed up in minority dress? We can laugh at the bad English, but as far as I could tell I didn’t see a single placard in a minority language, say Tibetan. This was sending a clear message to any Tibetan: we care about what Westerners think, but not about you. Demonstrations are acts of political symbolism and these omissions speak volumes. It is almost as if using a minority language is separatist in itself.

    Wrong, dictatorships and nations acting in their own self interest have nothing to do with each other. You’re conflating the two and that’s intellectually dishonest.

    Slow down. We all know that the US does twist an arm or two almost every day. But the reason why a lot of people are more comfortable with US hegemony than Chinese power is that we like to imagine that we can hold the US accountable to its own ideals. We can address the American public and appeal to their conscience. That is what the “China lobby” did during WWII, for instance, or the “Tibet Lobby” does now. Americans may get annoyed by this at times, but accept it as a fact of life and they change presidents at least every other eight years and reelect congress all the time.

    But how do you hold China accountable? A lot of Chinese feel uncomfortable with their own government, but at least you can appeal to your common Chineseness. A lot of people do. But as a foreigner or an ethnic minority in China, you are effectively excluded from any recourse in the Chinese government. China is for the Han Chinese, no one else. The consequences of trying to appeal to the Chinese people can be very serious and the Chinese government has invented an entire vocabulary for this (“peaceful evolution”, “outside forces,” …)

    Uh, because it the natural thing that happens. What? Americans didn’t express animosity towards the French over the Iraq War? What nation or people doesn’t look out for its own interests and dislike those that oppose them?

    Yes, I was here at the time of the Iraq war and as a European I did not like the anti-French rhetoric. Rummy did sneer at “old Europe”, but the US government did not orchestrate a hate campaign against Chirac as a person, calling him a “jackal in a statesman’s robes”. And it was not as if French people and pro-French Americans did not speak up. For every anti-French editorial there was an op-ed reminding the Americans of their debt to France at the time of the American revolution. French people appeared on TV to defend their government.

    But once the Chinese government has decided that you’re an enemy and start a hate campaign, a lot of Chinese people really latch on to it and as a foreigner you have no voice what so ever. There a whole lot of “Emmanuel Goldsteins” the past decades: Chris Patten, Lee Teng-hui, Dalai Lama, Nicholas Sarkozy, Rebya Kadeer and who know who is next. No one will defend you publicly. You may say that all the hard rhetoric is just a game, but words do matter and I think it is about time we start to stop treating these hate-campaigns as natural disasters that cannot be avoided.

    I generally find foreigners in China to be treated like guests, mostly to be hosted graciously and occasionally (and too often) exploited for a quick buck, but not so much “enemies” until they engender themselves to being one.

    Be careful not to blame the victim here. The political climate in China can change at the drop of a hat and today’s friend may become tomorrow’s enemy. The whole “guest ritual” is an entire culture of its own, foreigners can be honored guests or villainous enemies, but they will never be accepted as equals in the PRC. I will talk more about this below. If you want to read about this, I recommend Brady’s “Making the Foreign Serve China”.

    I’m starting to get the feeling that you treat the Chinese as enemies because you feel they treat you as an enemy. I grant you may not have always been like this, but it does feel like you’ve gotten to this point. I hope you know that evil begets evil, and if you can’t force yourself to give each Chinese person you meet the benefit of the doubt that they don’t see you as their enemy, then you’ll subconsciously contribute to fulfilling your own prophecy.

    Not true. I have had my fair share of shouting matches, I admit that. But I have also spoken to many Chinese who agree with me or would go even further in their criticism of the state of China. I have my own drinking buddies in China that I can argue with and agree with. But that’s the private sphere. It is very rare for a Chinese to take the side of a foreigner in a public setting. Very rare. And I find that profoundly disturbing. Many silent Chinese would agree with me here and privately think about the burden of being Chinese.

    Wen Ho Lee?

    Dude, two way street.

    It is interesting that you chose this example, because the Lee Wen Ho case tells us a lot of things about America. The most obvious lesson is that racism and racial profiling can show its ugly head at any time in any country. But Lee was not just any immigrant, he was working in a top classified nuclear facility. How many other countries in the world allows naturalized foreigners of ANY ethnicity to enter the defense establishment. Some European countries do, as well as British Commonwealth countries like Australia, but certainly not China. The Chinese government certainly makes use of foreign experts, but it would never allow a person of foreign origin to enter the inner circle like Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brzezinski. Ever. So it isn’t a two-way street. The American Dream rings hollow to many of us, but Zbig and Henry and many others remind every non-American that you can become one of them. You may not be elected president, but your children can. And you can become a influential politician, a powerful businessman, a respected professor or … just a neighbor that gets invited for barbecue and a beer without any pomp or fanfare. Of course, there is a certain conceit in assuming that everyone wants to become one of you like the Americans do, but that has allowed them to attract many of the most successful people in the world. That is why they could send a guy to the moon forty years ago and that is why the rest of the world was standing in front of their TV sets when it happened. And even tribal Europe, where I come from, actually manages to tap the resources of its immigrants.

    And I think this is what I am trying to communicate to you here. A strong China is scary to a lot of people, not because there are so many Chinese, but because we don’t sense that we could be part of that strong China in the same way we can be part of a strong US or strong Europe. I can completely understand that Chinese want to be masters is their own house, but Chinese nationalism since 1949 goes far beyond that. There is no place for the foreigner in China. You can get a decent job with a decent salary as an expert or work for a foreign firm. You can teach English in a school. But you are expected to return home when you contract expires. Some foreigners take up Chinese citizenship, but that doesn’t make them Chinese. No foreigner would be allowed to go to the absolute top or be accepted into the inner circle anywhere.

    There is a powerful tribal logic to politics in China that is very good at excluding anyone that doesn’t fit in. The exclusion of foreigners in China is indicative of a larger problem of exclusion in China that affects everyone, but works much more powerfully on non-Han people. That is why many foreigners sense a weird identification with ethnic minorities in China. When you meet the well-educated Uighur who speaks almost perfect Mandarin, you see yourself as a Chinese in a parallel universe. There is a lot of talk about how minorities get preferential treatment for education and that, but you almost never see minorities on position on real power in China, not even in areas where they are the majority.

    I don’t know if any of this makes any sense to you, but I’m trying to make you understand why Chinese nationalism unsettles a lot of people. Some optimistic people say all this will change with time, but I don’t see it coming. If increased prosperity would make Chinese people feel more secure and tolerant, things should have started to change already, but they haven’t. Chinese nationalism is getting more powerful and vocal, not less. And look at the politburo of the CCP, the real center of power in China. There is just one woman and one minority (a Hui). The rest are Han Chinese men. It is among these men the future leaders of China are to be chosen.

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  14. The point being I suppose, that in time the Chinese will mellow, just as their driving will improve (driving in Taiwan has improved to the point that drivers understand the need to yield the right-of-way to other drivers and pedestrians, so it seems there may be hope).

    Maybe, but in certain characteristics the Chinese remain stubbornly Chinese. Comparing Chinese cultures in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and mainland China certain characteristics run throughout, unchanged, such as the pronounced intolerance of criticisms directed to themselves as persons and general inability to admit error especially in the face of outsiders, what a 19th century Western observer called “the indefatigable pursuit of wealth”, convenient neglect of civic responsibility (Singapore enforces civic responsibility with fines and public humiliation), predeliction towards authoritarianism in self-government, the notion of cultural superiority that justifies wild swings towards extreme xenophobia and to constantly use foreigners as a contrast, the need for the appearance and pretense of public morality. I doubt these characteristics will be ameliorated by time or circumstance, just as I see “the Chinese will tolerate any extreme and excuse any sin if (in their minds) that makes China stronger”, and it seem the rest of the world is going to have to live with it all.

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  15. >>They must be mentally retarded.
    >>Whites and their lapdogs
    >>polluting selfishness and genocidal ethno-jingoism
    >>coercive white American domination
    >>You’ve probably been spending your time around scum, given that it seems like you would fit in with them.
    >>Chinese “ultra-nationalism” is a hyped up bogeyman invented for Western consumption.

    Hahahaha, wow
    It’s like the rhetoric from Imperial Japan all over again

    Reality served quickly and in bite-sized pieces.

    This is followed by guilt-trips about how you’re a traitor to people, which is hilarious in my case because “brown” encompasses a VERY diverse amount of people.

    Sorry, but if you’re anti-China from a “Western” stance you are indeed a traitor and shooting yourself in the foot.

    I think it’s important to bear in mind here that, the XinHua and the rest, are CCP party organs. They are propaganda outlets for the CCP and they admitted as such. Chinese knows and expects it.
    Western Media purportedly are striving for independence and objectivity. If they boast such, then of course they will be held to higher standards.
    I see nothing wrong with a website like anti-CNN.

    5 star post, imo

    Hemulen:
    Chinese hypernationalism is a much larger stumbling block to East-West communication than “Western bias,”

    That doesn’t seem to be the case. The largest stumbling block is “Western” arrogance and aggressiveness. Ever wonder why every major civilization or race resents or outright despises the West whereas they don’t mind the Chinese?

    I still think that you take Chinese nationalism to lightly, perhaps because it doesn’t bother you as much on a daily level as it may bother a foreigner in China

    Translation: I am a white person/wealthy foreigner in Asia, I expected to be treated like a GOD. How dare you heathen yellow people sometimes treat me one tenth as badly as a local?! Do you know who I am? Who cares about the environment, the rural poor or disenfranchised migrant workers… I demand that you spend all of your time making sure not even .01% of the general population of Shanghai does not disrespect me! And don’t pretend you don’t understand English, sir, everyone should!

    most Western countries are more open to any foreigners than China is?

    That’s because in half of “Western countries”, the Westerners are the foreigners! No, in fact, they are foreigners in at least three fourths of the land they occupy.

    you are likely to be heaped with abuse at some point or completely ignored.

    You’re on the wrong forums, then. So many Chinese websites give foreigners a ridiculous amount of leeway for the expected ignorance and Chinese/”Asian”-bashing.

    And I daresay that if more Westerners actually knew what is being said out there in Chinese

    And what if even 5% of Chinese knew about anti-Chinese hate crimes that actually kill and maim Chinese people in the West? Or about Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese atrocities against Chinese civilians in the past? About Malay or Indonesian discrimination against ethnic Chinese?

    What if the CCP did not do you the favor of censoring these events for the sake of quelling anti-Western sentiment?

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  16. Maybe, but in certain characteristics the Chinese remain stubbornly Chinese. Comparing Chinese cultures in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and mainland China

    Taiwan, HK and Singapore are all from the far South of China. There are other regions, in case you’re forgetting.

    certain characteristics run throughout, unchanged, such as the pronounced intolerance of criticisms directed to themselves as persons and general inability
    to admit error especially in the face of outsiders

    Sounds like white people, except in the case of white people it’s actually true. And God help you if you criticize their church.

    what a 19th century Western observer called “the indefatigable pursuit of wealth”

    Try leaving Hong Kong for once, or realize that people who need to feed their families need to “pursue wealth”. One thing though, is that they generally won’t commit genocide for money as Europeans did in a similar period of development.

    convenient neglect of civic responsibility (Singapore enforces civic responsibility with fines and public humiliation)

    So then why are white Christian countries generally crime-ridden and very hedonistic?

    predeliction towards authoritarianism in self-government

    Authoritarianism is usually born out of necessity. Long story but the reasons behind dynastic authoritarianism are obvious to anyone who has a basic grasp of the fundamentals (geography, history, climate) of “Sinology”.

    “the Chinese will tolerate any extreme and excuse any sin if (in their minds) that makes China stronger”, and it seem the rest of the world is going to have to live with it all.

    Last I checked China has several native cultures surviving into the modern age since neolithic times, America and Europe… not so much. If the Chinese wanted to “tolerate and excuse any sin to make China stronger” they would have wiped these groups out through slavery as the Romans did.

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  17. Anonymous,

    I compare Chinese cultures in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and mainland China exactly because they are different polities with different historical experiences; why are you so thick about understanding such a simplicity? You think Chinese in these same areas do not think themselves and hold themselves differently from each other? You think a Chinese from Southeast Asia like Malaysia or Singapore thinks themself indistinguishable from mainland China? That these Chinese are, in the main, from Fukien, Hainan, Tche Tjeu, Hakka (yes, I’m using their own way of romanization) or Cantonese shows even more profoundly the differences, much more so than the polyglot that is modern Shanghainese from provincial Henan.

    Compare the Western press and media with the Chinese, Western forums like this from those attended by Chinese, Western education with that in mainland China – and you still insist that intolerance of criticisms personal or public and general inability to admit error is a Western charactertistic?! The West is founded on constant introspection and criticism and The Church is not excepted. What century are you living in?

    The “pursuit of wealth” by definition exceeds that needed for substinence or even a comfortable life; it is seen by most Chinese as the aim of a good life.

    White Christian countries are crime-ridden and hedonistic? Crime is more publicized and more common in liberal, democratic societies governed by rule of law than in authoritarian governments that control reporting of crimes and control the citizenry through rule by law. Still, the reported incidences of social unrest in China beggar anything reported in the West since the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Hedonism? KTV, barbershops offering sex, the prevalence of mistresses and 小秘… and you accuse the West of hedonism? Yes, self-reflection and contrition is not a cultural strong point in China.

    Sinology may explain the Chinese predeliction towards authoritarian government which you conveniently find a necessity and so excuse it. I neither excuse it or justify it, I just call it what it is.

    Less than 10% of the native population of the Americas survived the European advance. Why? Because massacre on the American frontier was not a fact of life for three hundred years? As many or more Europeans died at the hands of native Americans* than vice versa; an inconvenient truth for you I know, and the biggest killer was germs pure and simple. The common cold was unknown in the Americas before the Europeans came.

    But, say, slavery was unknown in China? You’d better check your facts. Moreover, my point is, Chinese will forgive any excess (need I remind you of the first 30 years of CCP history? Or Chinese history under the KMT?) in the name of making China stronger. The Chinese have a long history of competence in wiping out anyone who opposes the government in power; again – look to that very Sinology you introduced as reference.

    * The numbers of native Americans before the coming of Europeans varies from estimates of several millions to 25 millions in North America alone, but the figure of 3-5 millions is generally accepted.

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  18. To Anonymous;

    This is too cute to ignore:

    “Ever wonder why every major civilization or race resents or outright despises the West whereas they don’t mind the Chinese?”

    You obviously have no experience of countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia – yes, right near the south of China – where the Chinese have long been a distinct group. As I predicted elsewhere, the recent mainland Chinese experience in the Solomon Islands will be replicated 10-fold in Africa, no need to wait long and we’ll see – assuming you get the news.

    Everybody likes to dump on Europe for the past and America for the present; great power is invariably invidious. “Invidious”, a good word which animates persons like yourself.

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  19. and you still insist that intolerance of criticisms personal or public and general inability to admit error is a Western charactertistic?!

    It’s universal, but profound (and psychotic) in Westerners. Chinese people are generally self-critical enough that no one else really feels the need to pick at faults. Again, it’s a cultural problem- on your side.

    West is founded on constant introspection and criticism

    No, it’s not. That would be “East Asia”. The West is founded on constant cover-ups, distortions and lies to appease the masses.

    White Christian countries are crime-ridden and hedonistic? Crime is more publicized and more common in liberal, democratic societies governed by rule of law than in authoritarian governments that control reporting of crimes and control the citizenry through rule by law.

    Hong Kong and Singapore are the least corrupt nations on the planet, which is due to their adherence to some parts of proper Chinese culture. China’s crime rate is low, but we’ll discount them for your argumentum ad you’re-a-commie-propagandist.

    Still, the reported incidences of social unrest in China beggar anything reported in the West since the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.

    Social unrest, by Chinese or other non-Uighur, usually does not kill people.

    Hedonism? KTV, barbershops offering sex, the prevalence of mistresses and 小秘… and you accuse the West of hedonism? Yes, self-reflection and contrition is not a cultural strong point in China.

    The prevalence is higher in the West. Having trouble accepting criticism? Chinese are the most monogamous people in the world, tied with Indians- Westerners, on the other hand, have astronomical divorce rates, spousal rape rates, a high prevalence of rape, and frequent instances of infidelity. According to U.S studies, 50-60% of Americans commit adultery at least once during their lifetimes.

    As many or more Europeans died at the hands of native Americans* than vice versa;

    So? And many Nazis died to the hands of anti-Nazi forces. If you’re talking about open fighting, you might almost be right, but if you account for government policy and disease you killed far more than Adolf could have ever dreamed of.

    But, say, slavery was unknown in China? You’d better check your facts.

    I did, check yours. Slavery was virtually non-existent in China, never surpassing 2% of the population at the highest estimates. Every other dynasty it was completely abolished. Even then, Chinese slaves enjoyed better living standards than some European nobles.

    “Invidious”, a good word which animates persons like yourself.

    I’m not quite jealous of your colonial baggage or your collapsing economy. Again, if you’re so “knowledgeable” about the Overseas Chinese, be they in Southeast Asia or elsewhere, you’d know that we don’t exactly envy America’s financial position.

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  20. Grab hold of yourself and seriously investigate just one of your foolish notions, “the collapsing economy”. Yes, Chinese have impatiently waited for the US to topple for decades, each cyclic downturn anticipated as the harbringer of final disaster that will fell those arrogant Americans which to most Chinese is the only way China can advance, but just measure GDP, GNP by comparing country or individuals, compare income distribution, compare any indice you choose and then understand, China is actually a poor country, one of the poorest in the temperature zone. Even Chinese critics understand the underlying fragility of the Chinese economy. I understand Chinese pretensions to greatness, but please work on the basics first.

    And this is the most basic of basics: The greatest problem China faces is probable collapse of civil society. Even your referenced Sinology is telling you so.

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  21. More like Americans have “waited patiently” (or actively tried to destroy) the Chinese economy, while China more or less doesn’t have any interest in seeing America kill itself as it is doing now.

    Don’t reference history either, your nation is a short-lived joke and you almost collapsed not twice but three times (counting today) in the past… only pushing through on genocide, colony and slave labor.

    Likewise, Chinese people have been poor before, rich before… Americans are not going to know great wealth for any historically significant period of time before the fall. See: Rome

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  22. each cyclic downturn anticipated as the harbringer of final disaster that will fell those arrogant Americans which to most Chinese is the only way China can advance

    Rather, it’s the Americans who take the tone of zero-sum game what with their slaughter of millions and millions of civilians overseas to ensure a steady flow of bloody commodities into its borders.

    Again, it’s the Americans heralding a new doomsday for China for every passing year, while American disasters continue to get worse and worse. This current recession is nothing like all of those before it after the Great Depression. This doesn’t seem to be your area of expertise, go back to “teaching English” now.

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  23. “America actively tried to destroy the Chinese economy”, that’s simply bizarre but typical in the context of any exchange with countless mainland Chinese “anonymous”.

    Squalling loud enough and long enough you intend to trample other voices; typical, Anonymous. But, even your own audience understands your posing is just for show, thick on histrionics and thin on content.

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  24. Anonymous… whoever you are… please define your “winning terms” in this game you seem to see between cultures/civilizations/economies, specifically between the US and China?

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  25. Has anyone actually studied the effects of anti-CNN in correcting the behavior of Western media?

    If anything, after the publishing of anti-CNN, Western Media reporting in China has became a lot more accurate. This is something which people should rejoice, especially if you love accurate reporting.

    So why do you still have so many people who claim to love free speech, accurate reporting, and all that still trash anti-CNN? If anything I see this as another example of good old fashioned China-hating.

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  26. “Yes, Chinese have impatiently waited for the US to topple for decades, each cyclic downturn anticipated as the harbringer of final disaster that will fell those arrogant Americans which to most Chinese is the only way China can advance, but just measure GDP, GNP by comparing country or individuals, compare income distribution, compare any indice you choose and then understand, China is actually a poor country, one of the poorest in the temperature zone. Even Chinese critics understand the underlying fragility of the Chinese economy. I understand Chinese pretensions to greatness, but please work on the basics first.”

    Sheesh, talk about projecting. What a retarded statement. If you actually talk to the average Chinese, they would rather have the US economy to improve so that they can keep their jobs.

    Chinese pretensions to greatness? More like ScottLoar’s insecurities when it comes to dealing with Chinese people. People like this is exactly why I hate the expat community in Asian nations.

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  27. Excellent post, oneoneone. White expats in Asian countries expect servile, self-hating midgets to bow to their will at all times. When they realize that this is mostly an “Westernized Asian” phenomenon, they are extremely disturbed.

    Most whites will pretend to be big multiculturalists but at the same time try to subvert and destroy foreign cultures with every breath they take.

    Anonymous… whoever you are… please define your “winning terms” in this game you seem to see between cultures/civilizations/economies, specifically between the US and China?

    This is not a game between China and the US, but rather the bloated West and the rest of humanity. Those who stand to lose the most are not the Chinese, but the truly poorest of the poor and most downtrodden peoples on the planet, such as many Natives of the Americas and those who live on lowly elevated islands.

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  28. What Chinese pretensions to greatness? Sometimes I find myself the only one in the room among Chinese friends arguing that China actually has some sway on the world stage. The number of Chinese people who genuinely believe China is as economically and politically significant as say Andorra will shock you. Many truly feel the country just sits on the UN Security Council and takes notes everyday without every speaking like a kid at a grown-ups’ table. This insecurity and self-denial occasionally drives me crazy. After Obama won the election, the Chinese media even started beating up Chinese Americans for never having produced a president: Why was there never an Asian American president? There must be something wrong with the Chinese culture and the ethnic Chinese people. For crying out loud, there are more gay men than Asians in the US and there would be a female, hispanic, Native American and Jewish president before there is ever an Asian one, not to mention whether there is a Chinese American POTUS is absolutely none of our business. So again, what Chinese pretensions to greatness? Countless articles have been devoted to the huge gap in perception of China’s position in the world between westerners and Chinese themselves. A Newsweek article last summer around the Olympics did a good job exploring the Chinese insecurity and our widespread, profound denial of the achievements and anything good about us during the past 30 years.

    Also on the government level: One has never seen Chinese officials openly bragging about how China can serve as a role model of justice and whatnot like what Ahmadidntwin always touts. I never thought I could find someone less insecure than the average Chinese person, but apparently I hadn’t met ScottLoar.

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  29. the American media makes up Chinese ultra-nationalism to play up the “China Threat”, which in turn helps the military (that the mass media serves) procure funds.

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