“A Little Reflection on Patriotism”

The following is a translation of an essay from Fenqing Net. It was originally posted in July, but is one of the essays they’ve been highlighting on the front page in honor of National Day. Before you fire up your “Communist shills!” comments, we remind you that we don’t always agree with everything we translate.

Translation

In real life and on the internet, one can often see and hear people loudly complaining about the injustices of life and the dark aspects of society. Speaking with righteous anger, if they aren’t talking about corruption they’re discussing the impotence of the government, mocking and complaining, blaming everyone but themselves. They speak as though some incidents [such as the] corruption of officials occurred right in front of their eyes instead of behind closed doors. This kind of person is quite common, and I look down on them. I used to argue with them, but now I just laugh at them. Towards the nation and the government, I feel more supportive and eagerly anticipating, encouraging and grateful. I think this is also a kind of patriotism! But people [feel] they must discuss present-day evils.

Indeed, it’s undeniable that there are irrational and unjust things in society. China still hasn’t eliminated corruption. But why do people always want to focus on this and refuse to let go of it? Society has developed, life has improved, the nation has become prosperous and strong. No one can deny this, so why aren’t there more people paying attention? Treasure a positive attitude, rebuild through one’s own efforts, take care of yourself and live well, this is what is most important.

When I was young our family was poor, so I witness firsthand the relentless improvements in [our] lives. [These days,] people who build their family fortune without a background or a patron are numerous, those who rely on their hard work to buy cars and houses are also many. So what injustice and corruption are you talking about? If you aren’t taking care of yourself, how can you complain about others? Society has provided enough opportunity and space for everyone, if you are capable you can [succeed]! If you haven’t been able [to succeed], it’s because you’re incapable, it’s that simple!

China’s situation now is very difficult, there is domestic trouble and foreign invaders. Tibetan independence, Xinjiang independence, Taiwan independence, in the east Japan persists with their evil intentions […], in the north Russia is anti-China and has always been eyeing us covetously, India is massing troops to the south, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other third world countries in Southeast Asia are constantly stirring up conflict…then there’s the financial collapse and natural disasters. Actually, in these times, if you’re living well, what is there to complain about? I don’t get it, don’t understand, I’m bitterly disappointed.

Imagine we are children. Mother has a bad temper, and occasionally makes mistakes. Sometimes she curses you, and occasionally beats you. But she bore and raised you through childhood, and worked hard her whole life for your happiness. When you run across one of her mistakes, would you complain, oppose, and betray her? I think that one should look at one’s country with the same principle!

Common people’s patriotism can’t always be on a large scale, but at least don’t complain, oppose, or betray. Tolerate more, support more, understand more, dependably take care of your own issues, this is the greatest kind of patriotism…

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0 thoughts on ““A Little Reflection on Patriotism””

  1. Pingback: Hao Hao Report
  2. How is this Fenqing? It isn’t. It’s someone who saw the good in China and is quite optimistic (one could argue too much) about the future.

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  3. Should have posted this in chinasmack so they could have a rage field day with it. Author of this is quite narrow-minded (if its from FQ.net I guess thats not too surprising), though I like his idea of self-dependence instead of constantly asking for handouts.

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  4. I can see plenty of arguments for looking on the bright side in regards to China or, conversely, for highlighting the country’s problems. It’s the prerogative of the translated post’s author to highlight one set of facts or another set or, better yet, to let the good and bad exist in dynamic tension.

    What I disagree with in the post is:

    1) The idea that China is faced with lots of “foreign invaders.” China shares a border with 14 countries. In contrast, the United States, while roughly the same size as China, is in the enviable position of only having two neighbors, both of which are relatively good friends. The P.R.C. will always have border disputes. But that doesn’t mean China is under siege. In fact, countries like Vietnam are clearly more worried about China than China is of them. A misplaced “siege mentality” is dangerous.

    2) The analogy of the government with the author’s “mother” is sentimental and paralyzing. What if the state is just a tool, like a plough? Can’t we replace it when it doesn’t work as well as we’d like it to work, regardless of its previous contributions? Or can’t we bend it into shape? Or what if the state is a horse? Shouldn’t we then treat it nice (give it hay and stuff) but not let it decide the direction we ride?

    Anyway…

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  5. @custer:

    I came from Haohao report and this is the description: “In honor of national day, a fenqing take on what it means to be a patriot”.

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  6. @ PH: Sure, but my guess is that the author doesn’t mind, given that he posted it on a site that is called fenqing.

    The guy (and the site) self-identify as fenqing, so labeling them that seems perfectly legitimate to me, especially since it’s important for people to understand the context of this essay in terms of the Chinese internet as a whole. It’s not coming from some newspaper, it’s coming from fenqing.net.

    I do admire your dedication to being offended by that term, though.

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  7. @ Old Tales Retold: What I find odd about his “mother” analogy is that he’s basically saying “meh, child abuse is a mother’s prerogative…after all, didn’t she give birth to you and clothe you?”

    Call me crazy, I think children have the right to not be abused by their parents. Yes, their parents have given them a lot, just like in the future they will give their own children a lot. Suffering abuse is not repayment for one’s debt to one’s parents. That debt is repaid only indirectly, through raising our own children well. That’s how I see it, anyway.

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  8. “The analogy of the government with the author’s “mother” is sentimental and paralyzing.”

    Absolutely. And I suspect it’s an analogy authored by the state, similar to the trite example offered about Taiwan as a runaway child.

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  9. What does it say after Japan’s evil intentions? I don’t see the Imperial Japanese army around…

    As for the people who curse out corruption… those are usually the same ones that proclaim themselves patriots for doing so.

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