A Few Quick Links

This blog has, perhaps, earned its name in some small part due to our coverage of racism in China (even though we’re told it doesn’t exist). On that front, I point you in the direction of a few more drops in the bucket.

First, a popular Chinese social network game that allows players to enslave their friends (virtually; think “Happy Farm” but with more slavery) also allows them to punish their female friends by, among other things, forcing them to marry “an old black man”. From ChinaSocialGames via BendiLaowai:

Slave Manor copies the original Facebook game Friends for Sale! but takes the competition to another level. White-collar workers flock to the SNS Kaixin001 to hire their boss as their virtual slave—upon which they can make him shovel shit or marry an extremely ugly girl. Female slaves can be assigned to different hardships: serving as a “special hostess” or marrying an old black slave. The punishments on the original Facebook game were likely far tamer.

Another little bit of evidence popped up on Blood and Treasure in their analysis of the critical response to Lu Jiamin’s book Wolf Totem, which itself made some criticisms of Han culture. They also briefly discuss Hanwang, a site they say boasts over 100,000 members and compares to a Chinese StormFront.

Also of interest, perhaps, is this op-ed piece in the New York Times that compares Mao Zedong to Ho Chi Minh, then calls the two of them “Gods”:

These 70-percent Gods are interesting creatures. They no longer slaughter. They do not imprison en masse. They don’t try to fast-forward to utopia.

No, they build firewalls rather than walls. They fear peaceful protest more than violent movements. They ban Facebook rather than banish folk to camps. They’re less ruthless but more stressed. In short, they’ve gone through 21st century makeovers.

These makeovers have been successful. It’s hard, but not impossible, to imagine the survival of the one-party Chinese and Vietnamese states without the fabulous growth Market-Leninism has produced.

The thing is, however, that such dynamic societies produce more educated, wealthier people; and those people in time wonder about things other than getting a bigger apartment or a car. They start wondering whether they should determine who governs them. They wonder about freedom of expression. They get irritated by corruption. They wonder why they can’t Twitter.

And that is why — a great paradox — the custodians of the 70-percent Gods are so nervous at the very moment when things are going their way, when they have growth unimaginable in the West, when everyone’s talking of China’s rise.

There are some ideas in the piece that I agree with, and some I don’t, but it’s all couched in a rather crazy metaphor. Viewing Mao Zedong as a “God”, I think, does nothing to help us understand the effect he’s had on modern Chinese culture and politics, or why Twitter is blocked. The 70% doctrine (the idea that Mao was 70% right and 30% wrong) does not make him a “70% God”; rather, it was a conscious effort to humanize him. Roger Cohen obviously doesn’t agree with the 70/30 ratio, but calling Mao a “God” to Chinese people doesn’t help anyone understand why many Chinese people do agree with the 70/30 ratio.

0 thoughts on “A Few Quick Links”

  1. 顶. It is a pretty crazy metaphor with little relation to what the author was trying to say. However, it’s hard to deny that Mao serves as a deity of sort in many parts of rural China. (Not really a god, but Chinese never had a god in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic sense anyway).
    I have seen Tibetan houses in Yunnan where the folks keep a portrait of Mao at the family’s altar, together with a portrait of the Panchen Lama


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