A lot of people talk a big game on the internet, and Chinese people are no exception. When it comes to the topic of patriotism, especially, the gloves of rhetoric often come off and discussions can quickly descend into a cacophony of name-calling and fallacious assertions. Zhao Weilu, apparently, has had about enough, and wrote this post classifying the
eight ten characteristics of fake “patriots” on the internet.
…To summarize, those who loudly sing about “patriotism” have the following attributes in common. So as not to influence the image of the great “patriots”, if you think [I have] missed something, please supplement this list [in the comments].
- Talking about “the motherland/mother says…”: “Patriots” jabber on and on about what “mother says” and it seems as if it’s just for the sake of convenience; after all, can you not love you mother? It seems as though when they do this, dissenters feel there’s nothing they can say. It’s a shame that this technique is already useless. The metaphor of “mother” has been abused [overused], and today, it not only doesn’t give rise to great feelings of love in listeners, it actually can make those [who disagree] feel their mother is being insulted. For a change of pace, I propose we use “Paternal grandmother” instead; after all, isn’t a paternal grandmother even more kind and selfless? In the eyes of grandmother, everyone is a grandson, and if anyone uses the metaphor “mother” again it could harm their relations with others. This is the “fakeness” of “patriots”
- Talking about “Five thousand years of civilization…”: Probably using a round number is easier than discussing, and “five thousand years” will always be a whole number. When we were in elementary school it was five thousand years, in college it was five thousand years, and we can guess that our sons will be saying five thousand years too. Not to mention that [the veracity of] “five thousand years” is endlessly debated in historical circles, and “five thousand years of civilization” really doesn’t tell us what kind of society counts as “civilization”. What makes people suspicious is, why do people always hoist the flag of “five thousand years” when talking about patriotism […] as if this makes them better automatically. But it actually seems to people like Ah Q saying “My ancestors were great/rich”; [these “patriots”] are like unworthy ancestors. This is the “greatness” of “patriots”
- Saying “Patriotism is opposing the West”: Originally this wasn’t even worth [the effort of] refuting, but as “patriots” continue to say it, even I myself don’t know what exactly about the West we’re supposed to be opposing. It’s just become a conditioned reflex to oppose when we see words like “democracy”, “human rights”, and “constitutional government”. This is the ridiculous thing about “patriots”. To make an ugly analogy, it’s like training a dog so that whenever it sees someone in a Western-style suit it attacks crazily. These “patriots” originally thought it was like a guided missile, [but actually] who knows what it’s going to hit, it’s really just a dud. This is the “emptiness” of “patriots”.
- Talking about “Loving the country means loving the Party”: […] Originally, when talking about “patriotism”, people would clearly speak rationally, and if it was factual and irrefutable, then listeners would be convinced. Who knew that “patriots” would suddenly change the topic, at first [I was] suspicious of the sudden change in topic but [then I realized] the existence of [their] clever secret principle. [Saying “loving the country means loving the Party”] makes listeners suddenly understand: Loving the country is just the hair, loving the Party is the skin*. These “patriots” are not stupid, they are actually extremely clever. Love the Party, love the government, love the country, layer upon layer, who we express love to isn’t just clear at a glance? It’s like a shady fellow who claims to love a woman to death and be unswervingly loyal, but at the same time eyes her father’s wallet. In reality, it’s the old saying: “kissing up to the powerful.” This is the “plotting” of “patriots”.
*Thanks to Jeremy Goldkorn for clearing that up!
The original post has
four six more “characteristics” of patriots: (5) talking about “great, glorious, and correct”; (6) talking about “the great Mao Zedong”; (7) talking about “traditional culture” and (8) talking about “the Chinese people/the descendants of Yan Di and Huang Di”. (9) talking about “when you’re full [from eating] you must be patriotic“ and (10) talking about “those who aren’t patriotic are beasts”. I haven’t translated these parts in full because I don’t have time at the moment, but if people are interested, I will translate them in a future post. UPDATE: By popular demand, we’ve translated Part 2, which is available here.