Ask the Yangxifu: Sensitive China issues, arguments and your Chinese husband | Speaking of China

14 Responses

  1. Susan
    Susan January 8, 2010 at 12:44 pm | | Reply

    Another great post, Jocelyn!

    My spouse and I were just talking about how the Chinese education system does a good job of teaching its’ citizens to be sensitive and defensive about any criticism the country or its’ government might receive, especially from non-Chinese, given all the abuses China has suffered by the hands of foreigners over hundreds of years.

    That said, he too is surprisingly patient, empathetic, and sometimes even defensive of his homeland governments’ behavior. But I usually enjoy our debates, as he knows so much more history (China and elsewhere) than I do; it’s a free history lesson for me.

  2. Roueen
    Roueen January 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm | | Reply

    when two partners have different cultures, adaption is not easy, some of people really believe their countries, maybe their countries believe them . for example, in my country, many people don’t like to do their traditions. once they are living in foreign countries, they prefer foreign cultures , they will be in opposite of our cultures , traditions, and countries, and many times family. but many Chinese really believe their country . (maybe not really related to this post, but related to this blog )

  3. RichFromTampa
    RichFromTampa January 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm | | Reply

    My Chinese wife and I have been at odds on the issue of Tibet, Finally, last year, she treated me, and told me to visit Tibet, to see for myself. I went. I had my eyes opened. Everywhere you look there are investment and modernization projects.New Buildings , Roads, Cleaner Water, Bridges and a whole lot of Transportation Infrastructure and Developement. The millions in RMB are coming from Beijing. And, there is a large merchant middle class, many of whom describe the dalai as a “politician”, with the universal scorn that goes with that label. There is so much to be learned from the Culture of China. For us ,Westerners, to presume that “we know better” is assinine. RichFromTampa

  4. Woods
    Woods January 9, 2010 at 1:07 am | | Reply

    Hi, thanks for sharing your experience. I’d like to share some thoughts too if you don’t mind. 🙂
    I never impose my point of view, usually I’m more interesting in discussing and understanding other’s ideas rather than imposing mine. My (chinese) girlfriend is sometimes very stubborn but she can also be more critical than I am, so I prefer avoiding some subjects or shorten our conversations when I know it’s not going anywhere. It is not because I don’t agree with her but because I don’t like when there is no “discussion”.
    In my opinion that is THE main problem, I met this situation many times when talking with some chinese friends. I do not make it a general rule but many people just don’t want to share arguments with you because they don’t want to hear yours and directly reject them.
    If noone has the will to hear and consider other’s point of view in a discussion, it is not a discussion anymore.
    When I discuss “sensitive” things with my girlfriend I first try to show her I understand her points before saying what I think. Direct opposition always result in a end of discussion ! 🙂
    (Sorry for being so talkative, hope I’m not being confusing)
    — Woods

  5. Han Hu
    Han Hu January 9, 2010 at 7:42 am | | Reply

    As my significant other is a Chinese minority (Tibetan) who never quite bought into the government education he got growing up, we’ve never had arguments about these sensitive topics. Phew.

    RichfromTampa — Though a visit to Tibet can be an eye-opener in terms of development of the region, it seems as though you have swapped one over-simplified description of the region for another. It takes quite a bit of work to see beneath the surface, perhaps more than you can get on a single vacation.

  6. melanie gao
    melanie gao January 10, 2010 at 7:51 am | | Reply

    I’m glad my Chinese husband and I can talk pretty objectively about politics. Most of my information comes from the Western media and a lot of his comes from the Chinese media, so we like to compare notes and see what we really think is going on. Now I know that no media outlet has a monopoly on the Truth so we have to learn as much as we can from multiple sources and then draw our own conclusions. And we’re both learning to be more dispassionate.

  7. VicSion
    VicSion January 28, 2010 at 8:20 pm | | Reply

    My husband and I had a little argument yesterday regarding the execution of a British citizen in China, you are probably aware of the case.
    —————————————-
    Why do you object to execute him?
    This reminds me of a movie – Dead man walking
    i think the point we should care is not the excution itself.

  8. Andrew
    Andrew February 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm | | Reply

    Wow, your approach to your husband completely changed my views on how white girls treat their husbands, bravo, you treat your husband better than my Chinese girlfriend treat me.

  9. Jennie
    Jennie March 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm | | Reply

    My husband (Chinese) and I (Swedish) might not always have the same point of view on things, but we have never actually argued or had a heated discussion about “sensitive subjects”. I don’t know how we have managed this through four years, maybe it’s because my husband is quite western and I’m pretty Chinese so we meet halfway?
    We have been discussing Tibet some, and while both of us agree Tibet is probably better off being a part of China, my husband more or less call Dalai Lama a terrorist while I’m more neutral. And in my eyes, Taiwan is a country while my husband says it’s China.

    So talking about sensitive subjects, yes we do. But we don’t argue about it.

  10. Iknowwhatyoumean
    Iknowwhatyoumean May 2, 2011 at 7:27 am | | Reply

    Great post Jocelyn! I relate to the experiences of our squabbles with respect to Japan, Tibet, Taiwan and even human rights. I tend to be more opinionated than my boyfriend (chinese) on these issues. Its not that I have a ‘western’ perspective, more that I have certain views on how the boundaries in this world should be drawn (if at all) than he does. However he is very patriotic. Thankfully, he is also very patient in showing me the other side (he showed me some movies about Japanese invasion, the formation of Taiwan) and I also try to show him my perspective through the documentaries and news reports that affected my way of thinking. Also being Indian I guess I had a different perspective to offer him about Tibet.

    In the end, we both realize that to a certain extent these issues are political and no government is untainted. Also while he constantly tries to make me see the chinese need for ‘harmony and unity’ and the ‘chinese identity’ which well extends beyond the borders of PRC, I try to make him understand that the biggest advantage of leaving your country and venturing out is the ability to gain access to different perspectives rather than one simplistic polarized one.

    I have to say I am lucky that he is a critical thinker, unlike a lot of our other chinese friends who despite being here, refuse to see beyond the point of view they were raised with. Probably why we dont have heated arguments about political issues anymore..

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