My Chinese Husband, My China Border Disputes | Speaking of China

58 Responses

  1. Crystal
    Crystal November 15, 2010 at 4:29 am | | Reply

    That’s why in some texts China is the 3rd country in the world by territory size (after Russia and Canada), while in other texts – it is 4th: U.S.A. popping in front.

    If you compare the territory of U.S.A. and P.R.C. – you will notice that the tiny difference between them will be easily “beaten” by any disputed territory going to China.

  2. Chris
    Chris November 15, 2010 at 5:32 am | | Reply

    Ah, borders come and go, but territorial desires will be always be around. Back in elementary school, we had disputes over lego pieces and pokemon cards. There was usually a winner and a loser, and I guess things haven’t changed.

    Life’s never fair 🙁 No point dwelling on it though 🙂

  3. Henchbish
    Henchbish November 18, 2010 at 2:42 pm | | Reply

    I would like to know why your husband thinks China “lost” Mongolia. I would really like to know if anything can change his mind. I hope so.

    After all, he, and his family, do not need Mongolia. But the people who live in Mongolia need Mongolia. It’s their home. Zero percent of the population wants to “join” China.

    I gather that your husband is an intelligent person with honorable values and human feelings. So I am having real trouble comprehending why he would so completely fail to respect the feelings, choices and culture of people living in a neighboring country. China is an important neighbor to Mongolia: youth go there for education and a great deal of Chinese stuff is imported across the Mongolian border (which is not officially disputed). Yet Mongolians in China quickly sour on the country because most of the Chinese they meet treat them as a sort of second-class, misguided Chinese, rather than just as foreigners. Mongolians tell me that many Chinese won’t even talk with them when they refuse to agree that Mongolia belongs to China, or harass them in Chinese, trying to elicit an answer in the same language. As the Western media have been reporting, there is growing anti-Chinese sentiment in Mongolia, and behind it is Mongolian awareness of the 1.3 billion strong Chinese population’s general inability to accept their separate identity.

    The issue is not one of political opinions or historical interpretation, but of lack of basic respect towards a neighboring but different group of people. Even if historical arguments are invoked to show that Mongolia “used to be a part of China” or whatever, don’t the choices of 2 million Mongolians, whose recent ancestors (a few are still alive even from that period) chose freedom from Chinese states, and who are building their own unique modern society, count for something? Can the wounded pride of patriotic Chinese because their map looks a little smaller than it might, or because they can’t utilize the resources or strategic value of a place they don’t even live in, matter more?

    I respect your husband’s political opinions and his support of his country. But I would be interested in hearing the full story of his views on Mongolia. Am I wrong to be sickened when a Chinese “laments the loss of Mongolia”? I don’t mean to offend, and I am very interested in understanding where he is coming from.

  4. Chris
    Chris November 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm | | Reply

    @ Henchbish,

    There is a good number of Chinese who attach territorial sovereignty with their personal feelings and take pride in their country and how it is perceived. This is very similar to the good number of Americans who take the concepts of democracy, freedom and liberty close to heart.. example:

    To piss off a Chinese, say “Free Tibet/Inner Mongolia/Xinjiang etc”
    To piss off an American, say “Take your democracy and git back to Europe. This here’s Indian land. Fighting terrorism since 1492.”

    The Chinese want to be respected on the world stage. This sentiment comes from the Century of Humiliation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_of_humiliation) in which European powers ganged up and forced the weakened Qing dynasty China to sign unequal treaties to give away big pieces of their land. Examples: historic outer manchuria(never returned), hong kong, macau, pieces of shanghai, beijing, taiwan. Chinese immigrants were treated poorly and in US/Canada, worked their asses off for less than half the pay of white people on railways, forced to only do laundry and cooking afterward because they are supposedly weak not manly. Racism against Chinese was intense both inside and outside China. On top of that, Christian religion(which is supposedly about God’s love and grace) was forced onto China together with tonnes of opium, forcibly “traded” to China. The list goes on.

    This humiliation is burned deep in the psyches of every Chinese person. When China is criticized(sometimes very rightly so) about what policies in Tibet and Xinjiang, many Chinese people are instantly reminded of Eurocentric chauvinism. About how Chinese are “supposed” to “get with the times” and “adopt democracy, the one and only solution.”

    As a Chinese myself, I also feel disgusted about the way some Chinese speak of their surrounding “little countries” and minority ethnic groups. It is irnoic that some behave this way even after their own century of humiliation by foreigners. It really is blatant racism, on the same level as the jokes I eavesdrop from some white people regarding “dirty, exploding Arabs” and “dumb violent black people” and those “freaking smart little asian people with (small private parts) breaking the bell curve” Not to mention “getting JEWED” These comments are as likely to come from the well-educated/professional as people with high school diplomas.

    All I have to say is that people will be people and no matter how smart we are, we can be pretty freaking stupid.

  5. Friend
    Friend November 19, 2010 at 1:09 am | | Reply

    I’m with Chris on this one. As long as there are people, the border disputes are inevitable. People do attached a lot of personal feelings with land. While it may seem stupid to some, it means a lot for others.

  6. Henchbish
    Henchbish November 19, 2010 at 2:44 pm | | Reply

    @ Chris
    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I guess what I still don’t understand is why so many Chinese can’t separate their very justified feelings about the West from their inexcusable feelings towards a non-Western country like Mongolia.

    Western powers subjected Chinese to a century of humiliation. The Qing Empire subjected Mongolians to about two centuries of humiliation. How can the blogger’s husband, who is highly educated and knows this, “lament” the justice of history that gave them their independence? And even if some Chinese have a different interpretation of history, how can they, who desire to be respected on the global stage as a powerful nation, fail to respect even the mere independence of a neighboring non-Western people?

    Help me understand the connection you make between White Western racism against Chinese and Chinese arrogance towards Mongolia. Is it that those Chinese who feel the humiliation they were subjected to by the West have come to believe that only the clash between the China and the Western powers matters and that other countries have no legitimacy of their own? Or is it that centuries of rapacious Western opportunism have made many Chinese into cynical opportunists themselves, and it is just Darwinian self-interest masked as a moral stand? Or is it a case of “The bigs beat up on me, so I beat up the little ‘uns, and that’s fair?”

    Chinese are completely right to distrust everything the Western powers say and do, and to seek the most advantageous position possible with respect to them. But Mongolians aren’t responsible for what the West did to China, and I would like to know how Chinese feelings towards the West can possibly explain their belief that a different, non-Western people’s home country is wrong not to accept foreign (Chinese) rule. I can’t believe that even highly educated Chinese wouldn’t be informed enough to know that Mongolia has a non-Chinese language, a distinct culture, a distinct sense of identity and a universal will to retain independence. And if they know that, how can they not change their views?

    I guess what I’m trying to ask is, while you’ve clearly explained the origins and reasons behind Chinese feelings about the West that lead them to distrust the West, could you also explain Chinese feelings towards a neighboring country like Mongolia that lead them to think that it should belong to them, against the clear will of its inhabitants?

    @Friend
    I agree. Though actually I don’t necessarily think it is stupid to have strong personal feelings about territory. What I am trying to figure out is how someone can have strong personal feelings about the homeland of a completely different group of people whose language they don’t speak, who are independent under laws all countries recognize, and who don’t share their feeling. And not understand the feelings of that other group of people, or not care. It seems sick.

    Or then again, maybe Chris is right that it’s just the universal human irrationality that we all share. Fortunately, while human stupidity is not curable, individual stupid ideas are. Maybe Chinese attitudes about Mongolia will have shifted in a generation or two.

  7. Friend
    Friend November 19, 2010 at 7:53 pm | | Reply

    @ Henchbish

    Well, I think the reason why I think this is more of the universal human irrationality is because there’s so many examples out there, besides China, which are quite problematic as well. The ones that stand out to me personally are the territorial disputes in Europe (notably Spain and UK) and in the Middle East (Israel/Palestine and Turkey/Kurds). There are many more out there of course, almost every country has a similar issue. If anyone could figure out these feelings, then we would have long solve the problems of other places. As you can tell from the examples I gave, often these issues extend beyond the people who actually live there. There are many outside those lands who have those same irrational feelings as well, in their own ways.

    I don’t know what could be done. Although there are many possible solutions, it’s often never a win-win situation, someone loses out. So, like Chris says, life isn’t 100% fair and we do have to make the best out of it. Though like you said, respect for other people does definitely help.

  8. 0%
    0% November 20, 2010 at 8:41 am | | Reply

    Many places on the map were parts of China when China was given its English name “China”. It’s common for Chinese people thinking they’ve “lost” those lands now. It is not a matter of whether or not those areas deserve their current status.

  9. henchbish
    henchbish November 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm | | Reply

    @Friend
    You’re right, there are irrational territorial disputes all over the globe. It would be unfair to single out Chinese.

    I have close personal ties to Mongolia, so I am hardly unbiased. Obviously if I could feel what Chinese who “lament” the freedom of Mongolia feel, I would understand; but I don’t.

    I don’t know what can be done either. I tend to think, let’s just let things be as they are. Get people more interested in stability than in competition. Let all borders and de-facto lines of control lie and try getting used to them for a few generations. I think if people stop thinking land is going to be taken from them, they will stop trying to claim more land at the expense of others. But I have no idea how to achieve that.

  10. Friend
    Friend November 20, 2010 at 3:24 pm | | Reply

    If you want my opinion, I think most people who say such things (like we lost this land or that land belongs to us, etc.) don’t really think much about it. The idea of what’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine (or what’s yours is mine, lol) is something slightly inherent in all of us, but also constantly reinforce since we were very young. People don’t think much about it because it appears so natural to them.

    Really, the best thing I could think of at the moment, is just to stand your ground, and make the most out of it. Like I said, in these disputes, someone will lose out.

  11. Chris
    Chris November 20, 2010 at 6:41 pm | | Reply

    @henchbish,

    It’s not just a matter of “Chinese vs West” but to many Chinese, national pride/arrogance have become a matter of “Chinese vs foreigners.”

    Don’t forget that Mongols forcibly conquered all of China by military force over about 60 years, and in the process killed at least hundreds of thousands of people (probably over a million), sometimes in wholesale slaughter of entire settlements. Mongols killed far more Chinese than Western forces.

    And it wasn’t only a one-time deal. Throughout history, there has always been struggle by the settled Chinese to defend themselves against frequent border raids by the nomadic steppe peoples. They sought peace when China was strong and war when China was weak. China often supported weaker nomadic tribes to combat stronger ones.

    Anyways China under Qing dynasty conquered Mongolia back, “fair and square” Many believe that it was the weakness of the Qing under Western intervention which led to outer Mongolia independence.

    Socially, Mongols and Chinese have very different values. Chinese culture favors academic pursuit, filial piety, humbleness and obedience in individuals. I don’t know much about the steppe peoples, but from a childhood Mongol classmate, I know that they emphasize physical activities/sports, teamwork, and bravery much more than Chinese.

    So it’s not just a matter of land, tension has always existed between these two cultures and nations, period. And that tension will probably remain for a long time.

    Lets be honest, China is plain scared of losing territory because frankly over a third of China is not really “Chinese.” Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang are simply not Chinese in terms of cultures, language, peoples, and traditions. (yeah, this is a chinese guy talking) Rightfully, they should be independent nations much like North and South America should be free of white rule altogether.

    Things aren’t fair.

  12. Chris
    Chris November 20, 2010 at 7:21 pm | | Reply

    Off topic:
    Northern Chinese tend to have more relaxed views on such than Southern Chinese. We(northerners) have been more exposed to Mongolians, “North-easterners” and Middle-Easterners. We are a bit less “pure-Han” than southerners. Descendants of Manchurians are everywhere in the northeast provinces.

    For example, I come from Shandong and it is not unheard of to know someone who has a Mongolian grandparent. Descendants of Arabs are even more common to the point where Muslim communities, bazaars, and restaurant can often be stumbled upon. Many Hui people have a noticeable trace of Caucasianness.

    Some in my family have a full beard and a large, Turkish nose, some are over 6ft tall, some have skin whiter than some white people. Some, including me, have wide light brown eyes. A certain hongkong friend had said my eyes are that of a barbarian because they are much too light.

    Racial, cultural, border disputes etc are not worth our time. 🙂

  13. Friend
    Friend November 20, 2010 at 11:38 pm | | Reply

    Sorry for going off topic here as well.
    @Chris,

    I think you kind of nail the spot regarding the cultural values, because there is even more tension there. Land disputes are more clear cut than cultural clashes. Actually, they kind of intertwined in some aspects. The truth in this matter (the cultural disputes) is that in a lot of cases, not all the time, it’s really who has the bigger population tends to win. Due to sheer size, it will in one way or another overshadow the other one who is smaller. That’s kind of why in a lot of countries, there’s also this irrational fear of groups that the general population don’t like growing too large (the Hispanic population in US or Muslims in Europe, minorities in other places, etc.)

    Here is one subtle example I’ll give. I’ve heard that in Canada, if it weren’t for the British influence (the government having the British monarchy as head of state and British English spellings), if all that wasn’t there, other than the French speakers, most of the Canadian population would easily assimilate into American society for many obvious reasons.

    I know some Mongolian (from Mongolia, the country not Chinese province) and while the differences between them and Chinese nationals do stand out, they’re (the Mongolians) just as artistic, hard working and family oriented as any other Chinese national. I met the good hearted ones though so I’m just pointing out the positive aspects. I’m pretty sure there are bad apples in every bunch, so I can’t stereotype people of course.

    Like Chris said, often it’s not worth the time to argue, but when it is, often we have to face reality than go with what we feel. (if that makes sense, if not let me know).

  14. Henchbish
    Henchbish November 21, 2010 at 1:41 am | | Reply

    @Chris
    I guess I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to say that places like Xinjiang/Tibet/Inner Mongolia should “rightfully” be independent. It boils my blood to think about China and Russia negotiating over South Mongolia as if it were either of theirs to give or take (while I understand full well how others could see the convoluted history differently). But at the same time, there are now millions of Chinese for whom Inner Mongolia is their real home. Many were born there; what would I have them all do, leave? They matter as much as ethnic Mongolian inhabitants do; same goes for Tibet, or Xinjiang. Same goes for White Americans, for whom Europe is a foreign land. I think the borders we see on every normal map should be respected, because otherwise nobody knows what they really have or who is going to take it from them. You’re absolutely right that nothing is completely fair, but in the absence of perfect fairness, we should at least strive to assure stability. It’s perhaps not fair that China owns Tibet, for instance, but it’s also not fair to single out China to give up Tibet when every other country keeps their ill-gotten territories, and when a “free” Tibet might well turn straight into a failed state. Mongolia, on the other hand, is on the map for everyone to see, and is not a failed state.

    Interesting that you mention historical and cultural tensions between Chinese and steppe-dwelling nations to the north. If Mongolia has to “pay” for what it did in the 13th Century, then the whole country should by rights be seized and every man, woman and child put to the blade. Of course, modern people don’t have to suffer medieval punishments for what their distant ancestors did in medieval times. This is the 21st Century. Chinese outnumber Mongolians by more than 300 to one, and have a military that could secure control of Mongolia in 48 hours, so they have nothing to fear. But since we’re discussing irrational feelings, I see your point.

    I agree that cultural/border disputes aren’t worth our time if we are just going to quarrel, but I think building some degree of trust is worth a shot.

    Interesting about the racial diversity of northern Chinese. The visible racial/genetic variety doesn’t stop north of the border, either. I suppose what Jocelyn wrote about borders being artificial applies to ethnic and cultural divides as well.

  15. Zictor
    Zictor November 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm | | Reply

    Very good contributions here, I feel like offering my two-cents too, although I have to confess to being quite blunt.

    Good point about the Chinese feelings toward the West, but that doesn’t really influence their views of the countries around them. Throughout history, China always saw itself as the center of civilization and graded the countries around it by their degree of sinicization. Also, China, much like the rest of the Globe, had massive empires at many times that were always trying to conquer everything around them before they broke down. But they never seized considering themselves superior. During the Qing dynasty (which was a foreign invasion) their cultural production was ripe with some Ming royal who had survived (not unlike the legend of Anastasia in Russia) and would be infiltrated among the Qing. The centurry of humiliation was particularly hard, because not only were they humiliated by barbarians, they were also humiliated by “inferior” Japan, and this was particularly painful.

    But the Chinese have a sense of deserved superiority is incredible. It’s different than that of Americans. Americans believe they achieved their position through hard work. Chinese believe they are superior because they are Chinese, it’s their destiny to educate everyone else. They are great at pointing out how other people hurt their feelings but almost willfully ignore the feelings of everybody else. This is just part of their culture.

    Chinese intellectuals know that their territorial claims don’t fly in the current international community. But they just keep insisting on them with hopes of some day being able to simply force their will on other countries (imperialist way), and they won’t see it as imperialism, because they will simply be taking what’s rightfully theirs. And whatever argument that supports their cause is valid.

    No European country in their right mind would use maps 100-200 years old to make territorial claims. But China uses maps that are 400-500 years old.

    Historically speaking, Asia and Europe aren’t THAT different. you always had warlords (or nobles) fighting other warlords for territory. I just came up with this analysis, but maybe the Catholic Church with it’s supra-national did play the role of some sort of empire. Also, when the Muslims started closing in, they all stopped their squabbling and banded together the outside threat (sounds familiar?).

    Since Portugal declared its formation in 1393, they started working with the concept of a National State. And even as those National States were fighting and invading each other, they were also working out the rules of diplomacy, so they could be at peace with A while fighting B. Maybe the oversight of the Catholic Church above all the squabbles probably gave them some sense of continuity. They were still fighting and invading well into the first half of the 20th century. After WWII fucked everything up, they kinda drew some “stronger” borders. But by then the notion of countries being “equal” when signing treaties was well cemented into their heads.

    But while in Europe the Church was this umbrella cultural power that everybody sort of respected to a degree, China was the cultural and Political center of East Asia, so they have this sense of entitlement.

    Territorial integrity is a big part of the Chinese Zeitgeist, and it won’t disappear without a lot of political and intellectual debate, that isn’t really allowed. And even if it ever becomes allowed, accusations of lack of patriotism will drown the debate for a few years. As a general rule, this applies to all Chinese territorial claims. And bear in mind that their are willfully blind to massive inconsistencies and holes in their narrative.

    Every single Chinese territorial claim has a particular history of paradoxes and contradictions to it. And the Chinese willfully prefer to keep the questions unresolved until they can impose their “solution” onto each issue. Sometimes there can be economical issues, sometimes strategic. But even if there is nothing else, they’ll always fall back on “territoria integrity”.

  16. Chan
    Chan November 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm | | Reply

    @Jocelyn,

    If you are interested in China, and your husband is interested in border disputes, then both of you will like this article by an Indian gentleman A LOT!!

    http://indiaschinablog.blogspot.com/2010/03/you-scratch-my-back-but-i-wont-scratch.html

    It contains some interesting statistics.

  17. Chan
    Chan November 22, 2010 at 10:17 pm | | Reply

    @Henchbish,

    I am a Chinese.

    And I agree with you that Mongolians should be allowed to have their own country. And Chinese people should accept that reality.

    I agree because Mongolian declaration of independence was fully accepted by the world INCLUDING China, and that China had always supported an independent Mongolia. To me, that should be the end of the story.

    I wish the Chinese on both sides of the extreme (nationalists on the one hand, and the China-bashing Chinese on the other) would stop creating trouble for China.

    **************

    But having said that, I must also say I disagree with your view that Mongolians should be independent simply because they have a different culture and language. China is NOT a mono-ethnic country. You cannot divide China on ethnic lines.

    Unlike America, Europe, Australia, and Japan, China does not seek to eliminate ethnic cultures by forced amalgamation. That is why Tibetans look and speak like Tibetans, Mongolians look and speak like Mongolians, and all the other small minority groups look and speak like their own ancestors (with the obvious exception of Manchurians. But that was of course because they CHOSE to abandon their own culture during their own rule).

  18. Chan
    Chan November 22, 2010 at 10:18 pm | | Reply

    @Zictor,

    That is the reason why the world should never encourage China to become a democracy.

    If China was a democracy that makes its policies according to the will of the majority, none of the things described in that article in the above link I quoted for Jocelyn would have been possible. The world would have been a VERY dangerous place, or at least for China’s neighbors.

    As far as I know, never in history has a stronger nation so consistently given in to the demands of smaller nations in terms of border disputes. If China was a democracy, this could never have happened. As you have noted, the average Chinese mentality would have made sure its neighbors could NEVER have peace until they give in, much like the way the Central and the South American countries gave in to the demands of the US when the US became a superpower.

  19. Zictor
    Zictor November 22, 2010 at 11:25 pm | | Reply

    @Chan,
    “Unlike America, Europe, Australia, and Japan, China does not seek to eliminate ethnic cultures by forced amalgamation.”

    This phrase is a perfect example of Chinese doublethink (to borrow from George Orwell). First, this is a bad comparison. These countries did this at another era, a time when everybody thought different. Trying to compare the China of now with the bad acts of other countries up until WWII is bad form. Not really using a good standard. Also, just because on paper, Chinese laws benefit the minorities marginally, the reality of their lives is quite different. There is a lot of discrimination and they are still excluded from most development, even in their own areas.

    “That is the reason why the world should never encourage China to become a democracy.”

    Another common phallacy. True, if the country were a democracy it would be harder to hold the country together, but given China’s development and the alternative of independence, I am inclined to believe that the minorities just want to have cultural freedom, not political independence. Heard this from the mouth of a Tibetan in Yunnan. Those people just want respect.

    Also, Democracy takes power away from the extremes and gives it to moderates. If China had free speech, the voices that don’t agree with the official line would be able to open up about their opinion and honest debate could happen. Even in Japan you have people on the left that claim that the country hasn’t attoned properly for its war crimes. They aren’t helped by Chinese hysteria though.

    “As far as I know, never in history has a stronger nation so consistently given in to the demands of smaller nations in terms of border disputes.”

    Check your history again, how much has China actually given? China used to have a calmer rhetoric, but giving in was never really in the plans. If China were really like that, other Asian countries wouldn’t be BEGGING the US to have a stronger presence in Asia. really inviting them to come. Do you really believe that it is out of principle that China wants to deal with every country on the South China Sea border disputes? It surely has nothing to do with them being much stronger if they do it this way?

    Your comment about Central and South America shows you don’t really know much about us. But suffice to say things weren’t as straight forward.

  20. Chan
    Chan November 23, 2010 at 6:07 am | | Reply

    “this is a bad comparison. These countries did this at another era”

    Not true.

    It is not a case of when those policies were instituted. But whether those policies are still applied today and still supported by these governments today. The West has not yet abandoned these policies.

    For eample, China formally recognizes minority customs and festivals by establishing public holidays for the repective minorities to celebrate. Does the West formally recognize these customs and festivals? Or do they force their own customs and festivals upon the minorities?

    China actively makes sure minorities continue their traditions, even going so far as to supply minority costumes for free to make sure they wear them if they want to yet can’t afford to. Does the West do this?

    China establishes school curriculums that preserve minority languages and customs. Does the West do this?

    China spends A LOT OF money restoring and preserving minority architecture. As far as I know, most Western nations don’t do it to the same extent. (In fact, as far as I know, Japan doesn’t do it at all).

    But having said all this, I like to clarify that my intention is NOT to put down the West, but to highlight the fact that unlike what the media keeps telling us, China supports minorities and preserves their identities. Minorities exist in China under their own identities because of these well-meaning policies of China. It would then be sad to see foreigners (who should have supported these policies in their own countries) take advantage of the results provided by these policies to highlight ethnic differences in China in order to support independence movements.

  21. Chan
    Chan November 23, 2010 at 6:24 am | | Reply

    As for the democracy part, you seem to contradict your own previous post!

    Maybe you should read your first post again. It was YOU who said “the Chinese” this and “the Chinese” that. Wouldn’t you hope they will never influence government policies in China?

  22. Zictor
    Zictor November 23, 2010 at 8:47 am | | Reply

    @Chan,

    You actually proved my point regarding China’s treatment of minorities. All you’ve said reinforced the idea that China keeps them around more as museum pieces than actually encouraging their cultures. I don’t know this from Western media, I went to minority areas and I spoke to the people, saw with my own eyes. Some minorities are happy, some aren’t. And their culture isn’t exactly preserved.

    Your generalizations about “the West” are quite weak. Take Switzerland, they treat Romansch just as they treat German, they are all official languages. In China it’s always Mandarin. What do you mean by “The West” anyway?

    Also, I have no clue why you said I contradicted myself. Even though I criticised some aspects I don’t like about the Chinese, never have I said that they shouldn’t influenc the government. The French, my most hated nationality, have a democracy, why can’t the Chinese have one too? As I said, democracies bring about the moderates, and keep the crazies away.

  23. sam
    sam November 23, 2010 at 8:28 pm | | Reply

    ‘democracies bring about the moderates, and keep the crazies away’ – it is the complete opposite. look at india. if democracies can keep away the moderates, how do you explain the prevalence of hindu fundamentalism in india ?

  24. Zictor
    Zictor November 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm | | Reply

    @sam

    If you want to dig it into details, I can do it, by adding “within their own systems”.
    The concept of “moderate” and “radical” is always relative to what point you consider as the centre. e.g. the US; they classify the Democratic Party as “left” while in Europe or South America we consider the Democrats centre-right, and the Republicans “more right”.

    In a sense, what has happened in the US is that a conjunction of forces has pushed (and keeps pushing) people to the extremes of the spectrum. When that happens, the right has been consistently more successful in terms of elections, which means that the Democrats have to adopt some Republican ideas in order to win the elections, thus moving the “centre” towards the right. So a guy who’s considered normal left in Europe and SA is considered a “socialist” in the US, and a radical leftist in Europe and SA is a straight out terrorist.

    The X of the question is that most people can’t take the necessary time to assess a situation and make their choices, so they will take whatever easy explanation makes sense to them and go with it. Radicals are usually quite good and coming up with easy, catchy explanations.

    Why don’t people take the necessary time? Take your pick: They could be intellectually limited or lazy, or they could simply be too busy with more important tasks like trying to scrape a living, or getting drunk in the next party.

  25. Chan
    Chan November 24, 2010 at 6:13 am | | Reply

    @Zictor,

    “All you’ve said reinforced the idea that China keeps them around more as museum pieces”

    You have got to be joking! Your answer should surprise anyone hoping to preserve minority cultures. This kind of mentality explains why minority cultures in most Western countries were destroyed.

    1) How is recognizing minority customs and festivals be “keeping them around as museum pieces”?

    2) How is helping minorities continue their traditions be “keeping them around as museum pieces”?

    3) How is establishing school curriculums that preserve minority languages and customs be “keeping them around as museum pieces”?

    4) And how is restoring and preserving minority architecture be “keeping them around as museum pieces”?

    I like to hear your explanation.

    As for the democracy part, I am surprised you don’t see the contradictions. But I will let you explain the above before I get to your democracy part.

  26. Zictor
    Zictor November 24, 2010 at 11:13 am | | Reply

    @Chan

    Once again, you reinforce my points. Addressing your questions:

    1) Simply recognizing customs and festivals doesn’t mean much. It’s more into HOW you do it. The way the government does it, betrays what I am saying.

    2) Check my answer to question 1.

    3) The school curriculums don’t actually preserve the languages. Compulsory Mandarim is being learned earlier and earlier and they are stopping the study of minority languages earlier and earlier. And universities in minority languages can’t be found anymore.

    4)Well, have a walk down Qianmen, South of Tian’anmen and you won’t even ask that question again.

    As I said before, in many cases the government doesn’t really preserve minority cultures, it’s what is called in English “paying lip service”.

  27. sam
    sam November 24, 2010 at 8:07 pm | | Reply

    Chan, you’re spot on. the way i look at it, the worldview of zickor and people of his ilk is typically western – ‘we the west know what is good, and what is not’. his sole purpose in coming to this site is political proselytizing.

    and jocelyn, thanks for all the articles. normally i would just read an article and move on to the comments to read what your readers have to say. i believe that people have a right to freedom of speech and expression but you do need to keep an eye on people here, people like zickor who it seems to me is here for the sole purpose of political proselytizing.

  28. friend
    friend November 24, 2010 at 9:23 pm | | Reply

    Zictor,

    I think you have some good points, but I’m kind of confused at your statements regarding cultural freedom and political independence. I also was thinking the same as Chan for a while when I read your earlier comments regarding Mongolia but then you mentioned about the reality of minorities in China. That part was a little confusing for me. I know some minorities from China as well, and I have a feeling (but not 100% sure) that some of the problems they’re facing has more to do with class (wealth and education gap) than cultural freedom. They could be related though.

    Sam,

    I think the key word in democracy is participation. A lot of people in the world, the West included, confused democracy with living standards. In simple terms, it really just means the public involvement’s in decision making. To various degrees, of course there is going to be checkpoints (like in any type of government) so that a democracy doesn’t become mob rule. The public could mean citizens, residents or whatever status I.D. a country chooses to pursue. Granted, no system of government is perfect and there are many “democracies” in the world which are just as bad if not worst than those which are not “democracies”. Sometimes those checkpoints aren’t efficient. Or the public wasn’t informed or motivated enough to participate. Some are just democracies in name but there’s little basis in the actual society. My main point is this; if you use my simple defintion of what a democracy is, then eventually China and any other country will want to become an actual democracy.

  29. Zictor
    Zictor November 25, 2010 at 3:27 am | | Reply

    @sam

    Making assumptions about people based on a few lines they wrote is bad form. For starters, many people don’t consider South America a part of “the West”. This doesn’t mean I am a blind China apologist either. The curse of the moderate is that he takes hits from both sides.
    And proselytising? Are you serious?

    Regarding the minorities, I’ll just give you this example of a Tibetan I’ve met while traveling. First, he’s a Christian, so he doesn’t care much about “best selling” Dalai Lama. He doesn’t give a flying fuck about the political independence either. He DID say, however, that he would like his children to learn proper Tibetan in school, and to see his culture promoted. And it would have been nice to see the economy of his village (which is in a minority area) to improve from the dam they were building down the road. He told me that 95% of the workers were Han.

    Now when I hear stories like this I find it hard to believe that the Han government promotes minorities wholeheartedly. I am not one of those anti-government nutjobs, but I am mistrustful of politicians in general. Everywhere around the world they have a tendency to lie and cheat their people. The advantage of democracies is that they have checks and balance that keep them real. Problem with dictatorships is that they don’t have an independent judiciary, independent press or freedom of speech or organisation, so of course politicians take advantage of that to be even more corrupt.

    Now, what I like is less the label “democracy”, because it has its own imperfections, but these checks and balances, which I consider important. And the Chinese people would agree with me in saying that there needs to be more transparency and accountability in the government. Regardless how they are chosen.

  30. Zictor
    Zictor November 25, 2010 at 3:36 am | | Reply

    @friend

    You are right when you say they are related. Discrimination is a bitch, and it usually leads to social exclusion. In Brazil, my homeland, there is racism, but it is overshadowed by “classism”. I think this happens mainly because nobody can claim to be “pure white”.

    In the US, I believe racism is stronger than “classism”. In Africa, Asia and Europe, I do believe that the predominant factor is ethnicity. In America (the continent) the invaders decimated most of the native populations ages ago and everybody is very mixed. In the “Old World”, you have people who have been living at the foot of the same mountain for centuries, if you know what I mean.

    Minorities are discriminated, so they aren’t exactly a priority in the development plan, so when everybody gets rich, they stay behind. They can’t get a good education and in turn can’t find a good job….
    This happens in China but it is not unique to China, same thing happens to the Roma (Gypsies) in Europe.

    I think the only ones who escaped this fate were the Jews, but they are God’s chosen people afterall….

  31. Chan
    Chan November 25, 2010 at 5:10 am | | Reply

    @Zictor,

    Your answers don’t make any sense. But there are too many points to cover, so let me go back to the beginning and tackle them one at a time.

    First, on my comment on November 23, 6:07am, do you agree with the first paragraph:

    “Not true. It is not a case of when those policies were instituted. But whether those policies are still applied today and still supported by these governments today. The West has not yet abandoned these policies.”

  32. friend
    friend November 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm | | Reply

    I’ve met, in person, Chinese nationals who had Manchu, Miao and Mongol heritages. Some I met had heritages with other minority groups, but I forgot the name (if it helps it was center around Yunnan. The ones in Guangdong came from all over the country). Most of the time, I can not tell they were part of the minority groups until they mentioned it. From what I saw, it wasn’t 100% that bad, there were some issues but not quite like the discrimination that you see in other countries. I’m pretty sure it exists to a certain level (every society has issues with their minorities to various degrees) , and I only met mainly students (from freshmen to doctoral level). I never met a Tibetain or Uyghur and I am not a Chinese national, so I don’t know entirely what it’s like living there. Most of the people I’ve met were of multi-heritage, like with Han and that background (although they never mentioned Han to me, but it’s obvious). All I can say is what my experiences were like.

    My main point is that I think things are a bit more complicated than they appear to be (every country is), some parts probably not good and some parts not too bad.

    Actually, I may have met an Uyghur, but not sure. I remember in a Church meeting seeing a woman from China who looked Eastern European but spoked decent Mandarin. However, looks can’t tell me everything.

  33. Chris
    Chris November 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm | | Reply

    I totally agree with Zictor.

    Yes the world needs more moderates and less radicals. Evolution almost always gives better results than revolution.

    Yes, power tends to corrupt, the more absolute the power, the more corruptible. Democracy is not perfect, but done properly, it is a system of checks and balances by the people against politicians. This helps with moderation as well.

    The Chinese government is not doing enough for the minorities. Sure, we see them on CCTV new years and other national celebrations. The government does a good job in promoting their way of dress and dance etc, especially through the works of Minzu university and propaganda. However it is very afraid of any sort of autonomy in ethnic minority regions and would like to eventually sinicize the populations. “Autonomous” regions in China have very little say in what the government does in their region. If the central govt decides something should be done, then it is done.

    Actually, this is so all across China. Poor peoples’ homes are being demolished without consent and with little compensation everywhere across China. Potential for social unrest is high everywhere in China. But the difference is that the minorities see the government as “power of the Han” where as Han people see the govt, as just a government.

    Ironically, China has spent lots of money on Xinjiang and Tibet development too. The vast majority of ethnic minorities do not seek independence, they would like their culture and language kept in the mainstream and not in museums (ex: http://www.unpo.org/article/11896) They would like to have some say in their local affairs. Minorities value their own ethnic and cultural background far more than great dams, long railroads, highrise apartments (like the Han). Economic development is NOT their first priority, and sooner govt figures it out, the better.

    I did not care much about minorities myself, until I realized the struggles and discrimination faced as a minority in another country. Keeping one’s culture and language and passing it on to next generation becomes a constant struggle. It is about time govt and Han chinese see the situation from the other side. Then the desperate voices for reform from the minorities will make sense.

  34. Friend
    Friend November 26, 2010 at 2:40 pm | | Reply

    Does it matter which minority group they belong to or how attached they are to that heritage?

    The people I talked to don’t seem to speak much about these things. Like what they wanted more didn’t seem entirely different from the majority of Chinese nationals. But like I said, it could be just the people I interact with, not the general consensus. If I have the chance, maybe I’ll go try to seek these people out to find out how they really feel (my church has supported some missionaries working with minority groups in China, one I just remember was a group called the Nashee (sorry, I forgot the exact spelling). According the the missionaries from my church, one of the biggest problems they had there was high unemployment and alcoholism.

    I do understand that any cultural group does want to pass on their legacies, keep it intact to the next generations, that is important whether they’re in minority or majority positions. Being treated like museum pieces is a little degrading as well.

  35. Chan
    Chan November 26, 2010 at 7:50 pm | | Reply

    Hello Chris,

    When you say you “totally agree with Zictor”, I hope you don’t mean you agree with everything he’s said. In case if you do, then you probably would disagree with most of what I’ve said.

    Just out of curiosity, if you don’t mind, I like to know which parts you disagree with. You can start from my 1st post (November 22, at 10:14 pm) or my 1st response to Zictor’s response to my post (November 23, at 6:07 am)

  36. Zictor
    Zictor November 26, 2010 at 8:16 pm | | Reply

    @Chan,

    Maybe Chris is just thinking through the stuff I say and gets my general point, instead of just going into nationalist/apologist mode.

    @Friend

    Alcoholism becomes a problem in any area were poverty and hopelessness are the norm. The minority you are talking about are the Naxi (or Nakhi) of Lijiang.

    I will say that some minorities care more than others. The ones with the strongest and most complex cultures are the ones that worry the most. I’ve met people from the Bai minority who didn’t care at all. For certain, even among the most discontent minorities you’ll find individuals who love the current situation. Mostly, they are people who are profiting from the status quo.

  37. Chan
    Chan November 26, 2010 at 10:51 pm | | Reply

    @Zictor,

    Maybe he is. I just like to hear from him.

    And in case you are implying I am a nationalist, and if by “nationalist”, you mean what I would refer to as ultra-nationalists, then no, I am not a nationalist.

    I don’t believe China is perfect, and I am certainly not xenophobic. I only defend China when I don’t agree with the accusations, or if I detect double-standards on the part of the accuser. And most of the accuastions against Chinese seem to fall into one of these 2 categories, if not both.

  38. Zictor
    Zictor November 27, 2010 at 12:10 am | | Reply

    @Chan,

    There are three basic types of problems in China: Problems of closed regimes, “cultural problems”, problems in general.

    The first relates to problems that exist in any close/authoritarian/dictatorial/totalitarian/etc. governments. Mostly, these are problems of transparency and accountability. Power corrupts, and society needs to have mechanisms in place to keep its leaders/politicians real (independent judiciary, independent media, freedom of speech, etc.). If these mechanisms aren’t in place and effective, corruption runs rampant and poor people are the ones who suffer the most.

    “Cultural problems” aren’t necessarily problems, they are cultural characteristics typical of a society and will only be considered problems depending on the point of view used.

    General problems are problems present everywhere, that basically get aggravated in closed regimes, because the mechanisms to keep the people in power real.

    Democracy isn’t perfect, and it has it’s own problems too. The main difference is that there are different groups struggling for power, and keeping one another real. These groups shift alliance constantly and in the end will split into 2 (maybe 3) major sides of any big issue, but these alliances aren’t static, and shift constantly.

    My beef with Chinese “cultural problems” is their sense of superiority and manifest destiny, as if China “deserves” to lead the world. It sees itself “injusticed” by “the West” and still seeks retribution. To be fair, most countries and cultures do end up seeking some form of superiority (the French are especially good about it). But in China, it takes a form of “Us vs. the rest of the world”. Most other countries are able to see that the world is a complex place, China sometimes gives me the impression of not being able to see it. I also have an issue with Chinese “doublethink”. Not that it doesn’t exist elsewhere, but China’s better at it than anyone I have ever seen. (I use doublethink because it’s the perfect definition of the phenomenon, if you don’t know what it is, I can try to explain in more detailed).

    That coupled with the lack of discordant voices in media, academia and politics means that people are just afraid of going against whatever it is that has been decided as the consensus. This has greatly damaged China in the past (Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution), but might damage the world too, if China becomes as powerful as the US was in the 90’s (fortunately, I don’t think it’s going to happen).

    As for China’s major issues, here are my opinions:

    TAIWAN: I prefer that the Taiwanese people to choose their destiny. Right now they don’t want to, so I don’t care. However, too much bullshit exists in this discussion and few people seem to care about the historical truth.

    TIBET: Personally don’t think it’s a great idea for Tibet to become its own country, staying with China is a better idea. Also think that the Government has no idea how to actually deal properly with the Tibetans, and are mismanaging everything.

    XINJIANG: Same as Tibet. Actually, it’s my view with most of the minorities.

    SOUTH CHINA SEA: I don’t think that China has any intention of “setling the question”. The claim up to the shorelines of the other countries is ridiculous, but I think they are just stalling a formal solution until they can force others to accept, just like any other imperialist power has done in the past.

    Diaoyu Islands: I undertand why China refuses to back down, but also think it’s all pretty ridiculously hysterical.

    India Border: Don’t know enough.

    In general, I don’t really buy the way China makes “historical claims” on these issues, because even though the Chinese culture is pretty old, it wasn’t the same country in the past as it is today. And the idea of continuity is ridiculous and self-serving. Just imagine the Italians making a claim over most of Europe because one day the Roman Empire controlled everything! You get my point, right?

  39. Chris
    Chris November 28, 2010 at 6:38 pm | | Reply

    @Chan,
    I also agree with many of your points. Don’t wanna make a quick reply because .. i got assignments, labs, projects, and final exams to study for on top of that. Please read my response carefully (November 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm) if you haven’t already.

    engineering student here, not an arts major, this aint my job, so i’ll leave the crossfire back to y’all, so i should get back to work.

    in case yall were wonderin, i am chinese canadian, proudly both. 🙂

  40. Chan
    Chan November 28, 2010 at 11:09 pm | | Reply

    @Chris,

    I did read your comment before writing.

    Zictor’s description of Chinese sounds almost like a description of the KKK. If you agree with him and still be proud of belongiong to such a race, then I wish from the bottom of my heart China would NEVER become a democracy where the majority (aka bad guys) always wins.

    If you prefer not to debate, then I will keep the debate with Zictor. But I still prefer he answers my question posed at November 25 at 5:10 am first before I respond because I can see the debate becoming a moving target.

    By the way, in case if you are wondering, this is not my job either. I assume it is not Zictor’s either.

  41. Chan
    Chan November 28, 2010 at 11:16 pm | | Reply

    @Chris,

    Having said the above, I do like to respond to part of your comment though. Specifically, the part that relates to your linking of corruption and the idea of democracy.

    “Power corrupts”. Yes. But the solution rarely lies with democracy. India and Singapore are perfect examples.

    Singapore is, and was never, a democracy. Yet it is one of the least corrupt places in the world. While India is the largest democracy in the world. Yet it is far more corrupt than China. (In fact, I dare say if India wasn’t a democracy, India and its citizens would have been much better off today besides being less corrupt).

    This is not to say that democracy per se does not contribute to combating corruption. But the problem is, for a developing country, it tends to create more problems that harbor corruption than it can realistically combat corruption.

    If anything, (for a developing country) the income and general education levels of the population have more effect on minimising corruption than democracy could ever hope to achieve.

    For a poor developing country, an authoritarian government can actually help raise the income and general education levels of the population. Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Singapore are good examples. Anyone familiar with recent Chinese history should know that had China taken on the same path as India, it would have ended up much much worse than India today. And neither can Taiwan, Japan nor Korea achieve what it has today had they chose democracy before their population became weathy and well educated.

  42. Chris
    Chris November 29, 2010 at 1:04 am | | Reply

    He almost sounds like KKK? How?
    Bad guys always win in a democracy? Always?

    i dont give a flying f if i agree with zictor 100%. double standards are everywhere, so all can criticize. criticism != vilification.

  43. Chan
    Chan November 29, 2010 at 4:56 am | | Reply

    No Chris, I didn’t say he sounded like the KKK.

    I was talking about his description of Chinese people that almost sounded like the KKK.

    As for the “how”, it’s best to read his own comments yourself. But if it helps, here is a sample of his descriptions.

    In case you are Chinese, some of his descriptions of you included:
    – you self-perceive as racially superior,
    – you self-perceive as your “destiny to educate everyone else”
    – it is your culture that you “willfully ignore the feelings of everybody else”
    – you (assuming you are an intellectual) hope to “force your will on other countries”
    – and you are extremely unreasonable (as implied by the next few sentences following those description)
    – we cannot debate on territorial matters because your “accusations of lack of patriotism will drown the debate”

    The only description left to complete the picture of the KKK is the violence bit, which Zictor never mentioned. I give him credit for that, but I suspect Chinese violence is in his mind though.

  44. Chan
    Chan November 29, 2010 at 5:00 am | | Reply

    As for “… Bad guys always win in a democracy”.

    No Chris, I didn’t say that either. I said majority always wins in a democracy. The “bad guy” bit is only if you assume the majoity of Chinese fit into Zictor’s description.

    Perhaps you should read my previous post again Chris.

  45. Zictor
    Zictor November 29, 2010 at 7:52 pm | | Reply

    @Chan

    I shouldn’t, but I’ll actually indulge you here.
    Even if all the points you raised were correct, one would need quite a stretch to say I make the Chinese sound like the KKK.

    “- you self-perceive as racially superior” I said the Chinese have a sense of superiority, not that they perceive themselves as racially superior (although some Chinese have told me they are, but I’d imagine they are a minority). The French also have this sense of superiority, and so do some Americans. Just check Chinese internet discussion boards, when they say “little Japan” and stuff like that.

    – you self-perceive as your “destiny to educate everyone else”
    Never said that. I do see some sense of entitlement in the Chinese, where they think they “deserve to be where the US is right now (or rather, was in the 90’s)

    – it is your culture that you “willfully ignore the feelings of everybody else”
    Not willfully. I am just amazed at how quick the Chinese (especially the media) are to point out how others “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people”, but seem oblivious to how “China hurts the feelings of others”. It’s not willful, they are almost incapable of doing so.

    – you (assuming you are an intellectual) hope to “force your will on other countries”
    Here I was referring specifically to the South China Sea, maybe other international disputes China’s involved in. All countries want have their own interests, nothing wrong with that. I just don’t like the way China deals with its more controversial international issues.

    – and you are extremely unreasonable (as implied by the next few sentences following those description)
    This is BS.

    – we cannot debate on territorial matters because your “accusations of lack of patriotism will drown the debate”
    Please, tell me you DO understand I mean public debate, right? People will talk in private, but academics and the media are severely limited in how much they can diverge from the official Party line. Or are you trying to tell me that a Chinese University professor can publish a paper about the advantages of letting Taiwan become formally independent?

    I mean, seriously, I know sometimes it’s tough to hear unpleasant generalisations about your country. But generalization aren’t unbreakable laws of nature, they aren’t absolute. They ARE, however, good reference points. You should see what I do to the French, TO THEIR FACES! They almost always agree with me 🙂

    Here’s the main problem of China when it comes to International Relations. Too often they see things as China vs the Rest, ignoring that there are 200+ countries out there, some of which couldn’t care less about China.

  46. Chris
    Chris November 29, 2010 at 10:08 pm | | Reply

    I’ve read every one of your comments and Zictor’s. Every single one.

    you self-perceive as racially superior,
    – you self-perceive as your “destiny to educate everyone else”
    – it is your culture that you “willfully ignore the feelings of everybody else”
    – you (assuming you are an intellectual) hope to “force your will on other countries”
    – and you are extremely unreasonable (as implied by the next few sentences following those description)
    – we cannot debate on territorial matters because your “accusations of lack of patriotism will drown the debate”

    There are countless Chinese who fit that stereotype. Most of my family and relatives included. Always China vs the world, always. You included, Chan. There really are 200+ countries out there, some who dont give a flying f about china, and may think you are wrong (shock!) so get used to it. Yes we all have a right to disagree, even with you. You are much like the description the stereotyped Chinese that Zictor has described. I hope you can see get over his honest opinion (tained with sarcastic humor) and perhaps yourself as well. (i daresay)

  47. Chris
    Chris November 29, 2010 at 10:43 pm | | Reply

    This duhbate is officially getting outta hand

    Zictor:”I am just amazed at how quick the Chinese (especially the media) are to point out how others “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people””
    – yes, agreed. I have watched many an hour of CCTV describing anti-Chinese sentiments, real or perceived. Why haven’t I seen news of the strong anti-black sentiment? How about netizens vs the “oh-so-black” Lou Jing on chinasmack? gee..

    Chan:”and you are extremely unreasonable (as implied by the next few sentences following those description)”
    LOL, just wait till you see a French guy’s FACE.

    Or are you trying to tell me that a Chinese University professor can publish a paper about the advantages of letting Taiwan become formally independent?
    – JACKPOT, dingdingding.

    “Power corrupts”. Yes. But the solution rarely lies with democracy. India and Singapore are perfect examples.
    – you got beef with chinese people? i dont. as damn racist and chauvinist they all are, they love their country and govt. So let them vote!

    “I suspect Chinese violence is in his mind though.”
    – Yes, he is looking out for you. He is

    Chan, Welcome to the internet beyond the Great Chinese Firewall. gasp! BEWARE OF ZICTOR. REMEMBER: Anything You Post Can Be Used Against You in an orgy of generalization and lulz.

    To avoid, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing and chill with French people. Protection in numbers 😉

    lighten up yall, peace!

  48. Zictor
    Zictor November 30, 2010 at 12:16 am | | Reply

    Beware, do not hang out with more than 2 French people at any time or the degree of Frenchness WILL drive you insane.

    Trust me on this one.

  49. Chan
    Chan November 30, 2010 at 2:21 am | | Reply

    @Zictor,

    – “Never said that” ….. “Not willfully” …. etc

    Well, actually you did say that. Just read your comments (on Nov 22 at 1:22pm) again.

    And by the way, nothing is taken out of context.

    – “This is BS”

    I guess you mean you didn’t suggest Chinese are unreasonable. But judging from your comments (on Nov 22 at 1:22pm), assuming they are correct, how do you come to the conclusion that the Chinese are NOT unreasonable. Either your description is incorrect or they are unreasonable. You can’t have both.

    – “I know sometimes it’s tough to hear unpleasant generalisations about your country”

    I agree. But for me, it wasn’t that at all. It would have been fine for me if the accusations were correct and not based on double standards.
    But in any case, that wasn’t what I came to debate on. If you go back to the beginning, you will see that we’ve got sidetracked. Unlike what Chris suggests, throughout the whole debate, I never said whether I agree or disagree with you. I never said that because that was never the point of the original debate I came for. (You need to go right back to the beginning to see the original debate)

  50. Chan
    Chan November 30, 2010 at 2:22 am | | Reply

    @Chris,

    – “You are much like the description the stereotyped Chinese that Zictor has described”

    So exactly which part of my comments would suggest I am like that?

    – “There are countless Chinese who fit that stereotype”

    I don’t get your point. Have I ever said there are NOT countless Chinese who fit that stereotype? Please pinpoint the exact location where I said that.

    By the way, what has “countless” got to do with the debate anyway. Are you suggesting that if I can show there are “countless” Chinese taller than Westerners, you would then describe Chinese as taller than Westerners .

    I don’t know how well you are doing in your uni course, but you seem to have a habit of reading things that are clearly NOT there. You did it in the last post (regarding the KKK bit), and you do it again here.

  51. Chan
    Chan November 30, 2010 at 2:26 am | | Reply

    Ok guys, so what is this obsession about the French??? I don’t get it.

    This is the 2nd time I hear Canadians joke about the French. Is that a cultural thing or a fad there?

  52. Zictor
    Zictor November 30, 2010 at 3:46 am | | Reply

    @Chan

    I said ALMOST willfully, which means that it seems like they do it on purpose. But the reality is that they just don’t know any better.

    Also, Chinese are emotional, but not unreasonable. They just carefully choose their own “starting points”, their own principles, if you will, and stick to them, trying to win by making the other side tired.

    Also, it’s not any part of your comments, but the whole that suggest that you fit the stereotype.

    “I don’t get your point. Have I ever said there are NOT countless Chinese who fit that stereotype? Please pinpoint the exact location where I said that.”

    Well if you are fighting the generalizations so strongly, it can only mean that you don’t agree with them. But what you just wrote above says that you actually agree with them. Now tell me, if you agree, why don’t you say something like “it’s not everybody”. But then again, I know it’s not everybody.

    I’m not Canadian, but making jokes about the French is my favourite sport. Actually, French and Argentinians are the only people I actively dislike. I am just neutral towards the Chinese.

  53. Chan
    Chan November 30, 2010 at 11:53 pm | | Reply

    @Zictor,

    – “But what you just wrote above says that you actually agree with them”

    No Zictor. Again you are making assumptions. As I said, I have never said I agree OR disagree with your comments.

    But ok, if you really want to know, then no I don’t agree.

    Of course there are “countless” people who fit your descriptions. I personally know a lot of them. But there are ALSO “countless” people who don’t fit your descriptions. Any one-sided generalization designed to accuse an entire race is non-sensical. Any genuinely neutral person should never agree with such blanket accusations of entire races.

    If it was a passing remark, then it is fine. Everyone does it, including myself. But your comments (especially Nov 22 at 1:22pm) clearly ain’t passing remarks.

    =============

    But anyway I won’t continue with this debate as I really only came for a debate on democracy UNDER THE PREMISE that Chinese ARE as you’ve described on Nov 22 at 1:22pm (See my original post on Nov 22 at 10:18pm). But now that I’ve already said your description is non-sensical, there is no point in restarting that debate basing on such premise.

  54. Chan
    Chan November 30, 2010 at 11:57 pm | | Reply

    But I may still come back every now and then to comment here and there

  55. Zictor
    Zictor December 1, 2010 at 12:57 am | | Reply

    I don’t understand why people get so angry about generalisations. Of course there are exceptions! If there weren’t they wouldn’t be generalizations, they would be laws of nature!

    But 51% is still a majority, and if a sizeable proportion of Chinese people in the Mainland think or behave a certain way, that influences the way the government behaves. I thought we were talking about bigger picture stuff here.

  56. Chris
    Chris December 6, 2010 at 12:19 pm | | Reply

    well that was a good jerk off session. zictor, im afraid you have generalized that everyone mostly agrees your generalizations, but obviously not so. because clearly we are racially and argumentatively superior. 😉 chan, i only read stuff i find worth reading, and that is one thing we have in common. oh right we’re both chinks, make that 2.

    “Also, Chinese are emotional, but not unreasonable. They just carefully choose their own “starting points”, their own principles, if you will, and stick to them, trying to win by making the other side tired.”
    – voted best part of whole duhbate.

    If any French people’s feelings have been hurt, it was unintentional, on my part. I think French people are awesome and zictor, i HAVE hung out with them in pairs, et leur l’air de francais ete tres cool. oh lala oui oui 🙂

  57. Zictor
    Zictor December 8, 2010 at 12:35 am | | Reply

    @Chris

    Dated a French girl for 4 years and we shared a roof for more than half that time, we were practically married. I knew a lot of her friends and in big groups French are ANNOYING

  58. partingways
    partingways December 12, 2012 at 12:38 am | | Reply

    @henchbish

    Qing empire subjected Mongolians to 2 centuries of humiliation? How is that so? Mongolians were highly regarded during Qing dynasty and there were many intermarriages. Mongolians had their kings/leaders/prince and their title was recognized by the Emperor. Even now there is the saying that Man/Mon is one family. The only humiliation that was brought upon by the Manchurians was against the Hans and Tibetans(during the ending period of the Qing dynasty).
    Also, While I don’t like the current Chinese government I think Dalai Lama is way overrated. Did you know that Tibetans actually lived in a feudal system where it was paradise for only the royalty, nobles and guess what? Religious leaders aka Dalai Lama. Normal Tibetans lived in hellish conditions and were slaves that literally lived and died by the command of their masters. The only Tibetans that are actually complaining are the descendants of those who lived in luxury before but are now slaveless and have no more of their previous privileged. The other half which are the modern ‘liberated’ (or as I call the freed from slavery) Tibetans are now just disliking the government like every other normal Chinese, they are not those extremists.
    With regards to Xinjiang, I have nothing to say because I do not know much about the area. But I will say this: China really does put in laws to protect it’s ethnic minorities (I know coz I am one) and they do NOT teach the children to hate anyone INCLUDING THE JAPANESE. Those negative views are more often taught at home than at school. Sometimes it really erks me that some people are so pompous and China-hating because they have this notion that we are all brain washed, uneducated, immoral and completely unethical with low standards-_-”’. Remember People THERE ARE IDIOTS AND BIGOTS in EVERY COUNTRY. AND THERE ARE BAD GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN EVERY COUNTRY.

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