When China makes people feel better about their first-world countries | Speaking of China

74 Responses

  1. D-Maybe
    D-Maybe May 19, 2014 at 7:58 am | | Reply

    Yeah, you often get Americans (and other Westerners) who travel abroad not to learn more about the world but to reinforce their own sense of superiority.

    However, China receives a lot of bashing these days not so much because the country is a horrendous place as it is because the country has been improving and progressing at such a mind-blowing pace. Two or three decades ago, when China was in a much more wretched condition, people didn’t really care enough to mention the country much less criticize it.

    The real perennial victims of Third-World bashing are probably sub-Saharan African countries. These countries are often vaguely referred to as “Africa”, and people talk about giving them “aid” while complaining about how their precious “aid” is wasted on them.

  2. Tomtom
    Tomtom May 19, 2014 at 8:59 am | | Reply

    Whst an obnoxious, hypocritical blog post! Whether you realize it or not lady, YOU are more guilty of what YOU are arrogantly accusing others of! What a joke this blog is.

    1. ordinary malaysian
      ordinary malaysian May 19, 2014 at 10:34 am | | Reply

      Interesting, Tomtom! Hypocrisy is being blind to oneself. And if you don’t see it, how can you be laughing at the joke! Or as least, you should be laughing if it was a joke? Surely, you are not contradicting yourself or being not so smartly farcical? Or obtuse? Or just plain unable to say what you want to say because, really, you have nothing to say that makes your point or that even convinces yourself of your genius? You’re right! The blog is a joke! Unfortunately, you are in!

  3. Sveta
    Sveta May 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm | | Reply

    I used to get really annoyed when I had to explain practically everything about myself and where I came to various Americans. (Try to explain to people why you’re not religious when you’re living in a religious state.) My parents reminisced when they were in Russia, Russia would often American movies, and those American movies happened to be violent and so forth. My folks were terrified of moving to America. In truth propaganda exists everywhere, whether we like it or not.

  4. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm | | Reply

    Here’s the thing.

    I agree completely, when it comes from people who are reading one negative thing about, say, China, who have never been there, and it makes them feel better about themselves.

    But it’s not fair (and you didn’t do this, I’m just saying generally that it’s not fair) to expect everyone to be very impressed with China, if they have been there.

    I have been there. I spent a year there. I traveled extensively, including to Xinjiang (my favorite part of the country) and other lesser-traveled spots – I mean, I lived in Guizhou.

    And honestly, I saw a lot of negatives about China. Good things too! Don’t get me wrong. Definitely it was a complex thing with good and bad mixed together. I was invited to a Miao wedding, I ate at people’s homes for dinner (very hospitable! although sometimes I felt that I was invited over not out of hospitality but out of a “hey look at my foreign dinner guest!” feeling, which I did not like), I met all sorts of interesting and unique individuals. I traveled the cities (Kunming, Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing, Guiyang, Xi’an, Urumqi, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and years later Shanghai) and the countryside (rural Sichuan, Chongqing, Yunnan, Guizhou, Xinjiang).

    But the “international travel” that “enlightened me” also showed me a lot of things about China that made me not want to live there anymore: sexism, pollution, general lack of freedom.

    And I think it is honest – acceptable and honest – to say that those things bothered me, that I did not like them, that they in fact were the reasons I left China, and that yes, I am happier in a country where they are either not a problem, or less of a problem (Taiwan, although I worry about Taiwan’s future as politicians are in bed with developers, and the government is increasingly authoritarian).

  5. Kimberly
    Kimberly May 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm | | Reply

    I know what you are talking about. Anytime I complain even a little bit my grandma tells me that I should go back to the good ole USA where things are “so much better.” Actually I’m much happier here than I was in the US and though there is a lot to complain about, there is also a lot to appreciate. I don’t take my good fortune for granted. Some people will never understand our decision to move abroad (to a so-called less desirable place to live). When I go back in September for a visit after four years I’m sure I’m also in for an earfull. Well the nice thing is that we don’t have to stay around there for extended periods right?

    By the way I am working on a submission for a guest post. Things are a little busy but I hope to submit it soon!

  6. MM
    MM May 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm | | Reply

    China has improved vastly in 30 years the amount of progress (I know people will have different views and opinions regarding the word progress). whether good or bad has been extraordinary .

    People who have or have not travelled to China have opinions; some are valid and just but some are unjust or come from an un informed/ un educated point of view, ( I think this is common not only to China but to other places in the world regarded as “different” e.g. not Western?)

    I work in manufacturing and I still get asked or I’m told that workers work in sweat shops/there’s child labour/they have no rights/they work in appalling conditions /they have stolen our jobs etc. These are things people continually believe to be true even though conditions have improved 10 fold.

    What one likes or dislikes about any country varies from people to people. I often get asked why I like China? For me it’s not one thing but a whole lot of little things that when combined keeps me here. These things I can’t have or can’t experience or can’t know if I hadn’t decided to move here.

  7. Sarah
    Sarah May 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm | | Reply

    I think everybody has the right to their own opinion and when I read your post I can’t help but notice that you have some opinions of your own about other people’s opinions.
    So why can you have yours but they can’t have theirs?
    You can’t change what other people do or think or even say, you can only change how you handle that situation.
    Just as you are biased about China other people are too, accept it.

    That being said I like that your blog is open for and to discussion.

  8. Ken M
    Ken M May 19, 2014 at 5:26 pm | | Reply

    TBH it is often the LBH, losers back home who complain the loudest.

    I see this a lot on ESOL (I have a UK teaching license for government schools and government funded bodies) they go out and ‘teach’ because they have a white face and that is all they have. No prior experience and no qualifications.

    I’ve known numerous people go to China to teach exploiting white face, they’ve been there for 4+ years and speak with a massive sense of superiority and how stupid the local population is. Add in how women will throw themselves at white men it causes an uber ego boost.

    This while being completely unemployable back home of course. I had an interviewee come to teach at the college I work for. He had claimed to be a professor of Oral English at some un-known Chinese university. He didn’t even know what a scheme of work was or a lesson plan.

    They whine and complain about how the schools treat them badly, because they are
    some how special and how poor the curricula is planned out (get a hint as a teacher
    it is YOUR job!) and about how lazy the students are, while boasting of smoking weed
    getting drunk and sleeping with multiple women every week.

    Joke is on him as during your 20s and early 30s you’re supposed to build foundations
    for your career. He has done neither and is completely unemployable.

  9. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm | | Reply

    To be fair to the LBHs, usually the working conditions ARE pretty bad for basic TEFL cram schools and even small colleges. It’s not about being “special”, it’s about treating manpower reasonably well and in my experience, across much of Asia (not just China), those schools do not treat their employees well at all. You could say “but that’s how they treat locals!” and I’d say yeah, they treat locals badly, too.

    Perhaps that “professor of Oral English” (which isn’t a thing, nobody ever calls themselves a “Professor of Spoken French” – you’re a French teacher, and either you’re a professor with a PhD or you’re not, but “spoken French” is not a specific thing) didn’t know what a “scheme of work” was because some folks call it a “syllabus”. I do.

    I know that for the longest time I didn’t know what a “CV” was because I call it a “resume”!

    As for “the curriculum planning is YOUR job”, actually, syllabus planning is the job of most teachers, but curriculum planning actually is supposed to be a centralized school thing. If you let each teacher plan their own curriculum, classes won’t match up and it’s hard to promote students from one class to the next with different teachers. Certainly teachers CAN plan curricula, but it’s supposed to be a school-wide integrated effort. However, I can see a teacher complaining that the school has a badly-planned curriculum and they are forced to follow it. I know I (a qualified teacher) would complain about something like that.

    That’s not to defend LBHs, or their sense of superiority. Certainly I’ve met a few who raise my eyebrows and have horrific senses of entitlement and are privilege-blind.

    Just that perhaps you are being too hard on some English teachers, or not quite getting where they are coming from. There are serious ones out there (I am one), and “has a problem with their school” does not always = “is a bad teacher”. It’s not like all good teachers never complain and all bad teachers always do!

    I mean, I’m CELTA-certified, halfway through a DELTA and plan to get an M.Ed or a degree in Applied Linguistics after that, and I was so angry at my former school that I quit and went freelance the moment I had permanent residency and could do so!

    1. Allen
      Allen May 20, 2014 at 3:12 pm | | Reply

      From Ken: “I’ve known numerous people go to China to teach exploiting white face, they’ve been there for 4+ years and speak with a massive sense of superiority and how stupid the local population is. Add in how women will throw themselves at white men it causes an uber ego boost.”

      The LBH label probably doesn’t apply to the overwhelming majority of Western FEMALE English teachers.

      Also, what is your opinion of the racialized sexism of a lot of Western males that end up in Asia seem to have?

      1. Allen
        Allen May 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm | | Reply

        Your silence is deafening given how vocal you are on other issues. Anyway, its your right to remain so.

        1. KenM
          KenM May 21, 2014 at 10:57 pm | | Reply

          Well excuse me for having a job I have to go for to pay the bills, just because you sit at home all day on food stamps and can answer posts 24hours a day does not mean I can do the same.

          1. Allen
            Allen May 22, 2014 at 5:18 am |

            Ken, I referenced your quote, but I posed the question to Jenna Cody, not to you.

            I wanted HER take on the racialized sexism Western males have towards Chinese women.

            Thank you very much for the undeserved insult you flung my way.

    2. KenM
      KenM May 21, 2014 at 11:17 pm | | Reply

      I really loathe fake teachers, primarily because of the consequences of such teaching and also the fact that fake teaching isn’t like other scams.

      A common example I’ve seen all over the world is they see a tourist the price sign gets turned over for a ‘tourist’ price. This may cause annoyance to the tourist and may negatively affect their opinion of the said country. Yet what are the consequences? it becomes no more than an anecdote about their vacation.

      While consider if you educate somebody badly this has long lasting negative effects on the rest of their life. While the parents who could be wealthy, poor or anything in-between are paying through the nose for this education. Is such a situation fair on those receiving and paying for the education?

      These individuals externalise the consequences of their actions and together with the schools are pulling a horrible scam on their learners. The ultimate form of selfishness and a horrible thing to do. Yet for some reason in China they get a free ride because they have a white face, which overrides EVERYTHING.

      You may feel I have a lot of bile over this issue, I certainly do primarily because I am the one who has to fix these mistakes when Chinese university students come to the UK and have to undergo an EAP course. The number of times I’ve heard but I was taught…

      It is even worse that they fall for such trickery and the fakers get high status when they are absolute frauds.

      I have no issue against teachers who have been trained and participated on schemes where there is guidance and observations. The CELTA certificate has 8 observed lessons which is adequate. DELTA is a bit murky especially in the experimental lesson.

  10. Lauren (English Wife, Indian Life)

    I can really relate to this!
    People always have to say to me ‘but what about the rape in India’ or ‘eww, the poverty’. Usually followed by, ‘I could never move from England’ or even worse ‘I could never live in India’. Funnily enough, these people have never been to India.

    Great post, Jocelyn!!

    Lauren xx

  11. hz
    hz May 19, 2014 at 10:47 pm | | Reply

    I don’t know, maybe you’re being too hard on your American acquaintances….my parents often express those same sentiments and they are Chinese! Our entire extended family lives in Hangzhou so my parents sometimes fantasize about moving back to be near everyone. But after every visit, they come back complaining about the smog, the chaos, the corruption/reliance on guanxi, and the exorbitant housing prices and end up self-congratulating on their life in suburban America. Alot of their friends in China are also in the process of investment immigration to Canada, Australia and New Zealand just so they can escape those same issues and have a comfortable retirement.

  12. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm | | Reply

    hz – I think the difference is that the family you speak of has actually been to China. They decided it wasn’t for them (as I did) and they have legitimate complaints based on real experience.

    The difference here is that Jocelyn is writing about people who have never been to China, and just read a newspaper article or something.

    It’s not really the same thing.

    I can totally understand someone going to India, China, wherever, and deciding it is not the place for them, and choosing not to live there. That is their right. I love Taiwan, but I have friends who have decided not to stay here for their own reasons, and while I don’t entirely “get it”, that is their right.

    But someone saying “I read this article about (some issue in the country where you live) and how can you live in that country? Oh my god!”? Yeah, no.

    They should see what is printed about America in the international news 🙂 – do they realize how many non-Americans think of the USA as the land of guns and rapes?

  13. Eileen黃愛玲
    Eileen黃愛玲 May 19, 2014 at 11:02 pm | | Reply

    I don’t mind different opinions on how oneself wants out of his or her life. Having said that, I can’t tolerate when people force/shove down their way of life or agenda down other peoples throats. My husband had to deal with a lot of propaganda against him with where he is from and his own identity (and I agree with above: there’s propaganda everywhere). No one should have to deal with that.

  14. Phil
    Phil May 20, 2014 at 12:04 am | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn,

    What an interesting topic to write about. First of all, for most travellers, spending a few days to a couple in China doesn’t mean they have a deep understanding / appreciation to the country. Seeing what you have written, it is rather mild compared to what it is said by people /in media in Hong Kong. So, I would take them a pitch of salt, if I were you

    Anyway, being a Hongkongese myself, I always have mix feeling when I come home after a trip in China, for there are always the good, the bad, the tragic, the wired and the ugly. All of what I write about are personal experience, which happened to me in the last couple of years. (Of course things were very 10-15 years ago when I first travelled to China, so it’s not fair to write about in this context.)

    – The good:
    –Many people (mainly those from the countryside) I came across are fun to be with and very hospitable. I always have good banters with them.
    –Beautiful landscape

    – The bad:
    — food safety (This is always at the back of my mind when I eat in China, but that doesn’t stop me from trying the local delicacy, unless they are too exotic – i.e. dogs and cats etc, which are common dishes to serve up at Guangxi countryside. and yes, I was offered those but I politely turned it down)
    — seeing full grown adults answering the call of nature (no. 2)in the middle of a busy street, despite there’s a public toilet 20 metres down the road…
    — air pollution

    – The tragic – a lady tried to sell me her child for 2000 yans to fund her parent’s medical expense. She told me that a lot of money was paid to the doctors in form of “hongbao”, so her parent got her treatment.

    – The wired
    — men carrying handbags for their girlfriends/wives (I’ve never understand this, but people are free to do whatever they want)
    — randomly came across and visited a Mao Tze-dong temple at Hunan and the “monk” of the temple (would you even call them monks??). When he found out I was from HK, he tried to shove a handful of burning incense sticks to me and asked me to worship the gold-plated god. I somehow managed to sternly declined his request and of course before I left he told me to “do away the evil capitalist thoughts left by the evil British colonists for HK has returned to the motherland”.

    – the ugly:
    — having seen people getting absolutely drunk / exchanging overly lavish gifts with the business associates “to maintain business relationships”.

    Having experienced all these, I’m glad I’m a Hongkongese for I don’t have to experience the bad, the tragic, the weird and the ugly on regular basis. Of course, I’ve never regret having experienced these for they have opened my mind.

    Phil

  15. Chen Gang
    Chen Gang May 20, 2014 at 1:09 am | | Reply

    I have spent my life evenly in China and the US so far. Most of the time, I share the feelings of the Americans that I am grateful I live in a democratic country, where freedom and creativity is cherished. There are certainly things I wish it could be different, such as the gun violence, but overall, American is a great country to live in. I identify far more with the American values than the value in China where I grew up.

    Chen Gang

  16. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 20, 2014 at 1:12 am | | Reply

    re: an earlier comment – it’s true that there is propaganda everywhere, but the propaganda unleashed by the CCP is several orders of magnitude worse – and more preposterous – than propaganda in many countries.

    I don’t think it’s right to judge China from reading one news article, but I will not pretend that their government propaganda isn’t a huge problem.

  17. David L
    David L May 20, 2014 at 3:49 am | | Reply

    Great article, Jocelyn, and this is a very important point you raise.

    I have not been to China, so can’t say what it is “really like”, but I know that here in the US, while our media pride themselves on being all great things like “free” and “unbiased”, in my opinion, it seems like the majority of stories on China here are negative, for example, human rights, spying, air pollution, etc. I do believe those problems do exist over there, but experiences like yours show that there are positive, human interest stories that are also worthy of covering. Yet we hardly hear about those in US media (one exception is the Spanish language Univision network that will occasionally show “slice of life” stories on China that help make it seem less foreign, but I don’t think those reach the general public).

    So, to me it seems that while our media in the US embrace both the good and the flaws of American society, they embrace mostly the flaws of Chinese society. They then point fingers at China’s “state-run” media to throw a smoke screen over this imbalance.

    Just my opinion as a lifelong US citizen. If there are data/studies showing otherwise, though, I am willing to revise my opinion.

  18. Manny
    Manny May 20, 2014 at 5:51 am | | Reply

    You ladies above make me laugh. You all are sharing so many negative things about China.

    I can think of one very good reason to visit and perhaps live in China from a Western man’s perspective——the girls!!!!!!!! They are slim, feminine, and extremely pretty; they love Western men according to the news. See these links:

    http://www.chinasmack.com/2011/stories/foreign-men-boast-about-sexual-conquests-in-china-reactions.html

    http://www.gzstuff.com/forum/topics/what-makes-western-guys-so

    So, why would we not want to visit or live in China?

    So, stop talking trash about China!

  19. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen May 20, 2014 at 6:02 am | | Reply

    One thing that bothers me is something I’ve heard over and over. “I couldn’t stand to go to (whatever developing country we’re discussing),” the person says. “It makes me too sad to see all those poor people.” I want to tell her that those poor people will still be there whether she sees them or not and that poverty is not necessarily 100% related to suffering and sadness.

  20. Susan
    Susan May 20, 2014 at 9:29 am | | Reply

    While it is true that U.S. citizen’s are generally very ethnocentric and globally unsophisticated, and that the quality of life in this country is greatly exaggerated, it is also true that there are substantial problems in China that make it difficult to spend time there. After visiting China, I was very relieved to get home. The pollution is horrendous, and each day I spent there increased my upper respitory distress. The water is unsafe to drink, and there are significant sanitation issues with food production and handling. The cities are chaotic, and when waiting in line for whatever reason, I found the native people disturbingly aggressive. Yet I loved China – the beauty, the warmth of most people there, the vibrancy. I really think that you are over reacting a bit to the perceptions Americans have of China. They are negative about most nonEnglish speaking, third world countries. And you can’t expect the fact that you lived in China for 6 years, and are married to a Chinese man to be of vital importance to the people you encounter in the U.S. And as others have noted, I have encountered many people from the mainland who don’t want to return for the very reasons you cited, plus a distaste for the overwhelming corruption (it’s a little more subtle here!), and the rigid, authoritarian nature of their schools. Try to go with the flow a bit more, you will be happier. S.

  21. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 20, 2014 at 11:26 am | | Reply

    I think the “biased media” kind of has a point though, sometimes…I mean, it’s not like in other countries they have stories like “breaking news! There are some good things about America” – reporting is done on things deemed immediately important, and it can’t be denied that China has HUGE issues – yes, their media is entirely state-run. Yes, their schools and media are full of propaganda (and relatively unsubtle propaganda too – I was shocked at how much of it was believed in China, even as I was happy that often people saw it for what it was), that cyberterrorism is a big problem (but then it’s not like the US government doesn’t do very similar things), even their state-sanctioned social network is censored. Having been there, I can say that pollution really is that bad, and human rights really are that disrespected. They really do treat the Uighurs as badly as one may here, and the Tibetans too.

    If anything, I think the US media is too soft on China – they tend to throw Taiwan under the bus in order to please Chinese media monitors (saying blatantly untrue things about the history of Taiwan, or refusing to refer to it as a country), for example, or every time they report on Taiwan (which is rarely – the Sunflower movement got very little coverage) they quote a bunch of Chinese sources along with local ones, a s though the opinion of China on Taiwanese internal issues matters at all – it doesn’t! You wouldn’t quote Canadian sources on domestic issues regarding the US, so why would you do this to Taiwan?

    And with that, there are still the sort of human interest stories American readers might be interested in, usually focusing around tourism or discovering a place.

    So, while I agree with Jocelyn’s main premise, I disagree that the US media is at fault for being anti-China. I feel it’s quite the opposite.

  22. D-Maybe
    D-Maybe May 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm | | Reply

    @Jenna

    The American media is biased against China and there is no doubt about it. A good example of this can be seen in the reporting on the Kunming massacre that took place in China recently. If one were faithful and consistent in applying the post 9-11 definition of terrorism – i.e. an organised act of violence that is perpetrated in order to achieve an agenda – the Kunming massacre would be the textbook definition of terrorism. However, in the American media reporting of the incident you get headlines like ‘Separatists Blamed for Kunming Knife Attack’ and, my personal favourite, ’”Terrorists” Attack Leaves Dozens Dead’. Note the use of the word ‘blamed’ and the scare quotes around ‘terrorists’, complete with the snarky undertone. The insinuation here is that the real bad guys are the (Han) Chinese people/government and the perpetrators of the massacre are victims who acted with moral legitimacy on their side.

    You also mentioned cyber terrorism or cyber attacks, and that is another good example of the inherent anti-Chinese bias that exists in the American media. For years we have heard from the American media about how China is the most egregious perpetrator of cyber attacks in the world. But if the American media were honest and fair, it would’ve also reported on the US’s activities in cyber warfare, especially the cyber warfare that the US carries out against China. Now thanks to the leaks from Snowden, the fact that the US is and has always been the most aggressive and comprehensive cyber warfare perpetrator in the world is all out in the open.

    This is not to say that there is nothing wrong with the information that is disseminated in China, but if China is guilty of anything here, it’s the fact that it has not mastered the art of delivering propaganda in a more subtle way a la the US. The efforts we see from China are typically clumsy and ham-fisted, which is also why the propaganda from China may seem more ‘preposterous’.

  23. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm | | Reply

    The only people who are sure that the terrorists in Kunming were Uighurs is the Chinese government, and you can see why they’d be quick to blame Uighur separatists – it suits their ends. There is no evidence other than the word of the CCP that the attackers were Uighurs. I personally tend not to believe the CCP – they are rarely, if ever, honest.

    If anything, the Western media assuming that the Chinese government was being honest about who these people were – and how could we ever know that? They also said “Uighurs” were behind the Tiananmen massacre and those killed were “separatist terorrists”, not protesting students. They’re lying liars who lie! – and reporting that they were Uighurs is a sign that the media is too much in China’s pocket!

    And while I do not condone acts of terrorism, actually, I do think that the Chinese government (not the people of China, let’s be clear) deserve the blame for the problems with Uighurs. I happen to think East Turkestan deserves independence, they want it, and they are being treated HORRIBLY by the government (don’t believe me? Well, I’ve been there and seen it with my own eyes – cemeteries unearthed with graves left in the open as they break ground for apartment complexes, gorgeous old architecture torn down to build ugly Communist square cement-and-tile block buildings, people evicted from their homes for same, development pushed into Xinjiang that would be fine if those who benefit were Uighurs, but most of the jobs generated have been given to Han Chinese settlers – sent there to change the ethnic makeup of the province – while the Uighurs continue in poverty).

    I’d be a separatist too! In spirit, I am!

    I mean, I’m not in favor of stabbing people on trains – those commuters did nothing wrong – but I’m totally on the side of the Uighurs in the greater debate, and it’s not even clear that the terrorists were Uighurs.

    As for cyberterrorism, I kind of agree with you. However, Western media has been reporting on US cyberterrorism of late. It’s a bit late in coming, but the news does reach us. It’s not like Americans who read the news are ignorant of what our own country is doing. So I feel it’s actually pretty fair – the Chinese government does crappy things and gets in the news. The American government does crappy things and gets in the news. Everyone does crappy things. Yay.

    As a permanent resident of Taiwan, I can’t help but notice how the media twists itself so hard that it looks like it’s about to snap in pleasing the Chinese government in the ways they word news items about Taiwan.

    It really angers me.

    So no, I do not agree with you. If anything, I still see a pro-China bias in the media. I think Reuters is probably the worst of the lot.

    1. D-Maybe
      D-Maybe May 20, 2014 at 2:11 pm | | Reply

      I never said anything about Uighurs, merely that the perpetrators of the Kunming massacre were in fact terrorists and should’ve been labelled as such without qualifications — if one were to be faithful and consistent in applying the post 9-11 definition of terrorism. But it doesn’t really matter if the Uighurs were responsible, does it, because you would’ve supported such an act by them (in spirit, of course) in order to free themselves from Han oppression. I just hope you have the courage of conviction to apply your separatist leanings consistently everywhere, not just in relation to China.

      The reason that we are hearing more about the US’s cyber activities now is the result of Snowden’s leaks; it’s not because of some commitment to fairness on the part of the American media. And the suggestion that Western media has a pro-China agenda is just absurd.

  24. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 20, 2014 at 2:07 pm | | Reply

    I highly doubt the US has a propaganda machine quite as big or far-reaching as China’s. As much as you may claim “bias”, the media outlets in the USA are not actually run by the government. Facebook is not actually government-censored. But the equivalents in China are. School curricula in the USA is somewhat centrally planned (although states have lots of leeway – we have Common Core but you’d be surprised how much education differs state by state), but I was still taught critical thinking, I was taught about all sorts of miscarriages of justice at home and abroad that are on the US’s conscience (the massacre of Native Americans, the mess we made in Vietnam, the history and legacy of slavery and segregation, the oppression of women, debates about neocolonialism and our impact on the global environment etc.).

    From my experiences with Chinese schools, I found that very much not to be the case in China. I’m not saying that Chinese students swallow propaganda and can’t think critically – certainly many see through it, and the issue is more that critical thinking is simply not encouraged in schools, unless the opinion arrived at jives with State interests. But I definitely saw Chinese students taught things as “facts” that were far from true.

    I could give lots of examples, but I think you already know.

    I’m not saying the US doesn’t try to disseminate propaganda. Certainly it does. But China does go several steps further.

  25. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm | | Reply

    I did not say I agreed with the Kunming terrorists – if they were Uighurs (and you said “Han Chinese are the bad guys” which implies these folks were definitely not Han, which has not been proven by any reliable source) or not.

    In fact, if you read my post, I said quite clearly “I do not condone knife attacks”.

    I stand with the Uighurs in spirit – in that I think they deserve the independence they so desperately want. That doesn’t mean I condone knife attacks.

    Generally speaking, yes, I do tend on the side of self-determination. Yes, I’m willing to really stand up for it, not just talk big.

    1. D-Maybe
      D-Maybe May 21, 2014 at 11:07 am | | Reply

      @Jenna

      “(and you said “Han Chinese are the bad guys” which implies these folks were definitely not Han, which has not been proven by any reliable source)”

      I was reflecting the insinuations that were made by the American media. If anyone was pointing the finger at Uighurs, it was the American media.

      See, what you have to contend with is that even if you refuse to believe Uighurs were responsible for the massacre, you must accept that pretty much everyone regarded Uighurs as the most likely suspects. Furthermore, the massacre was praised by the Turkestan Islamic Party (a militant Islamist group that operates outside China) and the World Uighur Congress didn’t even bother to issue a statement denying that the perpetrators were Uighurs.

      So, when do you not support self-determination; when do you not support separatism?

      Let’s get real here, the US can’t engage in multiple acts of aggression and still manage to make a claim to being “the beacon of hope” or some other such nonsense without a pretty slick and effective propaganda machine. China is simply not in the same league when it comes to the art of bullshitting.

  26. Canadian-Born Chinese Guy
    Canadian-Born Chinese Guy May 20, 2014 at 3:11 pm | | Reply

    I remember during my university years, there were ads all over campus advertising for students to teach English abroad in China/Asia. It seemed like you didn’t even need any formal English language education. You just needed to be able to speak English.

    I thought that was wrong, and it was definitely an opportunity for unqualified students to take advantage of getting paid just to travel and “see the world”.

    I guess it’s largely China’s fault. They should be more restrictive on who they allow into the country to teach English. Maybe they should consider something similar to Canada’s highly selective immigration program that uses a points system, if they already don’t?

    The Canadian points system considers the following selection factors: language skills, education, experience, age, arranged employment, and adaptability. This is why Canada’s immigration system is relatively successful.

  27. Timo
    Timo May 20, 2014 at 7:37 pm | | Reply

    I surely know what you mean as I have made the very same experience when talking with others about China.

    Personally I have of course also negative things on my mind when thinking of China however also lots of positive things. In any country I have stayed thus far I can easily pick out tons of negative points but also positive ones. In my dream world I would love to combine many different aspects from different countries, but sadly this is a cruel world so I just deal with it and be contented with what I can get.

    it is just plain stupid to pick out negative things about another country and say how happy you are to be in your own country because other people will be able to point out bad things about that country as well.

  28. antonella
    antonella May 20, 2014 at 8:27 pm | | Reply

    I’m Italian and I’m living in China since two years. I love living here, and I like Chinese people and I’m grateful for the opporutunities I’ve found here. Of course I know there are many bad things, sometimes it’s hard, but which part of the world has only good sides?
    Often some people in Italy say to me: “Oh you are so brave, you went living in China! After all is not America!” like if living in America (as a foreigner) could be very easy and wonderful (and, btw, they have never been in China or US!) I’ve never been in the US too, but I really wonder if life there could be easier, if people could be “more similar” to us Meditarranean people. I don’t think so. But in our immagination, America is always the “perfect place”!
    So, thanks for your post it makes me think a lot!

  29. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian May 21, 2014 at 2:15 am | | Reply

    While China bashing comes in many hues and colours, the thing is: if you feel blessed living where you are (the great US of A or Taiwan) compared to China, that’s your great fortune. What you dislike about China or your disdain for, or even your considered opinion of, isn’t going to change anything for you, or for China. China will continue to be what it is or will become, but will never meet or match up to everyone’s or even anyone’s expectation. Neither will your own good old fortunate country meet or match China’s expectation. Just don’t break you back over your personal perception/experience/opinion of China. Not everything that the west does or thinks that it is good or right is necessary so. Ditto what China does or thinks it is good or right. China is China and the west is the west. Never the twine shall meet, except where and when you allow and when and where you do, there and then, is there a congruence, incongruous and tenuous though it may be for some and solid and tangible for others.

  30. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm | | Reply

    You do realize that the Western media only reported on them being Uighurs because the Chinese government told them that’s what they were, right?

    Everyone who “thinks they were Uighurs” got that from the Chinese government, and the Chinese government blames the Uighurs for basically everything. I mean they blamed Uighurs for Tiananmen Square!

    Either way, it’s really silly to assume that China’s propaganda is insignificant, no matter what country you compare it to. It’s CCP apologism, and I won’t be an apologist for the CCP.

    As I said above, there were a lot of good things about China – I met some great people, the food was amazing (although I did worry about food safety), minority cultures, historic sites (when they weren’t turned into cement-filled amusement parks strung with Christmas lights anyway), the language etc..

    But nothing at all is good about the Chinese government, and in the end the complex equation of whether to stay or leave a place, in terms of China, balanced out in favor of leaving. I’d visit again for sure – I’d love to take my husband on a culinary tour of Guizhou, Chongqing, Sichuan and Hunan for example, or visit the east coast where I haven’t spent much time – but I wouldn’t live there.

    Maybe after the democratic reform and increased environmental protection and food safety enforcement, and steep decline in national chauvinism (“you can’t understand our 5000 years of culture and that hurts the feelings of the Chinese people!”), with an increase in awareness of women’s issues and women’s rights, which I hope comes in my lifetime, I might consider it again.

    But I think most Chinese probably want those things too. I think they’re aware that these are issues and hope for improvement in their lifetimes, as well.

    As for not supporting self-determination? I pretty much never don’t support it. Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia? Deserve independence if they want it (Tibetans have said all they want is better treatment, though). Taiwan deserves its de facto independence recognized. In other countries, perhaps the Kurds, the Abkhazians etc., even perhaps South Ossetia deserve independence or an independent state. Both Israel and Palestine deserve recognized nations. In the USA I’d be fine if Hawaii, Texas etc. chose to secede – if that’s what most of the people want, then they deserve that.

    1. D-Maybe
      D-Maybe May 21, 2014 at 3:40 pm | | Reply

      That’s a cop-out, and a lame one at that. Since when do Westerners just take the CCP at their word, especially if they’re supposed to be “lying liars who lie”? If the American media hadn’t genuinely suspected the Uighurs to be responsible it would not have sought to legitimise the massacre with wordplay. Further, you have ignored the praise from the Turkestan Islamic Party and the silence from the World Uighur Congress: were these groups just taking their cues from Beijing, too? It should also be noted that the Chinese authorities have actually been careful not to demonise the Uighurs over the massacre for fear of inciting a massive backlash against them, which is one of the reasons why only one name has been released in relation to the perpetrators.

      And nobody is saying that China’s propaganda is insignificant.

  31. Canadian-Born Chinese Guy
    Canadian-Born Chinese Guy May 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm | | Reply

    I do believe that Islamic extremism and terrorism are a threat to world peace around the world, including within the borders of China.

    In a free democratic society, people should be allowed to vote in a referendum for or against sovereignty. Take Quebec as an example.

    The thought of a sovereign Uighur state, however, is very unsettling. If ruled by Islamic radicals, you could imagine the tremendous human-rights violations that would arise towards women and minorities, likely far worse than China.

    Still, let the people decide their future. Maybe time will tell?

  32. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm | | Reply

    Western people do not often take the CCP at their word, but you’d be surprised how often the media does. I really don’t understand why. I mean, why they publish the CCP’s version of what’s going on in Taiwan, I’ll never understand. Or why they publish *actually wrong facts* in relation to China (and in favor of China), I’ll never understand. Perhaps they don’t want their websites blocked in China, I don’t know. But I see it all the time. So it doesn’t surprise me at all that the Western media took the CCP at their word regarding these terrorists. Their fact-checking on Chinese issues is really not that good…surprisingly so.

    Frankly, I do not see the CCP trying to “protect” Uighurs, I see them labeled as separatists and terrorists (many are separatists, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but it’s unclear to me as to whether they’re terrorists), I see development projects in Xinjiang create jobs that are given to Han Chinese, I see the CCP trying to dilute the ethnic makeup of Xinjiang by encouraging Chinese to settle there, I see their cities destroyed and their graves disrespected. I saw it with my own eyes.

    And I see a lot of anger against them among Han Chinese: anger instilled in them by what they’ve learned in school and read in the papers (the majority have never been to Xinjiang and many of those who have either took a tour and never got to meet many locals, or have one of those lucrative jobs in Xinjiang given to Han Chinese but not to Uighurs).

    Frankly, I don’t really care what other organizations said. When al-Qaeda blew up the WTC, it’s not like every group that DIDN’T blow it up was obligated to say that it wasn’t them (some did, but they weren’t obligated to). If Janjawid commits an act of terrorism, Hezbollah is not obligated to say “we did not do it”. If the RSS incites riots, the VHP is not obligated to say it wasn’t them.

    And when al-Qaeda blew up the WTC, there were plenty of people who praised them, including high-ranking officials in Indonesia. That doesn’t mean those organizations were involved.

    So I don’t know what you’re getting at here.

    And yes, you did imply that China’s propaganda was insignificant compared to the USA’s. I’m not denying that propaganda is a worldwide problem, I’m just not okay with trying to excuse away the CCP’s actions.

    Compare: “we haven’t killed any civilians in drone strikes” (US propaganda) with “you are not allowed to discuss Tiananmen, and nothing happened there anyway, and what happened was the fault of separatists who were killed” (Hinted: but if you talk about it, at best we will censor you, or send you to a labor camp, or kill you) (Chinese propaganda).

    Perhaps you can see why I think Chinese propaganda is so concerning.

    Plus, it’s not like it stays within China. Like with US propaganda, it’s aimed at the entire world. Not only attempts to influence the media, to subtly try to change the dialogue to align with Chinese interests (note all those ‘country lists’ that list Taiwan as “Taiwan, Province of China” – who do you think maneuvered to make that happen?), and setting schools and universities up with Confucius Institutes whose main goals are the dissemination of propaganda via soft power.

    It’s very concerning indeed. And surprisingly slick, given how many people abroad believe blatantly untrue things about China as a result (i.e. that Taiwan is a part of it, that Uighurs are terrorists, that it has “5000 years of culture”, that the CCP does more good for China than it does bad).

    Besides, “OK, we have propaganda but you do too!” really isn’t an argument. The discussion is about China. On a forum about American culture or politics I’ll denounce the American political machine quite strongly. I’m no fan. I mean, I’ve chosen not to live there after all – rejected my own home country! But when someone brings up propaganda in China, “but the US has it too” is a ridiculous defense that does minimize the issue.

    1. Dara Zheng
      Dara Zheng June 14, 2014 at 11:48 pm | | Reply

      Take it easy. It’s just a game between countries. The simple truth is USA wants to suppress China cause China will impact the international standing of USA in the future. Uighurs is a chess piece to slow down China’s development.

      Maybe it’s a little rude to say this, but eventually military power will determine whether or not Uighurs can be independent from China rather than propaganda. CCP deploys 300,000 soldiers in Lanzhou military region, and that will be enough to control everything in this region.

      As a Chinese point of view I really don’t want my country to be divided although I don’t like CCP. The humiliation history of 19th and 20th was burned into every Chinese brain so both CCP and Chinese people themselves won’t allow the same thing happen again.

      I do believe other countries will do the same thing like CCP if they have enough military power. Imagine what will happen if Alaska wants to independent from USA? As American traditional style, they will only take more serious actions. Afghanistan and Iraq are good examples, see many people were dead in the wars.

    2. Dara Zheng
      Dara Zheng June 15, 2014 at 12:08 am | | Reply

      I’m not sure whether you know what happened on 5th July 2009 in Xinjiang. Thousands people was killed or injured by Uighurs with no reason. Isn’t it Muslim extremists?I’m not saying all Uighurs are extremists, actually most Uighurs are not. The truth is many Uighurs were also killed by their own compatriots in that riot. I had a classmate in university who experienced that event. He saw thousands of Uighurs came to the street with weapons, they hit any people they saw. Luckily his father drove a car and they ran away.

  33. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 21, 2014 at 4:25 pm | | Reply

    Propaganda in action!

    Uighurs are not Muslim extremists.

    What they are fighting for is independence from China – in terms of religion they are one of the least “extreme” cultures around (the women, if they wear headscarves at all, wear little do-rags as a nod to their culture – only a few cover up entirely for example, and it’s fairly easy to procure alcohol – it’s a remarkably moderate society) and the organizations fighting for Uighurs generally are fighting not for religious law, but for self-determination.

    If given self-determination, they would choose independence (as would Taiwan, although that’s a different situation, and Tibet likely would as well – and yes, China deserves to lose all of them) – so what you’re saying is, self-determination is good unless it results in a government that makes you uneasy? Come on. Either you believe in self-determination or you don’t. No half-assing. No “only the kind of happy secular-non-scary-foreigner self-determination that makes me feel good, no scary Muslims”.

    So I don’t see what you’re getting at at all, unless you’ve bought the propaganda that Uighurs are “religious extremists”. They’re not.

  34. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm | | Reply

    I guess the main difference for me is also that if I speak out against American propaganda, in America, as a civilian, I can do that. There might be an FBI or CIA file on me somewhere, but I’m not in danger of being whisked away by the police only to find myself “disappeared”, in a labor camp or even executed, or on a ‘human rights watch’ list somewhere. You have to do something as extreme as what Snowden did to get on their real shit list (and I do support what Snowden did – we need people like him).

    In Taiwan we have propaganda too – I am pretty sure the KMT is taking its “disseminating correct information” marching orders from the CCP – but I can say what I think without fear that I’ll get arrested (although that freedom is eroding, most likely due to the influence that China has on the KMT, and it’s horrifying).

    But in China, that is very much a possibility. Perhaps now it is more remote than before, but it IS a possibility.

    If we were all posting this in China, it would either have been deleted by the authorities by now, or someone would be knocking on our doors.

  35. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm | | Reply

    All this is NOT to say “China sucks and I’m so happy I don’t live in China”.

    That’s not what I mean (although it is true that I do not wish to live in China).

    It’s to say that while I agree with the premise of the original blog post, and it makes sense to recognize that there are problems everywhere, good things and bad things about each place, it is not okay to minimize the problems going on in China with “but the US has it too”.

    I do feel that’s happening here.

  36. D-Maybe
    D-Maybe May 22, 2014 at 10:16 am | | Reply

    @Jenna

    All I want to say now is that if you recall, the discussion between you and me here began with me responding to your assertion that the American media isn’t biased against China. So, contrary to your suggestion, my participation here was not intended to be a case of whataboutery to excuse the excesses of the CCP.

  37. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian May 23, 2014 at 12:42 am | | Reply

    @ Jenna Cody, the Chinese government may be the “Evil Empire” to you, but I doubt the Chinese would agree with your angry view that nothing is good about the Chinese government. You may be surprised that more Chinese people in China believe that their government is competent in many things are are supportive of it as you will likely find the same vis the American people towards their government, except perhaps for the Uighur separatists to some and terrorists to others?

  38. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 23, 2014 at 12:47 am | | Reply

    I would be very interested to see, if the CCP had to run in democratic elections, whether the Chinese people would vote for them. Do you think they’d get elected?

    An undemocratically elected government may be supported by some, but that does not necessarily mean there is something good about it. You can always find someone who sympathizes with a dictator. You can probably find genuine sympathy for all sorts of terrible people. Some people still think George W. Bush was a good leader. So?

    The USA is an Evil Empire too. My only point is that the Chinese government does some terrible things and they don’t deserve the apologism and excuse-mongering that they get.

    1. ordinary malaysian
      ordinary malaysian May 23, 2014 at 2:03 am | | Reply

      @Jenna, you are right. The Chinese leaders are not elected by a democratic process. But more Chinese people in China are supportive of their government and see it as competent in many things than you may find in the case of the “democratically elected” governments elsewhere. As long as the Chinese people as a whole are supportive of their government, then it can be said to be a more legitimate one than those of “democratically elected” ones elsewhere. Of course you could quibble over the meaning of “legitimate” and you may win on this, but that does not change the fact that more Chinese people do indeed support their government than you could find, say in the case of the US of A. As long as the Chinese government can ensure that nobody is starving and provide a decent standard of living for the people (though maybe not by western measure), the Chinese people are supportive of their government and it may appear more legitimate to them than a “democratically elected” government to others elsewhere. Don’t wager against this where the Chinese people themselves are concerned. Your angry view is noted, anyway. And you are entitled to hold on to it.

  39. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian May 23, 2014 at 12:47 am | | Reply

    oops, “..and are supportive of..” not “..are are..supportive of…”

  40. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian May 23, 2014 at 2:26 am | | Reply

    @Jenna, I was not taking issue with your other grouses, just the statement that there is nothing good about the Chinese government. Really? If there is really NOTHING good about the Chinese government the people would have risen sooner or later. The “long” Chinese history that you are so skeptical of, will bear testimony. They did try to rise up against the government at Tiananmen, didn’t they? Though of course, they were suppressed then. The mere fact that they have not tried again since the opening up of China 35 years ago post Tiananmen, shows that there must be something good about the Chinese government after all, however unpalatable or unimpressive that “something” may be to you.

  41. Canadian-Born Chinese Guy
    Canadian-Born Chinese Guy May 23, 2014 at 10:47 am | | Reply

    Coincidentally, I just read today about a recent deadly terrorist attack in China. The articles are from American sources, and they are pointing to Islamic extremists.

    It doesn’t matter if a society is moderate or not. That is irrelevant. As history has shown, a small number of extremists can overtake a nation. A sovereign Uighur state will just be another failed third-world nation.

    Well, back to the topic at hand: I’m glad I live in Canada and not in China!

    1. D-Maybe
      D-Maybe May 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm | | Reply

      It’s come to the point that not even the Uighur activist groups are denying that the Uighurs are carrying out violent attacks; they just blame Han Chinese oppression for provoking the Uighurs.

  42. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody May 23, 2014 at 10:54 am | | Reply

    You don’t know that “more Chinese people support their government than those in a democracy support their governments”, because there are no trustworthy polls (keyword: trustworthy) that show how many do or not. But considering how few Chinese people I’ve met who are happy with their government (I’ve met none, actually), even if they ove their country (patriotism is not the same thing as “supporting the government”) and just generally keeping up with the news, my guess is you’re wrong.

    So, again, I’d like to see if, in an election, the people really would vote for the CCP. I still highly doubt it.

    And you really think that the only way to keep people from rising up is by “doing good”? Governments have kept people in line through fear, manipulation, propaganda, promises (that may or may not materialize: they have no incentive not to lie) that those who join the party or power structure will benefit etc. since the dawn of civilization. It’s quite easy to keep a hold on power even if you don’t do anything good.

    So, no. The only good thing I can think of regarding the CCP is that when they want to get something done, they get it done without obstruction – but that, there, is a double-edged sword isn’t it? It can be (and is!) used for bad as well as good.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t “hate” China. As I said above, there were many good things about China that I experienced in my time there.

    But I DO hate the CCP. And I would guess, despite your making-up of facts, that most Chinese would probably agree with that more than disagree.

  43. MM
    MM May 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm | | Reply

    @Jenna

    You said “So, again, I’d like to see if, in an election, the people really would vote for the CCP. I still highly doubt it.”

    I don’t agree with the above and my comment below may offend some …… If they were given the right to vote I don’t believe they would know how to, they have been under the 1 government for so long ( it’s better the devil you know?) .

    Unless they ( Chinese) are educated, independent thinkers, have intellect ideas or opinions and understand political/ party systems, (what each party stands for or is running for) the majority of Chinese will still follow the masses and what the masses vote for.

    I’ve read where some older Chinese still believe they were much better off during the Mao period then what they are now .

    1. D-Maybe
      D-Maybe May 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm | | Reply

      You make a good point. Whether or not the Chinese people would vote for the CCP is not just dependent on their feelings about the CCP, but also dependent on the alternative options that were available to them. If the competing opposition parties seemed inexperienced and/or incompetent, it’s unlikely that the Chinese people would vote for them.

      If the Taiwanese experience is anything to go by, the Taiwanese people voted for the KMT in their first free election. Granted, the person representing the KMT at the time, Lee Teng-hui, is pro-independence/Japanese, but even so his politics/policies were very much still bound by the traditional KMT power structure.

  44. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian May 24, 2014 at 1:32 am | | Reply

    @Jenna, of course, if the Chinese had a choice, I am not going to SAY that they would vote the communist party of China, anytime. What I was trying to say was that despite the absence of the western model of electoral system where candidates offer themselves for office and the people vote to choose whom they want, there cannot really be NOTHING good about the CCP at all, as far as the Chinese themselves are concerned despite the fact that they did not themselves vote their government (of course to you, there is NOTHING good about the Chinese government, that we have noted) Because, whereas I myself may not have the actual statistics, you could surmise that the Chinese people as a whole are supportive of their government, rather than against. (Since you plan to visit China again, you could ask some of the Chinese you meet whether they are generally supportive of their government or whether they are against to find out) This is not to assert that they are are on all fours with their government. Which country is? I am sure that like you, the Chinese are not happy with their government about certain things. That doesn’t mean that they don’t see ANYTHING good about their government. You, as an outsider, with your western ideology of democracy and what you think is good and right (not that I am against) may feel aggrieved by what you see as a lack of accountability or choice or highhandedness. But the Chinese may not necessarily buy into what consider as sacrosanct. Whether you like it or not, China and the Chinese have largely been shaped by and mentored on Confucianism and Confucian philosophy and that does not necessarily fit in with the ideals of democracy.

  45. D-Maybe
    D-Maybe May 24, 2014 at 6:16 am | | Reply

    It’s also worth noting that while the Chinese people may have their grievances with their government, they will defend it, along with their country, when it comes under attack by foreigners, especially when the attack is the typically visceral, irrational kind. Look at the emergence of the so-called angry youths (憤青), for example.

    And for what it’s worth, a Pew Research survey carried out in 2010 showed that 87% of the Chinese people were satisfied with the way their country was going:

    http://www.pewglobal.org/2011/03/31/upbeat-chinese-public-may-not-be-primed-for-a-jasmine-revolution/

  46. Chen gang
    Chen gang May 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm | | Reply

    Contrary to some of the comments here on Chinese values, I do believe that the concepts of human rights, freedom, and democracy are universal. As Gandhi said ” I am human being first, Indian second” , no matter which country in the world, these are basic human values, and should be respected. Killing innocent people is a hideous act and should be condemned regardless, but one wrong does not cover the other wrong, which is the suppression of the CCP has exerted upon the Minorities of xijiang and the Tibetan people.

  47. hopelessmisanthrop
    hopelessmisanthrop May 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm | | Reply

    I’m of two minds about the negativity towards China. I think it is generally true that mainland Chinese are of lower moral and intellectual quality than people in the developed countries which shouldn’t surprise anyone since China is still developing. A recent survey of tourists showed that Beijing is now the 2nd worst place in the world after Moscow to visit. There is truth to a lot of the negative portrayals. And it’s not just the pollution cited as a problem but the bad and disgusting behavior of the people. Someone mentioned above of the mother that tried to sell her child. This kind of behavior is shockingly common in a people who value dignity and life as low as Chinese people do. Many educated Chinese are aware of the problem too. It’s a cultural and social problem.

    However I also think much of the biases against China are based on propaganda and lies. Just read some of jennacodys rants to see what I mean. The American gov propanda has brainwashed so many people into thinking that the USA is a bastion of freedom, democracy and a moral actor on the international stage. In fact China as a country has behaved far far better. The USA has invaded more countries and killed more people in aggressive wars in the last 10 years than China has in its entire history spanning thousands of years. The USA now incarcerates more people and at higher rates than any country in the work mostly for non violent, victimless offenses and it is a surveillance state with no rights of privacy for its people and other people. It has huge race and violence problems. It still produces far more pollution per capita than China and once when the USA was a developing country was even more polluted. Its citizens don’t even know these facts because of the pervasive propaganda which spreads around the world brainwashing people into thinking the USA is the best.

    In short I think American citizens are better than Chinese at least morally on average and are less ignorant on average than Chinese due to the lack of education and corrupted culture of modern China but the behavior of the USA government is far worse than that of China’s government despite what brainwashed people would like to think.

  48. hopelessmisanthrop
    hopelessmisanthrop May 27, 2014 at 2:05 pm | | Reply

    Just because a country has a vote doesn’t make it democratic. As a study by two Princeton political scientists showed over the last 30 years the actions of the US government is not influenced at all (statistically insignificant influence) by most Americans’ viewpoints but by the rich and lobby groups.

    Also Congress has an approval rating in in lower teens and the potus has a policy approval rating that is in the 30s despite all the patriotic propaganda. That’s not democratic at all.

    But in China the central gov has done what people want and increased the standard of living of hundeds of millions while providing stability over many decades. That is far more democratic. Granted there are many specific greivences such as regarding pollution (and we see this in other developing countries past and present too even in so called democratic ones) but overrall most Chinese have supported the actions of their gov.

  49. SBB
    SBB May 28, 2014 at 1:49 am | | Reply

    Visiting my in-laws in Wuhan over the winter holidays confirmed for my wife that China was not the place for her anymore. The pollution was worse than either of us expected, and the unrelenting cold everywhere you go really gets to you. Inflation is also putting a major hurt on people of limited means, particularly in urban areas (a bowl of noodles that cost 1 yuan ten years ago is now 4-6 yuan).

  50. Laurie
    Laurie May 29, 2014 at 8:23 pm | | Reply

    I’ve been to China 4 times and stayed 2 weeks every time. I dont speak Chinese other than a few words to get me by, but I’ve always felt at home when I was there. Yes, the water is dodgy, the pollution horrible in places, the condition of the orphanages brought me to my knees in tears more times than I can count, and the beggars heart wrenching to pass and not try to help in some way. But the people have a spark that is lovely to behold and welcoming even to an American wandering around in places she probably shouldnt be. 🙂 I miss China very much – it makes me sad that it is so very far away from where I am.

  51. hopelessmisanthrope
    hopelessmisanthrope May 30, 2014 at 12:08 am | | Reply

    Laurie

    Are you white? It is my experience that Chinese treat whites far better than other people including Chinese Americans like myself. It’s sad but this is the state of the modern Chinese society. Chinese must face discrimination in other countries and within China from their own people. It disgusts me how low the Chinese mind can sink.

  52. zhongguoyemen
    zhongguoyemen June 1, 2014 at 11:25 am | | Reply

    It’s just too long to finish reading all the posts.
    I think there are three different concepts: the country, the gov and the ruling party in the gov, it’s not wise to mix them together when u just talk one of them.
    Pride and prejudice(not talking about the novel, literally meanings) are the best mind drugs human ever created. They start with ignorance, strengthened by propaganda, and end up with the same group consciousness. And people within the same group consciousness have 3 features:1,understand and advocate the group interests;2, deny or against other groups’ interests;3,take actions to achieve the group interests.
    The sad thing is people just love to be the victims and pretty much enjoy it.

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