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You'll Never Be Chinese

 
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:16 pm    Post subject: You'll Never Be Chinese Reply with quote

You'll Never Be Chinese

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Don’t you think, with all the growth and infrastructure, the material wealth, let alone saving the world like some kind of financial whizz James Bond, that China would be a happier and healthier country? At least better than the country emerging from decades of stultifying state control that I met and fell in love with in 1986 when I first came here as a student? I don’t think it is.


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Modern day mainland Chinese society is focused on one object: money and the acquisition thereof. The politically correct term in China is “economic benefit.” The country and its people, on average, are far wealthier than they were 25 years ago. Traditional family culture, thanks to 60 years of self-serving socialism followed by another 30 of the “one child policy,” has become a “me” culture. Except where there is economic benefit to be had, communities do not act together, and when they do it is only to ensure equal financial compensation for the pollution, or the government-sponsored illegal land grab, or the poisoned children. Social status, so important in Chinese culture and more so thanks to those 60 years of communism, is defined by the display of wealth. Cars, apartments, personal jewellery, clothing, pets: all must be new and shiny, and carry a famous foreign brand name. In the small rural village where we live I am not asked about my health or that of my family, I am asked how much money our small business is making, how much our car cost, our dog.


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The Communist Party of China has, from its very inception, encouraged strong anti-foreign sentiment. Fevered nationalism is one of its cornerstones. The Party’s propaganda arm created the term “one hundred years of humiliation” to define the period from the Opium Wars to the Liberation, when foreign powers did indeed abuse and coerce a weak imperial Qing government. The second world war is called the War of Resistance Against Japan. To speak ill of China in public, to award a Nobel prize to a Chinese intellectual, or for a public figure to have tea with the Dalai Lama, is to “interfere in China’s internal affairs” and “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” The Chinese are told on a regular basis to feel aggrieved at what foreigners have done to them, and the Party vows to exact vengeance on their behalf.


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Apart from what I hope is a justifiable human desire to be part of a community and no longer be treated as an outsider, to run my own business in a regulated environment and not live in fear of it being taken away from me, and not to concern myself unduly that the air my family breathes and the food we eat is doing us physical harm, there is one overriding reason I must leave China. I want to give my children a decent education.

The domestic Chinese lower education system does not educate. It is a test centre. The curriculum is designed to teach children how to pass them. In rural China, where we have lived for seven years, it is also an elevation system. Success in exams offers a passport to a better life in the big city. Schools do not produce well-rounded, sociable, self-reliant young people with inquiring minds. They produce winners and losers. Winners go on to college or university to take “business studies.” Losers go back to the farm or the local factory their parents were hoping they could escape.

There is little if any sport or extracurricular activity. Sporty children are extracted and sent to special schools to learn how to win Olympic gold medals. Musically gifted children are rammed into the conservatories and have all enthusiasm and joy in their talent drilled out of them. (My wife was one of the latter.)

And then there is the propaganda. Our daughter’s very first day at school was spent watching a movie called, roughly, “How the Chinese people, under the firm and correct leadership of the Party and with the help of the heroic People’s Liberation Army, successfully defeated the Beichuan Earthquake.” Moral guidance is provided by mythical heroes from communist China’s recent past, such as Lei Feng, the selfless soldier who achieved more in his short lifetime than humanly possible, and managed to write it all down in a diary that was miraculously “discovered” on his death.


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The Party does not want free thinkers who can solve its problems. It still believes it can solve them itself, if it ever admits it has a problem in the first place. The only one it openly acknowledges, ironically, is its corruption. To deny that would be impossible.

The Party does include millions of enlightened officials who understand that something must be done to avert a crisis. I have met some of them. If China is to avoid upheaval then it is up to them to change the Party from within, but they face a long uphill struggle, and time is short.

I have also encountered hundreds of well-rounded, wise Chinese people with a modern world view, people who could, and would willingly, help their motherland face the issues that are growing into state-shaking problems. It is unlikely they will be given the chance.


A controversial but popular article. Kitto could be entirely right on every point and yet still be wrong on his big theme. Sure, he'll never be Chinese, but was that really ever in the offering?
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bucheon bum



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: DC area

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

paging panda! Is she on here anymore?
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Julius



Joined: 27 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:12 pm    Post subject: Re: You'll Never Be Chinese Reply with quote

Interesting article, thanks for sharing.

I'm guessing you chose it for the striking parralels to Korea, some of which I list below.

Kuros wrote:
Modern day mainland Chinese society is focused on one object: money and the acquisition thereof.


Korea is teetering on the verge of growing out of this. But first their economy will have to hit a brick wall. That day is fast approaching.

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Except where there is economic benefit to be had, communities do not act together


Snap.

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The Communist Party of China has, from its very inception, encouraged strong anti-foreign sentiment. Fevered nationalism is one of its cornerstones.


Thats how Korea was built and motivated.

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To speak ill of China in public, , is to “interfere in China’s internal affairs” and “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”


Snap

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The Chinese are told on a regular basis to feel aggrieved at what foreigners have done to them


I can't wait for this to die in Korea. I always looked down on countries that use negativity as a motivational force.

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The domestic Chinese lower education system does not educate. It is a test centre. The curriculum is designed to teach children how to pass them.


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Schools do not produce well-rounded, sociable, self-reliant young people with inquiring minds. They produce winners and losers.


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There is little if any sport or extracurricular activity.


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And then there is the propaganda. Our daughter’s very first day at school was spent watching a movie called, roughly, “How the Chinese people, under the firm and correct leadership of the Party and with the help of the heroic People’s Liberation Army, successfully defeated the Beichuan Earthquake.”


Korea still uses this type of silliness, often to cover up their acts of environmental degradation.

Quote:
The Party does not want free thinkers who can solve its problems. It still believes it can solve them itself, if it ever admits it has a problem in the first place.


Quote:
I have also encountered hundreds of well-rounded, wise Chinese people with a modern world view, people who could, and would willingly, help their motherland face the issues that are growing into state-shaking problems. It is unlikely they will be given the chance.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:09 am    Post subject: Re: You'll Never Be Chinese Reply with quote

You'll Never Be Chinese

Quote:



The Party does not want free thinkers who can solve its problems. It still believes it can solve them itself, if it ever admits it has a problem in the first place.


Power to the right people ! The burgeois have always resented intellectuals. Laughing
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:50 pm    Post subject: Re: You'll Never Be Chinese Reply with quote

Julius wrote:
Interesting article, thanks for sharing.

I'm guessing you chose it for the striking parralels to Korea, some of which I list below.


Well, not intentionally. I think there are some similarities between China and Korea. Both societies are overly focused on money as an indicator of happiness rather than merely one measure of success.

But there's no Current Events in the China forum, and that's a significant advantage Korea has over China. Korea has a liberal democratic government.
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Julius



Joined: 27 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:34 am    Post subject: Re: You'll Never Be Chinese Reply with quote

Kuros wrote:

But there's no Current Events in the China forum, and that's a significant advantage Korea has over China. Korea has a liberal democratic government.


Which also explains the touchiness of Chinese folks, which is basically double that of Koreans.

They've had their heads filled with only one viewpoint for so long that they get angry if you present them with an alternative one. Its too much of a shock to their perception of reality.

Koreans are just as prone to swallowing government propoganda without a second thought, but at least they have a chance to be exposed to something other.
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