Chinese Nationalism – a Chinese Immigrant’s Perspective

Since the Olympics torch relay last year, much have been written about Chinese nationalism (see, e.g., this time article, this newsweek article, this new yorker article) – often in a negative (and unfair) light.

Earlier today, we at foolsmountain ran across a more thoughtful, subdued but perhaps equally critical view of Chinese nationalism – written from an immigrant’s perspective. In this wall street journal op ed, Ms. Ying Ma, an American educated Chinese American, wrote:

Finding China, in Far-Flung Lands

By YING MA

SINGAPORE

The nationalist frenzy arrived quickly. As soon as Chinese art collector Cai Mingchao refused to pay for two bronze sculptures for which he had successfully bid $40 million at a Christie’s auction, China’s newspapers, Internet chat rooms and blogs rushed to crown him the country’s new national hero. In the view of numerous Chinese citizens, including Mr. Cai, the artworks were looted from China by European powers in the 19th century and should be returned to China, for free. The Chinese government agrees.

Far away from the nationalist hoopla created by Mr. Cai’s act of patriotism, I try to go about my business of being the Chinese woman I am by eating as much Chinese food as possible on my vacation in Southeast Asia. In the region’s warm climate and easy smiles, I banter in Cantonese with the men and women who serve up fish head dishes, congee and roast pig.

My story and theirs are different in too many ways. I am a product of the superpower of the West and they are the locals of far smaller countries of the East. But we are bound by our shared identity of being Chinese outside of China and by the circumstances of our—or our ancestors’—migration from the Chinese homeland. From the descendants of those who left for the California Gold Rush or those who became laborers in Southeast Asia in the 19th century, to the more recent 20th century Chinese emigrants, our journeys took place—and continue to take place—away from the raw display of China’s newfound global economic might and political power. Many of our stories were crafted before the days of China’s double-digit annual economic growth, before the extravaganza of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, before the accumulation of some $2 trillion in Chinese foreign reserves and before Chinese art collectors like Mr. Cai shook up the elite world of Christie’s.

Our experiences speak of the nastiness and indignities of leaving home and trying to build a new one somewhere else. The journeys are packed with middle-aged men and women trying to learn foreign tongues, intellectuals becoming manual laborers, teenagers being denied university admissions based on their ethnicity—often lawfully under the host country’s affirmative action policies—and everyone feeling like a second-class citizen upon arrival in his or her new land.

There is the straight-A student getting into fights in junior high school over being tagged with racial slurs. That was me. Then there is the 14-year-old who left poverty and political instability in China during the early 20th century for Indonesia and founded his own small taxi enterprise in Balikpapan. He would leave Indonesia with his family and children in the late 1950s, escaping a country that allowed the massacre of numerous Chinese Indonesians to occur in 1965, but returning to a China that was as capable of killing Chinese people as anyone else. That was my grandfather. The details of Chinese immigration experiences throughout the world may differ, but nastiness and indignities are unpleasant experiences are often ever present.

Of course, times have changed. China’s economic miracle for the past 30 years has lifted millions of Chinese citizens out of poverty. Yet this success, along with the government’s propaganda, has helped fan the flames of a nationalism that demands only images of a China that is strong and powerful. Thus these nationalist flames gave the world an adorable Chinese girl who lip-synched at the 2008 summer Olympics to the singing of another Chinese girl whom the Chinese authorities found far less adorable. These same nationalist flames also brought to Christie’s Mr. Cai’s unflinching willingness to sacrifice personal reputation in the art collection business for national pride. Now, the flames are burning even brighter in the ensuing frenzied cries of support throughout China in response to Mr. Cai’s political statement.

It is not that one should have any sympathy for imperial plunder. But in the narrative of Chinese nationalism, there is a China that was wronged by foreigners during its century of weakness and humiliation prior to the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and on the flip side, a China that is emerging today to reclaim its past glory and avenge historical wrongs. In its uglier forms, this nationalism leads to violent riots, like the anti-American ones that occurred in 1999 after the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by NATO-led forces. In its milder forms, such nationalism rears its head like it does today, enthusiastically endorsing China’s ability to tell the West to shove it, leaving unsaid what responsibility China bears for the tragedies of its past and injustices of its present.

Here in Southeast Asia, far away from the high drama and frequent, high-pitched calls for national fervor, I am reminded that despite the jaw-dropping success of recent decades, many of China’s native sons and daughters continue to leave (or flee) the country due to poverty, lack of opportunity or political persecution. Perhaps frenzied nationalism could wait for the day when the government does not leave its citizens hungry in the cold, its political dissidents helpless before authoritarian repression and its citizens opting for new life in foreign lands. Until then, this daughter of the “motherland” will settle for finding solace in fish head dishes, congee, roast pig and banter with other Chinese whose mere existence provides a stark reminder of how much more China must still do for its citizens.

I sympathize with Ying’s description of the plight of Chinese immigrant’s around the world.

Many Chinese immigrated into their new host nations as laborers, and despite some success in business and academia, the vast majority Chinese immigrants and their descendants still make sub par income and continue to occupy status as second class citizens.

In the U.S., despite the perception of Chinese immigrants as “model minorities,” Chinese Americans are by most measures still second class citizens.

When I traveled to Machu Picchu in Peru a couple of summers ago, I learned that the plight of Chinese in Latin America is pretty similar to that here in the U.S.

In Southeast Asia, Chinese people have in some sense done much worse, with many having to suffer persecutions in nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

More recently, with the rise of China, the perception of Chinese immigrants and their culture – at least in the U.S. – seems to have improved somewhat. But things take time to change. Despite the dramatic increase in interest of Chinese culture throughout the world, I feel we are still second class citizens. In the West, even our beloved Chinese food continues to considered to be more “cheap” than “gourmet.”

Because of all this, in many ways, I agree with Ying.  Despite China’s incredible progress in the last 30 years, the Chinese people – as a nation and as a people – still has a long, long way to go.

But while agreeing with the article in some ways, I also felt Ying to lack the heart of a Chinese.

In focusing almost exclusively on how much China has to go, and slighting the progress China as a nation has made over the last 30 years, Ying seems to lack true interest in China.

Her portrayal of the lip syncing “controversy” is laughably unfair. Her takes on several geopolitical conflicts involving China are simplistic and one-sided.

Many of my friends – like Ying – are highly educated.  (Ying graduated undergrad from Cornell and got her law degree from Stanford – see source 1, source 2.) Unfortunately many also view their heritage like Ying – from a sanitized, distant, intellectual, walled-off – i.e. SAFE – Western perspective.

So for all Chinese around the world – how do you actually view Chinese nationalism?  How do you relate to your Chineseness?

Do you identify with Chinese nationalism as I do on this board or do you feel embarrassed to talk about it in the company of your friends?

337 thoughts on “Chinese Nationalism – a Chinese Immigrant’s Perspective

  1. Hi,

    “Her portrayal of the lip syncing “controversy” is grossly unfair. Her take on several geopolitical conflicts involving China seems to lack any appreciation of the interests of a Chinese nation.

    Many of my friends – like Ying – are highly educated. (Ying graduated undergrad from Cornell and got her law degree from Stanford.) Unfortunately many also view their heritage like Ying – from a sanitized, safe-at-a-distance, intellectual, walled-off Western perspective.

    So for all Chinese around the world – how do you actually view Chinese nationalism? How do you relate to your Chineseness?”

    ——-

    Depends on particular place. If in SEA, then some places had relations with Imperial China and some even developed/progressed because of Chinese, esp Ming, influence.

    However after the CCP, WWIII, the Brits, some “fake” nation states have been created to protect White People’s interests.

    I think it’s quite normal for Western-educated, even highly educated, Chinese to be pretty ignorant of the many sides of China’s stories.

    Most of the time, I feel like barfing when I read Chinese history/philosophy written by White People.

    I think the CCP has much to answer for in a way for kicking many Chinese out of their rightful homelands, not to mention stripping away people’s properties. For what? Just to make the rest of China “slaves” to White interests in sweatshops making American toys and lingerie?

  2. Well, it was obvious Ms. Ma was biased.

    “wait for the day when the government does not leave its citizens hungry in the cold, its political dissidents helpless before authoritarian repression and its citizens opting for new life in foreign lands. ”

    That line revealed all of the intrinsic bias Ms. Ma held. It completely ignores the growth that China has made in material prosperity as well as political freedom, while laying the blame for any current social ills on the feet of the government. Never mind that the standard of living has grown at an incredible rate. The government is purposely starving people in the cold without shelter and clothing! Any critical value of her article can be found in that sentence.

    Give me a break. She destroys the pride many Chinese Americans have in what they and others from similar backgrounds have accomplished with her high minded Western attitude. She’s the girl who goes to China, holding her nose up at everything, and then complains that everyone there is so rude and uncultured. She looks at what Chinese people in China have accomplished and she looks down at them, still seeing them as just “shivering in the cold” waiting to get out of the country to the wondrous West, minimizing their achievements.

  3. Ms. Ma:

    Instead of lobbing cheap shots at China from afar, why don’t you stop waiting, return to your “motherland” and make a real difference?

    One country’s patriotism is another’s nationalism…

  4. ““wait for the day when the government does not leave its citizens hungry in the cold, its political dissidents helpless before authoritarian repression and its citizens opting for new life in foreign lands. ”

    In an ideal world, things happen in certain order. Unfortunately, history has been written in such way that there are always multiple threads and currents of action/thought taking place. This is the very reason has made history so complicated and interesting to see and read.

    Chinese nationalism is still in its infancy. For the last one century and half, China, as a nation as well as a people, has been burden by internal struggles and bullied by western powers. There was really no time for Chinese people to form their own identity in the face of other nations, depite all their hardwork, perseverance and indignity.

    Like or not, cheering or condescending, China is reshaping the world with confidence and deserved pride. Chinese nationalism will be defined by her unique history and experience of her people, very much like American, or British or French. There is nothing wrong with it.

  5. @Jed Yoong #1

    “I think the CCP has much to answer for in a way for kicking many Chinese out of their rightful homelands”

    Did people feel feed up in US and move to Canada? Did people feel California is not white enough and move to Washington State or Idaho? What happened to Chess Championship Bobby Fischer?

    No country or political system can be satisfactory to its population 100%, let alone China’s huge population and in developing stage. Regardless what has been said about CCP leadership, their insistence to be solid-footed and even-headed about China’s current development status, thus devising a policy according to the real situation on the ground deserves much praise, so does their relentless focus on build a strong and better developed nation without paying much attention to what outside called “new super-power” or “developed nation”. Everyone from mainland knew China still have a huge farming popuplation of over 800M, despite years of hyper growth. No other nation is able to do a better job to improve their lives but by China herself.

  6. To James #2:
    of course she’s biased. It’s an op-ed, for Pete’s sake. I guess it’s better you complained of her biases than of her poor “western” journalistic standards, but I digress…

    I’d say anyone who’s ever bothered to leave an opinion on a blog is biased. That, BTW, includes the both of us.

    “China’s economic miracle for the past 30 years has lifted millions of Chinese citizens out of poverty.” – I think she’s giving an adequate shout-out to China’s economic gains.

    “while laying the blame for any current social ills on the feet of the government” – so if you have an authoritarian government that controls everything, and something doesn’t quite work out, who else would you blame? Isn’t that the deal that an authoritarian government signs up for? You don’t seem to mind the CCP taking credit for the economic stuff; so you should let the CCP suck it up and answer for the “social ills”.

    “government is purposely starving people in the cold without shelter and clothing” – seriously, dude. If you’re going to speak of biases, where does the author say anything about this? The government isn’t purposely depriving her people; yet some of her people remain deprived. So clearly the government has more work to do. I think that’s her point. Not sure where you’re getting yours from.

    I sincerely hope you’re writing from within China. Since you seem to think that China is the sundae with the cherry on top, I can’t imagine you allowing yourself to be anywhere else.

  7. I believe the author of this post inadvertently shows one of the worst sides of Chinese nationalism: its judgmental attitude and exclusive definition of who is really “Chinese”. Allen’s statement, “I also felt Ying to lack the heart of a Chinese” is very telling. Allen is essentially saying, “Because I disagree with your views, you are not really a true Chinese.” This is nonsense. Ying Ma is ethnically and racially Chinese. Her opinions and thoughts have no bearing on that fact.

    Another problem with Chinese nationalists is their inability to accept criticism about China. China has problems. America has problems. Every country has problems. And the first step to fixing these problems is identifying them. The nationalist views those who highlight problems as “lack[ing] [a] true interest in China” (Allen’s words again). In fact, it could be argued that the Chinese who care most about China are the ones highlighting the problems the country faces, so that these problems can be fixed. Yet for the nationalist, these people are the ones to look down on, the ones who lack a “Chinese heart”.

    Nationalists don’t really care about China; if they did, they would be at the forefront of the fight to make China a better place. And the worst part about them is that they’re hurting China more than any critical writer ever could.

  8. @B. Smith #7

    “Nationalists don’t really care about China; …”

    You may call me a Chinese nationalist, and I feel quite proud. In US, you call him or her a patriot.

    How dare you here to say I don’t care about China ! It appears that you really don’t understand how modern day Chinese feel, and still want to super-impose an image of your own imagination. Chinese, who are confident to say NO to US and western countries, are also confident to face criticism. They simply refuse to accept any image super-imposed by westerns, and they want to have voices on matters important to them and have more says on those topics.

    Feel depressed about your losing advantage, go take a break 🙂

  9. If you recall, SKC, in the lip-sync follow-up someone had rationalized the degree which we in the West have gone to denigrade China:

    “when a city is an Olympic host, they should expect an inordinate amount of scrutiny. Turin had it, Beijing’s seen it, and I think Vancouver and London can expect similar treatment.”

    And here are a few facts:

    – On 2/12/2009, the one-year mark of Vancouver Winter Olympics, no giant flag was hung in Canada for First Nation Independence.

    – There has been no employment of “genocide Olympics” in reference to Vancouver 2010, by any celeberity for their cause relating to Canada.

    – The US State Department has not participated in any global protest effort against Canada; there has been no significatn media coverage of Olympic protest/boycott against Canada over Canadian transgressions.

  10. b. smith – very well put. and the reply from Shane further proved your point. quite sad really.

  11. sk cheng, b.smith u are completely wrong, allen is right, u do not understand chinese today and could never. why? we chinese indeed do have different brains and also dna. actually from my experience i think chinese understand westerner but westerner don’t understand chinese. perhaps because we have more complex thoughts and more inclusive culture (pls don’t be offended, i just see it to be true everyday in the west)

    “Nationalists don’t really care about China; if they did, they would be at the forefront of the fight to make China a better place. And the worst part about them is that they’re hurting China more than any critical writer ever could.”

    again u are wrong. westerners don’t care about china because there is a wish to return to the colonial days and split china. no way, we have grown stronger and u wouldn’t be able to. westerners do not care about china because they only want to destroy ccp then have “democracy” and “human rights”, what a joke, china would be in chaos for hundreds of years again.

    as Shane9219 said, u just feel depressed about losing your advantage

  12. @Shane – Patriotism and nationalism are not the same thing.

    @Charles Liu – Yes, that’s right, because right now Canadian mounties are busy shooting native Americans attempting to flee their traditional lands, and using military force to quell rioting.

  13. Allen, I am surprised by your post, I didn’t imagine you were so nationalistic. And of the worst kind, IMO, the one that enjoys being a victim.

    Second class citizens? I don’t buy that. That study you link mixes everything up, poor recent immigrants who can’t even speak English with Americans of Chinese ascent. To put them together in the same study doesn’t make sense.

    From a European perspective, I can agree there is some discrimination, yes, but it is not directed against the Chinese. The discrimination is against poor, unskilled immigrants, and it matters little if they come from China, Eastern Europe or elsewhere. It is not so much a problem of race as of snobbishness and difficulty to adapt. In this way it is similar to the discrimination that country bumpkins from Anhui encounter when they first move to Shanghai without a hukou.

    Also, some other things you mention make you sound bitter, like you really try hard to hate the West. For example, I find absurd your comment about Chinese cheap food. Many people in the West like Chinese food, and many don’t. The same as many Chinese don’t like Western food. So what? Most people in the World don’t eat “My Beloved” food from my country and I don’t whine about it on the internet. For a long time the Chinese restaurants branded themselves as a cheap low end choice, and now it takes time to change that perception, same goes for many other Chinese products.

    Anyway, continue trying hard and you will find more reasons to hate us, so you can post them all here. I know I cannot convince people like you you so I will not try. Fortunately, most Chinese or 华裔 I have met are not like that, otherwise I would be worried.

    PS. Is this forum becoming more radical lately, or is it just me? Anyone?

  14. “I also felt Ying to lack the heart of a Chinese” By stating that China has a long way to go and still needs to right some wrongs she lacks the heart of a Chinese?!

    “Unfortunately many also view their heritage like Ying – from a sanitized, distant, intellectual, walled-off – i.e. SAFE – Western perspective.”

    What, specifically is safe about her perspective? Those who only argue in support of China without acknowledging the wrongs that have happened and continue to happen are the ones playing it safe. Tell me, as a mainlander or expat, what does one have to loose by taking a pro China stance…. Now tell me what one stands to loose by criticizing the country’s faults and missteps. By example it seems to me that a mainlander might loose their freedom. A Chinese-expat, according to the sentiment of this post forfeits their cultural identity. Now tell me who is playing it safe.

    By the way, wouldn’t most people consider the majority of the Chinese food back in the US second class Chinese food? The stuff in my hometown certainly doesn’t compare to what I eat here.

  15. I disagree with the much of the content of Allen’s post, but I agree that Chinese, no matter what their economic situation, face racial discrimination. It may not be of the same stripe as that faced by other ethnic groups, but its laughable that ULN would suggest otherwise, and then try to compare it to a waidiren’s experience in Shanghai. What would you know about being a waidiren in Shanghai!!!! As far as I know, ULN has neither been Asian nor experienced anything remotely like what a waidiren might, and furthermore it’s ridiculous to suggest that your perspective is a “European” one and not a personal one. Unless you took a wide and comprehensive public opinion poll before you posted?

    I am constantly surprised by many white people’s willingness to view China in whatever way – glowing, critical, etc – while insisting that it is not based in any way on race, as if the collected history of hundreds of years means nothing more than a genteel worldview, colored by nothing more suspect than a bit of class envy. Ha!

    If there is anything that the last century should have taught ALL of us, it is that the thorn of race (and gender and religion) based politics and world-views is as vast as the sky, pardon the corny simile.

    So, whatever problems Chinese have – and there are many – they certainly have no problems looking at the past and seeing how it affects their present.

  16. Allen, I hope this isn’t “regular Allen”, because you were rather mean-spirited when you accused the author of not having a “Chinese heart” and not being “interested” in China because she didn’t drone on about how far it has come. Some people look back, others look forward. Whether they place their focus in either direction is irrelevant in regards to having heart or being interested/concerned about a country. Your comments smack of arrogance and a lack of tolerance for other attitudes. It isn’t for you to judge her on such simplistic criteria.

    You seem to miss the point of the article. She isn’t saying that there’s nothing good to report on China, she’s asking why some Chinese are so nationalistic to the point where they devote large amounts of time talking about/cheering on some guy who refused to pay for something he bid on. It seems like Chinese nationalists are more interested in symbolism than addressing their country’s problems. People like that are not patriots in the slightest.

    As for your complaint about Chinese food being regarded as cheap rather than gourmet, whose fault is that? In the UK Chinese food is popular. Some years ago there were a few news stories about how it was the most popular takeaway. But it is also true that “cheap and cheerful” is how the overwhelming number of Chinese restaurants could be described here. There are a fair number of decent ones, but for good or ill Chinese restaurant owners are usually looking to focus on the cheaper end of the market and sacrifice quality as a result.

    You can’t use honesty about the state of Chinese cooking in some countries to complain about being a “second class” citizen. If you care that much about how Chinese food is perceived, you should be telling the Chinese owners to pull their socks up, cut their profits and if necessary put prices up. Yet as is often the case amongst Chinese nationalists it seems that it’s easier to point the finger at the foreigner than criticise other Chinese for letting the side down.

  17. Kind of agree with Pescador.
    Chinese food is cheap… depending where you buy it; there are also quite upscale chinese restaurants. Of course the amount of cheap chinese restaurants is important… but… How is it that so many people from all over the world enjoy eating chinese “cheap” food? Well, I think they like it and they think it is worthy in a quality/price relation. Also I kind of feel weird with all this chinese ethnicity. I think that CHINA is the name of a nation and therefore it should be used to depict your nationality not your ethnicity (probably you are “han” chinese)… and may be this is what some foreigners find difficult to digest, that after many generations in other country (from US to Chile, from Spain to Japan) nationals from Chinese origin are unable to say I am american or spanish, that is, they will say “I am an ABC…” or in other words, I am not a real American. Strange, since that person probably has not been out of that country for than 1 month at a time; my question to that person, then, will be: What do you really are? Chinese or American? I consider acceptable an answer in the lines of “I am American of Chinese ancestry”. So, in some way, isn’t this “marginalization/racial prejudice” that some people from chinese ancestry living outside china face, kind of self-imposed? You chose not to identify with the country you were was born in, but with the country of your ancestors. Under that predicament, the USA’s population would be formed by a minority of residual native americans plus American born English, American born Italians, American born Greeks, American born Mexicans… I thin we can have all the possible letter combinations of ABs. Using “African American” is different, as it would be to call your self Asian American or European American; it does not refer to a nationality but a racial/geographic trait. Why should an american who is from Chinese origin be so patriotic towards a country that is not his own?… or may be I am wrog, and China is your country of reference, your motherland, your “patria”, and your being american is just a disguise, a convenient passport, a safe haven.

    May be the problem is for some people who is unable to identify themselves with their original motherland, and then escape towards a fictitious oedipal love towards a country they only now from afar and at a distance. If I chose to migrate to a country and accept that country passport, and my sons and daughters are born there, then I am no more Chinese, even though I will remember with nostalgia/empathy my former past motherland. If that is not the case, I cans see why there may be some suspicion toward this groups.
    You are born into a country… or you can chose it, If the chinese government gives me the opportunity to change my passport I wiull do it, and I consider myself chinese (though I am caucasian) and that will be what I will told my kids… but curiously… my “chinese compatriots” will never accept my “chineseness” as they usually also mistake “Chinese nationality” with “han chauvinism”

  18. In last 30 years, Chinese have been making big progress in all fronts, especially with the less share of natural resources/farm land per capita. If you use a developing country’s yardstick, it is doing very good, but still far behind from a developed country.

    Chinese government is rich, but the wealth is not shared by her citizens. However, Chinese care about ‘face’ by putting huge shows in Olympics and the modern buildings in Tier I cities.

    I wrote the following a while ago and did not have a chance to show off again. It highlights the peak of the Chinese spirit even beating the most powerful nation on earth by the number of gold medals. A proud moment for all Chinese and very rare for a long while. Let’s enjoy our dumb nationalism for the moment.

    ——

    Celebration of Olympics Bronzes

    What happened?
    How can we lose gold count to China, a third world country?
    Let’s have a national holiday of mourning. No one objects I bet!
    Let’s have a national contest of the best excuses of winning so less gold medals.

    What to do?
    Borrow more money from China to buy foreign coaches…
    No Speedo to Australia and China.
    My secret weapon is to import 8 Jamaican runners. Money talks!
    Bribe the judges (a little harder as everyone hates us but money talks again).
    Change all the rules to our favor: 5 medals for basketball, 1 for table tennis, 0 for diving…
    All tiebreakers must go our way as our sponsors own the Olympics.
    We will amplify their “shortcomings”:
    copying our advance lip sing technique, working too hard, starting before you can walk, their security system too tight, the Chinese smiling too much…
    The Chinese must have put slippery jell on our batons and/or the gym apparatus.
    Develop a dope that can take out all dope traces from our body.
    “One country, all medals” is our new Olympics slogan.
    The more wishfully we think, the closer we succeed.

    How to heal now, really?
    Write to Dear Abby for starter.
    Bronze is the same as gold if not better.
    If you do not believe me, ask any blind person here.
    It is harder to get a bronze as we have to LET two others to win.
    We’ll train our athletes for the bronze from now on.
    NBC should interview bronze winners only as they are the real winners.
    Actually we’ll be happier to be #3 and build a better relationship with other nations.
    Stop laughing. It is a fact!!!
    Phelps, we love you more with 8 bronze medals – it is no easy job to let 2 and ONLY 2 pass you 8 times.

    If everything does not work, turn ugly.
    Ask McDonald’s and KFC to give away their “food” (better than opium) to China FREE, so their next generation will be so fat that they cannot walk to the subway station.
    Send soldiers to grab the medals, esp. gold. Hey, we have the best offense.

    Will the world be better if we only fought for gold medals only (bronze medals in our case)?
    What an Olympic spirit to celebrate the winning of the bronze!

  19. Ms. Ying Ma doesn’t have a slightest clue of what it means to be Chinese. She only appears to be Chinese on the outside but her mentality is complete westernized. She has never experienced anything close to what older and younger generations of Chinese in China have experienced. She wrote about her parent generation’s experience outside of China, but that’s not her experience. She doesn’t have any intellectual authority to judge upon Chinese nationalism. Any foreign ex-pat that has lived in China for a few years is more Chinese than she is. Why does she bother writing her opinions on such subject which she has absolutely no knowledge of. She should just focus her attention on eating and drinking her Cantonese dishes or whatever crap she’s eating and purging.

    I was raised in China and later moved to the US. So I am fully aware of the Chinese mentality and also the US mentality. I don’t really care to debate whether Chinese nationlism is PC or not PC. All I can say is the Chinese people (foreign and domestic) have every right to feel and act nationalistic. However, people such as Ms. Ying Ma who’s clueless in such matter and experience doesn’t have any moral or mental authority in this particular debate.

  20. “I think the CCP has much to answer for in a way for kicking many Chinese out of their rightful homelands”

    I am no fan of CCP, however, I don’t think it helps to point the finger at it and call the problem solved.

    The main reason many people emigrated from China is simply that there are 1.3 billion people. People need more leg and elbow room when there are so many people around. Everything becomes more difficult when there are so many people to compete with you every step of the way. By nature, we homo sapiens go places where there are more opportunities. If we reverse the ratio by having 1.3 in America and 300 million in China, I would imagine more people would emigrat to China.

  21. berlinf, it is not just land, but also the natural resources/farm land per capita. We started migration from coastal areas and areas that we did not have enough food (similar to Ireland).

    Chinese immigrates contribute a lot to the adopted countries like US, SE Asia… The railroad construction, cheap hard labor…

    When the new generation was born here, they’re taught to work hard (by example). Without social, cultural, language constrains, they branch out to all professional jobs (we lack in pop singers, athletes… but this is understandable for this generation). In SE Asia & S. America, most towns are richer with Chinese immigrants. We have more law binding citizens and less social welfare recipients.

    It is a win-win situation for the immigrants and the adopted countries. Hope to continue this way.

  22. It indeed is a win-win situation, but it is not necessarily always understood. Sadly prejudices still abound among the earlier comers as if their ancestors haven’t made a similar choice to come to the land owned by native Americans. When the recession hits, there is much talk about laying off foreign workers first to protect local workers.

  23. The native Americans and Eskimos were original Chinese – I have my genes to verify 🙂

    So, we’re migrating the second time to re-claim our land. Due to our generosity, we let the conquers stay.

  24. Tony, that’s a good one! Once I watched a movie (Cimmaron) in which a lady kept telling people she has better representation in the town because her great-great-grandfather signed the Declaration of Independence. To that one black man smiled back: My ancenstor, Moses, wrote the Ten Commandaments.

  25. “Nationalists don’t really care about China; if they did, they would be at the forefront of the fight to make China a better place. And the worst part about them is that they’re hurting China more than any critical writer ever could.”

    A very naive statement in my view. Nationalists by definition and action care about their country, if they didn’t they wouldn’t be called nationalists. When the US bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade there were plenty of nationalist sentiment because the nation was attacked, just as the milk scandal, nationalists rallied against the CCP because of their failure. It’s one of the reasons why stoking nationalist sentiment can be so dangerous for a government, one minute they’re rallying to you, the next they’re rallying against you because the health of the nation is at stake.

  26. 26

    A very naive statement in my view. Nationalists by definition and action care about their country, if they didn’t they wouldn’t be called nationalists.

    To be more precise, they will argue that they care about their country, but that doesn’t mean they always act in its best interests.

    As I mentioned earlier, is it more useful for China if people to jump up and down about a chap refusing to pay for his bid on an auction, than openly discuss their country’s problems? Furthermore, is it good or bad to complain about non-Chinese discussing those issues?

    just as the milk scandal, nationalists rallied against the CCP because of their failure

    And some nationalists sought to deflect attention away from the CCP towards the companies, even the foreign parent organisation. The term “nationalist” is vague. Fenqing are nationalists, but not all nationalists are fenqing.

    It’s one of the reasons why stoking nationalist sentiment can be so dangerous for a government, one minute they’re rallying to you, the next they’re rallying against you.

    I agree, which is why I have always seen the CCP’s decision to replace Communism with nationalism as being potentially very dangerous. Encouraging a bit of patriotism is fine, but what the ruling party did went further than that.

  27. 27.

    “To be more precise, they will argue that they care about their country, but that doesn’t mean they always act in its best interests.”

    Of course it doesn’t, but who are you to judge whether their actions are in the best interests of China? Let the Chinese make their own judgment, and learn from their own mistakes. You are in no position to tell them what’s best for China.

    “As I mentioned earlier, is it more useful for China if people to jump up and down about a chap refusing to pay for his bid on an auction, than openly discuss their country’s problems? Furthermore, is it good or bad to complain about non-Chinese discussing those issues?”

    To be more precise, you are talking about a chap who refused to pay for items looted from the Summer Palace, items supposedly protected under the UNESCO Convention on illicit traffic and the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.

  28. @FOARP “Patriotism and nationalism are not the same thing”

    It’s two sides of the same thing, depending on which side you look at 🙂

    @Raj

    Please allow me to have a little straight talk here. Indian is far more nationalistic than Chinese, to the point, it appears wishful. Just read those regular Commentary on Indian newspapers. Indian folks that I met in Sillicon Valley lamented about India not being treated respectfully as a “super power”, regardless how long they have been in the States. Those in managerial positions have been so hell-bended and so determined to send hi-tech jobs to India as a way to pop up India, even though they called US their adopted land.

  29. @ULN – I’m no so sure that there isn’t discrimination against non-whites in Europe. Here in the UK people talk about ‘institutional racism’, that is, the people who work in an institution may not be racist, but the way that the institution behaves serves to discriminate. Someone I know works in IT recruitment here in the UK, Switzerland and Germany – he says that pretty much across the board employers will offer £5,000 per year more for a native-born Brit/German/Swiss than they will for someone from South or East Asia., the reasons he gave were the greater level of linguistic/cultural compatibility – but it really doesn’t matter to someone on the receiving end, does it?

    @Allen – Are you suggesting Chinese nationalism as a solution to discrimination? One has to ask whether Japanese nationalism served to increase or decrease discrimination against Japanese immigrants?

  30. It seems to me that the comments of B. Smith, S.K. Cheung, ULN and Raj are the most convincing and logical. I think Ying’s article is balanced enough and does not warrant abusive (and often unreasonable) attacks from intolerant commenters.

  31. @Shane – The vast majority of people feel patriotism, even many of those who deny that they do, but they do not create an ideology out of it. A nationalist puts the goal of strengthening his country relative to other countries above all of others, and believes that the interests of other countries must give way to his own.

  32. @FOARP #32

    You are talking about politics then. There are always political implication for patriotism and nationalism. Nothing is either totally black or white. Both patriotism and nationalism can be moderate or radical.

    You may re-read some old newspaper articles that hail US Congress’s endorsement to Iraq invasion by US forces as a “patriotic” action.

  33. @pescador – When I said “European perspective”, I should have explained that better. I meant to say that I don’t know the USA very well, so I am speaking of Chinese immigrants in Europe, guessing that the situation is similar to USA (which might not be true). So “from a European perspective” was just meant to be a disclaimer. Read as: “from the perspective of my observations in Europe”.

    I don’t pretend to fully understand the experience of the poor waidiren in Shanghai. I have read a bit about them and i have often spoken to them on the street, that’s all. I was only making a point that the kind of difficulties they encounter in both cases have similar bases: socio-economical, rather than racism. On second thought, I see that I was missing an important point: yes, some racist attitudes still exist in Europe, but they are: 1- not specifically against Chinese 2- minoritary 3- completely illegal and not socially accepted in any normal educated circles.

    >> “If there is anything that the last century should have taught ALL of us, it is that the thorn of race (and gender and religion) based politics and world-views is as vast as the sky”

    True. Race has been important in the past, and unfortunately it still is. But some Western countries are working hard for quite a few years already to ensure that there is no racial discrimination on their soil, and although the results are not perfect, I think they deserve some credit for that. It is all too easy to accuse others of racism when China doesnt’t have the problem of massive poor immigration. If this time ever comes we will see how China deals with this very delicate situation.

  34. Hey Bren, Uln, & other guys,

    Don’t be so hard on Allen. What he said it’s true. And I can attest to that — every bit of it. That’s the experience and perception of some of us Chimericans, Chinadans, and what not.

    Also I too think that Ms. Ma doesn’t have to the heart of a Chinese.

  35. As much as I like the article by Ying Ma, I think she fails to mention that the Chinese is a mosaic, not a monolith. For Cai Mingchao’s handling of the stolen relic auction, for instance, the Chinese are vastly divided in the response. Not everybody applaud what he did out of patriotic or nationalistic reasons. There is a huge percentage of Chinese doubting what he did. Many people quote Samuel Johnson’s “Patriotism is the refugee of a scoundrel” in questioning the “patriots”.

    The same thing happened in the torch relay, Tibet, etc. I think what’s precious about China at this moment is not its rise as an economic power, but the emergence of reason and diversity, thanks to the Internet.

    Therefore, for those who really care about China, it may be a better idea to try to encourage such changes instead of bashing it for what it is not or what it does not do.

  36. Hey Alice,

    Personally I didn’t think any of the comments about Ms. Ma was all anywhere near abusive, intolerant or unreasonable.

    You have you particular leaning, and you showed yours. And other people have theirs, and they expressed theirs. What’s so wrong about that?

  37. @Alice Poon: good call, opinions are like opinions, everyone has them.

    —–
    Guys, in regards to how criticism is patriotic and other similar arguments, this idea makes A HUGE ASSUMPTION that the criticism is RIGHT. You identify problems which YOU feel are problems; problems to you are not problems to others, nor does criticisms always lead to beneficial results. Criticism does not equal patriotism.

    Liberals in America made the same arguments when GWB was in the WH, now not too surprisingly, the roles reversed and the republicans are making the same arguments.

  38. I think we’re running into a definition problem here. There are mutiple definitions for nationalism so if one uses definition A and the other uses definition B, you’ll be going around in circles forever. Here are a few from three different sources that might be applicable to this discussion:

    1. love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it; “they rode the same wave of popular patriotism”; “British nationalism was in the air and patriotic sentiments ran high” [syn: patriotism]
    2. the doctrine that your national culture and interests are superior to any other [ant: multiculturalism, internationalism]
    3. the aspiration for national independence felt by people under foreign domination
    4. the doctrine that nations should act independently (rather than collectively) to attain their goals [ant: internationalism]

    The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination.

    1. Devotion to the interests or culture of one’s nation.
    2. The belief that nations will benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals.
    3. Aspirations for national independence in a country under foreign domination.

    Because the meanings are so different, you might want to specify which meaning you intend or better yet, use a different term.

    Patriotism simply means the love of and devotion to one’s country. Therefore, you can only be patriotic to the country stamped on your passport since love and devotion to China if you are not a Chinese citizen would be Sinophilia. By definition, patriotism doesn’t cover race.

    Another word that might be considered is ultranationalism, which means extreme devotion to or advocacy of the interests of a nation, esp. regardless of the effect on any other nations.

    Another view I’ve unfortunately seen on certain postings I would classify as xenophobia, which is an unreasonable fear, distrust, or hatred of strangers, foreigners, or anything perceived as foreign or different. That can go both ways, from foreigners towards Chinese and from Chinese towards foreigners.

    Oli, if you have any objections to my getting more specific with definitions, is it ok if I quote from Will Rogers this time? 😛

  39. @ Steve – Yes, there is a problem with the definition. I am using nationalist it in the sense of “the doctrine that your national culture and interests are superior to any other”.

    This kind of nationalism has been the cause of unthinkable suffering in the World and it can all happen again if we let it continue unchecked. China as a growing power has a particular responsibility to avoid these kind of behaviours, just as the US, Europe, etc.

  40. @flags of the republic – “What he said it’s true. And I can attest to that — every bit of it. That’s the experience and perception of some of us Chimericans, Chinadans, and what not.”

    OK, perhaps I overreacted, I hope Allen didn’t take offense. I did it because I felt it is an important subject, and the supporting links and examples in the post were IMO a bit wonky. Now, if you say that as ABCs you really feel discriminated in the West, well, I will have to believe you. But at least give some real reasons and some real examples of this so we can see why it happens, and what is going wrong. I think that would be more constructive, and I am definitely interested to see the problem from your perspective.

  41. As a Chinese-American, I fully concur with Ms. Ma’s analysis. I too will feel proud of China if and only if democracy and freedom can be enjoyed there.

  42. Hey Chinese-American, # 42

    You don’t need to put “if and only if”. A simple “if” will suffice b/c democracy and freedom is not contingent on you being proud. 😉

    And BTW, how many Americans you run into actually call you Chinese-American as compared to just Chinese? A better questions yet, how many of them just call you American?

  43. shane @ 29

    Indian is far more nationalistic than Chinese, to the point, it appears wishful.

    Assuming you’re right, how is that relevant to the discussion? I never said Chinese people were the most nationalistic on the planet.

    I really hope you didn’t say that because you still think I’m Indian…..

  44. 27 – Raj

    – “To be more precise, they will argue that they care about their country, but that doesn’t mean they always act in its best interests.”

    Who’s they?

    – “As I mentioned earlier, is it more useful for China if people to jump up and down about a chap refusing to pay for his bid on an auction, than openly discuss their country’s problems?”

    Pointless rhetoric, just because they “jump up and down” doesn’t mean they won’t discuss their countries problems.

    – “Furthermore, is it good or, bad to complain about non-Chinese discussing those issues?”

    Some nationalists complain, some nationalists don’t, what exactly is your point?

  45. Wow – thanks for so many comments so quickly – from both people who support me and people who think I am not only way off the mark – but also guilty of promoting “hate”!

    Let me make a couple of general statements that I hope will clear things up.

    When I use the term “second class citizens” to describe overseas Chinese – I didn’t mean to give the impression that Chinese people are politically oppressed in foreign lands (in the U.S., Chinese were indeed oppressed (the Chinese exclusion act did not get repealed until 1943), but that was the 20th century, and we are now in the 21st century).

    How can I?

    The fact that I myself (together with millions of other Chinese) have decided to stay in foreign lands instead of going back to China attest to the fact that foreign lands – especially nations of the West – still offer that bright beacon of hope and opportunity for so many, many Chinese people.

    I accept the criticism that overseas Chinese are not a monolithic group – either economically, ethnically, socially, or politically. Judging by the response thus far … I guess we can all agree to that. But as a group (artificial or not), I don’t believe the group has achieved economic / political parity with the host population.

    I probably should concede that calling Ms. Ma out for lacking a Chinese heart is probably a little overboard. Please excuse that as my personal reaction. Overall – I believe the tenor of the whole piece to be inviting of opinions – rather than geared toward shouting others down…

    The purpose of this piece is directed to finding out what the diverse group of overseas Chinese – some having struck out on their own to find better opportunities, some being kicked out from their homeland due to political persecution – think about Chinese nationalism in the context of a China on the rise.

    It is not about driving differences between overseas Americans and the societies in which they find.

    One last thing about Chinese food. In the U.S., it’s not just Chinese food that is cheap. Haircut from Chinese salons, food from Chinese market, fees from Chinese mechanics, etc. – in general are all cheaper than general.

    I think this is indicative of the fact that in general, Chinese Americans make less than average. The fees and prices within the community hence reflect that reality. Again, I am not attributing blame – or suggesting political oppression. I am only pointing out that China as a nation – and perhaps overseas Chinese as a community – has much more to go before reaching parity with the West…

  46. @Raj #44

    Chinese have shown they have the ability to be nationalistic and proud, while clear-headed and humble, taking into consideration of different POVs. It is a sure sign of maturity coming from a big nation.

  47. @Uln #41

    OK, perhaps I overreacted, I hope Allen didn’t take offense. I did it because I felt it is an important subject, and the supporting links and examples in the post were IMO a bit wonky. Now, if you say that as ABCs you really feel discriminated in the West, well, I will have to believe you. But at least give some real reasons and some real examples of this so we can see why it happens, and what is going wrong. I think that would be more constructive, and I am definitely interested to see the problem from your perspective.

    It is understandable. And I appreciate your interest in understand other people’s perspectives, where they are come from, the experiences that shaped their views.

    One of things that I can share with you is reflected in the last half of my comment to “Chinese-American” above. That kind of saids it all.

  48. lol all the years these ppl have been screaming that Chinese citizens have no voice in political life, now thanks to internet some of them actually start to express their voices, and guess what, it’s not the voice they waited to hear, so they want it to be put down …. what a bunch of hypocrites.

  49. @Moneyball – I don’t think she was saying that these people should shut up, I think she was saying that what they were doing wasn’t helping. PS – Just out of interest, where did the name come from?

    @Shane – Nationalism is the negation of modesty, the annihilation of clear thought. It is the raising of the interests of a group (not necessarily your own group) above those of all others and above all reason.

  50. @Moneyball

    China has been making gradual improvement on its political system. 10 or 20 years from now you will find out who is making the last laugh.

    Westerns, including some educated Chinese with western mind, always find a disappointment, when trying to project a image of West onto China. They are deserved to be disappointed since China is determined to find her own way forward.

    There is NO unlimited and unchecked freedom or democracy on any land. They only exist in the minds of ultra-liberalists or ultra-conservatists. In US, you will encounter various kinds of restrictions and constraints, both tangible and intangible.

  51. Nationalism, as bad as it sounds, is the ONLY weapon against nationalisms from other countries, the world is a jungle after all.

    If some of you hate nationlism too much, want to erase it from our dear planet, you should really start from the most developed countries, because they are supposed to lead, to make examples, ie, United states of America. If one day the US can get rid of all those “support our troops” bumpers, Fox News is out of biz, there is not 8 million listeners tune to Savage Nation every week anymore, then come back and lecture chinese citizens on how we should get rid of our nationalism, we will listen to you with all our hearts.

    (paragraph deleted for profanity)

  52. @Moneyball – I think we did a pretty good job of curing nationalism in Japan and Germany, but your jungle philosophy is not likely to find many real supporters, most people actually like to live in peace.

  53. @FOARP #50

    Your definition is so narrow and so sidward, there is no need of talking about it 🙂

  54. @Shane – It does, however, have the advantage of being written by George Orwell – I thought it was pretty broad. Who’s this Sid you’re talking about?

  55. @#42

    I don’t agree with you and neither will many other Chinese Americans who frequent this forum. I guess that’s all there is to say.

    @#43

    Good point.

    To me, “status” of immigrants of Chinese decent in USA, Canada, Europe, etc., has a lot to do with relative strength of China on the world stage. I can imagine if the U.S. becomes very poor some time in the future, then it’d be American’s bitching about racism.

    @Allen,

    On racism, I would say its lot deep-rooted in the U.S. and the “West”, and you are being more generous than you need to. Harvard Business School or some creditable source did a study recently on this. If your name sounds Black or Hispanic, you are automatically ignored more than 50% of the time during resume screening. In other words, on your name alone, half of the time you do not get a chance to even start an interview for a job in America.

  56. @Huaren – Yes, because ethnic Japanese, Russians, Austrians, Italians and Germans were so much better treated when their respective ‘mother countries’ were continent-bestriding military powers. Come to think of it, British people are now treated like slaves everywhere we go now we are no longer the world’s leading economic/military power.

    I think you’re falling into the old “the only thing these foreigners understand is force” trap.

  57. @FOARP, #32

    If the activist scums want to come out and attack China, Chinese people, CCP indiscriminantly, well, its these peoples right to defend it.

    What do you call those people who wants to put down another group of people?

    Well, we are anti-“that”.

    I simply love the fact that Chinese people around the world and citizens of other countries are coming out to argue against the scums.

    There is no free reign for the activist scums voices any more. I simply love it!

  58. @FOARP #58

    I said nothing about military might. I see how your types jump into conclusions. 🙂

    @FOARP #59

    Hey, don’t get upset now that people are expressing disgust at all those accusations you make. My goodness, there actually are people on this planet who think you are hypocritical. Lots of people I might add.

  59. @Huaren – Well “my types” (which means – well what exactly?) would also point out that even if you are talking about pure economic power, no one ever heard about racism against white South Africans or Argentinians. As for what other people think, I am very happy for them to express their views – it is taking other peoples right to free speech away from them that I object to.

  60. @FOARP, #61

    Okay, then I’ll try to be serious.

    “it is taking other peoples right to free speech away from them that I object to.”

    That is what you claim.

    Why should I believe you?

  61. @Huaren – Whether or not you believe it or not is not important, whether you think it is correct or not is. All I’m saying is that everyone enjoys making their voice heard, people often have to speak as a group to get their point across, but if only one group is allowed to speak this creates a lop-sided monologue: such is the case in China and many other countries today.

    Thinking that a stronger China would somehow defend ethnic Chinese in other countries from discrimination is somewhat off the wall. In the case of Japan, her rise to a relatively rich and powerful position in the first half of the last century did no such thing. The same is true for the people of all the powerful dictatorships of the last century.

    You seem to imagine that PLA paratroopers would swoop out of the skies every time an ethnic Chinese kid gets hassled in school. Rather, racism is a problem existing within societies which must be cured from the inside by giving full voice to all opinions and by winning the argument against it. Once a prejudice is exposed so that people can see it for what it is, it naturally withers in people’s minds – only fanatics remain convinced.

    Anyway, the ability to ban certain subjects from public discussion means that dictatorships can often ignore the fate of their nationals in other countries – European history is replete with examples, the DDR’s treatment of ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Soviet Union being the most recent one.

  62. To Charles #10:
    You’re correct.

    Possible explanations:
    1. Canada’s transgressions don’t rise nearly to the level of China’s
    2. Hasn’t happened yet, but protests can still occur. And in Canada, they’d be tolerated. In fact, if our friend in NYC, who’s developed catharsis for the Canadian First Nations’ plight, ever chose to come up north and unfurl a flag, he’d be welcome.

    Canada deserves scrutiny, and I think Canadians are open to it. China deserves scrutiny, but are maybe a little less down with it. And perhaps not every nation is equally deserving of the same monikers.

  63. Shane 47

    Chinese have shown they have the ability to be nationalistic and proud, while clear-headed and humble, taking into consideration of different POVs.

    Everyone has the ability to be like that. Unfortunately there are plenty of people who don’t act that way, Chinese included.

  64. I agree with #42. That China remains a dicatorship in this day and age is a matter of deep shame to the Chinese-American community.

  65. @ Allen #46: Since this thread is about overseas Chinese and that doesn’t apply to me, I think I’ll just read and learn (or not learn, depending on the post) from differing opinions on personal experiences of overseas Chinese. However, I wanted to get into what you wrote about Chinese businesses in America.

    In a proprietor business, the prices are set by the owners. In the case of Chinese restaurants, those prices are set by the market, location, atmosphere and food. I think it’s safe to say that in my country, Chinese Americans control the market and thus the prices. They can charge whatever they want, but must be competitive with other Chinese restaurants in those four areas.

    The only major chain of Chinese restaurants I know that is owned by non-Chinese is PF Chang’s Chinese Bistro, which has a Chinese fusion menu, high prices and a non-Chinese atmosphere. They started in Scottsdale, AZ by a non-Chinese American guy who owned a bunch of Ruth Chris Steakhouses and wanted to blend a Chinese fusion menu with a higher end atmosphere. Personally, I don’t care for Chinese fusion because I prefer the traditional recipes; I think they are more balanced in taste, but for me that also applies to all fusion menus. However, PF Chang’s definitely filled a fusion niche and has remained very profitable.

    I thought the article you linked to was written by a food moron with a fetish for fusion restaurants. I love ma po dou fu too but outside of China, every Sichuan restaurant I’ve tried in the States makes something with which I am not familiar and definitely not what I would call ma po dou fu. Believe me, if I could find real ma po dou fu, I’d be willing to pay extra for it. Why he writes so much about what is essentially a side dish is beyond me and something that is as far removed from “fusion” as I can imagine. In general, most food critics are knowledgeable on French food and idiots on most everything else. I wouldn’t give his opinion much credence.

    Here in San Diego, we rarely eat out for Chinese because the selection just isn’t that good. I can think of two high end restaurants that are worth the money (both under the same owner) and a couple of mid scale ones that are decent. The two high end restaurants are strong in all four categories and serve a mixed clientele of both Chinese and non-Chinese Americans. However, nothing blows me away. It’s the same story in the Monterey Park/Rowland Heights areas of LA; a few excellent but expensive restaurants that are always packed and a bunch of mediocre to lousy ones that are always half empty.

    There is another aspect of pricing that needs to be mentioned. When doing business in China and Taiwan, it quickly became apparent to me that the sales force was selling on price only. First get the product approved, quote the lowest price, take the customer to a special KTV and close the order. I had a hell of a time changing the mindset and teaching how to sell the “true cost” which is not the initial cost but the real value of the product in monetary terms.

    Selling on lowest price seems to be built into the present system but it is a consequence of culture rather than a national bias or racism. The same thing goes for haircuts, supermarkets, mechanics, etc. They have the attitude that market penetration is more important than gross profit margin, so they make their income on volume rather than quality/margin, even if they have quality. Since it’s their business, it’s their choice in a free economy. You can make more than average with a lower margin if you have the volume (witness Wal-Mart) but if you don’t have the volume or lose volume in a recession, then you’re out of luck.

    A lot of the cache with luxury items, including restaurants, is not only in the quality but also in the marketing. This is an area where many Chinese American owned businesses could improve. They market their product at the lower end. For instance, high end establishments don’t give out discount coupons. High end restaurants don’t use plastic chopsticks or vinyl covered booths. Sometimes saving pennies can cost you dollars.

    Forty years ago, Japanese restaurants were also cheap and dirty. These days, they market well enough so customers pay high prices for pieces of raw fish dipped in fake wasabi that is really green horseradish, mixed with low grade soy sauce, I’m sure high end, high quality Chinese restaurants could make a killing (and a few already have), especially considering a lack of competition in that price range.

    @ the Nationalism/anti-Nationalism crowd: How media works: Some nothing group makes an idiotic statement about China, such as the “genocide Olympics”. Media mostly ignores it because it is a nothing group. If China doesn’t respond, story dies. If China responds and calls the nothing group a bunch of names and says the nothing group has “insulted the feelings of the Chinese people”, NOW it’s a major story because an important group, in this case the Chinese government, has responded. That’s how the media works.

    If someone says something negative about a politician, the story usually does within a few days. But if that politician responds, even if the story was total nonsense and completely unfair, it is now NEWS and will be in every media outlet. The politician’s acknowledgment raises the profile of the story to headline status.

    It seems the Chinese government hasn’t learned this simple lesson. My guess is that the Propaganda Department feels it must respond as that is its purpose as an organization. And it isn’t just China. I’ve seen this happen my entire life in both domestic and international news. It’s like a penalty in sports. The referee misses the initial foul but catches the response and penalizes the responder. Nixon loses office not for the initial action (the burglary of which he was unaware) but for his response (the coverup). A failure to learn from past mistakes displays a lack of competence somewhere in the government that could be corrected to everyone’s benefit.

  66. The “strength” of China frankly has nothing to do with the fate of overseas Chinese. When China was torn by internal chaos, certain countries ill treated their ethnic Chinese groups. When China was “strong,” countries still can discriminate against their Chinese population with no consequence. Examples are Indonesia in 1998 and Solomon Island in 2006. How a person of Chinese heritage does in life mainly depends on her own efforts and also the political conditions of her host country. Since arriving in Vermont as a penniless person I have done quiet well in life. My sucess has absolutely nothing to do with China’s strength or lack thereof. I attribute my success to my hard work, a measure of good luck and the openness of America to immigrants.

  67. @FOARP, #63

    Hey, hold your horses. Don’t jump all over the place.

    1. I did not say relative strength of a country is the ONLY factor which affects whether immigrants originating from it gets racist treatment.

    It has a huge impact which you cannot deny – when the U.S. enacted the Chinese exclusion act, China protested at that time. The U.S. ignored it. If the Brits enacted such a law today, and the U.S. protests it, I’d bet you the Brits would budge. This is an example why my point is correct.

    Do you think the U.S. has to send in paratroopers?

    2. I think my question in my post #62 is important. Because if you cannot demonstrate your goodwill and your truly benevolent intentions, then in one swoop, we tell all Chinese citizens that your types are scums and you have ulterior motives – you are in fact anti-China, anti-Chinese, anti-Chinese government. Its simple as that, no?

  68. I absolutely disagree with #42.

    And #66, please don’t project your personal opinion on the Chinese-American Community as a whole. I am part of that community, and you don’t speak for me.

    And on 68, you sound like you are closely related to “The Chinese-American” (#42). So I will ask you the same question that #43 asked: “How many Americans you run into actually call you Chinese-American as compared to just Chinese? A better questions yet, how many of them just call you American?

  69. @Steve, #67

    I believe a lot of people outside China with Chinese decent feel the urge to speak up against such ridiculous smearing of China is:

    1. They are proud of their decent.
    2. They see hypocrisy.

    I wonder if many media in USA portrays modern day Italy the way it portrays China would prompt Italian Americans to come out and defend Italy.

  70. @7 B. Smith.

    I don’t agree with your statement “Another problem with Chinese nationalists is their inability to accept criticism about China.” I think you probably perceive that just because that someone who is against the West, he or she is a Chinese Nationalist. That is totally not true. The problem is that Western Media usually overstates the negative and sometimes outright lie against the Chinese. I’ll follow the example.

    Take the so called ‘evil’ CCP government. These guys has been trashtalked but they get alot of support from the Chinese people. Yes, there are a few bad apples within the CCP cadres, but I’m sure that these same Chinese Nationalists are not rooting for them when they are found guilty of corruption.

    Take the incident with the Sanlu formula incident last year. Do you actually think the Chinese like to poison their babies with tainted formula? The same so called Chinese Nationalists proudly cheered on when these Sanlu executives are charged and many of them faced justice and even execution.

    If China doesn’t seem to care about the environment by producing so much pollution, why does China have so many solar hot water tanks, wind power, and invest alot of money in public transportation?

    The so called Angry Chinese Nationalists are ‘born’ last year during last year’s Lhasa’s riots. What the western Media portrayed about this incident is totally untruthful and lopsided. This is what these so called Chinese Nationalists wants to the Western Media to know.

    Many of these what you think Chinese Nationalists know that China is not perfect as they have social, economical, political, and environmental problems that they must face. China Nationalists appreciates some constructive criticism by having dialogues with China and working with them, but they won’t appreciate negative criticism by having Western Nations pointing fingers at them and making unrealistic demands.

  71. @chinese-American #42 ==another Chinese-American #66,

    Isn’t it a little bit uncomfortable for you two to sit in front of the same computer but to converse over the internet? 😉

    This trick is getting old but the behavior is still quite childish.

  72. I too absolutely disagree with #42. China should not be defined by its ruling entity alone. Dynasties come and go, but the Chinese people and Chinese culture will always be there.

  73. When Chiang was forced out of mainland, reportedly he took the bulk of Chinese treasury worth some $300 million mostly in gold and dollars with him to Taiwan in 1949. Among those who stayed in mainland, 15% were literate. What a sorry state China was in — its whole treasury was then worth far less than 1/10 of Howard Hughes’ personal net worth, and Japan was 90+% literate despite losing the war.

    Ms. Ma certainly is entitled to her viewpoints. If her outlook in being a Chinese is somewhat different than yours, it’s certainly understandable, given her grandfather’s story. A what-if question to her family would be, what if Mao had more school years when he grew up, would he have started the CR? Or what if in China then a larger percentage of people were better educated, would Mao have successfully started the CR? Would her life have been on a different track? All these what-if questions can trace back to the wars China had lost. It’s not those symbolic bronze animal heads, it’s the ungodly large sums of war indemnities that set China back in more than a century — China perceptually lacked the fund for basic education and defense, and had been stuck in a negative feedback loop. Well, personally, my anger if still some lingering is toward the Qing Court. It could’ve acted like Rome facing Hannibal, i.e. lost every battle but never gave in, and eventually emerged victoriously. The early 1840s British invaders had to be repelled even if the capital would’ve needed to be moved. Once you think money can buy you peace, you become bandits’ ATM ’til your last drop of blood is gone.

    But playing the what-if game can never go anywhere — for starter, my grand-parents and parents wouldn’t have have met if the recent Chinese history happened differently. At a more micro and personal level, I hope this blog doesn’t turn into some sort of victim support group. Yeah sure there may be prejudices, obstacles, difficulties… But ain’t overcoming them a part of fun being alive? For example, if Chinese food is “cheap”, why can’t you start a chic, expensive and truly authentic restaurant chain? Now that could be a Seth Godin’s purple cow.

  74. @Chinese American lawyer#76=chinese-American #42 ==another Chinese-American #66,

    Please stop. We welcome your input but to post multiple comments with changing handles on the same thread is an act of spamming.

  75. I am an attorney for the first Chinese-American lawyer (#76). I will just telling him how those fifth column idiots should stop their sock-puppetry, so they won’t be view as desperate attention seeking morons. I guess my advice fell on deaf ears.

    @admin

    I am not in any way connected to “Chinese American lawyer#76=chinese-American #42 ==another Chinese-American #66.”

    I am just making a parody of it.

  76. To Jianghe #45:
    I think the “they” refers to Chinese nationalists.

    ““jump up and down” doesn’t mean they won’t discuss their countries problems. ” – it doesn’t mean they won’t, nor does it necessarily mean they will. Just based on this blog, I’d say there’s lots of the former, and not so much of the latter.

  77. @Huaren –

    1) Britain and America are allies, that is why our governments have at least some influence on each other, but mainland Europe is far more influential in the day-to-day affairs of our country. If Britain and the US were enemies, nobody would give a damn what they say, and the government would do their best to denounce US criticism to make themselves more popular.

    In actuality, Britain does a lot of things the US doesn’t like. We denounce the death penalty regularly, denounce the free availability of weapons, disagree with Israel, oppose them at the WTO. Television here in the UK regularly pokes fun at the Americans (about as often as they poke fun at themselves, actually). Politicians regularly make speeches in which they point out that the US is going down a certain (bad) route and that we should not follow them. We just never push things so far as to threaten the relationship.

    Of course, it’s odd that you should mention the anti-Chinese legislation, the US actually made similar legislation against Japanese immigration a few decades later, by which time Japan was already a military and economic power.

    2) Searching for ulterior motives on a website like this is rather foolish – do you really want to imagine that I am sitting in the headquarters of MI6 or the CIA? If you think that I am brainwashed – well then, my opinions should be pretty easy to disprove then shouldn’t they? The only people I know with what could be called ulterior motives on the internet are those seeking to promote businesses – and they’re usually pretty easy to spot.

    How exactly am I supposed to demonstrate goodwill on the internet? I suppose I could tell you about the 5 1/2 year I spent living on both sides of the Taiwan strait, how I spent 2 years of that learning Chinese, how I worked in a major company in Shenzhen – but this, I assure you, was done mainly out of personal curiosity and a desire for personal gain. I could say that I don’t hate China, that I enjoyed my time there and, all other things being equal (as they never are) would happily go back – but this does not show goodwill.

    It is much better to simply assume nothing unless you have a good reason for suspicion.

  78. @ huaren #71: Good questions…

    “I believe a lot of people outside China with Chinese decent feel the urge to speak up against such ridiculous smearing of China is:

    1. They are proud of their decent.
    2. They see hypocrisy.”

    Sure, speak up all you want. I not only don’t have a problem with it, I’d encourage anyone to speak the truth as they see it. But that’s not what I wrote. What I wrote is that when the Chinese GOVERNMENT officially acknowledges and responds to a relatively unknown group’s criticism, they give that criticism legitimacy by the act of responding. At that point it becomes NEWS so why are you blaming the media for covering news? That’s their job.

    It’s the same when an editorialist says something negative about China. Individuals can go after him all they want (and they will, just look at any reader response to a negative China comment in any paper and the vast number of respondents are critical and Chinese) but when the Chinese government goes after, say, CNN for what an editorialist said, it makes the government look petty and makes the person who said it look like some kind of a martyr, exactly the opposite effect that I’d expect the government desired.

    Can you name another government of a major power that has publicly gone after another country’s media for an editorialist criticising their behaviour in a certain area? I personally cannot think of any others. China is the only one that comes to mind.

    “I wonder if many media in USA portrays modern day Italy the way it portrays China would prompt Italian Americans to come out and defend Italy.”

    Well, since I AM Italian American I can answer this with a certain amount of confidence. The simple answer is no. Italian Americans don’t see themselves as Italians, but as Italian Americans and identify with the group of Italian Americans in general. The “American” is far more important than the “Italian” side of the equation for us. What we have in common is a cultural background, but I’ve been to Italy many times, I’ve been to where my grandparents were born, and it’s significant to me from a personal point of view but certainly not politically.

    I’m not Italian, I’m American and have no desire to live in Italy. It’s a great place to visit and I’d definitely recommend it, but I’m far more “American” than I am “Italian”. It’s that percentage of nationality that seems to be different among overseas Chinese and some other ethnic groups. My support for Italy would be in the abstract, exactly as it is for my support of China and based on behaviour rather than blood. My attitude, and my family’s attitude, is that we didn’t leave Italy to become Italians living in America, or even Italian Americans. We immigrated to become Americans and that’s what we are.

  79. @Steve #67,

    Thanks for the well-articulated thoughts about Chinese Americans and cheap Chinese food.

    I guess you definitely open my eyes to the fact that there may be other explanations for cheap Chinese food other than the explanation that Chinese Americans are second class citizens.

    @JXie #75,

    You wrote:

    But playing the what-if game can never go anywhere — for starter, my grand-parents and parents wouldn’t have have met if the recent Chinese history happened differently. At a more micro and personal level, I hope this blog doesn’t turn into some sort of victim support group. Yeah sure there may be prejudices, obstacles, difficulties… But ain’t overcoming them a part of fun being alive? For example, if Chinese food is “cheap”, why can’t you start a chic, expensive and truly authentic restaurant chain? Now that could be a Seth Godin’s purple cow.

    After some reflections – I can’t say I disagree…!

  80. #76 Chinese American lawyer

    I totally agree with you that just because someone don’t agree with the government, it is not right for that person to get persecuted unjustly. I think that China should can run its Authoritorian government without repressing people who does not agree with them.

    Edit: I think that China can probably follow Hong Kong’s example where people can display signs like ‘Falun Gong is good’ and pro-democracy people can operate.

  81. @Steve, #82

    Good answers on both of my questions.

    The only thing I’d add is perhaps Chinese American’s “stay” in America relative to Italian American’s are shorter. Also, there was no Italian exclusion acts to speak of in recent memory. I have many Chinese American friends who definitely see the American part way ahead of the Chinese part.

    I myself almost went to the Air Force Academy.

  82. @Flags of the Republic – However all authoritarian states repress. Check out Lord Bingham’s essays on the rule of law for a decent overview.

  83. @FOARP

    1.) Reread my post #69, point #1. I think you are going off-tangent. The point there is relative strength of a country does matter a lot as to how immigrants from that country is treated elsewhere.

    2.) “How exactly am I supposed to demonstrate goodwill on the internet?”

    That’s actually extremely easy. For example, the British and French looting of Chinese cultural relics was clearly wrong. I expect you to come out and say that. I expect you to spend intellectual energy in finding ways for this wrong to be righted. I would expect you to understand the anger coming from the Chinese side.

    I said this in another thread – its like a burglar coming to your house, raped your sister, killed your grandmother, and he then took your family heirloom. You don’t see anything wrong when the burglar’s decendant tries to sell your family heirloom in the open market?

    This happened in the context of the Opium War!

    So, you are duplicitous when you argue why this wrong should not be righted. You demonstrated a lack of goodwill and basic understanding for what is morally right.

    I think it is simple as that.

  84. @FOARP: I didn’t say that authoritarian states don’t. I am well aware of the fact that rule of men comes before rule of law in authoritarian states. I am just saying that they are not the only one doing it.

    Go read that article I linked. I know you haven’t done it yet.

  85. @Flags – You caught me, at the moment I’m switching over to this website whilst I’m waiting for my resume upload onto someone’s slow-assed system. I hate job searching!

    But I read the title and it seemed fine enough – of course there is a measure of repression in democratic countries.

    @Huaren – On the other hand, I decide for myself whether I’m that bothered about something which happened 150 years ago – and I’m not. If you want to ask me whether I think that the Opium wars were wrong or not – well, of course I think they were wrong.

  86. @ULN,

    Sorry, I have to disagree, and strongly. I don’t know where you’ve been, but racism in Europe hasn’t gone anywhere, and one doesn’t have to look far to find it. If you say that it is “the minority” that is racist, then I wonder what sources provide your news.

    In Rome, a shanty town of Roma was attacked by an organized mob, armed with clubs, sticks, knives, etc. This happened just last year, and it was reported on in all the major papers, Spanish and English language.

    That bears repeating – a major world city, widely lauded for it’s culture and urbane atmosphere, was the site of a lynch mob bent on physically assaulting the poorest among them, those who also were without shelter and legal recourse of any sort. Just for perspective’s sake, imagine if that had happened to Nigerians in Guangzhou – oh, the condemnation China might receive! Italy? People just shrugged and looked the other way. There was no talk of any boycott, no sit ins, etc.

    Then there was lovely Spain, home to mobs marching through the streets, chanting racist slogans just this time last year! Yes, Moroccans commit crimes. However, I don’t see the Spanish marching through the streets chanting agains the English despite their drunken violence and shenanigans. (link follows) Woe to the brown, yellow, or Colombiano en Espana!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/635092.stm

    Austria, Switzerland, Germany, etc all have political parties that are gaining traction on openly racist policies. Lets not forget that the French turned out in favor or Le Pen in embarrassingly high numbers in the recent election. Have you been to Paris? It’s ringed by suburbs like something Dante imagined, filled with the sons and daughters of north African countries France ran roughshod over. Don’t get me started on Berlusconi…

    It really sets me off that westerners are so keen and insightful in rooting out all manner of societal ill in China yet they are so constantly unwilling to address their own deepseated ills, or to smirk them off while yet again lecturing the great unwashed of Asia. And no, I am not Chinese, just an observant man…

    ++++++++++++++++

    That bit aside, I’d like to address the OP: it is interesting that when someone criticizes an ethnic group that they are a “member” of, people then say that they aren’t a real X (insert your fave ethnic group at the X variable, please). So, it seems that in times of duress, ethnicity can be stripped, like citizenship. And not stripped by any governing body, but by popular opinion.

    Yet the opposite is almost never true: no matter how much praise or flattery one might heep upon X (insert your fave ethnic group at the X variable, please), membership is never extended.

    What to say of groups to which membership is only ever addressed when being revoked? If Chinese is based on citizenship, then can words usurp someone’s core, Chinese identity? It would seem impossible. So then, I am guessing that Allen meant to strike at what vexes us most, our need for inclusion in a group, and what better way to do that than saying “you aren’t really X?” In this POV, Allen’s post contains the most childish of schoolyard taunts, one that stings and for which there is no soothing retort.

    Or, if Chinese identity bs based on ideology, isn’t that sort of political, in which case there has to be an opposing political group, i.e. the un-Chinese? Someone who is not as fervent or strident might not be as Chinese as a zealot, right? Wouldn’t eventually the true believers demand the punishment/removal of the non-believers? I think everyone sees where that argument is going.

    Lets not get lost at what Allen is getting at: in my opinion, whatever merit the rest of his argument has, the attempt to “deny” someone the only somewhat psychic part of their identity (gender being biological) is potentially very cruel. So if the young woman in question isn’t Chinese, as Allen seems to assert, then what is she?

    Just food for thought.

  87. @FOARP, #91

    That’s good that you recognize that it was wrong. Not that hard to say it, is it?

    I hope you are not saying that one day when China becomes strong she can simply invade Britain, murder, and loot. China then wait for 150 years for all the sins and guilt to go away and that’s the end of story.

    Now, to demonstrate goodwill, I’d expect you to spend intellectual energy to find ways for the Brits and the French and the Chinese to reconcile over these looted artifacts issue in a peaceful way.

    Once you start doing that, you gain credibility. Otherwise you are just another in the scum pile.

  88. @ Pescador: “That bit aside, I’d like to address the OP: it is interesting that when someone criticizes an ethnic group that they are a “member” of, people then say that they aren’t a real X (insert your fave ethnic group at the X variable, please)”

    This is not true… you have the spaniards, I can not remember who said this, but it is something like “only spaniards believe they have the sacred duty to smear their own country”. haha 😉

  89. I don’t think the earning power of overseas Chinese is due to racism. I think there is quite a strong correlation between the generation and their earning power and this is true for most economic migrants, whether Chinese, Polish or Mexican. Here are my personal observations regarding the topic.

    If you want to emigrate, you have to be able to prove your worth to your intended destination country by providing skills where there is a shortage. Many areas in which there are skills shortages are in jobs that are poorly paid that the natives do not wish to do. In many countries, working visas are issued only if a job cannot be filled by someone already there.

    Usually, the jobs that can easily be proven to specifically demand the skills of Chinese workers are often found in the catering industry, many of which happen to be poorly paid. For many Chinese immigrants, the first step towards settling in the host country is to get a minimum wage job in a restaurant acquired through various guanxi. For the immigrant, the pay is substantially more than they’d get back home. Despite earning minimum wage, they would feel very positive about what they earn compared to back home. Some Chinese immigrants naively make the mistake of just seeing the money and are not very prepared for a life abroad of blood, sweat and tears, with the high cost of living taking massive unexpected bites out of their paypackets. Despite this, they’d live fairly frugally and save so that they can send money back to their families and make them proud. Once they get established, they would use their connections to get other family members over. First generation immigrants get the rawest deal and tend to live in relative poverty compared to their non-Chinese counterparts. They do not integrate much outside of the Chinese community, possibly due to language/cultural barriers.

    From what I see, the second generation has it much easier. Their parents have scrimped and saved so that they can get to higher education. They have been instilled with Chinese values, are connected with Chinese culture but also successfully integrate with society from the beginning via school. In my experience, the second generation are very successful, often outperforming their non-Chinese peers in school, driven by their determination to perform their filial duties from an appreciation of their parents’ struggles to get them where they are. Many second generation Chinese manage to make it to university, usually ending up as fairly well-paid professionals. This is when their parents can reap the rewards of a comfortable life in retirement. I don’t think you could define these as being second-class citizens.

    Third generation Chinese tend to be more distant from Chinese culture and are less likely to speak the language. They are pretty much what you would call bananas and are fully integrated into their country’s culture. One could argue that they are not really Chinese, it depends on your definition. I think these are on a fairly level playing field with the rest of their compatriots when it comes to getting jobs although they don’t have the same drive as their parents. In most cases, the longer an immigrant population becomes established, the less the discrimination. Chinese do pretty well in Malaysia and Singapore.

    In terms of racial discrimination, ignorant racist comments do get thrown about but I don’t feel that Chinese suffer as much as black people or brown people in the USA and Europe. Chinese people are just as likely to discriminate against immigrants in China. I think this is going to decrease with time as the world gets smaller and people intermingle much more. As employees, I believe Chinese people are actually looked upon very favourably as diligent workers. Race tensions are affected more by the country’s economic situation and policies than the immigrants themselves.

    One phenomenon I’ve found to be of concern with some immigrants is when they become disillusioned with their country, perhaps from discrimination or alienation and end up becoming disaffected. Some suffer a bit of an identity crisis, which leads them to reconnect with their roots. It’s when their attitudes veer from the moderate to the hardline that I find disturbing. This is a form of nationalism that I feel is dangerous. One very extreme example is the ‘homegrown’ London bombers. With regards to China, as far as I know, luckily this has only gone as far as anti-CNN although I’ve often been shocked by the vitriol of some fenqing. I think I see a few slightly disaffected people reconnecting with their roots online – perhaps jumping onto China’s bandwagon of success. Some I see to be overseas Chinese who are quite distant from China, perhaps haven’t set foot in China for many years, but are becoming increasingly hardline and will passionately argue for China’s superiority over the ‘West’, labelling other Chinese with opinions that criticise China as being un-Chinese. This narrowing of the definition of Chinese dismisses so much that is interesting and valuable. I find this lack of patience and tolerance frustrating and hope that people will open their minds so that we don’t become even more polarised beyond any reconciliation.

    I’ve used many generalisations here and can see that circumstances are changing with the increasing number of highly skilled workers coming out of China getting different jobs and the increase in business dealings with China. I’d be interested to hear personal accounts from different generations of overseas Chinese.

    Also, could anyone give me some examples of the positive effects of nationalism?

  90. Personally, I liked the op-ed and am sure it rings with truth for many people. It’s obvious that Chinese people in North America, and Asians in general, have faced outright racism and other more subtle forms of discrimination or unintentional bias.

    However, what I find troubling about some of the more virulent forms of Chinese nationalism is that it focuses so much on the humiliating events of Opium Wars, the Boxer Rebellion, and the NATO bombing on the on hand, and the redemption of Chinese pride in 1949 and then at the start of “Reform and Opening”. Of course these events all matter and should be studied, but by repeatedly focusing on the absolute low points and truly deplorable acts by the foreign powers creates this narrative that sets a confrontation and antagonistic paradigm for Sino-Western relations. For example, if you read “The Age of Openness: China before Mao” (and other books about the Republic Era), it is obvious that this time was an era in which China made significant progress in science, education, literacy, literature, the arts, economics, public health care, and legal reforms. Chinese diplomats, heading up by brilliant minds like Wellington Koo, actually were able to reverse many of the almost all of the unfair and humiliating treaties, while also contributing greatly to the creation of the new order of international law based on universal principles. Many Westerners spent a lot of time and effort in trying to help China, and it goes without saying that many Chinese also did. The point is that there was a considerable amount of Sino-Western friendship (on a personal level) and mutual cooperation on the international level. Things can be this way in the future, I hope.

    Likewise, I (am white male American) am married to a Chinese woman from Henan. She was educated in the Chinese system, came to Hong Kong, got an MBA, studied abroad at a top-tier American university, and now she works for a major international corporation. She, and many like her, especially in cities like Shanghai and Beijing, have done really well in international companies and have lots of friends from Europe, the US, Japan, Korea, India…etc. There is nothing particularly humiliating or degrading about her story, just a story of a person doing really well on her own efforts and through her own personal charm and intelligence. The role of the state in her case is there (the fairly competent education system and stable social order) but it is far less prominent than her own personal efforts. The problem is, stories of successful Mainland people really are a lot less prominent, dramatic, or news-worthy than eye-catching stories that fit into a stereotype of how Chinese are often discriminated against (not to deny that discrimination exists, of course).

    With that said, I haven’t read through all of the comments, but I appreciate everybody sharing their experiences and thoughts.

  91. “In its UGLIER forms, this nationalism leads to violent riots, like the anti-American ones that occurred in 1999 after the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by NATO-led forces.”

    Why do all western media writers discussing china need to throw in the obligatory “china is ugly” reminder? Let’s see, the Chinese embassy was bombed, so the chinese should just stage pretty sitdowns? I thought the demonstrations at the US embassy were entirely justified.

    Even that realist Chas Freeman had to say some this or that about how china is ugly and evil.

    There is this sense in the western media that demonization of china is acceptable and even required when talking about china.

    Seems to me this author is has been BRAINWASHED by the western influences like so many others. 🙂

  92. @Bill, #96

    “However, what I find troubling about some of the more virulent forms of Chinese nationalism is that it focuses so much on the humiliating events of Opium Wars, the Boxer Rebellion, and the NATO bombing on the on hand, and the redemption of Chinese pride in 1949 and then at the start of “Reform and Opening”.”

    If you read my comments to FOARP, please consider this context. I completely agree with you that many well-meaning foreigners are helping China. Actually, I knew a retired patent lawyer / professor from my college – he was one of the key guys probably formulated a lot of the U.S. patent law – he was constantly traveling to China to help establish China’s version.

    I actually think at a government level, cooperation between U.S., China, etc., are generally going in the positive direction on most fronts.

    Most Chinese peoples anger are simply against those who proclaim to deeply care about human rights and what not, yet they are so obviously mean spirited and generally lack goodwill.

  93. When adjusted for education / work experience / other demographic factors, Asian Americans earn less than the average American. This may be caused by discrimination. The conditional correlation exists regardless of generation.

  94. @Huaren
    “yet they are so obviously mean spirited and generally lack goodwill”
    Where was your good will when you paid respects to my family?
    You have never gotten into a decent discussion with me about what I thought, but where was the goodwill towards me?

  95. Allen, I would concur with most of your thoughts. Some seem to think you areto be some ultra nationalist, but I think you have a balanced view. There is a sever dichotomy between western and eastern perceptions of china. Being in one almost guarantees you can not understand the views of the other. Being of the western perception doesn’t mean you to be white. You can be Chinese and “subscribe” to the western ideology, and as such, you would not be able to understand the chinese perspective. These are paradigms. You can only have one. And as such, there will be a lot of debate, but nothing will really be settled between the two sides. A someone already has stated, “a fool tries to move a mountain”. Rarely will one change their paradigm.

    But all of our arguments and dissertations matter not. China has it’s own agenda. It has leaders who have a vision, and are patient and slowly moving to that vision. Despite the western demonization (and some legitimate criticisms) of the CCP, I do think china is lucky in that it has had some very capable and rational leaders. The chinese people understand this vision, and will sacrifice today for the greater good tomorrow. While the west’s financial model and traditional strengths collapse, china is quietly building it’s strength and moving forward. I think after this DEPRESSION is over and the dust is settled, the world will wake up and realize china has caught up to the west much faster than expected.

  96. @All
    I am tired of the hypocricy that is going on here. Everyone attacks U.S. We as concious citizens of U.S. we protest to our government. But as a first generation Chinese Immigrant to U.S being critical of Taiwanese Government and the CCP and then all of the sudden we are not “Chinese” enough to criticize.
    I am tired of Chinese people hiding behind of the hurt feelings from history and then becomes vicious. We should all be “Activist Scums” because we should protest and share our opinions where we see fit about our government if we are not satisfied.
    I am ashamed at all of the FQ on the internet. Most of them did not live through hardship. I was lucky that my parents provided for me up until I moved out of the house at age 19. Half of these FQ do not have an idea of what it is like to face ACTUAL discrimination and sexism at a workplace. Hardship in life have taught me what things should be done in the world. I am glad that I live in a country that does not censor me, and give me the opportunities to find jobs to support myself through college. And when i look at what CCP is doing in China, it just makes my blood boil! Looking at pictures of the migrant workers breaks my heart. Reading a blog article about how they can’t seemed to get home for Chinese New Years is saddening. What is the CCP going to do? Is this the economic prosperity that EVERYONE is so proud of?
    Yes things may be better than 30 years ago, but by how much? Why is being nationalistic turns everyone blind to the reality? Why are farming girls going to the Big City to work in a factory but ended up being call girls because being a call girl makes more money?
    Sure U.S has its own problems but the government is not oppressing these opinions to make themselves look better? They make their problems an open book. CCP is so obssessed about keeping their “Face” that they seemed to neglect the little people that keeps China moving.

  97. To Zepplin:
    that’s an interesting statement. Based on the adjustments, I’d then ask whether Asian-Americans earn less than the average among those in the same line of work, or if Asian-Americans tend to work in lower-paying lines of work than the average American. If it’s the former, then it seems readily apparent that there’s a problem ie same pay for the same work. It’s the type of discrepancy women have complained about for a long time.
    However, if it’s the latter, then it seems to be much more complicated. You’d then have to determine why a disproportionate number of Asian-Americans tend to go to lower-paying lines of work. It might be discrimination; but there could be myriad other factors that haven’t been accounted for. I can’t speak of Americans; but in Canada, we hear of foreign-trained scientists and engineers who come to Canada, and end up driving taxis or being security guards. It’s not because of discrimination, but simply because there’s no reciprocity for recognizing professional training in other countries.
    So I think your statement, at least for me, raises more questions than it answers.

  98. @zepplin,
    can you prove your claim? I’m not surprised if this is true but what are the numbers?

    In addition, Asians as a whole earn on average higher than any race in America. Adjustments aside, they are better off income wise than everyone else on average. Even if there is discrimination in pay, they are earning high pay in spite of this barrier.

  99. Huaren- point taken. I didn’t mean to refer to you specifically. I’d just like to emphasize that there are a tremendous amounts of un-newsworthy positive things and historical events in Sino-US, Sino-Western relations on the people-to-people level, and on the government-to-government level. I think focusing on those events as well, can help bring perspective when dealing with some of the thornier issues.

  100. LOL, so much fear about the unknown.

    @Steve et al.

    Regarding your defining of nationalism/patriotism/xenophobia etc., I would say define away all you like, for ultimately, I doubt that it matter very much when it comes to China.

    Equally, all the hubbub emanating from ardent critics (excluding Steve of course) of China and Chinese nationalism are equally misinformed and misguided, even if they are based on supposed “experience” from having lived in that country, from personal ties to the culture or out of supposed “genuine concerns”.

    Such critique of Chinese nationalism is misinformed simply because it’s predicated on Western (Anglo-European) experience of nationalism/xenophobia, i.e. Westphalianism, WWI & II, the Holocaust, etc. Consequently, such perception and interpretation of Chinese nationalism is through the prism of your own cultural, social and historical matrix with your resulting projection of Chinese nationalism as developing along the same line as that of the Anglo-European experience or even Japanese nationalism/militarism. Seriously, what is the KMT if not a “nationalist” government, LOL.

    The sheer arrogance, myopia and fallacy of such arguments are obvious and I would be a very wealthy person if I had a dollar for every intellectually lazy-a** comparison of developments in China with this country’s or that country’s historical development. Such examples range from attempts to compare China’s economy to Japan’s, to suggestions that China’s government will go the same way as the USSR’s, from the Beijing Olympics to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, that an authoritarian/dictatorial government is incompatible with successful economic/social/political development or that China will inevitably become more like the West as it develops.

    Frankly, what I always find most amusing are Western commentators constant and invariable failure to pigeonhole China in order to have it fit in with their own narrative, imagination or aspiration and the resulting frustration thereof when it doesn’t turn out the way they wanted or imagined it to. Sometimes I wonder whether if in reality this is the actual underlying cause of much of the West’s difficulty in understanding China, its government, its people and the direction it is going.

    It never ceases to fascinate me to see how many times the West has got it wrong when it comes to China and is subsequently forced to revised their opinion. Personally, I think China will have a lot more surprises in store for the world in the future. And as for understanding China, to China’s ardent critics I would only say, understand yourself first.

    As for the op-ed, it is a snap shot of one person’s opinion at that point in time. Frankly it speaks more about that person’s psyche, personal experiences and interpretation thereof to date than anything else, so that it too is susceptible to change over time and with subsequent experience. She probably needs to travel more.

    @Allen

    Re. Glass ceiling & racism

    A personal anecdote.
    Awhile back I visited one of the so call “magic circle” law firms in the City of London (the financial centre of London) and was given a tour of the firm by a client care/liaison senior partner. I commented that his firm’s employees appear very ethnically diverse. He replied that it is something the firm is very proud and conscious of. I then ask him whether any of the partners are Chinese, to which he hesitantly answered no and made the excuse that it was early days yet, but that they have many Chinese associates. I then ask him how long they’ve had an office in HK and his uncomfortable reply was that they’ve had an office there for over forty years. I silently nodded and left him with something to think about.

    Re. Economic development of Chinese emigrants and Chinese food

    It is irrelevant that emigrant industries/services are perceived as “cheap”, “value for money” or “competitive” so long as it serves the purpose of its proprietors, namely the ability to accumulate capital quickly. Ask yourself, when something is cheap, how are you most likely to pay? Furthermore, the traditional immigrant industries are really just a stepping stone, for not everybody, irrespective whether they are Chinese or not has a Phd or an MBA and neither should it really matter. Personally, I always prefer having a Chinese person cut my hair, as I tend to find them more skilled, patient and thorough.

    As for going upmarket, there are actually plenty of upmarket Chinese restaurants in NY and London (where I sometimes stopover, though I detest London Heathrow airport, as it is the pits), nevermind in Asia. In NY, Ruby Foo’s is pretty good, while in London, I would recommend Hakkasan and Yauatcha. However, as you are obviously aware, what a Chinese person think of as Chinese food is often very different from what an average Westerner would think of or enjoy. I mean seriously, how many Chinese would actually eat chop suey or sweet & and sour pork regularly if at all? Personally, I’d rather enjoy a hot bowl of fisherman’s rice congee (艇仔粥 )served up by an old street hawker at midnight in Mong Kok, HK or 城都鐘水饺 than Michelin starred restaurants such as El Buli or the Fat Duck. The former I am happy to go back again and again, the later once is plenty enough for its simply too much hassle, not to mention gimmicky.

  101. @miaka

    “Looking at pictures of the migrant workers breaks my heart.Reading a blog article about how they can’t seemed to get home for Chinese New Years is saddening. What is the CCP going to do? Is this the economic prosperity that EVERYONE is so proud of?”

    Ok, so what’s your solution. What CAN be done for that migrant worker? What is the US willing to do? Bail him out with 100,000USD each?

    China has huge problems. There is plenty of poverty. There is plenty of corruption. When I say I am a realist, I say that they will do what is realistic. You CAN’T magically wave your hand and make these poor souls rich. And at this point, I wouldn’t trust any other goverment to fix china’s problems, let alone understand the problems. Yes, there are problems with CCP, but I think the western perspective underestimates them and over demonizes them. China has been lucky with some very smart and cool heads lately.

    Where it get’s heated in here is that a lot of the anti-china activists do not intend to be constructively critical, but to tear china down. They’re part of the coordinated china smear campaign, whether they know it or now.

    .

  102. @Oli

    Great points. Very good story about the glass ceiling. If asians are doing well in western countries, it is despite discrimination and social biases through sheer hard work. The glass ceiling speaks to how far western societies still need to go. Just think about how many asian CEO’s do you see? Those that exist do so because they bypass the social rules, such as starting their own company rather than climbing the ranks of the old white boys club.

    And look at Spain. As society, they really look down upon asians/immigrants. The scary thing is that I think they don’t even know that they are doing so.

  103. SK Cheung:

    The average income disparity may be caused by the glass ceiling effect, the link that Allen provided relates to that in the fields of doctors and lawyers. This is also observed among CEOs.

    Instead of mean income, most studies look at the median income where that effect is not important. The Median income is comparable in the latest census, with gender playing a far greater role: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States

    For the lower brackets, English proficiency may explain the discrepancy. for the higher brackets, anecdotal evidence suggesting that Asian Americans pursue more engineering/science versus liberal arts fields implies that there might be more discrepancy than at first appears.

    The place of education, as you suggest, is an important factor. Research shows that the median income is indiscriminant between Asian Americans and whites when holding that as a factor:
    http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.1086/381914?cookieSet=1

    The discrepancy reported in average income due to the glass ceiling effect is more difficult to refute.

  104. @Colin
    china should have never bailed U.S out period. China should have used that money to bail its OWN people out…. to be frank
    No you can’t magically wave your hand and make all of the problems all better. But you don’t need to get up at arms when someone says something that does not agree with your views. I am tired of “You are not Chinese enough to make that opinion” “your opinion are biased because you are not chinese enough” . For crying out loud, I hear it from the freaking republicans everyday how Un American I am, I am tired of hearing that. And honestly, colin, I think that the Chinese themselves underestimate some of the problems that they have. It has become “Poverty.. no big deal! we can live without”
    How about the controversy of the Chinese girls working in the Sex Industry that many Taiwanese merchant frequent? I read comments like “Those Taiwanese Merchants are taking advantage of the girls! Tai Ba zi” but you rarely see comments like “Poor girls, we should fix this problem” or “we all know this industry exists, that is the reality of being poor and wanting to make money to send back to their family”
    The American part of me cannot accept that this is the reality, but the Chinese part of me know that this is reality. But is the local government going to do something about this problem? No because they are all in bed with the merchants. And the Taiwanese merchants, they know what holes they can squeeze through and that is the greed in human nature.

  105. @Colin

    Actually, hard work is often not enough. There also need to be a take no BS attitude, but executed intelligently and with panache.

    🙂

  106. @miaka

    I agree with much of what you say. And I sympathize with those who suffer in China, or anywhere else in the world.

    If I disagree with you on anything, I think it would be this. There are big picture issues, such as poverty, TAM, Tibet, etc., for which nothing you do will have any effect. If one is a realist, one would find that following the typical western lines criticizing the CCP is fruitless. And yet, that’s just what most of the anti-china activists target.

    Then there are the “small picture” issues, such as the sex trade, local corruption, food safety, that your (collective) voice and action can influence. If you know about this, you can make a difference. That’s what millions of chinese netizens are doing. Exposing on the internet corruption, crime, injustice. Chinasmack.com is a great site that shows some of this. if you feel strongly, you should DO something. You can have an effect (though I doubt merely blogging will do much). You can join or donate to an organization genuinely interested in helping the people (cough… not TBIE).

  107. What is most depressing about much of the argument here is how closely it mimics the style of discussion in the West in the early 20th century. Instead of addressing issues on their merits, it turns into “You obviously don’t know China”, “You’re a Westerner” etc., which are attempts to just disqualify the other person from the debate, rather than engaging with them.

    It’s quite ironic really that with such an emphasis on how “China is different” and “you don’t understand us”, the style of argument could be lifted directly from the propaganda sheets of the West in the early 20th Century.

    Sure, most Western journalism on China is terrible. The NY Times is almost unreadable when it comes to China. But there are better and smarter ways to combat these perceptions than “Your heart isn’t Chinese”, “You’re a Westerner so you don’t understand”, etc. etc.

  108. Oli, interesting comment, as usual whenever I get to read your comments…

    A somewhat related topic. An African female writer Dambisa Moyo believed that Africa’s dealing with China is more helpful than the aid from the West, because China comes for trade and business, and the West comes with “pity”.

    Some of the migrant workers I know are quite possibly the happiest persons I know. I would say, save your sadness and indignation, and channel that energy to improve your own life — that likely is the best you can do to mankind.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne-JuWCtH2k

  109. @Colin
    That is where you and I differ. I believe we are not hearing the Tibetan Chinese’s POV. There are not enough transparancy in that part of the area where I am incline to contribute to their cause. Show me that is not from CCP Propaganda and I may believe you.
    And colin, I mentioned donation about the Aid’s cause, someone paid respect to my family. I mean like WOW….

  110. @miaka

    “And colin, I mentioned donation about the Aid’s cause, someone paid respect to my family. I mean like WOW….”

    Huh? Am I missing something.

    In re-reading you’re posts, I do have something else I disagree with you on.

    “CCP is so obssessed about keeping their “Face” that they seemed to neglect the little people that keeps China moving”

    I think the CCP is very much concerned with improving the lives of the “little people” and keeping china moving. At this point it’s mostly economic. But this is their top priority, bar none, in my opinion. They will make the people rich now, and make them free later. By ‘face”, in the realm of international politics, that translates into prestige and diplomatic power. With more prestige, there is more a country can do. On the flip side, some elements of the west wants slow china down by damaging it’s prestige via demonization in the media. I think this is not China’s primary concern, but a very justified secondary concern. Every nationwants “face”. It’s just called differently in the west. Prestige. Moral highgrand. Diplomatic power. Popular image and support. It allows you more influence and ability to do more.

  111. @Colin: “Every nationwants “face”. It’s just called differently in the west. Prestige. Moral highgrand. Diplomatic power. Popular image and support. It allows you more influence and ability to do more.”

    I agree 100%. There is nothing Chinese about the concern for “face”, really – it just manifests in different ways.

  112. @Colin
    You missed Huaren paid respect to my family….. and William calling me a liar…. and I am a girl, I hold grudges. (remember that)

    Like I have said in the thread about the Bronze heads, CCP would have made themselves look better if they had spent the money in private instead of creating an internation debacle. The organization was primarily concerned with AIDS and AIDS research which I am passionate about. And Mr. Cai did make a statement, but it does not turn into prestige. Also in order to have diplomatic power, CCP needs to be diplomatic first and recent events, they have not acted in the best interest of their people by acting like a sensitive cry baby. The bronze head, sarkozy seeing DL, the Sinking of the New Star, CCP has become an international embarrassment. Economic growth is awesome, its GREAT, but making China into an international super power takes dignity, and stomach and people have to realize that not everyone is out to get them. We all need to get out of that mentality, or we will be like the back country rednecks that sits on the porch with our shot guns cursing “You stupid Wetbags drug dealers don’t you dare come on to my property” (some paranoid white person thinking they are going to get robbed by the Mexicans)

  113. yo #104 “Asians as a whole earn on average higher than any race in America. Adjustments aside, they are better off income wise than everyone else on average.”

    But the black Americans can dream of becoming a CEO, the Sec of State, a 5 star General, a big talk show TV host or even the President of the USA.

    Asians don’t even think about it never mind dreaming of it. Lucky if they let you open your own laundry and restaurant businesses in the US. Chinese can only dream of having a good paying job or a small business, everything else in the US, in Canada and in the west is out of bounds.

  114. Re: revoking “Chinese-ness”

    Chinese as an ethnicity, as a nationality, and as a self-identity is clearly defined and not revocable, but Chinese-ness can certainly be questioned. To say that someone does not have a Chinese heart, which Allen regrets having done, is not inherently wrong.

    Cultural affinity is an obvious metric. But our New York lawyer Ms. Ma mentions her interest in Chinese food and displays knowledge about events of persecution in SE Asia, showing some level of cultural affinity. The purported naive political statements that she made does not directly contradict this.

    Another metric is the viewpoint mentioned earlier. Does she look at China from a western viewpoint or a Chinese one. However, this metric is biased. While it is easy to infer that someone is “Chinese” by his or her virulent nationalism, it is difficult to deduce anything from the advocacy of universal values. After all, if the claim is that these values are universal, the vantage point cannot be surmised. This is the mistake that many “ultra” nationalists make, since they do not believe in the universality of said values and simply deduces that she must be “western”. Even so, this metric is valid, if not easily identified.

    Another question is “Who are you rooting for?” This is a tricky metric that asks for intentions. When it comes to the Olympics, this is sometimes answered with “Olympics only helps the government oppress the people”, “May the best team win”, which I find unconvincing. The internationalist/humanist claim that whats best for humanity is best for China, or appeals to justice, merely dodges the question. There is a difference between supporting universal rights to benefit China and supporting universal rights for its own merit. There are many real world situations where the pie must be divided. An “ultra” nationalist may even choose a smaller pie as long as China’s share is bigger.

    It is both common and within reason to claim that someone lacks “a Chinese heart” or “Chineseness” along these lines. Other metrics such as the propensity to see the good in the CCP seem far less convincing.

  115. @miaka, #100, 102, 110

    Like colin, #107, please read his last paragraph – he and I and others are against the “smearing campaign.” You should be apalled at that group – for example, they would prefer U.S. corporations not invest in China.

    I should share a story with you. My wife was taking a river cruise in China. To board the ship, she had to cross a stretch of bamboo make-shift bridges. There were many migrant workers waiting to carry luggages for people if they needed help – in hopes of earning a tip. Bunch of younger migrant workers were quicker in running up to my wife asking if she could let them carry her suitcase. A really old migrant worker showed up last and begged her to let him carry it.

    Well, she did. The problem was he was so old and can’t carry much. His legs were wobbly when carrying the suitcase for even a short distance. My wife felt so bad and begged him in return to let her carry it. He cried thinking that if he gives up, he wouldn’t earn any money that day. My wife ended up carrying it with him and crying for the duration of the make-shift bridge.

    If you are talking about the plight of the poor people in China, please believe me that I understand where you are coming from.

    For you, frankly, I am not sure where to begin. I am not sure where your hostility towards the Chinese government is coming from.

    I will come back with another post tomorrow – I believe you should have every reason to be upbeat that the poorest people in China are going to get better opportunities if China continues its development trend.

  116. @miaka

    Well, I’m not going to discuss in-depth about this, as the animal heads have been discussed in another thread. I think however that you’re mixing two separate issues, Aids and war plunder. Like wise, the french seller is mixing two issues, war plunder and human rights.

    “making China into an international super power takes dignity, and stomach”

    Well, much of the dignity of the west hides gross misdeeds. You wouldn’t believe some of the dirty things western nations have done (even in recent history), and the public probably doesn’t even know half of it. What we see of the dignity of the west is the vast PR machine in works. China certainly is still playing catch-up in this regard.

    “people have to realize that not everyone is out to get them.”

    Just because the CCP is paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t really out to get them. 🙂

  117. @huaren #122

    Good points. China presents a constant dillima and challenge to those outside. On one hand, China is a large developing country with a huge farming population (over 800M), and many of them struggling daily to feed their family and improve the lives of their love ones. On the other hand, China is a giant among nations with vast resources and talents. She is increasingly acting as a counterweight to old western powers on the international arena. These two sides can happen all at once for China. This occured even when China was far less developed as it is now …

    When looking at China’s current stage on her social and enconomical development, people outside usually understand that it takes a lot of work to improve enconomy, but they also need to understand it takes a lot more time to improve social lives in any signifiicant way, especially with this home-made organic-growth approach used by China.

    Taking US for example, you simply need to ask why it took almost 10 years to start abolishing racial discrimination after WWII and took another 10 years to enact Civil Rights Act of 1964. Before WWII, US, as united republic, enjoyed centuries of peaceful development. One simple conclusion is that major social development usually took far more time than you wish.

  118. @Vmoore55 – Even the slightest glance at the news shows just how wrong what you have just written is. Taking the US as the example that you will be most familiar, you will see that cabinet posts have gone to US Asians – the current secretary for energy is a someone of Chinese descent, and the next secretary of commerce will be one as well. Ever heard of Eric Shinseki? That’s right, he was a four-star general – the highest rank attainable in the US army (the last five-star was Omar Bradley, and he retired back in 1953). And CEOs? Come on! Jerry Yang of Yahoo is an obvious example, but I’m sure there are plenty of others.

  119. B.Smith,

    “Allen’s statement, “I also felt Ying to lack the heart of a Chinese” is very telling. Allen is essentially saying, “Because I disagree with your views, you are not really a true Chinese.” This is nonsense. Ying Ma is ethnically and racially Chinese. Her opinions and thoughts have no bearing on that fact. ”

    First of all, there is a big distinction worth pointing out. Yes, Ms. Ma is “ethnically and racially Chinese.” And yes, “Her opinions and thoughts have no bearing on that fact.” Nobody is denying that fact. But that is how Chinese Ms. Ma can get: Chinese by ethnicity only. And what Allen says in his post is that she “lack[s] the heart of a Chinese”. There is a distinction between your genetic ethnicity and your cultural and psychological self-identification. No one is denying the fact the Ms. Ma is a Chinese by blood. But she is in no way a true cultural Chinese, as evidenced by her WSJ piece. She observes her fellow Chinese from a western perspective.

    “In fact, it could be argued that the Chinese who care most about China are the ones highlighting the problems the country faces, so that these problems can be fixed. ”

    I seriously doubt that Ms. Ma “highlights the problems” for any contructive purposes. If you go back and read her words carefully, it is not hard to sense the dismissive tone. “wait for the day when the government does not leave its citizens hungry in the cold, its political dissidents helpless before authoritarian repression and its citizens opting for new life in foreign lands.” Her comment smacks of condescension and one-upmanship. And it is not realistic or constructive at all. But maybe she is trying to be constructive, and I misinterpret her. Then in that case Ms. Ma is just being a bad, out-of-touch columnist.

  120. vmoore55

    FOARP has indicated why you’re talking absolute nonsense.

    Furthermore, if you asked Chinese Americans whether they would prefer being able to day-dream about public greatness or actually achieve something concrete like a good job, comfortable lifestyle, etc I think they’d choose the latter. That you seem to value the latter suggests you have had few serious financial concerns in your life.

  121. The Chinese Americans have come a long way, baby. We started with the lowest class in China – those who could not feed themselves and those who need to come here for any jobs (turned out to be building railroad…). Then, they worked/owned laundry stores and restaurants (thanks to the good Chinese food). They’re the lowest class in China and in the adopted country USA.

    The second migration wave were children (some legal and some illegal) and wives of the first wave immigrants after all the unfair laws that kept them away.

    Then the migration of ‘political (most are financial) refugees’. They’re laborers – guys worked in restaurants and females worked in clothing industry. I belonged to the HK kids who wanted to study in US, but was the minority in total Chinese population in the US. I belonged to a higher class in Hong Kong and pretended I could speak English.

    The children did better and the grandchildren even are doing better. A lot go to college and work in professional jobs.

    After TAM, the top cream of Chinese educated stayed here and their parents came too. A lot of illegal Chinese immigrants. Their number is huge and change the most popular Chinese dialect in Chinatown from Cantonese/Taishan to Mandarine.

    Compared to India here (most with professional jobs), we’re in all layers of the society and our average income per family is far less. Compared to current generation of Koreans, we’re a little behind too. Compared to South Americans, we’re well ahead.


    My interpretation of American Chinese. Please feel to correct.

  122. My ancestors left Europe a hundred years ago and became Americans. While I understand European history I have never thought of myself as European or even European-American. If I run into a European or a Chinese while traveling overseas I’m as likely to talk to the Chinese as to the European. I’m 100% American. So I have little understanding of why people of Chinese ancestry continue to think of themselves as either Chinese or Chinese-Americans. Can’t they get past that? Can’t they be Americans – completely? Some say they are still Chinese because they haven’t fully been accepted by other Americans. I say that may be because too many haven’t thought of themselves as Americans first. Too many think only of getting an American passport for pragmatic advantages and that attitude is resented by others.

  123. @vmoore55 #120

    Your thought is quite outdated or you’ve not been in US for a while. The laundry stores are very few and most are for dry clean. In US, most laundries today are self serviced and a lot are franchised. Opening restaurants could be small family ones but expensive ones. Even the family-operated ones are not that small now. The small take-out place in our town always has over 10 folks working.

    They are a lot of Chinese CEOs and a lot start their own business esp. in high tech firms. Too many examples to list. My guess is the % is higher than most minorities and the white majority. There could be two American Chinese in Obama’s cabinet (one waiting to be confirmed). Locke is appointed due to his connection to Chinese business but may not be appointed for same reason.

    Contrary to what you see on TV series, you can find a lot of doctors are Asians and you do not see too many black doctors. Most Asians doctors are used to be Chinese, but the mix is changing to include a lot of Indians and Koreans. There are a lot of doctors/nurses from Philipine.

    Not too related: If Obama’s mother were black, how was his chance to be president? My guess is slim.

  124. @Jay #129

    You have a point. However, it is because of our color and features that separate us from the main stream which is white and most are from Europe. When the Jews hide the custom/dress (just for illustration), you cannot tell he is a Jew except from the last name.

    You do not face any discrimination as you’re the majority, but not the first generation from Asia or other countries.

    My children who were born here do not think they’re Chinese at all except that they like to eat Chinese food.

  125. @Colin
    I believe that they could have used that opportunity to show a big heart. To show that they can get over a War Humiliation and move on and become a great country. The fact that they didn’t, I am disappointed.

    And people are out to get China just like the Mexican government want to take over New Mexico by sending all of the illegals over the border and have babies here… *sarcasm*

    @Huaren
    I will not address your comments until you have apologize to me for attacking me personally in multiple threads.

  126. @Miaka – Vmoore55 was talking about Asians in general, yes, I am quite aware that ‘Shinseki’ is a Japanese name, I guess it must be the ‘Shinseki’ bit that gives it away! On the other hand, I had no idea that ‘Locke’ was a Chinese name . . .

    Whilst we’re on that subject, is Miaka a Japanese name?

  127. @Vmoore,
    Well i don’t know about the extent of Asian Americans in high positions, if you can provide numbers that would be good. However, as a group, they are performing exceptionally well, despite presences of prejudices, which I feel is a testimony to their ability to lift themselves up and succeed in the face of adversity.

  128. @Jay #129, @Steve #82,

    Jay wrote:

    My ancestors left Europe a hundred years ago and became Americans. While I understand European history I have never thought of myself as European or even European-American. If I run into a European or a Chinese while traveling overseas I’m as likely to talk to the Chinese as to the European. I’m 100% American. So I have little understanding of why people of Chinese ancestry continue to think of themselves as either Chinese or Chinese-Americans. Can’t they get past that? Can’t they be Americans – completely? Some say they are still Chinese because they haven’t fully been accepted by other Americans. I say that may be because too many haven’t thought of themselves as Americans first. Too many think only of getting an American passport for pragmatic advantages and that attitude is resented by others.

    Steve wrote:

    I’m not Italian, I’m American and have no desire to live in Italy. It’s a great place to visit and I’d definitely recommend it, but I’m far more “American” than I am “Italian”. It’s that percentage of nationality that seems to be different among overseas Chinese and some other ethnic groups. My support for Italy would be in the abstract, exactly as it is for my support of China and based on behaviour rather than blood. My attitude, and my family’s attitude, is that we didn’t leave Italy to become Italians living in America, or even Italian Americans. We immigrated to become Americans and that’s what we are.

    Perhaps surprisingly – perhaps not – both of your attitudes resonate with me.

    I feel I am fully American, and feel I owe a lot to America for providing me all the opportunities it has given me.

    But being American does not mean I cannot feel Chinese. Maybe being a British or French would … but not an American (America as a country of immigrants, belongs to the world, not just the Europeans).

    Surprising as it may be: in my professional life, I do not like to join Asian Lawyer’s network; I have always been turned-off by ethnic identity based politics in the U.S. and hence have never supported affirmative action (even when it could benefit Asians and Chinese Americans); I’ve always preferred to approach social problems in America not by magnifying our differences, but rather by moving us toward solving our social problems as one people.

    My citation of Chinese Americans statistics above was in context of Ms. Ying’s portrayal of Chinese immigrants as a mass of the down trodden looking for opportunity in foreign lands. It was not to carve out Chinese Americans from being fully Americans.

    If I seem anti-American on this board – it is only to the extent that I believe that many attacks on China have been grossly unfair. The bias shown in the U.S. press has just been too abominable!

    My stance here is mainly in terms of geopolitics: yes, China – like all countries – does deserve criticism. But criticism in the vacuum – especially in the form of continual and out-of-text ideological attacks – are neither insightful, helpful, nor commendable.

    Given the rise of China, I feel it is my American duty to voice a Chinese perspective – in a way that – over the long term – can be accepted by my fellow Americans.

  129. @ Luke
    “Instead of addressing issues on their merits, it turns into “You obviously don’t know China”, “You’re a Westerner” etc., which are attempts to just disqualify the other person from the debate, rather than engaging with them.”

    I agree in principal, disqualifying people in this manner is not fair; one of my professors, who is white, is one of the most knowledgeable people about Chinese culture i’ve ever known PERIOD and his opinions holds a lot of water with me.

    But this disqualification goes both ways like when people disqualify Chinese pov’s that don’t jive with the whole freedom democracy rhetoric because they have been “brainwashed”.

    But I would differ in that there are areas where non-chinese can never truly understand, and the best way I can describe it is the way I can’t truly understand what it means to be black or a woman.

  130. There has been a lot of talk on why so many Chinese nationalists seem fixated by past historical events such as the Opium War, Japanese Imperialism, etc.

    Some see that many of these events happened 150 years ago. If you average 30 years per generation, that is some 5 generations ago! Why dredge out the past like this? To these people, it seems like Chinese nationalists are simply being opportunistic in fishing out old, expired emotional skeletons for the purpose of fomenting emotions so the country can take an aggressive stance against the world.

    For others though, these past events did not happen just a long time ago. The circumstances in which the Chinese people find themselves today have a direct correlation to these string of events.

    The Opium War bankrupted the Chinese gov’t. War debts and influx of opium weakened the country so much that it allowed for full Aggression by the Japanese first toward Korea, then toward China proper, at the turn of the last century.

    Japanese aggression further impoverished China to such an extent that revolution and civil war became unavoidable. The unification of China was achieved at great cost – with intellectuals and more wealth directed out of the nation.

    Geopolitics in the cold war further drained an already weak China, prompting disastrous movements in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

    Travel the world, and you will see that lives in most formal colonies continue to be abysmal.

    While the former Imperialists are ready to walk away from history, many of the former victims feel the shadow of the injustices of past century in a very real way today.

    I agree that playing victimhood for the purpose of playing victimhood never does anyone good, but to forget history is to forget the lessons of history. Trying to forget history because it is uncomfortable, esp. when the past may seem so long ago, is definitely not healthy either.

    Many of today’s most pressing problems / injustices in the world cannot be understood without understanding the history of the last century or two.

  131. @miaka, #136

    I think you missed the point on those comments. I made wild and unsubstantiated comments about your family. They were offensive, weren’t they?

    So, why is that offensive to you? We don’t know each other. I have no idea what I said about your family is true or not. But its offensive none the less.

    You made all these claims about China and I simply like you to understand that millions and millions working directly for the Chinese government are Chinese people. China’s government has very strong support from the Chinese population in general. If you want to make wild accusations, then be ready to be exposed.

    Your point about China being great – I would argue, despite China’s limited capabilities compared to some other countries, China is becoming lot more well respected through her actions. I recall reading couple of months ago China forgave $ billions in debt to Africa. Isn’t that charity?

    Why would you lump AIDS with this Brit/French looting and pillaging of Chinese people together? Are you out of you mind? Are you another one of those cannot separate right from wrong?

  132. In addition to Allen’s comments (#141):

    Also, don’t mistake the fact that a pro-China person using past atrocities in arguments as playing victimhood. In most of the cases I see them used in forum as this one:

    1. Its a simple morality test to separate out duplicitous scums.
    2. Reminder to the self-proclaimed moral champions that they and their ancestors in fact have the most atrocious records.
    3. Illustrate how duplicitous some capitalistic media are in the “West”.

    On a larger context, I believe China’s relations with U.S., E.U., Japan, etc. are becoming more normalized. Things on a grand scale between these nations/entities are towards long term peace and evelopment. These we definitely ought to be thankful for.

    I would also add that at a grand scale, things are working right. I am very happy that the activist scums are so marginalized. I am happy that opinions defending China against these ridiculous smearing for so long are being voiced at a grassroots level. This was almost unheard of before the Internet.

  133. To echo Allen’s last point, I would also point out that those who criticise China or Chinese people for bringing up past wrong often suffer from a distinct lack in empathy and self-reflection. Often there is a failure to relate simply because those events did not happen in their own country or within their own cultural and historical conciousness/awareness.

    In comparison many Americans annually reenact the battle of Gettysburg or Little Big Horn etc. as a form of memorial, out of historical interests or because of family ties. You wouldn’t guess how hard I try to supress my smirk every time I come accross some organisations/clubs with names such such as Daughters of the Revolution or Daughters of the Mayflower etc. Next thing I know, I’m watching Little House on the Prarie, LOL. Ditto in Europe with the English Civil War or in southern Spain/Italy reenacting the battles against the Moores/Turks. Consequently, Chinese could equally poke fun at Americans/Europeans or God forbid Jews, by shrugging their shoulders and wonder what all the fuss is about.

    American Civil War, English Civil War? Big deal, a walk in the park. What you never heard of the Chinese Civil War? The Alamo? Try Nanjing. The American Revolution? Bah a cake walk, we have had dozens of them in China. To everybody, everybody else are just a bunch of cry babies who ought to just suck it up.

  134. I just watched Nanjing (Netflex rental) last night after a prolonged delay. Chinese nationalism must be at the lowest point in recent history. Alamo and the likes are not even close comparing to Nanjing. Watch it and you know what I mean. Words cannot do justice to describe our shame and anger.

  135. raj #127 “That you seem …..suggests you have had few serious financial concerns in your life.”

    Don’t want to talk about you. I have tons of concerns and don’t know where to start.

    However, I am talking for a few Chinese friends that don’t post here and who are real smart and are very well educated. But are going nowhere up the corp. ladder.

    Two MIT guys are working as researchers never got up to senior posts after 30 years there. They are retired and had just returned to China to teach.

    Two lawyers and one businessman, all Chinese opened a restaurant after getting fired by their new black manager.

    And a Chinese female friend that made it big in pharma-chemicals left the company after 20 years because her new team leader from India was stealing from her. So for 2 years she was trying to get a loan to open her own drug store or a lab. She gave up last year, sold her 3 million dollar house and moved to Brazil. There she opened an import/export business dealing in Chinese med products, real hot and a great money maker too. She said no more USA for me.

    Not all the Chinese friends I know have it as good as those above, some Chinese guys I know have MAs and one with a PHD are driving cabs part time.

  136. @Jay,

    I disagree with you. Of course there are ethnic Chinese who get American passports for convenience, but I also know many other people from Europe, the Middle East etc who get American passport for convenience too.

    In most instances, it’s white Americans who view Chinese-Americans as not fully American. For example, I was at a major law firm in a major American city once. A Caucasian person walked pass by me and said “Ni Hao” which shocked and disturbed me. Clearly, to him, I was foreign and English was not my native tongue although I could have been fifth generation Chinese-American.

    To me, the term “American” is a fluid concept. One of my goals in life is to contribute the best I can as an American of Chinese descent so that when my children grow up, people would not automatically assume that being American equates being Caucasian.

  137. @miaka 119

    I do not agree with huaren’s choices of words in your guys’ exchanges. However, I can understand why he might feel so upset, if you will. You blame China (I assume you meant chinese government) for creating an international debacle, while trying to retrieve looted artifacts, and sabotaging the grand course of funding aids reseach. I understand that this is of particular importance for you, as it is for me as well. However, how would you feel if someone auctioned a car stolen from you and declare that a portion of it will be donated to aids research, would you feel the same still? Internationally, the fate of looted artifacts from many countries are still unsettled. China simply shared the opinions of many others, such as Egypt, Italy, India, to name a few. It may not be true, but it really sounded like, by reading your posts, that China can do no right, albeit the economic growth is awesome. Whenever there is a dispute between china and western countries, china is at fault. This is the impression i get from reading you posts, and probably why Huaren was so emotional. I myself don’t agree on every point with either of you, but I do hope that you can open your eyes to the possibility of sometimes China (and even CCP) can be right in these conflicts. And in a lot of those conflicts, the Chinese goverment do enjoy grassroot support, whether you like and agree with it or not. I think it would be more constructive to find out why the support is there, instead of attributing it all to the CCP propoganda, as people frequently do. I also urge Huaren to be open to other opinions, and sensitive to your feelings as well.

    On the discussion of Chineseness, I find it kind of silly to call someone un-Chinese simply because her opinion is more in line with mainstream western media. There are different facets of Chineseness. Some of the posts suggest an homogeneous character of being chinese, which i find hard to reconcile with the reality. The different views by various people of chinese descents are perfect demonstration that being chinese means different things for them. Calling other out for being unchinese is no different from what Palin did by calling the middle america the real america, which is self-righteous at the best.

    @Jay 129

    why people of Chinese ancestry continue to think of themselves as either Chinese or Chinese-Americans. Can’t they get past that? Can’t they be Americans – completely? Some say they are still Chinese because they haven’t fully been accepted by other Americans.

    __________________________________________________

    Allen, steve and others had already given good points. Here are my two cents. Chinese americans (and asian americans in general) are more frequently reminded of their ancestry. How many of us have been asked this question: “So, where are you from” followed by “I mean, where are you (your ancestors) really from”? These questions do not by themselves suggest any bias or discrimination, and I myself only find it amusing at times. But for some of my ABC friends (american born chinese), it seems to imply that they are not real americans, or at least late comers. A case in point is that some newspaper carried the news of michelle Kwan losing to Tara Lipinsky in the 1998 olympics with the title “American beat Kwan”, even though both are second-generation immigrants. The kind of affinity that Chinese americans feel towards china can also be found in Mexican Americans, Jewish Americans. However, compared with Jewish American’s political influence, and the asian ameicans’ academic success, the few asian american cabinet members as a testament of asian americans’ political clout are marginal at best. To no small effect, I believe, this is due to conscious choices on the asian american part. It is deemed to be easier to pursue success in fields that can be measured more quantitively (examinations, e.g.), therefore a choice to become doctors, lawyers, scientist and engineers, is encouraged by most asian parents. This might be a result of the professional background of the immigrant parents, their perception of to what degree Asian americans will be accepted as political leaders, and other factors. As a result, Asian americans have frequently been cited as the model immigrants (law abiding, high education, etc.), while remain politically silent. Organizations such as 80-20 initiatives is a rather recent phenomenon. And hopefully, more asian american voices will be heard, and making an effective voice the the political arena in the states.

  138. @Vmoore55 – On the other hand, I could tell you about my father, who just got laid off after spending the best years of his life working hard in the central office of a major UK firm, my brother-in-law who just got laid off from his job at KPMG, my friend with a doctorate in physics who can’t get anything paying better that £25,000 a year, my sister who is stuck teaching secondary school after doing post-doc chemical research in the US, another friend of mine who wrote for The Guardian and many other magazines/newspapers but is now currently doing a menial desk job for the NHS, my sister with an MA who was working doing tele-sales until she had children – in case you haven’t noticed, we’re in the middle of one of the most severe recessions since the war at the moment, most people are finding it hard at the moment, not that it was easy before. Of the people I know, the majority of those who are smart and have good qualifications are doing jobs which essentially waste their talents, and many of those who are successful have no real skills other than the ability to sell themselves – this is not a problem of race, but of corporate culture.

  139. vmoore

    I have tons of concerns and don’t know where to start.

    What FOARP said at 149. You’re kidding yourself if you think Chinese are the only people to have it bad. Indeed they don’t do bad overall.

    Not all the Chinese friends I know have it as good as those above, some Chinese guys I know have MAs and one with a PHD are driving cabs part time.

    Welcome to the world of the degree glut – it applies to all ethnic groups.

  140. Follow up to Allen’s post in #141

    One way to counter that so-called “Chinese nationalist threat” is to give them a good education on the genealogy of current events, and show them how west’s past wrong doings have caused these problems.

    BTW, the list of perceived Chinese “threat” is quite long and absurd 🙂

    A strong Chinese military is a “threat”
    Buying raw material is a “threat”
    Investment in Africa is a “threat”
    Exporting low-cost consumer goods is a “threat”
    Chinese capital is a “threat”
    Chinese emigration is a “threat”
    Chinese nationalistic feeling is a “threat”
    Chinese model of nation building is a “threat”
    … the list on and on

  141. @Jane – “A Caucasian person walked pass by me and said “Ni Hao” which shocked and disturbed me.”

    It was at this point where I started laughing and didn’t stop for about 5 minutes. Can I now say that these guys were just tring to be friendly, that they want to study Chinese, that you are being arrogant and do not understand local culture? Pretty please?

  142. @FOARP, #152, Jane, #147

    Look, Jane’s argument is over-all valid. “In most instances, it’s white Americans who view Chinese-Americans as not fully American.”

    FOARP – funny thing – I simply knew someone such as you would pick on that statement, “A Caucasian person walked pass by me and said “Ni Hao” which shocked and disturbed me.”

    I take your comment #152 as a cheap shot at a good argument. If you did so on purpose, then that’s another reason I think you belong to the scum pile.

  143. @Huaren – If I am in ‘the scum pile’, then pretty much every expat in China is too, as almost all of us have joked about doing this when we got home because of the way you are guaranteed to have some moron shout “HELLOOOO LAOWAI!” at you every time you walk out onto the street in most parts of China (central Shanghai was a welcome exception). Of course, I’ve never heard of any expat actually doing this (until, perhaps, now) because it is rude, stupid, and offensive.

    As for Jane’s main argument, I agree with it.

  144. In fact, thinking about it, although snarky, my original statement was actually agreeing with Jane – nobody likes some idiot coming up to them and shouting at them in a foreign language simply because they assume that they speak that language due to the colour of their skin. The people I was having a dig at were those who have always attempted to excuse this (in China at least), and insinuate that people who felt insulted by it were thin-skinned and arrogant.

  145. @Huaren
    I think you have missed my point completely and its ok, because I am done arguing with you.

    @Neutrino
    I don’t point out what things CCP is doing right because they SHOULD be doing them. It is their job. The reason why an authoritarian government works in China is because we all have the mentality that the government is like our parent. So, why should they get compliment for doing their job? You will never see me talking about what U.S has done right, but get into a republican vs democrat argument and I will point out the mistakes that republicans have made starting with Reagonomics (WTF?? That is all I have to say. Dittoheads will support that til the they that they die while cursing at Obama being socialistic)

    The good thing about authoritarian government such as CCP is that it can get things done, good for the country. But I question their motives. I think they are still stuck in the mindset of what is good for the party comes before what’s good for the country. And What is good for the party does not mean its good for the country. Hence why I doubt their motives. They are just as pure as U.S in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  146. @miaka

    I am sorry, but when I find you make totally unfair accusations against other people, I will point them out. If I think you are purposedly malicious and part of a concerted effort to create friction between Chinese and other peoples, then I feel necessary to expose you. 🙂

    “They are just as pure as U.S in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    Do I need to tell you this is sick logic? You are talking about a country lying to the world about WMD, invading another country and killing so many people. Hello?! We are in the 21st century. How does your claim about CCP not having enough transparency or doing enough for the migrant workers equate to this out-right murdering of hundreds of thousands of people?

  147. @neutrino

    I agree with much of what you say, apart from the following points:

    “So, where are you from” followed by “I mean, where are you (your ancestors) really from”? These questions do not by themselves suggest any bias or discrimination, and I myself only find it amusing at times. But for some of my ABC friends (american born chinese), it seems to imply that they are not real americans, or at least late comers.

    When people ask ‘Where are you from?’ in this kind of scenario, they are actually using a more polite way of asking ‘What’s your ethnic origin?’. People seem to feel awkward asking this question straight out though, perhaps out of fear of appearing to be un-PC or judgemental. I can see how it can be irritating to be asked this question throughout your whole life, especially if you feel your identity to have little relation to your ethnicity, but I don’t see that wanting to find out someone’s ethnic origin and/or cultural background implies that you see them as less American, just different.

    A case in point is that some newspaper carried the news of michelle Kwan losing to Tara Lipinsky in the 1998 olympics with the title “American beat Kwan”, even though both are second-generation immigrants.

    When I read this, I interpreted it completely differently. I’d say that the majority of people know who Michelle Kwan is, even outside of the figure-skating world because of her success, whereas Lipinski has a much lower profile. If the title read ‘Lipinski beat Kwan’, then many people’s immediate questions would be ‘Who’s Lipinski? Where’s she from?’. The simple answer would be ‘An American’. I think the headline does its job well. I guess if you believe there’s widespread discrimination, you’ll see it even where it might not exist.

  148. @Neutrino
    If my car was stolen (which it was) and they informed me that they are going to sell it at an auction for charity, if I had the resource to spare such expense, I would just let it go. Its a good cause.
    But then, I am also the type of person that contributes whatever I can to good causes. I donate old clothing to money to buy girl scout cookies every year. If I have food on me and I see homeless while I am driving, I will give them food, and if I have a dollar I give it to them.

    The thing that bothers me the most is that everyone keeps on saying these artifacts represent the evil acts of the west. But we need to move forward and learn from that by not dwelling on the past. I feel like CCP acts like those people that have so much problem in the past that they ended up becoming drug addicts, but still blame their parents and the people that has done them wrong. The key to people that walk out of that shadow is to take what happened in the past and learn from it. A good example from my own family:
    My birth mother died when I was a little baby in a car accident. On her insurance policy, she made my maternal grandmother as the beneficiary. At the time, my dad’s immigration status had been ok’ed and was moving to U.S. He went and asked my grandmother for that money but my grandmother refused to give it to him, because she said it was for me. Years later, when my dad gets drunk or mad, he tells me constantly, “I came to U.S broke and provided for you, your grandma refuse to give me a penny and I struggled because of it” and then proceed to tell me what bad people my mom’s side of family are for making him struggle (as if he had gotten the money, he would’ve become a successful businessman? even after the first bankruptcy we went through?) CCP is like my dad. Nothing is ever his fault. And I am like the West, I am always the one that was blamed and how I become the ungrateful daughter that I am for not doing things his way. He is the king therefore he gets to make his own rules. So seriously, my dad needs to own up to his own mistakes just like CCP needs to acknowledge that and then move on. Up until this day, my dad hasn’t moved on and I am still the source of everyone of his problems.

  149. @miaka9383 #160,

    You wrote:

    The thing that bothers me the most is that everyone keeps on saying these artifacts represent the evil acts of the west. But we need to move forward and learn from that by not dwelling on the past. I feel like CCP acts like those people that have so much problem in the past that they ended up becoming drug addicts, but still blame their parents and the people that has done them wrong.

    CCP is like my dad. Nothing is ever his fault. And I am like the West, I am always the one that was blamed and how I become the ungrateful daughter that I am for not doing things his way. He is the king therefore he gets to make his own rules. So seriously, my dad needs to own up to his own mistakes just like CCP needs to acknowledge that and then move on. Up until this day, my dad hasn’t moved on and I am still the source of everyone of his problems.

    Suppose I can with the wave of my hand erase in all Chinese nationalists’ mind their collective memory of past transgressions against China to be replaced with simple lessons from the past.

    What lessons are these?

    I ask because in my simple mind, the lessons of the past is that without a strong nation, foreigners will walk all over you. That lesson in my mind cannot be taught without forgetting the past.

  150. @Jane

    I can’t understand why you would describe someone saying ‘Ni Hao’ as shocking or disturbing. I can see how it’s irritating, but could you elaborate on why you feel it’s shocking and why it disturbs you? I see nothing particularly sinister in it, just someone assuming something about you from your appearance and rather misguidedly trying to impress you. Even if someone said ‘konnichiwa’, it would just be annoying.

    I’d be interested to know how you feel about foreigners getting ‘Hello!’ shouted at them in China as mentioned by FOARP, even though they might not even speak English.

    Would you consider a white person to be Chinese if they were 2nd+ generation immigrants?

    Even if they were 5th generation, I believe they would still get ‘Hello!’ shouted at them and there’d still be racial stereotyping. I believe this will happen everywhere you go unless society becomes truly multicultural and the links between race and language are broken down.

  151. I’m the 4th generation Chinese Malaysian. Chinese Malaysians identifies strongly with Malaysia. They view the land as their land, and they are deeply rooted in the society. Chinese Malaysians generally are very proud of their cultural and ancestral heritage. We pride ourselves as the only country, other than the Greater China region, to possess Chinese education (public and semi-public, from kindergarten to institutes of higher learning). We have also developed our unique culture, that’s very Chinese and yet incorporated influences from other cultural groups in Malaysia. There is no conflict in our identification between cultural Chinese and political Malaysian identities. I’m an extremely nationalistic Malaysian. According to me, nationalism is being proud of who you are, no matter the view of other people.

    According to my experience with Chinese from China, and writings originate from Mainland China, I notice that Mainland Chinese are nationalistic, and yet lack self-confidence about their own culture. For example, Mainland Chinese gets upset or ashamed when foreigners said,”You Chinese eat dog”. I fail to see why they should feel upset or ashamed. You do eat dog, what is wrong with that? Simply because some cultures raise dogs as pets, doesn’t mean other cultures can’t treat dogs as food. Chinese should be more comfortable with themselves and care less about what outsiders think about their cultures. (And yes, China is communist, so what? No need to feel inferior about it.)

  152. @miaka 156

    I’m not saying you need to point out what CCP has been doing right domestically . What I was referring to is that in every controversial issue that has international involvement and publicized in mainstream western media, you seem to take that china can do no right,at least that’s my impression. I’m not saying you have some sort of built-in prejudice. But let’s face it, we are all biased. But it would be nice treat each sides with a grain of salt, not just the Chinese side. Different people just try to be objective to different degrees. The “whatever china does is a threat” mentality is, in away, a testament to the rising power of china, both economically and politically. The current world geopolitical order was shaped by the western powers,and understandably designed to protect their interest. If the interests overlap with poorer countries, great. IF not, you can guess whose “national interest” will come first. In a lot of these so-called china-related conflicts, china is simply trying to redefine the rules to suit her national interest.This is only natural. ANd it’s also natural that certain countries will resist that. But to suggest that china is wrong on every issue internationally, and causing “international embarrassment”, in your actual words,is really condescending and naive. ANd I hope you are better than that. Most of my friends from third world countries, do not share that sentiment. Maybe that’s just because the circle of friends that I keep — or those countries do not count in the definition of international opinion.

    @Ms CHief 159

    MSNBC was forced to apologize for that article in 1998.Washington times did it again in 2002.To suggest it’s only because that the media thought Lipinski or Hughes is not as famous, is not convincing for me. It might be oversensitve on the asian american part. The feeling of a lot of , but not all, Asian Americans being considered not real americans by their white/black/brown compatriots, are real.

    As for the question of “where are you really from”. I’m simply saying a white/black person has a much smaller probability of being asked that question. I never suggested asking that question itself is seeing others being less american, it’s just a fact that it makes (some) people who were asked that question feel that way. ANd it’s especially true if you are born here. FOr me, I don’t feel irritated. I’m just relaying other people’s thoughts and feelings. ON the other hand, other fellow asians (maybe chinese in particular) also like to question the asianess/chineseness of others. This can also be irritating, as demonstrated on this blog. Some examples, the usage of terms such as Bananas (for ABC and eastern asian immigrants in general), Coconut (for ABCD, American BOrn Confused Desi), etc. In this regard, asian americans have it hard in both ways. ANd I think it IS annoying sometimes, but you deal with it nevertheless.

  153. @Shahid

    I don’t think it’s so much what is said, but rather the tone of voice in which it is said.

    Now imagine a Malay say to you, a Malaysian Chinese, “You Chinese are all money, money, money! You are not true rakyat”, in corresponding not very friendly, even derisory tone of voice. I’m sure you’ll just roll over and let your tummy be tickle silly too, right?

  154. @Miaka: “CCP is like my dad. Nothing is ever his fault. And I am like the West, I am always the one that was blamed and how I become the ungrateful daughter that I am for not doing things his way. He is the king therefore he gets to make his own rules. So seriously, my dad needs to own up to his own mistakes just like CCP needs to acknowledge that and then move on. Up until this day, my dad hasn’t moved on and I am still the source of everyone of his problems.”

    On a personal level, that’s true for me too… Though I’m the son, not the daughter. I know perfectly well what it is like to live with a person who never admits mistakes – though this person is also, with all faults, a loving parent.

  155. @neutrino
    There is no absolute right or wrong in international politics. Every country has their own rules for their own national interest.
    But what I am embarrassed of about CCP is not these intentions is the actions to execute these intentions.
    Lets use a good example, something not so controversial
    I am embarrassed that U.S cried foul at the south sea. However, no matter how “evil” the act is, we as Chinese should not act like barbarians(i.e throwing debris and forcing an emergency stop). If China want to stand up, they should have sent a warship and fire off warning shots. I don’t see those fishermen as heroes, I see them as national embarrassment. I advocate diplomatic solutions, and yes that includes the warship.
    If someone keeps on walking back and forth on the sidewalk in front of your houseand taking pictures what do you do? 1. ask them politely to stop and go away. 2. if that doesn’t help call teh cops( this case the Chinese military)

    In regarding the artifact, China protested. It is within their legal right to do so. The price jack up was expected, and an artifact is worth as much as a person wants to pay for it. However, what Mr Cai did was out of blind nationalism. There would be a better way of dealing with things. Some are tactful and some are not. So what someone tried to use it as a ransom for Tibet? When you are in the right, you have the freedom to find alternative ways to approach things to get the same result(haggle until I can’t haggle anymore and do research on an artifact on that time usually costs).

    As for the New Star, why are we protesting to the Russian government when, 1. we would probably do teh same thing and 2. we delievered a defective product. 3. Why are we letting these products go out on the ship without quality testing it?

    Those above are the events that makes me embarrassed. These events shows that we as a chinese population have no class, even tho we do. (you may disagree) It seems that when a country makes a comment about China, everyone becomes outraged by it, when the person from that country that makes the comment really couldn’t care less about what you think. 大國之風 means to me to have thick skin, big stomach and have tact in dealing with things.

    International embarrassment is just my own personal feelings, not opinion. You can’t argue with my feelings. Yes I have feelings…. I am female, I have lots of it 😉 Like I am the family embarrassment because I work and go to school and still hasnt’ graduated from college.

  156. @miaka9383
    I learned a while back to not be embarrassed by things that I didn’t do, and I hope you don’t fall into the “liberal guilt” trap.

  157. @ Ms Chief,

    Because I was in the hallway of a major law firm in Washington DC and yet the first thing that came to that person’s (a white male) mind was that I was foreign. My comment was in response to another commentator who complained that Chinese Americans do not view themselves as full Americans. Well, I certainly felt I was 100% American that day but only to be reminded that some Americans did not view me as fully American. I am sure that person did not greet my white colleagues with “bonjour” or “guten tag”.

    We Americans should know better since unlike China (which is relatively much more homogeneous) we are a global melting pot and it is shocking that someone would I assume I am foreign in a law firm of all places! I could understand it more if I was in Chinatown.

    Yes, I would consider a white or black person to be Chinese even if they were first generation immigrant in China. Besides, who am I to determine who is Chinese and who is not, if someone wants to be Chinese, sure why not. And yes, I have told people I met in China that they shouldn’t yell “hello” to all white people because it’s rude.

  158. @Jane
    I actually understand how you feel. I have people do that to me all the time, until I spoke English. But I manage to make fun of them, whether or not “ni hao” was said with a malicious intent or not. What’s even worse, is that there are Asianphiles that likes to hang out in a oriental grocery store and those people I just ignore. They are creepy.

    Because where I live, we have a lot of Vietnamese American, and its funny because when I was working at Sears, I had a vietnamese family came up to me and start talking to me in Vietnamese. Because I guess I look like one.

  159. @yo
    I probably did fall into the “liberal guilt” trap. I am a conscious moderate liberal after all.

  160. @Jane

    People will always judge each other by appearances and I see this comparable to a degree to someone saying something like ‘Can I help you miss?’ to someone who looks like a woman under a certain age.

    I don’t see the comment to be questioning your nationality, rather making a remark about your ethnicity. I see nationality and ethnicity to be separate. If you feel 100% American, I see how annoying it is for people (often creepy guys with yellow fever as miaka9383 pointed out!) to constantly point out your race, but the reality is that your race and gender are the first things people see and make assumptions about. It’s human nature.

    I think the reason your white colleagues aren’t greeted with your ‘bonjour’ or ‘guten tag’ is simply because you can’t always tell that someone is French or German by their appearance. If you have white or black skin, there are a wide range of languages you could associate with, but the truth is that if you have a Chinese exterior, even if you’ve been around for generations, it’s likely that you identify with the Chinese language and culture. I’m not saying it’s right, but the assumption people make about white people is that they can speak English and yellow, Chinese. If you put on a beret and string some onions round your neck or pull on some lederhosen, I’m sure they’d try French/German greetings on you. I see the reason people say ‘Ni hao’ to you and ‘Hello’ rather than ‘bonjour’ to white people as the same.

    I appreciate that there isn’t so much diversity there, but I asked the question about white Chinese because if I saw a white person in China, I would assume they were a foreigner and it’s only with more knowledge about them before I’d realise that they were Chinese. Would you strongly oppose, for example, addressing someone in China who is ethnically Tibetan with a Tibetan greeting? In my experience, they’ve been pleasantly surprised by the ice-breaker. If you respond to your white guy’s ‘Ni hao’ with a strong local accent, he’d perhaps feel slightly foolish before realising that you are American like him. You never know, that guy could’ve been a country bumpkin or redneck with little exposure to the multicultural environment you are familiar with.

    I guess it all comes down to stereotypes. We’re a long way from being stereotype-free but we all hate being stereotyped.

    Perhaps I’m thick-skinned or just the eternal optimist but I think we need to be tolerant and patient and try to look from the other person’s perspective before jumping to conclusions. They might not know how it feels to have an exterior that doesn’t represent who you are, and wrongly think you’ll be impressed that they’ve learned a phrase in ‘your’ language. I’m against people intending to offend, or annoying you on purpose because they think it’s funny, but being over-sensitive may lead you to a state of 草木皆兵, which isn’t helpful. I’m against appearing to be a whiny victim and against becoming too PC where people are too afraid to even open their mouths for fear of offending someone.

  161. @Jane, Miaka and Ms Chief: That’s nothing, I was at dinner a few years back with a Chinese-American friend, his sailing friend, and their parents. After we were well into our meal his friends parents asked where his family was originally from and when he responded China they asked “do you know Kung Fu?” I nearly spat my food across the table, he simply said no and the conversation moved on. Theirs was an ignorant question and he treated it as such, it speaks to the family not to my friend (just the parents actually, as his friend spent the whole trip home apologizing).

    By the way, asking where your family is originally from is par for the course in my part of the US. I don’t think there’s a need to read into that too much. At least the guy who said “Ni Hao” didn’t follow you into the bathroom and try to continue the conversation (as I have had happen with both male and female students).

  162. @Ted
    That is horrible(bu so funny), but I also bet those people do not know where New Mexico is. There are plenty of ignorant people in U.S. A co worker of mine is from Buffalo NY. Every time he goes home, he gets asked “How’s life in Mexico!” They think New Mexico is a separate country and it is the only state that gets treated as such.

    I am just lucky that I have never ran into someone like that. What bothers me here in NM, is that the Chinese cultural center is a private organization and they have chinese school (which is great!). However, when they were doing their Chinese New Year celebration, there were 3 asians (not even sure if they are chinese) doing the performances and the rest are white people. And all they did was the Kung fu and Tai chi, which re enforces the stereotype that all Chinese people must know Kungfu. I told my bf, we are never going to that ever again.

  163. @ Ms Chief,

    I don’t know if the guy had yellow fever. He was passing by me in the hallway and said “ni hao” and I said “hello” back. That was the extent of our exchange. It was unpleasant to me, but it did not throw me into a rage or anything. I went on with my business. If you think my describing my experience as me being “impatient” or “intolerant” or “whiny” or “overly sensitive”, you are out of the line. I did nothing wrong.

    “They might not know how it feels to have an exterior that doesn’t represent who you are, and wrongly think you’ll be impressed that they’ve learned a phrase in ‘your’ language.”

    I am not sure what you are trying to get to here. Are you implying that there is a conflict between having an Asian exterior and being American? I never felt that I had an exterior that didn’t represent who I was. I think my exterior represents very well who I am, an American woman.

    “I’m against people intending to offend, or annoying you on purpose because they think it’s funny, but being over-sensitive may lead you to a state of 草木皆兵, which isn’t helpful. I’m against appearing to be a whiny victim and against becoming too PC where people are too afraid to even open their mouths for fear of offending someone.”

    I never thought of myself as a victim or described myself as such so I don’t know where you get this from. I am a successful professional who has been fortunate to have had a top rate education. I am anything but a victim. Again, I was using this incident to rebut a previous commentator’s argument that Chinese Americans did not view themselves as fully American. My argument was that in fact it is more common for white Americans to not view Chinese Americans as fully American. If you think the incident I described does not support my argument, please point out why, instead of resorting to personal attacks.

  164. @Jane, #176

    Funny thing, I knew this “crowd” would go off on a tangent – this was my point in #153 comment to FOARP.

    I appreciate FM, but I also have this feeling this place attracts retards. (^SHIELD UP^ for people wanting to say “just because they don’t agree with you, you can’t call them retards, blah blah blah.”) 🙂

  165. @Jane
    lol I am 100% with you. Guys, why is this pov so hard to understand? It’s just like that episode of scrubs:
    Lead Attending greeting a line of medical residents:
    Attending greeting a white doctor: hello doctor, *hand shake*
    Attending greeting a white doctor: Doctor, nice to see you *hand shake*
    Attending greeting a white doctor: Good morning doctor *hand shake*
    Attending greeting a black doctor: Hey homey, whats happening! *man hug*

    It’s just having social tact! Jane, you are not out of line with what you described.

  166. @Jane

    Whoa there! If you feel offended I am sorry but I can’t see where I personally attacked you and it was certainly not my intention. I thought I was just generally speaking.

    I just think that feeling ‘shocked’ and ‘disturbed’ about your experience from your original post is an over-reaction and I tried to explain why you needn’t get so worked up about it, which I guess has worked you up even more!

    I don’t doubt your argument that many Chinese Americans feel that they aren’t considered fully American, but to an observer who doesn’t know you, I would say that your exterior shows you are Chinese first and only when you speak you reveal that you are American. I think this is something that would add to that feeling. I guess it’s the same as seeing Obama as black before American which I would guess you don’t? I expect we’ll continue to disagree on this one.

    I was also perhaps unsuccessfully trying to say that if someone says ‘Ni hao’, that person isn’t necessarily assuming that your nationality isn’t American, but is seeing you as an ethnic minority first and I think it’s hard to change this behaviour. I admit that I’m not sure what you mean by being 100% American but I took it to mean nationality. I guess we could argue forever about how to define American-ness and Chinese-ness.

  167. @Ted

    Reminds me of a story about Prince Phillip who’s quite well known for his gaffes. When he went to Australia a few years back, he asked an Aboriginal whether they still threw spears. Now there’s someone who really should know better.

  168. @FOARP, #181

    I think you were open. You elaborated and I thanked you for it.

    I meant the other people that went on a tangent despite we had our exchanges about going off-tangent.

  169. Alot of American and other nation’s people don’t want Chinese to be nationalist toward their nation. That they find something dirty of China to let them critized nationalism in China. I don’t believe being nationalist is what let people do what these anti-China people claim.

    If you really get to know American, you would know that they are fanatically nationalist (on an majority base) or blindly nationalist.

  170. @ huaren

    LOL, I have my shield up all the time. I call people fools, because retards cannot help themselves for they are often born that way, whereas fools are not and can help themselves.

    @ Jane

    Next time some white/whatever persons asks you where you’re from, play the guessing game with them. Ask them to guess where you’re from. They’ll probably go through the gamut of the usual suspect such as China, Japan, Korea, whatever until they give up and press you to tell.

    Then just say where in the US you’re really from, then watch them frown and if they are smart they’ll realise how stupid they’ve been. Or, if they are REALLY dumb and continues to ask “no, but where are you REALLY from?”, just continue to say where in the US you’re actually from until they realise. The trick is to smile sweetly and innocently the whole time.

    ———————————

    Side note:
    I don’t know about the other guys here, but I get all sorts of coloured fever ALL the time, red, white, yellow, black, brown, beige, even tall, short, chubby or skinny ones too, you name it I get it. Must be my love for Seafood and Szechuan food with all that chili and garlic………No offence to the ladies…..or if you’re underage look away now…..or if you’re from the bible belt…….or particularly prudish…..or squeamish…..

  171. On the other hand, I remembr going to dinner in Shenzhen with some Taiwanese/HK friends of mine. Everybody there except me and a flamingly camp Mexican was born and raised in Asia but carried a US/Canadian passport. There’s something just plain weird about a man in his early twenties claiming to come from the Bay Area/Vancouver/Arizona when in fact he lived until his early/mid teens in Hong Kong, Singapore, or Taiwan. Now I didn’t do the whole “no, but where are you REALLY from?” act to find this out, it just came later when I did a bit of asking one-on-one about family, and if they really want to say that they are from the US or Canada that is fine – but how many people like me think it is strange? One of them was a work colleague who in all other circumstances introduced himself as a Hong Konger, but in this situation introduced himself as coming from San Diego – a place he lived in for from his mid-teens until going to university. You felt there was a definite element of group identification to it all.

    Of course, there is nothing at all strange about someone who was born in those places saying they come from there, or if they moved there when they were particularly young.

  172. @FOARP
    That is advantages of being a young immigrant. When we go to other countries, knowing that they hate Americans, we tell them we are from somewhere else. No one is going to check your passport so might as well. It is not strange at all. I have a U.S passport, that is all I use now as official documentation since my wallet was stolen with my social security card in it. And I am assuming your friend is a guy…. There are just some Chinese girls think it is so hot that a Chinese guy speaks perfect English. Its pretty wrong I know….. but these young immigrants and ABC’s use it to their advantage. I have seen it done!

  173. It goes without saying that there are honest and dishonest locals and foreigners. Friction is a given in any cross-cultural interactions. I don’t really like the question which I get all the time, “Where did you learn to speak English? Did you study in America?” ( I am from HK and I have never studies or lived outside of South east Aisa.) So, would I be justified if I expressed my displeasure, do I have the right to be rude? No.
    On the other hand, I have asked the same question and made the same assumptions when I met a non-Asian person who speaks good Chinese language. I have learned to be more subtle. But I’ve been called out as being “too Chinese.” I ‘d just laugh at that these days. But i am quite sure if I were African, I would be “too African.”

    For too many years, I keep hearing many Non-Asian looking visitors / residents in South East Asian countries get annoyed by Asian people calling out or whisper behind them at or to them with, Hi / hello/ Hi Joe / laowai /GaiJing / haoli, etc. Many usually started off either loving or being pleasantly embarrassed by this sudden unearned celebrity stature. Then like celebrity brads, complain about that after the novelty wore off.

    Others complain about getting stiffed, over charged, short changed or whatever, virtuely anywhere you find them in South East Asia (or many other cultures/countries), as if they just’d come from paradise where dishonest people, swindlers, and criminals don’t exist. I’ve gone back and forth between sympathy and indifferent, to trying to put myself in the shoes of the locals and of the non -asian folks. Finding that non of their shoes fit me, I decide that it’s fine that I wore my own shoes, drown out the noise with my own, so to speak, and hold my tongue most of the time. So, I’ve gone from being an Asian-Chinese to being, according to my relatives and Asian friends, as being very Westernized, by Non- Asians as being too Chinese, and finding myself going in a full cycle back to being me, one who truly appreciates and respects all cultures. 🙂

    Now, would I get annoyed if some stranger says Hello to me instead of Ni Hao, or Ney Ho ma..? Never. I would just respond likewise. I have learned to be less self conscious, quell my sense of endowment, over-sensitivity, pretend to be moresophisticated and wallow the mire of such self-importance.

    Now, how many people did I just offend, upset and pray tell, how many PC rules did I break here?

  174. @HongKonger
    I like you healthy attitude. Sometimes I even complement them on their pronunciation.

  175. “There’s something just plain weird about a man in his early twenties claiming to come from the Bay Area/Vancouver/Arizona when in fact he lived until his early/mid teens in Hong Kong, Singapore, or Taiwan.”

    WOW, seems like globalization, the modern phenomenon of fluid/mixed cultural identity, nevermind international flight, instantaneous communication and other modern accruements just totally passed somebody by. Amazing, have eyes, yet do not see, have brain, yet do not think, have mouth yet only spout effluent. Fascinating.

    “There are just some Chinese girls think it is so hot that a Chinese guy speaks perfect English. Its pretty wrong I know….. but these young immigrants and ABC’s use it to their advantage. I have seen it done!”

    LOL, SO WHAT!

  176. @Oli
    Exactly, so what! That is my point! If I was hotter looking I would use that to my advantage and go back to Taiwan and become a celebrity, they are obsessed about things like that…

  177. ehhhh, actually I was thinking like, you know, maybe, like, ehhh, the girl just likes the guy?

    (Besides, it works for me, so who am I to complain *shrug*)

  178. @Hongkonger: I’ve learned to relax and not care too much about this either. Yes, people constantly ask me where I’ve learned to speak Chinese, where I’m from etc, but given how closed China has been, it’s not too surprising that they react like they do (though, it’s amusing when they combine this with “we Chinese are so complex compared to Westerners” – yeah, just that they react exactly the same way).

  179. Ted: Wow, what Cologne do you wear, or is it just the nice clothes you wear or great bone structure and genes inherited from your parents?

    Huaren: Love your passion. Bravo!

    Oli, Methinks you are a genuis.

    188: cephaloless: Right on. They’ re welcome to correct my English if they want to, but I charge for giving Chinese lessons..Ha-ha.

    WKL: “we Chinese are so complex compared to Westerners” — LOL, I wonder how ubiquitous is the virus of generalization, the widespread madness of self importance, the plague of myopia on individualism and the ideologically architured tunnel vision of collectivism are?
    I suppose a healthy dose of all the above mentioned human defects are in fact good and helps build a stronger immune system.

  180. About what I post last time, maybe I overstate that American are really fanatic or blind nationalism, but I do feel that American are really nationalist and there are alot of American are fanatic about it.

  181. @Miaka: We have a budding Chinese Culture Center in my hometown and I’ll be returning next year to start a China focused business program. I’ll keep your comments in mind if/when we do any work with them 🙂

    @Ms Chief: I’ve heard the same stories. There’s a fellow who never entered the 20th century.

    @FOARP “One of them was a work colleague who in all other circumstances introduced himself as a Hong Konger, but in this situation introduced himself as coming from San Diego – a place he lived in for from his mid-teens until going to university. You felt there was a definite element of group identification to it all.”

    Sounds to me like he can identify with both groups. On the other hand I’ve seen some outrageous posing since living here. We interviewed a girl for our apartment a while back who showed up with her bling-bling possie complaining about the construction in my neighborhood. All were speaking with Hong Kong accents but after some questioning from my girlfriend it came out that they grew up in the mainland, Wuhan and Shanghai specifically. I guess this is the mainland MTV generation?

    Even better, we had a white guy from Indiana teach here for a (very short) while who spoke like he just walked off the set of a Jay-Z video. The confusion on the students’ faces during his classes was priceless.

    @Hongkonger: It’s my siren-like voice, people crash against my bathroom stall like sparrows against a plate glass window.

  182. “On the other hand I’ve seen some outrageous posing..”

    LOL, I remember ages ago, my sister adviced me to “just speak English” if I ever wanted to get thru some snobbish receptionists or get things done quickly over the phone, or whatever. She’s a very impatient lady. How she managed to last years working as a flight attendent, and later learned to sing Chinese Opera, is beyond me. As for her advice, I could never bring myself to it — not in HK or China, anyway.

  183. @Ted
    LOL.. It was a total circus, not traditional at all… I mean at least have a chinese guy introduce the different kungfu and dances…All I am saying is that if they are going to do a Chinese New Year Event, show the food, the art and then the other stuff like kungfu, tai chi, dances… It just bothers me that I know half of these white people deep down have no understanding of what Chinese culture is. It is shallow at its best. (they are all old hippies anyways)

    Its awesome you are starting a China focused business program, where at?

  184. ‘Good Nazi of Nanjing’ sparks debate

    By BBC News

    “A film about a member of the Nazi party who saved thousands of Chinese during the massacre in Nanjing recently opened in Germany. The BBC’s Zoe Murphy looks at the possible impact this unlikely hero’s story may have on Sino-Japanese relations”

    “He later described in his diary the charred body of a civilian man whose eyes had been gouged out, and a boy of perhaps seven, whose corpse was punctured with bayonet wounds.

    “I wanted to see these atrocities with my own eyes, so that I can speak as an eyewitness later,” he wrote. “A man cannot be silent about this kind of cruelty!”

    “The events of 1937 have left enormous psychological scars in China, and the Chinese believe that Japan has not done enough to atone for its militarist past.

    China says 300,000 people were killed during the assault on Nanjing. But much to the anger of Beijing, some conservative Japanese politicians and academics have said such figures are exaggerated. Some even deny that a massacre ever took place.

    “William Kirby, head of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, says the exact death toll is not the main issue.

    “What you have is a great massacre of a civilian population that goes on for weeks… Nanjing is surrendered but the Japanese proceed to terrorise the inhabitants. These facts are incontrovertible.”

    Coming to light nearly 60 years after the event, he says that John Rabe’s diaries are a powerful new document detailing what happened day-by-day.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7907437.stm

  185. Shane, what’s your view of that article in relation to Chinese nationalism. Did you post it because you think it will whip up anti-Japanese sentiment again? Or even the opposite?

  186. @Shane -199 –

    Nanjing was a horrible massacre, and it is good that these last years we have so many movies speaking of it. Things like these should be remembered to make sure the World has learnt a lesson.

    But the real lesson is not about Japanese being bad or Chinese good. It is is about how terribly society can fail when ideas like extreme nationalism become socially accepted and encouraged by the government. And it is about a man like Rabe, a German nazi, who proves with his actions that the will and the character of one person are more important than his genes or his flag.

    I understand most Japanese find the movie hard to watch. Except perhaps the two old soldiers that were interviewed in the documentary Nanjing (2007) who were actually quite proud of their killings and spoke about how they used to organize competitions… for me it was the most disgusting part of the movie.

    And you know what? I had exactly the same feelings for those guys as for the fascists who executed our own people in my grandma’s tales, or the same as when I see a movie about Auschwitz concentration camps. And I am able to do that without having an ounce of Chinese or Jewish blood in me.

    My point is: yes, races and cultures are there to stay, and it is always interesting to study our differences. But when it comes to the really important things, it is being human that counts.

  187. @ Miaka9383: The Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, China Track. A three year program uggh…

    Re: someone else’s comments about the thread being hijacked I hope you weren’t referring to our exchanges above. It seems the only thing that angers ardent nationalists more than their countrymen disagreeing with them is seeing people actually try to work through the cultural issues. God forbid someone understand both sides of an argument. When you get down to it, what is nationalism other than the insistence that someone from another group can’t possibly understand your perspective?

  188. #198 -201

    I recommend every Chinese watch some movies about Nanjing. I’ll force a lot of Japanese to watch them too, esp. the young generation – the old one will never change and they just bring their crime to the graves with them. The one I watched is about our respected Mr. Rabe, who had saved a lot of Chinese.

    It turned humans into animals (Japanese), and humans into Saints (Mr. Rabe). I am still angry with those interviews with Japanese soldiers. They’re war criminals. One talked about nothing fun to rape a 12 (or 13) year old girl. One 12 (or 13) year old girl wanted to be raped to save herself and her grand pa.

    The denials of Japan makes all Chinese (or all human beings) angry. I understand to some extend why Iris Chang killed herself – the suffering is very tough to tolerate esp. from her almost perfect background. If I were her, I’ll kill those soldiers still alive and bragging. Or better to rape the 12 year old grand children to see how they would feel if they had a heart – from my anger but a tooth for a tooth is not my cup of tea.

    The toughest victims were the children of those victims whose parents were killed, raped and tortured. Do you blame these folks for not buying Japanese products for life or they drop bombs in Japan’s subways? I would forget and let by-gone be by-gone but cannot if the criminals do not admit their crimes.

    The Japanese suffering from the 2 atomic bombs are TOTALLY JUSTIFIED. They died in dignity for most but not suffered and died later. The citizens in Nanjing were raped, tortured and murdered. Babies were tossed to the sky and died. 200K died (300K official) in Nanjing alone. I would drop a customized atomic bomb to the “Shrine” of “war heroes” that the prime ministers regularly visited.

    The Letters from Iwo Jima portrays the Japanese soldiers as kind human beings. They are animals. Hollywood and the west do not understand the east. They are just ignorant as usual.

    If there were a God, I do not think Japan is not as prosperous as today. Or, the God is not fair.

    I’m not a violent guy and this movie just drives me to my limit with unbearable sorrow.

  189. @ULN #201

    Your anger will be deepened if the Jewish girls (from12 to 60) were raped before they’re killed and Jewish babies were tossed up to the sky like toys. It is not a few cases. Are you angry that the guy was forced to have sexual intercourse with a corpse and died later?

    You do not have to be Chinese or Jewish to be angry, but more if you do. You will be more angry if the criminals do not admit their crimes and being worshiped by the prime ministers. And, those criminals are still bragging like nothing unusual.

  190. Tony

    Your comments are interesting because I think they demonstrate the sometimes nasty side of Chinese nationalism.

    I’ll force a lot of Japanese to watch them too, esp. the young generation

    Sorry, you’ll “force” people to watch them? Isn’t it up to people whether they watch a movie or not?

    The denials of Japan makes all Chinese (or all human beings) angry

    What are the “denials of Japan”? The entire country doesn’t deny anything that Japanese soldiers did. Be more specific – you mean certain Japanese academics and politicians dispute the extent of atrocities committed.

    If I were her, I’ll kill those soldiers still alive and bragging.

    Oh drop the bravado. You’d do no such thing. Besides, you don’t have a right to take justice into your hands. No one does.

    Do you blame these folks for not buying Japanese products for life or they drop bombs in Japan’s subways?

    I wouldn’t blame any victims for not buying Japanese products. But if they committed acts of terrorism then they would be as bad as their oppressors. Or are you talking about the USAF dropping bombs on civilian targets?

    The Japanese suffering from the 2 atomic bombs are TOTALLY JUSTIFIED. They died in dignity for most but not suffered and died later.

    Why are they justified? They were ordinary civilians. And if you weren’t so ignorant you’d know that many died long after the bombs due to the radiation.

    The Letters from Iwo Jima portrays the Japanese soldiers as kind human beings. They are animals. Hollywood and the west do not understand the east. They are just ignorant as usual.

    Quite wrong. Some Japanese soldiers were brutal, but others weren’t so cruel. All the film did was show a different side of the story. Russians and Eastern Europeans will say the same about German soldiers, but they weren’t all war criminals either.

    If there were a God, I do not think Japan is not as prosperous as today. Or, the God is not fair.

    God is forgiving, and he certainly doesn’t believe people should suffer because of something that people of their parents’ ages did.

  191. @Raj #206.

    I’ve expressed it is my anger to say such words. I’m more civilized than you may expect.

    It is not nasty nationalism, but the justice and spirit of human being.

    I do not force anyone to watch anything. Hope this generation of Japanese look up internet and foreign magazines/books… instead of their own text books that are full of nasty lies.

    Does the ‘Japanese academics and politicians dispute’ amplify/distribute the national feelings and ideas?

    Why Iris Chang not to punish the wrong doers but punish her by killing herself?

    How many big budget Hollywood movies were made about Nanjing blaming Japanese soldiers?

    I read ‘tooth for a tooth’ is from Bible. Right? There is a limit in forgiving. If a country commits a crime like this, should her be published?

    I did say some died longer and it is good that more Japanese will remember.

    The citizens supporting the emperor, her soldiers… should be punished too.

  192. @ Oli #106: Sir, as economic advisor to the blowtorch and dry ice industry, i strongly condemn your rude words concerning El Bulli. First of all, the 330 Euro per couple cost (not including wine) is a bargain compared to what you paid to fly to Barcelona from China, yet you do not criticize the airline industry. The deep satisfaction you receive from even setting foot in our establishment is more than worth the price, not to mention being seen with the “right people”.

    As for The Fat Duck, our customers, sir, were simply praying to their porcelain gods…

  193. @TonyP4 #207: Tony, my best friend is Japanese and in fact, lives in Hiroshima. Her first job after she graduated from a US university (very rare in those days) was assistant to the director of the Radiation Institute there. Neither she nor her husband (an automotive engineer for Mazda) think the emperor is divine. In fact, they think having an emperor is stupid. Both believe the atrocities in Nanjing actually took place as they have been described in many publications over the years. They both feel the war was a horrible situation and that the Japanese leadership were criminals. They are certainly not alone in their beliefs.

    This is what happens when the progeny of earlier politicians continue to lead Japan. They won’t admit wrongdoing because their families were engaged in that wrongdoing. Take Taro Aso, the current prime miinster. His family used POW slave labor during the war to work the family mines. The LDP has a strong faction that will resort to violence if anyone gets in their way. Hopefully, they’ll lose power in the coming months and changes will be made, but it IS a disgrace. My point is to try and inform you that the problem lies within the Japanese government more than the Japanese people. For years, many Japanese have mispronounced “Aso” by using an obvious mild English profanity.

    I was reading about two soldiers that had served together in Nanjing during the Rape, and have gone back to China to apologize on many occasions, even while being threatened those same Japanese ultranationalists. They said that they were taught as youths in Japan that Chinese were sub-human so killing them was like killing a pig or goat, not really taking a human life. Now they look back in horror as to what they did and have dedicated the remaining portion of their lives to exposing what happened and trying to make amends.

    Ultranationalism and xenophobia; they are not western concepts, they can occur in every country and have occurred in the past in just about every country. I think that was the point Uln was trying to make, that we might forgive but we can never forget, and always need to be on our guard to make sure it never happens again.

    On #205, I posted the segment from Frank Capra’s “Why We Fight” series that covered the Rape of Nanjing. This was filmed in 1944 with historical footage that is real, not Hollywood. You can find the complete Battle of China film on YouTube in ten parts.

    Tony, one of our closest friends here was a very close friend of Iris Chang. She didn’t commit suicide because she wrote “The Rape of Nanjing”, she had other emotional problems she just could not handle, in spite of her family and friends doing the best they could to help her. This same friend recently showed me a book of a Dutch woman who passed away recently (she lived in San Diego) and who had been in Nanjing during the Rape as a young girl. She described her personal story in great detail and had also worked hard to keep alive the memory of what happened there for most of her life. The denial of Nanjing, as with the denial of the Jewish concentration camps, goes against all facts, photos, and even personal stories of the perpetrators of the crimes.

  194. @Tony 203-204

    Yes, I know about all those cruelties. They are shown prominently in the film “Nanjing”, with actual footage and interviews of victims. I am not sure I can describe my feeling as angry, but rather sad.

    But however horrible those things might be, you would be completely wrong to believe that they are an exception in history. Crimes like those you described have happened in hundreds of wars around the World, and I am pretty sure they are still happening right now. In Africa, for example.

    So there is nothing specifically Eastern in those events that Western people wouldn’t understand. The big problem is not so much of understanding, but rather of people looking away and choosing to forget what is unconfortable. In this sense, I agree that there has been too few American movies about the crimes of the Japanese. Perhaps this is changing already, as we see two new ones coming out in two years.

    As for Japanese apologists who still defend their position and do stupid films like “The truth about Nanjing”, I completely agree their government should shut them up immediately. Not least of all because they might be digging their own grave, with a mighty rising power like China just across the sea. It doesn’t look good.

    Link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Truth_about_Nanjing

    It would be interesting to do a thread about Japan some day, if people can keep it civil and stick to actual information (unrealistic). I have heard many Westerners insist that Japan has “already apologized”, but the truth is that a film like the one I linked would be completely forbidden in Germany, for example.

  195. Actually I see there is really a boom since 2006 of films about Nanjing. Here is the list from wikipedia of the latest movies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_of_Nanjing

    * Tokyo Trial (2006) is about the International Military Tribunal for the Far East.
    * Nanking (2007) another documentary film, directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, makes use of letters and diaries from the era as well as archive footage and interviews with surviving victims and perpetrators of the massacre.
    * The Truth about Nanjing (2007) a Japanese-produced documentary denying that any such massacre took place.
    * The Children of Huang Shi (2008), covers part of the massacre.
    * City of Life and Death (2009) directed by Lu Chuan, a dramatization of the rape of Nanking in 1937.
    * John Rabe (2009) directed by Florian Gallenberger, a Sino-German co-production about the life of John Rabe, featuring Ulrich Tukur in the title role and Steve Buscemi in a supporting role.

  196. It is not nasty nationalism, but the justice and spirit of human being.

    If you think it’s just and “spirit of human being” to wish misery on people who had nothing to do with a crime, other than to do with where they were born, then I feel sorry for you.

    I do not force anyone to watch anything

    You said “I’ll force”. I try to assume people know what they’re saying as it would be patronising otherwise. But I accept your explanation that you meant something else.

    Hope this generation of Japanese look up internet and foreign magazines/books… instead of their own text books that are full of nasty lies.

    That’s a stereotype. Just because there are some Japanese academics who dispute the extent of Japanese war crimes does not mean there are none who are open about what happened during the war. There are plenty who agree thar war crimes took place. It would be nice if there were fewer academics who denied things like Nanjing took place, but their view is not the only one – in fact I wouldn’t even say they’re in the majority.

    Does the ‘Japanese academics and politicians dispute’ amplify/distribute the national feelings and ideas?

    I don’t understand what you mean.

    Why Iris Chang not to punish the wrong doers but punish her by killing herself?

    First of all, if she’d tracked down surviving Japanese soldiers and “punished” them (which implies serious physical harm) she would have been arrested and imprisoned – at best sent to a medical institute. Identified war criminals have already been punished. But I would say she punished them in her own way by writing a hard-hitting book that sold lots of copies and detailed the crimes of at least a number of Japanese war criminals.

    Second, although one can guess why she committed suicide it’s wrong to presume we know exactly why. It may be that eventually her research unhinged her in some way, but whatever she was thinking at the time she was a very sick woman who needed professional help.

    How many big budget Hollywood movies were made about Nanjing blaming Japanese soldiers?

    How many were made about Nanjing that didn’t blame Japanese soldiers? I don’t see your point.

    I read ‘tooth for a tooth’ is from Bible. Right? There is a limit in forgiving.

    If you take the Bible literally and word for word you will end up doing contradictory things. All religious texts are imperfect. Jesus made it quite clear that forgiveness is a key to human trait. If it wasn’t, he would have created merry hell on his enemies after he rose from the dead. But he didn’t. He died, rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven. That’s it. No vengeance.

    I can understand if a victim finds it hard to forgive the criminal who hurt them, but you shouldn’t even be in the situation where you have to forgive someone who had no hand in the crime because you shouldn’t blame them in the first place.

    If a country commits a crime like this, should her be published?

    Again, I don’t understand what you mean. If you mean “should crimes be published?”, well yes. Obviously.

    ++++

    Steve

    This is what happens when the progeny of earlier politicians continue to lead Japan. They won’t admit wrongdoing because their families were engaged in that wrongdoing.

    Perhaps I’m misreading what you’ve said, but you seem to be implying that Japanese leaders haven’t apologised because their families all had war criminals in them or something. I’m not going to get sucked into a dispute over who is really sorry, what they’re sorry for, etc, but even Wen Jiabao has acknowledged that official apologies have been made. I think he said:

    “The Japanese government and Japanese leaders have expressed their stance on history issues many times, publicly admitted aggression, and expressed deep soul-searching and apology for the victimized countries. The Chinese government and people actively appreciate this.”

    So whilst I would agree with you that there are those who do not support apologies, they have been made and they have been made by a succession of Japanese Prime Ministers/senior politicians (as well as the Emperor).

  197. @ Raj: What I meant by the “progeny” statement is that many of the current Japanese political leaders are the children of the original governments in the 1950s that ruled Japan in the postwar period. The American policy in both Germany and Japan was to use the existing community leaders to continue to run the country since it would have fallen apart without them, a la Iraq after the recent war.

    Many of these leaders were actively involved in Japan’s military effort during the war, so only the actual military leaders were punished but not the industrial leaders who supported them. As is usual with Japanese politics, the story isn’t simple so no, not all the Japanese politicians had war criminals in their families and not all the Japanese politicians’ families were involved in the military/industrial complex during the war, but many of them were involved. There is a hesitancy in the LDP to acknowledge their war guilt beyond the barest terms.

    Take, for instance, this recent story where the Air Force Chief of Staff wrote a winning essay about why the war was not Japan’s fault and how there were no atrocities committed. You don’t think his views were already known in the military? Or how a political leader will apologize to China while his government changes the textbooks to eliminate any reference to the incidents the apology covered. In my mind, there is absolutely no comparison between the postwar behaviour of Japan and what Germany has done to atone for the actions of the Nazis.

    Where in Japan can I see the museum dedicated to the Rape of Nanjing? Where can I see the museum dedicated to the victims of Pearl Harbor? What about a memorial to the so-called “comfort women” who were forced into prostitution? To suggest that Japan has handled their post-war guilt and apologies even remotely similar to the way German has handled theirs is preposterous. They’ve mostly buried and denied it. What is a crime in Germany is inside children’s schoolbooks in Japan.

    Talk to people in mainland China, talk to people in Korea, talk to people in Taiwan, talk to people in the Philippines, talk to people in Indonesia, talk to people in Malaysia, talk to people in the United States, ask them if they are satisfied with Japan’s postwar apologies. I have, and I know what they’ll tell you. Though China caught the worst of it, it isn’t just a China thing. I’ve been to the A-Bomb Museum in Hiroshima. The accompanying text describing the war is complete and total BS.

  198. What I meant by the “progeny” statement is that many of the current Japanese political leaders…

    Ok, so long as you’re not talking about all of them.

    Take, for instance, this recent story where the Air Force Chief of Staff wrote a winning essay about why the war was not Japan’s fault and how there were no atrocities committed. You don’t think his views were already known in the military?

    I have no idea – I’m not a member of the Japanese military nor have contact with its members. When he made them public he was disciplined by the Japanese government. They can’t police people’s minds.

    Or how a political leader will apologize to China while his government changes the textbooks to eliminate any reference to the incidents the apology covered.

    No, I don’t know about that because there are Japanese textbooks that refer to war crimes. There have only been a handful of textbooks since WWII that downplayed Japan’s actions in the war.

    The most recent one, that I know of, was the “New History Textbook”. I don’t believe that the Japanese government asked the publishers to remove any comments critical of Japan’s actions during the war, though I am open to corrections. A year after it was published it was in use in less than 0.04% of Japanese schools. I believe they’re used exclusively by schools with disabled and/or special needs children – about a dozen across the whole of Japan.

    Where in Japan can I see the museum dedicated to the Rape of Nanjing?

    Aren’t you asking a question you already know the answer to?

    I’ve been to the A-Bomb Museum in Hiroshima. The accompanying text describing the war is complete and total BS.

    I have also been there. But I’m not quite sure about the specific text you’re talking about. As far as I can remember there was little discussion of the war – it was mostly about the attack and subsequent damage caused/loss of life.

    Besides, does that invalidate the project/museum itself? Do the museums in Germany that discuss the Allied bombing of civilians target all start with “Germany brought this upon itself because it started the war/committed war crimes”? I’m asking an honest question because I don’t know.

    ask them if they are satisfied with Japan’s postwar apologies. I have, and I know what they’ll tell you.

    I know what they will say. But if they aren’t satisfied then that’s their choice. If you’re not satisfied then demand Wen Jiabao stand down as Prime Minister for validating the apologies that have been given and thanking Japan for them on behalf of the Chinese people.

  199. Discussing the rape of Nanjing has got me thinking about the other atrocities China suffered at the hands of foreign powers, how it compares to the situation with Japan, and the history of nationalism in China. If anyone has researched this and has some answers, I’d be interested to hear from you.

    It seems that the Manchus and Mongols are no longer blamed for the horrors that took place when they conquered China, and everyone’s happy to live peacefully side by side. I was wondering how it came about as I’m not aware of anyone being held to account for any of the crimes. Is it just purely due to the passage of time? How much time did it take? For how long did Chinese continue to despise their conquerors for the atrocities committed, and how did these feelings eventually change? How much did it help that the Manchus and Mongols assimilated to become Chinese after their conquests?

    I find myself wondering that if nationalist sentiment back then were stoked and proliferated by modern communication methods and technology to keep permanent visual records alive, whether people would have been able to move on to the extent that they have done. I also wonder what things would be like if Japan had managed to conquer China.

  200. @Steve 208

    Sir, as an ardent epicurean I stand by my comment regarding the nouveau cuisine of the noughties that is “gastro chemistry”, as expounded by its high priests at the Fat Duck and El Bulli. It is interesting as a once in a lifetime experience, but its gossamer novelty is as ephemeral as the flavoured foam they are wont to serve. Give me Szechuan tea smoked roast duck, battered fried zucchini flowers, stir-fried young mountain bamboo shoots, Taipei stir-fried crab roe udon and a nicely chilled Czech Budvar dark beer anyday. Followed by either hot bubur cha-cha, cold cendol or la piece de resistance, nicely rippened durian fruit (the original killer fruit).

    As for praying to the porcelain god at the Fat Duck, my sentiment exactly. All I can say is thank my lucky star I went there ages ago on somebody else’s expense account. This was before the visitation by the White Horseman of Pestilence and the Credit Crunch Leviathan. It’s definitely not something I would pay for out of my own pocket or to go for a repeat experience.

    🙂

  201. Are you Chinese or not Chinese? I think it depends on how you identify yourselves. During my first 4-5 years in Europe, I was very curious in the Western culture and fully embraced it. China became remote and I felt a kind of detachment. I think I was less Chinese at the time. Since my 6th-7th years, maybe due to getting old, or due to 7 year itch? I started turning back to my Chinese root. I became increasingly interested in Chinese culture and value, and became more Chinese than before.

    I also doubt how many people can be truly ‘global citizens’. My personal experience tells me I can’t. Since I was born and educated to university in China, the culture impact is much stronger than I thought.

    When I met someone with broad international background, I often wanted to find out how he/she identify himself/herself. I found the answer sometimes interesting. Once in a business meeting, I met a man with US passport, born in Taiwan, grew up and educated in the US. I asked ‘do you consider yourself as Taiwanese, Chinese (中国), or American?’. He thought for a moment and said ‘I am Chinese (华人)’

    Since I am Chinese, I don’t feel offended at all when people say ‘ni hao’ to me in Europe, quite contrary, I think people trying to be friendly (except when people saying it in flirting tone). Actually, I feel a bit uneasy, during business meetings in Beijing, when foreigners often ask ‘are you (hesitate a bit)…Chinese? (meaning Chinese Chinese, not Chinese American, or Chinese European?)’ since they are questioning my Chinese identity.

  202. Sophie, same here. I came from HK, studied in US and worked here. Busy in raising a family and working. When I grew older and semi retired now, I’m interested more in anything about China – the culture, politics… With a Chinese face, you cannot deny your origin even it is not your intention. Some one trying to talk to you in your language is not a bad thing for sure except depending on the tone as you mentioned.

    From late Qing to 30 years ago, China had not been in better history and worse when she was compared to the west. The Opium War and Nanjing incident are felt differently from a Chinese than a non-Chinese, so little is needed to argue. You can call it patriotism or dumb nationalism (only nasty folks would call it ‘nasty’ – nothing right or wrong in either party.

  203. Re: Japan – When I was 16 a man who had been a POW used as slave labour on the Burma Railway came to speak at our school, and told us all about his experience of cruelty and starvation at the hands of the Japanese. A day before the surrender he and his comrades were instructed to dig graves, and he and his comrades feared that he was going to be executed – he said that the end of the war saved his life.

    People in the UK have not forgotten how the allied POWs and others were treated, even if the politicians (Japanese and our own) would like us to. All the same, I don’t think this should be the be-all and end-all of our relations with Japan. Yes, I know that the Japanese did far worse in China, but the same principle exists.

  204. POWs are different from the citizens under seize.

    Citizens should not be raped, tortured, and murdered. Girls as young as 12 and as old as 70 were raped to satisfy the animal instincts of the Japanese. Babies should not be tossed into the air and killed. Are these babies their toys, soldiers? It is NOT a few cases.

    Common citizens (suspect of soldiers as they’re young male) were used in competition to see who chopped more heads.

    They’re ANIMALs. The crime is more than war crimes and a lot of them are unpunished and bragged in the documentation Nanjing which is available in Netflix. Hopefully they are or will be in the lowest level of hell and suffer from constant torture if there is a fair God! If you have seen this documentation, you will be very angry no matter what nationality you’re.

    Then the denials in the Japanese ‘text books’, the paying respect of the prime ministers to these ‘war heroes’, making of their own documentation indicating ‘everything is exaggerated or they did not happened’.

    When will Hollywood come out a movie about the real Nanjing that will be as popular as Letters from Iwo Jima which portrays the wrong image of Japanese soldiers?

    Just use common sense, you will see how outrageous they’re. If you do not feel to kill the Jap who bragged having sex with a 12 year old and is nothing unusual, you need to check whether you have a heart. If you do not feel the sorrow of the 12 year old she needed to be raped to save her and her grand pa, you need to do same.

  205. POWs are different from the citizens under seize.

    Why? There is a legal obligation to afford them pretty much the same rights as civilians.

    There were also British/Commonwealth civilians who were also treated badly. The TV series Tenko was very popular in the 1980s and dealt with what some of these people faced. I remember reading about war crimes committed against British subjects in Asia by the Japanese.

    Just because the UK gets on with Japan doesn’t mean no one here doesn’t dislike reading about Japanese soldiers not showing any remorse for what went on. But we look past that to co-operate with the current generation.

  206. Not a war crime to capture and rape a 12 year old. You’re not even stupid but quite sick. Do you feel the same if hundreds of British 12 year old girls were raped during the war and the criminals bragged about it.

    When you accused me of stealing other folk’s work and posted it here without proof, I feel I do not want to waste time to debate with you and bring me to your level.

  207. @TonyP4 – Raj wasn’t saying that it wasn’t a war crime, he was just saying that working POWs to death is a war crime.

  208. Of course, for that matter, starving and torturing POWs is a war crime wherever it happens, at Bagram airbase and the Yalu river camps both.

  209. @TonyP4

    Re. Chinese nationalism/patriotism and on Nanjing I share your sentiment. Ignorant people tend to automatically project their own experience unto other people/cultures in the selfish and blind belief that their own experience are universal. It smacks not only of ignorance, but also of an unimaginative mind that is incapable of breaking free of it’s own hubris and socio-political conditioning to see the wider perspective in more detail. Such minds will always remain small-minded and it always shows in their comments.

    Personally, I think that Chinese nationalism has always been very different from European nationalism in that Confucianism plays a great restraining role so that Chinese nationalism rarely if ever translates itself to aggresive expansionist wars of conquests. In a sense, Chinese nationalism tended to be a defensive mechanism that manifests itself against perceived foreign political threats as well as domestic government incompetence or inabilities. For example after the fall of the Yuan or Qing Dynasty, there was never a concerted organised effort to eradicate the Mongolian or Manchurian people or drive them out.

    On the contrary, they were accepted as part of the Chinese polity, just as many Japanese women and children who were abandoned in China by the retreating Japanese army were voluntarily accepted and taken in by Chinese families and became Chinese themselves. What is more amazing was that the ordinary Chinese who did this had no obligation to do so, particularly in the austerity of the post war years.

    @Sophie
    The interesting issue is then how would you define a 华人. A thought to consider is now that you have lived overseas for a number of years, are you now a 华人 as opposed to a 中国人? What is the difference? When does the change occur and what caused this change? Is there a difference between a 华侨 and a 华人? And what about a person who regularly travels back and forth between China and overseas? Personally, I think that you are what you call yourself and where you feel at home at that point in time, though of course it may all change depending on future circumstances.

  210. @Oli – And some guys love to say that what happened to their own people is not at all comparable to anything that ever happened elsewhere. This just goes to show their close-minded, self-centred and self-pitying outlook. The acme of arrogance.

  211. Not a war crime to capture and rape a 12 year old.

    WTF are you driveling about? I never said it wasn’t!!!

    You’re not even stupid but quite sick.

    No, the problem is that you’re don’t even have basic English reading comprehension skills so can’t understand simple comments. Go back to kindergarden – the children there might teach you some English so you won’t look like a complete idiot.

  212. @Raj, #228

    You baffoon – when you debate, at least acknowledge you agree with the main point first and that you are picking on some minor point. Otherwise, it looks like you are attacking the main point by picking on the little one.

    (Profanity and personal insults deleted)

  213. While we are on the topic of past Japanese aggressions against Asia, I’d like to summarize the following:

    1. Japan, China, and Korea etc. are moving towards normalization in their relationships. Very soon, the whole of Asia will be in a completely free trade zone, much like the E.U. bloc.. China and ASEAN countries will be by 2010(?).

    2. Japan is trying to play a more active and responsible role with China in Asia. For example, they are setting up some type of fund in Asia – probably to rival IMF or Wolrd Bank. They are also trying to formalize some emergency response mechanism to deal with natural disasters in Asia.

    3. The treatment of recent history is going to continue to cripple Japan in international politics as long as Japan plays down its past atrocities. For example, Asian countries have always blocked Japan’s applications to more influential roles in U.N..

    4. My personal feeling is Japan will at some point in the near future more fully accept a correct version of history – after all the victims have passed away. This reduces the amount of headache they have to deal with then.

    5. I think the U.S. prefers status quo. But when China becomes stronger, it will have a stronger pull on Japan. Anyways, I expect these major powers to continue trend of normalization.

    6. Lastly, I think in general, Chinese people, especially the younger generation, are less irked by past Japanese atrocities nowadays. My grandparents would push the nuke button. My parents would consider it. For me, that’s out of the question.

  214. Tony,

    老友,晒气啦, 同 D 自以为是 的人讲 么 都是无 “零” 用 喔。。。:-)

    Thanks Oli for # 226

    & Huran’s # 229

  215. You simply don’t get it. A significant part of the so called Chinese nationalism was fueled by the shameless propaganda by American media (esp. (US gov funded) VOA in the 80’s and 90’s, it’s no better now, just I doubt anyone still pay attention to them anymore) which made most Chinese people love America (and thus happened the 1989 incident), Americans destroyed this love and trust by humiliating China in 1993 and 1999 (if you don’t know what the two events are, you simply don’t have enough background to discuss this complex problem), thus causing a strong rebounce (and what did by Mr. Bush certainly doesn’t help). What happened last year were only fuses to ignite the underlying hatred and distrust planted a decade ago, so no doubt most westerners, being ignorant of this background, couldn’t understand it. (I’m appalled to see the original author call the protest after the bloody bombing of a Chinese embassy in belgrade “ugly”, how biased and ignorant is that?)

    There are still people (elder ones) who were influenced by those propaganda so deeply that they still love America (that was actually another rebounce from the dark Mao-era, otherwise they wouldn’t have been brainwashed so easily), so people debate both offline and on the web, and we all know that the more you debate with others the more you believe in the cause your defend.

    Those elder people should become irrelevant in 20 years, and thus (along with other obvious reasons) I expect this tide of the “Chinese nationalism” to end then. I do agree that you can say the Chinese people are more matured after that.

  216. “And some guys love to say that what happened to their own people is not at all comparable to anything that ever happened elsewhere. This just goes to show their close-minded, self-centred and self-pitying outlook. The acme of arrogance.”

    LOL, what an exemplary statement of a fool who display all the classical fallacies of an inadequate critical thought process. While the application of comparison as a tool of analysis is useful for infants and children to develop their immature cognitive functions, its persistent and indiscriminate use by supposed adults are nothing but a tragic act of voluntary self-neutering of their own analytical abilities.

    The assumption of comparability at the first or final instance of any analytical process not only narrows from the outset the breadth of an analysis, but often also prejudice the conclusion by denying the analytical process the opportunity for it to be based on the subject matter’s own merit. While immature minds are prone to make falible comparisons of complex issues, only a fool prone to unimaginative and hidebound stereotyping would make infantile assumptions that complex issues are comparable.

    Consequently, only a fool would self-sabotage by deliberately limiting his opportunity to derive a full understanding from his own analytical process at the outset. For a fool is the person who approach an issue with the assumption that he already knows something. Whereas wise is the person who approach an issue with ignorance.

  217. Huaren

    when you debate, at least acknowledge you agree with the main point first and that you are picking on some minor point. Otherwise, it looks like you are attacking the main point by picking on the little one.

    Don’t troll – I can respond to whatever parts of a comment I like. I’m not going to answer stupid questions like “is it a war crime to rape children” because the answer is bleeding obvious. Now if someone wants to clarify a position because they didn’t get an answer, they may ask again but that doesn’t give them the right to put words in people’s mouths especially accusing them of believing disgusting crimes against humanity are ok.

    People on this blog frequently do not address every single point another makes. If they can live with not getting an answer for everything so can Tony.

  218. I believe there’s more than one way to be Chinese, and all this talk about not being Chinese enough or not a Chinese at heart is somewhat disconcerting. Really reminded me of Bo Yang’s thoughts in The Ugly Chinaman about in-fighting, etc.

    @FOARP 185
    My family moved to SF Bay Area when I was 10, and my answer to “Where are you from?” ranges from San Francisco to SF Bay Area to Hong Kong, depending on the situation and the person asking. For example, if it’s, say, freshmen orientation day in college, I’d probably say Bay Area. If I was visiting New York, then probably just San Francisco. If it’s another Chinese person, then probably Hong Kong.

    @huaren 229
    I believe your point is equally relevant in colin’s case (#94), yet I don’t see you berating him…

  219. 汉字五千年

    This is a 8-part video documentary with each part divided into 5 fragments. It puts on a broad reflection on Chinese and Chinese culture, its origin, past history and future, its comparison and interaction with western cultures, so on so forth.

    I highly recommend everyone watch it in its full length if you can understand Chinese. In part 8-2, it talked about whether a strong China today will seek revenge against those countries that humiliated her in the past. It also mentioned many people in the west (including some Japanese) are pretty worried about it.

    The answer given in the documentary is subtle, that is Confucius thinking “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.” (己所不欲,勿施于人). Such humanity was deeply ingrained into Chinese culture and philosophy.

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=30C522F124689176

  220. Blah blah blah. I don’t understand why her opinion matters just because she is ethnically chinese. It’s not like she’s lived in china.
    She still has a very superficial judgement of the country. Especially talking about the food she is eating which is mostly cantonese. (Deleted for profanity)
    James Fallows from Altlantic Monthly and Evan Osnos from New Yorker are > than this
    ying ma Crap.

    her piece is called finding china in far away lands. wtf. why doesn’t she go find china in china.

  221. HKer, thanks and I’m taking your advice.

    Just watched Yip Man as you recommended before. Great movie. Kung Fu is more fun and it makes the Western movies quite silly on who is the faster gun drawer. It is about the Japanese occupation. When it is a movie, I’m more relaxed. Documentation is about real history and tough to watch Nanjing without sadness. Also watched Red Cliff 2. Great movie too.

  222. @Shane9219 #236
    That sounds like a rather interesting movie. Thanks for the rec.

    “The answer given in the documentary is subtle, that is Confucius thinking “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.” (己所不欲,勿施于人). Such humanity was deeply ingrained into Chinese culture and philosophy.”

    I don’t disagree that China isn’t looking for revenge, but we Chinese don’t have exclusive claim on the Golden Rule. Nearly all cultures advocate variations of such an idea. 🙂

  223. Ethnicity is not a badge of obligation to support an issue, as ma ying points out. Many chinese – ethnic or mainlander – would probably agree that cao yingchao broke the law in making bogus bids.
    however, the gravity is mitigated by the historic and moral factors – selling looted goods with a known provenance – and have won him support.
    empathy is a universal emotion, not just a Chinese one
    . In the 2nd opium war, it was an american officer who led the cavalry that rescued the british and french troops pinned down by chinese forces. his reason was that “blood is thicker than water”.
    That led the way to the plunder of the summer palace by the anglo-french under the pretext of a broken ceasefire.
    there’s a fine line between helping the underdog, especially your own, in an uneven situation, and the conditioned logic of my country, right or wrong, as with those who blindly support an unjustified invasion based on false evidence.
    without grasping this point, the rest of ma ying’s article is mostly a waste of trees, plugging the same-old narrative about vengeful nationalism, victim mentality, brainwashed, etc.
    Ma Ying criticises the Chinese for the “my way or the highway” attitude but overlooks the French oneupmanship. Ostensibly the sale is a private one.
    But Yves Saint Laurent was practically a living national treasure of France and his partner Pierre Berge has become one of France’s most powerful men.
    However Mr Berge chose to politicise the sale by linking the sculptures to Tibetan independence and Dalai Lama, in a statement to Le Figaro, a paper owned by a Sarkozy crony and also a major partner of Christies with pro-Tibetan sympathies.
    (Source: SinChew Daily Malaysia).
    The right words from the right sources could have prevented the auction, but the French chose to ignore Chinese public sentiment.
    If Ma Ying looks at the debacle solely from the legal view, without reference to history, CYC’s action is wrong. But using the dispute to repeat Western stereotypes of everything wrong about China, she shows the worst form of cultural prejudice: against her own roots.
    But then she says that discovering “exotic” hawker food in a Westernised, Chinese-dominated city like Singapore is about as far as she’s interested in exploring her heritage.
    Something like Song Meiling declaring that “the only thing Chinese about me is my face.” Tho SML at least cared enough about China (or her own delusion as Mother of the Nation) to plead China’s case before foreign governments.

  224. @Raffia – “it was an american officer who led the cavalry that rescued the british and french troops pinned down by chinese forces.”

    It wasn’t a cavalry charge, but a naval attack.

    “That led the way to the plunder of the summer palace by the anglo-french under the pretext of a broken ceasefire.”

    The official reason given for the burning of the Yuanmingyuan was the torture and killing of prisoners and the diplomats, not breach of a ceasefire.

    “using the dispute to repeat Western stereotypes of everything wrong about China, she shows the worst form of cultural prejudice: against her own roots.”

    Funny, I always thought that the level of seriousness of cultural prejudice depended on the form and not the source of the prejudice. Above and beyond this, she is merely saying how recent developments look to her, and I know mainland Chinese who agree with her. She says that nationalism actually harms China’s image – and this is the truth. A simple survey of foreigners who live in China shows you the truth of this – how many are won over by nationalist arguments? Very few indeed, because it has a false basis, one which requires a degree of self-deception to accept. It is also racially based, meaning that ethnic Chinese who are not from the Chinese mainland are still expected to agree with it.

    Now compare this to other national movements – Indian independence, for example, won over many British observers, including my great-aunt who was working there at the time. Many foreigners resident in Cuba were initially sympathetic to the communists, as, for that matter, were many of the foreign observers present in China during the 40’s. The cause of the Spanish Republic was also very popular outside Spain from the inception. The Sandinistas had many supporters on left, and even the regime of Hugo Chavez has popular writers willing to speak up for it. This is because these movements appealed to ideals understandable by all – liberty, equality, democracy – and, of course, have failed to achieve them to varying degrees. Chinese nationalism, on the other hand, has absolutely no appeal to people of non-Chinese extraction, is based entirely on a highly dubious narrative of national victimhood to external enemies, and differs little from fascism in its fixation with racial destiny. Blaming western media is not convincing, for even in Africa it is only the decaying junta of Robert Mugabe which speaks up for Chinese nationalism, nor does it have many supporters in Asia – Singapore can be the only exception, and even that seems to be based on racial identification.

  225. @FOARP, Chinese nationalism, on the other hand, has absolutely no appeal to people of non-Chinese extraction, is based entirely on a highly dubious narrative of national victimhood to external enemies, and differs little from fascism in its fixation with racial destiny. Blaming western media is not convincing, for even in Africa it is only the decaying junta of Robert Mugabe which speaks up for Chinese nationalism, nor does it have many supporters in Asia – Singapore can be the only exception, and even that seems to be based on racial identification.

    First how you coin a phase often essentially box the conversation in. If you take out “Chinese nationalism” and change with “The collective behaviors, worldview, and theories of the Chinese in China’s ascendant”, at least the conversation can go somewhere.

    Methinks you vastly underestimate the positive reactions to China outside of Europe, North America and Japan. To get a fuller picture of such, you have to assume the mainstream Western media is inherently somewhat biased, and the truth lies in the sources themselves — what the Africans, other Asians, Latin Americans, and to a less extent Australians are really saying, unfiltered and unadulterated.

    To give you an example that is easier to be understood — the viability of euro. If your sole sources are British and American media, you would likely believe euro is on life-support and should have been dead long ago.

  226. @JXie – It is only if you define ‘The West’ as somehow including Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, all of democratic Africa and democratic Southern and Central America that you can talk of a ‘positive’ reaction to Chinese nationalism. Of those foreigners best placed to hear about it and judge on it, those living in China, very few indeed are won over.

    Now, if you want to talk about admiration for economic growth, this is a different conversation, but the specific doctrine that China will somehow right all wrongs under its current government, or under one explicitly nationalist once it achieves super-power status – no. This has very few followers beyond ethnic Chinese enamoured with the idea of being a cog in a super-power’s machinery.

  227. # 243

    JXie Says:

    1) “first how you coin a phase often essentially box the conversation in.”

    Yes, yes ,yes. As Oli earlier put it very well: 226 & 233, as well as Huran’s in 229…

    And guess what? As you can see, all these good advises are like cleansing water to garage floor oil & grease smudges. Here we go again, ” ‘positive’ reaction to Chinese nationalism. ”
    “China will somehow right all wrongs under its current government”

    2) “If your sole sources are British and American media, you would likely believe euro is on life-support and should have been dead long ago.”

    I remember reminding a couple of yanks of the impending current US economic unrevelings some three years ago and what did I get? An earful of insults and quotes from US experts…They always know better.

  228. FOARP, the specific doctrine that China will somehow right all wrongs under its current government…

    Maybe I am missing a few memos. How exactly is China’s doctrine to right all wrongs?

    Personally consider myself a world traveler. At the risk of generalization, I believe the following statement is ridiculously out of touch of ground reality just based on my personal experience:

    It is only if you define ‘The West’ as somehow including Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, all of democratic Africa and democratic Southern and Central America that you can talk of a ‘positive’ reaction to Chinese nationalism.

    The bulk of the African countries (arbitrarily called democratic or not) largely welcome China’s involvements in Africa. For intellectual arguments, you may want to read up the writings by the likes of Dambisa Moyo and Mahmood Mamdani.

    Been to South America plenty of times. Let’s see, Argentina is a rare bird that is whiter than even Spain, but I am sure that they like just anybody over the Brits, but that doesn’t tell you a whole lot. Brazil… quite possible the happiest country in the world. The majority of Brazilians have a positive view of China, no doubt about that one. Mexicans don’t particularly care for Chinese, but methinks that has more to do with the jobs Mexico loses to China.

    Now Asia, I am somewhat shocked that you include Pakistan on the list. Kyrgyzstan is a SCO member — how did it get on your list? Bangladeshis don’t like China? Doubtful based on my experience with a few Bangladeshis, but I am open-minded if you have reasonably concrete proof. Korea (presumably South Korea) has a very interesting relationship with China, which can be another topic altogether. Vietnam and India fought border wars with China so I wouldn’t hold my breath that they would like China.

    You know in general what people don’t like around the world? Overbearing know-it-alls who constantly mess with others’ business based on some duplicitous “principles”. What people like? Walk in with hat in your hand, and far willing to listen than to give others lessons.

  229. @Hongkonger #246.

    If you want to debate with me, debate with me. Sorry, can’t speak for Oli or Huaren, nor do I desire to.

    As to the example of euro. The key is disinterested 3rd-party. The UK is constantly in need to justify to itself not joining the eurozone was a good choice. The failure of euro in the grand scheme of things, it’s a net positive to the US — it maintains its dollar dominant position.

    If some Chinese or Japanese start reporting the likely doom of euro, now that can be a real sign.

  230. @JXIe – Of course they welcome Chinese involvement, but they have no desire to copy China’s political system – this was my point. As for the rest, as an ‘overbearing know-it-all’, I can tell you that in any environment I am always willing to listen.

    And as for the Euro, talking about ‘the UK’ having a particular view on it is pure foolishness. There are solidly pro-EU papers like the Independent and the Guardian, there are also solidly anti-EU papers like the Daily Mail. The rest remain somewhere in the middle. The current government came in with the avowed goal of bringing the UK into the Euro “when the time is right”. Tony Blair was fully in favour, Gordon Brown not so, but they totally failed to convince the public – and neither of them was willing to risk their careers by bringing it to a referendum. Hence the current situation.

  231. LOL, many in the West have a misguided romantic/”Christian” predilection for the “underdog” as it serves the purpose of making one feel “morally good” about oneself vis-a-vis the perceived aggressor/stronger party; often only with a very superficial understanding of the issues involved. The consequences are that at worst, it gives rise to the over-romanticised notion of the noble savage and at best, a sense of condescending paternalism predicated on the conviction that one knows better because of one’s supposed “sophistication”.

    Chinese nationalism is currently perceived as threatening simply because China is seen in the popular media as being on the rise. In comparison, some seventy odd years ago, when China was weak and fragmented, Chinese nationalism was seen as some romantic movement worthy of Western support, particularly against the dastardly Japs who were regarded as encroaching Western dominance in Asia.

    Sheeesh, seems some people are constitutionally and intellectually absolutely incapable of getting a handle on historical perspectives, nevermind developing the ability to distinguish and understand issues by placing them in their own context and nature, yet recognise and surmount one’s prejudices to surmise cause and effect.

    As for the EU and the Euro, LOL, Britain is doing what it has always done historically when it comes to continental issues, which is to park its rear on the fence for as long as possible in the misguided belief that it will thereby preserve its international influence as some supposed go-between or at a push, hang onto somebody else’s coat tails. However, the world is changing faster than they realise so that ultimately on the fence is where they will be left.

  232. # 247

    JXie Says:

    How can I debate with you when my post was Yes, yes, yes…to what you wrote?
    You said “first how you coin a phase often essentially box the conversation in.” I agreed and therefore refered to similar sentiments previously posted by Oli and Huaren.

    # 249

    LOL. Tony.

  233. HKer, I misunderstood you totally. My bad.

    FOARP, Your exact words were,

    Chinese nationalism, on the other hand, has absolutely no appeal to people of non-Chinese extraction, is based entirely on a highly dubious narrative of national victimhood to external enemies, and differs little from fascism in its fixation with racial destiny. Blaming western media is not convincing, for even in Africa it is only the decaying junta of Robert Mugabe which speaks up for Chinese nationalism, nor does it have many supporters in Asia – Singapore can be the only exception, and even that seems to be based on racial identification.

    It isn’t exactly saying African nations don’t want to copy from the Chinese political system, is it? The last thing on China’s collective mind, is exporting its political system, which by itself is in a constant state of flux anyway. Ironically in my opinion it’s exactly why China is more popular among many other nations than your typical political system exporters.

  234. @Oli 250: “a sense of condescending paternalism predicated on the conviction that one knows better because of one’s supposed “sophistication”.”

    It was precisely this attitude that landed China in its predicament 160 years ago. There’s nothing “Western” about it.

  235. FOARP,

    What have ‘West’ complained about China ? not playing enough roles on worldwide issues, compared to the economic influence she has.

    So where did this ridiculous idea of becoming superpower come from ?

    For god sake, we dont even have a carrier yet. Please save this crap for another 10 years.

  236. It was precisely this attitude that landed China in its predicament 160 years ago. There’s nothing “Western” about it.

    Now “Western” are making the same mistakes….. they think they know better….

    For example, let me ask a very very simple and obvious question but no1 ever ask :

    There are so many billionaires and millionaires in US, why does US need borrow money from China ?

    FOARP, can you answer the question ?

  237. @Ted

    Eh, actually it wasn’t condescending paternalism, but rather the arrogant shortsighted belief of the Qing emperors and bureaucracy that the West has nothing worthwhile to offer, whether by way of technology or ideas that landed China in its predicament 160 years ago. The reasons are complex and many, but part of it was that imperial Chinese society at the time has achieved its own equilibrium however precarious it turned out to be.

    During the initial stage of trade with the West from the 1500s to the 1700s, the West could offer very little that China had a use for. The exceptions being early primitive Dutch and Portugese cannons and muskets which was easily reproduced locally, while the West could only pay for what they wanted from China with gold and silver from their nascent colonies in the Americas. As a result the flow of silver/gold went from the Americas to the Philipines then China, where it was exchanged for Chinese goods that was resold in Europe. The effect was a huge trade inbalance with China becoming richer from inanimate American gold/silver, while the West obtained Chinese goods and technology.

    The belief that the West had nothing to offer continued into the 1800s. Though erroneously as it turned out, for between the 1700s and mid 1800s, competition, political rivarly and warfare within Europe accelerated economic, social, political and technological development/expansion/colonialism to the point that it outstripped that of China.

    The reasons for China’s stagnation are firstly, though not exclusively, that it had too many people, leading to a belief that anything that needed doing could be done my manpower alone. Its second curse was that until 1800s, there was no viable competition to China’s dominance in Asia to incentivise the need for developments such as those that occured in Europe, ie the Enlightenment, the Agricultural and Industrial Revolution. Its third curse was that the imperial families and households broke no rival for although it can offer political focus, the flipside is that it can suffocate social-economic and political developments in order to maintain its pre-eminence.

    So consequently, the condescending paternalism you cited are in fact merely the superficial perception of why the Qing Empire failed, as magnified by traditional imperial court and diplomatic protocols that is common to all empires. Therefore the actual causes are in fact much more complicated and deeply rooted and goes beyond the insistence that a foreign diplomat prostrate before the emperor.

  238. @JXie, #246
    “You know in general what people don’t like around the world? Overbearing know-it-alls who constantly mess with others’ business based on some duplicitous “principles”. What people like? Walk in with hat in your hand, and far willing to listen than to give others lessons.”

    @Oli, #250
    “The consequences are that at worst, it gives rise to the over-romanticised notion of the noble savage and at best, a sense of condescending paternalism predicated on the conviction that one knows better because of one’s supposed “sophistication”.”

    @Ted, #253
    “It was precisely this attitude that landed China in its predicament 160 years ago. There’s nothing “Western” about it.”

    TO me, I think you guys have nailed one of the biggest themes. I believe China had dynastic cycles, and many other civilizations failed to remain in dominance for more than a few hundred years because they got cocky.

    This is so human nature.

    When NYT, CNN, Time etc. plays up this copying crap and that IP violation crap – a lot of it is this attitude that they are too dumb and cannot invent. I am sure when the Europeans where making knock-off silks and china-ware, many Chinese intellectuals where thinking, “those barbarians.”

    I feel capitalistic media are so much in bed with this cocky mentality. When you can paint a world where they suck, they are immoral, and they steal from you – this gets you worked up to watch more and read more. Japanese and Chinese engineers are willing to read American science journals for ideas. Most American engineers don’t think about doing the same. CNN is partly to blame. CNN = Cancerous News that is so Not-needed.

    Finally, because all these activist scums, I feel more conscientious about donating to China Hope, hiring engineers from China, selling the idea of China as a travel destination to my American friends, etc.. I take great comfort that many people like my self are irked into more action then we would otherwise.

    BTW, don’t get me wrong. U.S. and the “West” have plenty of enlightened people. I just feel the general population gets stupified and allows underdogs around the world like China to catch up quicker.

  239. @ Oli: Certainly the reasons for the downfall were many and I appreciate your elaborating on some. As you said in #250, the condescending paternalism is only the outward manifestation of the belief that one culture is superior to another. In their “shortsighted arrogance” the Qing Emperors displayed all that behavior you ascribed to the western predilection to support the underdog, so the root cause of the behavior really isn’t important.

    I’m simply stating that belief in cultural superiority is not “western” and it is here that, in any country, Nationalism has its roots. While the duality of some westerners take on international affairs may be amusing, my question is where is the sympathetic side of the Chinese equation. I think this is the reason Chinese Nationalism rubs foreigners the wrong way, at the moment most haven’t seen a flip-side.

  240. @Oli – “As for the EU and the Euro, LOL, Britain is doing what it has always done historically when it comes to continental issues, which is to park its rear on the fence for as long as possible in the misguided belief that it will thereby preserve its international influence as some supposed go-between or at a push, hang onto somebody else’s coat tails. However, the world is changing faster than they realise so that ultimately on the fence is where they will be left.”

    Where do I start? The fact that the Labour government had joining the Euro as one of their central aims back in 1997? The fact that the whole Blair/Brown rivalry rotated mainly around support for the Euro? Your total ignorance of British politics?

  241. Wahaha – Am I an American? Since you are Chinese, why don’t you ask why your government is doing this?

    @FOARP,

    I see, you are not American, therefore you have no right commenting on the issues in America, then who gives you the right to comment on the issues in China ?

  242. @Wahaha – The fact that I lived/worked/studied in China for 6 years, and have never been to America? Anyway, I said nothing about ‘right’, only that I simply don’t really have a strong opinion on it – essentially I think they’re doing it because they can and because they think that is the best way of getting a return on their money, although I think they may well be wrong – and would rather hear yours. The best I can do is direct you to James Fallows’ now-famous article on the subject:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200801/fallows-chinese-dollars/4

  243. FOARP,

    That is not what I mean, and you know what I mean.

    By your logic, people who never step on mainland China have no right commenting on issues in China. I guess people like Raj and SKC never went to mainland China

    Your link is opinion on chinese side, I was asking why American government has to do that.

    So I am asking you again why American government has to borrow money from China. With the intelligence you have shown on this board, I am sure you know the answer, but you refuse to answer it or think of it, cuz it contradicts with your belief ? cuz thinking of it will make you uncomfortable ?

  244. @Wahaha – To be honest, all I think is that China lends because it wants to, and America borrows because it can. Once again, I said nothing about right, only about standing – I know nothing about America except what I read and what my American friends tell me. So, whilst I do have strong opinions on, for example, Guantanamo bay and the American torture project, I have no strong opinions on the currency issue, and have never bought the whole ‘currency manipulation’ story. The only source for good information I have is the article by James Fallows, which I thought was brilliant – if I were to tell you what I thought of the currency situation I would only be giving you my interpretation of James Fallow’s opinion. In fact, if you want, you can read the response I wrote to it here:

    http://foarp.blogspot.com/2008/01/james-fallows-on-chinas-158-trillion.html

  245. I guess I should add, the reason why I refer to the currency situation and the loan situation is because they are, in James Fallow’s opinion, connected. China sells goods to the US, and then some of the dollars made are lent back to the US, which then uses the money to buy Chinese goods, and so on.

  246. When did I talk about currency issue ?

    It is like : you have a rich brother, but you borrow $1000 from your friend (or enemy whatever), I am asking you why you dont borrow from your brother.

  247. @Wahaha
    U.S doesn’t have any rich brothers…… I could be wrong but last time I checked, EU countries actually owe U.S money from back in WWII.. but like I said, I could be wrong….

  248. @Wahaha – Like I said, if you read the articles you will see that the two may be related – the Chinese government lends to the US because it needs somewhere to put its money and the US borrows because the Chinese offer cheap interest rates, and then uses the money to buy more Chinese products at a discount price. This isn’t a family relationship, this is business.

  249. @Miaka – The UK finally paid off its debt to the US for WWII (which was spent almost entirely in the US whilst the US was still neutral) a couple of years ago.

  250. @huaren 257

    Actually apart from Chinese goods and technology, China’s most important export to Europe in the 1700s was in fact Chinese philosophical thoughts and ideas, particularly meritocracy, governance for the benefit of the people rather than the nobility, on virtue and morality etc, as encapsulated in Confucian philosophy and Chinese rationalism.

    These Chinese philosophical thoughts were translated by Jesuit priests and avidly taken up by European philosophers, such as Voltaire, Rousseau etc. who in turn applied it to spark the Enlightenment period in Europe, that ultimately contributed to the causes of the French Revolution, the retrenchment of monarchal absolutism and hereditary devine right to rule and the further decline in the powers of the Church. This vacuum together with pressures and needs brought about by the birth of competing nations of citizens rather than subjects, Europe was free to experiment and to explore, leading to a re-evaluation of man, nature and science, which in turn led to the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions.

    @Ted 258

    “While the duality of some westerners take on international affairs may be amusing, my question is where is the sympathetic side of the Chinese equation. I think this is the reason Chinese Nationalism rubs foreigners the wrong way, at the moment most haven’t seen a flip-side.”

    Sorry, but I do not quite understand what you are trying to say, please elaborate.

  251. @FOARP (Fear Of A Red Planet)

    “Where do I start? The fact that the Labour government had joining the Euro as one of their central aims back in 1997? The fact that the whole Blair/Brown rivalry rotated mainly around support for the Euro? Your total ignorance of British politics?”

    ——————————–

    LOL FOARP you’re obviously looking for some more S&M bottom whipping. And you just know that Big Daddy Oli do it so well don’t you, my boy?

    Hmm, let me see, where do I start….

    Firstly, FOARP my dear boy, as usual you don’t read or comprehend very well. You see my words, “Britain is doing what it has always done historically” ? I was elaborating the HISTORICAL modus operandi of BRITAIN as a whole on continental issues, rather than today’s Labour Party in particular. So, did you see me mentioning the Labour Party or its current policy towards the EURO. No.

    Therefore, seriously dude, get a grip on yourself for you are way too old for me to be giving you English reading and comprehension lessons.

    Secondly, as for the current Labour Party’s policy towards the EURO, despite the party leadership being publicly in favour of the EURO, the sentiment is far from unanimous. The situation is similar across the three major UK political parties, such that rather than being split along party lines, in all the major parties there are those who are pro and others who are EU scpetics. The issue is currently dormant until it comes up again, which is when party internal division will once again reassert itself publically over EU intergration.

    Consequently, your understanding of UK politics is simplistic, naive and superficial in the extreme, particularly if you seriously belief that there is party political unity over EU intergration. In fact this disunity is reflected in British society itself and may continue to worsen if economic nationalism continue in the current recession. What was it that Brown said which came back to bite him in the ass? Oh, yes, I believe it was “British jobs for British workers.” Your total ignorance of British politics? LOL…..

    Thirdly, listen here me laddie, whilst I understand that you are English/British, but your assertion @ #21 in “Informal Discussion – the Lessons of Nazi and Japanese Aggressions in WWII” thread that “Scotland was only united with England when the Scottish King James became King of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth” is quite frankly major bollocks and deserves a total spanking on the bottom for its utter fallacy.

    Seriously, were you pre-occupied with some sort of mental masturbation during GCSE lessons on British History or something??? James VI of Scotland and James I of England and Ireland (1603) DID NOT unite Scotland and England. While he occupied both thrones and wore both crowns, he did not unite the two countries, but not for his lack of trying. So, close, but no cigars.

    Union between England and Scotland in fact did not occur until approx 100 plus years later in 1707 with the two little things Scottish and English historians like to call the Acts of Union of 1707 that were passed by both Parliaments. Ever heard of those two wee little Acts? Do they now ring a bell? Ever heard of haggis and ladies lovin O’ Robert Burns who lamented that:

    We were bought and sold for English Gold,
    Sic a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation.

    Seriously FOARP, are you English/British or are you merely pretending? Your total ignorance of British history? Astounding!

    Or is that the level of English/British education these days? But honestly though, you ought to be ashamed of yourself for needing a non-British person to explain British history and politics to you.

    Pfui Teufel nochmal! You are such a joke! LOL!

  252. @ Oli #272: Oli, I do believe you forgot to mention the most important contribution China and the Far East gave to Europe, well, at least in my opinion. It was…. personal hygiene! After the Renaissance, Europeans came up with this strange notion that water could carry diseases into the body through the skin. The French invented perfume to cover up a woman’s smell. Lovers in the French court picked the lice from each other’s hair. Men wore the same undergarments until they disintegrated. Public bathing was immoral; it carried disease! I guess if everyone is eating garlic, no one smells like garlic. 😉

    But then European men came to China and espied the lovely ladies there. After months at sea, they looked even lovelier than usual, but wouldn’t come anywhere near those smelly men, even if they were “bad girls” with bound feet. So the men, in order to relinquish their pent up desires, took to bathing, wearing clean clothes and achieved… success! Hey, and they liked the way they smelled, felt better and brought the habit back to Europe. Along came indoor plumbing, Thomas Crapper invented the flush toilet, and Europe was saved!

    These are the important lessons of history. Forget all that 1492, 1588, “let them eat cake”, “once more unto the breach, dear friends” stuff. I’ll take a Japanese toilet with heated seat and built in bidet anytime. 😛

  253. @Oli: Have you ever heard Desafinado (Slightly Out of Tune) by Antonio Carlos Jobim? hmm… maybe One Note Samba is a better metaphor. China and the Chinese people are just as capable of being sympathetic or patronizing as any westerner. On a personal level, I get both attitudes from students several times a week. On a national level it seems one has to venture back a few hundred years to see a benevolent China alternately helping civilize neighbors who wanted to elevate themselves or stamp out barbarianism along their borders. I’m sure, like the Roman Empire, whatever reason was most suitable to the cause of expansion during periods of strength was the reason offered.

    Living in China today, my takeaway from the Shanghai Daily, China Daily, etc.. is that the developing world is in chaos and developed countries want to keep them that way. China is a beacon of reason and measured progress walking the line between the two. At least, that seems to be image which China wants to present to its people and the developing world. In doing so, China can only afford to show its people one side of the outside world and one side of China. Given that stability is most important to China at the moment, Nationalism is the only voice anyone hears. I have been in class after class where students are discussing and issue taking into account all sides of an argument only to have it brought to a grinding halt by someone who skews a counter argument as threat to China. It could be one student vs. 50 but whenever this happens the nationalist comment is followed by an awkward silence while I struggle to redirect the conversation. There are two sides to China but as long as only one side is offered up, the outside world will keep pressing to see the other side.

  254. @Oli, #272

    You are right. I have a friend who got his PhD at University of Stutgardt. He told me he came across many volumes of Chinese books translated around that time you mentioned.

    He also told me that forensic science was a Chinese invention. It was maybe popularized around the world around that period.

    @Steve, #274

    Interesting. I didn’t not know that.

  255. @ Ted #275: For anyone who isn’t familiar with or hasn’t heard Desafinado, here’s a version from the writer Tom Jobim with Joao Gilberto on vocals, and another version of the same song, sung by Gal Costa.

    Here’s Tom Jobim on piano and vocals for One Note Samba.

    These are both classic bossa nova songs from Brasil. You know me… any excuse to link to music. 😉

    I agree with Ted’s take on both the China Daily and Shanghai Daily. They’re not bad online but the actual paper versions are rags; basically the same articles written over and over again in a slightly different way. “Tibet, Taiwan, experts say, peaceful rise, hegemony of the west”, etc. It gets really old after awhile. Reading soup can labels can be more informative…

  256. Steve,

    Sorry, I missed one of your very imprtant question

    I love Keb Mo ! I am listening to ‘You love’ right now.

    http://www.kebmo.net/

    LOL, I did not that aspect of the Eau De Toilette French. Brilliant.

    # 273

    Oli,

    I laughed so hard, I almost fell off my chair at …”looking for some more S&M bottom whipping. And you just know that Big Daddy Oli do it so well don’t you, my boy?

  257. @Ted

    While staying in China, I would recommend pay more attention on the gradual revival of Chinese culture, or a renaissance in some sense. I hope that is something you may find enjoyable yourself, ’cause you won’t see much of that outside China.

    There are always strong social and political undercurrents working inside China. These forces are there since earlier 19th century when China was forcefully opened by the west. Since then, the relation between China and West has never been at ease.

    There is no secret from Chinese perspective that the leading western powers try hard to undermine China politically, pry on her sovereignty, and take economic advantage on her. Such belief is buried deep inside their sub-conscience as the result of many hard lessons learned over the past one century and half. The events played out since last year (Tibet issue, protesting against 2008 Beijing Olympics, recent financial storm, situation at south China sea etc ) and various perceived threats by West only serve to reinforce such belief.

  258. @Steve #274 – Are you serious or is it a joke? same for Oli#272.

    Do you have any good sources where I can read more about this China influence in the West? I know some of the points you make are true (Voltaire used to hold Chinese and Japanese civilizations as a model) but I have the impression that you are overstating the case. I might be wrong.

    Note: I am not trying to be sarcastic, I’m just really curious to know more.

  259. @Shane9219: “While staying in China, I would recommend pay more attention on the gradual revival of Chinese culture, or a renaissance in some sense. I hope that is something you may find enjoyable yourself, ’cause you won’t see much of that outside China.”

    That’s what I enjoy the most!

  260. @Steve: Thanks youtube is blocked at the moment. Got them on my Ipod. Corcovado sung by Astrud Gilberto would be my favorite.

  261. @FOARP

    Actually, I have more fun pleasing myself on you. Name the time and place, I’ll bring the whip, LOL!

    Now let’s see, shall it be the horse whip or the bull whip? Oooo! I know, has to be the cat o’nine tails, for that je ne sais quoi frisson extraordinaire, which I know you English public school boys just so love. N’est pas mon petit Anglais? (Gotta give it to the Marquis de Sade)

  262. @Steve

    LOL, I know, but I was trying “not to hurt the feelings” of our European friends.

    F.ex. Europeans and the English in particular used to only bath about once a year and the whole household would then use the same tub of water in order of rank. So father, before mother, sons before daughters, male servants before maids before scullions etc. Now imagine the poor guy who gets to bath last in a tub of cold, dirty brown water.

    To be fair, during the rest of the year, the aristocrats and other upper classes would wipe themselves down with a basin of water, but rarely below the neck or waistline. 🙁

    As for high-tech Japanese toilets, ever tried the one that blows your ass dried after the application of the bidet? Excellent on a cold winter day, but for some reason I hate warm toilet seats. 😉

    (OK, enough of the toilet obsession already….)

    @Ted & Steve

    Yes I’m familiar with Desafindo, but I have to be in a particular mood to listen to it though.

    Steve, thanks for the links, btw.

    Now below are some of my questionable non-Chinese listening choices:

    Charles Llyod
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1OzttTT6mg

    Souad Massi
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc4A27tj_Ow&feature=related

    Shankar
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYD7b-oXduU&feature=PlayList&p=CA6FF25E300C7CC8&index=0&playnext=1

    Nightwish
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8mlc9zv5Ho

  263. @Uln

    A good place to start is:

    Books:

    John Hobson, The Eastern origins of Western Civilization, Cambridge University Press

    John Parker, Windows into China: the Jesuits and their books, 1580-1730,

    Thomas Woods, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

    Or if you’re feeling lazy just google “Jesuit priests” & “China” or Matteo Ricci, however, take into consideration the Euro-centric bent of these English language internet resources. Overall I would say, go for the books.

    Also consider the debt Western civilisation owes to the Islamic world. For instance did you know that many mathematical words and concepts are derived from the Arabic and India. A good example is Al-gebra and trigonometry as well as other sciences.

  264. @Ted 275

    Fundamentally, I have no objection with most of what you’ve said. As for “China and the Chinese people are just as capable of being sympathetic or patronizing as any westerner”, absolutely and I’ll even gladly offer myself up as prime exhibit A of the latter, but with the qualifier that I am only unapologetically so when it comes to blatant fools, who has (deleted for profanity).

    As for “On a national level it seems one has to venture back a few hundred years to see a benevolent China…”, again oh absolutely. For you see China was a little busy in the intervening last hundred years or so with, oh I don’t know, the fall of the Ming Dynasty, the Taiping Rebellion, getting stoned on opium, fighting British drug pushers, trying to get rid of other uncouth “guests”, to bring our house back in order and fighting a few itsy bitsy wars on the side that just so happened to incidentally kill a few people. So excuse us for not having been “benevolent”, which you see is kinda hard to do when there is a home invasion going on in your own house, wouldn’t you agree.

    So if China is the way it is, its because you reap what you sow. Even if all that to your average Westerner is ancient history, to the average Chinese culturally it all but happened yesterday, including those like myself and many others who were not or only partially educated under the Chinese system and were not privy to CCP “indoctrination”.

    Besides you have the BBC, Fox News etc, China have the Dailies and the Arabs have Al-Jazeera, its only fair don’t you think, for surely you can’t have it all one way. And as a teacher you ought to surely applaud and appreciate the benefit of alternative perspectives.? Or do you believe that this world have only room for one voice? Or are the voices of the Chinese Dailies invalid simply because they are the perceived mouthpiece of the CCP? What happens if many Chinese actually agree with them some of the time or on certain issues? And what happens if many of them include overseas Chinese of all generations? Are they then all brainwashed as well? I sincerely hope you of all people and as a teacher are more discriminating than that.

    As for the developing world, I would pose the simple question, “what has colonialism and 60 years of post colonial neo-liberal “market capitalism” done for these developing countries?”. In contrast, beyond the affordable, infrastructure, capital equipment, manufactured goods and the rise in commodity prices, I would say that what China has done for the rest of the developing world is to set an example of what can be achieved if a people and a nation take matters into their own hands and accept responsibilities for themselves and the choices they make.

    As for your Chinese students, I would say that you have a few non-exclusive options. You can firstly either focus on that one nationalist/patriotic student or you can focus on the other more moderate fifty. It’s your choice to make, but ask yourself what your choices tell you about yourself.

    Or secondly, you can acknowledge it, run with it, explore it and see where it takes the class and you personally for surely isn’t that what education is all about? For you see, while you may be teaching your class, your class too is also teaching you at the same time. Maybe then, you’ll also either know where he is coming from or that he is merely a young fool who is only capable of parroting others and has yet to learn the ways of the world, just as we were all young once (my personal youthful bugbear was religious and moral hypocrisy).

    As for “There are two sides to China but as long as only one side is offered up, the outside world will keep pressing to see the other side.”, I would say that is true for all countries, cultures and social strata. The problem is that firstly people need to self-reflect more and learn to distinguish the public mask and the private mask that we all use and carry around with us everyday, irrespective of culture or nationality. Secondly, people need to stop being so damn lazy and passively accept all the easily digestible superficial crap that people are so fond of and simply use their brains for some critical thinking for a change.

  265. @Oli
    The problem is that firstly people need to self-reflect more and learn to distinguish the public mask and the private mask that we all use and carry around with us everyday, irrespective of culture or nationality. Secondly, people need to stop being so damn lazy and passively accept all the easily digestible superficial crap that people are so fond of and simply use their brains for some critical thinking for a change.”

    I agree with what you say right there. However, how do you change that? There are the rednecks, KKK and the dittoheads in U.S. The Fenqings in China, the extremists in the Muslim world. Everything is other countrie’s fault and everyone is out to get them. No self reflection.
    I just heard on Rush Limbaugh yesterday about him ranting and raving about the “ChiComms”. I was absolutely disgusted. But daily, I check FM and these “informed” posters refuses to believe in an alternative view and if you argue with them you automatically become a “Scum” or “Retarded”.
    How do you get these people to start thinking critically? By insulting their intelligence by calling them ignorant because their facts are different from yours?
    I see and hear daily, the ugly forms of Nationalism and if people would stop and think critically, our world would be a better place.

  266. @ Oli #287: I might have a different view of Chinese history than most; I see China as having developed the most sophisticated, progressive feudal system in world history. The system was inventive, economically profitable, very well organized and had a high level of education. I believe the system broke down in the late Ming/Qing eras, not enough to destroy it but enough to seriously weaken it without China moving to the next stage in its development. But inventiveness was stifled, the economy was no longer very profitable, the organization broke down into feudal fiefs run by local warlords and the rate of illiteracy and incidences of famine increased throughout the population.

    The Qianlong Emperor’s wars to acquire Xinjiang, Tibet and his attempt to take over Vietnam were so costly that they bankrupted the treasury and prevented the modernization of the military so when the Europeans appeared, China was already weak. Whenever you get something which in this case was territory from military conquest, you also lose something and what China ended up losing was its isolation from the rest of the world and forced trade with that world according to the dictates of foreigners. In a way, you can say that the Qing empire paid for the newly conquered territories with their freedom from outside influence and interference.

    Nothing and no one operates in a vacuum; to only place blame outside yourself without looking inside yourself is the mark of xenophobia, and China’s failure to adjust to modern technology and political advances (as compared to Japan’s quick acceptance) was a major cause of its 150 year sickness. This is not to excuse the behavior of European countries, which was abysmal, especially England and the forced importation of opium. Since China wasn’t interested in English products, England could have stopped the importation of Chinese tea.

    But it also needs to be pointed out that the English did not operate this trade in a vacuum; they sold opium to Chinese merchants who gave a large cut to government mandarins and from there distributed it through a totally Chinese network. Before the Opium Wars when the trade was illegal, it still flourished inside China.

    It wasn’t until 60 years ago that the system truly changed, and only 30 years of the system actually working. That’s an awfully short time span to put together a viable, efficient government. The system that was created doesn’t allow for much wiggle room in terms of differing opinions within the society. As a foreigner in China, I tried to be very circumspect when voicing opinions since I was a guest in the country. I’m sure that Ted feels the same, and even more so as he is teaching younger people and the government looks very closely at those particular foreigners. Ted has to work within the parameters of what is allowed in his school, and as a teacher he has to be very sensitive when it comes to political issues.

    I’ve personally heard a certain word or phrase uttered by someone suddenly cause everyone else to become very quiet, with the utterer realizing what he/she said, and the subject quickly changed. It gave me a strange feeling and made me appreciate freedom of speech, which I had never really thought about before. Like Joni Mitchell once sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”. What you can discuss privately is very different from what you can say publicly.

    Oli, I agree with you that it is best to learn from different perspectives, and for me that’s the beauty of FM. But learning different perspectives from the China Daily and Shanghai Daily? I never learned anything from them. The articles are very dry, recite statistics, quote from “experts”, say the same thing everyday in a slightly different way, and are obviously driven by government priorities rather than breaking events. There is very little “news” in the news. As I said before, don’t compare the print version with the internet version. What I learned in China, I learned from my friends, colleagues and by looking around.

    What has 30 years of market capitalism done for China? Hasn’t it taken hundreds of millions of Chinese from a lifestyle of poverty to one of being able to afford and acquire material goods and luxuries they never had before? Isn’t that a good thing? Has there been a famine in China since 1980? Right next door in North Korea under the old system, the people have suffered from horrible famines. The Chinese I know like the new system a lot!

    And to be fair to the leadership, no Communist government has ever adapted to changing circumstances, both economic and political, as well the CPC. Some might argue that Chinese do not enjoy the personal rights that most other successful countries enjoy but compared to the old system, the Chinese people enjoy considerably more freedoms and rights than in the past. It’s hard to miss something you never had, but easy to be thankful for newly acquired rights and freedoms.

  267. @ Oli #285: Thanks for the musical selections. I didn’t realize Charles Lloyd was still alive, to be honest. I remember him from when I was a kid. He kinda reminds me of Coltrane. Souad Massi is completely new for me and I’ll be downloading much more of her after hearing this song. Shankar… is he the same guy who used to play with John McLaughlin way back when? I think it was back in the ’70s. I had heard of Nightwish but hadn’t heard any of their songs. This one is pretty mellow, not like most Goth Rock. For Goth, I really like Lacuna Coil and also some songs from Theatre of Tragedy and Mortal Love.

    Speaking of Finland, the only Finnish band I have is Husky Rescue. Are you familiar with them? Here’s a song of theirs called Caravan.

    Some Italian Goth Rock from Lacuna Coil.

    From the Punjab, Rabbi Shergill.

    And lastly, Chris Smither singing Origin of Species. The fundamentalist Christians might want to skip this one. 😛

  268. @ steve 289

    Some might argue that Chinese do not enjoy the personal rights that most other successful countries enjoy but compared to the old system, the Chinese people enjoy considerably more freedoms and rights than in the past. It’s hard to miss something you never had, but easy to be thankful for newly acquired rights and freedoms.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    You are right on, steve. It reminded me the answer the Dalai Lama gave when he was asked about masturbation. He said something like this: It’s like an itch. If you scratched it once, you’d always want to scratch it when it itches. But if you never scratched it, then you won’t think about doing it. I don’t know how true this analogy is. For example, is he implicitly acknowledging that masturbation makes you feel good, and how would he have known it. 🙂

    A lot of the senior CCP leaders like Wen, Zhu, have all suffered the deprivation of personal freedoms. And how much personal freedom these people enjoyed in their own lives would be a very important factor in shaping their views regarding that of their fellow citizens. Did these senior leaders’ (and Chinese people as a whole) suffering in the cultural revolution, and their overall historic lack of personal freedoms, made them more, or less sympathetic to the pursuit of personal freedoms by Chinese dissidents? I think it’s an important topic one might want to do a thesis on. 🙂

  269. China asserts itself in GPS turf war

    By CSMonitor

    http://features.csmonitor.com/innovation/2009/03/25/china-asserts-itself-in-gps-turf-war/

    “When China signed up in 2003 it was a major coup for then-French President Jacques Chirac’s vision of a “multipolar” world in which US influence would be diluted. Later, however, the Europeans got cold feet, denying Beijing a seat on the Supervisory Authority, which owns and oversees Galileo, for security reasons.

    “The Chinese felt insulted and disrespected,” says Taylor Dinerman, a US space expert. China’s treatment at Europe’s hands “really moved the Chinese schedule ahead” in the construction of Beijing’s own system, adds Eric Hagt, a space analyst at the World Security Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

    “We felt that we were not treated equally,” explains Shen Dingli, a national security expert at Fudan University in Shanghai. “In fact, China has no big need to join Galileo and Europe forced China to understand this.

    “As a major power,” he adds, “China needs to assure its national economic and security independence. These will in turn assure its political independence.”

    This is an example of sweet revenge from China when leading western powers decide to undermine China.

  270. @neutrino #291

    “their overall historic lack of personal freedoms, made them more, or less sympathetic to the pursuit of personal freedoms by Chinese dissidents? ”

    Not at all. It should be described as “sacrificing a very few for a much greater good”. That is the collectivism deeply rooted in Chinese culture. However, average Chinese have acted no less with their demanding voices. You can see that through Chinese netizen and how the central government responded to their demand.

    In US and Europe, rampant liberalism and individualism at times easily lead to a dyfunctional society.

  271. @ shane 291

    average Chinese have acted no less with their demanding voices.
    _______________________________________________

    Sorry, my average chinese friends acted close to nil with their demanding voices. They simply accept the reality and try to work around the rules when possible. If you tell me one example of you or your friends acted with their demanding voices and made it heard by the government and got what you demanded as a result, you will have more credibility.

    ___________________________________________________
    In US and Europe, rampant liberalism and individualism at times easily lead to a dyfunctional society.
    ___________________________________________________

    Again, you lost me. Even during the current financial crisis, these countries still enjoy peaceful life and stable societies. I don’t know how you can call their societies any more dysfunctional then the chinese one. CCP is the one that always chants about stability, and than means it has legitimate concerns for it. The same can not be said about the western societies, because they are stable, functional, even in a crisis like what we are seeing now.

    Quoting “sacrificing a very few for a much greater good” (and attributing it to the Chinese culture) is very convenient. Yet you ignore the fact that communism ideology itself is western. In any case, taiwan is a better example of a society with deeper rooted Chinese culture in my mind. You can say that their parliament might seem chaotic sometimes, yet they are stable, and largely functional, and the poor are better taken care of because there is free press, and the government have to respond to it. The same cannot be said about China.

  272. @ Oli: “And as a teacher you ought to surely applaud and appreciate the benefit of alternative perspectives.? Or do you believe that this world have only room for one voice?…

    Certainly I appreciate all perspectives, only I am obligated to avoid discussion of Religion, Politics, Tibet, Taiwan, and TAM (the three T’s as they are also known). My second day in China I was told not to discuss these issues, which is a little strange because as an English teacher it wouldn’t have occurred to me to bring them up. Every school I’ve worked in I’m told the same thing during my orientation. So there’s the rub. I never introduce these topics and when someone else does, during an open discussion for example, its my job to change the subject. It’s essentially why I ended up at FM, because I’m living in China and only discussing half the history, having one side of a conversation.

    To your suggestion that I listen to the 50 moderate students… the Nationalists can make it extremely difficult to hear anyone else. Personally, I hold on to a few enlightened conversations, block everything else out, and talk about grammar.

    “For you see, while you may be teaching your class, your class too is also teaching you at the same time.” I learned all that I can learn of the Nationalist perspective within my first year in China. I’ve also learned a few of the tactics they use to get the other students to stop talking. Outside that, all I’ve learned is how to get people to laugh when switching from “Why does the west want to split China?!” to “Have you ever ridden a camel?”

  273. @Ted: The signature Raj was told to go to China to find out the answer to his questions. In the same vein, I challenge people who ask the question “Why does the West want to split China?” to go to the West and ask around. 😉

  274. @Steve #289: You have a lighter touch than I do. What’s frustrating is that I feel like I’m only serving to further insulate people from outside opinion which means that when they are confronted with another point of view their reaction will be that much stronger. Anyway, change is a comin’ for me. It’ll be nice to take a break.

    @Wukailong: I’ll file that one away for next time 😉

  275. @ Uln #281: Sorry, I just caught your question. I wrote somewhat tongue in cheek but pretty truthfully. The belief in water carrying diseases, the invention of perfume to cover the smell of body odor, lovers picking lice out of each other’s hair, no public bathing, not changing undergarments, etc. were all real. I didn’t read them in any one book but picked them up here and there over the years.

    I’m not crazy about Wiki, but they did have this to say, “Bathing in fact did not fall out of fashion in Europe until shortly after the Renaissance, replaced by the heavy use of sweat-bathing and perfume, as it was thought in Europe that water could carry disease into the body through the skin. (Water, in fact, does carry disease, but more often if it is drunk than if one bathes in it; and water only carries disease if it is contaminated by pathogens.) Medieval church authorities believed that public bathing created an environment open to immorality and disease. Roman Catholic Church officials even banned public bathing in an unsuccessful effort to halt syphilis epidemics from sweeping Europe. Modern sanitation as we know it was not widely adopted until the 19th and 20th centuries. According to medieval historian Lynn Thorndike, people in Medieval Europe probably bathed more than people did in the 19th century.”

    Queen Isabella is said to have claimed she only bathed twice in her life. I read about the “picking lice” in a book about France’s King Louis XV. The invention of perfume appears in many places, and I had friends who worked for Motorola in Toulouse back in the 1970s who told me their girlfriends bathed only on Saturday night and used perfume the rest of the week; drove them crazy.

    I’ve read a couple of histories relating the story of Hong Kong and that’s where I picked up the tale of rich merchants leaving their wives and children back in England while having a local wife in Hong Kong. Their wives insisted them bathe and after picking up the habit, brought it back to England with them and built baths inside their homes. Partially through their example, the habit began to spread throughout upper class England and worked its way down.

    Oh, and Thomas Crapper DID invent the modern flush toilet. 😉

  276. @Steve – Hi, thanks for the info. Actually, it is not the hygienic habits of the old Europeans that I was doubting (these are well known), but your claim that the new habits came as a result of Chinese influence, rather than as a result of scientific research showing that microbes transmit diseases, which is what we are taught at school in Europe… (OMG, brainwashing?!?)

    As for the example of the French in the 70s, honestly, I am afraid your friends gave you complete BS. Either they are Bush supporters or else they just wanted to sound funny.

  277. Foarp, yes, i got her point about the rising Ugly Chinese thing (in Western eyes, at least) – my point was, should the issue of Chinese nationalism be linked to the dispute over the auction of the sculptures?
    Cai MCao was supported (in my books at least) for his motives in mussing up the auction, and should not be for the act that breaks the law..
    If a rapist gets away not only with the act, but is told by the law he can put the panties up for sale, is a wave of sympathy for the victim not a natural reaction, or nationalism?
    But since the Paris relay protests, the media spotlight has seemingly changed from one slant to another: Chinese were once “brainwashed”, by the government and now they are all ugly “nationalist” . How do these transformations happen overnight?
    You believe that Singapore Chinese are supportive of China? Well, I don’t know if you’ve spent time hereabouts. Otherwise you’d know Singaporeans look down on everything, even London and New York, why talk of China, whose poor image is Ma Ying’s lament ( never mind whether her prejudice is form or source, we leave the chicken-and-egg thing to Oli, whose level of taste in Malaysian cuisine doesn’t rise above poorly Mungo Jerry bak kut teh, which elevates neither constitution nor intellect. Alas, Oli, we have moved onwards, onwards!)
    So, no Foarp, not all Chinese are bloodbound to be faithful to all that China says and does – ethnic pride and nationalism are two different things, yah? It is Malaysian not Singapore Chinese who feel a closer affinity with the mainland, but that’s because China’s ability to overcome its adversities reflects the Malaysian Chinese will to survive and prosper.

  278. @ Uln #299: That part about Toulouse was told to me in the mid ’80s and I’ve also had other friends complain about the body odor in the Paris Metro in the ’90s. Having said that, my wife and I have traveled on our own all over France and never encountered anything like what they describe. In fact, I found France to be a pretty clean and orderly place. So from my personal experience, no complaints at all and in fact, France is one of my favorite countries to visit.

  279. @Wukailong #296

    “In the same vein, I challenge people who ask the question “Why does the West want to split China?” to go to the West and ask around”

    Very interesting thought. Perhaps many Chinese vacationing in Europa and US should hold protests in Paris, London and Washington. That will get people in the West really scared 🙂 The truth is that average Chinese is too shy to talk about their political view to outsiders, until they are offended too much.

    People in the West want Chinese wallets, but not their brand of ideology and nationalism. They are still comfortable to look down on Chinese, both politically and culturally. These things should change and will change in a few more years. The current financial crisis is a good starting point. China is giving West a good lesson with her own concrete actions and subtle rhetoric — never in the face, that is not Chinese culture 🙂

  280. @huaren #42

    “I don’t agree with you and neither will many other Chinese Americans who frequent this forum. I guess that’s all there is to say.”

    Wrong! Please refrain from speaking for me and my Chinese American friends.

  281. @Shane
    I am sorry to burst your bubble. Average Americans wouldn’t care if Chinese tourists protest (with a permit) on the street. You have to realize, that if you engage in a good discussion of politics, they will be happy to discuss it with you and their views. I don’t know how long you have lived here, but I live in the middle of no where desert, people tend to care more about border control issues than with China. When issues of China comes up, they just go “oh ok… that sounds reasonable” or “really? is that how it is?” or I get asked once by a old new mexican “in your country is there Christianity?” because deep down inside, they really don’t know.
    Then you have psychos like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh that brainwashed their listeners with Fear… only a small percentage of Americans think China is evil…
    If people finds out if you were from China, the reaction that you get is questions after questions… not look down….
    I don’t know where have you experience that?
    P.S on the internet just doesn’t count. Even I know that….

  282. Nothing and no one operates in a vacuum; to only place blame outside yourself without looking inside yourself is the mark of xenophobia,…

    Steve,

    No offense, that is what West is doing NOW, that is why instead of improving themselves and seriously solving the problems they have, they try to cause trouble for China.

  283. Sorry, my average chinese friends acted close to nil with their demanding voices. They simply accept the reality and try to work around the rules when possible. If you tell me one example of you or your friends acted with their demanding voices and made it heard by the government and got what you demanded as a result, you will have more credibility.

    ______________________________
    admin, why was my post lost ?

    Let me try again to answer the above.
    ___________________________

    neutrino,

    Do you know how Hu JingTao was elected WITHIN CCP ?

    You really know nothing about China except what you have learned from West propaganda.

  284. FOARP 269,

    For god sake, maybe I should speak more directly. I am asking :

    Why didnt those billionaires and millionaires in US do something in this crisis ? Why didnt they put their money in work ?

    You know, Obama openly called individuals (or the riches) to buy debts, where is the action ?

    what about the situation in UK ?

  285. Sorry, my average chinese friends acted close to nil with their demanding voices. They simply accept the reality and try to work around the rules when possible. If you tell me one example of you or your friends acted with their demanding voices and made it heard by the government and got what you demanded as a result, you will have more credibility.

    neutrino,

    I dont know why my answer didnt show up.

    But you know nothing about the politics in China except what you have read from west propaganda machines.

  286. I challenge people who ask the question “Why does the West want to split China?” to go to the West and ask around.

    WKL,

    cuz Westerners are human beings…. and not stupid.

    _________________________________________

    Also, about protest, let us say some chinese tourists go to Canada and protest for the native aboriginals, let us say some chinese or japanese tourists go to Hawaii to protest for Hawaiians,

    Canadians and Americans wouldnt mind ?

    Give me a break !!!!

  287. Also, about protest, let us say some chinese tourists go to Canada and protest for the native aboriginals, let us say some chinese or japanese tourists go to Hawaii to protest for Hawaiians,

    Canadians and Americans wouldnt mind ?

    give me a break !

    _________________________

    BTW, last year in France, a French yelled at chinese students “free tibet”, and one of the chinese students yelled back, “French out of Kosovo”, he had to run away from the french “human right activists”.

  288. @Wahaha, #308.

    Unless due to inheritance, most billionaires and millionaires work hard and/or invest wisely for the money. The bad debt is obviously not investment grade. It is better to give the money to charities, so they will get a tax break and know the money is well spent.

  289. @Shane9129: “The truth is that average Chinese is too shy to talk about their political view to outsiders, until they are offended too much.”

    Absolutely false.

  290. @Steve & Ted

    First of all I think you need to be careful when applying Western definition and concept of “feudalism” to an Eastern polity. It is a common mistake that people of all cultures tend to make when applying their own cultural and linguistic definition of certain concepts to understand another culture, particularly when the inherent application of such comparison risks undermining one’s fundamental understanding of the very object we hope to understand.

    With the exception of the last 40 years or so, China has for the most part of its history more or less been a mixture of “feudalism” and “capitalism”. Characteristic of both often co-existed alongside each other, with the former more prevalent away from the urban centres and vice versa, but not absolutely or exclusively so.

    This remained true even during the Warlord years, considering that each Warlord at the time may often hold areas the size of an average European nation. The actual picture was that there was no overall centralised authority and the then geo-political map of China resembles that of modern Europe rather than modern China. Each Warlord’s domain was a centralised government of its own, with its own bureaucracy, irrespective of their administrative efficacy.

    As re your hypothesis of Qianlong Emperor’s expansionism being the cause of China’s later susceptibility to Western encroachment, I consider it debatable. I’ve come across similar theories in Wikipedia before, but I also noticed also that there were requests for citation appended to verify the entries.

    I am personally more inclined to the theory that it was a failure politically and policy wise to adapt to changing circumstances. This was partly due to hubris and complacency, but primarily because of political infighting between the reform and the conservative factions at court, with the latter prevailing. In contrast, Japan at the time and with far less resources than Qing China, were able to reform after Perry’s Black ships because there the reformists had the upper hand (See Boshin War and Meiji Restoration).

    Steve, as re the Opium War, please note that I have an innate tendency by virtue of inclination and training to choose my words very carefully, however flippant or irrelevant it may appear at a glance. Therefore I am acutely aware of the responsibility of ordinary Chinese in the dissemination of the opium trade, hence my writing that “China…was busy getting stoned on opium” and the corresponding use of the passive. In fact many Chinese families today have family legends of fortune squandered because of a family scion’s opium addiction.

    However, against foreigners, particularly the English, we take a perverse, belligerent pleasure in dragging their proverbial soles over the fire, particularly when they ride their high horses. Remember what I said about the public/private mask thing? Consequently, I would hate to see you amongst the minority whom I seem to have to constantly tell to go back and re-read what I wrote, particularly as you and I appear to be getting on so splendidly, having exchanged music preferences and all. 🙂

    As regarding the China and Shanghai Dailies, oh absolutely I personally couldn’t agree more with your criticism. However note that I never contested the “journalistic/reporting merits” of their content, but merely that they have their place within the greater scheme of things within China, irrespective of outsiders’ opinion. As for what that scheme is and what perspective you can garner from the Dailies, I’ll leave you to discover it for yourself, just to make it more fun. So consequently, I wonder why you should think I would consider the Dailies objective reading and what that says about yourself (re-read what I wrote?).

    As re Ted’s understandable conundrum, I hope to respond later. And if I may be so bold, I might have a few suggestions he may want to consider.

    PS on Music

    Souad Massi is Algerian and quite popular in North Africa and France.

    I believe that was Lakshminarayanan Shankar of Shakti who played with John McLaughlin. The link I provided is of Ravi Shankar, a much older sitar player who taught George Harrison of the Beatles.

    Chyi (Taiwanese singer) – something Chinese for your wife and yourself to enjoy. Personally I like her voice control.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FxHemCR5mw&feature=related

    Chyi singing the Heart Sutra
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sftVGeqRWc4

    Bic Runga (A Malaysian-Chinese-Maori singer)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcqbtXSlcx8&feature=related

    One of my favourite song lyrics wise as it appeals to me at a visceral level (maybe your wife can translate the characters’ meaning even if it’s sung in Cantonese).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZTrSeseOmw&feature=related

    Btw
    I like Caravan, not so keen on Rabbi Shergill or Lacuna Coil (the lead’s voice doesn’t do it for me).
    Chris Smither is very funny. My current girlfriend who’s a physicist and a liberal Catholic (has to be to date me I suppose) laughed her head off. 🙂

  291. @miaka9383

    Just so that I don’t misunderstand what you are saying, would you care to elaborate?

  292. @Oli
    you said “the problem is that firstly people need to self-reflect more and learn to distinguish the public mask and the private mask that we all use and carry around with us everyday, irrespective of culture or nationality. Secondly, people need to stop being so damn lazy and passively accept all the easily digestible superficial crap that people are so fond of and simply use their brains for some critical thinking for a change.”

    I agree with that comment. And I am asking you how do you get people to self reflect? and not accept everything that they hear?
    I see it on all sides. I mean I read the blog posts daily and we get people like Wahaha, Shane and Huaren that assumes everyone who cares about human rights are activist scums or westerners that are out to get China. And then I hear on the radio from Rush Limbaugh that China is all out to get us.
    Neither is true. The thing is there are people that are believe them by their words and not search and think for themselves.
    I am tired of everyone is out to get China/everyone hates U.S rhetoric. It is exhausting to hear the same thing repeated everyday and you know it is not true. It is like shane saying upstairs about how all americans hate the chinese, when I know from first hand experience that isn’t true.

  293. @Wahaha #312
    They might mind, though the possibility of not is greater. But they certainly won’t get into a huff and start boycotting Chinese and/or Japanese goods and stores, at least not for that reason, especially when many people who live in Hawai’i right now are of Chinese and Japanese descent.

  294. Little Alex,

    let us say chinese tourists have protested for 15 years, and have kept giving money to those seperatists in Canada and Hawaii ……..

    Please, we are all human being. Yes, Americans and westerners are more tolerate to different opinions than chinese are, but there are something no people will tolerate, sovereignty is one of them. It has nothing to do with nationalism, if you love your country, then you will do that; if you put your country above your own bias and hatred (towards CCP), then you would do that.

    Now, if some chinese talk about how China will be superpower in 30 years,(like the new book in China, “China say no”) blah, blah, then maybe you can use the word “nationalism”.

  295. @Huaren
    Like I said before, you can disagree with me all you want. But do not make insults at my personal life that you know nothing about.

    I am offended by your comments. The question for Oli is genuine. If you feel offended by that, maybe its because you are insecure with your own knowledge or your brand of reality.

  296. @Ted #314

    >> “The truth is that average Chinese is too shy to talk about their political view to outsiders, until they are offended too much.”

    > “Absolutely false.”

    Why it is not true? I am speaking for myself. I would not be so vocal if western media and people were not so vocally against China on events such Tibet and protesting 2008 Olympics. Naturally, people in the West believe their side media reports, even though many of them are quite ignorant about history and have no direct knowledge about Tibet. You may say the debat on Tibet in the West is often one-sided, just what you saw inside China.

    For years, I always turn away from political topics whenever I work/meet my western friends, both inside and outside China. There is an old saying in China: river water and well water don’t mix. There is no point of talking politically when there is so profound difference on idelologies. It’s like debat your apple is better than my orange.

    Last year’s events changed all of that. My opinion and presentation became so fierce at sometimes that my old friends were really stunned. I told them bluntly if western media and people do not show a good restrain and senstivity on issues relating to China’s sovereignty, such as Tibet etc, they will be in big trouble eventually. China and Chinese people are willing to go to war on that ! That is all because of historical reasons and western wrong-doings in the past. The way out of this mess is that 1) people in the west as a whole need a reflection on their past, like what German did for their WWII behavior, and 2) western countries stop supporting 14th DL/TIE and tell them to reconciliate with China.

    It’s clear that oversea Chinese could get very uncomfortable when being in the middle. After 2 or more generations, their affinity with China could become superficial. However, if you are brave to explore these issues and seek the truth, you can be some helpful voices in the west, so that the mainstream media is not so headless and one-sided.

  297. @ Oli

    “I’ve come across similar theories in Wikipedia before,..”

    Ha Ha Ha Ha. Ha Ha Ha Ha.
    Ha Ha Ha Ha.
    Oli is good. Ha Ha Ha….
    I feel you! Ha Ha…Wiki…”the myth of China”…or rather spreading myths or half-truths about “Chinese history, culture, religion, etc”?

  298. @Steve
    “What has 30 years of market capitalism done for China? Hasn’t it taken hundreds of millions of Chinese from a lifestyle of poverty to one of being able to afford and acquire material goods and luxuries they never had before? Isn’t that a good thing? Has there been a famine in China since 1980?“

    I believe you and I know that there is “market capitalism” as practised in “the West” and then there is “market capitalism” as practised in China or in other parts of the world. What China offers many developing countries is setting an example of and providing an alternative as well as what determined political will can achieve.

    @Ted #294
    I appreciate and am sympathetic to the difficulty of your situation and while I understand the rationale behind the restriction, I do not necessarily agree with its application within the confines of academia. But then again it would also have to depend on the nature of the institution and the course that you are teaching.

    Therefore my “semi-seditious” suggestions would be, along with the judicious application of honesty and discretion of course, to firstly consider the art of “saying more by speaking less”. Secondly, consider that the language of the rules may not coincide with the spirit of the rules at all times. Thirdly while you may not be allowed to discuss the subject matter of the rules, perhaps you can consider a discussion of the rules itself and their rationale. Now wouldn’t that be interesting? 😉

    So, next time one of your nationalist/patriotic students brings up the subject of the three Ts, just say, “ OK we have to stop there, because I am under instruction by the school not to discuss this topic WITHIN the walls of this school, but what you individually or together discuss OUTSIDE of these classrooms are none of my concern.”

    As for you having learnt all you wanted about the nationalist perspective in your first year in China, hmm, perhaps. However, my experience is that the nationalist view of wherever I happened to be, is often more of a spectrum rather black and white. And as akin to the observer effect in physics or anthropology, more often than not, a determining factor is our personal approach when attempting to discern the differences during discussions with the locals.

  299. @ Oli #315: First of all, that was an excellent post. Mixing logic and music is the best of all possible combinations! 😛

    When I used the term “feudalism”, it was as a description of peasant farmers working land owned by landlords and not directly. Wasn’t that the practice in China at the time? I agree with your description of the mix of capitalism and feudalism, but that also took place in Europe as the merchants were involved in a capitalistic trade system during the Middle Ages, created and spurred on by trade with the East. It wasn’t until the establishment of Charters much later that it became more monopolistic.

    When I talked about the Qianlong Emperor’s expansion being the cause of China’s later encroachment by the West, I didn’t mean the expansion itself but the ability to pay for it. Rather than Wiki, my reference point was European kings who ran into the same difficulties in financing their wars, thus the European banking system developed to finance those wars conditioned on future payments. As far as I know, China didn’t have access to as sophisticated a banking system so when the kingdom was low on money, it wasn’t able to raise the financing in the same manner. Japan didn’t have China’s natural resources, but the long period of Tokugawa peace under the shogunate left them in a much stronger financial position at the time. This combined with massive corruption in the latter part of Qianlong’s reign left China in a weakened state.

    Yes, there were both conservative and reform factions in China and Japan, but it is part of a ruler’s job to choose the correct faction in times of difficulty. I agree, there was far more hubris in China than in Japan but that was just as much from attitude than from political infighting. From the time China knew it was behind technologically to the beginning of the first Opium War was considerable, so there was certainly a period to change course, reform and modernize.

    Japan also had both conservatives and reformers, but the Meiji Emperor chose the reformist faction. Chinese leadership failed at a crucial time in her history over a course of decades rather than years.

    I think I’ve skewered the British over their behavior in the Opium Wars quite a bit on this blog; if I hadn’t, TonyP4 would have personally come to San Diego to kick my ass and we couldn’t have that, now could we? 😀

    Per the China and Shanghai dailies, those were just my personal comments about the papers and not meant to imply you felt they were well written or as an answer to anything you said. But I was wondering, aren’t they written for foreigners visiting China rather than the Chinese themselves? Why would a Chinese person buy them when he/she could buy a Chinese newspaper, with a lot more news and better writing? I always thought both were published to be put under hotel doors for visiting foreigners to get a government version of the news. Wouldn’t you think about 95% of the readership comes about in this way? So if that is true and they are written specifically for foreigners and not Chinese, how can they help me develop a balanced attitude or be considered “within” China? Unfortunately, the articles are so poorly written that they actually helped to create a more negative perspective than I would originally have had. I doubt that fulfills the goals for which they are published.

    Music Section~

    I read up on Souad Massi after I watched her vid. She’s an interesting person; used to be a political rebel until recently. She’s definitely on my list!

    When I clicked on the link you provided, it took me to L. Shankar played a double violin, not Ravi Shankar. Did you accidentally link to the wrong video? I thought L. Shankar could be Lakshminarayanan Shankar but wasn’t sure. I like Ravi a lot, though not as crazy about his daughter. Ravi’s American home is in Carlsbad not far from me.

    When I heard Chyi’s first cut, I immediately thought, “Hey, I know this song!” The first time I heard Olive Tree was at a New Year’s Eve 2002 outdoor concert in our Ximending neighborhood in Taipei, where Fei Xiang sang it right at the stroke of midnight. I liked the song immediately and bought his CD a few days later. Later, someone in my office said it was originally sung by a Singaporean artist. Is that true? How old is the song? This is Fei Xiang’s version of Olive Tree.

    My wife’s best friend is a devout Buddhist so I emailed her the Heart Sutra video. I enjoyed it very much, thanks!

    I had linked to a Bic Runga song called “She Left On A Monday” in one of our music threads. She’s known for “Sway” since it was on a movie soundtrack but not much beyond that. As far as I’m concerned, she’s the “Frank Sinatra” of female singers when it comes to clearly enunciating song lyrics. I hadn’t seen this video yet so thanks for the link.

    Are you familiar with her sister Boh? Her band, Stellar*, was the most popular band in NZ for a few years. Here they are performing All It Takes. She recently moved to LA to try and crack the American market as a solo. This is her new song Starfish Sleeping.

    I like the style of song the Cantonese singer performed. I’ll get my wife to translate the words since she doesn’t speak Cantonese.

    Amy Lee’s Evanescence copied Lacuna Coil quite a lot but toned it down for a more pop feel. Rabbi Shergill is very popular these days in India but I find I’m not crazy about Indian music in general. I liked a couple of his songs but not the entire CD. I saw Chris Smither in 1976 when he was a young guy and even back then, he played a mean acoustic guitar. He did a cover of the Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” that I just loved. Glad your girlfriend liked that particular song; figured you’d get a kick out of it.

    Lately I’ve been listening a lot to the Sneaker Pimps’ “Becoming X” CD. I like how every song is different from another; sample these three: Six Underground, Tesla Suicide and Spin Spin Sugar. I also really like Kelli Dayton’s voice. This was their first CD but after that, the others didn’t appeal to me.

    Here’s Colin Hay performing Beautiful World in a small studio. You might remember him as the lead vocalist for Australia’s Men at Work many years ago.

    And a little something offbeat, here’s a very short clip of Django Reinhardt back in 1945. I can listen to this guy play guitar for hours, probably one of the most influential guitarists who ever lived.

    If your girlfriend liked that song, she might also like this one from Drugstore with Thom Yorke on vocals, called El President. 😛

  300. @ Oli #324: I’m not sure what you mean when you say the “market capitalism” of China is different than the “market capitalism” of “the West”. Different in what way?

    I realize the political structure is not the same but when doing business there, I didn’t find much difference except for the ubiquitous “under the table” payments which are certainly not unique to China but practiced all over SE Asia, and the style of entertainment which is the same as the rest of NE Asia. Fortunately, I can sing in key and the electronics took care of the rest. 😉

  301. @ Oli#324 & Ted #295: I think Oli is on the right track in that if you take an alternative approach, many times you can get a good discussion out of it without breaking the rules. To use as an example of what I mean, back in 2001-2002, one question that was asked of me practically all the time was “What do you think of the ‘One China’ policy?”

    I’d first say I was a guest in their country and didn’t want to say anything out of place, but they would insist it was OK so this was my explanation back in the days of Jiang’s Taiwan policy:

    Since I’m in sales/marketing, my view is that you need to see results from your policy or it is not effective, and I didn’t see China’s policy as being effective because the results were the opposite of what was intended. I looked at it as China trying to sell Taiwan on the concept of reunification, and the technique they were using is what is known in sales as the “fear close”. IBM used to use this in their commercials; the IT system has completely broken down and the company is in complete chaos and why? Because they didn’t use IBM but some lesser company. The message was, “You can’t get FIRED for using IBM software, Mr/Mrs. IT person!” The “fear close” is based on the fear of bad things happening if you don’t use the product, which in this case is reunification with China.

    However, the “fear close” can backfire if the customer thinks you overplayed your hand, and then have the exact opposite effect. I have seen engineering managers ban salesmen from the premises for using a “fear close”. That’s what happened in Taiwan; the Taiwan voters got angry and did exactly the opposite of what the technique had intended. This is bad marketing. The ‘fear close’ can work domestically, but it could not work offshore under those circumstances. Since the Jiang administration did not control Taiwan politically, it was a mistake to use a marketing technique that needed political control to work.

    To sell something, you have to give the customer a “reason to buy”. This is the approach the Hu administration has used with Taiwan. The “something to buy” was economic cooperation and the possibility of preferred trading status. That doesn’t alienate anyone and so far, it’s working pretty well.

    With any kind of political issue, I’d turn the subject from position to technique. Was the method to achieve success having the wanted effect and if not, why not? What alternative method would work better? Surprisingly, the conversations became much more rational and the results were better that expected in that everyone tended to agree with each other rather than getting into ideological battles. If you notice, I never brought up whether reunification was right or wrong, needed or not. I started by assuming the basic government position was unassailable so no one would feel they were contradicting official policy. I wasn’t asking, “Is Position X the correct one?” but “Is the method we are using to achieve Position X the correct method and if not, what other method or methods can we consider that would work better?”

    I’d also take it from a particular subject or incident to a generic discussion of the same issue. You can take Tiananmen and turn it into the most harmonious way to protest, you can take Tibet and turn it into the best way to practice or control religion in China while preserving the stability and unity of the country. My experience is that the answers I received taught me more about the way Chinese think than actually discussing the issue itself. Everyone had a chance to be more creative without breaking any political boundaries.

    Think this method would work today? Or have things tightened up so much, even that would be pushing it too far?

  302. @Wahaha #320
    I based my opinions re: how Americans would react on facts, observations and experiences. The husband of the vice presidential candidate of a major party was once a secessionist and, afaik, still has close ties with the organization. A large number of people in the South still fly the Confederate flag. There’s a whole Hawai’i independence movement, spearheaded by different organizations, with bills introduced in the U.S. Congress. I think all of this says a lot about what Americans would and would not tolerate.

    I don’t know what you’re basing your general assertions on.

  303. @ Steve

    Actually, I merely stated that I’ve come across similar unreferenced theories as yours before in Wiki . I neither accused nor implied that you sourced your arguments from Wiki, however I do wonder why you assumed otherwise. 😉

    Personally, I think Wiki is just another tool that CAN be useful, but also one which needed to be used with discretion, discernment and critical fore- and afterthought. The sections of the entries that I usually find most useful are in fact the references and further readings, but they too need to be approached with caution.

    As regarding “feudalism” and “market capitalism” in historical China, you need to re-consider your evidence and sources. You’ll also have to consider how they change over time from dynasty to dynasty because of reforms and changes in tax system. For example, the nobles often did not actually own the land itself but are merely granted the right to tax the household income the peasants derived from the land.

    This right was granted by the court as reward for service, to pay their salaries or to form the budget of each official/noble’s imperial administrative office, with surplus being passed up the administrative hierarchy. The reward of office therefore often comes with the responsibility of administrative service.

    More often than not, the farmers actually often own the land themselves, which they can sell, exchange or use as collateral for loans. Even as collateral there were often imperial laws that forbade the lender from confiscating the land, but merely as having a right to a percentage of the income as derived from the land in order to ensure agricultural supply. Though of course the land remain liable to confiscation by imperial edicts.

    While this may not deter each noble, official or their extended family from owning land, it is often impractical to do so on too large a scale as the nobles/officials are often rotated around the empire to prevent entrenchment. But even then their landholdings, where there may very well be tenant farmers, employees or even slaves, are also limited and scrutinised by imperial auditors and inspectors who travel around the empire incognito to investigate alleged corruption.

    Consequently, the Western definition of “feudalism”, where all land is owned by the crown or the nobility, is often neither universally or widely applicable to historical China, for its very concept runs contrary to the Confucian ideal of meritocracy, where allowing slaves to earn their freedom are often regarded as “virtuous” and respected. To find out more I suggest you google the terms “China+history+economy”, but as before these will inevitably be limited by being in the English language.

    As regarding banking, imperial China, because of its size, actually invented paper money, as well as bankers’ draft, other IOUs and the resulting process of long distance remittance. I suggest you google the terms “China+history+banking” as well as the Chinese characters 票號 and 錢莊 and 中国经济歷史 to find out more. This was further supplemented and enhanced by later trade with the West from the Ming Dynasty onwards.

    In fact, throughout most of the Qing Dynasty, China’s economy remained the largest in the world and was one of, if not the largest holder of minted silver and gold because of trade with the West, for how else did you think the Qing Dynasty paid for Tibet, the Unequal Treaties and all the Opium Wars among others that it lost.

    Its economy in fact only began to decline in the collapse of the Qing Dynasty during its last ten years or so. Which is why most Chinese are so pissed off with the West whenever this period of history is mentioned.

    Consequently, you’ve got both your timeline as well as your argument wrong. It was not that the Qing couldn’t afford to pay for reforms and modernisation or that China didn’t have a sophisticated banking system, but rather that they could not do it fast enough or timely enough before nationalist and republican movements overthrew the dynasty.

    You really should check this book out:

    John Hobson, The Eastern origins of Western Civilization, Cambridge University Press

    Or learn Putonghua/Mandarin. 😉

    Regarding the Dailies, unfortunately no cigars as you only got a small part of it. So think about it some more. Hint: expand your perspective and I’m not simply messing with your mind here. 🙂

    Music section-

    Re Ravi and L. Shankar, you’re right, the link I provided was of L Shankar, but what I later said was also true (these Indians, they all look the same to me). 😉

    I find Ravi Shankar more traditionalist than L. Shankar, who tended to experiment more, but I like both.

    Actually I’m not sure whether Chyi was the original singer or not, but she certainly made the song famous. I’ve heard Fei Xiang’s rendition before and though I like the modern twist, I find the beat of the background percussion really annoying and can do without.

    Now this is why I think Chyi has beautiful voice control and vocal resonance.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR2HZNd26CU&feature=related

    Wow, I didn’t know Bic Runga also has a sister in music, but at least their style and music are different, unlike the Minogue sisters.

    Sneaker Pimps??? Arghh! Never liked the singer’s voice. I’ve always found it kinda grating as though there’s a hook at the end of each sentence digging into my eardrums. Gives me the “shivers” and always reminded me of my fifth grade math teacher whenever I’m about to get into trouble, bbbrrrr!

    Natalie Merchant – Now there’s a beautiful voice, but an under appreciated singer and songwriter.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2JO_Eq6KXA&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhUyYpmlCEM

  304. #272 Oli
    #274 Steve
    #281 Uln
    #286 Oli – thanks for the great book references.

    One of the most important and overlooked contributions from China to the development of the modern West was the civil service system. The establishment of the civil service system (together with the use of examinations to determine merit) in the U.S. in the last quarter of the 19th century helped to root out widespread corruption of government employees, most of whom had jobs awarded under the “patronage” and “spoils” system (where newly elected government officials gave away jobs to their supporters as reward for votes).

    Wikipedia has a brief reference to this which gives people a starting point for more research:

    “The Chinese civil service became known to Europe in the mid-18th century, and influenced the development of European and American systems. Ironically, and in part due to Chinese influence, the first European civil service was not set up in Europe, but rather in India by the East India Company, distinguishing its civil servants from its military servants. In order to prevent corruption and favouritism, promotions within the company were based on examinations. The system then spread to the United Kingdom in 1854, and to the United States in 1883, with the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.”

    More about the history and the significance of the role the civil service plays in modern life is here:
    http://www.answers.com/topic/civil-service

    A more detailed summary of this and other contributions to Western civilization is here:

    “Chinese Ideas in the West” (written in 1948 by historian Derk Bodde of the University of Pennsylvania)
    http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/chinawh/web/s10/ideas.pdf

    *********BEGIN QUOTE*************
    “The origins of the British civil service are better known. During the eighteenth century a number of Englishmen wrote in praise of the Chinese examination system, some of them going so far as to urge the adoption for England of something similar. The first concrete step in this direction was taken by the British East India Company in 1806. In that year the Company established a small college near London whose purpose was to train Company employees for administrative service in India, the British-controlled portions of which were at that time still governed by the Company on behalf of the British Crown. The proposal for establishing this college came, significantly, from members of the East India Company’s trading post in Canton, China. Thus the principle was established of using for public administration men who possessed certain preparatory qualifications.

    During the next several decades many Englishmen referred to the example of China as an argument for establishing a universal civil service system in England itself. Most persistent among them was Thomas Taylor Meadows, a gifted man who served for many years in the British diplomatic service in China. In 1847 he published a book, Desultory Notes on the Government and People of China, whose main purpose, in his own words, was “to urge the institution of Public Service Competitive Examinations for all British subjects with a view to the Improvement of the British Executive and the Union of the British Empire.” In it he described the Chinese system and argued that “the long duration of the Chinese empire is solely and altogether owing to the good government which consists in the advancement of men of talent and merit only.”

    Such public statements finally led the British government to create a committee to investigate the matter. In 1853 this committee presented to Parliament a report entitled “The Organization of the Permanent Civil Service.” The report recommended that a central board of examiners be formed to prepare examinations on the general knowledge of the candidates; that these examinations should be held regularly and should be open to all; and that promotion in government service should be based on merit instead of favoritism. All these were principles that had governed the Chinese system for many centuries. Though bitterly attacked in Parliament, the report resulted in the creation of Britain’s first civil service commission in 1855.

    The British example was undoubtedly chiefly responsible for the establishment in America of a similar civil service system. Nevertheless, some Chinese influence is also apparent. When, for example, Thomas A. Jenckes of Rhode Island first recommended to Congress in 1868 that an American civil service system be created, his report on the subject contained a chapter on the civil service in China. The same year Emerson, who, as we have seen, was interested in China, made a speech in Boston at a reception in honor of a visiting embassy from China, in which he praised the Chinese examination system and urged that the Jenckes proposal be adopted.

    As in England, however, many people who derived personal benefit from the old spoils system strongly opposed the new idea. Some protested that the use of examinations to determine the fitness of candidates for office was Chinese, foreign, and, therefore, “un-American!” Consequently, it was not until 1883 that the proposal of 1868 was finally passed by the Congress.

    Today the principle of the civil service system has been accepted in virtually all democratic countries. More and more, persons are entering government service because of personal merit rather than political favoritism. As a result, much of the political corruption that was so common a century ago has disappeared. The civil service system is undoubtedly one of China’s most precious intellectual gifts to the West.”

    ***********END QUOTE***********

  305. I don’t have a Chinese passport anymore :(, but I consider myself a nationalist.

    As a Chinese, I have the obligation to love China and work to make her better—in some cultures you are born into a group, and you have responsibility and obligation towards that group. My parents taught me that and I believe it.

    As a citizen of the “free” west, I have a right to choose which nation to love, which country to serve and which party to advocate.

    So why this fuss over Chinese nationalism of Chinese people within and without? What, nowadays one can’t be nationalistic?

    Finally at B Smith:

    believe the author of this post inadvertently shows one of the worst sides of Chinese nationalism: its judgmental attitude and exclusive definition of who is really “Chinese”.

    Of course Chinese people have a right to decide who is Chinese and who is not! You can’t just barge into a community— you have to be accepted into it. If you are white, you can say “I am a friend of Chinese people” or “I am a Chinese at heart”, but to say “I am Chinese” would be pretty stupid. I mean, I LOVE German culture and I probably know about German history better than most Germans, doesn’t mean I can say “I am German”, because I am not part of that community. That much should be obvious right?

    Go ask around China and see how many Chinese people forming the actual Chinese community accept nth generation Chinese people abroad who want to see the demise of CCP and fight for the interests of USA as “Chinese”. They are Chinese-Americans: American is the key word, Chinese is the adjective and it only refers to ethnicity.

  306. China’s deep-seated racism is a threat to the world. Such a historical ” civilizational” minset will be de downfall of China in the world stage.

  307. I would wager there are quite a bit more “deep-seeded” and OPEN sinophobia as racism in the world than any Chinese “racism” against others.

    Once again, Chinese victims are getting forgotten.

  308. “TonyP4 Says:
    March 17th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    The native Americans and Eskimos were original Chinese – I have my genes to verify 🙂

    So, we’re migrating the second time to re-claim our land. Due to our generosity, we let the conquers stay.”

    Too hilarious. I want pictures of you visiting a rez and spouting that BS; nevermind that a lot of Natives don’t buy the Bering Strait theory. Your claims to this country are as legitimate as the claims the Chinese like to invalidate when it comes to Europeans. Read: 0. Asian colonialism, European colonialism, same deal with different faces.

  309. Unless I was escorted by John Wayne, I do not want to go to any rez except for gambling. My BS is backed up with some fact (besides my DNA) and I will describe them when I’ve enough research from the web. I do not believe anyone read anything I wrote months ago, thanks!

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