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Opinion: Citizens of Chinese heritage in the West to also bear the brunt of Western media bias

A large-scale protest by Chinese nationals took place in Paris Chinatown Belleville district on Sunday, June 20, 2010 pleading the French government to provide better protection against violent crimes targeting the Chinese community. According to the China Daily article, “Chinese protest in streets of Paris,” there is a rise in robbery and violent crimes against Chinese nationals in France in recent years. This *news* has been largely muted in the West thus far. A blogger, jonjayray, writes, “When racist violence can be ignored:”

So profound is the hypocrisy of the mainstream media in the English-speaking world that racial violence against a significant but still small minority in a major Western city has been ignored. The big rally against persecution by Chinese in Paris and its unpleasant aftermath seems not to have attracted a single report in English.


A reader at jonjayray’s blog agrees:

Sissi said, in June 21st, 2010 at 12:49 pm
I agree with you totally, the silenced Western media, specially the French media, turned a blind eye to the most horrendous growing robbery in Belleville. I have joined the protest yesterday and have talked to a number of Chinese people. A Chinese father of two, who is working at Belleville, told me, he has witness 4 robberies against Chinese in one day; the other, a restaurant worker, mother of two, told me, how her boy was taken and beaten by four arabic boys in his school, the school teacher had to rush to the police station to report; I personally knew 4 Chinese women who have been robbed, and heard at dozens of Chinese women who has been robbed, assaulted, and beaten.

but there was NOT EVEN ONE SINGLE COVERAGE in the French media of all of these crimes; not even the most significant one, catalyst to this protest, the first Chinese who has stand up for his native people who got robbed, cornered and forced to resort to using arms(he was a military man) but was arrested and still remaining in prison,
and ohlala, you can image, naturally, there is NOT A SINGLE WORD from the french media, which always screamed the three letters in their hysteria voices:
Liberty, equality, and fraternity;

LIBERTÉ; ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ, is only for some people, evidently, NOT for the Chinese in France.
Everybody is equal, but some people are more equal than others.

Few weeks ago, I posted an article, “Recent African Americans attacks on Asian Americans, what are your thoughts?”  While the attacks were locally reported in the San Francisco Bay Area, very little coverage was made nationally in the U.S.. I also pointed out:

In a response to brutal attacks at a school in Philadelphia of Asian students by mostly African American students, New York University history professor, Jonathan Zimmerman was appalled by the lack of concern from American society as a whole. He recently wrote an Op-Ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Our double standard on race: African-Americans attack Asians and the nation yawns,” he writes:

If you live in or near Philadelphia, you know about the brutal December attacks on Asian students at a local high school. Seven kids were hospitalized with injuries sustained mostly at the hands of African-American students, who beat Asians in classrooms, hallways, the cafeteria and the streets outside the school.

But the incident has barely registered outside of southeastern Pennsylvania, generating a few wire stories and little else. To understand why, try a thought experiment: Imagine the victims were black and the attackers white, or the other way around.

The whole nation — indeed, the whole world — would know about it. The president would go on TV to denounce the episode and demand a speedy remedy. Members of Congress would eagerly join in, competing with each other to condemn the racism in our midst. And hordes of reporters would descend on the school to seek the inside scoop.

But hey, it was Asian kids getting beaten. And the attackers were black, remember, and we don’t expect a lot from them.

There’s plenty of racism to go around here, and not just at the school where the melee took place. It’s all around us, and in the double standard that we use to judge events like this one.

This “lack of concern from American society” as Zimmerman said is apparently true in France too. I would venture to guess it is generally true across the West. And, as Sissi said of the French media, “LIBERTÉ; ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ, is only for some people, evidently, NOT for the Chinese in France.”

Of course, this hypocrisy is nothing new. An Indian, Pankaj Mishra, once said this of the European colonial powers:

“In VS Naipaul’s prophetic novel ‘A Bend in the River,’ Salim, the Indian-African narrator, laments his community’s political immaturity, envying Africa’s European conquerors: “an intelligent and energetic people”, who “wanted gold and slaves, like everybody else,” but who also “wanted statues put up to themselves as people who had done good things for the slaves”. Salim believes that the Europeans “could do one thing and say something quite different because they had an idea of what they owed to their civilisation”; and “they got both the slaves and statues”.”

Now, put this hypocrisy thought on hold for a moment.

Some of you readers in the U.S. have probably read about the “Chinese” drywall issue. Here is a recent report by the CBS News outlet, “Feds: Gut U.S. Homes with Chinese Drywall.” Have you noticed the reporting style in the U.S. on issues related to Chinese products? I have recently wondered, what *is* a “Chinese” drywall? Are they different from *normal* drywalls? The point here is the U.S. media is attributing issues with particular companies to the whole of China.

How about “Chinese” toy recalls (never mind the fact that most recalls were due to poor Western designs and not Chinese manufacturing)? The even more egregious point here is that the U.S. media attributing poor Western designs to the whole of China!

Where am I going with these points?

If the Western media day in and day out make “China” and the “Chinese” bogeymen; that in conjunction with media hypocrisy and lack of regard in Western societies for crimes against Chinese in the West – isn’t that adding fuel to the fire for the lowest rung of Western societies targeting Chinese in the West?

Therefore, as Western media bias (or outright smearing campaign) against “China” and the “Chinese” continue, I believe citizens of Chinese heritage (and Chinese nationals) in the West will face increasing potential for violence.

On a positive note though, the China of today has much more influence. In the China Daily article, it reports:

After Chinese embassy officials spoke to French police on June 15, police promised to improve security by increasing patrols around Belleville and installing surveillance cameras in the block.

In contrast to the Chinese Exclusion Act (a racist law which the U.S. specifically barred Chinese from immigration), the weak Chinese government of the past simply couldn’t do anything about it. The law lasted until 1943.

Chinese around the world should also come together to counter this bias in the Western media.  Their safety in the West increasingly will depend on it.

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  1. June 21st, 2010 at 18:06 | #1

    You make some excellent points. I fear we have become so politically correct that we no longer report that which troubles us. Just by way of another example is that there has been a rash of attacks on gays in California by Muslim high schoolers and on Christians in the Detroit area and yet virtually none of this makes the national news. All the news that’s fit to print, so long as it jibes with how we would like to see the world.

  2. June 21st, 2010 at 18:56 | #2

    I agree that the media should be covering this (I have plenty of issues with the Western media), but I’m not so sure this is primarily about Western attitudes toward Chinese. At least, I have doubts that that prejudice against Chinese is the main reason behind the lack of media coverage. I honestly don’t think it has much to do with the victims being Chinese as opposed to some other minority group.

    I suspect the Western media may be uninterested in this story because it’s between minorities. Minorities hassling each other is not near as explosive (as far as the press is concerned) as the white majority persecuting a minority, because scuffles between minorities don’t really fit anywhere in the overarching white man’s guilt narrative. It’s part of our Western, white-man’s cultural guilt complex — a sensitive cultural button — where we have to make a (hypocritical) show of flogging ourselves (or, at least, specific scape-goated aspects of our cultural heritage) in a culturally suicidal attempt to demonstrate that we are no longer the evil, arrogant imperialists that colonized the world in the 19th century. That’s why, for example, in my hometown they remove a Christmas trees from city hall and we’re are told to say “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas” (we dare not ‘impose’ the white majority’s religion on the minorities in our society, who can’t figure out why we’re so paranoid about out own cultural heritage…). If this was a story of rising violence against Chinese from members of the white majority who are motivated by racial prejudice, I think we’d see some significant coverage. It could tie into all kinds of things — the iffy U.S.-China relationship, that remake of Red Dawn, etc.

    I did read one column by an African American in I forget which U.S. city, explaining that Chinese people weren’t being targeted by blacks because of their race, but because people assumed that Chinese people were more wealthy than the other minorities and therefore became targets for crime. It was economically motivated, not racially motivated. That article shouldn’t be too hard to find.

    @Dan,
    I hear you. Most Western media doesn’t dare do real reporting on “youths” (Muslim immigrants) doing bad things in Western societies, I think largely because of the reasons I discussed above. Reporting on that would go against most reporters’ political and cultural biases. We’re still trying to (superficially) atone for our perceived historical sins through cultural self-flagellation.

  3. June 21st, 2010 at 23:13 | #3

    Good Article yinyang.

    There have been many other significant instances were the media has been selective in its reporting, not to mention (mis)attributing actions to ‘China’. For example, in this article, The Guardian says, ‘China defends detention of lead poisoning victims who sought medical help’. However, ‘China’ had detained nobody, Chinese government officials had, which were then exposed by the same Chinese media that is subject to censorship. The Guardian just wanted to sensationalize the headline.

    In India, this concept is quite literally the standard strategy of the media when reporting about China. Negative stories get highlighted, while positive ones are not reported at all. It is now amounting to voyeurism. For example, in response to this article in the Chinese media, multiple Indian newspapers reported, ‘China mulls setting up military bases in Pakistan’, while the original article hadn’t mentioned Pakistan at all. It was just a commentary by a university professor in which he gave his personal opinion. The Indian media made it look like it was the official view of the Chinese government. Clearly, Indian journalists are unaware of the changing face of the Chinese media; and still believe that every word published in it represents the official viewpoint of the ‘China’. They just wanted to sensationalize the issue by mentioning Pakistan in order to make it more appealing to Indian readers. The same type of biased and irresponsible reporting is also seen in reports and articles about the Sino-Indian border dispute, which results in popular rhetoric against the dispute’s resolution.

  4. June 21st, 2010 at 23:23 | #4

    @Dan

    Thx for chiming in.

    “All the news that’s fit to print, so long as it jibes with how we would like to see the world.”

    I’ll agree to that.

    My fear though is the American view of the world has become extreme and warped. On at least that particular issue, we think you blog is excellent. It brings realism and common sense to the West on legal issues pertaining to operating in China and dealing with Chinese companies.

  5. June 21st, 2010 at 23:46 | #5

    @Joel,

    On “white-man’s cultural guilt complex” – I am not so sure I accept that explanation. From the Chinese perspective, I have every reason to believe otherwise.

    1. During the 1997 Hong Kong hand-over, it was a perfect opportunity for the Western media to explain to the West about the Opium Wars. In the U.S. it was instead everything about the “menacing PLA soldiers” heading over to Hong Kong to destroy Hong Kong’s way of life. If there is any “guilt,” the U.S. media should have spent some effort about the history and explain why it was a rightful return of sovereignty.

    2. On even the littlest issues like the French auctioning of relics stolen from China (actually through force, invasion and murder), the Western media really spared little breath in arguing why it would have been moral to have them returned.

    Yes, on that column written by a convicted black robber, he explained the reason for him targeting the Chinese is because he thought they were more wealthy. But, Caucasians are even more wealthy and the blacks didn’t target them, why? Don’t you think it is simply because reprisal would have been much greater if the blacks picked on the whites? You pick out a race specifically to commit crimes against – because they look certain way or you think they have certain traits. “Opportunistic” – certainly. Isn’t this also racism?

    Anyways, my fear of this continued Western media bias continues against “China” and the “Chinese”, we will began to see a broadening of attackers – not just the Blacks or Muslims – in the West.

  6. June 22nd, 2010 at 00:07 | #6

    @Maitreya,

    Thx and for pointing out that Guardian article and the situation in India.

    Since the founding of anti-cnn.com, I’d say, the Western media’s credibility with the Chinese netizens have done a 180 degrees turn.

    I remember during the height of the dot com bubble, many in the Western media predicted the Internet is going to “liberate” the Chinese. On the contrary, it is giving the Chinese citizens a view of the outside world like never before!

  7. June 22nd, 2010 at 01:55 | #7

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to defend the American media! Also, I’m simply theorizing here as an armchair social commentator — I’m no expert. But this is my honest understanding of the situation as someone born, raised and educated in North America. In short, I think this story and the media’s handling of it has little to do with China or Western reporters’ perceptions of China and Chinese people.

    I think it’s simplistic and inaccurate to attribute the bulk of the Western media’s mishandling of things relating to China to rampant anti-Chinese prejudice or conspiracy. There are more factors involved, big factors, that don’t have much to do with China specifically or Western perceptions of China.

    yinyang :
    @Joel,
    On “white-man’s cultural guilt complex” – I am not so sure I accept that explanation. From the Chinese perspective, I have every reason to believe otherwise.

    One cannot understand the Western media’s portrayal of the world without factoring in the ever-present “white man’s guilt complex” (as it is often called by those who critique it). Our societies are saturated with it.

    yinyang :1. During the 1997 Hong Kong hand-over, it was a perfect opportunity for the Western media to explain to the West about the Opium Wars. In the U.S. it was instead everything about the “menacing PLA soldiers” heading over to Hong Kong to destroy Hong Kong’s way of life. If there is any “guilt,” the U.S. media should have spent some effort about the history and explain why it was a rightful return of sovereignty.

    I think just the fact that HK was handed back at all speaks volumes.

    yinyang :
    2. On even the littlest issues like the French auctioning of relics stolen from China (actually through force, invasion and murder), the Western media really spared little breath in arguing why it would have been moral to [not] have them returned.

    I think the Western media is screwed up and full of rampant bias, but I think it’s a mistake to (a) assume an exaggerated influence of China in the Westerners’ minds (and in Western reporters’ minds), and to (b) assume that ‘the West’ has reciprocally negative feelings toward China. The Mainland’s version of modern history pits ‘the West’ as China’s chief antagonist, but the reverse is not true in English speaking Western countries. Aside from stuff about 1989 (when it happened), in which the Party was the bad guy and the Chinese people were the good guys (big distinction there, in Western minds at least), China featured very little, actually, in the education I received in Canada. Certainly China is a big deal to Western countries, but it’s simply not as big a deal in ‘the West’ as ‘the West’ is in China.

    yinyang :
    Yes, on that column written by a convicted black robber, he explained the reason for him targeting the Chinese is because he thought they were more wealthy. But, Caucasians are even more wealthy and the blacks didn’t target them, why?

    To me this seems simply a matter of American social demographics. Cities are somewhat segregated, with the richer whites occupying the suburbs and poorer minorities living close to one another in poorer urban areas. Although there’s plenty of mixing, minorities are more likely to rub shoulders with other minorities than with wealthy whites. Actually that’s true regardless of race; it’s an economic/social class thing. Also, I suspect that the minorities that are robbing Chinese see them as softer targets than rich whites, who (a) are less available to rob and (b) are the mainstream and better know who to make use of the system. In short, minorities are easier targets.

    yinyang :Don’t you think it is simply because reprisal would have been much greater if the blacks picked on the whites?

    Yes, because a particular white that was robbed would be less like to be culturally marginalized, and therefore more likely than a relatively marginalized minority without perfect English to avail themselves to the relevant public services. It’s easier to rob minorities.

    yinyang :You pick out a race specifically to commit crimes against – because they look certain way or you think they have certain traits. “Opportunistic” – certainly. Isn’t this also racism?

    The aren’t targeting them because of their race. They’re targeting them because they appear relatively wealthy, they’re more available to rob (they’re more likely to live in the same areas), and they’re easier to rob (because as marginalized minorities with less-than-perfect English they are less able/likely to fight back with police and the courts).

    Of course, it could be that Muslims and African Americans both have strands of anti-Chinese racism running through their subcultures, I don’t know. That’s possible. But I think it’s a little suspicious/telling that on this blog a news story about minorities robbing Chinese somehow becomes all about white prejudice.

    yinyang :Anyways, my fear of this continued Western media bias continues against “China” and the “Chinese”, we will began to see a broadening of attackers – not just the Blacks or Muslims – in the West.

    We’ll see, but honestly this sounds a little paranoid. It seems odd to me that a story about blacks and Muslims robbing Chinese provokes fears of whites.

    Anyway, I’m not really out to make a big argument. This is just how I honestly see the situation, and how your response comes across. I’m unsubbing from this thread because I really don’t have strong feelings about it, or much more to say. It was interesting to think about, though.

  8. June 22nd, 2010 at 13:39 | #8

    @Joel

    Btw, thx for sharing your thoughts. Then I’ll quickly respond to couple of your points.

    1. You said:

    “Certainly China is a big deal to Western countries, but it’s simply not as big a deal in ‘the West’ as ‘the West’ is in China.”

    I tend to agree with you here.

    2. re: “white-man’s cultural guilt complex” wrt HK hand-over, you said:

    “I think just the fact that HK was handed back at all speaks volumes.”

    I don’t see the connection. If there is any “guilt,” then the Western media should have spent effort educating the West on the atrocities of the Opium Wars. The majority Western public is essentially “brainwashed” to know nothing of it through ommission.

    3. You said:

    “Of course, it could be that Muslims and African Americans both have strands of anti-Chinese racism running through their subcultures, I don’t know. That’s possible. But I think it’s a little suspicious/telling that on this blog a news story about minorities robbing Chinese somehow becomes all about white prejudice.”

    That’s the point of the article. If the Western media day in and day out demonizes everything “China” and “Chinese” (through omission of truth or otherwise), my point is this “subculture” of anti-Chinese is possible within the West and in fact explains (or at least partly) the violence we are seeing today.

    4. Lastly, on your point about “conspiracy:”

    Btw, racists do not need to conspire to act in a racist way. I am not making an argument for any kind of conspiracy theory. I personally don’t think there is a conspiracy by the Western media.

    This “conspiracy” idea is a strawman argument. We can see the bias and the slander in the Western media directly. There is no reason to get into a more complicated argument whether there is conspiracy or not.

  9. 2010
    June 22nd, 2010 at 20:59 | #9

    ” Some of you readers in the U.S. have probably read about the “Chinese” drywall issue. … what *is* a “Chinese” drywall? How about “Chinese” toy recalls …The point here is the U.S. media is attributing issues with particular companies to the whole of China.”
    I don’t live in the West but I did read the “Chinese” drywall article on the web. I was furious at the time, just as I was when I read the blatant western media biases on the whole sordid toy recalling affair. All the above amount to public lynching ! Think Iraq, Georgia, North Korea, Iram, Muslims, etc. As with the aforementioned, with regards to China, it is often a case of “guilty before proven innocent.” This has been and continues to be the same Empires’ modus operandi throughout imperial history.

    Joel may be quite right about the “White guilt” thing. But so what? For all the fuss they came up with all kinds farce with the use if euphemisms and the BS culture of politcal correctness. This they do to no real noble end but to exhibit their worldly sophistication, as well as to mask their superiority savior complex. I mean, just ponder a little on the depth of superficiality of a culture that has spawned such business axiom as “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” This, is in de facto the mindset of the arrogant class.

    Joel surmises that for the marginalized minorities in the West, owing to their less than perfect English skills, the onus therefore is on the victims for failing to report crimes to the police. What? Surely there are fluent English speaking people among these marginalized minority willing to help with translation even if translators are unavailable at the police stations in the West. Besides, there is no need for having perfect language skills in English, French, Dutch or whatever the local language is since it is the duty officer who writes the police reports.

    Here is someone who took the trouble to leave two lengthy comments to negate Western media’s racial biases, only to conclude with “I really don’t have strong feelings about it.” Hm, these much ado about nothing French Chinese protestors must be marching for the fun of it.

    Finally, the bottom line is this. America and the UK have the largest arsenal of the deadliest weapons, possessing the best technology, with much longer stranglehold on world politics, cultural infiltrations and economics, not to mention the producer of some of the most convincing double talking ruling elites manipulating the most effective propaganda machines. And here we are trying to retort and comment in someone else’s native language.

  10. June 22nd, 2010 at 23:39 | #10

    @2010

    You’ve just made me re-read the Pankaj Mishra quote.

  11. 2010
    June 23rd, 2010 at 02:29 | #11

    April 2, 2010 – Democracy’s Endgame?

    http://amps-web.amps.ms.mit.edu/public/tcf/2010/2010apr02/

    A Conversation with Arundhati Roy and Noam Chomsky at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  12. 2010
    June 23rd, 2010 at 04:23 | #12

    If you are wondering what the relevance is for posting the above link to the topic of this thread, please allow me to explain it’s all pertinent. There’s a chinese saying, “一理通,百理明。“ (Can’t think of an English version for it) Anyway, if you will wait to listen to the conversation at the end – after the monologues – with Arundhati Roy and Noam Chomsky, you will see, I’m sure, as I did, the crux of the problem to so much inequilibrium on mother earth. Chomsky’s talk on the self contradictory doublethink modes of institutionalism and Roy’s on the rippling and multiplying effects of the West bombing an ideology are all excellent foods for thoughts. Enjoy.

  13. June 23rd, 2010 at 11:35 | #13

    @2010

    Chomsky is always interesting, and its fascinating too to hear Arundhati Roy’s comments about the situation bordering India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

    on inequilibrium on mother earth:

    The mantra that consumers are always right – no matter how much they want to consume and essentially whatever they would like to consume will indeed rear its ugly head sooner or later. And the dilemma is this – developing countries believe it is their right to at least match the consumption of developed countries, like the U.S..

    Higher consumption means more economic activity, which means more revenue for the U.S. government. This enables the biggest military and so forth. The U.S. government has always encouraged consumption for this reason, and I don’t expect this to moderate unless disaster for mother earth is clearly imminent or foreign governments think the U.S. is no longer credit worthy.

    China has announced in the last two Strategic Economic Dialog meetings about encouraging consumption.

    I fear what Chomsky has always feared – resources of this planet are going to those wealthy and powerful. That means the most powerful nation states who house the most competitive corporations are going to have the biggest spoil.

    UNLESS – rising developing countries like China and other BRIC countries changes this world order. I’ll have to go back to a prior post, “Tsinghua University Professor, Yan Xuetong: “The Rise of China in Chinese Eyes”” and quote Professor Yan Xuetong again:

    In the last two centuries, Western countries took the leading role in world affairs. The strength and advance of Western countries created a political culture that emphasized power rather than morality, which has had a worldwide impact.

    And, yes, coming back to the “self contradictory doublethink” – how else in a “democratic” society do you get public support for hording your unfair share of resources around the world?

    BUT, I feel Chomsky’s arguments are too “conspiratorial.” That put a lot of people off. As I explained to Joel in my earlier comments (allow me to quote myself):

    4. Lastly, on your point about “conspiracy:”
    Btw, racists do not need to conspire to act in a racist way. I am not making an argument for any kind of conspiracy theory. I personally don’t think there is a conspiracy by the Western media.
    This “conspiracy” idea is a strawman argument. We can see the bias and the slander in the Western media directly. There is no reason to get into a more complicated argument whether there is conspiracy or not.

    National states as they exist today (in the current world order) work towards becoming the strongest they possibly can. Corporations compete to dominate markets. All of this is “power” based. We’ll have to hope for a group of countries enlightened enough to change it so its more “moral” based.

  14. 2010
    June 23rd, 2010 at 13:17 | #14

    Thank you yinyang for your excellent reply.

    ” (in the current world order) work towards becoming the strongest they possibly can. .. All of this is “power” based. We’ll have to hope for a group of countries enlightened enough to change it so its more “moral” based.”

    Yes, ABSOLUTELY. And Arundhati’s read shows that glimmer of hope in her with small vulnerable beginnings.

    Arundhati Roy: http://www.salon.com/sept97/00roy.html

    BTW, I think Chomsky was merely stating the facts, describing a downward spiraling situation.

  15. 2010
    June 24th, 2010 at 18:33 | #15

    Part of Chomsky’s message in the aforementioned monoloque was about the doublethink tenet of profit-above -all dogma of Capitalism. The movie AVATAR, other than the cliche White-Savior subplot, does an admirable job in presenting a vividly parody of the Imperialist profit Institution.

  16. 2010
    June 24th, 2010 at 18:46 | #16

    Part of Chomsky’s message in the aforementioned monoloque was about the doublethink tenet of profit-above -all dogma of Capitalism. The movie AVATAR, other than the cliche White-Savior subplot, does an admirable job in presenting a vivid parody of the Imperialist profit Institution.

    Oh, BTW, a friend wrote to me after reading your quote of Professor Yan Xuetong above. He said that the moral emphasis the good professor speak of is as old as Chinese Dynastic history. It is the very core of Ru Jia Thoughts. Some people in the West have considered it to have been the “state religion” of imperial China. What do you think?

  17. June 25th, 2010 at 00:32 | #17

    @2010

    You said:
    “BTW, I think Chomsky was merely stating the facts, describing a downward spiraling situation.”

    After thinking about it, I think your description is much fairer. About 15 years or so ago when I first started following Chomsky’s work, his thesis seemed to me to be so far fetched and “conspiratorial.” The Boston Globe said this of his work as: “an awesome work of latter-day forensic scholarship.” Over the years I’ve come to recognize more and more of the facts he has put forth. I wasn’t being clear, and I really meant to say Chomsky’s work needs to be “bridged” to the lay public so they are easier to digest (less “conspiratorial”). But I am not suggesting Chomsky himself needs to change – because he is who he is and that’s what makes him the respected thinker he is around the world today.

    Yesterday I posed this question to Chomsky (I prefaced with Professor Yan’s quote):

    When and under what conditions do you expect our world to shift from “power” based to true “morality” based?

    Here is what Noam Chomsky replied (email addresses removed):

    From: Noam Chomsky
    Date: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 8:58 PM
    Subject: Re: when and under what conditions do you expect our world to shift from “power” based to true “morality” based?
    To: “yinyang”

    It’s the present world order and its past world orders too.  Thucydides pointed out centuries ago that the powerful do as they wish, and the weak suffer as they must.

    When will it change?  There have been some changes for the better, and more can come.  Depends on the actions that the public is willing to take.

    The world has been becoming more complex and diverse for some time. Wasteful consumption, US-style, is likely to destroy the possibility for decent survival.

    NC

    re Ru Jia Thoughts

    Yeah, I feel China has so much treasure to offer the world. Few weeks ago I wrote about “中庸” – “If Confucius were alive today, he would advise the Western media: “中庸”.” The United States would be much less dysfunctional if the U.S. media were to heed that Confucian wisdom.

    I should look into Ru Jia Thoughts. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve heard of it. (Btw, I am trying to rediscover my heritage which I feel I know very little the more I dig into it.)

    A friend of mine did his doctorate at University of Stutgardt in Germany, and he told me one day he visited a small town somewhere in Germany where he found very old German translations of bunch of Chinese classics. We talked about this, and our conclusion was China was greatly respected by the West during the European Enlightenment period. Everything completely turned of course near the Opium Wars. We speculate that Chinese philosophy and classics played a huge role for the Europeans during that period.

  18. 2010
    June 25th, 2010 at 17:54 | #18

    yinyang,

    I assume you are an MIT fellow?
    I am impressed that the very busy professor would take time to reply personal emails.
    Indeed, how true it was and has always been that “the powerful do as they wish, and the weak suffer as they must.” And because this is an ongoing fact of life on earth, proponents as well as exploitors of philosophy, ideology and theology will continue to offer ideas and remedies. Most of which would work, I feel, but each success and failure thereof indeed hinges on “the actions that the public is willing to take,” particular with regard to this aggressive pseudo-democracy that America preaches. This abomination must be universally exposed and reined in for functional democracy to effectively save and spare the world from the endless global wars perpertrated by the so-called “free world” for blood-drenched consumerism and profits. Let’s
    check this out: http://www.chomsky.info/books/warfare02.htm , where professor Chomsky says: “Jefferson saw state capitalism developing, and he despised it, of course. He said it’s going to lead to a form of absolutism worse than the one we defended ourselves against…This truism was called class analysis, but you don’t have to go to Marx to find it. It’s very explicit in Adam Smith…

  19. 2010
    June 26th, 2010 at 08:07 | #19

    OK, I’ve digressed from the topic. Now, back to Westeren Media bias: The black art of news management

    In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the “master illusions” which have formed the basis of black propaganda and provided “false flags” for political chicanery and for wars and atrocities, such as Iraq and the Israeli assault on the Gaza peace flotilla.

    “John Pilger’s work has been a beacon of light in often dark times. The realities he has brought to light have been a revelation, over and over again, and his courage and insight a constant inspiration.” Noam Chomsky

    Harold Pinter wrote: “John Pilger unearths, with steely attention, the facts, the filthy truth, and tells it as it is.”

    In 2009, John Pilger was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s international human rights award.

    http://www.johnpilger.com.

    http://www.johnpilger.com/page.asp?partid=578

  20. June 27th, 2010 at 19:03 | #20

    @2010

    Have you thought about under what conditions might views like Chomsky and Pilger (btw, thx for sharing that link) become more mainstream in the West?

    As relates to this article, how could the Western media tone down a notch or two?

  21. 2010
    June 28th, 2010 at 02:57 | #21

    My question is Why would or should the Western Media tone anything down at all? Their fourth estate does what it does and will continue to do as has always been done to maintain the world’s ONLY superpower a singular reality. As such no sacrifice is big enough, and no compromise and chacanery too dishonorable, especially not now. Not when the Empire is going through a (long expected) economic down cycle.

    Edward S Herman, the economist and media analyst who co-wrote “Manufacturing Consent,” with Noam Chomsky, in his essay, The Banality of Evil, wrote: “Here is a strict division of labour, ranging from the scientists working in the laboratories of the weapons industry, to the intelligence and national security personnel who supply the paranoia and strategies to the politicians who approve them. As for journalists, our task is to censor by omission and make the crime seem normal for you, the public. For it is your understanding and your awakening that are feared, above all. ”

    Stephen Fry in America: This was a big hit 6 part TV series by the BBC. It is a wonderful travel documentary hosted by one of England’s most known intellects, who is also a successful actor, comedian, author, and movie Director.
    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTYzOTQ5NDA=.html

    I felt I’d learned so much of America’s diversed culture and a bit of their history from watching it. In the first episode, I almost dropped my cigarette ashes when Fry is shown dropping in on a Harvard tea party and met, as he puts it: “My host, the pastor and professor of divinity, a black gay Republican Baptist, Peter Gomes.” Ha ha. That is exceptional ! And for that, I will henceforth repent from stereotyping Americans too quickly ever again ! And what follows was a short recording of their conversation which was, to say the least, enlightening.

    There the said Harvard pastor Gomes says matter of factly, “The puritans were not afraid of money. Money was not a bad thing,” in response to Fry’s comment that America is (My paraphrase) a country full of contradictions – a land of the free and a nation of classless social ideals. And yet it is ritzier in some of their cities, and also more class conscious than say, anywhere in Britain. Fry then quotes Gore Vidal,” The puritans did not leave Britain to go to America so as to be free from persecution. They went to America so they can be free to persecute.”
    Laughing aloud to that prof. Gomes responds, ” There is , alas, more truth to that than I would like to admit as a former President of the Pilgrimage Society. No, the puritans did not come to set up a Utopian, you’re OK and I am-OK society. They came to set up a just and righteous society. And that usually means that somebody’s unjust and unrighteous.” Gomes then goes on to make another rather familiar point to anyone who has American friends and associates. He says, “One of the many things you can say about this country is that we dislike complexity. So, we will make simple solutions to everything… even when the complex answer is obviously the correct answer. We want a yes or no, or a flat out this or absolutely certain that . And the notion that God could have two thoughts simultaneously and that other people that don’t look and talk like us is just hard for many Americans to believe.” Finally, to make my my closing point, Western media journalists are first of all Americans or products of Western cultures.

  22. 2010
    June 28th, 2010 at 21:23 | #22

    Here’s an article on the positive influence and non-bloody foreign ploicies of China

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/21/beijings_coalition_of_the_willing

    A word from a friend of mine in Japan:

    The capitalist mega-corporate media have been very consciencely and persistent in teaching their audience how and what to focus on to live comfortably. However, as more and more hell like the seemingly unstoppable BP oil spill in addition to their financial meltdown, they’ll start raising some tough questions which the bs media won’t want people to focus on. This is where groups like World Cant Wait and RCP would seize on this rare moments to point out what people don’t often get to see in better times. Hard times have a way of waking people up.

    JOE GRIM: “Ha, This tirade would make a lot more sense if the West hadn’t been busy over the past fifty-sixty years toppling democratically elected leaders and propping up dictators, especially in Africa, and the centuries before that busy conquering and pillaging wherever they could reach.
    Don’t kid yourselves. 300 years of Western progress was built on the bloodied backs of non-Europeans. That may be China’s secret allure.”

    Right on ! The said values that haved informed Western progress for 300 years, I might add, much of which meant imposed westernization through unequal treaties codified by fire and brimstones worldwide.
    As Chris Rock playing the 13th Apostle who had fallen to earth from heaven in Kevin Smith’s best work, Dogma (1999), says to the stunted Jay and Silent Bob following setting the record straight that Jesus was black, “So it’s fine for a blackman to steal your stereo but inconceiveable for the savior to be black?”

    New York Times OP-ED COLUMNIST
    The Third Depression By PAUL KRUGMAN
    Published: June 27, 2010

    [This is only the beginning.] “the victory of an orthodoxy that has little to do with rational analysis, whose main tenet is that imposing suffering on other people is how you show leadership in tough times.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/opinion/27Paglia.html?src=tp

  23. June 29th, 2010 at 15:12 | #23

    @2010

    Thx for sharing these links and your thoughts. Just dropping in to let you know I’ll have a chance to catch up next week and continue the discussion.

  24. 2010
    June 29th, 2010 at 16:35 | #24

    @ yinyang: Thanks for dropping by 🙂

    A bit of follow up here:

    I have noticed over the years that Chomsky and Pilger comment next to nothing about China. They stick to what they know: Vietnam war, Western unequal treaty type foreign policies in Israel & Palestine, East Timor, Africa etc.

    “Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592)

    As earlier said, Western media journalists are first of all people of Western cultural upbringing. And how well do readers in the West know or even care about the East? Montaigne also once said: “There is as much difference between us and ourselves as there is between us and others.” Hasn’t the Foolsmountain blog over the years proven how much the West don’t know? And that the worst kinds of ignorance grow from a little knowledge, particularly with those expats and visitors of China who carried within themselves tiny seeds of prejudice and tons of self importance?
    Finally, many, especially those from the young Superpower, scoff at China’s long history. Again Montaigne correctly observed one of his culture’s most unsavory propensities : “Since we cannot match it let us take our revenge by abusing it.” So, for the Western Mainstream Media to remain popular, they must cater to the Mainstream. As for Chomsky and Pilger, they stick to what they know.

  25. r v
    July 4th, 2010 at 18:26 | #25

    The irony of Western societies is that in hailing the success of Capitalism by private entities, an inherent paradox was created and degraded Capitalism itself.

    What has happened in the last century or more of Capitalism and Democracy can be described as mutual evolution toward mutual corruption. Democratic collective government institutions were increasingly “privatized”, while Capitalist corporations became increasingly “collective”.

    The result is, today, the Western governments are ever more dependent upon “private” Corporations and their influence peddlers, and yet, the “private” Corporations are massive collective entities that are ruled by dictates of the Powerful at the expense of most citizens. In turn, the governments and the corporations are neither “private” nor “democratic”. Indeed, all focus of both types of organizations are “collective”, and decision making processes are “dictatorial”.

    Consider that Banks are too big to fail, but individuals are more or less mere statistics. It is important to note that “private” has become synonymous with Corporations, rather than individual citizens. “Privatization” has come to mean to “turn over to Corporations and banks”.

    In this, we see the failure of Democracy and Capitalism is inherent in the corruption of these words, corruption that evolved around the tendencies of “collectivization” in Capitalism. That is, the Rich get richer and more powerful. What was once “private” is now simply part of the Corporate possessions. Individuals no longer matter.

  26. Chen Hui
    July 4th, 2010 at 21:21 | #26

    Why should one be so concerned of Western media’s depictions of things Chinese? In the West, medias are the mouthpiece for the have’s: profit driven media companies, politicians, and all the wanna-be’s. Many times only the negatives are news-worthy. Truth, as scarce as they are, lie in between lines. Visionaries like Martin Jacques (author of When China Rules the World) are minorities. Personally I do not believe all that Jacques have said will become reality, but a few things are true in world history. If we can distinquish imperialism into two types: the East (cultural, old China) vs. the West (economic, old Britain and now America); we then ahould know the economic colonialism is the worse. Because it weakens the ruled, it escheats resources for the betterment of the ruler. As the world becomes more interactive, it is the West that so far lacks the interests and initiatives to understand better the perspective of the East. What the West didn’t know (or appreciate) is China, for the most of its several thousand years of existence had been able to achieve a high level of civilization for its time (both culturally as well as econimically) without the doctrine of a structured religion. Ethics and moralities in China are not controlled by clergy and not necessarily submissive to the all mighty Gods. By and large the various level of Chinese governments were able to provide for the masses. China did not have to resort to economic colonialism of the others to finance its own growth. Of course, China does have its fair share of mistakes. But China was not perpetually war-like (as America); or constant bullying others in the name of “national interests.” As China re-emerges, its rise will attracts interests in the West and things Chinese will become better understood. People in the West will then be willing to begin to understand the Chinese perspective. Because, you know, people in the West subscribe to the theory of “Seeing is believing.” If you don’t have a bigger hammer to show, you’ve got scant, as far as the West’s concern.

  27. raventhorn2000
    July 5th, 2010 at 09:25 | #27

    Imperialism in Chinese history has been more of an “equal opportunity” imperialism, such that regions and ethnic groups, even minorities, have the “equal opportunity” to take the imperial leadership in all of China. This is based upon Confucian notion of “mandate of heavens” to rule.

    Of course, one must ask, why is China so attractive historically to outside invaders, and yet China felt little need to expand aggressively over 4000 years?

    The answer is the core shared cultural heritage of the Chinese people. The Han Chinese people are the descendants of 100’s of tribes. Our merging into a vast long lasting foundation of an ancient nation carry out our ability to adapt and survive, and carry on our traditions even under subjugation and colonialism.

  28. July 7th, 2010 at 00:48 | #28

    @2010, rv, Chen Hui,

    I’ve finally had chance to catch up in this thread. You folks left a lot for me to chew on!

    I’ll just focus on one topic for now. I am curious what you guys think of capitalism in the following sense.

    My neighbor was upset the fact that U.S. corporations are abandoning factory workers in the U.S. in pursuit of profits by relocating factories to China and Asia in general. His point is that you cannot possibly educate 100% of the population within a society so they all are capable of doing the most sophisticated jobs. Every society will have to have a mixture of menial and sophisticated jobs.

    From a “globalization” perspective, I can accept this idea that the most cost-effective resources need to be employed. This is really fair in a way, because the poorest on this planet (ok, with sufficiently competent government) is then given opportunity to work and their subsequent generations would have better opportunities.

    Given that the Chinese government is sufficiently strong and smart, it knows how to negotiate market access vs. foreign investments. i.e. WTO entry. The fact that the West (you obviously know I am using this term very loosely here) in the last few decades have invested so much in China has contributed a great deal towards China’s growth. Obviously we hear success stories of the likes of GM, Ford, and Intel doing extremely well in China means this has been a “win-win.”

    Would you say, in China’s case, capitalism with the West has worked? Sure, it is cooperatition and a dog eat dog type of world. China finally has sufficient capital to help the poor countries in a more equitable way – and that certainly will garner political support on the world stage.

  29. July 12th, 2010 at 01:02 | #29
  30. xian
    October 21st, 2010 at 04:18 | #30

    Minority on minority attacks are always underreported. The same is true for Asian communities in LA, constantly targeted by black Americans. The simplest explanation is that these stories leave nothing for the right to hate, and nothing for the left to pity.

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