In response to Wukailong’s recent comment, I dug up an old post I had left undone from a few months ago.
In the run up to the World expo, I was surprised to see how the coverage of Shanghai in the West had been much less politicized than those on Beijing (and China in general) in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics. Check out for example, these interesting articles on Shanghai from National Geographic and Time.
When later I ran across an old pamphlet on China (titled “Our Chinese Ally” by Owen and Eleanor Lattimore) produced in America in 1944 and compare that with the venom spewed about China in the lead up to the current U.S. election, I am again reminded how politicized our views of otherwise ordinary things in the world can be – how the the demonization of other peoples and nations can derive from political expediency.
The pamphlet is not short, but it is definitely worth a read. While the pamphlet was written at a time when China was an ally to the U.S. and still a very poor (impotent) nation, it is nevertheless amazing to note how much of what was written is consistent with what many in the West today blindly refer to as communist or Chinese nationalist propaganda.
Sometimes, to see beyond the ripples and warts of the times, you have to turn to historical narratives from another era.