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China Showcase in Times Square



(Video of actual 60-second footage at qq.com here.)

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  1. January 18th, 2011 at 23:50 | #1

    I don’t have a strong feeling about this. In general, I feel the more Americans see China as a make up of ordinary Chinese people, that tend to dispel the hardened image they get from the media. Likewise, I think the more the Chinese people see America as a make up of her citizens, that will tend to soften their views as well.

  2. daise
    January 19th, 2011 at 03:14 | #2

    I think the reception of it won’t have anything to do with ordinary Chinese people at all. I believe the majority of Western-centric minded Americans will see the ad as a “threat” and react in their typical China bashing ways which are made up by now of overheard, tedious repetitive comments on China’s oppressive communist regime and its uncreative and unauthentic countrymen (who are of course that way by nature of the oppressive regime). They will dispel and reject the idea of an international class of chinese elites in various fields by delivering ridiculous questions like, “If China’s so great, then why hasn’t a Chinese won the Nobel Prize?” (although ironically, a Chinese has won the Nobel, and his name goes by Liu Xiao Bo… which only serves to prove my point!) as well as making claims such as “China would be third world if it wasn’t for the West and market liberalism”… Ah, the good old fail proof, “We got you here!” reasoning.

    Alas, all the while…

    They are frightened and disturbed by the imminent decline of their nations power, and the rise of another one which they realise, “they really don’t understand”. It’s fear of the unknown.

    Perhaps thats why at the end of the footage, there is “China Friendship” to promote the idea of a peaceful rise…

    But unfortunately, just by looking at the majority of the comments on articles and blogs, you’ll see the root of American’s attitudes towards China is none other than ‘fear’.

    And this ad will only serve to promote it.

    Of course, this is relative. There are still many China loving Americans out there who aren’t trying to resist the turn of a new world order, and have decided to take the effort to learn and understand as much as they can about China instead. 🙂

    I simply can’t wait to read all those skeptical anti-china comments on wsj and nytimes..
    and feel I guess you could call it, a sense of triumph.

    Sometimes being bad mouthed about is a good thing. It shows a level of significance, and that somewhere, in someplace.. somebody is painfully jealous.

    🙂

  3. tc
    January 19th, 2011 at 09:43 | #3

    Completely agree with comment #2. There are many obvious reasons the “showcase” will not work as expected, and very likely backfire.

    The best way, the only way to gain respect from the west is to win, to kick butt. If China is so behind in technology and everything, and the military is a lot weaker, you can forget about any “showcase” in New York or elsewhere. It’s a total waste of money, which can be used to build schools for poor kids in rural areas.

    What the west really respect is “might”. Might is Right.

  4. January 19th, 2011 at 10:43 | #4

    Very well said, daise. tc, Tsinghua Professor Yan Xuetong made that same argument also that the current world political culture is rooted in might is right, a value of the West.

    I just read an article in the NPR.org, the supposedly most “objective” media in the U.S..

    Foreign Policy: The Consensus On China May Be Right

    It basically says throughout America, there is consensus China is a “threat.” Gee, I wonder why when day in and day out ALL of U.S. media play that same theme.

    If American media wants a zero-sum confrontation between the U.S. and China, then it is up to ordinary people to help dispel that. Eat away at their market share.

    And I encourage you all to take part in help doing that. Participate in the comments. Link to articles on this blog or any other place which argues against their irrationality.

  5. Charles Liu
    January 19th, 2011 at 13:50 | #5

    Washington Post cited a survey that majority (71%) of America’s underclass suffering the brunt of US economic downturn are hostile toward China:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/behind-the-numbers/2011/01/chinas_image_tarnished_by_weak_1.html

    Can’t really help but feel China is caught in America’s class schism – if we don’t have a common enemy, people might turn on eachother.

  6. daise
    January 19th, 2011 at 20:51 | #6

    @YinYang
    @Charles Liu
    “Whites without college degrees take a particularly negative view of China’s economic impact”
    God forbid! The shit has hit the fan. I love this article. Thanks Charles! I am sticking this to my fb wall without quoting the above excerpt of course. Hopefully people will notice it themselves and take it into consideration…

    This brings me to express my grievances with this Western neurosis on “Political Correctness”. It really is either overplayed or completely hypocritical. On one hand you have the ‘freedom of speech’ fanaticism, allowing those of the ‘free world’ to hurl judgemental and disrespectful commentary at other nationalities/nations and this won’t be seen as racist commentary or politically incorrectness as long as the comments remain “justified”.

    Yet, imagine if I publically made the point of ‘whites’ having ignorant views of the world…
    Boy would I get a good verbal lashing from both the ‘quasi-educated’ and ‘uneducated’ domain of our free-thinking friends. (Thus, I would have to be mindful of my own circumstantial “PC”ness)
    Ironically, ‘they’ then adopt the impression that Chinese (or Asians) are too serious, rigid and/or fake. How would they understand the fear of being misunderstood and misinterpreted by the existence of natural prejudices?

    I’m sick and tired of having to always “tread carefully” when participating in prejudiced commentary regarding China in relation to the Western world amongst my Western counterparts (or even unfortunately Banana ABC’s). Although a good argument should always exercise constraint in its attitude but be straightforward, precise and well equipped with knowledge in its reasoning, I often feel that I am forced to practise constraint with both attitude and argumentation. In order for my reasoning based on acknowledged facts and alternate realities to not be written off immediately and unfairly, I seem to consistently practice a painful amount of constraint in my reasoning to find I guess, a model that allows my reasoning to get across without offending Western egos that are intensively prone to being misunderstood. Why does this annoy me? Because, it’s not an issue if I am ‘white’ expressing my concern or disdain about the government or other social matters in the world, but when it comes to Western educated Chinese citizens of Western countries defending or reasoning on China, we simply get labelled as pro-China and not to be taken seriously. What’s worse than uneducated Westerners (and people in general) is of course, prejudice from educated and so called ‘intelligent’ peoples.

    It’s all good and easy to ignore ignorant uneducated comments. But when one believes in their superiority in “understanding” due to some measurement of academic credentials or status, it really can be like talking to a Tennis Ball Machine. They just won’t stop slamming you down with their tennis balls of ‘infinite’ knowledge based on their perceived ‘truth’, whilst rejecting to return any of your played hits. Basically, the sentiment is, you are wrong no matter what you say because “{insert typical institutionalised condescending remarks about China}”.

    Say I post a link to this blog on some forum or article that is in the midst of an unintelligible debate.. Those with natural prejudices will simply write off this forum/blog as: “Western educated, pro-Chinese… letting off some steam”.

    Of course, this makes me frustrated and only further aggravates my attempts of constraint. I know that along with most people here, I too want to promote mutual understanding and dialogue between the East and West. I believe that as an ethnic Chinese born and educated in the West, am equipped with understandings and experiences that those on either side may not have the opportunity to explore without similar guidance.

    However, I know from experience now, that it is not an easy task. After all these years of Western education and belief in Western systems and ideals, it is exactly this subconscious ignorance and innate sense of superiority by my own peers, fellow students and society as a whole that pushes me evermore so further from the flimsy values and ideals I once so admired. It’s not that Western values and ideals are no longer right. It’s that these ideals have become a subconscious tool for Westerners to prove their superiority and their status in the world without regard to socio-economic and real-politick realities.

    I have learnt that there is not much point trying to bring about understanding to those who’ve chosen to be and stay ignorant. The best thing to do is to be patient, stand your ground, practise restraint, applaud and appreciate intelligence (whoever and wherever it is coming from) and know that with China’s rise comes a lagged but eventual understanding. At least now, more so than ever before, people of all backgrounds are becoming involved in discussions about China and its place in the world and are making efforts to immerse themselves in studies of Chinese culture, language, history and engage in its society and with its people. Consequently, this forms the foundation for building a sino-apprehensive majority who will learn to love China for all its ills and achievements.

    Sounds like an ambitious vision, but I believe I will live to see this day arrive. In fact, yinyang, your latest post has got to do with just that. 🙂

    (Excuse my terribly long, intentionally personalised rant)

    Signing off as,

    “A western educated pro-Chinese, letting off steam..”

    😛

  7. January 19th, 2011 at 21:32 | #7

    @daise,

    Again, very well said.

    Because, it’s not an issue if I am ‘white’ expressing my concern or disdain about the government or other social matters in the world, but when it comes to Western educated Chinese citizens of Western countries defending or reasoning on China, we simply get labelled as pro-China and not to be taken seriously.

    I know what you mean. A really common theme is to have perspectives dismissed simply on ‘nationalism’ without any logic whatsoever.

    What’s worse than uneducated Westerners (and people in general) is of course, prejudice from educated and so called ‘intelligent’ peoples.

    We’ve seen professors from Harvard and the top universities in the U.S. being absolutely prejudiced and brain-dead. Actually, we hope to find forum with these people at some point and givem them a dosage of reality.

    However, I know from experience now, that it is not an easy task. After all these years of Western education and belief in Western systems and ideals, it is exactly this subconscious ignorance and innate sense of superiority by my own peers, fellow students and society as a whole that pushes me evermore so further from the flimsy values and ideals I once so admired. It’s not that Western values and ideals are no longer right. It’s that these ideals have become a subconscious tool for Westerners to prove their superiority and their status in the world without regard to socio-economic and real-politick realities.

    Absolutely!

    As China becomes richer, that in of itself will cause a big change in attitudes. What is cool no longer must come from Hollywood. Chinese movies can begin to challenge the norms. Beauty can be redefined.

    I like to share this quote:

    “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”.” (Pankaj Mishra)

    Those instincts are still with us today.

    Sounds like an ambitious vision, but I believe I will live to see this day arrive. In fact, yinyang, your latest post has got to do with just that.

    Tough to stay positive in light of what we see in the Western media, but I am generally optimistic. Glad you are too. 🙂

  8. January 20th, 2011 at 14:01 | #8

    “the current world political culture is rooted in might is right, a value of the West”

    That’s quite an assertion, let’s see –

    “Everything reactionary is the same; if you don’t hit it, it won’t fall.”

    – Mao Zedong

    “Every Communist must grasp the truth, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.””

    – Mao Zedong

    ” . . . when it moves to the peaceful years I hate it. Not because I love chaos but because a time of peace is not good for the development of the people. It is unbearable”

    – Mao Zedong

    “Children who don’t listen have to be spanked.”

    – Deng Xiaoping

    And these, of course, are just some of the most well-known quotations of some of China’s most recent rulers. As you are surely aware, ‘western’ philosophy contains a certain amount both of blood-thirsty rhetoric and of pacifism, just as ‘eastern’ philosophy does. To say that “might is right” is an idea that has it’s origin in Europe or North America, when examples of it can be seen throughout history on every continent (to choose just one Asian example, Genghis Khan) is simply wrong, and demonstrably so.

    I think people who make these accusations might learn more from this next quotation:

    “He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.”

    – Confucius

  9. January 20th, 2011 at 14:10 | #9

    @FOARP,

    You are right that the idea is not an exclusivity of the West.

    Did I say “origin in Europe or North America”? 😉

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