Home > Opinion > Fallows: defensive, gets feelings hurt

Fallows: defensive, gets feelings hurt

I really don’t know how anyone can defend James Fallows. Ever since I had this exchange with him, I knew the guy to be a scoundrel (what better evidence does one need?) but some people still insist on defending him.

Fallows is cut from the same rotting wood as most western “journalists.” He had another, shall we say, episode recently when he displayed righteous indignation at CCTV Dialogue‘s host Yang Rui’s outburst on his personal Weibo account. Fallows then wrote a pouty response urging western journalists not to go on that show. Anyone who has seen Dialogue knows that it is a quality show, far better than any comparable show in the US and it has a diversity of opinions represented from real experts and sometimes criticizers of Chinese policies (including Fallows).

But reading Fallows’ latest “piece,” one realizes that the controversial and xenophobic comments (which I know few people would want to defend) by Yang Rui are but a convenient excuse for why Fallows does not want to go on Dialogue anymore and urges other western people to do so as well.

The first portion of Fallows’ rant has nothing to do with Rui’s personal Weibo post but with a general “complaint” (bitch fest) about Dialogue‘s temerity towards their foreign guests (they tend to ask critical questions, questions people like Fallows are hard pressed to answer) .

Now, the tricky part. Many foreigners who have been on the show know the experience I had during my few appearances, early in my time in China. When you’re on the set before the show begins, there is a lot of light and non-dogmatic chat with the hosts and the other guest(s). But once the show begins, the tone often shifts, with an opening question from the host on the lines of: “To our guest James Fallows, I must ask: do you not agree that the United States is being unfair and unreasonable in the demands it is making of the Chinese government? Especially considering its many failures at home and its relative decline in standing in the world?” Then once the show is over, it’s light, easy, non-agitprop chat again.

As we can see Fallows considers questions such as “do you not agree that the United States is being unfair and unreasonable in the demands it is making of the Chinese government?” to be “dogmatic” (i.e., CCP propaganda). Its’ “tone” is equally unsettling. It is “agitprop.” He would prefer that the “tone” be kept “light;” no doubt he wishes to be asked questions that even a stupid and ignorant journalist can answer without being flustered.

One can imagine the thoughts Fallows has in mind perhaps something like “How dare this Chinaman ask me, a white man, an American no less, these hard questions!? It’s my job to ask the hard questions and it’s the Chinese that must answer them. I am a journalist with credential. People admire me.”

Why can’t they just throw him a softball like American journalists do with American politicians to make the later looks smart and competent?

When journalists from other countries do the job that journalists are supposed to do, that is, start with asking critical questions (something that appears to be wholly alien to Fallows unless when he directs them at defenders of Chinese policy), we can see the response displaying an attitude that can only be described as arrogant, defiant entitled.

Fallows tail-tucks to protect his vulnerability, gets angry at the exposure of an almost pathological insecurity. His pride is wounded. He yelps in fear and must wait for his wounds to heal so he can strike back in some way. Everyone else treats him with the regard he thinks is entitled to a white man in China so why don’t these hosts do the same? Aren’t they his ‘”friends”?

So we see the mindset of Fallows. He cannot handle true dialogue. Dialogue presupposes the potential for questions, some of which may ask for good reasons. When good reasons cannot be given, that is reason itself to be suspicious on behalf of everyone else. Of course, my brief exchange with him through email already shows him in this light.

Yang Rui dares to ask questions western journalists are often too cowardly or too incompetent or too corrupt to ask anyone including other journalists. Dialogue also allows, as Fallows makes note, the opportunity for people to respond to questions unlike many western and especially US political talk shows which will not even air truly divergent views or cuts people off and edits the response to construct a much weaker response.

“Divergent” voices on comparable US talk shows “debate” positions such as whether invading Iran using nukes or with conventional weapons is the best option. Truly divergent voices are rarely ever heard (right before the Iraq invasion, FAIR did a study that showed the pro-war voice in the US media outnumbered the anti-war voice by a factor of 25 to 1). So one can imagine the shock (‘startled’ in Fallows’ words) some people might have when coming across actual journalism.

Fallows then quotes approvingly the comments from a blogger that calls Yang Rui’s angry Weibo comments “racist”. Fallows also calls it a “David Duke-style diatribe.” As angry and as xenophobic as they were, they were not racist. Here’s the offending post from Yang quoted in full:

The Public Security Bureau wants to clean out the foreign trash: To arrest foreign thugs and protect innocent girls, they need to concentrate on the disaster zones in [student district] Wudaokou and [drinking district] Sanlitun. Cut off the foreign snake heads. People who can’t find jobs in the U.S. and Europe come to China to grab our money, engage in human trafficking and spread deceitful lies to encourage emigration. Foreign spies seek out Chinese girls to mask their espionage and pretend to be tourists while compiling maps and GPS data for Japan, Korea and the West. We kicked out that foreign bitch and closed Al-Jazeera’s Beijing bureau. We should shut up those who demonize China and send them packing.

This shows that often, it is the racists themselves that  often like to play the race card. By playing the race card, racists can better hide their own racism by pointing an accusatory finger at others. Also it is those who have the most to hide that often accuse others of being defensive while behaving defensively themselves.

So xenophobia is mistaken for something more serious and a personal blog is taken to be signs of something deeply insidious of the show Dialogue and even of the whole Chinese media.

Now one can only compare this paranoid response at someone’s personal Weibo blog with the blatant racism or anti-Chinese bias within the mainstream media (see here here here here and here from Fallows’ own reporting just as recent examples). The west does not need to veil its racism and prejudice when directed at the Chinese. They can be as explicit, as over-the-top, as they wish because it is so accepted in mainstream western society to be racist towards the Chinese. No one even bats an eye at it. That is what real racism looks like.

Categories: Opinion Tags: , ,
  1. pug_ster
    May 20th, 2012 at 20:26 | #1

    Yang Rui’s ‘rant’ is just a rant and he is just doing that many westerners are doing all along. Western propaganda’s rant said that China’s milk formula is unsafe because of one company who tainted their formula is grossly unfair. Many other Chinese companies who are making baby formula are safe. Many Chinese bloggers who makes fun of these chenguans but almost of all of these police are not like that. Not to mention the idiotic Chinese people eat babies BS. Western propagandists are making a few examples of bad apples within China and falsely inflating the incident as a majority. I do agree that most foreigners in China are not thugs and following the law, but I don’t think that is what Yang Rui’s rant is about.

    I think Yang Rui’s rant is about the foreigners who are in China but seems to be against the Chinese people. Take the recent Chen Guangcheng incident. While the Western propaganda sees this guy as some kind of ‘liberator’ of the Chinese people, in many Chinese eyes he is nothing more than a traitor to the Chinese race. Same for the recent Melissa Chan outing from China, while Western Propaganda things that this is a ‘dangerous precedent’ in China, almost all Chinese shed little tears seeing her out of this country.

    The last point about the 100 day crackdown on illegal foreigners is not really about the incident with the crazy brit rapist and the russian train guy. Rather, I think this crackdown is because of the events related Chen GuangCheng incident. Think about it, some US controlled and funded organization have a some kine of underground railroad to take people from point a to point b within China without the knowledge of the Chinese government. If there are some kind of foreign funded network operating within the US, the US has no problems calling them terrorists. I think the Chinese government is going to crack down on these spies disguising themselves as tourists.

  2. May 20th, 2012 at 22:04 | #2

    Some James Fallows reaction on Twitter:

    These guys are too used to listening to their own narratives. When there excess in China-bashing is exposed, well, more defiance I guess.

  3. Zack
    May 21st, 2012 at 01:41 | #3

    Fallows, along with his assorted fanboys like ‘Brendan O’ Kane’ have certainly partaken too much of their own farts, as too believe what they smell is Chanel No. 5.

    Apparently, Fallows hopes his tactics of ad hominems and diverting the public’s attention away from his own incipient racism, and public humiliation at the hands of Yang, hopes to muffle Yang Rui’s message, as well as the message of hiddenharmonies.org. Truly, i’m surprised and not a little disappointed that Fallows would be so vindictive after so publicly losing his cool in an interview of ‘Dialogue’.

    Ironically, i’d never heard of ‘Dialogue’ until today, and it’s a program i shall definitely be hitting up.

  4. Zack
    May 21st, 2012 at 01:50 | #4

    Consider also how Fallows ignores the context of Yang’s comments: up to a few months ago, there’d been disturbing cases of foreign nationals in China who’d maltreated the locals. Ok, well maltreated is a bit of a lame term; cases of foreigners raping Chinese women or abusing Chinese passengers on public transport certainly didn’t help the status of foreign expat workers, especially considering how often some (but not all, it must be noted) tend to take everything that China has to offer them, and then ungratefully trash the country they’re deriving most of their business from.

    Let me ask the likes of Fallows, is this fair? forget i asked that, to someone who until recently, revealed how surprised he was that China and its 1.3 billion people had different divergent dreams and hopes (as opposed to the monolithic entity he’d alluded to having previously believed), Fallows is a lost cause. He doesn’t know China, because he’s not willing to accept a model that goes against the orthodoxy of what he was brought up with, and to any analyst in the sciences, if you’re unwilling to reassess your obviously flawed preconceived notions, then you have no business being an analyst/scientist.

  5. pug_ster
    May 21st, 2012 at 04:49 | #5


    I am not surprised about their comments. Western propaganda thinks that they are speaking for the voice for the Chinese people. But because the voice don’t ‘fit’ to their narratives, they seem to be dismissive out this.

  6. colin
    May 21st, 2012 at 11:01 | #6

    I read through some of the more accurate translations of YR’s weibo, and thought he was pretty much on point and has a much better reflection of reality. It’s these western pundits and expat bloggers who revel in their own false reality of PR, western political correctness, messianic delusions and basic hatred.

    YR is absolutely right when he says he’s fed up with China putting it’s head down getting to work and gracefully ignoring all the incursions against China. There was a time for that, and it worked quite well as China was building up international trade and industry. But at this point, hmm.. what else does China have to gain by being so purposefully timid against such incursions. Trade has pretty much maxed out, especially given the collapse of the US and Europe economically has showed that the emperor has no clothes. The US/Eur has always been against selling China key technologies it wants, and through soft and hard power, try to put up roadblocks between china and third parties on all levels.

    I think the frank talk by YR and other recent actions (expat regulations, expulsion of demonizers) by China are a thought out change in direction in some of China’s policies. Weighing the benefits of continued appeasement vs gains, I certainly would ask, what does China gain by continuing to appease many of the foreign influences that try to block China’s progress at every turn and paint it as the next great satan?

    It may well be a calculated decision that China has gained all it can from the west. So, why put up with their maliciousness. In fact, I would suggest China start expelling more expats who are clearly out to demonizing China, whether they do so on their own or are supported organized forces. Look, China’s image in the west isn’t getting any better despite a lot of genuine effort and pleas for understanding. It’s not likely to get better any time soon with these expat and pundit demonizers who’s agenda is very clear. So, why not just expel them so they can’t continue to do from the platform of an expat in China. Good riddens. If these expats and pundits already have their mind made up about how evil this and that china is, what does china have to lose by just kicking these guys out. They are certainly not citizens and have not right to be in China in any case. They’re much more like ungrateful guests with malicious agendas against their host.

  7. Charles Liu
    May 21st, 2012 at 11:01 | #7

    Just to be the [foreign] devil’s advocate 😎 I’m with Fallows on this one – it’s a free country, any law breaking laowai or folks holding extreme ideological prejudice against China that are offended by Yang’s tweet, have every right, and should not go on Dialogue.

  8. colin
    May 21st, 2012 at 11:21 | #8

    It’s funny how the expat and punditry blogosphere is all up in arms over the M Chan expulsion. There was an obituary of sorts post by Fallows on her, praising her “courage” and “hard work”. I would point out that news in China is rarely if ever exposed by foreign journalists. The horrible stories and scandals are exposed by native Chinese journalists, or native citizens doing what they believe is right. China does have mechanisms to deal with injustice, however much improvement there can be. These western “journalists” in china just echo and transmit the news, and only the news, that fit the general western agenda of demonizing China and following the same tired rhetoric and false world view westerners have of China and themselves. To that end, I say good riddens Ms Chan. Let’s see how much your hard work and courage gets you now that you need to report on something else other than China. Welcome to obscurity.

  9. colin
    May 21st, 2012 at 11:43 | #9

    We often hear the phrase about “history being re-written” in vague and disconnected historical contexts. The demonization and PR war against China puts it in stark and real current terms. Forget history being “re-written”, REALITY is actively concealed and distorted by the various parties with an agenda against China.

  10. Sleeper
    May 21st, 2012 at 12:23 | #10

    It’s sad that China is supposed to be the only county of which treats white/English-speaking people the best in the world. I’m a citizen of Shenzhen, most of Shenzhen’s public transit services have English message broacasting. In some other inland cities, municipal governments encourage people to learn spoken-english for ingratiating themselves with foreigners.

    What ridiculous is that last year (I’m not so sure, for I hate to remember the detail) the mayor of a city near to Beijing managed to turn his city into a pure English-speaking zone, which means that mandarin would be legally banned in that city. “Luckily” his crazy plan was also banned by the Central Government.

    I don’t know why we Chinese have to provide foreigners so much convenience ON OUR OWN SOIL, while other asian countries such as Japan, Korea which even ally with US don’t provide such convenience. Especially in Japan, English is not a compulsory course except for specific modules, and a Japanese Nobel Prize winner even doesn’t know English. It’s shame for Chinese instinctively thinking that they’re inferior to the white/English-speaking people.

    Therefore I’m glad to see such ‘rant’ by Chinese media workers. China needs ‘real xenophobia’ for retrieving her own honour.

  11. colin
    May 21st, 2012 at 13:22 | #11


    I understand your sympathies, but I think pushing English is a logical step for progressing China. For China to get to the next level of development, it needs a mass of people who are fluent in the defacto language of business, science/tech, and so many other areas. The current and coming generations need to be able to converse with, absorb from and spread ideas to the rest of the world. To your point, this endeavor should be viewed as a practical means to an end, and not an end in itself that leads to foreign culture and people worship.

  12. May 21st, 2012 at 14:52 | #12


    Even worse is the dull and predictable way they go about their rants and self-perpetuating nonsense. If you’re gonna be a bigot and ignorant, at least be one that is entertaining and original.

  13. May 21st, 2012 at 16:03 | #13

    BTW, who the fck is brendan o’kane?

  14. Zack
    May 21st, 2012 at 16:26 | #14

    English is only the language of science and business because of the primacy of the Western world in those areas, just as medieval scientists had to know latin and greek to read the texts and chronicles of the era. When China assumes the mantle of technological hyperpower, it’s only natural that Chinese scientific terms will replace latin and english ones.

    a nobody, that’s who.

    anyway, the thing with Melissa Chan is a classic case of a Chinese person who hopes in vain that if they prove their loyalty to their western masters by turning their backs on their heritage, then they might somehow ‘fit in’ with the countries they seek to live. People like her are stupid enough to believe the white man honestly sees them as equal because of what they do; to Elites in the West, the likes of melissa Chan will only be considered tools to be used, and abused.

  15. stu
    May 21st, 2012 at 19:56 | #15

    I love how the name of the blog is about harmony, and yet this article is nothing but a long ad hominem accusing Fallows and most other ‘western journalists’ of racism.

    Also, ‘xenophobia is mistaken for something more serious’? Xenophobia is pretty damn serious. Yang Rui revealed himself to be a hateful intolerant idiot and without an apology from him it seems perfectly legitimate for foreigners to refuse to be interviewed.

  16. May 21st, 2012 at 20:59 | #16

    Argue against points in the OP please.

  17. May 21st, 2012 at 20:59 | #17

    Yang Rui has responded to WSJ:

    The WSJ has received a clarification from him:

    For a long time, many young Chinese took it for granted that Westerners are well-educated and polite since they come from industrial nations, where the rule of law prevails. Most of them are friendly. They travel, do business and make a living here honestly. But, some are not, as a number of recent videos involving the apparent attempted rape of a young Chinese girl on one of the main streets of our capital and the disrespect shown to a middle aged woman on a Chinese train.

    The sensational nature of the empowered new media means that some isolated events can ignite strong public reactions. After looking at these incidents I termed these expats “foreign trash,” and I believe they should be brought to justice if they are found to have violated our laws. I want to separate them from the silent majority in the expat communities who obey and respect our culture and society. Singling out these Foreign Trash serves to protect the good reputation of decent Westerners. My posting of May 16 is a wake-up call. Western and Chinese, no one should be above the law.

    In writing my blog that day I was reacting to the cyber videos I saw and used an unfortunate example, a group whom I percived to be hostile to China and its people, whom had been recently expelled from China. It was a reaction of the moment and nothing more. The more serious part of the accusations agaist me is the mischaracterization of what I said in Chinese; pofu (泼妇) if you look it up on Jinshan Ciba (金山词霸), one of the most popular Chinese traslation sites, and A Chinese English Dictionary (汉英词典; Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, Third Edition, Jan, 2010) means “shrew.”

    I hope this will put this issue to rest for those who are willing to listen.

  18. stu
    May 21st, 2012 at 22:13 | #18

    Which points? Fallows is a racist? No evidence. Most western journalists are racist? No evidence. It’s ‘so accepted in mainstream western society to be racist towards the Chinese’? No evidence. Xenophobia is not ‘serious’? Anyone who has been the victim of it would obviously disagree. A foreigner advising other foreigners not to be interviewed by an open xenophobe is ‘paranoid’ and just doesn’t like to be challenged? It’s an interesting theory, but since we’ve agreed Yang is a xenophobe maybe we can just apply Occam’s Razor here…

    But my main issue is that this kind of writing doesn’t contribute anything. It’s ‘the west’ against ‘the Chinese’, preaching to the confrontational choir, again.

  19. stu
    May 21st, 2012 at 22:21 | #19

    Ha! He claims the most serious part was his use of 泼妇 and not the whole ‘foreign trash’ thing or the reference to Wudaokou and Sanlitun as ‘disaster zones’. A classy character, to be sure.

  20. May 21st, 2012 at 22:43 | #20

    lol. stu is Raj. That Robert Thomas character.

  21. Charles Liu
    May 21st, 2012 at 22:50 | #21

    Raj, in US targeted sweeps and emphasis patrol happens regularly against Mexican illegals, often worse for much lesser offenses than Yang mentioned.

    If you think this xenophobic then you must coneed the US is as well, for doing the same and worse.

  22. Zack
    May 21st, 2012 at 22:54 | #22

    they key phrase if ‘for those who are willing to listen’, something i’m afraid the likes of Mr Fallows is unable to do, simply because they are unwilling to accommodate any deviation from the orthodoxy (AKA brainwashing) that they know.

  23. May 21st, 2012 at 23:06 | #23

    Indeed. Yang Rui knows the Western press enough. Those willing to accept his clarification will accept while those spinning it for the worst are already predisposed to doing it as Melektaus make clear for us to see.

    Really unfortunate. Fallows is such a respected journalist in the West. Someone of his reputation in the West could have a very positive impact to the China-West understanding.


    However, if you check out which Western journalist is having a hissy fit over this Yan Rui weibo, that’s a good indication of which ones are the grand wizards of China bashing. Just check out their other China articles. The correlation is so glaring, it will jump out and slap you in the face!

  24. stu2
    May 21st, 2012 at 23:13 | #24

    @Charles Liu
    Charles, not sure why you’re calling me that. If you think any critical comment must come from the same person then this blog must be preaching to an even smaller choir than I suspected…

    I’m not calling the government policy xenophobic. Maybe the people behind it are, but I have no way of knowing- if I had to guess, given the timing I’d call it ‘populist’. The policy is simply an enforcement of existing law and isn’t inherently xenophobic. I’m simply agreeing with the blog that Yang’s comments on ‘foreign trash’ WERE xenophobic.

    I don’t know enough about the USA but I don’t doubt it has plenty of xenophobes and populists of its own. All kinds of birds in the forest. Not sure why you think that would be hard for me to concede, or what the relevance is- I can only attribute it to the ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ atmosphere you seem to have going on here. Like I said, I don’t think that’s particularly conducive to harmony…

  25. Sleeper
    May 21st, 2012 at 23:16 | #25


    Ultimately, all of such nonsense will lead to a view that “all those side oppsite to the west must be beaten on the ground, while the ‘universal value’ by the west is the only salvation for all mankind”. What a great, general racism and xenophobe.

  26. May 21st, 2012 at 23:24 | #26

    Well said. Hence, melektaus concludes in his OP:

    So xenophobia is mistaken for something more serious and a personal blog is taken to be signs of something deeply insidious of the show Dialogue and even of the whole Chinese media.

    Now one can only compare this paranoid response at someone’s personal Weibo blog with the blatant racism or anti-Chinese bias within the mainstream media (see here here here here and here from Fallows’ own reporting just as recent examples). The west does not need to veil its racism and prejudice when directed at the Chinese. They can be as explicit, as over-the-top, as they wish because it is so accepted in mainstream western society to be racist towards the Chinese. No one even bats an eye at it. That is what real racism looks like.

  27. stu2
    May 21st, 2012 at 23:26 | #27

    YinYang, quick hypothetical for you:

    A British TV presenter supports ‘cleaning out the Chinese trash’ and concentrating on the ‘disaster zones in the London and Manchester Chinatowns’. ‘Chinese people who can’t find jobs in the come to England to grab our money, engage in human trafficking and spread deceitful lies to encourage emigration…’ etc etc. Would you find such remarks insulting? Inflammatory? The guy then doesn’t apologise, instead offering the ‘clarification’ that of course he only meant the BAD Chinese… would that be OK?

    In any case, from a purely legal standpoint, I suspect it could be prosecuted as hate speech. And he’d certainly lose his job.

    Edited because now it looks like I’m engaging in whataboutery… my point is that you can’t accuse everyone who refuses to accept his ‘clarification’ of having an agenda. The guy put out something that in Britain, the US etc would be massively offensive and then failed to apologise. Of course, it’s always possible that there’s a cultural difference here and if I went on about ‘Chinese trash’ Chinese people wouldn’t be offended and assume I only meant the really bad Chinese people (I doubt it, but for the sake of argument…). But the problem is his job is to deal with foreigners and (embarassingly for the government) to present China to them. He’s done pretty terribly.

  28. Sleeper
    May 21st, 2012 at 23:35 | #28


    It’s not hard to doubt U.S. has plenty of xenophobes and populists of its own, however it’s extremly hard to stop it happening. I don’t think the goal of harmony is to make one side bear every ugly, dirty thing done by another side without resistance, and finally even be killed and buried. It’s not different from Stalin’s logic that “No man, No problem”.

  29. stu2
    May 21st, 2012 at 23:38 | #29

    Agreed. Stopping xenophobia everywhere is hard, but it’s worth a try. If we can recognise that everywhere has these problems and that we don’t have to divide every issue into mutually exclusive ‘sides’, maybe that would help.

  30. May 21st, 2012 at 23:51 | #30

    @stu2 , Raj, Robert Thomas, or whatever,
    As long as you try to be intelligent, your comments will be welcomed. Otherwise your account we be disabled and you have to re-register.

    Anyways, in terms of your hypothetical, let’s do better than that – I’ve simply swapped China with Britain and made minor changes to what Yang Rui weibo’ed:

    The police wants to clean out the foreign trash: To arrest foreign thugs and protect innocent girls, they need to concentrate on the disaster zones in [student district] Wudaokou and [drinking district] Chinatown. Cut off the foreign snake heads. People who can’t find jobs in China and Hong Kong come to England to grab our money, engage in human trafficking and spread deceitful lies to encourage emigration. Foreign spies seek out British girls to mask their espionage and pretend to be tourists while compiling maps and GPS data for Russia. We kicked out that foreign shrew and closed Al-Jazeera’s London bureau. We should shut up those who demonize Britain and send them packing.

    Now, we also have to hypothetically believe that Chinese nationals were collecting sensitive GPS data within U.K., Chinese national in the midst of trying to rape a Brit, and such.

    With that background, would the above Tweet be inflammatory and insulting?

    Yes, I think it would be inflammatory.

    But it wouldn’t take any of those hypotheticals. In fact, many British were calling the 2008 Olympics the “genocide” Olympics where Chinese did nothing! Did those racists lose their jobs?

  31. stu2
    May 22nd, 2012 at 00:05 | #31


    These names mean nothing to me- again, I can only assume you don’t get many visitors here. So anyway… yes, it would be inflammatory. Insulting too? I mean, it’s hard not to be insulted when someone refers to your ‘category’ of people as ‘trash’.

    Now, as for the ‘genocide Olympics’… first, I doubt ‘many British’ said that. As in most countries, most people wouldn’t really care. But is that claim racist? On face value it seems to be to be a criticism of a government, not of a people. I haven’t looked, but I imagine there are people referring to the London Olympics as the Afghan War Olympics or something. That wouldn’t constitute an insult to all British people, just a criticism of the government, and I can’t see why anyone should lose their job for it.

    In short, I don’t think that’s a good parallel.

  32. Sleeper
    May 22nd, 2012 at 00:20 | #32


    According to the drama in 2008, my view of “stop it happening” isn’t functional in the west. A bit strong words from a Chinese mouth could be treated as a terrible threat, public enemy of harmony, while massive humiliation and provocation on China was actually acceptable.

    So you want Chinese to hand up all the time?

  33. stu2
    May 22nd, 2012 at 00:22 | #33

    Actually, from entries in this blog, I think the Daily Mail’s shocking ‘are the Chinese the cruellest race on earth?’ might be a better comparison. I might be wrong that someone would lose their job, then, because that’s similarly insulting, directed at an entire ‘race’, and I can’t see an apology. So, yes, it goes on everywhere and it’s unpleasant stuff.

  34. stu2
    May 22nd, 2012 at 00:30 | #34

    What were the terrible threats, the humiliation and the provocation? I’m not sure what exactly you’re referring to. I’d say xenophobia and racism do get challenged everywhere, but not always enough. And as I’ve already said, I don’t think there are two sides at war here. Yang Rui was a jerk and should apologise. Abhjit Pandya was a jerk and should apologise. If they were to apologise, it wouldn’t be a ‘defeat’ for their respective countries, it would simply be two jerks apologising, and the world would be made a very very slightly nicer place for it.

    As for Fallows… I haven’t seen enough of him to know if he’s a jerk, really, but he should apologise for that basketball claim because it looks like he got it wrong. That on its own, however, and his comments quoted here, are nowhere near the level of Yang and Pandya. So I’ll withold judgment on how jerkish he is…

  35. pug_ster
    May 22nd, 2012 at 05:18 | #35


    Why are you so upset? Yang Rui doesn’t refer as every Westerner in China as ‘white trash.’ He refers ‘white trash’ as Westerners who are obviously doing unscrupulous if not illegal things in China, unless you are one of them.

  36. stu2
    May 22nd, 2012 at 05:37 | #36

    See my post 27. ‘Sweep out the foreign trash’ (not ‘white’ or ‘western’- he manages to be equally offensive towards all immigrants and visitors!) is nasty xenophobic stuff to hear in any country. I don’t know where you are, but I would think anyone who’s been outside their own country can appreciate that this kind of anti-foreign rant is no fun for foreigners. Luckily I think most Chinese people are less hateful than he manages to be, so I’ve got no reason to fear for my safety.

    Even if you haven’t been outside your country, and assuming you are Chinese, imagine someone in the west saying ‘sweep out the Chinese trash’. Even if they then explain that they only meant ‘the bad Chinese people’, would you not feel insulted?

  37. pug_ster
    May 22nd, 2012 at 07:19 | #37


    Seriously, you don’t know what the context of ‘Foreign Trash’ means. If you are offended by it, you seriously don’t know what he is talking about.

    About post 27. Okay, so what? The Uk government has been doing that all along for decades. Getting rid of illegals, including Chinese and vietnamese, etc? In the US, ICE has been deporting illegals from Mexico and South America. What’s so xenophobic about that?

  38. pug_ster
    May 22nd, 2012 at 07:43 | #38


    Also, what you are ‘taking out the Chinese trash’ is racist because it specifically targets one race, which is racist. Whereas ‘Foreign Trash’ refers as what Yang Rui is referring to unscrupulous and illegal people.

  39. stu2
    May 22nd, 2012 at 07:58 | #39

    I’ve already said the policy isn’t xenophobic, but the wording, ‘foreign trash’, is. Indeed, it’s not technically racist. That’s why we’re using the term ‘xenophobic’, 排外. The phrase doesn’t target one race, it targets all foreigners. That’s not necessarily better.

  40. May 22nd, 2012 at 08:36 | #40

    I so loved the double standard advocate by some. I personally do not agree with the language used by Yang Rui as he is a public figure. However, I defend his right to his choice of words and thus free speech. He never said those things in his job capacity in a formal announcement. If he did that he should be reprimanded and the news agency apologized.

    Basically, it is up to the Chinese government or weibo to moderate his comment. Ah ha, isn’t this why facebook is banned in China? FB refused to allowed Chinese government to moderate the comment section. Now those “foreign thrash” are calling for Yang Rui to be fired from his job, boycotted and his personal comment taken down. How many of these thrash have stayed silence when so many comments that are blatantly racist existed on youtube, facebook and other public western news sites. If western media have to pay $1 million for each slanderous and untrue article they published about the Chinese people, they would be out of business already. Nobody ever asked for any action to be taken against untrue news report that the Chinese people used babies as a supplement!

    Oh, did those losers ever called for action to be taken against politicians who are spewing racist and xenophobic comments to make a living. What about thrashy journalists who demonized China with selective presentation of facts or even made up stories? All in all, what Yang Rui suggested is asking the Chinese authority to take action against foreigners doing illegal things, taken unfair advantage of local hospitality, engaged in espionage etc. Did Yang Rui ever said racist words or asked all foreigners to leave or shut China off?

    Yes, his language reeks of those from the cultural revolution. However, like I have said, his language is actually the norm used in western press daily against the Chinese people or China. The few news examples that have contained anti-Chinese bias as quoted by melektaus are just a tip of the ice berg. How many apology have those agencies issued?

    And now they are up in arms to demand action on a Chinese guy who rant in his personal capacity. Well, excuse my language here for calling some people thrash. If you are a decent human being, you should already be outraged by the blatant racism against the Chinese people on mainstream western press. If you are not and more interested in silencing one person’s voice, then you are truly a piece of shit.

  41. Charles Liu
    May 22nd, 2012 at 08:38 | #41


    unless yang said all foreigners are trash (which he didn’t) how is that xenophobic? even in the west societies all over reject those who offend the societies at large, ie scurge, low life, etc. for example against mexicans, romas.

    did yang call for mass deportation? no he tweeted against serious crimes like rape, human traffacing, rackteering, fraud, espionage – things china has every right to sanction, just like anywhere else.

  42. May 22nd, 2012 at 08:47 | #42

    This is one of the event that provoked the rant from Yang Rui. The dramatized version is shown here.


  43. perspectivehere
    May 22nd, 2012 at 09:29 | #43

    I haven’t seen Dialogue and don’t know anything about Yang Rui besides what the links above to Brendan O’Kane and Fallows has written. So my comment should be judged accordingly.

    In line with the Confucian idea that you learn from criticism from rivals, I think the attacks on Yang Rui from BOK and JF can tell us something about perceptions of a media figure’s “public persona” and branding.

    James Fallows wrote this about YR:

    “A program called “DIALOGUE” is the high-end prestige jewel in the tiara of the CCTV-9 lineup. Its aspiration is to be seen as a combination of the Charlie Rose Show, the old William F. Buckley Firing Line, and Ted Koppel’s Nightline, with perhaps a dash of the author-interview segment of The Daily Show. Each evening’s half-hour program is about some worthy top-of-the-news topic, and two guests — usually one Chinese and one foreign, sometimes with additional commentators — are matched up to exchange views. If you watch CCTV-America in the US or CCTV-9 in China, you’ll see round the clock ads for it, with lofty references to the crucial importance of open exchange of ideas.

    – The hosts and moderators of the program, a man named YANG RUI and a woman named Tian Wei, are big fish in the China-hand media world. They run the show in English; they have traveled and (at least in Tian Wei’s case) worked in the US and Europe; they pride themselves on their international contacts and views; they have many friends and acquaintances, including me, in the foreign-Sinophile community.
    This brings us to the recent news. On his Sina Weibo account, Dialogue host Yang Rui let loose with an anti-foreigner rant so extreme that on first reading I was sure it had to be a parody. Only it wasn’t. It’s as if you heard a Stephen Colbert “in character” riff on his show — and then suddenly realized he wasn’t kidding. To put it further in context, it’s as if a well-known figure whose trademark was urbane earnestness — again let’s say Ted Koppel, or Charlie Rose — let rip with a David Duke-style diatribe and evidently meant it.”


    I think this is valuable feedback. I’m not going to view it as an attack on Chinese people generally, or even an attack on the viewpoint being expressed, but rather a criticism of YR’s unexpected shift in public personas.

    JF sets up his critique as follows: YR has a successful platform seeking an international sophisticated audience for his DIALOGUE program and has succeeded, for the most part, and good for him. Accordingly, there are certain unspoken expectations of what someone hosting such a program can say that would be consistent with this role. His role puts constraints on his ability to speak in certain ways about certain things. He needs to maintain the “urbane sophisticate” pose in all of his public expressions. By coming out with something harsh and unexpected, people will wonder whether he should wear the “urbane sophisticate” label.

    For example, well-known African-American media figures like Oprah or Bill Cosby occupy a certain space in the American public consciousness and reach a certain audience in the US – most notably a white middle-class audience. Oprah and Bill Cosby know how to shape their presentation to enlarge the acceptability of African American voice in American culture, and make people who would otherwise despise African Americans in general to like them. But with their personas they also need to exercise EXTREME CARE in what they say and how they say it. Even if they were to share the same perspective as Malcolm X or Al Sharpton on the destructive power of white supremacy, they cannot speak out in the same way or use the same words as Malcolm or Sharpton might use, as that would not be consistent with their public personas, and cause them to lose a big part of their white middle class audiences. Once those audiences are lost, Oprah and Cosby would lose the opportunity to influence them.

    Call this a Dale Carnegie moment for Yang Rui – you don’t get to influence anyone if you are seen to be criticizing them, even if what you say may be the truth as you and some of your supporters perceive it.

    Media figures are subjected to a general code of “political correctness” – but what they say needs also to consistent with expectations for their positions and public personas.

    A rightwing Fox commentator like Bill O’Reilly or Glen Beck calling Julian Assange a traitor would be expected; but hearing that come from an Anderson Cooper would be out of character and somewhat shocking to people.

    William Buckley is another good example. His “Firing Line” specialized in attacking his guests. He did it with relish, and people ate it up. Many people couldn’t stand him, but he had a “schtick” and he stuck to it and was successful. In the US the “McGlaughlin Group” is also an “in-your-face” kind of debate format. It’s a gimmicky way of creating controversy and excitement, but sometimes it obscures the issues. At least Fallows hates them too, showing that he is consistent in not liking the confrontational style.

    I’m sure there are things that Fallows does not write even if he thinks it or believes it. As a guy who needs to work to make a living, he needs to do what is right for him and for his public persona, which I see as “thoughtful international American who tries not to be the Ugly American.” Fallow’s personality probably works better on a Bill Moyers type program, as he does not appear to like confrontational style talk show formats. I can’t fault Fallows for preferring this style of discussion, because that works for him. I don’t think he should have used the word “agitprop” in his article – I see that as redbaiting and am embarrassed for him that he would have chosen that word. His editors at Atlantic should have taken that out.

    YR needs to be conscious of what his “public persona” is and what are things that his audience expects him to say.

    Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it. This is why British and American PR (spin / propaganda) is successful is because of its subtlety. They choose their words very carefully and everything is tightly scripted but made to appear casual and natural. Successful journalists know how to nurture and protect their public image. They are not kings who can say what they want — they write what is acceptable to their audiences so they can keep doing their jobs. In this respect, it is important to recognize this reality about journalists.

    Contrast this with someone who regularly says what is on his mind and is ridiculed for it: Prince Philip of England. He is known for saying what’s on his mind and often comes out with blatantly racist and offensive quotes. He is loved by the English for saying what he thinks (because it is what they think as well but it is politically incorrect for them to say it) even if he embarrasses them in public.

    Successful journalists in the “urbane sophisticate” sphere that YR operates in have make choices about what messages fit their public personas in order to thrive and have a successful career.

    The point is for Yang Rui’s brand of journalism. Once you have a certain public persona, you cannot speak outside the role without doing damage to your brand. YR needs to build his brand, not poke holes in it.

  44. perspectivehere
    May 22nd, 2012 at 11:17 | #44

    Chinese “xenophobia” canard?

    From my own not-very-thorough research, it appears that the British began to call China’s government “xenophobic” in the early nineteenth century to explain why China did not want to permit an expansion of what the British called “free trade”, and to justify British illegal and immoral actions.

    For example, this passage comes from what appears to be a company history of the Jardine Matheson company:

    Trading Company Founded in Canton, China, in 1832

    Trading with the Chinese was made extremely difficult by a xenophobic Manchu government, which believed that as the center of the universe, China already possessed everything in abundance and had no need for the products of “foreign barbarians.” Among other things, Jardine Matheson & Company was restricted to a small plot of land on the banks of the Pearl River, near Canton, and was prevented from “keeping women” or dealing with Chinese merchants who were not officially sanctioned cohongs…..

    Unable to make money selling manufactured goods to the Chinese, Jardine Matheson began smuggling opium into China aboard ships chartered from Calcutta in British India. Opium clippers sailed under cover of darkness to forbidden ports, while company agents bribed harbormasters and watchmen to prevent being discovered by the authorities. The Chinese government declared the opium trade to be illegal, but was virtually powerless to stop it. Finally, Chinese authorities seized and destroyed 20,000 chests of opium worth $9 million.

    Opium War Led to Founding of Hong Kong in 1842

    Jardine persuaded the British Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston to send warships to China to enforce a judgment for reparations and to preserve free trade. The hostilities that ensued became known as the First Opium War. The Chinese lost and were forced to sign a treaty on August 29, 1842, which awarded the British $6 million in reparations, opened the ports of Canton, Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo, and Shanghai, and ceded the island of Hong Kong to Britain.”

    Let’s consider the morality of this. China had a structure in place (the Canton System) which had been operating since the 1750’s for regulation of foreign trade. Through this structure, the “Old China Trade” generated the first big fortunes in America, made by men such as John Jacob Astor (ginseng, fur, tea and opium) and the Boston Brahmins like the Forbes and Perkins families.

    British traders such as William Jardine was deeply immoral and unscrupulous. They charged that the Chinese were “xenophobic” for having a regulatory structure in place and for the lack of interest in buying British supplied products.

    In British accounts of that period, one will often see the claim that the Chinese were “xenophobic” – that is, irrationally and prejudicially disposed towards the British products. Isn’t it a more sensible

    For example, Chinese had no problem buying lots of ginseng and fur supplied by the John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company. If Chinese had no difficulties buying ginseng and fur, why did the British promote the false view that the Chinese were irrationally xenophobic towards foreign goods?

    The point is, the Chinese were simply uninterested in the products the British had to sell, not because of xenophobia, but because the British products being offered were unattractive to the Chinese market.

    Don’t take my word for it. Here is a recent scholar’s take on this:

    The Western Representation of Modern China: Orientalism, Culturalism and Historiographical Criticism
    David Martínez-Robles

    Lecturer, Department of Languages and Cultures (UOC) and Department of Humanities (Pompeu Fabra)
    Published in: May 2008:

    “China is an empire that remains outside historical processes, with neither evolution nor progress, inert, passive and unable to assume Western modernity by itself. And it is the West that can make the Chinese emerge from this lethargy. The Western world, therefore, becomes a factor –a necessary and sufficient factor– in the transformation of East Asian countries, which becomes the intellectual justification for the colonial actions of the great Euro-American powers in the Pacific and Asia. All the texts which, from the second half of the 19th century, attempt to analyse the modern history of China share this epistemological paradigm, which turned China into an apprentice of the civilising lessons of Western countries. China –and East Asia in general– is always described as the passive and feminine part in the relationship it has with the civilised and masculine West (Guarné, 2005). And it is from this perspective that, in the colonial context of the nineteenth century, the Chinese are described as inferior and barbarous, narrow-minded and xenophobic.”

    Let’s repeat this for emphasis:

    “And it is from this perspective that, in the colonial context of the nineteenth century, the Chinese are described as inferior and barbarous, narrow-minded and xenophobic.”

    Note that according to Angus Maddison’s historical studies of the global economy, China in 1820 accounted for 32.4 percent of global GDP, had 381 million people, compared with 133 million in Western Europe, and a GDP of 228 billion, compared to 160 billion in Western Europe (and only 12 billion in the USA).

  45. May 22nd, 2012 at 12:09 | #45


    The article ends with “In China, it is easier to express your frustrations toward foreigners than toward the government. For some in the government, pointing fingers at foreigners is better than having them pointing back in your direction.”

    Nuff said.

  46. May 22nd, 2012 at 12:22 | #46


    Maybe you should look up what an ad hominem is before spewing clap trap about it.

  47. May 22nd, 2012 at 12:32 | #47


    I doubt Yang Rui ever aspired to a “urbane sophisticate” image of himself and nor did CCTV present him as such. I think the idea of the show has always been an aggressive, hard-hitting talk show which spares no side underturned and criticizes the different views (I’ve seen them play devil’s advocate at not only the western side but Chinese policies as well). It’s a sincere show that way without the pretense of superficial “sophistication.”

    Sophistication and even civility is overrated in modern society. What matters more is sincerity and depth.

    There is only one show that copmes to mind that approaches the content of Dialogue I have seen from the US and that is Fareed Zakaria’s GPS show on CNN.

  48. colin
    May 22nd, 2012 at 13:20 | #48


    Zakaria used to speak with more honesty and bluntness, but has since been watered down and brought around to “tow the line” at CNN. I loathe to watch CNN, as much as I try to avoid NYT and the rest of the garbage. If these outlets have it so wrong on China, how can I trust them on anything.

  49. May 22nd, 2012 at 13:24 | #49


    Actually I have never liked Zakaria and still do not like him. He is an apologist for the neocons and has never admitted fault for his support for the Iraq war.

    But GPS is still the best political talk show in the US. It allows people to disagree and these people are usually people who knows a little about the issues they discuss. That in itself makes the show (not Zakaria) valuable.

    In other words, I can separate the past of a show’s host with the quality of the show, something Fallows apparently cannot do. That’s not to say of course that publicly encouraging the Iraq war and making few acerbic and xenophobic comments are morally comparable.

  50. May 22nd, 2012 at 15:05 | #50


    Wow – you wave the flag of “foreign trash” so many times – using the term “foreign trash” as if that is an indictment of xenophobia – that I decided finally to briefly respond.

    “Foreign trash” in my opinion is a very apt term here. It doesn’t mean all foreigners are trash. You may personally have a guilty conscience that they might be, but that’s not what’s said. All is said is that those foreigners that are trash out to be cleaned out.

    Hence the campaign to clamp down on illegal foreigners and foreigners that are criminals…

    Unless you have an inflated sense of what foreigners are, that somehow they are beyond Chinese laws and jurisdictions, you really should not be all worked up by someone targeting the bad apples amongst foreigners.

  51. stu3
    May 22nd, 2012 at 15:55 | #51

    Allen- it IS an indictment of xenophobia. Take a term for a group, add the word ‘trash’. ‘Sweep out the foreign trash’, ‘sweep out the homosexual trash’, ‘sweep out the Muslim trash’, ‘sweep out the Chinese trash’. Anyone belonging to the groups concerned would rightly feel offended by these words. Indeed, according to his later explanation it doesn’t mean all foreigners. But the first one didn’t say that, didn’t include any idea that ‘good’ foreigners existed- the xenophobic wording stands alone. Maybe you can’t empathise with being foreign and seeing these words- it seems Melektaus can, hence his/her use of ‘xenophobic’ to describe them- but you should try.

    Again, though, I’m not too worked up. And for the third time, the xenophobia is not in the policy but in Yang’s words- so it’s not too big a deal.

  52. May 22nd, 2012 at 15:59 | #52

    ^^^^this moron is too stupid to see that ‘foreign trash’ is not the same as “_____ trash” with the ____ replaced by a specific group.

    Yang was not singling out any particular national or ethnic group. Xenophobia is not the same as ethnocentrism or racism. It takes a seriously stupid or insincere person to conflate them.

  53. stu3
    May 22nd, 2012 at 16:03 | #53

    Ha! You’re right there, actually… I wasn’t going for ‘ad hominem’ in the proper, logical fallacy sense, more the general idea of ‘to the man’. All this blog is a criticism of a single journalist who’s said nothing very extreme in response to a presenter who did- and somehow, with no evidence offered, the journalist is slammed as a racist and xenophobia is apparently not that bad. It’s strange stuff.

    PS is there a reason my logins keep failing?

  54. stu3
    May 22nd, 2012 at 16:05 | #54

    Why not? Why is ‘foreigners’ not a specific group? I’d be really interested to know why you don’t think xenophobia is bad.

    Thanks for the insults, by the way. Guess you’re one of these classy characters too.

  55. perspectivehere
    May 22nd, 2012 at 17:51 | #55

    I don’t know why the Western press is making such a big deal about the term “foreign trash”.

    Isn’t the emergence of the “foreign trash” idea at this time in China similar to the emergence of “Eurotrash” in the US and UK during the 1980s?

    That is:


    “How did the term “Eurotrash” originate?
    Is it in regards to politics or attitudes of some Europeans. Notice I said some, not all, so don’t get on my case. Thanks.”

    “Eurotrash is a derogatory American term with a variety of applications.

    Referring to certain young, relatively wealthy Europeans traveling around the world on their parents’ money, who have a general disdain for hard work, personal initiative and entrepreneurship.
    To describe a subgroup of European party goers who stereotypically practice recreational party drug use, listen to techno music/dance style music, and have a general disdain for more traditional lifestyles.

    A general term for what are perceived as “low rent” Europeans, such as working class football fans that enjoy a lifestyle that relies heavily on beer, common foods, and questionable public behavior. The stereotypical rioting, drunk football fan with a mullet haircut is prime example.

    A common description for any Europeans that are perceived to be pretentious about their education, status, cultural superiority or intelligence. In general, any European that could be categorized as a snob.

    Among the earliest printed use of the term was in the early 1980s, when Taki Theodoracopulos, a wealthy Greek man living in New York, wrote the “Eurotrash” column in The East Side Express.”

    Do we Americans and those Brits think we/they are racist when we/they use the term Eurotrash? Doesn’t seem so. England had a TV series called “Eurotrash” in the 1990’s, and Americans regularly use the term in pop media. The hypocrisy is stunning.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurotrash_(TV_series)

    “Eurotrash was a 30-minute magazine-format programme in English produced by Rapido Television. It was shown in the United Kingdom on Channel 4 from 1993 and was a late-night comical review of weird and wonderful topics from around the world (despite the ‘Euro’ title, though it did focus on Western and central Europe for the most part). The show averaged around a 20 percent audience share, pulling in around 2-3 million viewers each week. Channel 4’s Slot Average for Eurotrash’s broadcast time is around 900,000 viewers, making the show an important hit for the channel.”


    “Eurotrash is a derogatory term used in North America for Europeans, particularly those perceived to be arrogant, affluent, and expatriates in the United States.[1]

    Among the earliest printed uses of the term was in the early 1980s, when Taki Theodoracopulos, a wealthy Greek living in New York, wrote the “Eurotrash” column in The East Side Express.[2] In a similar bent, in writing a 1983 article for Rolling Stone, Anthony Haden-Guest described “those decadent European rich so numerous in Manhattan nowadays — ‘International White Trash’, as the uncharitable put it…”[3] The term was also used in 1988’s Die Hard where the character Harry Ellis (Hart Bochner) advises Holly Gennaro-McClane (Bonnie Bedelia) that he “negotiates million dollar deals for breakfast” and can “handle this Eurotrash,” derisively referring to Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his group of terrorists. In an episode of “Seinfeld,” Jerry humorously calls Christopher Columbus “Eurotrash”.”

  56. May 22nd, 2012 at 22:48 | #56


    Ok – I see your point. When xenophobia is the context, what you say about the insensitivity of the term “foreign trash” is legitimate. I disagree about the xenophobic background against which to interpret the term though. For me, it’s about kicking out the criminal, the bad elements of a certain segment of the population that because of China’s opening has allowed in. It’s in that context I saw the term, in which I think the term was meant, but which has now been distorted in a way you suggest.

    Anyways, I do see how it can misunderstood now, even if I disagree with the interpretation.

  57. colin
    May 22nd, 2012 at 22:56 | #57

    Idiots are complaining about xenophobia in China when practically everything is written in English as a second language there. Sheesh. China is perhaps one of the most welcoming nations to foreigners. The shallowness of those who are trying to paint China as xenophobic is incredible.

  58. colin
    May 22nd, 2012 at 23:04 | #58

    On a separate note, looks like YR has asked the PSB to look into a certain Custer via weibo. I sincerely hope this particularly nasty specimen of ugly expat gets deported. He might continue to spew his hate and lies, but at least it won’t be from a platform of someone living in China.

    China has every right to turn away foreigners they deem to working against the interests of China. Does anyone think the US or UK or any other nation would bat an eye in rejecting visas to those who are publicly defaming and demonizing said countries? Being granted a visa to work, live or study is a privilege, and one should not so inhospitable when granted such a privilege.

  59. Charles Liu
    May 23rd, 2012 at 00:38 | #59


    Good, if Custer is in china illegally or working illegally, sweeps like this performed in US regullarily should teach him a lesson. Hey Custer extraterritoriality is not a human rights.

    Same thing with that GVO John Kennedy aka Feng37 guy, who tweeted about buying jasmine flower and protesting. PSB should investigate him and see if he violated any law on illegal political protest. In US Canadians protesting the Iraq war in DC are routinely deported.

  60. stu3
    May 23rd, 2012 at 02:05 | #60

    Cool. According to Yang Rui’s later comments that was what he was going for. I think the initial choice of words was inflammatory and unhelpful- doing more to divide ‘Chinese’ and ‘foreign’ people than to bring them together- but I’m not worried about any big impact because, as Colin says, Chinese society is on the whole not inclined toward xenophobia.

    What I do find in China is that people tend to think of ‘foreigners’ as completely different from them- because of language and cultural differences, and because foreigners in China haven’t generally integrated much (there’s kind of a chicken-and-egg situation here, where the differences are huge so foreigners don’t integrate, so the differences stay huge…). This is often positive for the foreigners, with people treating them like guests, but when it happens on an offiical level- e.g. police being lenient to foreign criminals- it’s a discrimination problem and Chinese people understandably get angry. I think the solution is to equalise treatment, which means getting rid of the idea that foreigners are ‘special’ in either a positive or a negative sense- to get rid of the sense of division on both sides. Yang Rui’s first comment, however, added to the division- to foreign residents of China, it looked like an attack on them as a group- and I don’t think that’s helpful for anyone.

  61. kchew
    May 23rd, 2012 at 02:46 | #61

    If Yang Rui has to go, then surely all those Western journalists that blatantly write one sided inflammatory articles on China has to go. If some Westerners feel hurt by Yang Ri’s remarked, then many Chinese people are also ‘hurt’ by the incessant demonising of China in the articles they write.

  62. aeiou
    May 23rd, 2012 at 04:12 | #62

    I find it interesting that whenever nationalism reels its head in China, westerners in particular, will try to blame it on the communist party or try to brush it off as propaganda/brainwashing. It’s as if they just can’t believe that Asians are capable of nationalist or anti-western sentiment; they seem to think they are more of a authority on what the Chinese believe than the native Chinese.

    It’s interesting because these western blogger are all almost of the liberal persuasion, e.g quote random weibo comments as validation of their liberal agenda. So anything you read by the handful of incestuous china bloggers will only be subjects that conform to this agenda. Anything that doesn’t conform will be shunned, ridiculed and beaten into submission.

  63. pug_ster
    May 23rd, 2012 at 04:30 | #63


    The problem is started by WSJ propaganda translated Yang Rui’s words wrong. They did not even understand what Yang Rui said, and even mistranslated words and referred Melissa Chan as a ‘b1tch’ when Yang Rui clearly did not. Then other Western propaganda chime in like AP and NY times’ IHT and Fallows thinks that ‘Foreign Trash’ is any foreigner living in China. It is going less about what Yang Rui said, but more about the ‘tension’ between Chinese locals and foreigners. Then you have elitists like C Custer from the Chinadorks site who clearly doesn’t know what Yang Rui Meant, talking out of his butt and made a statement to ask Yang Rui to quit. That’s what happens when Westerners living in China has little understanding the people that living with.

  64. pug_ster
    May 23rd, 2012 at 08:48 | #64



    I recall that a during 2008 there were so many China bashing articles that Western propaganda thinks Chinese can’t take any ‘criticism.’ However, in light of this situation, it seems that Foreigners seem to less able to take criticism than the Chinese.

  65. Hanlin
    May 23rd, 2012 at 11:57 | #65

    So many China bashing in the Western propaganda.

    I understand what you mean about Yang Rui’s mistranslated words. I think Custer’s translation says something on his bias. He translated the word as ‘b1tch’. What word will you choose?

  66. pug_ster
    May 23rd, 2012 at 13:14 | #66


    Yang Rui said the word 泼妇 which means a shrew, a slang for a woman who complains alot. The derogatory slang of the word ‘b1tch’ means 母狗. Not surprised that WSJ propaganda mistranslated since ‘b1tch’ has so many different meanings in this slang.

  67. Hanlin
    May 23rd, 2012 at 13:56 | #67

    I asked my flatmate (who is Irish) what a shrew means. He says it is an animal. I asked him if I can call a woman a shrew and he said no. I asked him what to call a woman who complains alot. He said a wining cow.

  68. colin
    May 23rd, 2012 at 14:03 | #68


    “wining cow”

    I certainly approve of that phrasing!

  69. Hanlin
    May 23rd, 2012 at 14:20 | #69


    Sorry, spelled mistake. It must be whining cow.

    Do you think maybe if Yang Rui had said whining cow then not many foreigners would be angry?

  70. perspectivehere
    May 23rd, 2012 at 14:38 | #70

    Hanlin :
    I asked my flatmate (who is Irish) what a shrew means. He says it is an animal. I asked him if I can call a woman a shrew and he said no. I asked him what to call a woman who complains alot. He said a wining cow.

    Your Irish roommate has not heard of “The Taming of the Shrew”?

    According to Wikipedia:

    Shrew (archetype)

    In the English language, the word shrew is used to describe a woman given to violent, scolding, particularly nagging treatment, as in Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew. The animals of the same name were believed historically to behave aggressively and with cruelty, and to have a venomous bite; the term “shrew” was then applied to a person thought to have a similar disposition.


    MDBG Chinese-English Dictionary has this for 泼妇:

    Simplified: 泼妇
    pinyin: pōfù

    English Definition: shrew / vixen
    Traditional: 潑婦

  71. Hanlin
    May 23rd, 2012 at 14:55 | #71

    He said he doesn’t know that play. I looked up that shrew in my dictionary and it said archaic (old). Maybe not many people now know what shrew means.

  72. colin
    May 23rd, 2012 at 15:01 | #72

    “Do you think maybe if Yang Rui had said whining cow then not many foreigners would be angry?”

    I think so, because the foreigners would find any reason to try to discredit him and the actions of the Chinese govt. Even if not for “whining cows”, then for something else. I agree that YR could have phrased things more politely to protect himself, but the main problem in this incident is not him speaking bluntly, but some expats and foreign media blowing it way out of proportion. It is part of their agenda to cast the Chinese and chinese government as crude, intolerant, mean, etc., etc., in other words, demonize China and the chinese.

    Against the backdrop of China stepping up enforcement of ILLEGAL visitors, the west was salivating at a way to use this action to perpetuate their biased view of china. Unfortunately for YR, he became the lightening rod for that agenda.

    A little bit of clear reading and thinking leads to the conclusion that YR’s message was about the PORTION of foreigners who are problems, not that all foreigners are problems. But the western media chooses to jump to the ridiculous latter conclusion and see it as another opportunity to ridicule and demonize china.

    I’m quite supportive of the recent events on China’s behalf to not take more of this crap being perpetuated by the western interests, many of whom are ungrateful expats in China. Even if certain china-bashing expats are not illegal, why should China afford them a platform to do it on Chinese soil. It’s pretty easy to check who are behind many of the china-bashing blogs out there. .China should clean house and rescind visas to these agitators. Yes, AGITATORS.

    But let me just say that there are many welcomed expats and bloggers in China. There are many blogs that I follow of expats that provide real insights into china and take a fair view of things. I applaud them. Look, china is obviously still an overwhelmingly welcome country for foreigners. And necessarily so as it tries to mesh and build bridges with the rest of the world. If you’ve got all your paperwork in order, and are not doing anything obviously stupid like demonizing your host country, what should you be afraid of?

  73. Hanlin
    May 23rd, 2012 at 15:08 | #73

    I am interested in other views. You say there are many blogs by foreigners you follow. Which will you recommend?

  74. colin
    May 23rd, 2012 at 15:16 | #74


    The blogroll list on the right side of hiddeharmonies page is a good start. From those, you’ll find links and references to other blogs. You should be able to sift through which blogs are genuine and honest, and which ones have china-bashing agendas pretty quickly.

  75. perspectivehere
    May 23rd, 2012 at 15:28 | #75

    I googled “deliberate mistranslation” to see if I could find other examples of news stories being created for propaganda purposes in the dominant English-language newsmedia to discredit foreign speakers.

    A prominent example is the mistranslation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad statement about Israel. Everyone “knows” that Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. Except he did not say that. Ahmadinejad had said “Imam [Khomeini] said this occupying regime in Jerusalem must vanish from the page of times.” The statement was mistranslated as “Israel should be wiped off the map.”


    The Anatomy of Neoconservative Propaganda (2008)

    Lost in Translation

    If Iran is ready to talk, the US must do so unconditionally

    “It is 50 years since the greatest misquotation of the cold war. At a Kremlin reception for western ambassadors in 1956, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced: “We will bury you.” Those four words were seized on by American hawks as proof of aggressive Soviet intent.

    Doves who pointed out that the full quotation gave a less threatening message were drowned out. Khrushchev had actually said: “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you.” It was a harmless boast about socialism’s eventual victory in the ideological competition with capitalism. He was not talking about war.

    Now we face a similar propaganda distortion of remarks by Iran’s president. Ask anyone in Washington, London or Tel Aviv if they can cite any phrase uttered by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the chances are high they will say he wants Israel “wiped off the map”.

    Again it is four short words, though the distortion is worse than in the Khrushchev case. The remarks are not out of context. They are wrong, pure and simple. Ahmadinejad never said them. Farsi speakers have pointed out that he was mistranslated. The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran’s first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that “this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” just as the Shah’s regime in Iran had vanished.

    He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The “page of time” phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon. There was no implication that either Khomeini, when he first made the statement, or Ahmadinejad, in repeating it, felt it was imminent, or that Iran would be involved in bringing it about.

    But the propaganda damage was done, and western hawks bracket the Iranian president with Hitler as though he wants to exterminate Jews. At the recent annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful lobby group, huge screens switched between pictures of Ahmadinejad making the false “wiping off the map” statement and a ranting Hitler.”

    As a personal observation, I can say that I always believed that Ahmadinejad said Iran wants to “wipe Israel off the map” because that is repeated so often in the news that I take it to be true. I don’t pay much detailed attention to news about Iran or to “fact checking” statements made in the press. But this news about Yang Rui made me curious and so I looked for it, and found this. This is another lesson to me about the insidiousness of propaganda in the English newsmedia.

    So now I will question more the statements about Iran in the Western newsmedia. Fool me once….

    It seems like WSJ and others are using “deliberate mistranslation” to discredit Yang Rui in front of English-speaking audiences to harm his image and remove him as a credible public figure. Poor guy. Politics is so dirty.


    Is WSJ the source of the mistranslation? Note that WSJ should be made to justify why they used “b1tch” instead of “shrew”.

    In this essay, it says that the NYT wrote a follow up article to defend their use of the mistranslation about Ahmadinejad, after news about the mistranslation was published in the Guardian.

    I just read the NYT piece that responds to the Guardian piece.

    Just How Far Did They Go, Those Words Against Israel?

    Will someone tell me this is not a pile of weaselly strawman obfuscation?

  76. May 23rd, 2012 at 17:51 | #76


    You still don’t know what an ad hominem means.

  77. May 23rd, 2012 at 17:54 | #77


    And still no, “foreigners” do not denote any specific group of people.

  78. stu4
    May 24th, 2012 at 01:08 | #78

    Another day, another login… not sure why this keeps happening, but anyway…

    ‘Ad hominem’. Indeed, as I said above, I was using it casually and not in the proper sense. I know what it means, though, so thanks for your concern.

    On ‘foreigners’, you’re repeating yourself. I asked you WHY you think it doesn’t denote a specific group of people. I take it to mean ‘the residents of China who are not native Chinese’. In what sense is that not specific? If I point someone out and say ‘that guy’s a foreigner’, would you be confused about the term?

  79. Wayne
    May 24th, 2012 at 08:46 | #79

    Yang Rui just told a few home truths, and some Westerners who think they still rule the world and are above criticism are a little upset. So fucking what!

    This is what Westerners really think of us and how they use to treat us (40 to 50 sec video):

  80. May 24th, 2012 at 14:23 | #80


    I never said you used it in any “proper sense”. You don’t even know what it means in any “casual sense”.

    if you don’t know how to use a dictionary to look up basic words that you should already know the meaning, then there is no possibility of continued discussion because of your fundamental stupidity.

  81. perspectivehere
    May 24th, 2012 at 16:35 | #81


    I think a lot of people in “the West” have no idea of the history of British and other European mistreatment of China and Chinese. It would be like Germans calling Jews xenophobic, or white Americans saying that African Americans are xenophobic, when they express anger at their mistreatment or take collective actions against abuse.

    It is a colonial mentality to point to instances of native resistance to foreign invasion and domination as “xenophobia”. For example, many people seem to refer to the Boxer rebellion as an instance of “xenophobia”. I think if you look at the 60 years that preceded the Boxer rebellion, wherein western (initially and mostly British, but later other western countries as well, then Japan) countries went into China and abused the citizenry and the government, as well as taking out millions of Chinese via the coolie trade (or through immigration caused by civil disorder in China), and then exploiting them mercilessly as virtual slave labor in overseas plantations, mines and railroads, and arming Chinese to fight each other in various civil wars, the identification of foreign domination as the cause of China’s ills, and organizing violent resistance on foreigners in China, was by no means an unexpected reaction.

    Reading Richard Gott’s Britain’s Empire, Resistance, Repression and Revolt, one sees how widespread these kinds of “native resistance and revolt” was during the era when the British systematically came to dominate one quarter of the world. We see the divide-and-conquer policies, to favor one native group against another, fomenting of civil wars and rebellion against native leaders, so that the British could leverage one group to conquer another, and then once the native rulers are removed, turn against their once allies, and eliminate them. This happened to British colonies in the New World and Africa. By the middle of the nineteenth century, they turned their attention towards China. The British were building a global empire and brutal in its operation. However, with growing public consciousness at home, the media was employed to put a pleasant face on it (although some media outlets like the Guardian which was founded as a “resistance” paper, unlike its opposite the Economist which was founded to support the oppressors – this is oversimplifying but I don’t think I’m too far off — if anyone knows a good history of nineteenth century British media please let me know – were probably against many of the imperial ventures)

    Gott’s book ends around the 1850’s, so unfortunately it does not get up to the boxer rebellion, but no doubt Gott would view the boxer rebellion as no different in motivation from the hundreds of native resistance and revolts that occurred throughout the British empire from the seventeenth century onward.

    As noted in my comment above, the British has characterized the Chinese as “xenophobic” for resisting their free entry into China. From China’s perspective, they were stopping the sale of opium. Who had the better argument? The Chinese. Who had the better guns? The British. Who won the battle? The British. And ever since the British have tried to either downplay the evil of what they did, or denigrate the Chinese government as being corrupt and tyrannical.

    They used the media to express their warped views:

    An 1858 press release from the British firm of Jardine, Matheson & Co., China’s biggest opium importer, stated

    “The use of opium is not a curse, but a comfort and benefit to the hard-working Chinese.”

    (Quoted in W Travis Hanes III and Frank Sanello, The Opium Wars)

    The opium traders like Jardines paid the press to support their war against China, over the objections of the Chartists, a group representing English working class people:

    “After having expressed his ideas to the Foreign Office, Jardine then turned some of his efforts toward presenting his case to the British public. After all, the sentiments felt by the people regarding the situation could directly effect how parliament would vote on the matter. Seeing how successful the Chartist had been in presenting their views, James Matheson wrote to Jardine suggesting that he, “secure the services of some leading newspaper to advocate the cause,” as well hire some “literary men” to write up “the requisite memorials in the most concise and clear shape.” Jardine took Matheson’s advice and immediately had his views expressed in many British newspapers. These articles told a much different story than those supplied by the Chartist newspapers, claiming that the Chinese had wrongfully destroyed property which was not theirs, and in the process had directly insulted the British Crown. Further acting on Matheson’s advice to hire some “literary men”, it was probably Jardine himself who commissioned Samuel Warren, a best-selling British author, to compose a pamphlet in favor of the British merchants. In early 1840, Warren produced The Opium Question, in which he criticized both the Chinese emperor and Commissioner Lin, and threatened that after the Naval and military force of Great Britain crushes the “Ancient Fooleries” of their nation the Emperor would have a “new and astounding view of the petty barbarians, whom he has insulted, oppressed and tyrannized over so long.” The tone in both the newspaper articles and The Opium Question clearly show the manner in which Jardine intended to present his side of the argument to the public.” (Benjamin Cassan, William Jardine: Architect of the First Opium War)

    This shows you how reliable the British press is in expressing the views of its paymasters.

    This also is a key to understanding how the Chinese government views foreigners and foreign press.

  82. pug_ster
    May 25th, 2012 at 08:43 | #82

    Looks like the Latest rant from Fallows against Yang Rui is about Jews.


    Never mind that Yang Rui have hundreds of posts in weibo, but somehow someone looks at his posts in weibo months and more than a year back here:


    Somehow these morons from shanghaiist and Fallows thinks that if you are against Israel in the Palestine/Israel conflict, you are an anti-semite.

    Somehow Fallows is so offended when Yang talks about “Jew Bosses.” How many times when westerners talk about Chinese bosses and people thinks that they are racist against the Chinese? Western propaganda thinks that criticizing the Chinese is normal and not anti-Chinese, but criticizing the Jews are anti-semite.

  83. colin
    May 25th, 2012 at 11:00 | #83

    Well, since they are pushing the issue, guess who runs the show at the atlantic:

    Publisher: Jay Lauf
    Editor: James Bennet

    Fallows literally does have jewish bosses.

    Fallows points to this quote by YR to cast him an anti-semite:
    “Why do the U.S. media not dare support the call for the establishment of a Palestinian state? It’s because they are afraid of getting fired by their Jewish bosses.”

    Ouch, the truth hurts.

    I’ve tried to follow the shanghaiist at several times, but each time their toting of the anti-china agenda made me lose interested. Looks like it’s getting worse over there.

    And finally, what does this episode speak of that Fallows is still called a China expert in his circles? He sources a blog, which sources a “little bird”. Sheesh. I should be recognized a world renown China expert for all the internet searching and reading I do on China. 🙂

  84. Hong Konger
    May 25th, 2012 at 12:22 | #84

    I’m Chinese, and I found Yang Rui’s comment foul. No, it was not illegal. He had every right to say it. But it was unwise — full of profanities and insults, with very little substance. Xenophobia refers to a broad fear or hatred of all that is foreign. That was definitely the thrust of his message.

    As a high-profile media personality, he is fully aware of the impact of even a personal online post. He’s not naive to how these things work.

    He’s backed down now. CCTV quickly distanced itself, he’s apologized and he’s wisely given up his lawsuit — you can’t sue someone just for insulting you online. The whole Internet would go down.

    As a CCTV watcher, I find this sad. Just as CCTV was investing in a good new service in America, and finally doing some higher quality productions, this comes along to knock its reputation back.

    Yang will have a harder time booking guests now. Every TV show has a spin, an angle, that it uses to attract viewers. Yang’s was that he studied in the West and is something of an expert with foreigners, kind of like a liason with the West. But he’s ruined that good will. CCTV will have to work even harder to try to reach the world stage, which they are desperately trying to do.

  85. colin
    May 25th, 2012 at 13:22 | #85

    @Hong Konger

    C’mon, “full of profanities and insult”? Stop drinking the western kool-aid. There was intentional mistranslation and demonization by the western perpetuators of this non-story.

    YR could have been more careful in phrasing to preclude such intentional mistranslation, buf if his schtick is to be frank, we’ll then more power to him.

    Being frank and less than politically correct by western standards does not equate to being wrong. Let’s take a fairer look at things. First of all, the official action by the goverment and message of YR was against ILLEGAL expats. What exactly do those criticising have against that?

    The US just set policy to remove some alleged illegal teachers related to the Confucius Institutes. I don’t know enough about this case, but if the allegations are true, I have no problem with the US enforcing the law. I’m not going jump to the conclusion that xenophobic or vengeful tendencies are the main factors in this, even if they may be. In short, I’m not out to demonize the US and perpetuate bias and lies, unlike the reverse situation.

    Beyond that, to give an analogy, you have some expats and journalist who have been extended guest status, but come to your house only to dig up dirt, often unfairly. The chinese gov’t are many bad things, but if it were only those bad things, China would have collapsed a long time ago. You practically never hear any of the good things in the western media. China has every right to revoke visas for these agitators who are out to soley defame China based on their actions. There are honest expat bloggers and journalist in China, I just wish there were more of them and more free to do honest reporting outside of the anti-china yoke that usually hangs around them so we get a honest view of China.

  86. Charles Liu
    May 25th, 2012 at 14:58 | #86


    @pug – Yet, when Liu Xiaobo praising GW Bush and his war of terror came out, Fallows ignored it. Nobel Peace Prize winner supporting Iraq War? Not big enough of a story apparently:


    Stautman is the only one while the entire western media machine ignored this.

  87. May 25th, 2012 at 19:14 | #87

    This is the other video that caused Yang to over react.


  88. May 27th, 2012 at 13:16 | #88

    I personally did not find the post that offensive. It was clear that he was referring not to all foreigners but to scumbags (which may actually be a large percentage of the ones from western countries).

    I found Fallows’ comments in comparing it to a David Duke speech and calling critical questions from hosts of Dialogue “agitprop” far more offensive. Racist white males play these kinds of games to draw attention away from their racism.

  89. Hong Konger
    May 27th, 2012 at 19:29 | #89

    Colin — As I am Hong Kong Chinese, there was no misinterpretation or translation problem on my part. It was offensive and unwise in its original Chinese or in English.
    Many Chinese, particularly those of us in an international city like this one, had the same reaction I did.
    Digging up dirt is what journalists are supposed to do.
    Without them, we wouldn’t know about famine in Africa, war in Afghanistan, corrupt Hong Kong tycoons, or xenophobia in China.
    Don’t know how often you go to China yourself. But while most people are nice, there is a frightening level of hatred and ignorance against non-Chinese, too. And Yang’s outburst unfortunately reflected that.

  90. Hong Konger
    May 27th, 2012 at 19:31 | #90

    But I repeat the main point of my post. China has spent so much money and effort trying to promote its media.
    A hate-filled rant from a figure who is supposed to be CCTV’s link to the international community really set them back.

  91. May 27th, 2012 at 22:59 | #91

    @Hong Konger
    I think you are suffering from tunnel vision. The Yang Rui’s case is clearly being blown out of proportion and used as a filmsy excuse to attack China’s alleged xenophobia.

    Tell me, are you outraged when the following ad came out? It is much much worse than what Yang said in his personal capacity. However, because it is directed against Chinese it received no international media attention.


    Again, it is a subsequent professor Kong respond that got all the attention.

    I am really shocked that you equate Yang’s rant with xenophobia in China.

  92. May 27th, 2012 at 23:06 | #92

    What Yang wrote is nothing compare to what this author wrote in a newspaper, again there is no international outrage because it is directed against the Chinese:


  93. May 28th, 2012 at 04:00 | #93

    Quite an interesting take by Yoichi Shimatsu. Yang’s comments might be tactless, but certainly not aimless.

    @Hong Konger

    Regardless how much money China spends, the most vocally anti-Yang Rui people in this episode are likely among the last to be converted into seriously watching CCTV or at least listening to its messages. Yang Rui’s original sin as an English-speaking news host was long sealed with his “Chingish” — not until one day speaking “Chingish” becomes actually cool.

    CCTV9 nowadays is available in some very faraway places. People like Brazilian traders, Nigerian entrepreneurs are the ones who have the open mind to which you can deliver your messages and ideas to, and quite frankly are the ones in the coming decades with growing power that Chinese news outlets should cater far more to. If there is a boycott of Americans or even Westerners in Yang Rui’s program, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. Yang has been reaching pretty low in the standard of picking his guests — personally want him to interview more people from non-Anglophone countries.

  94. perspectivehere
    May 28th, 2012 at 08:19 | #94

    @Hong Konger
    “Colin — As I am Hong Kong Chinese, there was no misinterpretation or translation problem on my part. It was offensive and unwise in its original Chinese or in English. Many Chinese, particularly those of us in an international city like this one, had the same reaction I did.”

    Want to hear something really offensive?

    “Elvis was a hero to most
    But he never meant shit to me you see
    Straight up racist that sucker was
    Simple and plain
    Mother fuck him and John Wayne
    Cause I’m Black and I’m proud
    I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped
    Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps
    Sample a look back you look and find
    Nothing but rednecks for 400 years if you check
    Don’t worry be happy
    Was a number one jam
    Damn if I say it you can slap me right here
    (Get it) lets get this party started right
    Right on, c’mon
    What we got to say
    Power to the people no delay
    To make everybody see
    In order to fight the powers that be”

    Public Enemy’s lyrics “Fight the Power” are a forceful expression of righteous anger at the injustice and abuses of power by white supremacists during 400 years of history, from the British settlement in Jamestown in 1607, which started the genocide of native americans in North America and the African slave trade, and the evils of British colonialism in Africa. The Chinese share in this world history of oppression for 170 years from the Opium War of the 1840’s onward.

    (Things got a whole lot better after WWII – decolonization, the Chinese revolution, US Civil Rights movement/Civil Rights Act of 1964, ending of South African Apartheid, the dismantling of the British Empire – but the fact remains that that the moral injustices of those times have yet to be answered. It is important not to forget the injustices of the past because they shape the present today.)

    The statements that Yang Rui makes are strongly worded, but they are no more intense than what one hears regularly in American newsmedia on a variety of topics. There is the deliberate mistranslation into English words like “shrew” to “bitch”.

    I started out thinking that YR was over-the-top, but I’m coming to the view that what is going on here is a character assassination of Yang Rui, started by the WSJ and fueled by Fallows, BOK and Chinageeks. YR’s statement about “shrews” is deliberately mistranslated as “foreign bitch”, and this is a strong indicator to me of a trumped up and disingenuous campaign.

    Google “Yang Rui” and “foreign bitch” and see how many ghits you get — there are over 10,000 now at last count. Even though he didn’t say “foreign bitch”, nevertheless thousands of people posting and reading these articles think he did. A deliberate mistranslation becomes “truth” – this is phony propaganda – it is as though he said it. What does that do to the perception in the wider population of Yang Rui, and CCTV Chinese newscasters? How can you repair the damage to his reputation caused by the deliberate mistranslation that was amplified by the other posters?

    I’ve never watched Yang Rui, but from the commentary it seems that Yang Rui has strong opinions and he states them; sometimes in anger. The reaction he is getting from English-speaking commentators is similar to the reaction of whites anytime a black person gets righteously angry and lets loose – s/he gets accused of all kinds of misdeeds. For example, Michelle Obama has to struggle against the stereotyped reputation of “Angry Black Woman”. But white men are able to show anger all the time (Ronald Reagan, Rahm Emmanuel, The Donald) and this is portrayed as a sign of strength. This is how white supremacy culture works.

    BOK calls YR a “bad William F Buckley” impression, and Fallows compares YR’s show to William F Buckley’s The Firing Line. Well, if they want to continue the comparison, why not point to Buckley’s views: (these are citations from Wikipedia):

    On White Supremacy: “The National Review made Kilpatrick its voice on the civil rights movement and the Constitution, as Buckley and Kilpatrick united North and South in a shared vision for the nation that included upholding white supremacy.” James Jackson Kilpatrick (1920–2010) was a well-known newspaper editor in Richmond, Virginia, who was a leader in supporting segregation and the control of the South by whites only. In the August 24, 1957 issue, Buckley’s editorial “Why the South Must Prevail” spoke out explicitly in favor of white supremacy in the South. It argued that “the central question that emerges… is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.” His answer was that white supremacy in the South was a good idea now (in 1957) and the black population lacked the education, economic, or cultural development for racial equality to be possible, claiming the white South had “the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races.”

    Or Buckley’s support for fascist dictators: “Buckley’s opposition to Communism extended to support of the overthrow and replacement of leftist governments by non-democratic forces. Buckley supported Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco who led the rightist military rebellion in its military defeat of the democratically-elected Spanish Republic. He called Franco “an authentic national hero,” applauding his overthrow of Spanish Republican “visionaries, ideologues, Marxists and nihilists.” He supported the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet that led the 1973 coup that overthrew Chilean president Salvador Allende’s democratically-elected Marxist government, referring to Allende as “a president who was defiling the Chilean constitution and waving proudly the banner of his friend and idol, Fidel Castro.”

    Or his views towards homosexuals, as illustrated by his fight on television with Gore Vidal, when Buckley said to Vidal, “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face, and you’ll stay plastered.” Buckley was to later apologize in print for having called Vidal a “queer” in a burst of anger rather than in a clinical context, but also reiterated his distaste for Vidal as an “evangelist for bisexuality”: “The man who in his essays proclaims the normalcy of his affliction, and in his art the desirability of it, is not to be confused with the man who bears his sorrow quietly. The addict is to be pitied and even respected, not the pusher.”

    And yet Buckley was lionized and respected figure in American media for decades, and his show “The Firing Line” was on the air for 33 years from 1966 to 1999.

    Maybe Yang Rui should emulate Buckley even more and make more controversial statements. A real in-your-face kind of guy may be what Chinese journalism needs.

  95. Black Pheonix
    May 28th, 2012 at 08:24 | #95


    Yes, Yang should not quit. His generalizations about Custer and others rubbed them the wrong way, because they are so sensitive about their own inadequacies. So, it has nothing to do with China or “xenophobia”.

    let’s face it, these guys will take all sort of words the wrong way. I recall even the word “foreigner” offends them.

    I think Yang will take this kind of criticisms in strides. Custer and other blog-trolls only wish they had the kind of journalism career Yang has.

    And if a lawsuit from Yang comes down, credibility is on the side of Yang, not on the side of the expat twits.

  96. perspectivehere
    May 28th, 2012 at 08:51 | #96

    American author Mark Twain presents an interesting perspective on whites’ treatment of Chinese in his 1871 essay, “The Gentle, Inoffensive Chinese”.

    In it, he was trying to present a more positive picture of the Chinese he had encountered in California, which he saw as victims of an abusive white society. While the image is more positive than what was prevalent at the time, a decade before the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, his portrayal created new stereotypes of Chinese as ‘gentle and inoffensive’. But at least Twain was sympathetic to the victimization of Chinese under the white supremacy culture of nineteenth century colonialism, and sought to protect them by creating an unthreatening image – Chinese are acceptable if tamed and domesticated.

    Notice the last sentence of his essay and the colorful language he uses to characterize those whites who abuse the Chinese: “Only the scum of the population do it – they and their children; they, and, naturally and consistently, the policemen and politicians, likewise, for these are the dust-licking pimps and slaves of the scum, there as well as elsewhere in America.”

    The Gentle, Inoffensive Chinese

    Mark Twain, 1871

    Of course there was a large Chinese population in Virginia City – it is the case with every town and city on the Pacific coast. They are a harmless race when white men either let them alone or treat them no worse than dogs; in fact, they are almost entirely harmless anyhow, for they seldom think of resenting the vilest insults or the cruelest injuries. They are quiet, peaceable, tractable, free from drunkenness, and they are as industrious as the day is long. A disorderly Chinaman is rare, and a lazy one does not exist. So long as a Chinaman has strength to use his hands he needs no support from anybody; white men often complain of want of work, but a Chinaman offers no such complaint; he always manages to find something to do. He is a great convenience to everybody – even to the worst class of white men, for he bears the most of their sins, suffering fines for their petty thefts, imprisonment for their robberies, and death for their murders. Any white man can swear a Chinaman’s life away in the courts, but no Chinaman can testify against a white man. Ours is the “land of the free” – nobody denies that – nobody challenges it. [Maybe it is because we won’t let other people testify.] As I write, news comes that in broad daylight in San Francisco, some boys have stoned an inoffensive Chinaman to death, and that although a large crowd witnessed the shameful deed, no one interfered.

    There are seventy thousand (and possibly one hundred thousand) Chinamen on the Pacific coast. There were about a thousand in Virgina. They were penned into a “Chinese quarter” – a thing which they do not particularly object to, as they are fond of herding together. Their buildings were of wood; usually only one story high, and set thickly together along streets scarcely wide enough for a wagon to pass through. Their quarter was a little removed from the rest of the town. The chief employment of Chinamen in towns is to wash clothing. They always send a bill pinned to the clothes. It is mere ceremony, for it does not enlighten the customer much. Their price for washing was $2.50 per dozen – rather cheaper than white people could afford to wash for at that time. A very common sign on the Chinese houses was: “See Yup, Washer and Ironer”; “Hong Wo, Washer”; “Sam Sing & Ah Hop, Washing.” The house-servants, cooks, etc., in California and Nevada, were chiefly Chinamen. There were few white servants and no Chinawomen so employed. Chinamen make good house-servants, being quick, obedient, patient, quick to learn, and tirelessly industrious. They do not need to be taught a thing twice, as a general thing. They are imitative. If a Chinaman were to see his master break up a center-table, in a passion, and kindle a fire with it, that Chinaman would be likely to resort to the furniture for fuel forever afterward.

    All Chinamen can read, write, and cipher with easy facility – pity but all our petted voters could. In California they rent little patches of ground and do a deal of gardening. They will raise surprising crops of vegetables on a sand-pile. They waste nothing. What is rubbish to a Christian, a Chinaman carefully preserves and makes useful in one way or another. He gathers up all the old oyster and sardine cans that white people throw away, and procures marketable tin and solder from them by melting. He gathers up old bones and turns them into manure. In California he gets a living out of old mining claims that white men have abandoned as exhausted and worthless – and then the officers come down on him once a month with an exorbitant swindle to which the legislature has given the broad, general name of “foreign” mining tax, but it is usually inflicted on no foreigners but Chinamen. This swindle has in some cases been repeated once or twice on the same victim in the course of the same month – but the public treasury was not additionally enriched by it, probably.

    Chinamen hold their dead in great reverence – they worship their departed ancestors, in fact. Hence, in China, a man’s front yard, back yard, or any other part of his premises, is made his family burying-ground, in order that he may visit the graves at any and all times. Therefore that huge empire is one mighty cemetery; it is ridged and wrinkled from its center to its circumference with graves – and inasmuch as every foot of ground must be made to do its utmost, in China, lest the swarming population suffer for food, the very graves are cultivated and yield a harvest, custom holding this to be no dishonor to the dead. Since the departed are held in such worshipful reverence, a Chinaman cannot bear that any indignity be offered the places where they sleep. Mr. Burlingame said that herein lay China’s bitter opposition to railroads; a road could not be built anywhere in the empire without disturbing the graves of their ancestors or friends.

    A Chinaman hardly believes he could enjoy the hereafter except his body lay in his beloved China; also, he desires to receive, himself, after death, that worship with which he has honored his dead that preceded him. Therefore, if he visits a foreign country, he makes arrangements to have his bones returned to China in case he dies; if he hires to go to a foreign country on a labor contract, there is always a stipulation that his body shall be taken back to China if he dies; if the government sells a gang of coolies to a foreigner for the usual five-year term, it is specified in the contract that their bodies shall be restored to China in case of death. On the Pacific coast the Chinamen all belong to one or another of several great companies or organizations, and these companies keep track of their members, register their names, and ship their bodies home when they die. The See Yup Company is held to be the largest of these. The Ning Yeong Company is next, and numbers eighteen thousand members on the coast. Its headquarters are at San Francisco, where it has a costly temple, several great officers (one of whom keeps regal state in seclusion and cannot be approached by common humanity), and a numerous priesthood. In it I was shown a register of its members, with the dead and the date of their shipment to China duly marked. Every ship that sails from San Francisco carries away a heavy freight of Chinese corpses – or did, at least, until the legislature, with an ingenious refinement of Christian cruelty, forbade the shipments, as a neat underhanded way of deterring Chinese immigration. The bill was offered, whether it passed or not. It is my impression that it passed. There was another bill – it became a law – compelling every incoming Chinaman to be vaccinated on the wharf and pay a duly-appointed quack (no decent doctor would defile himself with such legalized robbery) ten dollars for it. As few importers of Chinese would want to go to an expense like that, the lawmakers thought this would be another heavy blow to Chinese immigration.

    They are a kindly-disposed, well-meaning race, and are respected and well treated by the upper classes, all over the Pacific coast. No Californian gentleman or lady ever abuses or oppresses a Chinaman, under any circumstances, an explanation that seems to be much needed in the East. Only the scum of the population do it – they and their children; they, and, naturally and consistently, the policemen and politicians, likewise, for these are the dust-licking pimps and slaves of the scum, there as well as elsewhere in America.”


    Twain used very strong language – “scum of the population” and “dust-licking pimps and slaves of the scum”. Following the same logic used by many of Yang Rui’s critics, where his statements against a certain segment of the foreign population is seen as “anti-foreign” and “xenophobic”, then surely Twain’s statements that certain American abusers of Chinese are “scum” would be indicators that Twain was “anti-American”?

  97. perspectivehere
    May 28th, 2012 at 09:14 | #97

    Charges that Yang Rui is “anti-semitic” based on his statements on American politics is ludicrous.

    From the New Yorker comment on the article entitled “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by John J. Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, and Stephen M. Walt, of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard:

    “Lobbying is inscribed in the American system of power and influence. Big Pharma, the A.A.R.P., the N.R.A., the N.A.A.C.P., farming interests, the American Petroleum Institute, and hundreds of others shuttle between K Street and Capitol Hill. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national-security adviser, recently praised Mearsheimer and Walt in the pages of Foreign Policy for the service of “initiating a much-needed public debate,” but he went on to provide a tone and a perspective that are largely missing from their arguments. “The participation of ethnic or foreign-supported lobbies in the American policy process is nothing new,” he observes. “In my public life, I have dealt with a number of them. I would rank the Israeli-American, Cuban-American, and Armenian-American lobbies as the most effective in their assertiveness. The Greek- and Taiwanese-American lobbies also rank highly in my book. The Polish-American lobby was at one time influential (Franklin Roosevelt complained about it to Joseph Stalin), and I daresay that before long we will be hearing a lot from the Mexican-, Hindu-, and Chinese-American lobbies as well.”

    Other articles on this topic:

    Of Course There Is an Israel Lobby

    The Storm over the Israel Lobby

    The Israel Lobby: How Powerful is it Really?

    The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

    Of course, to use the term “Jewish Lobby” has a subtle distinction in English and the American political sphere that is somewhat different from “Israel Lobby”. See for example:


    For a non-Jew to use the term “Jewish Lobby” is seen as bordering on the anti-semitic (although Jewish groups have no trouble when they refer to themselves that way).

    Wikipedia reports that Desmond Tutu ran into criticism for using the term “Jewish Lobby” and later changed a speech to use the words “pro-Israeli Lobby” instead.

    “When he edited and reprinted parts of his speech in 2005, Tutu replaced the words “Jewish lobby” with “pro-Israeli lobby”. In 2007, an invitation to Tutu to speak at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota was rescinded because of the speech; writing in Mother Jones, Justin Elliot stated “Tutu’s use of the phrase ‘Jewish lobby’ is regrettable, mainly because the pro-Israel lobby he is referring to is not made up exclusively of Jews (remember Texas preacher John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel?). But one minor slip five years ago is hardly grounds for blacklisting him.”

    Chris Davies, MEP for the northwest of England was forced to resign in 2006 as leader of the Liberal Democrats group in the European Parliament after writing to a constituent “I shall denounce the influence of the Jewish lobby that seems to have far too great a say over the political decision-making process in many countries.” In comments to TotallyJewish.Com he “confessed he didn’t know the difference between referring to the ‘pro Israel lobby’ and the ‘Jewish lobby’,” and added “I’m quite prepared to accept that I don’t understand the semantics of some of these things.” Commenting on Davies’ use of the term, David Hirsh of The Guardian wrote that Davies “had to resign because his laudable instinct to side with the underdog was not tempered by care, thought or self-education.” He compared Davies’ rhetoric with the “care to avoid openly antisemitic rhetoric taken by sophisticates like Mearsheimer and Walt and Robert Fisk.””

    This is a minefield in English. It is patently unfair to translate a Chinese speaker’s words into English and use words that indicate anti-semitism when no such views are indicated or intended in Chinese.

    Again, I think the charge of anti-semitism is further evidence of character assassination. Shame of the perpetrators.

  98. May 28th, 2012 at 11:07 | #98

    Thanks for your well research article. When I first read Yang’s rant I knew he has over reacted. However, as you pointed out he is judged different and obviously by a different standard. Which is why this blog existed in the first place.

    By saying Jew people control a percentage of finances in the US is considered anti-semitism. However, saying that China is a currency manipulator is not.

    I am glad this Yang Rui’s issue is blown out of proportion, at least it showed who is fair and who pretend to be. It serves as a sort of 照妖镜 letting us know who is a friend and who is not.

  99. amaryllis
    May 28th, 2012 at 11:53 | #99

    Ha3, the Spanish should know about PIGS….they are one of the biggest themselves, headed for the IMF slaughterhouse!
    Yup, Yang Rui is just a case of shooting the messenger because they don’t like him, or the message. His style is in-your-face, brusque.
    I watched him a few times (not a big TV fan) when I lived in Shanghai a year ago. He cuts to the chase, and is a take-charge man; so he doesn’t shoot wide. The unalloyed content of his weibo is aimed firmly at the illegal and subversive trash – that happens to be foreign – in China or, more precisely, Beijing.

    Imo, he was upset when he fired off his rant – but it wasn’t generalizing that all foreigners are trash; quite unlike James Fallows who – lacking statistical evidence – uses personal encounters to paint a broad brush about China’s social shortcomings in his flatulent Chinese Dream nonsense.

    So can we also infer that the “respected journalist’’ is anti-Chinese – despite declaring Sinophile credentials – if Fallows and gang insist on pushing the Yang-Rui-is-xenophobic-racist button?
    He is stepping up the ante now by trying to tar YR as anti-Jewish; but that – imo – is probably to put pressure on Western guests who dare to break ranks with a likely boycott of the talk show.

    All that of course obfuscates the real issue – there IS a problem with nasty foreign sorts, who behave as though they are beyond the law. See – that racist Chinese broadcaster is stirring up anti-foreign sentiment, the police are putting the squeeze on all of us!

    So China is now demonized as a country, because of the one-man “controversy’’. In that context, the Chinese authorities should see the mounting campaign against Yang Rui for what it is: a loosely-linked pattern of attack on its sovereignty, with foreigners demanding that one of its nationals be sacrificed to appease their anger. Yes, very Boxer Rebellion, indeed.

    YinYang: James Fallows, a respected journalist??
    But he might be looking more like a petty hack now.

    Or a sacred cow heaving with indignity that Yang Rui put him in the line of fire with his questioning about American hypocrisy. Holy cow, how dare you! Bovine bluster!!
    Melektaus called him out good: a pretentious supremacist – my country, right or wrong, stuff your video version!!

    But Mr Fallows remains an eloquent and worldly wordsmith, even if objectivity might be hard on occasion.

    Though some people might say that he is ready to go out to pasture. Not me, of course.
    However, rather than throw bovine, grass-stomping fits at Yang Rui, he could spend more time on cultivating “bromance’’ with ardent admirers like Brendan O’Kane or Custer. Just saying.

  100. lolz
    May 28th, 2012 at 18:44 | #100

    @Hong Konger

    Hong Konger :
    Colin — As I am Hong Kong Chinese, there was no misinterpretation or translation problem on my part. It was offensive and unwise in its original Chinese or in English.
    Many Chinese, particularly those of us in an international city like this one, had the same reaction I did.
    Digging up dirt is what journalists are supposed to do.
    Without them, we wouldn’t know about famine in Africa, war in Afghanistan, corrupt Hong Kong tycoons, or xenophobia in China.
    Don’t know how often you go to China yourself. But while most people are nice, there is a frightening level of hatred and ignorance against non-Chinese, too. And Yang’s outburst unfortunately reflected that.

    In HK there is a frightening level of hatred and ignorance against mainland Chinese. How many HKers complain about the stereotyping of mainlander in popular HK media? I find it odd to see so many who bash Chinese media for xenophobia and nationalism, but who go onto agree with HK and foreign media’s take on mainlanders.

    The reality is that xenophobia is a political strategy for politicians and a business strategy for the media.

  101. lolz
    May 28th, 2012 at 19:51 | #101

    aeiou :
    I find it interesting that whenever nationalism reels its head in China, westerners in particular, will try to blame it on the communist party or try to brush it off as propaganda/brainwashing. It’s as if they just can’t believe that Asians are capable of nationalist or anti-western sentiment; they seem to think they are more of a authority on what the Chinese believe than the native Chinese.
    It’s interesting because these western blogger are all almost of the liberal persuasion, e.g quote random weibo comments as validation of their liberal agenda. So anything you read by the handful of incestuous china bloggers will only be subjects that conform to this agenda. Anything that doesn’t conform will be shunned, ridiculed and beaten into submission.

    Being a liberal myself I don’t think the Western journalists in China are all that “liberal”. Their interventionalist ideology aligns more with neoconservatives.

  102. Rhan
    May 28th, 2012 at 19:56 | #102

    I often thought Chinese very particular on expression without emotion (喜怒不形于色) and to restrain oneself (克己), but it seem many believe that YR outburst is fine as long as the subject and target is not Chinese and CCP? Would China allow something similar to Public Enemy to compose a song/lyric about Han supremacy? I think base on Chinese moral gauge, YR is rude. I don’t know how White supremacy and HK media have to do with this.

  103. lolz
    May 28th, 2012 at 19:58 | #103

    I don’t understand why can’t people just admit that Western journalists are biased. Let’s be honest here, many of them are blatantly anti-China. You can tell this by their articles. They claim to be for the “little people of China”, which is for the most part utter bullshit as most of them can’t even speak Chinese well enough to be engaged with the poor in China. Most of them also do not hang outside of their expat circles, unless you count their Chinese girlfriends. Yet, just like the troll who bashes this website but still frequent here, the anti-China “journalists” and expats can’t seem to stay away from China. I think it’s perfectly fine for people to whine about China, but if they value freedom above everything else, why are they still in China?

  104. lolz
    May 28th, 2012 at 20:03 | #104

    Rhan :
    I often thought Chinese very particular on expression without emotion (喜怒不形于色) and to restrain oneself (克己), but it seem many believe that YR outburst is fine as long as the subject and target is not Chinese and CCP? Would China allow something similar to Public Enemy to compose a song/lyric about Han supremacy? I think base on Chinese moral gauge, YR is rude. I don’t know how White supremacy and HK media have to do with this.

    What does this have to do with the HK media? Why, the anti-China folks seems to be okay with media outbursts as long as it’s anti-China. But when foreign media stereotype and bash Chinese people it’s all good fun.

    For someone from HK, or most western nations to complain about Chinese media being too xenophobic is worse than kettle calling the pot black.

  105. Sleeper
    May 28th, 2012 at 21:03 | #105


    Moral gauge? I suppose the so called moral gauge was set by those who ever enslaved China, for the reason that slaves should never turn to against their masters. I don’t remember being taught in either primary or middle school in China that I must stand still and smile for any spit towards me.

    It’s shame for many people who have acquiesced in the absurdity that “bashing China is justice” (because she “believes in communism and despotism”) while China must admit every humiliation. I hope you’ll not be one of them.

  106. aeiou
    May 28th, 2012 at 21:53 | #106

    There isn’t any difference between a American Neocon and a liberal.


  107. lolz
    May 29th, 2012 at 02:47 | #107

    Sleeper :
    Moral gauge? I suppose the so called moral gauge was set by those who ever enslaved China, for the reason that slaves should never turn to against their masters. I don’t remember being taught in either primary or middle school in China that I must stand still and smile for any spit towards me.
    It’s shame for many people who have acquiesced in the absurdity that “bashing China is justice” (because she “believes in communism and despotism”) while China must admit every humiliation. I hope you’ll not be one of them.

    To the China bashers, you are not supposed to mention about European/American imperialists who enslaved China; anyone who dares to bring up the subject of “century of humiliation” are “nationalist” and “xenophobic”. Of course, China bashers have no problems with xenophobia directed at Chinese people in foreign media.

  108. perspectivehere
    May 29th, 2012 at 06:25 | #108

    Further to comment #96 about Mark Twain’s writings about Chinese , Professors Hsin-yun Ou, Assistant Professor at the National University of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, has written a wonderful essay on Mark Twain’s Racial Ideologies and His Portrayal of the Chinese, published in Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies.

    (Prof. Hsin-yun Ou holds a Ph.D. in eighteenth century literature, drama and theatre from the Department of Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway College, University of London and a MPhil. in Shakespeare and Drama to 1640 from the English Faculty, Oxford University.)

    The essay goes into Twain’s representation of Chinese in various writings: “Twain’s anti-racism fueled his powerful anti-imperial writings later in his life, in which his humanitarian sentiments and sense of moral righteousness became more prominent in expressing sympathy for oppressed groups, including the Chinese, and insisting on racial tolerance. As such, when Twain observed the Chinese, he was in fact examining the American character in comparison with his ideal vision of the U.S. as a nation that represented the forces of social justice and liberalism.”

    I want to excerpt two incidents from this essay in which Twain describes vicious attacks on Chinese, and the refusal of the newspapers for whom he was working as a journalist to publish the stories he wrote.

    “Twain, however, manifests his conscience over ill treatment of the Chinese in many of his recollections. In the memoranda about “Disgraceful Persecution of a Boy,” Twain recalls having written a similar report in 1864:

    I have many such memories in my mind, but am thinking just at
    present of one particular one, where the Brannan street butchers set
    their dogs on a Chinaman who was quietly passing with a basket of
    clothes on his head; and while the dogs mutilated his flesh, a butcher
    increased the hilarity of the occasion by knocking some of the
    Chinaman’s teeth down his throat with half a brick. This incident
    sticks in my memory with a more malevolent tenacity, perhaps, on
    account of the fact that I was in the employ of a San Francisco
    journal at the time, and was not allowed to publish it because it might
    offend some of the peculiar element that subscribed for the paper. (190)

    Years later, Twain reiterated in his autobiographical dictation on 13 June 1906 that, as a young reporter for the San Francisco Morning Call, he was outraged by an incident he witnessed: several policemen stood idly by when white youngsters assaulted a Chinese man. Twain prepared a fierce report on this racial incident: “One Sunday afternoon I saw some hoodlums chasing and stoning a Chinaman who was heavily laden with the weekly wash of his Christian customers, and I noticed that a policeman was observing this performance with an amused interest—nothing more” (The Autobiography 131). Twain’s employer, however, refused to run this report, caring about not offending the paper’s subscribers with anti-Chinese bias.

    Twain rewrote the story with a satirical strategy of irony, and published it in a paper in the next state and in a national magazine. In “What Have the Police Been Doing?” (Territorial Enterprise [Virginia City], Jan. 16-18, 1866), the narrator, posing as the policemen’s loyal friend, satirizes corrupt police officers who constantly victimized the local Chinese population.”


    These two incidents illustrate the general tendency of American newspapers to ignore the problems suffered by Chinese (and other colored minorities) at the hands of the white population.

    These stories survive today only because they were witnessed by a writer whose work survives; there is still interest in his work (although until I read Prof Ou’s essay I was never aware that Twain wrote anything about Chinese.)

    What about the hundreds and thousands of other incidents that afflicted the lives of Chinese that were never recorded and remembered? Who speaks for those people? How many victims of oppression have been lost to history and forgotten? They are forgotten only because they were Chinese and deemed “unworthy” by the newspapers for comment? For whom do the newspapers serve?

  109. beijingboy
    May 29th, 2012 at 07:36 | #109

    Youve obviuosly done lots of reading for your posts.

    ‘These two incidents illustrate the general tendency of American newspapers to ignore the problems suffered by Chinese (and other colored minorities) at the hands of the white population.’

    I dont mean to put words in your mouth or anything but do you mean that these two case tell us something about the American press just at the period or always?

  110. pug_ster
    May 29th, 2012 at 07:42 | #110


    I personally think that it is disgusting how mainlanders are treated in Hong Kong, referring them as ‘locusts.’ I mean most of them have parents born in China or born in China themselves. So those morons who have the locusts whom should probably refer their parents as locusts as well.

  111. pug_ster
    May 29th, 2012 at 08:38 | #111


    Lol. Looks like C Custer is the type of ‘foreign trash’ that Yang Rui describes here. The company where he works for Link TV is paid by Soros.

  112. beijingboy
    May 29th, 2012 at 09:36 | #112

    That’s the great thing about the internet. You can find out so much. According to the above article:

    Custer wasn’t working full time for Link, just did a few reports as a contributing expert.
    Link media is a not-for-profit org. that Soros apparently donates to.
    Custer is funded by Soros.

    I think thats a bit of a stretch. You think he got an email from Soros saying ‘Hey Charlie, I want you to nail Yang Rui.’

    But if you’re going to say that, then how about this:

    Custer went on Dialogue several times.
    Dialogue is CCTV, Chinese state-controlled media.
    Custer is funded by the Chinese government.

    Just follow the money people.

    And since the internet is so useful a research tool. In the interests of balance, can anyone tell me where 4th Media gets its funds? Its certainly not advertising.

  113. May 29th, 2012 at 12:29 | #113

    4th Media is funded by Rao Jin, an Internet entrepreneur in his late 20s.

    Personally don’t think there is a paymaster behind Custer, or there is a paymaster behind most of the Internet participants. If we are Wumao (五毛), we are all 自带干粮的五毛 (Wumao who brought his own meals). Granted, Custer might have gotten paid… but he likely held his viewpoints long before he was paid. In other words, he will unlikely change his viewpoints for a higher bidder.

    However, Shimatsu is dead on that Custer like many other blogging/commenting expats, is an Ugly American (or an ugly expat) abroad, who simply lacks a sense of propriety. Case in point, this comment left here: “I actually ride these trains on a regular basis. My concern comes from my desire not to see myself or any of my loved ones killed in an utterly preventable train accident.” Sure, it’s so inconvenient that his id, ego, and superego all ride the Chinese trains, which as a whole is some 20 to 30 times safer than the safest American mass transportation: air travel.

    With Chinese being wealthier now, there is also the risk of ugly Chinese syndrome. You’ve got to have the humility to understand that when in a foreign land and in a foreign custom/culture that had existed long before you and will exist long after you, the fragile you, your knowledge up to that point, altogether don’t amount to a hill of beans in the grant scheme of things. When in doubt, shut the fuck up.

  114. beijingboy
    May 29th, 2012 at 12:48 | #114

    Anti-CNN was founded by Rao Jin, but do you have any links giving evidence of current funding for 4th Media?

    Do you think Rao Jin is just personally bankrolling a whole not-for-profit media agency?

  115. pug_ster
    May 29th, 2012 at 14:01 | #115


    First of all, talk shows like Dialogue usually presents people with various points of view including people who are ‘pro-beijing’ and ‘anti-beijing’ and they have a debate. That is why the show is objective. Lots of other shows have have similar theme like RT’s Crosstalk.

    As for the Link TV, it is a totally different story. Yes, Soros does not control whom and what to write, but they tend to pick people have the same agenda with Soros’ of what they can show on TV. Unfortunately, C Custer’s reports is never objective, IE, they have no different point of view.

  116. May 29th, 2012 at 14:14 | #116

    In 2008 when Anti-CNN gained a strong following in China exposing CNN and other Western media lying about the Lhasa riots, the Chinese Foreign Ministry was asked by a Western journalist whether there was a connection between the web site and the Chinese government.

    The spokesperson said there was none. The journalist was basically scolded and was told to reflect on why the Chinese people are standing up against the Western media ‘bias.’

  117. Sleeper
    May 29th, 2012 at 15:30 | #117


    It’s not hard to understand what beijingboy would like to imply:

    CPC goverment and its system is so evil that not a healthy man except for earning money from CPC would like to defend it.

  118. perspectivehere
    May 29th, 2012 at 15:40 | #118

    Further to the link to Mark Twain above in comment #108, the LA Weekly published a good article on one of the many incidents of anti-Chinese violence in the US, the Chinese Massacre of 1871.

    How Los Angeles Covered Up the Massacre of 17 Chinese
    By John Johnson Jr. Thursday, Mar 10 2011

    “The greatest unsolved murders in Los Angeles’ history — bloodier than the Black Dahlia, more coldly vicious than the hit on Bugsy Siegel — occurred on a cool fall night in 1871. Seventeen Chinese men and boys, including a popular doctor, were hanged by an angry mob near what is now Union Station, an act so savage that it bumped the Great Chicago Fire off the front page of The New York Times.

    Eight men eventually were convicted, but the verdicts were thrown out almost immediately for a bizarre technical oversight by the prosecution. Unbelievably for a crime that occurred in full view of hundreds of people, no one was ever again prosecuted.

    The truth about the Chinese Massacre remained buried for 140 years, until writer John Johnson Jr. took up the hunt. Johnson spent more than a year examining every piece of evidence, including documents long thought to have been lost to history.

    Aided by newly discovered records at the Huntington Library, Johnson found that the men convicted of the killings were in fact guilty. Little surprise there.

    But Johnson found something astonishing — and sinister. The bloodlust unleashed that October night was allowed to unfold (if not also set in motion) by some of the city’s leading citizens, men so powerful they could arrange to have the convictions fall apart and the reasons for the massacre covered up.

    What emerged from Johnson’s research is a portrait of a town engaged in a death struggle against its own worst nature. Come with us on a journey into the liar’s den of our Los Angeles ancestors.”


    Here is a description of the lynching of Dr Gene Tong:

    “As the Chinese were hauled up, a man on the porch roof danced a jig and gave voice to the resentment many Americans felt over the Chinese willingness to work for low wages. “Come on, boys, patronize home trade,” the man sang out.

    The bloodlust was not only in the men. A woman who ran a boardinghouse across the street from Goller’s shop volunteered clothesline to be cut up for nooses.

    “Hang them,” she screamed.

    A boy came running from a dry goods shop. “Here’s a rope,” he called helpfully.

    Of all the Chinese in Los Angeles, Dr. Gene Tong was probably the most eminent and beloved among both his countrymen and Americans. He could have made much more money hanging his shingle in the American part of town. But Tong stayed in the Alley, dispensing both traditional and modern cures from a small shop in the decrepit Coronel Building.

    As Tong was dragged along the street, he tried to strike a bargain with his captors. He could pay a ransom, he said. He had $3,000 in gold in his shop. He had a diamond wedding ring. They could have it all.

    Instead of negotiating, one of his captors shot him in the mouth to silence him. Then they hanged him, first cutting off his finger to steal the ring.

    The next morning, the citizens of Los Angeles filed past the town’s jail building to view the bodies of the dead laid out in double rows. There were 17. It was the largest mass lynching in American history.

    When word of the massacre reached the outside world, the reaction was universal horror. In the East, citizens asked what sorts of ghouls had taken up residence on the West Coast. Turning its gaze from heathen lands, the Methodist Conference started raising funds for missionary work in Los Angeles.

    Frontier apologists blamed the massacre on the “dregs” of California society, an assortment of thugs and highwaymen who slouched into town every fall from the mines in the north and the lawless Mexican territory to the south.

    “American hoodlum and Mexican greaser, Irish tramp and French communist all joined to murder and dispatch the foe,” wrote poet and historian A.J. Wilson.

    The truth was different. While the looting and murder were carried out mostly by hoodlums, the deeds required the tacit approval and occasional intervention of the town’s elite. What’s more, the vast majority of those responsible could not have escaped punishment without a legal cover-up.”

    Some passages inspire incredulity:

    “California’s Legislature passed a law that forbade any Chinese from testifying against a white man. The law gave whites immunity — an invitation to violence that historian Paul De Falla says the people of Los Angeles took up with “a glint and a glee” the night of the massacre.”

    The investigative report give a good picture I think of the deep roots and long history of anti-Chinese sentiment in the US (which had its counterpart in Britain as Sasha Auerbach’s Race, Law and ‘The Chinese Puzzle’ in Imperial Britain describes), the abuses committed against the Chinese, the involvement of the politicians, press, police and ordinary white citizens in the abuse, and the ability to whitewash, suppress and forget about these incidents.

    The Opium Wars (1840s) and its aftermath impoverished China. We’re talking about drug dealers who lobbied the British Parliament to fight a war with China so they could sell drugs to Chinese. The impoverishment, corruption and criminalization of Chinese society brought on by the British drug trade (think Mexican border with the US) caused breakdown of Chinese society and led to out-migration of millions of Chinese (some voluntary migrants, but many kidnapped and swindled to become coolie laborers to replace African slaves which trade had ended in the 1830s). When they migrated to places like the Americas and British colonies they were subjected to violent abuse, exploitation and unequal laws.

    Few Americans or Britains are aware of this cruel history, and blithely speak of Chinese “xenophobia” as though wary suspicions and distrust of Western people sprang out of nowhere, or is somehow irrational and unjustified.
    Chinese views towards foreigners are a reaction to 170 years of abuse, violence, warfare, conquest, invasion, oppression and hatred. Westerners should learn, remember and acknowledge the harm that was done, and recognize that actions taken by Chinese people to protect and prevent against a re-hash of these horrors are neither unwarranted or unjustified. Westerners who complain about Chinese being “anti-foreign” can be incredibly tone deaf about this, and are reminiscent of white Americans who harp about “reverse racism” as though it were the worst injustice in American society, and that black Americans unfairly bring up victim status all the time.

  119. Rhan
    May 29th, 2012 at 22:03 | #119


    I have no idea what were being taught in China, by reading the comments here and if I will to extrapolate, could it be something like “tit for tat (人不犯我,我不犯人;人若犯我,我必犯人)”, “struggle for the sovereignty externally, get rid of the national traitors at home (外爭国權,內惩國賊)” and “do away with the ‘Twenty-One Demands (廢除二十一條)”?

    I attended school in the 70’ and 80’, most of us are familiar with values like “Do not impose on others what you do not desire yourself. 己所不欲,勿施于人”, base on this simple guide, I think YR is rude, but that doesn’t meant I agree with what others did or said in likewise manner. I prefer to live in 2012 and not 1911 or 1939.

  120. denk
    May 29th, 2012 at 22:11 | #120

    custer’s last stand , 😉

  121. Sleeper
    May 30th, 2012 at 01:24 | #121


    I went to school in the 90s, and I was taught regularly that my country has suffered terrible humiliation last 100 years, even her very existence was in stake. My parents also told me the quotation of “tit for tat”. I ever thought what I learnt from elders should stay in the past, but thanks to several incidents from late 90s to 00s I realized that we’re still under siege.

    Although the the world has been different from that of half century ago, the conflict continues in a different way——not by bombarding each other with guns and bombs, but by speaking in microphone, brocasting and TV shows, which could be more deadly than purely physical obliteration. People may simply face to their death with faith in the mimd on the battlefield, but could hardly live to see their faith being twisted without any possibility of resistance. Under the bombardment of media, every possible resistance may be diverted to “madness”, “nationlism”, “racism”, and finally losers of such conflict could only be breathing like a living corpse. It’s the hell in reality.

    Pity, although we’re taught “tit for tat” by elders, recently we’re hardly capabe of fighting back. China is bombarded bruatally from all sides by western media, while little complaints from her children are always blamed as unacceptable brutality. It’s them who bombarded China should learn “Do not impose on others what you do not desire yourself. 己所不欲,勿施于人” first before asking China to do so.

    Did they ever try to start learning? Did BBC and CNN shift their emphasis that not only brocasting the darkest in China, not implying that the best and only solution for Chinese is to overwhelm their current systems and laws? I don’t expect any functional advices from them, but could they stop inciting us to commit suicide like what they’ve done to russians? So far I didn’t see any of these happening explicitly. Therefore we don’t need to embrace “honorable death” so eagerly.

  122. lolz
    May 30th, 2012 at 04:22 | #122

    denk :
    custer’s last stand ,

    Ouch. So many people are butthurt over YR’s rantings. The whole Soros conspiracy angle is interesting, though half baked. There is no doubt the US government spends money/resources on foreign journalists in China though through various NGOs.

    Unlike some others here I actually like Custer and just went over his site to check out his take on YR. Honestly, xenophobia is hardly an issue for a white guy living in Beijing, because they definitely get treated better than the locals at most venues. If they whine about one guy bashing them for what they are (foreigners), can we also all whine about the crap which we Chinese get in other nations just for being Chinese?

  123. pug_ster
    May 30th, 2012 at 07:28 | #123


    Exactly, the Chinese treats foreigners in China with kid gloves compared to how the Chinese are treated in many Western countries. C Custer thinks he understands the Chinese but he is oblivious.

  124. Charles Liu
    May 30th, 2012 at 11:44 | #124

    Not even that, Yang was complaining about people who break China’s laws. If you are a laowai playing nice in China, you got nothing to worry about.

    And seems in China the illegal immigration attitude is much more liberal and open. In US you can not work on a tourist visa, and targeted sweeps and emphasis patrol against Mexicans are routine and much more brutal physically as well as the rhetoric.

  125. May 30th, 2012 at 16:35 | #125

    “Hunting” Mexican illegals is a common past-time in some US states.


    Thanks for showing China how to behave towards illegal foreigners, America.

  126. Rhan
    May 30th, 2012 at 20:14 | #126


    Lolz asked can we also all whine about the crap which we Chinese get in other nations just for being Chinese? I suppose we can though I am not sure being Chinese mean we are a foreigner or immigrant. My comment is solely premised on I am an immigrant (minority).

    Most non-Western countries suffer similar humiliation of colonization, and there are also countries where the Chinese are dominant in politics (Spore) and economy (most SEA countries). Singapore government often propagates a siege mentality into their citizen against the threat of communism in the past, and now the proclaiming the surviving capability of a small island surrounded by Muslim countries. While some other SEA countries habitually bring up the recall of West colonization, and how the Chinese are prepared ourselves to take over the country from the native, and we were reminded again and again we are immigrant and our citizenship is solely the result of the native benevolent, regardless the fact that some moved and stayed here before 1900 or even earlier. Any criticism toward corruption and governance issue is deemed as challenge to the native rights, just like what happen in Taiwan when some DPP members hijack many issue of governance and equal any criticism toward the DPP government as challenge to Taiwanese (本省人), shall we do like what jxie said shut the fuck up, or move to a countries that is relatively open and treasure human rights which are mostly from the West and take every opportunity to criticize the westerner and western media for being bias and bigot, or stand up against a corrupted regime that ignore our plight? I stand up.

    I don’t know what exactly is the role of the western media but me and many others choose to walk on the street to let our voice hear (u may google Bersih 2.0 / Bersih 3.0), and face the police brutality, and this were reported in many western media and predictably, the many news and opinion from the West were being censored or like how you put it correctly. our government is tell us the Western Media only broadcasting the darkest of our countries and bla bla bla …..all this sound damn familiar to me.

    I read many Hong Konger past comment that criticize the West and their superiority attitude, his writing were fiercer than many commenters here but I also think he (or me) would condemn any uncivilized / rude / insult writing and action that direct toward Westerners that is overly done. I think he is at least balance in his approach, while I prefer to look at issue from the viewpoint when I put myself in that position (将心比心), i find it funny to have a role that tell my government to look forward while at the same time, I keep on reminding some others about history, I am not saying this is wrong, just a bit disingenuous.

  127. denk
    May 30th, 2012 at 20:26 | #127

    lolz 122
    *Unlike some others here I actually like Custer *

    i’ve said b4
    why are there so many anglos who go to china ostensibly to work, do biz or tour
    but end up moonlighting as china baiters ?
    any anglo who make a living outta china bashing ,
    while seemingly oblivious to what the motherland is doing to the world is just a god damned hypocrite

  128. lolz
    May 31st, 2012 at 06:27 | #128

    Rhan :
    Any criticism toward corruption and governance issue is deemed as challenge to the native rights, just like what happen in Taiwan when some DPP members hijack many issue of governance and equal any criticism toward the DPP government as challenge to Taiwanese (本省人), shall we do like what jxie said shut the fuck up, or move to a countries that is relatively open and treasure human rights which are mostly from the West and take every opportunity to criticize the westerner and western media for being bias and bigot, or stand up against a corrupted regime that ignore our plight? I stand up.

    How about you first stand up to the truth instead of ideology? The analogy with Taiwan is way off because WSRs are still citizens of Taiwan, and they do not whine incessantly about everything going on in Taiwan like the China bashers. Still, many DDP supporters are far more xenophobic than anything I have seen in China especially in regards to people from mainland. Western China-bashers who live in China(or not) are not Chinese citizens and thus do not represent the interest of Chinese people. They represent the interest of their homeland. Many of them indirectly receive money from their governments to voice their opinions against China. They in no way shape or form represent the voice of the Chinese people, although many of them like to pretend that they speak for the Chinese. I don’t think this concept should be that hard to understand.

  129. pug_ster
    May 31st, 2012 at 06:43 | #129


    One thing that I thought that was interesting is that US state dept is xenophobic towards Chinese teachers in Confucius Institutes.

    On May 17, the US State Department announced that many teachers from the Chinese-sponsored Confucius Institutes would be required to change their visas. They had planned to work at the primary and secondary levels, but their visas were issued specifically for university instruction. There was speculation that these teachers would have to return to China to reapply for new visas, disrupting language instruction plans and curricula at over eighty primary and secondary institutions.

    Gees, the US state dept went bonkers over Chinese teachers because they have accreditation to teach in University instead of primary and secondary institutions. Those wackos in Washington always think of new ways to marginalize Chinese or China.

  130. Charles Liu
    May 31st, 2012 at 10:12 | #130


    So the problem is over-qualification? Perhaps all those unemployed Canadian fry cooks in China teaching English be required to have University lecture credentials?

  131. perspectivehere
    May 31st, 2012 at 10:13 | #131

    I highly recommend reading this review by Dr Flemming Christiansen, Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds of Sasha Auerbach’s Race, Law and ‘The Chinese Puzzle’ in Imperial Britain (which I had mentioned above in comment #118 ) and which includes the author’s response to the review.

    Auerbach’s book is about views and representations of Chinese in Imperial Britain, and Dr Christiansen mentions that Auerbach’s book documents and analyses the racist ways in which the media, politicians, police, unions, church etc. depicted Chinese. But he ends his review with his opinion that the British world today is not all that different in its racist attitudes. It may be more subtle and “less overtly offensive”, but it is still there and needs to be exposed, discussed, interpreted, understood, and rejected.

    Dr Christiansen is to be applauded for recognizing and raising awareness of these issues.

    I think of the bloggers at Hidden Harmonies as doing the same thing, to raise awareness of Chinese points of view and to point out and challenge where anti-Chinese opinions are expressed.

    Many commenters here like to characterize Hidden Harmonies as a “pro-China” or “nationalistic” or “anti-Western” site. I do not agree with that characterization. I think of HH as an anti-racist site which gives a voice to Chinese everywhere to express opposition to the pernicious overt and covert racism which is institutionalized and embedded in Anglo-American culture (as this is an English language site). The hope is that expressing these challenges will make people think more sensitively towards each other, and aid in cultural understanding.

    Here are some excerpts from Christiansen’s review. I think the points he and Auerbach make are very much consistent with the views of bloggers at HH towards the media and British views towards Chinese:

    *******excerpts follow***********

    “Auerbach’s book provides substantial ammunition for a wider analysis: It elegantly reveals how racial prejudice is constructed. Judgements of immorality, criminality, lack of hygiene, ethnic otherness, incivility, low class, promiscuous and dangerous sexuality, dishonesty, violence and many other perspectives merge together in invented views of the Chinese as the other.”

    “Crime was in many cases described as instances of presumed culpability; formal rights were often circumvented; the practice of police and other government officials, judges and the media was to create uncertainty, a sense of subliminal danger based on hearsay and invention, presenting it to the general public in suggestive media formats.”

    “Where Chinese had rights, laws were changed to undo those rights. Where Chinese, believed to be unable to adopt to British ways, actually assimilated, this was held against them as an example of their deceitful cunning.”

    “Confrontations where only one Chinese was slightly injured and no harm was done went down in media reports and memory as ‘London’s tong feuds’ (alluding to the violent warfare between different tongs in San Francisco Chinatown), and the fact that the Chinese had refrained from violence was another proof of their devious nature.”

    “Where Chinese men were better and more caring husbands of white women, and sober, less obstinate and more reliable workers, the ‘reality’ generated by public opinion, claimed that they were leading white women astray, into depravity, often using opium, and paving the way for a degeneration of the white race.”

    “Auerbach records, but never really analyses, the development over time of the prejudices; the different labour market needs for Chinese workers across the empire manifests itself in many inconsistencies in racist invention, and as time goes by the media and the authorities gradually negotiate new rationales and purposes that suit the diverse conditions.”

    “Rules employed in Transvaal and Australia against Chinese had awkward implications in Britain, but ultimately were superseded by the invention of gang violence among Chinese, of their seduction of innocent women, and of their role in providing opium to British people, in short creating a myth about Chinese as vectors of unrest, depravity and the decay of British society, thereby making the earlier views obsolete.”

    “Those of us who do feel that, in spite of race equality policies, political correctness, and strong public displays of ethnic unity, there are in Britain today still discernible echoes of the prejudices so pervasive just a couple of generations ago will find little in the book that confirms it.”

    “I am probably not alone in thinking that an analysis today of statements on Chinese and China by media, politicians, police, court officials and various activists will reveal a similar realm of racial bigotry, malevolence and ignorance, albeit often articulated in less overtly offensive ways.”

    “We need not go far, looking at media reports on the Morecambe Bay disaster, the tragedy in Dover Docks and the political debates, policy making, police and court practices relating to immigration of Chinese people, snakeheads and gangland crimes, seemingly calibrated with assertions about China as a repressive and totalitarian state, the exploitation of labour in sweatshops, and China’s aspirations to be a great power. The racial themes and prejudices have found a new life.”

    “Sascha Auerbach delivers the raw materials on which we will be able to build our analyses of how racist discourse works. In that sense, it is a timely and highly accomplished contribution to the literature about both anti-Chinese racism and to race relations in the colonial period.”

    So keep up the good work HH bloggers — you are on the right track!

  132. perspectivehere
    May 31st, 2012 at 10:51 | #132


    Further to the comment above, in his response to the Dr Christiansen’s review, the author Sasha Auerbach wrote:

    “The broad impact of Chinese immigration and Sinophobia on British society, culture, and politics, however, challenges the underlying assumption that race was largely something that happened ‘out there’ in the empire rather than ‘at home’ in Britain.

    What I would most like readers to consider as they assess The Chinese Puzzle, and what the reviewer clearly has taken note of, is the possibility that race and racism were inextricably linked to the daily enforcement of law, to popular politics, to the organization of labor, and to the formation of domestic national, gender, and class identity in this period, so much so that the latter cannot possibly be analyzed accurately without reference to the former.

    Would this not demand a reassessment of the basic narratives of British social, cultural, political, and economic history, not as a nod to inclusiveness, but rather in acknowledgment that the history of modern British society as a whole cannot be understood without reference to the history of race and racism?”


    What he is saying is that the British do not think of themselves as racist, and that British believe racism was a minor issue in Britain’s history.

    I think Auerbach’s statement indicates, from the non-British perspective, how un-self-aware the British are in this respect. It seems so obvious to most Chinese that the British have been racist towards just about everyone else for several centuries. And so it seems racism is the elephant in the room that the British pretend doesn’t exist.

    The British predilection to deny their attitudes as racist reminds of this excerpt from the tongue-in-cheek Xenophobes Guide to the English:

    “English views on foreigners are very simple. The further one travels from the capital in any direction, the more outlandish the people become.”

    “When it comes to their neighbours in the British Isles, the English are in absolutely no doubt as to their own innate superiority. This they see as no petty prejudice but rather as a scientific observation. The Irish are perceived as being wildly eccentric at best, completely mad at worst. The Welsh are dishonest and the Scots are dour and mean.”

    “However, the Irish, Welsh and Scots should take heart. For most English they are not quite as appalling as their cousins across the Channel. They should also remember that “foreign-ness” for the English starts to a certain extent at the end of their own street.”

    “The French and the English have been sparring partners for so long that the English have developed a kind of love-hate relationship with them. The English love France. They love its food and wine and thoroughly approve of its climate. There is a subconscious historical belief that the French have no right to be living in France at all, to the extent that thousands of Englishmen try annually to turn the more attractive areas of France into little corners of Surrey.”

    “As to the French people, they are perceived as insincere, unhygienic and given to sexual excess.”

    “With the Germans the English are less equivocal. Germans are megalomaniac, easily-led bullies who have not even the saving grace of culinary skill. Conveniently forgetting the fact that their own Royal family is of German descent, the English make no pretence at liking the Germans. Confronted with one, they will constantly be reminding themselves “not to mention the War” whilst secretly wondering whether he or she is old enough to have fought in it.”

    “For the rest of Europe, as far as the English are concerned, the Italians are hysterical and dishonest; the Spanish, lazy; the Russians, gloomy; and the Scandinavians, Dutch, Belgians and Swiss, dull. Further afield English odium is no less concentrated. Americans and Australians are vulgar, Canadians are boring, and all oriental peoples inscrutable and dangerous.”

    “You will only find this out, of course, by listening at keyholes, for to your face they will always be charming. They appear to be tolerant to a fault. In actually, they only value foreigners for their backs – which they can use for talking behind.”

  133. pug_ster
    May 31st, 2012 at 11:47 | #133

    @Charles Liu

    Who knows. Those xenophobic morons in Washington probably thinks that when these Chinese teachers will brainwash these little kids to sing red songs:)

  134. perspectivehere
    May 31st, 2012 at 15:38 | #134

    Food for thought:

    NYT (2007): In Jews, Indian-Americans See a Role Model in Activism

    Here is an article showing Indian-Americans looking to Jewish Americans as a model. Some excerpts:

    “Sanjay Puri, the chairman of the U.S. India Political Action Committee, said: “What the Jewish community has achieved politically is tremendous, and members of Congress definitely pay a lot of attention to issues that are important to them. We will use our own model to get to where we want, but we have used them as a benchmark.””

    “The American Jewish Committee, like some other Jewish groups, has worked with Indians on immigration and hate crimes legislation. It has taken three groups of Indian-Americans to Israel, where they have met Arabs and Palestinians, as well as Jews.”

    “Many Indian-Americans, like the Godhwanis and others with the India Community Center in Milpitas, Calif., have taken an avowedly nonsectarian approach in creating institutions. But among Hindus, who are a majority in India and among Indian-Americans here, some assert that a vital bond they share with Jews is the threat to India and Israel from Muslim terrorists.”

    “Some on both sides of the discussion feel that way, and take a stance that is anti-Muslim or anti-terrorist, depending on your point of view,” said Nathan Katz, professor of religious studies at Florida International University in Miami.”

    “Most Jewish groups, however, have tried to avoid a sectarian cast to their work with Indian-Americans. Instead, Jews said they were struck by the parallels between the issues that Jews and Indians had faced.”

    “It echoes 30 years ago,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal center. “There is the same feeling of a growing community that says, ‘We want our voices to be represented, and how do we that?’“

    “For years, many Indians who immigrated to the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s considered India their home. Now, most are rooted in the United States, as are their children, and they have moved with astonishing speed into politics, said Representative Frank Pallone Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, where there is a large Indian-American constituency. Mr. Pallone is a founder of the Congressional Caucus on India.” Representative Bobby Jindal, a Republican from Louisiana who is Indian-American, is running for governor of his state, and Indian-Americans hold or are vying for other local elected positions nationwide.”

    “Inspired by the Wiesenthal Center, which produces a CD annually that compiles Internet hate speech, the Hindu American Foundation issued its own report this year about “online hatred and bigotry against Hindus,” Suhag Shukla, the foundation’s legal counsel, said. The foundation also learned from the success of Jewish groups that it needed a full-time staff member to lobby Congress.”

  135. perspectivehere
    May 31st, 2012 at 17:22 | #135

    Another voice – this one from two members of the Jewish community, who write in The Forward, a Jewish-American newspaper with a long history of social activism: “In targeting China, Jewish critics are also perpetrating against Beijing the very kind of fear-mongering of which the Jewish people themselves have all too often been victim.”

    “Demonizing China will not achieve much in Tibet and Darfur. But it is an irritant that could cloud our relationship with a great power — one that in its 5,000 years of history has never showed an ounce of antisemitism.”

    See Forward.com:
    Enough Misguided Maligning of China
    Published April 24, 2008

    “It is fitting that Jews should speak up against injustice, whoever its victims may be, and rise to their defense. With a history that includes centuries of religious persecution, Hitler’s Final Solution and repeated assaults on the State of Israel, Jews have a special affinity for the victims of prejudice and genocidal violence.

    Lately, though, rightful concerns about Darfur and Tibet have given rise to a fast-growing campaign of prejudice — with a few well-known Jews in the vanguard — that singles out Chinese policies for criticism and threatens to derail China’s Olympic dream in retaliation.

    A wellspring of anti-Chinese sentiment is being stoked by ill-informed attacks by politicians on the campaign trail, sanctimonious denunciations by celebrities and mass demonstrations along the path of the Olympic torch. Not only are such efforts of dubious effectiveness in solving the problems at hand, they are outright counter-productive, morally questionable and, from a Jewish standpoint, strategically suicidal.

    In targeting China, Jewish critics are also perpetrating against Beijing the very kind of fear-mongering of which the Jewish people themselves have all too often been victim.

    Take, for example, the protracted, self-congratulatory and ultimately ineffective movement for peace in Darfur. Jewish personalities and organizations, including the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the American Jewish World Service, figure prominently in the campaign. In March, director Steven Spielberg, revered in China for his film “Schindler’s List,” resigned as artistic advisor to the upcoming Olympic Games to protest Chinese involvement in Sudan.

    The Save Darfur campaign has increasingly identified China’s oil stake in Sudan, as well as its trade, diplomatic — and, yes — past military ties with Khartoum as key factors facilitating the atrocities of the Janjaweed militia. Undoubtedly, Beijing holds a position of influence in the country, and as such can be part of a solution to the tragedy.

    But in the last 16 months or so China has come a long way, deeply amending its Darfur and Sudan policy and leaning on Khartoum to accept peacekeepers — long before Mia Farrow started campaigning on the issue.”


    “Demonizing China will not achieve much in Tibet and Darfur. But it is an irritant that could cloud our relationship with a great power — one that in its 5,000 years of history has never showed an ounce of antisemitism.

    Jewish expressions of anti-Chinese sentiment and threats to derail the Olympics have not escaped Beijing’s notice. A paper just released by a Chinese academic institute identifies American Jewish organizations as being among the main culprits in the anti-Chinese part of the Darfur campaign in the United States. Meanwhile, a new book blaming Jews for China’s problems with the yuan is selling like hotcakes.

    It would be unfortunate, to say the least, if Jews came to be seen as an enemy of Beijing. China is today an economic powerhouse, and its diplomatic clout is quickly growing. Furthermore, it has the ability to play a major role in the Middle East, where to date its foreign policy has been remarkably balanced and much friendlier toward Israel than is generally recognized.

    The potential cost of anti-Chinese sentiment among American Jews is dear indeed. But it is not just from a realpolitik standpoint that the Darfur and Tibet campaigns are misguided.

    Under a veneer of political correctness, such efforts are threatening to become a major moral failure on our part. For all the obvious differences between China and the Jewish people, it is hard not to notice the similarities between today’s anti-Chinese feeling and the antisemitism that first emerged in the late 19th century, when Western Jews threatened Christian domination by moving into positions of power.

    Our insistence on holding China to higher standards than other countries reflects our concerns about how its rise is reshaping our world and challenging Western supremacy. Outrage at Chinese policies is in style and uncontroversial because it gives those anxieties — about losing jobs, about Chinese takeovers of Western companies, about China’s competition with the West for scarce energy resources — a respectable cover.

    As a rising power with roots as deep as ours, China has a role to play for the good, and it is open to influence if it is not publicly insulted. We would do well not to try to stifle China’s rise or seek to disrupt its cherished Olympics.

    Screaming at China may be a great way to feel good about ourselves or get political mileage, but it is not going to get us anywhere on Darfur or Tibet. Not all is perfect about China, and there is no point in denying it. But neither should we mindlessly howl with the anti-Chinese wolves.”

  136. perspectivehere
    May 31st, 2012 at 17:44 | #136

    The readers’ comments in the Forward opinion piece mentioned above are well worth reading as well.


  137. Rhan
    May 31st, 2012 at 18:41 | #137


    I notice most link you cited were from the western sources, seem like they are one that understand fully Mao idea of criticism and self-criticism.

  138. Rhan
    May 31st, 2012 at 18:53 | #138


    I already clarify my stance in my first paragraph, so i dont know what truth are you talking about. Of course i would not that naive to believe that foreigner care more about us than their homeland. My reply to Sleeper is to tell some writing and opinion from the western madia do speak out the plight and sentiment of the people (老百姓), one that live not in the western countries.

  139. denk
    May 31st, 2012 at 19:05 | #139

    why would protest against olympics focus on the inconvenience it impose on the populace only….where’s the antiwar folks
    isnt this the perfect occasion to highlight fukus genocidal wars, when london is under the world’s spotlight ?

    in 2008
    *progessive* sites like guardian churned out tons of articles about beijing’s *genocide olympics*, *hr activists* clamoured for a boycott of the game, the olympics torch processions were assaulted by *activists* in various major cities, in one occasion, a wheelchair bound chinese athletic was attacked by thuggish *activists*

    fast fwd 2012,
    fukus has been getting away with genocidal wars in iraq, afghan
    extra judicial executions, aka daylight murders, in afpak, somalia, yemen
    naked aggressions in ex yugo, libya, syria
    re colonisation of africa under the agis of africom
    where’re all these *hr activists*, especially the antiwar folks ?
    the silence is deafening
    the contrast to 2008 is illuminating
    perhaps *sports n politics dont mix*, when it comes to fukus ?

    i posed this innocent question in this thread

    no sooner had i posted my comment when it was deleted
    now i get this message
    *this site has blocked u from posting new comments*

    cd is just another pseudo *progressive* gate keeping site

    mind u,
    i can post freely in the *rightwing* wapo, biz insider etc [fukus n all]
    but i am persona non grata on atimes, guardian, cd, etc, ya, the *alternate media* 😉

  140. May 31st, 2012 at 19:47 | #140


    Weren’t you born & raised in Malaysia? If yes, how exactly are you an immigrant?

  141. Rhan
    May 31st, 2012 at 20:38 | #141

    jxie, sorry i just copy your statement out of context, no bearing at all to your contention. You raise an interesting question, maybe the link i paste below will help you understand where i am coming from, and i did add in the word “minority” in my writing.



    I recall i asked Steve a quite similar question, who is native in the America context, he reply that he perceive himself as native. May i know what about Brazil, if compare in a similar political context?

  142. May 31st, 2012 at 23:26 | #142

    Good article by Brendan O’Reilly on what the media hype over alleged Chinese xenophobia really shows…


  143. Black Pheonix
    June 3rd, 2012 at 09:08 | #143


    “That some Western media have seized on recent occurrences as proof of widespread xenophobia in China reveals more about Western insecurities towards a rising China than it does about attitudes within China itself. ”

    Xenophobia my as*.

    Beijing even with the “crackdown” is far friendlier to foreigners than Arizona (or Europe).

    Millions of overseas Chinese have to put up with Immigration sweeps in many countries.

    The only difference here is, China is still being too nice.

    100 days? Come on.

    China needs to do Arizona style or German style immigration sweeps across the country for at least 1 year!!

  144. Black Pheonix
    June 3rd, 2012 at 14:43 | #144


    Western media’s naysaying of China is just a streak of xenophobia over half of a century long.

  145. perspectivehere
    June 9th, 2012 at 01:41 | #145

    Rhan :
    jxie, sorry i just copy your statement out of context, no bearing at all to your contention. You raise an interesting question, maybe the link i paste below will help you understand where i am coming from, and i did add in the word “minority” in my writing.

    Are you familiar with the War in Malaya 1948-1960? I had never heard of this war until recently when I started reading about the abuses of British colonialism. This interest was sparked by reading Richard Gott’s Britain’s Empire, Resistance, Rebellion and Revolt (2011) as I’ve mentioned in other posts.

    According to British journalist Mark Curtis:

    *******begin quote**********
    “Between 1948 and 1960 the British military fought what is conventionally called the “emergency” or “counter-insurgency” campaign in Malaya, a British colony until independence in 1957. The declassified files reveal that Britain resorted to very brutal measures in the war, including widespread aerial bombing and the use of a forerunner to modern cluster bombs. Britain also set up a grotesque “resettlement” programme that provided a model for the US’s horrific “strategic hamlet” programmes in Vietnam. It also used chemical agents from which the US may again have drawn lessons in its use of agent orange.

    Defending the right of exploitation

    British planners’ primary concern was to enable British business to exploit Malayan economic resources. Malaya possessed valuable minerals such as coal, bauxite, tungsten, gold, iron ore, manganese, and, above all, rubber and tin. A Colonial Office report from 1950 noted that Malaya’s rubber and tin mining industries were the biggest dollar earners in the British Commonwealth. Rubber accounted for 75 per cent, and tin 12-15 per cent, of Malaya’s income.

    As a result of colonialism, Malaya was effectively owned by European, primarily British, businesses, with British capital behind most Malayan enterprises. Most importantly, 70 per cent of the acreage of rubber estates was owned by European (primarily British) companies, compared to 29 per cent Asian ownership. Malaya was described by one Lord in 1952 as the “greatest material prize in South-East Asia”, mainly due to its rubber and tin. These resources were “very fortunate” for Britain, another Lord declared, since “they have very largely supported the standard of living of the people of this country and the sterling area ever since the war ended”. “What we should do without Malaya, and its earnings in tin and rubber, I do not know”.

    The insurgency threatened control over this “material prize”. The Colonial Secretary remarked in 1948 that “it would gravely worsen the whole dollar balance of the Sterling Area if there were serious interference with Malayan exports”. One other member of the House of Lords explained that existing deposits of tin were being “quickly used up” and, owing to rebel activity, “no new areas are being prospected for future working”. The danger was that tin mining would cease in around ten years, he alleged. The situation with rubber was “no less alarming”, with the fall in output “largely due to the direct and indirect effects of communist sabotage”, as it was described.

    An influential big-business pressure group called Joint Malayan Interests was warning the Colonial Office of “soft-hearted doctrinaires, with emphasis on early self-government” for the colony. It noted that the insurgency was causing economic losses through direct damage and interruption of work, loss of manpower and falling outputs. It implored the government that “until the fight against banditry has been won there can be no question of any further moves towards self-government”.

    The British military was thus despatched in a classic imperial role – largely to protect commercial interests. “In its narrower context”, the Foreign Office observed in a secret file, the “war against bandits is very much a war in defence of [the] rubber industry”.

    The roots of the war lay in the failure of the British colonial authorities to guarantee the rights of the Chinese in Malaya, who made up nearly 45 per cent of the population. Britain had traditionally promoted the rights of the Malay community over and above those of the Chinese. Proposals for a new political structure to create a racial equilibrium between the Chinese and Malay communities and remove the latter’s ascendancy over the former, had been defeated by Malays and the ex-colonial Malayan lobby. By 1948 Britain was promoting a new federal constitution that would confirm Malay privileges and consign about 90 per cent of Chinese to non-citizenship. Under this scheme, the High Commissioner would preside over an undemocratic, centralised state where the members of the Executive Council and the Legislative Council were all chosen by him.”


    Britain had therefore effectively blocked the political path to reform. This meant that the Malayan Communist Party – which was to provide the backbone of the insurgency – either had to accept that its future political role would be very limited, or go to ground and press the British to leave. An insurgent movement was formed out of one that had been trained and armed by Britain to resist the Japanese occupation during the Second World War; the Malayan Chinese had offered the only active resistance to the Japanese invaders.

    The insurgents were drawn almost entirely from disaffected Chinese and received considerable support from Chinese “squatters”, who numbered over half a million. In the words of the Foreign Office in 1952: “The vast majority of the poorer Chinese were employed in the tin mines and on the rubber estates and they suffered most from the Japanese occupation of the country… During the Japanese occupation, they were deprived both of their normal employment and of the opportunity to return to their homeland…Large numbers of Chinese were forced out of useful employment and had no alternative but to follow the example of other distressed Chinese, who in small numbers had been obliged to scratch for a living in the jungle clearings even before the war”.

    These “squatters” were now to be the chief object of Britain’s draconian measures in the colony.”
    ******end quote**********

    Is this a history that Malaysians are familiar with? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts. Many thanks for commenting.

  146. June 9th, 2012 at 07:25 | #146

    You are indeed a well read individual. I would give you a summary of the public view of the war from 1948 to 1960. Today most ethnic Chinese (making up around 1/5 of the population of Malaysia) view the insurgency as an evil communist uprising as taught in the history textbook. The ethnic Malay (1/2 of pop), ethnic Indian (1/10) pretty much shared the same view.

    The communist ideology was not just anti-capitalist but also anti-colonial. That’s why the founding fathers of Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh), Burma (Aung San), Indonesia (Sukarno) all have socialist leaning. It is easy to see why they have this leaning, because European colonist totally control the economy, politics of their countries. Due to brutal suppression the communist (or other anti-colonial movement) didn’t have much room for development until WWII. The defeat of the European by the Japanese brought in an even more oppressive colonists. It was during the wars that those founding fathers gained wide spread fame and support by actively fighting the Japanese.

    In Malaya, the Communist Party of Malaya also expanded the same way. In fact, they were so effective in fighting the Japanese that the top 3 leaders were knighted by the British after the way. The British offered them high position in the police or military. Here’s how the problem start. Most rank and file who joined the communist resistance are not communist (my grandfather included), they just want to resist the Japanese. Although some leaders took up the British offer, most decided they want an end to colonialism and introduce communism to the country.

    The Malay community although also anti-British and want to end colonialism was appalled by the fact that communism would end the rule of Malay royalty, for the business Chinese, Indian community, communism would also mean the end of their business. So by being unable to compromise, the communist was destined to lose the fight. On top of the secretary general of the CPM was a Vietnamese double agent who worked for both the British and Japanese.

    The communist insurgent consist mainly of ethnic Chinese as it was actively mainly in west coast cities where Chinese is the majority. Malay and Indian made up only 1/10 of the membership. During the war, Chinese fighting on the British side made up 1/3 the local police and military force. In fact half the highest honor given for gallantry was won by ethnic Chinese. However, subsequent Malay ultra would paint it as a Chinese vs Malay war. Even today ultra nationalist Malay would try to scare the Malay voters that if they were not voted into power, the Chinese communist would took over the country.
    It is a war that split the Chinese community. For example, Robert Kuok the richest man in Malaysia today has two brothers. One of them joined the civil service under the British and one joined the CPM and was KIA.

    The British was eventually able to defeat the insurgent because it also introduce very ruthless way of war fighting. From 1948-60, martial law was imposed, the British can detained anyone for 2 years without trial (the Present Malaysian and Singapore government still retain this law), food was rationed (so the CPA would not get them), villagers were forced into barricaded “kampong baru”. Basically, the CPM cannot survive without able to get food. They did enjoy considerable support in the country side due to their initial reputation as defender of the people against the Japanese.

    If you are interested in Chin Peng’s side of the story it is here.


    CPA’s atrocities was well documented by the British. However, the atrocities and massacre committed by the British was never held accountable.


  147. Rhan
    June 9th, 2012 at 10:46 | #147


    thanks and yes, we Malaysian are familiar with this part of history, we learn this topic well from our history subject, albeit a bias one solely from the perspective of the current regime. The Malay term is ‘darurat’ (Malayan Emergency), in fact I am staying very close to one ‘new village’ (新村) though it is now hardly a village. To discuss the sin of the colonial bastard is too numerous (磬竹难书), but I have to acknowledged that the recorded history from the British is a more comprehensive and less distorted even compare to our own. I think Ray elaborate well but to add on the recent development, there is more and more voice from all segment of society (not limited to Chinese as in the past) to recognize the role of leftist and communist in our struggle for independence, but generally it is still a taboo subject because like what mentioned by Ray, most MCP member were Chinese and thus many perceive the clash as not solely ideological but between two race, the native Malay versus Chinese, however I must state that I fully understand the sentiment as many Malay include the innocent one were killed by Communist during the Emergency period.

    Both link below provide some very thorough detail of ‘new village’ and ‘Malayan Emergency’



    And I am not that agree to Mark Curtis statement “The roots of the war lay in the failure of the British colonial authorities to guarantee the rights of the Chinese in Malaya,” I believe it is more likely a war to kick out the British.

  148. perspectivehere
    June 12th, 2012 at 13:22 | #148



    Thanks both for your comments. Your links are fascinating and it shows how little I know about this history. But then again, it seems that many of the facts of the “Malayan Emergency” have been covered up or obscured and are perhaps lost to history completely, as shown by these recent revelations:

    British role in the distortion of Malaysian history — Centre for Policy Initiatives

    “APRIL 20 — We are reproducing excerpts from two recent articles in The Guardian exposing attempts by the departing British government to cover up records of embarrassing state crimes carried out during the final years of its empire, including in colonial Malaya.

    The newspaper reports concern the discovery of sequestered records that have put the British colonial authorities in a scandalous and shameful light. These include records on the conduct of the war against the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), and the involvement of British troops and police in various atrocities and abuses, including the Batang Kali massacre.

    More interestingly, these revealing records acknowledge the nationalist and anti-colonial nature of the insurgency carried out by the MCP. Meanwhile other damning records had been purposely scrubbed or destroyed so that it might appear as if Her Majesty’s government had scrupulously kept her hands clean and ethical standards unsullied during the days when Britannia ruled the seas.

    The newly unearthed papers await the attention of a new generation of Malaysian scholars and researchers despite the shocking scale of the operation to purge the colonial files, and the extent of the British Foreign Office’s deliberate erasure of history.

    The Guardian a couple of days ago revealed how an official review found that “thousands of papers detailing shameful acts were culled, while others were kept secret illegally”.

    The newspaper reported the conclusion of an official review that thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments in 37 former British colonies.


    There is much to learn from these boxes of Top Secret files that have only now come to light due to the Kenyan lawsuit. The process of culling and purging the record practised in other colonies besides Kenya was one that deliberately sought to remove incriminating evidence.

    Here is a chance for Malaysians to sift through and determine what really happened in our recent history that has oft been the victim of official propaganda.”

    ******end quote**********************

    Although the MCP was defeated, I wonder to what extent the MCP insurgency helped Malaysia (and by extension, Singapore) achieve independence and the subsequent strong development of Malaysian and Singaporean economies and political systems?

    I.e., if there had been no MCP insurgency, would the British have put in policies to win support from the non-insurgent population? Would the British have granted independence so soon? Would they have cultivated a group of loyal local leaders?

    So rather than seeing the MCP insurgency as a futile action, that the MCP in a sense “won” (even if they lost of the battlefield) because their demands for Malaysian / Singaporean independence was met?

    I might be looking at it too simplistically, but that’s how it looks to me.

  149. June 12th, 2012 at 15:49 | #149


    You are right in your observation. Political leaders in both Malaysia and Singapore admitted that the CPM was a great help in achieving earlier independence. However, it is too simplistic to paint certain party as good or others as evil. Each political parties are propelled by its own perceived ideology.
    In Singapore and Malaysia the British actually want to cultivate a party that will continue to protect its trading interest after independence. In Singapore it is the Labour party headed by David Marshall. Nevertheless, when all adults were given the votes, the most influential party is the Socialist party headed by Lin Qing Xiang (a guy almost unknown to modern generation).

    Due to their fight against the Japanese and British the CPM (which also operate in Singapore) has great support among the Chinese community. When it was outlawed, their supporters switched their support to Socialist leaning parties. In the 1950s Malaya/Singapore, there is an interesting class schism between Chinese, namely the English educated (1/10) and Chinese educated (9/10). The former usually comes from better back ground and is very educated. Of the latter only about 10% are well off or educated.

    As the majority of voters in Singapore is Chinese, it is essential to get Chinese support by leaders who appeal to the grass root. Please bear in mind that in the 1950s to 1960s, only those Chinese who go to schools can speak mandarin. If you want to influence the voters you need to address rally in the local dialects, namely Minanese, Cantonese, Hakka or Hainanese etc. As they say all politics are local. Lee Kuan Yew and his English educated colleagues rely on their partnership with the socialist to gain support. But after gaining political power, he turned against them and arrested them using the draconian law left by the British.


    As they say, the rest is history. LKY was able to eventually form Singapore under the image wanted by the PAP leadership, minus the socialist. You can read LKY’s side of the story by his autobiography.
    It is obvious who the British prefer to leave the political powers to. In Malaya it is a coalition government formed by the 3 major ethnics group in Malaya at that time namely UMNO (Malay), MCA (Chinese), MIC (Indian). All three groups are initially dominated by English educated and speaking leaders. Malaya gained independence earliest in 1957 but defence and foreign were policy still controlled by the British. The coalition was able to win nearly all election.

    However, when Malaysia was formed after merging with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. The PAP came into the picture plus a myrid of smaller indigenous parties in Sabah, Sarawak. To complicate matters, Indonesia claimed a large part of the new Malaysia and a confrontation ensued.

    After eliminating all political opponents in Singapore, its chief minister Lee Kuan Yew, turned his attention to the mainland. By including Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak, ethnic Chinese outnumbered the ethnic Malay (like I have said there are also other indigenous groups like Dayak, Kadazan, Dusun, Orang Asli etc). But basically the main showdown is between the coalition and the PAP. LKY was a political genius, by 1960s his multi ethnic PAP was even able to defeat the UMNO in Singapore’s Malay majority areas.

    LKY sees the biggest hindrance to PAP domination in Malaysian politics in the voting system. Although now the majority, the ethnic Chinese are concentrated in high density cities. So in essence, 30,000 voters in the city get a parliamentary seat while 10,000 voters in the rural area also got one. Repeated negotiation between the coalition and PAP failed to bring any results. In the end, the Malaysian prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman kicked Singapore out of Malaysia! That’s the major story of Malaysia from 1950-1960s.

  150. Rhan
    June 12th, 2012 at 19:33 | #150


    I enclose some comments (1-7 below) from various blog written by local scholar on MCP and their insurgency, and how our local version of history twisted the CCP role on Malaysia affair (Chinese being the bogeyman) that create a fear that help to consolidate the native vote. To answer your question, I personally think MCP does have a role that contribute to our independence, but regardless how, it is clear that Malaysian rejected the communist ideology. The pertinent question today is do we truly achieve independence not merely in form, or we were still oppressed by another regime that is not much different from the colonial master? I think many Chinese (China) likewise may have the same question.

    1. Hardly a few years after it was founded – in 1927 – Chiang Kai-shek sacked and murdered the many of the Communists in Shanghai. The party had to go into hiding. In 1927, Mao Zedong led the Autumn Harvest Uprising in Hunan, which lead to a great slaughter of his peasant army. Some party members managed to set up secret cells in the cities, but Mao Zedong and Zhu De prefered to build up peasant resistance in the countryside. By 1931, Mao had set up his own government at rural Jiangsi where he experimented with land reform. There he built up his red army of poor peasants. But he’d no rest: Chiang Kai Shek, with the help of a German military adviser, started a war of attrition and forced thousands of Communists to begin their famous Long March – a trek of continuous war which took about a year, until the Communists reached Yan’an in Shanshi. This was around 1935. Almost immediately, the Party began to focus itself not only on survival from the Kuomintang forces, but also from the increasingly hostile Japanese invaders.

    In 1937, Mao managed to obtain a partial truce from Chiang Kai-shek in return for acknowledging Chiang’s authority (the role of the great Kuomintang patriot, “Young Marshal” Chang Hsueh Liang, who forced Chiang to agree to the truce, will be remembered one day by all the Chinese people). In 1945, when WW2 ended, the Communists talked about a joint government with Chiang, but Chiang wouldn’t accept it. The United States sent Marshall to act as an “honest broker” between the two sides, yet supplied Chiang with new arms and even ferried Kuomintang troops to the Northeast and other frontline areas. Dean Acheson, the then US Secretary of State, admitted that there was no greater army in Asia than that possessed by the Kuomintang, yet Chiang lost. Why? Because the Chinese PEOPLE had enough of Chiang, of a capitalist lackey who couldn’t even liberate Shanghai from the West (where we got the signs “Chinese and dogs not allowed”), who couldn’t even secure the Yangtze back for China. Yes, before October 1949, China couldn’t even control their own cities or their own rivers. The Chinese CUSTOM was handled by the British imperialists until around 1943, for God’s sake!!!

    So did the Communists have time to think of a foreign place like Malaya before 1949??? Even have supported a “grand design”??? Even when ALL THE TIME THEY WERE FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL??? WHEN CHINA ITSELF WAS PROSTRATE BEFORE WESTERN FORCES DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE CENTURY AND MASSACRED BY THE JAPANESE DURING THE WAR??? AND FOR 20 YEARS AFTER WW2 COULDN’T EVEN REPRESENT ITSELF IN THE UNITED NATIONS??? If we can believe that, we can also believe in WMD in Iraq, that the Iraqis had a nuclear weapon that could reach Western shores (as alleged). And a lot of other things besides.

    Now it’s possible, of course, that China did give moral support – and perhaps more – during the 60s and 70s, etc. And why not – when Tan Siew Sin participated in an anti-Communist conference in Taiwan during the 60s and said he would – hahaha! – take on Mao Zedong??? Like the MCP (and later Sukarno), Beijing did see our government as a tool of Britain and the West generally, at least until Razak moved the country to a more neutral position.

    It’s hard to rid ourselves of all the stuff we’d swallowed for years, so I don’t think you would change your mind. Worse, info has always been controlled by the West, more so today than ever. There’s also something called the Stockholm Syndrome – I believe that this mental phenomenon works not only with individuals, but collectively as well. Thus we often forget how we were colonized, and begin to side or even love our former oppressors. But no matter what, I will always regard you, a fellow Malaysian, as a brother.

    2. While the Japanese did leave the country at the end of WW2, this was not true of the British whose armed forces remained even after Merdeka (Independence). And the British had to continue fighting because they wouldn’t give up Malaya in 1945 – tin and rubber were valuable commodities, especially to a Britain that was bled white by WW2. And since British forces were still roaming around the country after 1957, it was not surprising that the MCP would carry on the fight. Remember that British forces DID NOT leave Malaysia and Singapore till the 70s, which naturally contributed to the MCP’s perception that what we had wasn’t real independence. This too was the view of Indonesian president Sukarno, who made implied that the Tunku was beholden to his “Aunt Elizabeth.”

    3. The Communists organized themselves when striking estate and tin mine workers were bombed – and napalmed – by the British. That was pre-1950, before the Communists in China miraculously defeated Chiang Kai-shek. So the Malayan Communist Party’s resistance was a local phenomenon, despite Vietnamese help in its founding (as directed by Moscow’s Comintern). During the 60s much of SEA was under the US-led SEATO, formed ostentiously to oppose China, so it would be ridiculous for China not to support the Communist parties of the region. Malaysia didn’t join SEATO, but her foreign policies had always been pro-Western and anti-China (Tan Siew Sin was sent to attend the meeting of the Anti-Communist League in Taiwan, where he declared his opposition to Beijing). It was after May 13 1969 race riot, when Malaysia found itself criticized by the West (who liked the very pro-Western first PM Tunku), that Razak (2nd PM) decided to go to Beijing. In doing so, Razak managed to play off China against the West – one of the successful diplomatic games conducted by UMNO.

    4. The rebellion of the Indian soldiers did play a role in subsequent British decolonization of her colonies, most of all India itself. Moreover, resurgent India was too big to be ruled a Britain impoverished by two World Wars. Further, the anti-colonial zeitgeist was everywhere in Asia since Sun Yat-sen and Jose Rizal started their struggles against Western imperialism. Still, Britain still wanted to control resource-rich but sparsely-populated colonies such as Malaysia. If it couldn’t do that, then the next best thing was to put in place governments that could act to their tune, just as the Americans tried to do in Vietnam, and today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    5. FDR was indeed a people’s president, and he really wanted a free world. However, those who followed him had, all along, other ideas – the receding of the Western colonial masters would merely create a vacumn for American power. As Douglas MacArthur said immediately after WW2, “the Pacific Ocean is now an Anglo-Saxon lake.”

    6. Chin Peng continued fighting after 1957 because he (and other Asian leaders such as Sukarno) didn’t see Malaya as truly independent. Malaya’s foreign policy continued to follow her former British master’s footsteps, and her development was largely in accordance with the British blueprint. Another reason was that, far from getting tired of her colonies, Britain was getting ready to recolonize them. That was not what Chin Peng and the Anti-Japanese resistance were fighting for. And when bombs and aircraft fire were directed on striking plantation workers and tin-miners, the Communist Party resolved to hit back in the only way they could – guerrila warfare.

    7. What the British did wasn’t too different from that of most colonial masters. When they couldn’t handle the situation they would set up a government to fight on their behalf. Thus the French wanted Bao Dai to take over Vietnam, and recently the US used the Shite government to help control Iraq. In Afghanistan, it’s Karzai. Some people may consider such governments to be legitimate. Many others don’t. I know of Indians who even see Gandhi as a British proxy, an alternative to the violent revolution that would’ve occurred had the British not left India. And the writer is naive to think that, after India, independence was handed on a platter to British colonies in Asia and Africa. The torture and massacre of the Mau Maus of Kenya, for example, has been well-documented, most recently by authors such as Mike Davies (“Late Victorian Holocausts”) and Caroline Elkins (“Britain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya”).

  151. Rhan
    June 12th, 2012 at 20:41 | #151


    We always remember that Japanese translator and closing the Nantah great Singapore statesman LKY.


  152. perspectivehere
    June 13th, 2012 at 10:52 | #152



    Thank you for your comments and links – these are very informative, and a continuing lesson that these points of history are still very much under debate.

    To bring this discussion back to criticism of news interviewers, William Safire conducted a very ‘in-your-face’ interview with Lee Kuan Yew in 1999. LKY ran circles around his questions. See transcript here and Safire’s provocatively titled piece in the New York Times, “The dictator speaks. A chat with Lee Kuan Yew”, is here.

    The opinions LKY expresses on China are thoughtful and insightful, while Safire sounds merely petulant and combative.

    To bring this conversation about Malaysia / Singapore and LKY back to the original topic of this post – the public smackdown

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.