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Q&A with a Russian friend (see download links or attached PDF)

PDF attachment: Q&A with a Russian Friend

Sometimes it is helpful for the Hidden Harmonies audience to remember that China is not alone in being demonized by the mainstream western (primarily US) media. Any country that doesn’t “fit” neatly into the US “liberal-democratic” ideological dogma will naturally be painted as some kind of morally degenerate rogue state out to undermine “good” and “normal” countries. In fact, recently, no country is more demonized than Russia (not even the PRC).

That said, one of the major problems I see is that while we may recognize that we’re not alone, due to potential language/cultural barriers, lack of awareness, our Sino-centric mindset/attention span, and a host of other possible reasons, we often do not truly understand the perspectives of others (e.g. Russians) who are demonized. This is especially the case if our primary source of information about these other countries is the western media. I hope the contributors at Hidden Harmonies can begin to fix this problem, and I’ve taken a small step to start.

I have been visiting the site of and collaborating with “The Saker“, a Russian blogger devoted to countering the mainstream western narrative on Russia. “The Vineyard of the Saker” draws thousands of viewers daily at the English site alone, as well numerous volunteers (translators in multiple languages, guest writers, interviews with prominent analysts, etc.), and has inspired the emergence of other alternative media outlets, such as Russia Insider.

I’ve contributed a few commentaries on “The Vineyard of the Saker”, because I want to share a Chinese perspective beyond the Hidden Harmonies audience, and because I suspect the audience of these other alternative media outlets might have the same problem we do, given their primary source of information about China likely comes from the mainstream western media. The latest piece I worked on with the Saker is a Q&A (see download links below), where we each ask the other person intentionally hostile questions, based on western media narratives about both China and Russia. The obviously biased questions in this Q&A do NOT reflect our personal opinions, but rather the typical mainstream western portrayals of our respective countries to each other. The objective here is to stop viewing each other through western lenses (which only creates barriers and confusion), and start communicating with each other directly.

In addition to the PDF attachment at the top, here are all the links from which you & your friends can download this Q&A. I encourage you to take a look, share with friends, and also reach out to other alternative media outlets that share perspectives from other countries – be it Iran, Syria, Venezuela, India, Thailand, etc, so that we can begin to broaden our horizons and that of our audience.

Final note: the Chinese translation has room for improvement, but not a bad start. 😉

  1. September 28th, 2015 at 18:12 | #1

    This is awesome. I need time to digest. One thing I disagree with you both, the perspective of the questions are not Western propaganda in the sense that they exist only in the West, or were created in the West and later exported to Russia and/or China. They are legitimate questions harbored by nationalists of both nations.

    The West will try to divide Russia and China … yes … but to say that these issues are Western-born … I think is to give the West too much credit. Russia and China has had a complicated history. China does have legitimate grudges. To the extent China has legitimate grudges, Russia does have legitimate fears.

    Russia also did participate in the industrial revolution to an extent China never did … so was a imperial power. There are many differences in our respective experiences that we should not whitewash.

    I will write a response within a week…

    But that Saker blog, yes, it rocks! It’s smart, insightful, and often (very often) just right about things!

  2. September 30th, 2015 at 21:50 | #2

    Russia is China’s most important neighbor. Although political and military cooperation is now pretty good, it pale in the trade and cultural exchange between US and China. Both govn’t can step up social engagement by offering more scholarship to students of each other’s country.

    In Russia, and in China, there’s a small but very powerful group who loves to parrot the line of the US. In their view, the West is the epitome of human development much like Fukuyama’s earlier belief. As long as China and Russia is still behind in economic development, it will give lots of incentive to these fifth column to spread rumor within the countries.

    I have the same opinion that the so-called 6.4 incident happened 3 times a year in the US but everybody in the MSM pretend it was all well and dandy.

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