Two Links

I am still sniffing and sneezing so no blogging today. But I’d like to pass along two interesting articles by Brendan O’Neill, a British commentator. Both are on topics highly relevant to the recent events and discussions.

Invasion of the Robotic Thugs. — The attacks on the ‘horrible, ominous, retarded’ Chinese men guarding the Olympic flame are historical prejudice repeated as farce.

Slitty eyes and buck teeth? It must be China — In its rush to denounce Chinese militarism and pollution, is the British Free Tibet Campaign disseminating dubious stereotypes of Chinese people?

Comments (6)

  1. non-sense

    Thank you for the links.

    I am disillusioned by this event. It shows me how other people think of Chinese.

  2. Long Time Reader
  3. littlenorth

    I read the piece. I actually tried really hard to like it because I agree with its ultimate conclusion–that street demonstration under the current Chinese system will not solve pressing problems and can only lead to social instability and national embarrassment, something we don’t need at this moment in history. This is regardless of whether the demonstration is fueled by spontaneous nationalism or by a zeal for instant democracy.

    But I find it repulsive. It is a piece of gross simplification; it so grossly simplified that it starts out by categorically calling the demonstration a reaction to having “lost face.”

    But it’s so not about losing face, my friend; it’s about losing faith. If we once had false hopes that the Westerners, regardless of how ruthless they can be in criticizing our government, had a noble motive of helping the common Chinese, now that false hope is shattered. The West, as it turns out, is not only hostile to the government; they don’t like us, the people (e.g., the two articles above, for two obvious examples). They are not sympathetic to us when the Olympics is taken hostage in the name of human rights but at the expense of denying millions of Chinese their hard-earned right to hosting and witnessing a trouble-free world event at home–a once-in-a-lifetime event for many of us. If in the name of human rights the West are willing to selectively sacrifice something that the majority of Chinese–and in fact much of the civilized world–hold dear yet be oblivious to or even abet the violent behavior of the torch snatchers and feed off of the frenzy they caused, can it really be said that we are upset because we “lost face?”

    No, it’s because we lost faith–the faith that the developed world is somehow on a higher moral plane than us, more civil than us, and can be counted on when we desperately need their helping hand. It turns out that it was an uneven hand at best, and a slapping hand at worst.

    On a lighter note, I was going to say that the piece is far less intellectually stimulating than the two articles linked above. It mainly employs sarcasm that isn’t even remotely witty and statements that can only be described as preachy. Eye-catching, yes; thought-provoking, no. But then I realized that might just because I am a sucker for footnotes and the O’Neill articles had plenty of them, so that was that.

  4. T14JDwannabe

    Thank you for such post; I have exactly the same feeling as you have, little north.

    Before I came to the U.S., I, like many naive Chinese students, is a idealist, believing that only Western countries can save China from corruption, etc. In fact, I believe that is the only solution.

    Now, I understood that an economy in transition need much more delicate approach than an oversimplified ideology.

    I also came to realize that how little has changed since the passage of “Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.”

    Littlenorth, thank you for your insights. By the way, I also find two interesting articles from Guardian that offers different favors than most other articles on the web.



  5. littlenorth

    Thanks, @T14JDwannabe, and my best wishes for your (apparent) personal pursuit.

    Since we are referring articles that we like, here’s a piece in NYT, written by Patrick French, a former director of FTC in London. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/22/opinion/22french.html I came across this article only recently and it most accurately describes how I think the Tibet issue, realistically, should be viewed.

  6. Long Time Reader

    We liked the Chinese article for different reasons. The “lost face” part, is convincing to me as a reason for most of the domestic anger (they never had faith in west from the beginning), but I agree with you that to overseas young Chinese, it’s more about lost of faith in the west. But maybe we shouldn’t have had that faith in the first place. We need not, and cannot count on others to save us. But that does not stop us from having faith in the good values and principals on which the western civilization is built, and use them as guidance to fight for our own better life.

    I have no doubt about the westerner’s bias, I feel it everyday here, in different ways. But I do not hate them, because I know where there is people, there is bias. Honestly, I know I had, and often still have, the same kind of bias to others, those I don’t know, those I look down upon because they ain’t like me. One of my best college friend, very kind, very intelligent girl, told me she dislikes westerners now, because “they look down upon us, like we are those the backward African black people…” I reminded her that by saying that, she was looking down upon black people too. She said “oops sorry, I didn’t realize that, but you know, it’s hard to change perceptions.” But I am sure that did not completely reshaped her perception toward African people.

    I can see why many young Chinese are shocked and angry to find out that the western people who are polite and nice to us everyday could be so biased toward us at such critical moment when we desperately need their understanding and respect. Maybe it’s because many of us didn’t realize that when we judge other people, we are also judged by others, the difference is that Americans usually do not say it out in your face because of the “political correctness”. You can be sure that many of the polite American people you think like you may actually have a different judgment of you in their heart. Here is an interesting article about how the seemingly polite and welcoming HK people see domestic Chinese in their heart. http://news.xinhuanet.com/gangao/2008-04/23/content_8034375.htm.

    Perhaps it was because I felt the pain of being discriminated, I have learned not to do the same to others to the extent I can; and show my sympathy to those suffering the same. I know that I have changed many bias from both myself and others, not by anger, but through personal communication and mutual understanding; and for those I could not change, I have learned to live with them, as long as they do not come into my face.

    Some useful tips:



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