Nostalic longing for the good old days of Chairman Mao

Striving to balance out the barrage of anti-Mao posts marking the Great Helmsman’s birthday, ESWN translates an article that explores why so many in China look back to Mao with nostalgic admiration.

Of course, I can easily understand this phenomenon. Mao did a decent job of keeping corruption in check (not too difficult when you have totalitarian powers), gave the peasants free medical care and at least conveyed an appearance of caring for the underprivileged.

Someone said that in the Mao era, people lived in relative poverty. However, the social order and security situations were extraordinarily good. Everything was simple and people lived in a relaxed fashion. Nowadays, things are more complicated. People feel bored and oppressed. A counter-argument was that since everybody was so poor back then, there was nothing to steal or rob. “Sameness” was obviously a characteristic of that era, but the severe inequality of wealth today has affected social stability in China.

Actually, no matter how people argue about the pros and cons of the person Mao Zedong or the era of Mao Zedong, the fact is that Mao has returned to Chinese society, whether it is on the altar of a peasant home or by the city taxi driver’s seat. Mao images proliferate among the people. Yet, there is a difference. In Mao’s era, we treated him as the Absolute God. Later on, we determined that he was a person who could make mistakes. Today people are looking at Mao as a god who could provide peace and security.

Needless to say, I find this nostalgia rather misplaced. For all of his pretentious talk glorifying the peasantry, we need to remember that one of the first things Mao did was move into Zhongnanhai, where he proceeded to enrich himself and his henchmen. (Funny, how these Marxists so enamored of notions of being at one with the lower classes always seem to move into the palaces of the corrupt imperialist oppressors they replaced, quickly taking on all the trappings of the old despised enemies.) And of course, we all know how the farmers and peasants benefitted from the Great Leap Forward.

I won’t go on about Mao’s sins, which we all know too well. Creating a sense of peace and security is great, but this was matched and overwhelmed by the massive and needless suffering Mao thrust on his helpless people. If anyone in China today truly looks to mass-murdering Mao as “a god who could provide peace and security,” they do so either from ignorance, stupidity or blindness.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 133 Comments

Sorry for the tangential point, but when you say he “gave the peasants free medical care” are you referring to the so-called barefoot doctors? From what I understand of their skills, that could hardly be called medical care.

December 28, 2005 @ 8:39 pm | Comment

I’ve read varying acounts of the barefoot doctors. True, they weren’t Harvard-trained, but from what i read they did perform a great service to the poor. And they’re certainly a lot better than what the peasantry has now in terms of healthcare, i.e., nothing.

December 28, 2005 @ 9:11 pm | Comment

I’m rather glad that at the end they decided to move into Zhongnanhai. It could be worse, some communist leaders wanted to raze the entire Forbidden City (including Zhongnanhai), and build modern offices there. The final decision to preserve at least some part of the old Beijing shows unusual civility from the Communists.

The architect Liang Sicheng tried to convince the leadership to put the government at Gongzhufen area (far west of Beijing) but communists turn down the plan, appearantly they didn’t like the idea they’re not the center of everything.

December 28, 2005 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

I don’t who have done well for China for the past 200 years. The Eight-Nation league, the Japanese occupiers? China today is Asia’s largest economy and world’s 7th largest economy in terms of GDP. China is the only 3 nations who can put men into space. China leaders are being respected and given red carpets everywhere they go (Paris, London, Washington, even Iran). US and Japan are now quickening their pace of military alliance because they are genuinely worried about China’s expanding influence in Asia, etc etc. In 1949, China was nobody in the world. No industries, no real military, no international influence, no one cares about you. Chinese immigrants to the US were “coolies”, and “yellows”, and being sniggerd everywhere. Now, when I say I’m from China, people’s general reaction is, “China, such a fast rising nation.”

Now you can say “This is DESPITE Mao!”. You can say “So what! It will collapse soon. It’s all a bubble”. etc etc. Well I don’t care what your “reasoning” is. The simple fact, Mao established today’s China, and China went on to become what she is today (better than any period in its recent tumultuous 200 years of history, can you deny that?). If Mao is really such a mass murdering and did no good for China, how did China end up where it is today? According to your logic, wouldn’t China be as backward and as demolished as Africa? Clearly, the facts don’t match your descriptions.

Also, Merry Christmas to you and your family.

December 28, 2005 @ 10:19 pm | Comment

No one has ever done particularly well for China, not for 200 years.

Considering it’s the most populous and one of the most civilised nations on earth isn’t it rather depressing that only now is it only the 7th in terms of GDP?

And what about per capita earnings? Where’s all this new money going?

Certainly not to the people…

It’s partially going on utter wastes of time like the space race, which in the US and USSR was also an utter waste of time and money, merely a bit of masturbatory realpolitik.

The only thing that Mao really did was to be sufficiently cruel and authoritarian and crafty as to bring unity to a fragmented country – no mean task considering the mess that the Qing had left it in and the horrors of the first half of the 20th century.

This stability was certainly a bedrock for current successes, but I think we can thank the more reasonable friends-of-Deng for China’s new ascendancy.

Mao’s economic prowess, after all, can be measured by the success of the great leap forward and the five year plans.

December 28, 2005 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

HongXing,
Maybe china is the No.7 biggest economic body in this world in terms of GDP, but you forgot that the average net income for chinese is still on the very very lower position; and much of them are still struggling for survive!
Maybe china is the only 3 nations could send men to space, but china still could not produce an entire car or one PC by themselves;
Maybe china leaders are being given “RED CARPET” when they visit Paris, but in this world there are less than 10 countries give the free-of-visa treatment to common chinese;
Look back to history, you will find almost all of economic achivements was made by Deng, not by Mao. what Mao left to Deng, is the so-called “industry basis”, all of them were locating in Northern-easter china. let’s us take a closer look on this so-called “industry basis”, you will find that most of them were established by Japanese Occupation Army(like Taiwan, Japanese intruder left many factories after they were defeated), not by Mao.
you said in 1949 there was no industries in china. now i can tell you directly, ” you are wrong”. please think about why there was so many “King of industry”, “king of cotton”, “king of garment” existed before 1949? for example, Rong YiRen(former vice chairman of china, known as RED CAPTALIST);

base on so many evidence, i have to say, you, HongXing, are only an idiot

December 28, 2005 @ 10:47 pm | Comment

Jeffrey, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

December 28, 2005 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

When Mao Zedong reigns power, CCP was almost at the point of being exterminated by KMT who was arms-supplied and financed by the American. He turned the table around upon gaining moral ground.

By the time he took control of the great continental China, the land was in utter mess. KMT emptied the national treasury and brought the national wealth to Taiwan island. They destroyed bridges and many strategic installations. They also left behind some 3 millions troublemakers to carry on insurgency, spies and indoctrinations. Under such a circumstances, China, under the leadership of Mao grows.

From 1949 onwards, foreigners dare not whack the children of the Yellow Emperor anymore.

It is this spirit that merits him a national hero.

Of course, the man is not all great in every aspect in all his undertakings. For one, he does not know ‘productivity’.

However, had he managed to scrape through the Great Leap Forward, China would have long been an industrial powerhouse. Unfortunately, he managed badly. To say that he murdered the people shows a severe lack of understanding on the issue. The people pledges support to his policy by voluntary participation in schools, workplaces and living areas. We see mass production everywhere. That alone shatters the claims, mostly convoluted/twisted by western establishments that he intently murders the people.

He loved his country, his people. However, that alone could not effectively advance his people forward. He lacks knowledge in the fields of productivity, economy, science…etc. His dictatorship was a mistake and Gongcandang has since improved. This is part of the learning process. After much trials and errors, the party has grown in maturity as witnessed today. Mao laid the foundation for all these to be possible. He lead his party, his people and his country to freedom. Without him, the Communism that holds the people together would not have existed. Perhaps, the China we see today would be a disintegrated one.

December 28, 2005 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

what Mao left to Deng, is not a asset, but a burden. the factories Mao left, was the burden to modern china. one by one have to go to bankruptcy; Mao used the “scissors Gap policy” to exploit farmers and benefit those inefficient industries.

don’t compare with our ancestors. history is not standstill. you should compare with our neighbors, not with our ancestors lived in 200 years ago.
compare, in a horizone view, not in vertical view, ok?
i am ashamed of you guys comparing with your ancestors.

December 28, 2005 @ 11:00 pm | Comment

I don’t quite agree with the statement about “keeping corruption in check.” Personally, I think that this is a myth, much like “the CCP did most of the fighting against the Japanese,” lies that have been repeated so much that they have become truths. Obviously, compared to nowadays, corruption was much more in check. But corruption, particularly in the form of special privileges, has been present throughout the history of the PRC. One interesting source for a description of corruption during these years is Liu Binyan’s “People or Monsters?”

December 28, 2005 @ 11:02 pm | Comment

Considering it’s the most populous and one of the most civilised nations on earth isn’t it rather depressing that only now is it only the 7th in terms of GDP?

And what about per capita earnings? Where’s all this new money going?

It sounds as if you are naive that the new China started from ground zero to the fastest growing economy on earth today. We have 1.3 billion people who must start from scratch, not a few million like yours. Are you on earth?

Even by the CIA’s own estimate, China’s economy is #2 in the world considering PPP. What number is your country?

It’s partially going on utter wastes of time like the space race, which in the US and USSR was also an utter waste of time and money, merely a bit of masturbatory realpolitik.

If the usa and Russia can “waste” money on space explorations, why not China. LOL. Jealous?

China is blessed with many significant leaders. Mao Zedong and Deng Xiao Ping both fought against the KMT (supported by WARshington) and won handsomely. Mao defeated General MacArthur and Truman in North Korea, thus providing China with a secured environment to develope. Defeating the armies of the #1 military with a number of following clown nations was a brilliant endeaver no other nations on earth was capable of.

Mao Zedong is a brilliant self-taught military strategist, a great politician. However, he proved that he was no economist. But then China was fortunate that Deng Xiao Ping proved to be a smart economic strategist.

The Chinese nation has stood up and moving world politics and economy. Only a fool would deny this fact.

December 28, 2005 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

China_hand,
you should not give so many remarks like “he love this country”…you are not him, how come does you know this man really love china? don’t use such flowery words to describe one politician. we judge one politician, not based on such flowery boast, but on REALITY and statistics. which statistics i can show you are:
1>. more than 30 millions of chinese were killed under his goverance;
2>. more than 20 years of standstill(worse, destroy) in economy & society development(think about it, this guy had reigned this country for 30 years, more than 20 years, golden development era for our asian neighbors was wasted by him)

December 28, 2005 @ 11:10 pm | Comment

I never said “love his country”, check your memory.

1) more than 30 millions of chinese were killed under his goverance;

30 million is a number Western journalists dream up, a wild guess, typically they do.

2) more than 20 years of standstill(worse, destroy) in economy & society development(think about it, this guy had reigned this country for 30 years, more than 20 years, golden development era for our asian neighbors was wasted by him)

20-years of standstill economy? Yes, after Mao Zedong beat the **** out of General MacAurther in Korea, Truman fire MacArthur and imposed embargo on China. That embargo lasted 22 years until Richard Nixon crawled to Shanghai to ask Mao Zedong to help him ease out of Vietnam without a total collapse. The embargo hurt China’s economy, no question about it, an act of hostility.

December 28, 2005 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

for the part of Anti-Japanese Invasion, i also would like tell u guys my opinions.

Please go back your home and find your history textbook which published by CCP. in this history book ,you will find:
1> three biggest battles which CCP fought with Japanese are:
1.1> Battle of Yan Men Guan: killed only 120 japanese;
1.2> Battle of Ping Xing Guan: killed 800 japanese;
1.3> Battle of 100 troops(led by Peng De Huai), killed 20 thousands japanese and its alliance;
2> three biggest battle which CCP fought with KMT(less than 3 years after Japan surrender)
2.1>Battle of Liao Shen: killed more than 470 thousands of KMT soldiers;
2.2>Battle of Ping Jin: killed more than 520 thousands of KMT;
2.3>Battle of Huai Hai: killed more than 550 thousands of KMT;

Please give me one reason, why CCP is so brave when they fought with KMT? why they are so weak when they fought with japanese?

December 28, 2005 @ 11:26 pm | Comment

30 million is a number Western journalists dream up, a wild guess, typically they do.
———————————————
No. please check following links for the science paper which finished by one respectable historician professor from ShangHai Jiao Tung university:

http://www.usc.cuhk.edu.hk/wk_wzdetails.asp?id=4016

This paper was published in “China Population Science” magazine. i would like you take a view.. this article is from one historician’s view, not from politiican’s view.

December 28, 2005 @ 11:32 pm | Comment

it’s an illogical view that you think the responsibility of “standstill enconomy” is on US, not china’s leader. without US help, you most intellect chinese could not develop your own economy ya?
in CCP’s theory, communist’s main mission is to eliminate all of the imperialists, so why should those imperialists be friendly to you communists?

December 28, 2005 @ 11:37 pm | Comment

Please give me one reason, why CCP is so brave when they fought with KMT? why they are so weak when they fought with japanese?

The CPC was poorly equipped in the beginning. Fighting the Japs was difficult with poor weaponry, of course.

But the Red Army grew stronger over time. In fighting the KMT army that was armed with weaponry from the US, the Red Army grew stronger with weaponry captured from the KMT army and from defecting KMT troops. It was a people’s war, you know, that the entire poor population rose up to fight. That is the greatness of Mao Zedong who inspired the people and encouraged their bravery. (Hey, wish you can be brave in Iraq. LOL)

December 28, 2005 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

China Hand is a scary guy.

Literally nothing that he says is true. Mao didn;t “beat the shit” out of MacArthur. he outnumbered him, for sure, but a quick glance at the casualties shows who suffered far worse. A standoff isn’t the same as beating the shit out of the enemy. North Korea had to retreat and didn’t gain an inch. So they were the ones who were beaten, since they started the invasion. But we all know arguing with “China Hand” and math won’t get us anywhere. They’re paid liars.

December 28, 2005 @ 11:44 pm | Comment

“Mao did a decent job of keeping corruption in check (not too difficult when you have totalitarian powers), ”

i don’t think totalitarian power is the solution to corruption.
for Mao (and perhaps in USSR as well), it was uselessness of money. you need various stamps to buy stuff.
e.g. the butcher was as powerful as the doctors, because they can sell you more meat for the same meat stamp.

as for the correct recipe against corruption, look at scandinavia and singapore.

December 28, 2005 @ 11:44 pm | Comment

it’s an illogical view that you think the responsibility of “standstill enconomy” is on US, not china’s leader. without US help, you most intellect chinese could not develop your own economy ya?
in CCP’s theory, communist’s main mission is to eliminate all of the imperialists, so why should those imperialists be friendly to you communists?

Your american “help” is in fact fear of China’s rise and your ass getting kicked out of Asia. “Help” is just your self-serving word to fool yourself.

December 28, 2005 @ 11:48 pm | Comment

Sun Bin, agreed.

China Hand is our new Math.

December 28, 2005 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

Literally nothing that he says is true. Mao didn;t “beat the shit” out of MacArthur. he outnumbered him, for sure, but a quick glance at the casualties shows who suffered far worse. A standoff isn’t the same as beating the shit out of the enemy. North Korea had to retreat and didn’t gain an inch. So they were the ones who were beaten, since they started the invasion. But we all know arguing with “China Hand” and math won’t get us anywhere. They’re paid liars.

Well, you want to deny your shame of defeat. MacArthur had to roll down from the Yalu River back to the 38th Parallel where he started. Which way was his ass facing when he rolled back?

Then in Vienam, China didn’t even have to do much. The Viet Cong in their pajamas was enough for you honkeys.

December 28, 2005 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

i don’t think totalitarian power is the solution to corruption.
for Mao (and perhaps in USSR as well), it was uselessness of money. you need various stamps to buy stuff.
e.g. the butcher was as powerful as the doctors, because they can sell you more meat for the same meat stamp.

as for the correct recipe against corruption, look at scandinavia and singapore.

Agree to most of the above points.

December 28, 2005 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

however, the threat of political persecution, and mobilization of the ‘mob’, do keep the officials in check (of corruption).

December 28, 2005 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

“honkeys”?!

Wow.

December 29, 2005 @ 12:01 am | Comment

The CPC was poorly equipped in the beginning. Fighting the Japs was difficult with poor weaponry, of course.
———————————————-
You are too naive.. really.

Ok, i can give you some hints to show you what Mao really thoughts in the period of anti-Jap.
please find documents about “Meeting in LuShan”. which Mao condemned Peng De Hwai for Pen was initializing the “Battle of 100 troops”. this battle , Mao said, “let KMT knows our real military strength.”.
Mao also said “we should preserve our strength in this Anti-Jap war. let CHian to fight with Jap alone. we can pretend fighting with Jap. ten percent of our strenght to fight with Jap, and remainders fights with KMT”.
please see those relative documents about “meetings of LuShan”.

December 29, 2005 @ 12:03 am | Comment

Who launched the war, and who was driven back? I always thought it was North Korea…. True, it ended in a stalemate, but that’s not justification for sayig MacA. “got the shit beat out of him.” If it is, what about the North koreans? Do you see them as glorious victors?

But please, don’t answer. Just go away, alright? Please?

December 29, 2005 @ 12:03 am | Comment

Ok, i can give you some hints to show you what Mao really thoughts in the period of anti-Jap.
please find documents about “Meeting in LuShan”. which Mao condemned Peng De Hwai for Pen was initializing the “Battle of 100 troops”. this battle , Mao said, “let KMT knows our real military strength.”.
Mao also said “we should preserve our strength in this Anti-Jap war. let CHian to fight with Jap alone. we can pretend fighting with Jap. ten percent of our strenght to fight with Jap, and remainders fights with KMT”.
please see those relative documents about “meetings of LuShan”

Not too familiar with those “documents”, where can I get them? The US Library of Congress under the “China is Bad” section?

December 29, 2005 @ 12:17 am | Comment

Your accusation is that Mao Zedong didn’t fight the Japs. That’s falsification.

You ought to read the four-volume book on Chinese military history, if you know enough Chinese.

December 29, 2005 @ 12:19 am | Comment

actually i do think our chinese did a sin upon North Korean. we sacrificed so many youth to protect whom? protect North Korean and prevent N.Korean from being rapped by US soldier? the answer is NO. comparing to South Korean, i regrettly say that we are the devil push N.Korean to hell.

December 29, 2005 @ 12:29 am | Comment

Ok, anyway, I’m going to bed for the night. Maybe we can continue tomorrow or something.

December 29, 2005 @ 12:34 am | Comment

Not too familiar with those “documents”, where can I get them? The US Library of Congress under the “China is Bad” section?
———————a————————–
Ok, i can give you one more clear hints.

in the page of 186,Minutes of LuShan, you can find Mao’s real thoughts on Jap Invasion.

he also said following:
Some comrades had thought that the smallest land Jap take, the better future we have. untill recently, we could make a consensus, that is , it’s a patriotic action to let Jap take more land! otherwise we are loving Chian’s nation. a nation is in one nation. Chian, us, Jap, one game of three players.

I don’t know how to translate Mao’s remarks to english exactly. you guys know Mao’s remarks are often hard to translate. but i recommend you guy to read the page of 186 in Minutes of LuoShan. this is an official minutes, not US document.

December 29, 2005 @ 12:41 am | Comment

Actually before I go:

Who launched the war, and who was driven back? I always thought it was North Korea…. True, it ended in a stalemate, but that’s not justification for sayig MacA. “got the shit beat out of him.” If it is, what about the North koreans? Do you see them as glorious victors?

The feud between north and south Koreans was their business in the first place. Why did the American warmonger jump in and finally got kicked out? In hind sight, it was foolish. Truman was dumb. MacArthur was turned from a war hero into a war dog. LOL

For the North Koreans, it is true they did not achieve their intended wish. But for the Chinese, we have achieved what we wanted.

As for the Yankees, they failed pathetically in invading China and for trying to occupy North Korea. That’s double failures for them.

American troops were so beaten up that they didn’t want to erect a Korean war memorial for decades until a few years ago. It was pain. Pain. Pain. Do you want a tissue?

December 29, 2005 @ 12:42 am | Comment

anyway, china-hand, nice dream.
we are discussing, disputing, and anyway, you are my compatriot.
see u next day.
truth is coming up after debating.

December 29, 2005 @ 12:49 am | Comment

Hey, when did the Yankees invade China? Did I miss something?

Damn Yankees. They’re ruining baseball.

December 29, 2005 @ 1:04 am | Comment

Obviously this China_hand guy is unhinged to think the US lost the Korean War to China. You can make an arguement that the US did not win the war but they sure didn’t lose it either.

The Chinese were the last ones on the retreat during the war because they had driven the 8th Army with their overwhelming numbers south of the 38th parrallel towards present day Osan. That is as far as the Chinese got before General Ridgeway took over got more soldiers in Korea and launched an offensive the ultimately pushed the Chinese well past the 38th parrellel and to the present day DMZ.

The offensive only stopped due to heavy casualties that was causing the US public to become critical of the war. Plus the Soviets had tested a nuclear weapon and the big fear in Washington was nuclear war with Russia if both the North Koreans and Chinese were defeated and the Soviets had to jump in to defend their communist allies.

The armistice talks and the present day DMZ served everyone’s interests and has actually maintained peace in Northeast asia for the last 55 years unfortunately at the expense of the Korean people.

On a side note what you said about the communists moving into the palaces in China was also something that really bothered me about the conduct of US Generals in Iraq. The generals all moved into Saddam’s palaces while combat units moved into abandoned army bases. I always thought it was a bad move for these generals to take over Saddam’s palaces because then they are creating the image that they are the new dictators in town. Many Iraqis told me the same thing that it was disgraceful to them to see a foreigner in Iraq acting like the new King in town. Iraqis didn’t have a problem with soldiers on the military bases but inside the palaces was a slap in the face.

These generals have since learned their lesson because now they have turned over the palaces to the Iraqi government and moved onto the military bases with the rest of the soldiers instead. Yet it was initially a very poor decision for someone who is supposed to be promoting a new way life for the Iraqis to do.

December 29, 2005 @ 8:32 am | Comment

I get the feeling that you guys are criticizing the CCP in order to offer constructive suggestions.

The discussion of democracy is important. But it should not be used as a club to hit the CCP or demonize China. And certainly, democracy should not be used as a smoke screen for America or other foreigners to dominate China through the installation of moles and lackeys.

On the other hand, patriotic Chinese should understand that Chinese philosophers such as Mencius and even earlier philosophers had come very close to espousing democracy. And China as a nation belongs to the Chinese people as a whole and not to any small group of people who can dominaate China through the use of force.

December 29, 2005 @ 12:24 pm | Comment

The first sentence should be:

I DO NOT get the feeling that you guys are criticizing the CCP in order to offer constructive suggestions.

December 29, 2005 @ 12:25 pm | Comment

On the Korean war, there is no clear winner from the militarily standpoint; but from the morale standpoint, China is clearly the winner and US the loser. Before the founding of PRC, few people repected the China armies, let alone the number one Americans. But Mao’s army pushed the US-led coalition all the way from the border to the 3-8 parallel line. It was a huge morale boost for China.

On Mao, I know many people here like to call him the biggest killer. No matter how angry you guys are on Mao and no matter what you want to call him; you can not change the fact how most Chinese view him and that’s important and it counts.

December 29, 2005 @ 12:43 pm | Comment

xing, you gotta be careful. Some people here will jump like a mad dog and attack anyone who does not call Mao a mass murdering monster.

December 29, 2005 @ 1:15 pm | Comment

Hey China Hand, care to make a comment that isn’t predicated upon the belief that Westerners are always trying to conquer China? Still got that Middle Kingdom complex, huh? Guess what, you’re not the center of the world, and we’re not interested.

Now go make my t-shirts, bitch.

December 29, 2005 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

Hey China Hand, care to make a comment that isn’t predicated upon the belief that Westerners are always trying to conquer China? Still got that Middle Kingdom complex, huh? Guess what, you’re not the center of the world, and we’re not interested.

Now go make my t-shirts, bitch.

What is your problem? Every one of your argument boils down to the accusation that “You think everyone is trying to encircle you, you are not the center of the world?”. When did I ever say China is th center of the world? China is a developing country, it has many areas of poverty, many areas of injusticies, as any developing country. China is rising quickly and fast, and as a Chinese I feel encouraged to see China like this. I don’t understand why is there such hostility to anyone who expressse any bit of defense for China (or the CCP).

Sometimes I feel you are like those anchors on Fox News, who shout people down, and give labels to people every 2 sentences. I know it’s not fashionable to come to the defense of the Chinese government these days, but does that make it automatically wrong?

I have no problem anyone criticizing the CCP and China. But there’s a difference between constructive criticism and utter attack with no real suggestions. I’m a Chinese nationalist, I don’t deny that. What does that mean? That means I want to see China become a strong nation in all aspects. So I’ll support anything that benefits the interests of the Chinese nation, and Ill oppose anything that harms the interests of the Chinese nation.

If I see enough evidence that CCP is harming the interests of the Chinese nation, and there’s a better alternative out there, and the cost of overthrowing the CCP is worth it, I’ll be the first to do it. But for now, I am not seeing that. So for all of CCP’s ills, I still hope for reforms that continually improves the CCP and in turn improves China.

In a way, I actually respect the students of 1989. I disagree with their methods, but at least they went to the streets because they truly cared about China. I also respect Wei Jinsheng. He did what he did because he cared for the people of China. When those people make criticisms of the CCP and China, I’ll listen. There’s a difference between honest criticism and political attacks.

December 29, 2005 @ 1:30 pm | Comment

I thought a mother hand was hatefully condescending until I read this other one.
Bad job, China_Hand!

December 29, 2005 @ 1:32 pm | Comment

davesgonechina,
The whole ‘Middle Kingdom’/'Center of the World’ idea arises from ignorance of Chinese history. China do not have the concept of ‘nation’ before modern contact with the West, and Zhongguo was a geographic idea rather than a policital one. Each dynasty had its own name, and did not use Zhongguo as name of the Empire. In fact during many dynasties, Zhongguo referred to an area smaller than the Empire’s total territory.

It’s interesting some Westerners make a fuss about ‘Zhongguo’, but you can’t find many Chinese accuse the West of having a ‘Mediterranean complex’.

December 29, 2005 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

China Hand said:

“From 1949 onwards, foreigners dare not whack the children of the Yellow Emperor anymore.”

Right, because a reasonable person can lump all non-Chinese in one category and simultaneously refer to Chinese people as children of the Yellow Emperor. No stereotyping, generalizing or xenophobia there!

“That alone shatters the claims, mostly convoluted/twisted by western establishments that he intently murders the people.”

But of course you’re a reasoned debater who is sloppily pointing to some gross oversimplification like the “Western establishments”.

“30 million is a number Western journalists dream up, a wild guess, typically they do.”

Never mind the Asian scholars who also support this. It’s just the Western media in their war on China. Never mind that it was still millions, and it still involved Mao endorsing brutal forms of persecution. All of that is irrelevant, cuz the Western media is out to get us.

“That is the greatness of Mao Zedong who inspired the people and encouraged their bravery. (Hey, wish you can be brave in Iraq. LOL)”

“The Viet Cong in their pajamas was enough for you honkeys.”

Oh, I’m sorry China Hand. I clearly didn’t heed your objective, cool, rational approach to history. Sorry I flew off the handle. Clearly you stick to detached fact, and not emotional ad hominems. You miserable turd.

“Not too familiar with those “documents”, where can I get them? The US Library of Congress under the “China is Bad” section?”

Jealous that our social sciences aren’t purely a cynical political tool of dictatorship? We actually included books in our libraries that disagree with those in power… oooooh. But yes, there is a “China is Bad” section. Wam. You got us.

“But it should not be used as a club to hit the CCP or demonize China.”

Like the way you’ve indiscriminately demonized the West and non-Chinese? The way you’ve contrasted it to Mao’s wonderful leadership, where, yeah, some people died, but he didn’t intend any of it, that’s just the “Western establishments”. Korea wasn’t a debacle, it was a tremendous victory against the Western imperialists (those imperialists with UN backing), and of course China never had imperial designs on Korea! In your world, Nixon grovels to Mao for help.

There’s nothing wrong with being proud of China. But when you distort everything so as to marginalize China’s failures and transfer excess blame to foreigners, you make exactly the same mistakes that contributed to the fall of the Qing dynasty. Don’t forget that the Qing court fictionalized the First Opium War to make themselves look more victorious too. Fat lotta good that did.

December 29, 2005 @ 2:49 pm | Comment

“The whole ‘Middle Kingdom’/'Center of the World’ idea arises from ignorance of Chinese history. China do not have the concept of ‘nation’ before modern contact with the West, and Zhongguo was a geographic idea rather than a policital one.”

Yup, the geographic center of the world. All tribute floweth to the center. You wanna tell me the imperial tribute system considered foreign visitors as peers? Get real.

Still, my point about China Hand is cultural. His name calling, baiting and distortion all boil down to an old tactic: externalize blame, glorify the Motherland. It is a nationalism built on insecure narcissism, and it’s getting tiring. It also happens to have contributed to alot China’s problems in modern times, since it apparently is just too damn difficult to accept that China is populated by people like people anywhere else, and some times you get a horrible leader (Mao, Bush) and some times other people beat you at something.

Anybody else read Wang Shuo’s “Please Don’t Call Me Human” (banned on the Mainland)? That guy is the man.

December 29, 2005 @ 3:07 pm | Comment

Chester,

If China Hand does a “bad job” as you say, then does that make him a China Hand Job?

December 29, 2005 @ 3:37 pm | Comment

I need you left-wing guys tell me how to assess the following two factors:
1> how to assess the “30 million chinese death”;
In my point of view, i do think this “death toll of 30 million” can offset any contributions in our human-being history. if you do not understand the value and the importance of individual’s death, please try to taste the feeling of losting your lover or relative or your friend if you have chance.

2> how to assess the “more than 20 years of developement standstill”.
In Mao’s tenure of about 30 years, Since 1957, China is in a standstill, no economy development, no improvement in human right and social security…

As one top chinese philosopher Feng YuaLan wrote in his famous book “the history of chinese philosophy”:
Before 1949: Mao’s great, and history also proved this point;
1950-1965: Foolish and irrational:ridiculous on the Zhong Lu Xian and Ren Ming Gong She and Great Leap Forward;
After 1966: Total Sin: The Culture Revolution is a completely disaster.

December 29, 2005 @ 5:33 pm | Comment

I also like re-post my post here:

30 million is a number Western journalists dream up, a wild guess, typically they do.
———————————————
No. please check following links for the science paper which finished by one respectable historician professor from ShangHai Jiao Tung university:

http://www.usc.cuhk.edu.hk/wk_wzdetails.asp?id=4016

This paper was published in “China Population Science” magazine. i would like you take a view.. this article is from one historician’s view, not from politiican’s view.

December 29, 2005 @ 5:34 pm | Comment

Dave,

Contrary to what you like to claim, not many Chinese still believe that China is the center of the universe. It is actually that many Americans like to think that the US is the center of the universe and US is the last hope of the mankind, etc….

December 29, 2005 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

I wonder if the reason so many chinese are so fervently nationalist is because its the only political outlet they have that isn’t CCP related, and still CCP accepted. So all their political frustrations get directed towards nationalism, and against the big bad US or honkey mo fo or whoever. Its kinda scary I think. because then when people from the outside have non-political concerns that would benefit Chinese people, the nationalist tendency is to reject them as being ‘meddling in the internal affairs of china’ I mean it seems like these people have a hard time seeing the world in a non-political way

December 29, 2005 @ 7:59 pm | Comment

As Orwell said in 1984, “why was it that they could never shout like that about anything that mattered?”

December 29, 2005 @ 8:57 pm | Comment

Ivan,
In reticence, I write, China_Hand is a jerk!

December 29, 2005 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

“I write, China_Hand is a jerk!”

Chester, no offense, I think you are really a jerk. China_hand surely knows China more than you.

December 30, 2005 @ 12:07 am | Comment

Steve, I’d pay more attention to China Hand if he’d advance his argument on its merits instead of blaming everything on the dastardly West.

And if he’d learn to spell “honky” correctly.

Seriously, some guy starts posting up a storm and calls me a “honkey”? Does he even know what that means? Am I supposed to take him seriously?!

December 30, 2005 @ 12:48 am | Comment

[quote]Yup, the geographic center of the world. All tribute floweth to the center. You wanna tell me the imperial tribute system considered foreign visitors as peers? Get real.[/quote]

Who told you tribute system was intended to cover all diplomatic relations? Some countries had tributary realtion with China, some countries didn’t. China often did not attempt to bring those outsiders into the tribute system, and diplomatic contacts with those countries were done in greater courtesy.

December 30, 2005 @ 1:54 am | Comment

oops. forgot ezcodes don’t work here.

December 30, 2005 @ 1:57 am | Comment

‘realtion’-> ‘relation’

December 30, 2005 @ 2:06 am | Comment

China_hand,

If you are a true Chinese nationalist, you will never give Mao any credit. Mao never did any thing positive to China at all, period. You can never convince that he was not a mass murderer and the ulitmate devil. Are you going to tell me how wonderful the Anti-Rightist movement of 1957, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution were?

To me, he undid all the achievements of the late Father of the Great Chinese Nation, Dr Sun Yat sen, who contributed his whole life dedicated to the overthrowing of more than 5000 years of autocratic monarchical rule in China. Mao was the new Red Emperor in China, no less despicable than Yuan Shi Kai or Wang Jingwei. Mao was the anti-thesis of everything Dr Sun had hoped for in a new democratic Republican China.

In the PRC, where is the rule of law? Where is Dr Sun’s Three People’s Principles? Peasants were among the millions of victims of his mad campaigns. Democracy was swept aside to make way for his cult of personality. Mao was just another power hungry and blood thirsty feudalist ruler in China’s history, he stood for the old feudal China with his cruel and autocratic rule. In my views, he was worse than Qin Shihuang. In essence, he was the qin1 gu3 zhui4 ren2 of the Chinese nation. As a nationalist, i am so ashamed that his potrait still overlooks Tiananmen Square. Dr Sun’s potrait should be there instead as he was the true father of modern China. Tell me who do you respect more? Mao the mass butcher and disgused feudal emperor, or Dr Sun, the selfless great patriot?

In fact, Mao did not love China or the Chinese people. He engaged in the Great Leap Forward mainly to show that after Stalin’s death, he was the world’s leading communist leader and not then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. In his struggle to become the world’s leading communist leader with the Soviet leadership, he chose to sacrifice the Chinese people to achieve his personal selfish goal, what kind of leader can be worse than Mao? In his eagerness to destroy Chiang’s remaining stronghold in Taiwan, he ordered the shelling of Kinmen and Matsu, killing so many innocent Chinese folks living on those two islands held by the KMT.

So there you are China_hand, if you still have conscious and love for the Chinese nation, you will never defend a qin1 gu3 zhui4 ren2 like Mao Zedong. He was a monstrous Red Emperor like the last king of Shang, King Zhou.

December 30, 2005 @ 3:15 am | Comment

Wuliao:

Ancient China always see itself as the most cultured and civilised empire. Although China was not the typical militaristic aggressive enpire, it was undeniably arrogant and full of itself, which finally resulted in China’s downfall in the 19th century as the sick man of the Oriental.

To the Chinese court, those nations bordering China are not more than barbaric, uncivilised vassals. The Manchu rulers took the same view about Britain, France and Japan. Thats why the Chinese emperor demanded foreign envoys to kowtow to him and may not even grant an audience with them. In fact, the Manchu rulers use the Tsungli Yamen to deal with the foreigners, a symbol of treating the Western nations as vassals. Some officials and scholars in Imperial China saw the learning of Confucian classics as more important than learning mathematics, science and medicine, as the only the teachings of the Sage is second to none.

With all these arrogant and haughty attitude, the Chinese court and its officials doomed China. After some many disastrous defeats, the Chinese emperor and the Dowager, Cixi, still thought of China as the “Great Celestial Empire”.

December 30, 2005 @ 3:28 am | Comment

Xing,

“On Mao, I know many people here like to call him the biggest killer. No matter how angry you guys are on Mao and no matter what you want to call him; you can not change the fact how most Chinese view him and that’s important and it counts.”

I am one of those who see Mao in a very bad light. Dr Sun was still the greatest Chinese leader. Mao to me ranked even below Yuan Shi Kai and Wang Jingwei because of the millions of Chinese that he singlehandedly killed out of his selfish desire for dominance and power. Yuan and Wang did have the ability to kill like Mao had ever did. He even won Stalin and Hitler in mass murder figures.

December 30, 2005 @ 3:39 am | Comment

Excellent comments, sp.

Wuliao, use “blockquote,” not “quote.”

And no, sp, China Hand has no conscience.

December 30, 2005 @ 3:41 am | Comment

China_hand,

China is what it is economically today is indeed the largely the wisdom and far-sighted of the late patriarch, Deng Xiaoping. He saw where China’s future lies, it is economics that would give China its prosperity, stability and power, not Marxism-Leninism nor those stupid propaganda, Mao-glorifying quotes from the Little Red Book.

Deng was the one who saw world politics in the right manner, he was a realist. He knew what is power politics and China’s place in the world. Mao on the other hand was an mad zealous ideologue, driven by a perverted version of Marxism. He even told the Soviet leadership that China did not fear a nuclear exchange between the East and the West. How mad and irrational can such a leader be in an era of nuclear arms race where the entire human race could be wiped out?

You seem to forget about the power struggle in PRC after 1949 between Mao on one hand and Deng anf Liu Shaoqi on the other. Mao wanted to fashion China in an entirely Maoist model of communism, not only to purge the liberals within the CCP but to debuke the USSR that China’s model of Maoist communism is superior to the Soviet model. In the end he used the Great Leap Forward and abandoned industrialisation, ideology was moved to the forefront of everything, to show that Maoist China was the true centre of communism and not Moscow, with he himself as the world communist movement’s leader. He used the Cultural Revolution to purged Deng and Liu, the pragmatists, who were laballed as “capitalist roaders” and “reactionaries”. Deng and Liu were leaders who wanted a pragmatic development of China, who thinks that economics should lead instead of dogmatic ideology. If Mao had not purged Deng and Liu, China would be ONLY where it is today, but much more. China was therefore “stolen” and “hijacked” by Mao from 1949 to Sept 1976. Much to the relief of the Chinese people, he finally died.

December 30, 2005 @ 4:01 am | Comment

China_hand:

“20-years of standstill economy? Yes, after Mao Zedong beat the **** out of General MacAurther in Korea, Truman fire MacArthur and imposed embargo on China. That embargo lasted 22 years until Richard Nixon crawled to Shanghai to ask Mao Zedong to help him ease out of Vietnam without a total collapse. The embargo hurt China’s economy, no question about it, an act of hostility.”

Truman was never wrong to intervene in Korea, he was right in containing communism by stopping the North Koreans. In a way, he told the communist world that your limits is along that line. Such action preserved overall peace between the two superpowers of the Cold War. It was MacArthur who tried to rollback communism and made the mistake of inviting Chinese intervention. Truman was definitely not dumb, he knew his politics well.

If the PRC had liberalised its economy under Mao, any US embargo will be futile. Utimately, China’s economic liberalisation will force Washington to rethink its policies, instead Mao locked China in the doldrums and diminshed Chinese power by closing the doors to the outside world like previous dynastic rulers.

Nixon certainly did not “crawl” to Beijing, Zhou Enlai had invited him. Zhou, the ever shrewd diplomat, knew that for the security of the PRC, only a detente with the US will advance China’s overall interests. China was isolated and faced a military superpower, the USSR along its borders, with an increasing hostile Vietnam to the PRC’s south. The detente with the US will serve as a counter to the Russian threat just across. Of course, the US needed China as well, also as a counter against Moscow. Its mutual interests that brought Beijing and Washington together, Nixon did not “crawl” to Beijing and prostrate to Red Emperor. This just expose your ignorance of international relations. Mao himself also said that there are not permanent friends, only permanent interests. Mao was even cleverer than you!

And also note that Vietnam by the 70s was increasingly hostile to China. By 1978, they had signed a Treaty of friendship and alliance with the Soviets and joined the Comecon and lease the former US naval base at Cam Ranh to the Russians. So the Vietnam war was not really a net gain for the Chinese as well.

December 30, 2005 @ 4:29 am | Comment

Hongxing,

“I don’t who have done well for China for the past 200 years. The Eight-Nation league, the Japanese occupiers? China today is Asia’s largest economy and world’s 7th largest economy in terms of GDP. China is the only 3 nations who can put men into space. China leaders are being respected and given red carpets everywhere they go (Paris, London, Washington, even Iran). US and Japan are now quickening their pace of military alliance because they are genuinely worried about China’s expanding influence in Asia, etc etc. In 1949, China was nobody in the world. No industries, no real military, no international influence, no one cares about you. Chinese immigrants to the US were “coolies”, and “yellows”, and being sniggerd everywhere. Now, when I say I’m from China, people’s general reaction is, “China, such a fast rising nation.”

Now you can say “This is DESPITE Mao!”. You can say “So what! It will collapse soon. It’s all a bubble”. etc etc. Well I don’t care what your “reasoning” is. The simple fact, Mao established today’s China, and China went on to become what she is today (better than any period in its recent tumultuous 200 years of history, can you deny that?). If Mao is really such a mass murdering and did no good for China, how did China end up where it is today? According to your logic, wouldn’t China be as backward and as demolished as Africa? Clearly, the facts don’t match your descriptions.”

I think you did Deng Xiaoping a great disfavour by attributing China’s success today to Mao and not him and his technocrats. Your pride as a Chinese come from Deng’s “Open Door” and “Four Modernisations” and not tyrant Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” and “Cultural Revolution”! Can the Chinese people ever iwake up?

December 30, 2005 @ 4:35 am | Comment

China_hand,

“In a way, I actually respect the students of 1989. I disagree with their methods, but at least they went to the streets because they truly cared about China. I also respect Wei Jinsheng. He did what he did because he cared for the people of China. When those people make criticisms of the CCP and China, I’ll listen. There’s a difference between honest criticism and political attacks. ”

You should respect the students of 1989 on Tiananmen. They are the true nationalists. You said you respect them, do you also respect Li Peng, Yang Shangkun, Chen Xitong and Wang Zhen? I left Deng out because his economic legacy still gave him some credits. I would want to hear whether you considered Li Peng and his gang as nationalists and respect them as well. Pls answer this question as a Chinese with conscience.

December 30, 2005 @ 4:56 am | Comment

China_hand,

“When Mao Zedong reigns power, CCP was almost at the point of being exterminated by KMT who was arms-supplied and financed by the American. He turned the table around upon gaining moral ground.”

To me, the Chinese Civil war was about Mao replacing Chiang’s iron-fisted corrupted rule with his own personal dictatorship. It really did not matter when the war is about changing leaders in the same dictatorial mode.

December 30, 2005 @ 5:00 am | Comment

China_Hand:

“The CPC was poorly equipped in the beginning. Fighting the Japs was difficult with poor weaponry, of course.

But the Red Army grew stronger over time. In fighting the KMT army that was armed with weaponry from the US, the Red Army grew stronger with weaponry captured from the KMT army and from defecting KMT troops. It was a people’s war, you know, that the entire poor population rose up to fight. That is the greatness of Mao Zedong who inspired the people and encouraged their bravery. (Hey, wish you can be brave in Iraq. LOL)”

If Mao had got rid of KMT corruption and developed China along Dengist and Liusist economic model, i would have worshipped him and introduce some rudimentary form of democracy. Instead, he duped the Chinese people with all the goodies Marxism-Leninism promise to deliver. In a tragic turn for the Chinese people, he duped them successfully and bring them back to the dark ages of monarchical rule under the guise of the red flag. You know what, the proudest moment in Chinese history was the inauguration of Dr Sun as the first provisional president of the Republic of China and the darkest was when Mao stood on Tiananmen in Oct 1949 to start his reign as the Red Emperor.

December 30, 2005 @ 5:09 am | Comment

xing, China_hand,

“On Mao, I know many people here like to call him the biggest killer. No matter how angry you guys are on Mao and no matter what you want to call him; you can not change the fact how most Chinese view him and that’s important and it counts.”

You know what? You are really making my blood boil as a Chinese. My great-grandfather happened to be an ordinary folk in Guangdong who owned a rice shop and a small plot of land with only four workers. He was definitely not a “exploitative rich capitalist nor wicked landowner”. In Mao’s Cultural Revolution, they labelled as a “kulak” and “enemy of the people”, tortured daily by Red Guards and made to parade the streets. They even made him knew on broken pieces of glasses. Later he could not take it and hang himself. And you two Chinese nationalists know what? Then he was just a 71 year old frail elderly! Any Chinese is fit to whip Mao’s corpse in public!

December 30, 2005 @ 5:27 am | Comment

Why do you guys think China_hand is Chinese?

After reading this thread and a few other recent ones, I have decided that my 2006 New Year’s Resolution is to never disagree with sumo-debaters Jeffrey or davesgonechina. Unless I feel like getting my clock cleaned.

Dave, how about a clue regarding Wang Shuo’s “Please Don’t Call Me Human”?

December 30, 2005 @ 6:44 am | Comment

About “Please don’t call me human”: by some type of magical intervention, it actually isn’t banned in China. I picked it up in a really big bookstore (not the Xinhua type) at Dongchang Road in Shanghai. if i can remember correctly, the chinese name is something like “qianwan buyao ba wo dang ren” or something like that. i also saw an e-copy somewhere on the internet about a year ago.

December 30, 2005 @ 9:06 am | Comment

sp, you are a Chinese, so you are entitled to your opinions.

However, the truth is, in Mainland, your opinion that Mao is absolutely 100% evil is of a very small minority (perhaps less than 20% of the population).

I am of the mainstream opinion that Mao, on balance, did more positive things to China, and is absolutely a national hero on par with Dr. Sun that you mentioned. And yes, during the 50th anniversay of CCP, both Mao and Sun’s portraits were showcased and honored. And this may surprise you, but I believe Kiang Kai Shek is also a national hero on the same level as Mao. Those men were all Nationalists and truly cared about the fate of China. I believe, sp, you, also care about the fate of China. So we can agree to disagree. But I don’t believe most people here (with the exception other Lisa maybe) truly care about the fate of China. They are more like bystanders who snigger and laugh about all these bad things happening in China and happily say “See, I told you.”

I never said I don’t respect Deng. I think one popular saying in China captures the evaluation of Mao and Deng: “Mao gave us dignity. Deng gave us money. And both are important.” If you have only dignity but no money, you starve to death like in North Korea. If you have money but no dignity, you live in emptiness like Malaysians and Philipinos.

December 30, 2005 @ 11:05 am | Comment

Steve,
China_Hand is an apologist for some Chinese Gov’t agenda more that’s for sure. You have no idea how much I know about China. Therefore, what you called me makes you his pimp. That’s right, you pimp for China_Hand.
Do you not even understand what it means to deny the deaths under Mao’s Cultural Revolution? To call him a jerk is all about being civil.

December 30, 2005 @ 2:33 pm | Comment

Let’s not forget where one state’s economic success and general stability cannot be attributed to one goal of a politician, whose personal power agenda caused greater harm.
To critique and examine government’s agenda and actions is itself a patriotic act and right of citizens. For an aspiring super power nation, it is all the more crucial to become of a positive and inspiring leadership to its neighbors and allies. If a rapidly rising power forgets to audit its own immediate past records and make rooms and time for policy and even structural improvements as well as the implementation of transitional justice, things rot from the inside fairly quickly.
When that rotting takes over, no one with the right mind would have time to even say “See, I told you so.” It just means nothing and benefits no one here.

December 30, 2005 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

I can understand why many, if not most Chinese, look at Mao as a great man, because they consider him the founder of modern China.

If Mao had stepped aside, as he often threatened to do (saying he was just “an old monk with a leaky umbrella) and let Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, etc., run the government, I think one could justify his being remembered as a great man (in spite of some less than sterling conduct during the CCP’s formative years, but there’s plenty of that to go around. And if you want a preview of the Cultural Revolution, check out the Rectification Campaign at the end of the Yenan “utopia.” Mao made his m.o. pretty clear with that campaign).

But he couldn’t let go. I think he was a classic narcissist, who couldn’t quite see other people as real. He only saw them in terms of what they did for him and what they reflected back of his own image and ego. He was not a person who actually understood how to govern, except through chaos – his “perpetual revolution.” He could not allow anyone else to really compete with him, and if you look at post 1949 China, it seems to be that every time things were going pretty well, Mao had to stir things up, because he couldn’t tolerate any real stability that would give power to any rivals – look how long his “closest comrades in arms” tended to last!

The chaos and pain and destruction caused by the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution are so staggering that I don’t see how any honest evaluation of Mao could say that his accomplishments out-balanced his crimes.

December 30, 2005 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

The North Koreans have no money, and they have no more dignity than the other 6 billion people on earth. There is no dignity living in a paranoid police state that works to death political prisoners in horrific concentration camps and conducts lethal biological and chemical experiments on adults and children. There is no dignity in fleeing across the frozen Tumen River, moving around in safe houses to avoid being shot by the PLA, or worse, being returned to North Korea to face torture and execution.

In an early post, China_Hand bragged about Chinese leaders getting red carpet treatment in foreign capitals. No nation on earth has given a warmer welcome to Hu Jintao than our Dear Leader, who ordered his enslaved people to line the streets waving flowers as Hu’s motorcade roared by.

December 30, 2005 @ 5:09 pm | Comment

“That’s right, you pimp for China_Hand.”

Chester, I take it as a praise.

“You have no idea how much I know about China.”

From your writing, I really can not see that. I grew up in China, participated in both 87 and 89 protest, worked in the poorest area for two years, educated in top university in US, and lived in US for more than five years. I would like to know why you claim you know China a lot and what enable you to have a balanced view.

Like china_hand, I do see China has serious problem. Recently a friend of mine invested $10 million. When I visited a local government with him, I saw big office building. The excessive nature of this office building is symbolic of problems in China today.

However, what we differs from you is that, I try to find a constructive solution for CCP or Chinese government. From my perspective, excessively demonizing China is disgusting, and is as dangerous to China as CCP’s corruption.

Many people are still looking at China through the prism of 89′s event. This extremely negative image could prepare US public for a war between US and China.

Please remember, the excessively negative image about Iraq has convinced everyone, including both democrates and republican, that Iraq has mass destruction weapon.

So far, there is no structural change in western media to prevent that from happening again.

December 30, 2005 @ 5:59 pm | Comment

Kevin, thanks for the scoop on finding “Don’t Call Me Human”.

China_hand, I think you underestimate how many Chinese have a negative opinion of Mao, if my students are an indication.

sp, your comments made me wonder how to say “smack down” in Chinese. :-)

Very intersting in this thread to see so many Chinese commenters grappling with their history … and stomping the propagandists. That really increases my optimism for China’s future.

December 30, 2005 @ 6:07 pm | Comment

China_hand,

“sp, you are a Chinese, so you are entitled to your opinions.

However, the truth is, in Mainland, your opinion that Mao is absolutely 100% evil is of a very small minority (perhaps less than 20% of the population).”

China_hand, your statements are really a shame of the 1911 revolution. You know why? Because it goes how far Dr Sun’s legacy for a democratic republic for China was entirely and completely destroyed by the CCP and Mao.

Have you ever conducted a poll on the Chinese opinion on Mao? Thats never possible because people in China from Mao’s days never dare to speak up their minds. When asked by foreign correspondents from Singapore how they feel about the 1989 Tiananmen incident, many folks tried to cover their face from camera and claimed that they have forgotten about it. Under this fear and dictatorship, how can the Chinese people ever “stand up” as you claimed? How can you conducted an honest poll on the population’s opinion on Mao when they even fear speaking their minds? This is the ugly legacy of Mao Zedong on China, people feared speaking up, for fear of political persecution and purges. It totally destroyed all the work of the martyrs of the Xinhai Revolution and that of Dr Sun’s hope for democracy in China.

So your claim about people’s “positive opinion” about Mao is claimly baseless. You dared to conduct a poll in on the streets of Beijing about Mao and his legacy under the watchful eyes of police and agents from the Ministry of Public Security? Do you? To me, anybody who defends Mao is a Chinese sell out and traitor, as dirty as Wang Jingwei.

December 30, 2005 @ 6:10 pm | Comment

SP,

Since you said that it was impossible to take a poll in China on Mao. Then, how about just take a poll among all the Chinese nationals who have visited this website? Dare to do that and bet with me?

To me, Mao is not a great man; but he is not a purely evil either.

December 30, 2005 @ 6:36 pm | Comment

China_hand,

“I am of the mainstream opinion that Mao, on balance, did more positive things to China, and is absolutely a national hero on par with Dr. Sun that you mentioned. And yes, during the 50th anniversay of CCP, both Mao and Sun’s portraits were showcased and honored. And this may surprise you, but I believe Kiang Kai Shek is also a national hero on the same level as Mao. Those men were all Nationalists and truly cared about the fate of China. I believe, sp, you, also care about the fate of China. So we can agree to disagree. But I don’t believe most people here (with the exception other Lisa maybe) truly care about the fate of China. They are more like bystanders who snigger and laugh about all these bad things happening in China and happily say “See, I told you.”

On par with Dr Sun? Please do not insult the father of modern China, the Guo-fu of the Chinese nation by placing a murderous and deceitful feudal Red Emperor, Mao Zedong on the same level with Dr Sun.

Sun spent his whole life dedicated to the ovethrow of dynastic rule in China. He was a doctor, he could have practised medicine quietly and live a well-off life, but he did not. Instead, he saw the freedom of the Chinese people as his lifetime goal, giving up practising as a docot and spent many years in exile and risked his life in more than 10 uprisings against the Manchus. For the sake of the Republic, he even gave up his post as President to Yuan Shi Kai, so that the later will cooperate in persuading the Qing court to abdicate.

And China_hand, what has Mao done?

He supressed the freedom of the Chinese nation right from the start, only interested in violence, political struggles and consolidating his own feudal rule under the pretence of the Red Flag. He killed so many of his own people just to achieve his personal ambitions as the undisputed leader within the CCP and as the world’s leading communist leader, using the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution as tools for his purges of political opponents. He also deceived many patriotic intellectuals by laying a trap for them in the Hundred Flowers Campaign in 1957, persecuting those who speak their minds and sending thousands to labour camps.

Dr Sun, ever so righteous and selfless as the father of China, the Guo-fu, so respectable. Yet you poured night soil on Dr Sun’s reputation by placing Mao, such a self-centered, power hungry, egoistic Satan on par with him? Are you a Chinese with conscience when you say those nosense? You are as muddle-head as Li Hongzhang!

Chiang to me, was less respectable than Sun but he is still better than Mao. At least he did not kill so many people on such a horrendous scale like Mao. He may be dictatorial, but he did gave China some dignity by refusing to surrender to Japan and got most Western powers to give up their special rights in China.

The potrait issue, Dr Sun’s potrait should be hung permanently on Tiananmen instead of Mao! Instead, we hang a cold blooded murderer’s potrait PERMANENTLY there! What a shame! China did not even celebrate Oct 11, the founding of the Republic in 1911, what a shame! To me, the 50th anniversary of PRC did not stir me at all, its the 94 founding of the Republic of China that stirs me. The PRC was a painful past for the Chinese people especially, from 1949 to 1976.

A nationalist certainly puts the nation before himself. Sun was the classic example of a true nationalist, he was never interested in his own ambitions nor did he want power for himself. The fake nationalist is Mao, who is so self-centered than he was willing to sarcrifice the lives of millions of fellow Chinese just to achieve his personal goals and ambitions. A Maoist is as good as a traitor of the nation!

December 30, 2005 @ 6:42 pm | Comment

what’s the scientific attitude towards politic and politicians?
For me, when i am discussing something with somebody, i would cite statistics or examples to prove my opinions, rather than using baseless flowery language like “the majority public opinion is in favor of me” or “history proves you are wrong”. if someone uses such baseless words, usually i will rebut them with remarks like “ok, then, show me your evidence, tell me the exact numbers of people are in favor of your opinions”.

December 30, 2005 @ 6:45 pm | Comment

last spring festival when i was visiting one of my relatives living in rural china, when discussing Mao and Deng, he gave one meaningful comment “Actually we farmers were not liberated in 1949, we were liberated in 1979″.

December 30, 2005 @ 6:50 pm | Comment

xing,

When even blogging and using the internet in China was even monitored by the Public Security Ministry, even an online poll is dangerous, didn’t the PRC government just jailed several who speak against CCP on the Net?

Xing, will you ever wake up? If we Chinese cannot conduct an honest, transparent poll on the Mainland on our own Chinese historical figures and their leagcies, don’t you think its the saddest day of our chinese nation? Instead, to post opinion on our own history, we have to hide behind pseudoyms and unreal names. How sad can our Chinese nation be? How could we have stood up as a people when we cannot speak our minds on our own Motherland but on the Net?

Wake up, xing, and ditched alll that socialist education and propaganda you have learned under the Maoists.

December 30, 2005 @ 6:51 pm | Comment

> To me, anybody who defends Mao is a Chinese sell out and traitor, as dirty as Wang Jingwei.

SP,

This view from you is extreme. By the way your grand-father was not the only one suffered under Mao policy. My dad was too. As a result, I spent all my childhood under poverty in the countryside.

December 30, 2005 @ 6:56 pm | Comment

China_hand,

“I never said I don’t respect Deng. I think one popular saying in China captures the evaluation of Mao and Deng: “Mao gave us dignity. Deng gave us money. And both are important.” If you have only dignity but no money, you starve to death like in North Korea. If you have money but no dignity, you live in emptiness like Malaysians and Philipinos.”

What China is today is almost the work of Deng, who managed to clear the Party of all the Maoists and mao’s henchmen after his death. After the Red Emperor had gone to burn in hell in Sept 1976, he still left a deadly posthumous gift for the Party and the Chinese people: His ever-vicious wife Jiang Qing and the Gang of Four. Jiang Qing and her puppets continue to try to use the residual power of the Red Emperor to ursurp the power of the CCP. Fortunately for China, Jiang failed miserably.

Deng had to clean the Party thoroughly to rid the Maoists before he could embark on his project to empower China back to his great power status. So in essence, Deng was the one who dismantle all the legacy of Mao, which stood in China’s way to become a economic powerhouse we are witnessing today. If Mao was still alive, he would call Deng a “capitalist roader” again and tried his ways and means to destroy Deng’s design for China to claim its place as great power in the world. How foolish can you be!

Malaysians are not without dignity. Their former Prime Minsters are known for speaking out against the more powerful when they witnessed injustices. The first PM, Tengku Abdul Rahman, spoke against colonialism and constantly condemned Apartheid in South Africa, much to the ire of the West. Mahathir, its 4th PM, speak against the US and Israel so frequently that he was not very well-liked in the West. Please do not be drowned in your Maoist ego again and read the papers and learn the world more. I know Maoist just to lock themselves behind closed-doors and build castles in the air.

December 30, 2005 @ 7:10 pm | Comment

xing,

“This view from you is extreme. By the way your grand-father was not the only one suffered under Mao policy. My dad was too. As a result, I spent all my childhood under poverty in the countryside.”

All the more i don’t understand why you and China_hand kept insisting on defending Mao, the qian1 gu3 zhui4 ren2 of modern Chinese history.

To Kill almost 30 million Chinese as good as selling out to the Japanese, don’t you think? I have relatives in Hong Kong who saw a number of bodies floating down from Shenzhen during the Red Emperor’s reign of terror. This is as good as the Nanking massacre! And its a Chinese emperor killing his own people instead of foreign invaders!

December 30, 2005 @ 7:18 pm | Comment

China_hand, xing,

By the way, i always feel that Chinese leaders should pay respects to Zhong-Shan Ling, Dr Sun’s final resting place and not the Mao’s mausoleum!

December 30, 2005 @ 7:27 pm | Comment

China_hand:

Despite your repeated attempts to defend Mao, you never gave any concrete evidence of positive things that Mao did for the Chinese nation.

You never refuted that Great Leap Forward was a tool for Mao to discredit Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping’s liberal economic policies, which are pragmatic. You failed to refute that Mao use the Great Leap Forward in an attempt to show that his version of Marxism-Leninism was far more superior than that of the Soviets, thus giving himself the status of the world’s leading communist. In his madness to seek power and prestige, he chose to put the Chinese people on the sarcrificial alter. You never say anything about that.

His Cultural revolution was entirely unnecessary, only his attempt for political comeback after his failure in the Great Leap Forward. It killed and ruined the lives of so many innocent Chinese, in his madness to regain political control from the pragmatists led by Deng and Liu. You never say anything and chose to sweep it under the carpet.

When you said you respected the students of 1989 but disagreed with their methods, i asked you whether you also respected Li Peng, Yang Shangkun, Chen Xitong and Wang Zhen, you also fail to answer all these questions.

Are you really a Chinese with conscience?

December 30, 2005 @ 7:36 pm | Comment

SP,

I think you live in isolation. For most Chinese in today’s China. Mao is not relevant and forgotten. But if you ask their opinion on Mao, small percentage will be on the extreme of the two ends; the vast majority will in the middle, i.e. Mao was a ditator who did both gread and bad things for China.

December 30, 2005 @ 7:36 pm | Comment

I think xing is right on this one, I think Chinese people have a better understanding of the bad things that go on in their country that they are given credit for, and no one should find it surprising that a leader is widely seen as good even though he/she has made some huge mistakes that are impossible to overlook (how else can you explain Bush’s re-election?) (and i’m not trying to compare Bush to Mao, just the way they are viewed by the public). its something you can’t put a statistic on

December 30, 2005 @ 8:08 pm | Comment

Xing,

“I think you live in isolation. For most Chinese in today’s China. Mao is not relevant and forgotten. But if you ask their opinion on Mao, small percentage will be on the extreme of the two ends; the vast majority will in the middle, i.e. Mao was a ditator who did both gread and bad things for China.”

Again you failed back up your stand with substantial evidence. Give me the numbers, the stats, the credibilty. Why are Chinese so afraid of speaking up? Why? Whose legacy was that?

Would you mind commenting on whether its a sad day that as China became the sixth largest economy in the world, the Chinese people are yet so afaraid of making comments on their country’s own history and past?

Xing, i believed you are well-informed, but why are you so obstinate and silly to defend Mao? You failed to defend him with any good evidence. Yet you worshipped him like a god. If all the students think like you, i am really worried for China’s future; they cannot even differentiate the good from the evil.

December 30, 2005 @ 8:19 pm | Comment

Xing,

Interestingly enough, you have not name all the “great” things that the Great Helmsman had done for China, in which he navigated China to a horrible shipwreck.

December 30, 2005 @ 8:23 pm | Comment

SP,

I can not write long and beatiful comments as you did. But may I ask you: (a) have you visited China? (b) and do you have many Chinese friends and if you do, how many of them hold your views?

December 30, 2005 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

SP,

Me, worksip Mao? Show me your definition and how I fit in.

December 30, 2005 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

Xing,

” but he is not a purely evil either” etc

The very fact that one can ever defend Mao is as good as a Maoist himself, ever so insensitive to the feelings of Mao’s millions of victims.

I may not know alot of people from China, i have do have alot of friends and relatives in Hong Kong, some of which defected to HK during Mao’s era and i was deeply horrified by all the first hand accounts.

China’s students opinions are quite questionable. If the day since elementary school and through the CCTV that you are told that Mao was a great man and national hero, what would you expect their opinion to be. Most Chinese students did not even have a first hand account to Mao’s era. Their parents may not tell them for fear of getting into trouble with the Pub;ic Security Bureau.

Xing, the Chinese nation need to wake up, you should start too asap.

December 30, 2005 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

Xing,

If ordinanry folks would cover their faces, run as fasr as they could when being interviewed about Tiananmen, under this kind of fearful atmosphere, what do you think their opinion on Mao will be?

Ask your parents if they are in China whether they want their faces and names on the big TV screen on giving their opinions on Mao, Tiananmen or the Cultural Revolution.

That will answer your question automatically.

December 30, 2005 @ 9:06 pm | Comment

SP,

OK, you didn’t live in China.; now it is easier for me to understand your views. I visited China almost each year. China today is not as restricted as you think. Ordinary people may not have as much truth as outsiders do on Mao. Even if they do, I don’t think their views on Mao will change dramatically. Many so-called truths on the outside are often distorted.

December 30, 2005 @ 9:13 pm | Comment

sp,

I can’t argue with you, and because I’ll lose arguments all the time with you, because you can always cite me “disastrous” events under Mao that no one can really challenge.

But I think Mao is a hero and a Nationalist and I love him for that. And most Chinese share my view. If you don’t believe me, go to China and ask a random sample of 100 people and come back with your data.

Now you ask me, but WHY do you like him? Well I don’t know, and I cannot give you stats to prove why he’s so great. There’s a saying in China that goes “A son does not look down on his mom for b eing ugly”.

What if your mom is a convicted serial killer and is now in jail. Would you still love her? I mean she did kill several people. Well at the end of the day, she’s still your mom and you’d still love her, right? Sure, the victims will her hate for life, and justifiably so. But you will still love her and go see her in jail, right?

I like Mao because I feel in touch with him, I like him from the bottom of my heart. No amount of stats can change that for me.

I can’t convince you of this, I know. You are from a different ideological camp. In Chinese, your “Li Chang” is different from mine. We have a different outlook on life, on the world. We believe what we want to believe, so let’s just stop at that, ok?

December 30, 2005 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

Hey “Stevo”,
I think you do have the sense to agree that at this blog, many are rooters for China’s progress in all regards. And it would also be fair to say that this blog you chose to engage is NOT of some generalized “Western Media” that is aiming to demonize China or CCP (note: CHina and CCP are not the same, yes?) However, you do agree that the CCP already has a lot of old and new demons that do not need Western or Eastern media to rip into. It is really about coming out and face it, even at the civilian level. If social elites like you cannot even come out of the closet to see that there has been major transitional justice to be served, hey man, you failed yourself during your time in U.S. and the struggles you claimed to have while growing up.

“Like china_hand, I do see China has serious problem. Recently a friend of mine invested $10 million. When I visited a local government with him, I saw big office building. The excessive nature of this office building is symbolic of problems in China today.”

And what is that problem you saw? Would you even have the balls to say what the problems is with China? No. you would cop-out. You would just pimp China_Hand, and it’s not a praise.

December 30, 2005 @ 9:20 pm | Comment

SP,

China is far from a free nation. But the fact that many of the people here are working in China and are often free to attack China in this forum say something about the current leadership of China.

December 30, 2005 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

The problem is , like I said, we and you are from different ideological camps. In Chinese, that means our “positions” are different. We are from two different worlds, you are not on the same team as mine. I’m not saying that your arguments are flawed. From your perspective, your arguments make total sense. Unfortunately, I don’t share your perspective, so even a perfectly sensible argument is totally ridiculous to me.

But, if I know that you are from the same idelogical camp as me, then I’d actually listen to some of your aguments about China’s problems today and I would actually agree with a lot of them. But I know that you are not from my ideolgoical camp, I would treat whatever you say as noise, even though they may be totally sensable.

December 30, 2005 @ 9:35 pm | Comment

But the fact that many of the people
here are working in China and are often free to attack China in this forum say something about the current leadership of China.

Not really. If this were hosted in China it would be shgut down in seconds, especially if it were in Chinese.

China Hand:

But, if I know that you are from the same idelogical camp as me, then I’d actually listen to some of your aguments about China’s problems today and I would actually agree with a lot of them. But I know that you are not from my ideolgoical camp, I would treat whatever you say as noise, even though they may be totally sensable.

You really are crazy. You admit you won’t listen to any arguments that contradict your own belief system. You are a true Party man, and Chairman Mao would be thrilled to have such a piece of putty in the Red Guard.

December 30, 2005 @ 10:24 pm | Comment

Richard,

That’s still a big progress. What does China need to be for you to acknowledge the progress?

December 30, 2005 @ 10:36 pm | Comment

China Hand said:

“I believe, sp, you, also care about the fate of China. So we can agree to disagree. But I don’t believe most people here (with the exception other Lisa maybe) truly care about the fate of China. They are more like bystanders who snigger and laugh about all these bad things happening in China and happily say “See, I told you.”"

If you honestly believe that all these expats who live and work in China, read about it, write about it and react, fairly or unfairly, to what they perceive as injustices to the Chinese people, are all really just sniggering and laughing at China’s problems, then you really do have a problem China Hand. You’re labelling everyone (save Other Lisa, for unknown reasons) as liars. You’re saying that every thing they’ve written here arguing this or that is bad for the Chinese people is in reality saying “Everybody look, watch the Chinese screw up! Bring popcorn!”, as opposed to what it claims to be: concern and love for the future of the Chinese people and legitimate dissatisfaction with the injustices they face.

Amazing really, that you have this mystical ability to look beyond the computer monitor and somehow detect our true motives. Really what it shows is that you believe that someone who disagrees with you can’t have honorable motives; no, they don’t simply come from a different ideological camp than you. They are disingenuous, they are plotting. They aren’t interested in the historical truth about Mao, no they seek to defame him because that will invalidate the Revolution and help them in their true goal of collapsing China. They aren’t interested in shining a light on injustice in the hopes that knowledge will empower people to change. No, they are simply entertained by the misery of China.

“From 1949 onwards, foreigners dare not whack the children of the Yellow Emperor anymore.

It is this spirit that merits him a national hero.”

To malign Mao, in your world, is to attempt to turn back time from what you say. You think that we criticize him because foreigners would like nothing better than to carve China up again into a colonial country. To you, to criticize Mao automatically means endorsing the “disintegration” of China.

But what does that make you? You tirelessly keep hammering away at us to show why Mao should be eulogized, why you believe he is a national hero. Because you’re afraid that if you take away that hero, somehow China really will collapse. And you know what? Maybe you’re right. Maybe China really needs to glorify Mao and it’s other 20th century heroes. But let’s be clear: if China must have a rose-colored memory of the leaders of its re-emergence, if uncomfortable truths really do threaten to shake China’s foundations and disintegrate the nation, then China is weak. That is a weakness, not a strength.

The real tragedy is that you are responding to an audience of foreigners who have lived, worked, eaten, slept, laughed, cried and loved in China. Most of us blog about China and its problems because we wrestle with the contradictions inherent in Chinese society, just like people wrestle with the contradictions of any society, because no society is consistent. We are the grunts at the frontline of cultural understanding between our societies and China’s. To brush us off as laughing at China is not only unfair, but a loss for China, since you’re basically slapping an outstretched hand of friendship.

If you really believe that two people with different 立场 can’t agree regardless of the sensibility of their arguments, then you’ve eliminated the possibility of dialogue. You’ve declared “With us or against us”, and if you paid any attention to who you’re talking to, I’ve never seen a commenter here, American or not, who agreed with that kind of rhetoric. Indeed, we write, we discuss – to have a discussion is to discount the very possibility of that ultimatum. You’ve essentially told us that you have interest in talking. You simply want to fight, and with the very people who are not your enemy.

December 30, 2005 @ 10:38 pm | Comment

“That’s still a big progress. What does China need to be for you to acknowledge the progress?”

Is the responsibility of Richard or anyone else to make sure they mention one Chinese success every time they mention a failure? Some times it feels like that’s what’s being demanded of us. Like there’s a ledger somewhere and at the end positive and negative comments ought to cancel out.

Is it a good thing Peking Duck isn’t blocked in China? Yes, right now! It has been before. But I think a point that others like SP and Chester have touched on is that one shouldn’t be grateful for scraps. How nice, Richard isn’t being harassed by the government right today. Isn’t it wonderful how progressive they are? Sure, they might block it tomorrow. Hell, I might even type something that sets it off.

So the censorship has reduced. Yes, that’s progress. Is censorship wrong in principle? Yes. So a reduction from 10 wrongs a day to 6 wrongs a day is progress quantitatively, but not qualitatively. Just ask the editor in chief of the Beijing News.

December 30, 2005 @ 10:52 pm | Comment

Thanks Dave. Don’t expect a coherent or sincere answer, though.

Xing: What does China need to be for you to acknowledge the progress?

An open media and rule of law. Until then, we have a police state.

December 30, 2005 @ 10:55 pm | Comment

Finally, Kevin is right that 千万别把我当人 (Please Don’t Call Me Human) is not banned, or has been unbanned, on the Mainland.

Anyway, Kevin was also right that it’s online, in Chinese:

http://www.dqt.com.cn/wx/xd/zpj/wangshuo/dangren/dangren.html

A synopsis from the economist:

In “Please Don’t Call Me Human”, originally published in Chinese in 1989, in the aftermath of the Tiananmen massacre, Mr Wang wheels out all his favourite targets for lampooning. The National Mobilisation Committee (MobCom for short), a farcical cross between the Politburo and a disorganised bunch of entrepreneurs, is searching for a martial-arts hero to avenge China’s loss of face following defeat at a recent international sports competition. Tang Yuanbao, a slacker pedi-cab driver, is selected for a rigorous training programme in order to “beat the shit” out of the opposition and restore glory to China. Along the way, he’s electrocuted, castrated and cuts off his own face—to save China’s—before finally winning the gold medal. The China in-jokes fly thick and fast, but the surreal farce carries through to an apocalyptic close.

Apparently the phrase 千万别把我当人 became something of a catchphrase after the book came out, or at least a few Chinese articles say so.

Amazon Listing Here

December 30, 2005 @ 11:13 pm | Comment

Rule of law, fair and fine; an open media? likes the one in the US where everything goes. I am afraid that our lifes are not long enough to see that.

The pusrpose of my reply is to give a comparision hint to SP who seems have never been to China and holds those views on China that belong to 30 years ago.

December 30, 2005 @ 11:18 pm | Comment

I heard the term “middle kingdom mentality” many times here and elsewhere. I know people like to use this popular phrase. But I don’t know how it fits the people in today’s China. I am moderately educated person. I didn’t know that China has another name called the middle kingdom in English until I came to the US and read it in a book about China. For those guys teaching in China, please tell me how many of your students know the name middle kingdom in English.

December 30, 2005 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

Ok, there’s no point arguing about this. I just want to find out one thing, and please give your sincere answers:

Do you believe that China today is going in the wrong direction, or do you believe it is going in the right direction? The follow up question is then: do you believe that as of today (discounting the “disasters” of Mao), the CCP is the best possible choice for the fate of the the Chinese nation? Or do you believe the CCP should be totally replaced (not reformed) but totally replaced in the immediate future?

My answer is very clear, I believe that China today is in the right direction (I disagree with many policies, but fundamentally, I think China on the whole is going in the right direction.). I believe CCP today, despite all its problems, is the best possible choice for China, and it should be kept alive and vigorous (but with reforms of course). I even have practical solutions for Hu Jintao on how to help the CCP. I believe the period from now to 2010 is a critical transition period for China. The CCP must be able to prevent the lower classes from totally erupting due to the wealth gap and social injustices. This hinges on quickly reforming and enforcing a judicial system that takes care of the needs of lower classes. Sometimes it would mean suppressing certain local protests (that cannot be helped), but in the long run, the problem must be resolved through creating channels for the lower classses to communicate their discontent and let off steam. After 2010, the Chinese economic structure would have adjusted itself such that those problems will be relieved and finally be gone and China would truly have entered a phase of a “medium level developed country”. At that phase, there should be a different set of agendas (such as proactive approaches to solving the Taiwan issue, etc).

December 30, 2005 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

“Do you believe that China today is going in the wrong direction, or do you believe it is going in the right direction? The follow up question is then: do you believe that as of today (discounting the “disasters” of Mao), the CCP is the best possible choice for the fate of the the Chinese nation? Or do you believe the CCP should be totally replaced (not reformed) but totally replaced in the immediate future?”

I believe your questions frame things inappropriately.

Your first question, is it the wrong direction or right direction, it depends on what you’re talking about. Public health? Mine safety? AIDS education? Agricultural taxes? Judiciary? It also depends who you are talking about: the people? The government? The medical community? The lawyers? The peasants? Finally, just because a positive development occurs today doesn’t mean that there can’t be two steps backward tomorrow.

Your follow-up question(s) set up a false dichotomy. You give me two choices: either the CCP is the best of all possible worlds (thank you, Dr. Pangloss) or should be totally replaced immediately. My answer is neither. The CCP is not the best possible choice – in fact, there’s no way to know if it is, since we can’t see the alternate universe in which the Qing Dynasty successfully reformed into a constitutional monarchy, or Sun Yatsen’s vision was triumphant, or anything else turned out differently. The CCP is simply what is there now – the reality of the present. Just as thats a useless exercise in comparing imaginary pats, your alternative is a useless exercise in comparing imaginary futures. CCP replaced by what, exactly?

This is precisely the “with us or against us” mentality I just told you is worthless to engage in. You’re simply attempting to draw lines in the sand, you have no interest in having a civil dialogue with other human beings.

Maybe we should just call you 唐元豹, the guy in Wang Shuo’s book who rips his own face off.

December 30, 2005 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

Xing, about the middle kingdom mentality:

again, I brought that up mainly to make fun of China Hand since he keeps making everything about being either in or out with China. But SP did mention some of the truth of it:

To the Chinese court, those nations bordering China are not more than barbaric, uncivilised vassals. The Manchu rulers took the same view about Britain, France and Japan. Thats why the Chinese emperor demanded foreign envoys to kowtow to him and may not even grant an audience with them. In fact, the Manchu rulers use the Tsungli Yamen to deal with the foreigners, a symbol of treating the Western nations as vassals.

Actually, the 总理衙门 was an innovation of the Qing. Before that there was the 理藩院, which was established to deal with the Mongols, Tibet and Xinjiang. It also dealt with Russians, at least until the 总理衙门 was established in the 1860s. The phrase “middle kingdom mentality” isn’t really a phrase, but what it refers to is something you find in any core reading of Chinese history in English. John King Fairbank first outlined the Confucian worldview as involving a hierarchy of civilizations radiating out from China. As Q Edward Wang pointed out in his paper “History, Space and Ethnicity: The Chinese Worldview” (academic permission required):

On the one hand, the Chinese empire boasted that it was the cultural center of the world; its claim of universalism was based on a moral and cultural order rather than on an ever-victorious military. 12 Confucianism radiated its ethical values and cultural precepts outward from the center of the empire, which was often the capital of the reigning dynasty. On the other hand, while the ideal recipients of this cultural radiation would be China’s neighbors, there was no guarantee that they would necessarily conform to the teachings of Confucianism. Consequently, as summarized by Fairbank, three zones were formed, according to these neighbors’ cultural affinities to and geographical distances from China. The first was known as the “Sinic Zone” and consisted of Korea, Vietnam, [End Page 289] and, at brief times, Japan. The second was the “Inner Asian Zone,” to which most non-Han ethnic groups of nomadic tribes belonged. And the third was the “Outer Zone,” which included regions in Southeast and South Asia, as well as Europe in later ages. 13

The difference among the states in these three zones could be seen in nomenclature: most states in the Sinic Zone were given a name, such as Chaoxian (Korea) or Riben (Japan), whose derogatory meaning was either nonexistent or eventually lost. States in the Inner Asian and Outer Zones were simply referred to by names such as yi, fan, and man, all terms used to designate “barbarians” in the Chinese language. The continuous use of these contemptuous terms by the Chinese to refer to their neighbors inevitably suggests their ethnocentrism.

As Richard Smith points out in his study of Chinese cartography:

That is, one of the emperor’s traditional “domestic” concerns as the ruler of “all under Heaven” was the management of foreign peoples–whether on the periphery of his realm or beyond. These “barbarians” (yi, fan, etc.), although by definition not fully Chinese, were all at least theoretically the emperor’s “subjects.” Many of them periodically sent him local products, designated “tribute” (gong), and, in return, expected the Son of Heaven to protect and nurture them. From a Chinese standpoint, this highly refined system of “guest ritual” (binli), which allowed foreigners the opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to the Chinese emperor, was the logical extension of an ancient “feudal” structure of lord-vassal relationships. Although the tributary system underwent many permutations over time, what remained constant was a highly refined vocabulary of imperial condescension that at once emphasized the inferiority and encouraged the loyalty of all China’s tributaries, far and near. It was this Sinocentric assumption of universalistic overlordship–the idea of a Chinese “empire without neighbors”–that blurred the distinction between maps of “China” and Chinese maps of “the world.”

Smith also points out in his book, China’s Cultural Heritage, that Chinese descriptions of the Inner Asian Zone and Outer Zone would have increasing references to barbarians as “dogs” who could only be kept in line with policies like giving them beatings.

So while it’s true China’s dynasties didn’t really follow the modern concept of a “nation”, it had a deeply rooted hierarchy of civilizations based on their proximity and similarity to Han culture. Ethnocentrism is certainly something that most cultures have been guilty of, but China of course had its own style of doing it.

December 31, 2005 @ 12:33 am | Comment

Dave,

I read many of Fairbank’s books on China years ago so I know what you are talking about. Another word is “barbaric” or “hairy men” that some Chinese called westerners in the ancient time. Again, I knew all these only after I came to the US. I am sure that most Chinese do not know these either. But it is still fairly common of outsider’s perception on the Chinese. And when an US leader goes to China to talk to the Chinese leaders, one often sees some editorials saying: don’t kowtow to the Chinese, another phrase from history.

December 31, 2005 @ 1:13 am | Comment

You’re labelling everyone (save Other Lisa, for unknown reasons) as liars. Er, well, as long as I have some mysterious credibility here, can I say that I’ve been a China optimist for a while, especially given what I saw of the country in 1979, but that recent events are really worrying me? At the risk of regurgitating the same points I make in just about every other post, this media crackdown strikes me as incredibly counterproductive. If you don’t have real political competition and you are trying to deal with massive corruption between officials and businessmen, a watchdog press is your best ally. But if you crack down on the press, try to pretend that problems don’t exist, that incidents like those in Dongzhou are the work of “criminals” or “agitators,” all the while preaching the gospel of “social harmony” – you know what, that isn’t going to fly forever.

The size of China’s population, the massive social dislocations of recent years, the environmental degradation that is literally killing the population with cancers and respiratory diseases and withering farmers’ crops, the lack of a healthcare or comprehensive social welfare system – these are big problems. I think they can be dealt with, but first they have to be faced. I think there are people in China’s current government who really do get this stuff and want to do the right thing – but how are they supposed to fight against petty authoritarians and corrupt officials and businessmen who are only out for themselves and their families when even speaking the truth is dangerous? When a NYT researcher is in danger of a long prison term of even execution for “revealing state secrets” – which was that Jiang Zemin was about to retire? When witnesses who could testify in his behalf aren’t permitted to do so because they are “foreigners”?

That’s just one example, and there are plenty more to be found here on this blog.

We post this stuff because we care, because we hate injustice, and because we want to see China succeed. Aside from my personal affection for China and China’s people, I don’t believe the world can afford a “failed” China.

At this point, China’s social and environmental problems are urgent. Having patience is one thing – but some of this stuff can’t wait all that much longer, before the costs become incredibly high.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s just China. The US is a wealthy country and doesn’t have a lot of the structural problems that China has to deal with. But we have some major ticking time-bombs of our own, and I’m not necessarily that confident that we’ll figure out which wire to cut before our time runs out…

December 31, 2005 @ 1:51 am | Comment

China_hand,

“But I think Mao is a hero and a Nationalist and I love him for that. And most Chinese share my view. If you don’t believe me, go to China and ask a random sample of 100 people and come back with your data.

Now you ask me, but WHY do you like him? Well I don’t know, and I cannot give you stats to prove why he’s so great. There’s a saying in China that goes “A son does not look down on his mom for being ugly”.

What if your mom is a convicted serial killer and is now in jail. Would you still love her? I mean she did kill several people. Well at the end of the day, she’s still your mom and you’d still love her, right? Sure, the victims will her hate for life, and justifiably so. But you will still love her and go see her in jail, right?

I like Mao because I feel in touch with him, I like him from the bottom of my heart. No amount of stats can change that for me.

I can’t convince you of this, I know. You are from a different ideological camp. In Chinese, your “Li Chang” is different from mine. We have a different outlook on life, on the world. We believe what we want to believe, so let’s just stop at that, ok? ”

I won’t not dare to do that, because i will be arrested by the Public Security Bureau if i ever do such a poll. They will then name me a “reactionary”, “a rebel” and “a counter-revoluttionary” which ever name they deemed fit. This is the China today, with an advanced economic structure but a political system that still resembles the dynasties that had ruled China for 5000 years. Its an autocratic regime, disguising it as a “People’s Republic” under the Red Flag. Its a sham.

You are under the total spell of Mao’s cult of personality. A hero? Did he ever went into exile like Dr Sun? Was he ever caught by the KMT like Sun had been caught by the Manchus in London?

Like i said, a true nationalist puts the nation before himself, when did Mao ever do that? When? Instead, he was more interested in personal gain and power, and would sarcrifice the people if it stands in his way for power and prestige? How can a selfish leader like that be a nationalist? Why don’t you respect others like the Huang Hua Gang 72 Martyrs more? They were far more nationalistic than that monstrous Mao. Or even Deng Shi Chang? He tried to ram his own naval vassal into Yamato, the Japanese warship during the Sino-Jap War of 1905 when his fleet was on the verge of defeat. There were thousands of martyrs more worthy of love and respect than the Red Emperor, Why are you so stupid and yu1 fu3? To name Mao a nationalist is tainting the reputationn of all the nationalistic martyrs in Chinese history.

As for your mother and son analogy, it is irrelevant and fallacious. Mao is not the mother, he was the leader of China. As a leader, people look up to you and have certain expectations of you. A mother and son relationship cannot be used as a gauge for affiliation with a leader. He is supposed to be entrusted by the people to lead the nation. In this, Mao not only failed as a leader, he betrayed the people’s trust by slaughtering them. He is a total hun1 jun1!

I can never convince you not because our “li chang” is different, but you are poisoned and brainwashed by Maoist lies beyond cure. But i have to stop you right here and right now from tarnishing China’s real heroes by associating Mao with them and putting Mao on par with the national heroes.

December 31, 2005 @ 2:37 am | Comment

xing,

“Rule of law, fair and fine; an open media? likes the one in the US where everything goes. I am afraid that our lifes are not long enough to see that.

The pusrpose of my reply is to give a comparision hint to SP who seems have never been to China and holds those views on China that belong to 30 years ago.”

Dr Sun was working so hard to achieve all that. A free press, abolition of the feudal system, civil rights, checks and balances in a political system and the most important one, democratic constitutional rule in China.

What has the CCP and Mao done when they came to power in 1949? Yes they did draw up a constitution for China, but they themselves don’t even respect the rights gurantee to the people under the PRC constitution. In essence, any constitutions to Mao and the CCP are just pieces of paper good gor wiping the ass. They don’t give a damn about what they had promised in 1949.

You never answer any of my questions thrown to you. If you want to prove the “progress” in China, then petition to the PRC for democracy, more civil liberties or even let your face be on the TV screen when they ask for your comments for Tiananmen. I won’t be surprised that you will be named a “reactionary element” or a “foreign spy” giving all the mo4 xu1 you3 crimes and “re-educate” you.

Look at Jiang Yanyong, the one who exposed the govt’s inept response to Sars. Look at his plight. Put under house arrest for doing the right thing. Would you mind looking up the dictionary for the meaning of the word “progress”.

My blood boils when i talk to you. Your notions made Chinese people look stupid and illogical. I would think the Russians are stupid if any of them come and defend Stalin in the same fashion.

December 31, 2005 @ 2:55 am | Comment

xing,

“China is far from a free nation. But the fact that many of the people here are working in China and are often free to attack China in this forum say something about the current leadership of China.”

I have been reading richard blog and still reading it because he is only criticising the CCP and the authoritarian regime, which are sadly truths. He never once attacked the Chinese people, or laughed at their culture nor did he use any racist remarks on the Chinese. He is only unhappy with the CCP, not China nor its people.

Somehow, when you grow up in the PRC, i just felt sorry for you. You cannot differentiate China from the CCP. The Party is the Party, they don’t own the country. You are just being Dan3 Guo2 Bu4 Fen1 when you think richard is attacking China.

December 31, 2005 @ 3:03 am | Comment

China_hand,

“The problem is , like I said, we and you are from different ideological camps. In Chinese, that means our “positions” are different. We are from two different worlds, you are not on the same team as mine. I’m not saying that your arguments are flawed. From your perspective, your arguments make total sense. Unfortunately, I don’t share your perspective, so even a perfectly sensible argument is totally ridiculous to me.

But, if I know that you are from the same idelogical camp as me, then I’d actually listen to some of your aguments about China’s problems today and I would actually agree with a lot of them. But I know that you are not from my ideolgoical camp, I would treat whatever you say as noise, even though they may be totally sensable.”

Another fallacious attempt to cover up Maoist shortcomings. So in the same trend of thought, do have i have to be a communist so that what i say will be truths?

You are simply saying, if you and i are communists, you would accept everything i say are truths simply because we are ideological twins even if what i have said are blatant lies.

On the other hand, if i am a non-communist, but you are a communist, even if i speak the truth, you would not accept it just because i am of a different ideology.

China_hand, what kind of logic is that? You thinking like a Maoist and prepare to enslave your self to an ideology that is anything but the truth.

Remmber, unthinking adherence to an ideology is the greatest enemy of truths.

December 31, 2005 @ 3:11 am | Comment

sp-
Simply, China_hand does not care about truth. He is indeed interested in fabricating ideological camps to bypass truth.

December 31, 2005 @ 4:21 am | Comment

Oh, by the way China_Hand, don’t you call Chairman Mao a Nationalist and “love him for that”. He lao-ren-jia would not be able to lie still if he hears it!

December 31, 2005 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Of course one of the biggest – and most overlooked – lies of the Communist Party, is that it’s both Marxist AND nationalist. Categorically, a Marxist cannot be a nationalist.

But ONE kind of socialist can be a nationalist. A national socialist, aka,
a Nazi. Thus the CCP’s heritage is not from Marx, but from Hitler.

December 31, 2005 @ 5:42 am | Comment

‘Middle Kingdom’ isn’t some sohpisticated judgement english speakers make on china, its just a literal translation of ?? that’s thrown in to the first sentence of any guidebook on china to fill up space. so ‘middle kingdom’ is a notion all chinese are familiar with. there are similar phrases like ‘all under heaven’ ?? and ‘everything between the four seas’ ???? that referred to what the emperor had power over that are universally known.

December 31, 2005 @ 9:16 am | Comment

that’s the one thing i dislike about macs is their chinese input has a lot to be deisred…
i was trying to type
zhongguo
tianxia
sihaizhinei

December 31, 2005 @ 9:21 am | Comment

Jeff,

But if you talk to the Chinese on the mainland, I am sure very few of them have ever though of China as the center of the universe. Just as the Chinese name for America, most people think as it is, not the so-called beatiful country.

December 31, 2005 @ 12:42 pm | Comment

SP,

I do agree with some of your points, but your idealistic approach won’t work for China. The reason is very simple: the vast majority of Chinese don’t think in the same way as you do.

So, if you have only lemon, you make lemonage. By the design from your theoretical purity, there will be no problems for China, indeed for the world.

You want the Chinese to feel ashamed of themselves and cry. Guess what, the vast majority of them laught more often than ever before; and they feel quite good about the future. If you are angry at them for feeling good for the wrong or stupid reasons, then it is your problem, not theirs.

In a sense, China has the same advantage as the US does, both countries are vast, they can often ignore how people from outside look at them and do what they think is right for their countries. And let me stop here.

December 31, 2005 @ 1:20 pm | Comment

>He is only unhappy with the CCP, not China nor its people.

Yes, that’s true. I don’t often seen people like Richard, Dave and Other Lisa use the words “communist china”. But if you check the threads that have something to do with China, you don’t find many without this kind of words. Those people are living and working in China and they seem to be quite safe from the China government.

It is easy to say that the party is not related to the Chinese people. If a Chinese says something bad about th US system, sometime people accept it, sometime they do not and get testy.

December 31, 2005 @ 1:47 pm | Comment

Newspapers sold from one to another is common business deal. NBC is part of GE Company, and is rumored to be sold to another company. It is a good sign for the privitization of media, is that not what you want?

December 31, 2005 @ 3:05 pm | Comment

You keep saying how you really care about China, and how you truly want China to succeed.

If that really is the case, why are you not writing articles that actually discuss in-depth issues on China, such as her economy, health insurance, migrant workers, relationships with USA/Japan, Taiwan problem, etc etc?

This blog does not seem to be occupied by people who truly cared about China, it feel more like run by an “opposition party” whose job is to highlight how tragic the lives of Chinese are.

All we get is “more tragedies in China”, “look, another tragedy in China”, “Oh China is going down tubes”, “Oh, this country is hopeless”.

If you read Chinese, I invite you to some major online forums run overseas Mainland Chinese: http://www.creaders.net
http://www.wenxuecity.com

Those forums have people who spent half of their lives in China, and are truly Chinese in every way. And they post articles that actually have real meaningful advice on China on all issues (yes, including democracy too). So in those forum, you see some of the “oh another tragedy in China!”, but you also get “China’s energy strategy in the next 20 years”. You get “A commeoration for the victims of 1989.” , but you also get “Some advice for Hu Jintao in dealing with Chen Shuibian” (written by the same person!).

And even their “Look, another tragedy in China” posts offer real and in depth advice, instead of just some generic “the gov’t is so bad!” speeches.

December 31, 2005 @ 3:22 pm | Comment

Xing, I was trying to say that ‘middle kingdom’ is an empty term to begin with and that English speakers don’t really think the Chinese believe they are the center of the world, its just that someone used it that way in a post to make whatever point it was they were making.

December 31, 2005 @ 4:54 pm | Comment

China_Hand, I care most of all about injustices against the Chinese people. Period. Most of my posts on America are about injustices against Americans. I’ve given lots of very constructive advice to Hu Jintao, but he rarely if ever listens to me. Imagine that.

People who did what they did to Wang Binyu are scum, and they aren’t looking for constructive criticism. They need to be stopped.

December 31, 2005 @ 8:00 pm | Comment

xing,

“I do agree with some of your points, but your idealistic approach won’t work for China. The reason is very simple: the vast majority of Chinese don’t think in the same way as you do.

So, if you have only lemon, you make lemonage. By the design from your theoretical purity, there will be no problems for China, indeed for the world.

You want the Chinese to feel ashamed of themselves and cry. Guess what, the vast majority of them laught more often than ever before; and they feel quite good about the future. If you are angry at them for feeling good for the wrong or stupid reasons, then it is your problem, not theirs.

In a sense, China has the same advantage as the US does, both countries are vast, they can often ignore how people from outside look at them and do what they think is right for their countries. And let me stop here.”

Whay do you mean by idealistic? Who are you to appoint yourself as the spokesman of all the 1.3 billion Chinese people?

Instituting the rule of law, constitutional rule, have a transparent and accountable government which is solely and completely elected by the people democratically, having a free press, civil liberties etc were all what the martyrs of the 1911 Revolution and Dr Sun had hoped for in modern China. You called that idealisitc? You are a shame of the Chinese nation, ignoring the right of the Chinese nation to shake off the shackles of oppression and autocratic rule. I am right about the Maoists, which you are one, as the traitors of the Chinese nation, because the rights of our fellow countrymen are “idealistic” to you. What sort of Chinese are you? Traitor! Time and again you choose to side with the feudal rulers who hide their true colours behind the red flag, your conscience as a Chinese has been eaten by a dog!

I never wanted the Chinese to feel ashamed of themselves. Its precisely of all the oppression and fear that they cannot lift up their heads high and proud because their own government is a ruthless oppressor of their own rights, entirely uncompatible with the civilised millenium we are living in. Whats wrong with fighting for the well-being of the Chinese nation?

Remember, the whole thread started as a debate because you and China_hand shamelessly defended Mao as a great national hero. Pls stop dodging the issue and offer answers to all the crimes of Mao committed against the Chinese people. He singlehanded mount a genocide against his own people. To me, he was as bad as the war criminals being honoured at Yasukuni Shrine.

January 2, 2006 @ 12:15 am | Comment

Mao betrayed his duty of care, he made the defacement of his image a crime punishable by death and he raised himself above the level of the people that he was meant to be serving.

This was worse than the Japanese invasion, at least Japan was the enemy, Mao killed his own.

January 2, 2006 @ 2:34 am | Comment

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