Nostalgic 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

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

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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