Blind Rage, Part XXLLVIII: China’s Fengqing

We’ve read and talked about China’s angry, űber-patriotic youth before, especially in the light of their uncontrolled fury toward Japan, which blossomed into a front-page intertnational story last April. This massive new article offers a good primer on the topic.

From a tidy apartment crammed with canvases, paintbrushes and his all-important computer, Wang Lei is a foot soldier in the fight for China’s glory.

Online, this soft-spoken art instructor becomes a hard-line patriot. He savages Japan for growing “militarism.” He urges his national leaders to actively confront foes. And he chides the U.S. for its “hostile” policy toward China.

Wang is part of an increasingly influential slice of Chinese society known as the fenqing, or angry youth. Depending on who is talking, the title can mean “striving youth” or “idiotic youth,” underscoring a deepening divide over this unpredictable ingredient in today’s China.

Young activists have a mythic political history in China, from anti-Japanese protesters of 1919 to Red Guard zealots of the Cultural Revolution and democracy advocates who filled Tiananmen Square in 1989. Indeed, these new nationalists–who subvert the stereotype of Chinese youth as a uniformly liberal force–are shaping how leaders tackle sensitive issues.

“Some people think we are just talking about China and Japan’s past,” Wang said of his nationalist writings, “but I try to make people understand that this is about the future.”

The young activists led anti-Japan protests last year that drew thousands into the streets, until authorities, worried the protests could veer into domestic issues, silenced them. This year they became caught up in the government side of censorship, when authorities cited nationalists’ criticism of a liberal essay as a reason to shut down its publisher, one of China’s most outspoken investigative journals.

Equal parts pawns and provocateurs, they have buttressed some hard-line Chinese policies at home and abroad, as leaders seek to defuse domestic tension and define a new global profile. In foreign affairs, China has responded to nationalists by drawing a sharper line against Japan, helping to drag China-Japan relations to the lowest point in years.

But this was my favorite part:

The art professor, Wang, 36, knows the government is wary of group activism, so he vents his politics through his art. For one recent piece, he erected a wooden statue of Japanese Emperor Hirohito and invited Chinese passersby to whip it with a chain. After spending nearly $3,000 on his political pieces, he hopes a gallery will pick up the tab for his dream project: creating bronze statues of Japanese politicians and then melting them with a blowtorch.

“In my analysis Japan is a lot like Germany before World War II, so we must oppose that,” he said. “Otherwise Japan could engage other countries and start a war. This is very dangerous.”

And this guy is a profesor. No wonder so many emerge from the school system brainwashed and crazed. At least on the topic of Japan.

Via CDT.

The Discussion: 8 Comments

Boy, I can’t wait until these fenqing come to power…in which generation of future CCP leadership are they generally placed?

March 1, 2006 @ 1:45 am | Comment

Or on the topic of Taiwan, or on the topic of the USA, or on the topic of their own history, or….ad infinitum…

March 1, 2006 @ 2:35 am | Comment

Like Germany before WW II.? That guy desparately needs some history lessons.

March 1, 2006 @ 3:00 am | Comment

This is known as “an in ternalized mentality”. It means that no matter what the truth is, you are unable to see or accept it, and instead twist the world around to fit your own internal vision.

It is very dangerous and is also a halmark of radical Islam.

As For Japan’s “Growing Militarism”, maybe he needs to look at Japan’s defense spending.

Last year, Japan slashed its defense budget in order to pay for increased social welfare for its aging population.

As such, Japan slashed the number of tanks and artilery peices in its ground defense force, cut the number of planes in its air defense force and reduced overall self defense force manpower.

The only thing that Japan has increased in its military spending, is the amount of money spent on anti-missile defenses.

Oh, and Japan has NO ARMY, only a self defense foce that lacks ANY long ranged weapons.

In short, Japan couldn’t be a military agressor even if it wanted to. It’s constitution bars it from having any armed forces other than those nessisary to defend its shorline. No nuke, no ICBMs, no strike bombers. No nothing.

March 1, 2006 @ 3:12 am | Comment


To any Americans thinking of accusing Japan of re arming or being agressive because of the missile sheild, remember this.

Japan is the front line against any missile attacks against the US from China or North Korea.

Any new defense’s that Japan puts up, are to defend YOUR freedom and YOUR way of life. Japan is too close to China and Kora for missile defenses to be much good.

March 1, 2006 @ 3:17 am | Comment

“In my analysis Japan is a lot like Germany before World War II …”

Shorely shome mishtake, old boy.

Substitute China for Japan in that sentence and we have an authoritarian, nationalistic one-party state with a highly developed sense of victimhood, seeing itself as the victim of historical wrongs, and commited to the “historical realisation” of reunifying its “lost territories”.

March 1, 2006 @ 3:25 am | Comment

Projection is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

I actually think China is very similar to Germany in the 1900s – an old nation revived, authoritarian capitalism, strong nationalism among the youth …

March 1, 2006 @ 4:41 am | Comment

If you are talking about “憤青”or “憤怒青年“,the angry youth, it should be “FenQing” not “FengQing”

“FengQing” means the great view of natural environment or the flirtatious expressions

March 20, 2006 @ 10:11 pm | Comment

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