Good Americans

Somewhere in the blitz of articles and threads and forums going on about the Virginia Tech massacre I saw a prediction that now Americans would turn on South Koreans and lay bare their racism. I never believed it for an instant (what does the shooter’s race have to do with anything?). And when I read this a few minutes go I felt the kind of pride I used to feel as a boy about America, a feeling that, sadly, I haven’t felt in a long time.

The day before yesterday, the Student Government Association of Virginia Tech sent an e-mail of appreciation to the Korean Embassy in the United States, in spite of its own agonies after the horrific massacre at Virginia Tech. In the letter, the students acknowledged their gratitude for the compassion and condolences that President Roh Moo-hyun, the leaders of Korea and other Koreans have demonstrated.

“Our strongest feelings are those channeled towards restoring sanctity and safety for students and people of all ethnicities, faiths, and representations. We are grateful to the Republic of Korea for expressing solidarity in this common pursuit,” read the message from the SGA. It also said, “(The) actions of one man will not and do not serve as a barrier between our students and the people of Korea.”

You can say a lot of negative things about America nowadays, and I’ll agree with many of the criticisms. But it’s still a great country with great people. I know, I know – that sounds trite and mawkish. But that’s okay once in a while. After looking evil in the face, literally, all week, maybe it’s time to take a look at man’s better side, exemplified by these wonderful students.

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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: 114 Comments

I understand most of the predictions that “Americans would turn on South Koreans and lay bare their racism” came from Koreans. Perhaps they were projecting.

April 22, 2007 @ 4:29 pm | Comment

i’m thinking it’s more that they learned their lesson from the LA riots.

April 22, 2007 @ 6:01 pm | Comment

So Ferins, you think these 20-somethings did this because of what they learned in the LA riots 16 years ago. That sounds awfully far-fetched to me, and a bit cynical as well. Could it just be that maybe that they’re decent people?

April 22, 2007 @ 10:32 pm | Comment

I will never, ever understand the intense hatred many around the world feel for the United States. Yes, the leaders make poor choices. Very, very poor choices at times.
But, no, the common man/woman is now and (I hope) will always be an exceptional example of goodness, decency and empathy. I am very proud of my avatar and in this hip, post-modern, meme- filled world (I learned that word here…), I show it proudly. Sorry if that sounds corny…

April 22, 2007 @ 10:48 pm | Comment

Guess ya have to go to…
http://www.pekingduck.org/pond//viewforum.php?f=2

…to see the avatar. Oh, well…post something while you’re over there! The pond is full of moss!

April 22, 2007 @ 10:53 pm | Comment

Canrun, I agree with your point about Americans. Maybe the animosity is a mixture of jealousy at the nation’s success in spite of what seems like its people’s hopeless naivete and lack of sophistication…Maybe it’s because to them America is its government, in which case I can see a lot of people bearing us animus.

By the way, I no longer have time to even look at the Duckpond and will probably close it down soon. It had a great run for over a year, but it’s time to put it to sleep.

April 22, 2007 @ 11:02 pm | Comment

This is too simple, too naive.

Of course everything the Virginia Tech students do will be shown in the national media. So they want to show the country and world that they are very “generous”, very “forgiving”, very “superior”, has high moral ground. These kind of “being kind to everyone, including the killer” and “forgiving” messages are a publicity show, to earn moral high ground and praise from people. Only children or very simpletons will be “touched” by those.

If you want to know their true feelings, talk to them privately, or listen to some nightly radio shows, or go to the South, this is where their true feelings will show. Last week, many Americans in school came to me and said “don’t feel so guilty about this shooting”. Why fuck should I feel guilty!?!?!

Also, when Cho Seung-Hui was in high school, his classmates often yelled at him and told him to “Go Back to China”. If someone told me to go back to China, I will not feel so angry, because I indeed plan to go back to China soon. But for Cho Seung-Hui, He is not even Chinese, he already is a permanent US resident, him and his family plans to live in this land forever. And his classmates tell him to “Go Back to China”.

April 23, 2007 @ 1:46 am | Comment

Those students from the SGA are wonderful, and mature beyond their years.

Also, from what I’ve seen over here in the States, mainstream media coverage of the tragedy has in general been thoughtful and subdued. Some sensationalism (those videos!), which is par for the course I guess, but absolutely no racial rhetoric.

P.S. I think it’s wise to differentiate between hating Americans and being critical of America, just as it’s wise to differentiate between hating the Chinese and being critical of China.

April 23, 2007 @ 1:55 am | Comment

P.P.S. Maybe it’s time to ban HongXing. There’s not much entertainment value left.

April 23, 2007 @ 1:58 am | Comment

Actually Richard I think what Ferins meant was that the Korean and Korean American community has learned a lesson from the L.A. Riots, which prompted their eagerness to apologize for the actions of Cho.

Here in the Bay Area, a lot of local newscasts have interviewed people in the Korean American community for their reactions and many brought up the LA Riots. The Latasha Harlins shooting in South Central occurred just one year before the LA riots, and contributed a lot to the simmering tensions between the Korean and African-American communities that exploded in 1992.

But the Latasha Harlins and Virginia Tech shootings are very different. A great column in Friday’s Washington Post sums it up nicely.

April 23, 2007 @ 3:55 am | Comment

An article last week in the The Christian Science Monitor by So Youngho suggested an interesting counter-factual:

“Several of the [Koreans] interviewed added that had an American student living in South Korea killed 32 people, American expatriates would face serious reprisals. To describe such an eventuality, many interviewees used the word nallinada, which can be loosely translated to mean upheaval, disaster, or chaos.”

Now there are important differences. Korea has a long history of foreign occupation, and the US maintains a contoversial military presence on the peninsula, as such it is possible that some Koreans perceive the Americans in their country differently than, say, Americans view Koreans in the United States. But I thought it worth mentioning.

April 23, 2007 @ 8:26 am | Comment

One of the reasons that you won’t see a racist response to the ethnic identity of the shooter is…take a look at his victims. They were Americans, from every conceivable ethnic background; they were foreign students and professors as well. I think back to Richard’s post about the Chinese American student who was killed – I went and looked at his tribute page. His friends were such a wonderful mix of people. His prom date had a last name that I’m guessing was…Persian?

America has tons of problems, and the leadership of the last 7 years has been a shameful nightmare. But one thing I do love, and I always will, is that we aren’t all the same, we come from everywhere, and that really is our strength.

April 23, 2007 @ 8:37 am | Comment

yes. i was responding to boo’s comments; south korea is probably afraid of reactions like the la riots. to any of us there are obvious differences; but to people in south korea it’s just “americans” regardless of the circumstances.

April 23, 2007 @ 11:57 am | Comment

>>But I thought it worth mentioning.

On Jeremiah’s point: I discussed this issue with a Chinese friend of mine the other day.

What if an American student killed 32 people at a Chinese university? His one-word response: “run.”

What if a Japanese student killed 32 people at a Chinese university? His one-word response: “war.”

If that S. Korean guy were Iranian, perhaps the reaction in the US would have been different — people in certain quarters would definitely have tried to exploit it.

April 23, 2007 @ 1:35 pm | Comment

Jeremiah,

Reference; “Now there are important differences. Korea has a long history of foreign occupation…”

Actually, it does not, though that point is continually driven home in Korean education. It is a truism, and like most truisms has some basis in fact, but ain’t necessarily so. Japanese de facto occupation lasted from 1895 to 1945 in fact, and from 1905 to 1945 de jure. Japanese were also present in Korea from 1592 through 1599, but Korea remained governed by the the Choseon dynasty during that period. The Mongols, Jurchens, Mings, and Manchus also had influence over the Korean kings are various periods, and Americans occupied the country from 1945 until 1948, when the ROK was declared. All in all, par for the course. Indeed, Korea has had more stability that many European countries. Dr. Andrei Lankov penned an article on just this subject a short while ago. I’ll try to find it.

April 23, 2007 @ 2:46 pm | Comment

Sorry, it’s apparently available only through subscription: http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200608/kt2006083118590054130.htm

April 23, 2007 @ 2:52 pm | Comment

Lirelou,

Perhaps I should have been clearer. More of a history of recent foreign occupation than, say, Virginia.

(Leaving aside for a moment the views of the Confederate War Reenactors Guild and the Daughters of the American Revolution.)

April 23, 2007 @ 11:42 pm | Comment

Adding to Lirelou’s brief correction of perception versus reality in Korean history, there is also a difference in media between the two countries. US media employees and audiences are diverse, just like America. Korean-language Korean media is written and broadcast by Koreans for Koreans, and thus has no qualms about sensationalizing crimes committed by foreigners and under or misreporting crimes committed by Koreans against foreign nationals. Biased, or seemingly biased reporting, like the Korean presentation of Cho’s name, elicit protests from offended viewers and readers, which the US media must respond to. Korea is 99% Korean, and it is blissfully easy for the Korean media to ignore the dissenting voices of the 1% of the population that is offended by nationalistic and jingoistic reporting.

April 24, 2007 @ 1:31 am | Comment

Putting aside the overdone issue of Cho’s nationality, I am glad to see that a sizable minority of my fellow Americans are able to forgive Cho owing to his apparent mental illness. At the VT memorial site, there is now a thirty-third stone to represent Cho. Considering how raw the wounds must be in the Blacksburg community, it is commendable that people directly touched by the tragedy are able to understand and forgive. I do not think such forgiveness has anything to do with American culture. I believe there are people everywhere who can empathize and forgive those who do wrong.

April 24, 2007 @ 1:36 am | Comment

HongXing, who suggests that the Virginia Tech students are putting on a “publicity show, to earn moral high ground and praise from people,” has then obviously been informed that all news media has been instructed to leave the VT campus.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070422/ap_on_re_us/virginia_tech_shooting_428

As for their message of forgiveness which HongXing seemingly detests, it is a practice of the Christian faith – of which the majority of VT students belong to – which HongXing is obviously unaccustomed to, and curiously has little regard for.

April 24, 2007 @ 1:38 am | Comment

@Americans
Erm, I completely agree with what you\’re saying. The US is a wonderful example to the rest of the world. I never for an instant believed that US citizens would react in a racist way against Koreans. Even after 911, I never saw anything that seriously shook my view of Americans as being particularly good at disregarding race when needs be. (I\’m a Brit, by the way.)
But, canrun: \”I will never, ever understand the intense hatred many around the world feel for the United States.\”
I think you\’re showing a disastrous lack of imagination, there. Say that anti-Americanism is unfair; say that it is based in jealousy; say that it is ignorant, and a political tool. But to say that you don\’t understand it? And you live in China? I think you – everyone – really need to understand it. Because it\’s not going away any time soon, and understanding it tells you a lot about people.
\”But, no, the common man/woman is now and (I hope) will always be an exceptional example of goodness, decency and empathy.\”
Here you lose me. Are you now saying that Americans are better than other people? How is that better than the anti-Americanism you\’re complaining about?
Songagi: \”I do not think such forgiveness has anything to do with American culture.\”
Up to a point. There are good people with lots of forgiveness in every country. But you\’re talking about a public marker of forgiveness, and that\’s everything to do with culture. While I don\’t think Chinese people are any worse (or better) that Americans, like 88s points out: if this incident had happened in China, there is no way in hell there would be a stone anywhere for the shooter. Though people might personally harbor feelings of understanding, it would be impossible to mark it publicly.

US culture is incredibly strong, vibrant and positive. It supports Americans, and they would not be as strong/good/great without it. Immigrants to the US are highly successful for just this reason: the culture embraces them. The people make the culture, but the culture makes the people, too – and you can\’t claim all of that as a personal achievement.

April 24, 2007 @ 3:18 am | Comment

“As for their message of forgiveness which HongXing seemingly detests, it is a practice of the Christian faith”

get off your high horse. the notion of “christian morality” is a fantasy.

“”What if an American student killed 32 people at a Chinese university? His one-word response: “run.”

What if a Japanese student killed 32 people at a Chinese university? His one-word response: “war.”"

and if a white man killed 32 blacks at a university? or a hmong hunter kills 6 white people? oh right, the next year a random hmong gets murdered and there are racist signs/slogans/bumper stickers everywhere, advocating the murder of hmongs. the difference is that this case is not as clean cut.

many people need to get over their fantasy of “superior morality” over china.

April 24, 2007 @ 5:19 am | Comment

88:

What if the killer was a Japanese Brazilian in Sao Paulo, or a Chinese Canadian in Toronto? Or what if the killer was a Vietnamese with permanent Italian residency in Rome?

April 24, 2007 @ 5:32 am | Comment

My theory of why anti-Americanism is so strong in the world is Americans’ own sense of exceptionalism, in a way displayed quite well in this thread. Phil, you nailed it.

April 24, 2007 @ 5:37 am | Comment

Ferins,

I think you ought to give credit to people in most countries of the New Continent (with some exceptions such as Argentina), and some countries in the Old Continents (such as the UK, France), are less inclined to to see individual cases in racial context — because many of them have the opposite experience in real life.

April 24, 2007 @ 6:00 am | Comment

for what it’s worth, but the track record in america isn’t exactly spotless.

April 24, 2007 @ 6:06 am | Comment

Ferins/Jxie

Americans do not have a a monopoly on the Christian faith and Christian does not have a monopoly on all the moral high ground. But the Vtech students did show the core of the Christian faith ie forgiveness for each other as God has forgiven them for their wrong doings. A true Christian does not dare to occupy any moral high ground as their salvation is based strictly on the forgiveness given from God freely and not any of their own doing.

Your paradigm in which you view the world tends to divide rather than embrace others. You have most to lose from such views not others.
America for all its faults is a reasonably successful country by any measures because it is an immigrant country and it readily embrace new immigrants more readily than most other countries.

April 24, 2007 @ 7:38 am | Comment

“Christian does not have a monopoly on all the moral high ground.”

tell that to Kelly. the kids at VT are nice, they’d be nice even if many of them weren’t Christian. my viewpoints don’t really divide anyone, but the idea that non-Christians have no morality or capacity for forgiveness is utterly ridiculous.

April 24, 2007 @ 7:47 am | Comment

A week ago, I saw an African man looking confused in the subway and I asked him if he needed help. He asked me how to find a subway station and we started talking. It turned out we were both teachers and we started comparing notes. After awhile he started telling me “The Chinese are the most racist people in the world.”

ferins, JXie, I want to ask you a question. Why did this man think the Chinese are the most racist in the world?

April 24, 2007 @ 8:10 am | Comment

Kenzhou,

I don’t think such a statement from an Afican man means much. I am sure if you ask Afican Americans, many of them will say to you that US is the most racist country in the world.

A statement likes this really needs to be backed up by many, many good examples or proofs. Someone made similar statement in another thread some time ago; and the best examples he could cite are those like The Riot of Nanjing.

April 24, 2007 @ 8:42 am | Comment

>>many people need to get over their fantasy of “superior morality” over china.

Uh, the guy who said “run” and “war” was Chinese. I guess he has a “fantasy of ‘superior morality’ over china” …or something like that.

April 24, 2007 @ 8:44 am | Comment

>>I am sure if you ask Afican Americans, many of them will say to you that US is the most racist country in the world.

Yeah, because most of them haven’t been to China.

April 24, 2007 @ 8:45 am | Comment

Several things are mixed up here. Xenophobia, religions, governmental propaganda, etc., but for now let me deal with this notion of “forgiveness” first.

I do not know if Christians have their peculiar semantic interpretation of the word, but my understanding is that forgiving means harboring no desire, consciously or subconsciously, for revenge. Revenge is completely out of the question here under the given circumstances. Harboring unrealizable vengeance is self-destructive. You do not need a religion to understand that. All it takes is some wisdom. Of course, Christianity and Buddhism and probably other religions have their formulated ways to say it.

Forgiving is laudable when you have a real chance of revenge. But this is not the case here. Professing forgiveness for Cho serves the purpose of self-protection. No magnanimousness can be proved here.

Talking about Christianity, I believe I read somewhere Cho’s parents, as are many Koreans, are Christians. I am not sure if God would have saved him if his parents had worked harder to nurture his faith. Well, he did say he wanted to die like Jesus.

April 24, 2007 @ 8:51 am | Comment

>>Yeah, because most of them haven’t been to China.

Yeah, many of them can not make their way out prison, ghetto and inner cities, let alone making their way to China.

April 24, 2007 @ 8:54 am | Comment

Kenzhu, think carefully what you asked. Why on earth I know why the African man you met think about the Chinese? If you ask me if I agree with his opinion, the answer will be an emphatic no.

Folks, to compare how African Americans are treated in the US, you ought to look at examples like how Uyghur Chinese (nationality) speaking perfect Chinese (language) are treated in China.

African Americans going to China speaking no Chinese is like…. Middle Easterners going to the US speaking no English.

April 24, 2007 @ 9:08 am | Comment

>>let alone making their way to China.

Since you admit that most (“most” meaning probably 99.999% in this case) of African Americans haven’t been to China, on what basis do you make your hypothetical claim that “many of them” would say the “US is the most racist country in the world?” What is the basis for comparison?

April 24, 2007 @ 9:09 am | Comment

>>on what basis do you make your hypothetical claim that “many of them” would say the “US is the most racist country in the world?”

From that I see, hear and read.

Please take what I said in the context of what Kenzhou said that the Chinese are the most racist people in the world.

April 24, 2007 @ 9:29 am | Comment

“ferins, JXie, I want to ask you a question. Why did this man think the Chinese are the most racist in the world?”

well, i met this black guy once. he said “kill whitey, whitey is responsible for all the problems of modern society, whitey is the devil, whitey enslaved me, give me my reparations whitey.”

now why would he go and say that? could it be because this individual is an ignorant moron?

April 24, 2007 @ 9:40 am | Comment

I didn’t put up this post to say Americans are superior to the Chinese. It was simply to recognize an act of goodness by a group of Americans, and to say their goodness made me feel proud to be American, at least for a moment. It’s too bad it’s broken down into a tired argument of whether Chinese are more racist than Americans.

April 24, 2007 @ 9:50 am | Comment

What’s sweet, and kind of amusing, is a that some of my Chinese friends are have had friendly people go up to them, hold their hand, and tell them not to feel guilty about Cho.

April 24, 2007 @ 9:56 am | Comment

excuse me, i meant to type “friends have had”. the whole thing is kind of endearing :P

April 24, 2007 @ 9:58 am | Comment

I want to point out that while many Chinese complain about racism in America, many people, especially Africans, complain about racism in China.

An African teacher working with me told me a story about a African who was arrested by the Chinese police in Beijing. He died in custody and his country’s embassy was informed of his death. When they came look at the body, it appeared he died of torture. They asked the police who responded “He died of AIDS.”

Many of my friends have told me that when Chinese people are asked what they think about Africans, they say “Oh, they’re monkeys”. I’ve seen ads in That’s Beijing looking for English language partners but saying blacks need not reply.

Race relations in America are raw because the United States is a truly multi-cultural country. There are often tensions between ethic groups and there is some times violent confrontations but it the long run, people learn to live together. In my privileged upbringing, I saw many blacks, Asians, Latinos and of course whites. In my high school, people who were given the hardest time were Mormons. As long as we identify ourselves with ethnic groups, there will be tensions. I think America’s strength comes from the fact that we have become a home for many ethnic groups, including the Chinese. And I am personally offended when Chinese people on this board talk about racism without acknowledging the racism in their own society.

And for the record I’d like to point out that Seung-Hui Cho’s sister is a graduate of Princeton University and works for the State department.

April 24, 2007 @ 10:05 am | Comment

“And I am personally offended when Chinese people on this board talk about racism without acknowledging the racism in their own society.”

I don’t think anyone is denying that a lot of people in China are xenophobic, and other wise unpleasant. But racism isn’t really new, and don’t act like non-whites in America are treated exceptionally well.

April 24, 2007 @ 10:08 am | Comment

Of course, America is a great country and most Americans are wonderful people.

But I don’t agree with you that people of different people live nicely together. Living places are divided by races and wealth. Probably like you, I live in a place where you don’t often see blacks or latinos. They live in places like each Palo Alto, downtown San Jose, …

April 24, 2007 @ 10:28 am | Comment

@ferins

I think for the most part, they’re treated reasonably. When and how have you faced discrimination. I think many people, including many of the Chinese who post here, take incidents where something bad has happened to them and blame it on racism because it’s easy for them and they don’t have to face their own behavior. In my experience, I have never seen any direct racism against Chinese people.

@Z

I agree some segregation does take place. I grew up in the East Bay. And I didn’t have a lot of exposure to poor black people but in every place I’ve worked in, as a white male, I’ve been a minority. Of course, I’d argue that “white” is an artificial creation as it includes cultures ranging from English, Italian, Russian and Jewish. It’s a pretty large group of people.

April 24, 2007 @ 11:42 am | Comment

well aside from hearing people being called niggers on a daily basis and seeing white kids throw rocks at black people as they drive by, and then the standard race fights in some schools, nothing much.

when’s the last time a foreigner was shot and raped, or lynched, or beaten to death for being a foreigner? i’m sure it’s likely to have happened once or twice, so i’m just curious.

i’m sure everyone that complains about racism is wrong, but that one guy you met in the subway isn’t.

April 24, 2007 @ 12:37 pm | Comment

About Chinese and black people,

This is my understanding though Chinese people seem to hide their thoughts and feelings away from public.

For example you dont often run into a Chinese frined and he comes out and says that the Chinese are the superior race and will inherit the earth and will do any violent revolution stuff to take their place as the world dominators, but there are a lot who have this intention.

That is just to say that Chinese people have a lot of propaganda stuffed into thier heads and they dont exactly share it with Americans cause they dont trust us to understand and agree.

What I was going to say is about eugenics, I dont know if people know that term but its something about race and genetic superiority. Its a kind of social darwinism where people who are of lesser value are weeded out through selective birthing and in some cases genocide.

Hitler was a eugenisist, he believed to create a perfect race through eugenic genocide.

Charles Darwin or at least his relatives were eugenisists who believed in survival of the fittest and the differences in the value of races and social classes. Communism is like that too. I think the CCP has brainwashed a lot of things like this into the Chinese people. I think the old eugenisists considered black people a step up from monkeys and so on.

I;m not too sure about this so i’ll have to do more research.

April 24, 2007 @ 12:38 pm | Comment

Hong xing is so brainwashed, I guess the CCP is so tricky and lowdown that Hongxing expects it of everyone. The CCP tells them that the people of the world are as Honxing described. They use that as a tool to make sure that the Chinese people dont want something better for their country, they say there is nothing better…

Its so awful that cynisism overrides any belief in peoples inherent goodness. It seriously is a big problem. So if one thinks that people can not possibly have some real kindness then what do you think? Do you think people are so bad all the time every minute absolutely? Always searching to build up reputation and always out for selfish gain?

I guess that why Chinese people believe that its ok that the CCP traps them all in a giant prison and they dont value humanity whatsoever.

Just generalising but this is a huge problem for Chinese…

April 24, 2007 @ 12:43 pm | Comment

Snow, Darwin was not a eugenicist. And some of those sweeping statements about the Chinese are inaccurate. China is not a giant prison of inhumanity. There are a lot of successful, optimistic people here, along with a lot of miserable people (like everywhere). I would say most have never felt as hopeful as they do now. Most, not all. It’s sad that creatures like Hong Xing, a morass of hatred, can be bred in China, and I do see these angry fen qing as a problem for China, showing the world its ugliest side. Unfortunately, there are other nutjobs bred in America who are just as bad, the difference being that their hatred wasn’t instilled by the state.

April 24, 2007 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

And Ferrins, you know how critical I am of the US government and of racism everywhere… but such racism as you describe is quite rare, at least in most parts of America. That’s why so many minorities come to America, where many do quite well.

April 24, 2007 @ 1:19 pm | Comment

it is rare. but some guy i know fairly well is a racist neo-nazi who hates black people and hispanics and doesn’t think they’re human. so i guess i’d have plenty of unpleasant anecdotes to share. but he isn’t particularly rude to people part of the aforementioned groups when they’re face to face.

that said i’m not blind to the problems in china, however i try hard to keep from being judgmental and holding them in late 20th century america’s/europe’s standards.

about snow’s post and the “eugenic” view of racism that many of the dumber people in china (and japan/korea) take, is that the racists in these countries usually go by exaggerating statistical trends and applying the negatives to every. single. member. of the group.

that however, is pretty rare in the circles i’ve grown up in. my family never learned the American PC handbook from anyone, but they’ve told me that judging people outside of individual attributes is dumb and low-class. so that’s reciprocal to the “i’ve never seen chinese discriminated against” thing.

anyway the way i see it is that china, at the moment, can’t be held up in comparison to the u.s/eu (and especially in japan) when it comes to the subway booger gauntlet, rampant spitting, or egregious racial ignorance, but i can see progress being made on this on a daily basis.

the perspective from my background at least, with one side of my family being kicked out of China during the civil war era and subsequently being displaced to Taiwan, is that China has suffered quite considerably since the 1800s. And for a nation that’s pretty abjectly poor in America’s/Taiwan’s standards, full of people who have only 6.98 years average of study throughout their lifetimes (and some of it outdated 1950s era stuff), work 60-70 hours a day for a pittance, have little exposure to non-Chinese, had it’s culture, history, and spirituality bulldozed by Mao, I’m fairly impressed with the people here despite vocal and simply stupid “feiqing” as you aptly describe. that’s all given the circumstances of the realities facing China and its history, mind you.

broad, sweeping generalizations like “china is a nation of liars”, “china is the most racist nation in the world”, “china is a country of violent, reactionaries that would kill all non-chinese they see if an american shot up beida”, “china is a country without morals”, “chinese people learn slow”, “china has no hope of a decent future”, “chinese people are such stingy cheapskates that they’d haggle the price of a thimble of water in a desert if you were .5 seconds from death, and then harvest your organs while oppressing your religion”.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and we “inscrutable”, racist chinese, that’s for sure. Haha, just kidding. I’m getting more familiar with each poster’s individual opinions now, though.

April 24, 2007 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

“well aside from hearing people being called niggers on a daily basis and seeing white kids throw rocks at black people as they drive by, and then the standard race fights in some schools, nothing much.”

This sounds fictional, a common tactic used by people who are losing an arguement. Don’t like the facts? Make up your own!!!

April 24, 2007 @ 2:10 pm | Comment

“that said i’m not blind to the problems in china”

No, you just deny their true extent by using the usual deflective tactic of pointing the finger at the west rather than address the issues.

“work 60-70 hours a day for a pittance”

Slight exaggeration, perhaps? Assuming you meant “week”, how does a country with 5000 (roll eyes) years of civilisation justify such practices?

April 24, 2007 @ 2:20 pm | Comment

@Ferins

I agree with what you’re saying. I’d just urge you to realize that American racism comes from the “circumstances of the realities facing [America] and its history.” Chinese people are always telling me that China is a large and complex country. I’ve learned that as I’ve lived here in China. I’d urge all of those saying America is racist country to realize that America, too, is a large and complex country.

April 24, 2007 @ 2:32 pm | Comment

@ferins,

>>broad, sweeping generalizations

If you are going to put quotes around phrases like that, make sure they are actually quotes and not your own inventions. Otherwise it just looks like you are projecting your own “broad, sweeping generalizations” onto what others are saying, grossly distorting what was actually said.

>>that said i’m not blind to the problems in china, however i try hard to keep from being judgmental and holding them in late 20th century america’s/europe’s standards.

>>can’t be held up in comparison to the u.s/eu (and especially in japan) when it comes to…. egregious racial ignorance

One question: you are saying that China shouldn’t be held to the same standard as the “West” when it comes to things like racism. Yet you just got through attacking others for (supposedly) pointing out that…China has “lower” standards when it comes to things like racism.

How does that work?

You basically gave a laundry list of why Chinese are ignorant and racist. Is it acceptable to point this out as long as you play violins in the background and detail China’s poverty and victimhood since 1800?

It is perfectly understandable that many Chinese tend to have racist views — most have never even met a person of a different race. Plus the education/poverty/cultural/societal problems that you pointed out. What is not understandable is the effort by some here — despite all of that — to argue the opposite… complete with the usual stock phrases: American blacks are poor! American exceptionalism! Americans are fat! (Did anyone mention imperialism or McDonald’s yet?)

April 24, 2007 @ 2:56 pm | Comment

“This sounds fictional, a common tactic used by people who are losing an arguement. Don’t like the facts? Make up your own!!!”

you mean like the subway anecdotes? or the random guy saying china would genocide japan and americans for a school shooting? oh, but racism doesn’t exist in america, traitorous infidel. so what if there are no la riots, duke rape hoaxes, chai vang backlash murders, gang rapes by blacks against whites, gang killings, dragging deaths by kkk members, affirmative action being levied on other minorities, people shooting up schools for vietnamese refugee students, kkk rallies, la raza, jester jackoff, NoI, zebra killings? all of these were made up by CCTV to disparage the greatest, most moral Christian nation to ever grace the face of the planet. so tell me again, when’s the last time a group of angry boys dragged someone to death? nevermind, if CCTV doesn’t cover it up then it’s because Chinese people are too cowed and repressed to dare commit such crimes. You don’t know racism until you’ve been a expat in China, novice.

“No, you just deny their true extent by using the usual deflective tactic of pointing the finger at the west rather than address the issues.”

No, it’s rather that I point out hypocrisy and give blame where it’s due. And apparently, that isn’t appreciated.

“Slight exaggeration, perhaps? Assuming you meant “week”, how does a country with 5000 (roll eyes) years of civilisation justify such practices?”

Oh yes hopsing, i very think China have 5000 year big civiration! Thanking you very very much. Yes, I know there are 24 hours in a day. Brain fart.

“I’d just urge you to realize that American racism comes from the “circumstances of the realities facing [America] and its history.”

Yes, it’s called ignorance and stupidity. The same brand that’s been observed by you in China. However, most of these people are pretty miserable. Yes, people spit, flick boogers, and sometimes treat you like a monkey. What do you expect from uneducated and miserable people? Sorry, but given the circumstances it’s not enough to label China or Korea as a nation of murderous xenophobic reactionaries with a hive-mind.

April 24, 2007 @ 3:02 pm | Comment

“It is perfectly understandable that many Chinese tend to have racist views — most have never even met a person of a different race. Plus the education/poverty/cultural/societal problems that you pointed out. What is not understandable is the effort by some here — despite all of that — to argue the opposite… complete with the usual stock phrases: American blacks are poor! American exceptionalism! Americans are fat! (Did anyone mention imperialism or McDonald’s yet?)”

no. i’m saying yes, it is a problem. but no, america is not less racist. and to express some sympathy and tell people that the things certain individuals do or say are understandable (note: understandable =/= acceptable) considering their misery.

what’s the point of saying that? well, when i consider the fact that neo-nazis are extremely twisted, abused, fucked up individuals i’m a little less shocked and disturbed by the things they say.

April 24, 2007 @ 3:08 pm | Comment

How on earth did we sink to this level?

April 24, 2007 @ 4:17 pm | Comment

@ferins

I am confused. Do you believe there is racism in China?

April 24, 2007 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

Yes. It’s understandable. Not acceptable, and it shouldn’t be encouraged, but the racists are miserable or ignorant.

Sorry about going off on a tangent, richard, but I was just responding to some comments :p

April 24, 2007 @ 5:29 pm | Comment

All

There are racists in very country and societies. Insecurities and lack of education and exposure promotes it. So can we quit telling who is more racist than ourselves. There are also colour blind and enlightened individuals in all countries. So give it a rest.

Richard is trying to show a good part of human nature and now it sinks to this. There cynics here that cannot view the world in any form than being defensive and worldly wise that any acts good ness or kindness must be acts of hypocricy at worst or acts of enlightened self interest at best.

Sad very sad. Now I will be attacked I can see it coming.

April 24, 2007 @ 6:07 pm | Comment

Thanks, Richard. I for one found it very inspiring. A sad sick incident, victims all around.

One thing I’ve come to understand in dealing with a family member who has a very serious mental illness is how hard it is to get the organs of the State in motion. My mother used to work for Social Services in the US and says the same thing. Whether here or in the US, the authorities are constantly aware of their limited budgets and temptation to play god, and many sensibly refrain. Too many people are asking why the system failed, without recognizing that failure is inherent because system abuses would otherwise be so common. In my own family that pyschologically impaired person has resisted a court order for ten years. There do not seem to be any enforcement mechanisms, and no follow-up or oversight. The System is not broadly competent — it is powerful and comprehensive in some areas, impotent and sightless in others. Many people are buoyed along by a wave in the system, only to be carried into some sluggish part of the stream where the System has no current, and stagnate there.

I’m not sure whether I have more respect for the system now. But I certainly understand poor Cho and the shit everyone went through with him, including the social workers and the system. The problem is you can’t be 100% sure that something will happen…what level of threat is necessary to trigger intervention? Who should have a say in the victim’s treatment (Cho was a victim, not a perp). What rights does the victim have? Can he refuse treatment? I’ve read quite a bit of T. Szasz and have a healthy respect for the point of view he advocates.

“As for their message of forgiveness which HongXing seemingly detests, it is a practice of the Christian faith”

This idea of linking the student’s message to forgiveness is quite interesting. I think the students’ message is essentially that there is nothing to forgive, since Cho’s actions were not a Korean problem but a human one. That is why they declare solidarity with all Korea. Because we are all human.

Michael

Michael

April 24, 2007 @ 7:07 pm | Comment

Blimey. Richard, it may be a pretty grim argument, but be happy that pekingduck has never sunk to TTC levels. Those were some scraps.

I have 2p worth to contribute. I personally believe that there are more unpleasant racist incidents in China, proportionally, than in the US/UK. But here\’s a curious thing. For many things about China we\’re quite capable of analysing causes. But with racism there seem to be only two positions: 1) Chinese people are just racist (bad) 2) Chinese people are racist because they\’re poor.

Neither of these makes any sense whatsoever. So where does this stuff actually come from?

My guess is that like most of the bad stuff in China, it comes from government propaganda. Kids are taught a ridiculous \”three races\” view of the world in school. Government propaganda then totally conflates race and country. (I believe this was also a major part of European nation-building in the 19thC – anyone know history?)

The result is that many people grow up believing in an odd mixture of racial determinism and racial/national superiority. White/black people are unchangeably \”other\” – categories like \”African American\” don\’t exist in public dialogue here. And national differences are easily translated into racial differences.

Knowing why racism exists doesn\’t make it any less unpleasant when you\’re on the receiving end of it. But most of us here aren\’t on a regular basis, so I think we can afford to take a step back and look at it a bit more calmly.

April 24, 2007 @ 9:21 pm | Comment

”How on earth did we sink to this level?” – richard.

I’m pretty sure the answer can be found deep in subconscious of the author of the following:

“i very think China have 5000 year big civiration!”

April 24, 2007 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

“Yes. It’s understandable. Not acceptable, and it shouldn’t be encouraged, but the racists are miserable or ignorant.”

The difference is, in China that ignorance is both perpetuated and sponsored by the state. The same old thinking gets drummed into the hearts and minds of all schoolchildren year after year. So much for progress.

And all the while, the soundbite denials echo around the classroom: ‘China is a tolerant, harmonious. peace-loving country that fosters equality for all people.’

It’s only a question of time before we start hearing ‘anti-racism with Chinese characteristics.’

April 24, 2007 @ 11:15 pm | Comment

I guess I see forgiveness as normal. I mean the guy is dead so you can’t really punish him, and it doesnt really make sense to punish his country,since Americans know well that this kind of incident seems to happen in America somewhat regularly….

The guy was very sad and I would feel sorry for him and his sadness except for the fact that he took revenge on random people for his sadness. After that you cant really feel sorry for him anymore. How could he carry out that kind of heartless act?

But the guy was upset cause no one felt sorry for him before the incident, he thought no one cares about him.

And I think that is the problem in general. People like that guy think that no one cares about their suffering, and I agree with him that that is a really bad problem. No one does seem to care and I used to be very frustrated about that when I was younger. I was so upset about the environment and humanity that I started breeding hatred like that guy, but that just leads to depression so you have to be positive and try to solve the problem rather than react to the problem. He should have done a campaign to promote caring and joined the suicide hotline help team or something so he could talk to people and help them feel better or something spiritual, I dont know.

People say he was mentally ill but I dont see it that way. I think he was angry because he suffered too much bad feelings. Depression is like that, it makes you think everyone hates you, it can be called an illness but I think a lot of people have this problem and a lot of people in America especially have to take pills so that they dont kill themselves (or others) prozac, zoloft, paxil, all sorts of chemicals that produce a feeling of happiness where there naturally is hatred and sadness.

I think that problem needs to seriously be fixed.

I think it has to do with materialism, the worship of money and superficial things that leads to depression and confusion.

China should learn from the “progress” of America and go back to believing in The Way instead of just exploiting resources and being wealthy…

April 25, 2007 @ 1:52 am | Comment

I dont want to sound like “forgiveness is normal” that I dont commend the nice behaviour of the tech students, I think they have a good attitude, at least on the surface what I see from Richards post.

I think though that since chos rampage was in line with the columbine incident, Americans know that it is not a Korean problem, its a societal issue I think.

It sorta seemed like people like those killers dont like the society they live in where people are cold and anonymous and are superficial and fake. I dont know if Korea still has any traditional culture left but maybe if he had stayed in Korea he would have been happier. (South Korea of course)

April 25, 2007 @ 2:00 am | Comment

his grandfather said he was a problem even before he left korea.. so it’s likely that he had some really deep scars and serious issues.

April 25, 2007 @ 4:32 am | Comment

Stuart

So the Chinese people are more racist than UK/US for what ever reasons? On what basis do you make such a comment? I am not saying what you say is true as I donot have facts to back me up and I am waiting for you to do so.
There is something like exposure, and etc as China until about 20 years , have been a closed country, that could possibly be the reason. Whereas UK and USA has lots of immigrations for all parts of the world for the the longest time. I am also not saying that UK/USA is not less racist here.So the CCP is not the only to blame. Go to far South in US or the bushes in Australia racism exist. So again we are going to the you are more racist than me type of arguments. Get over it.

I can understand why some are prompted go into a defensiveon China/Korea or whatever , while you on the surface sound reasonable but has fallacious arguments and with any sound proof to maake your case.

April 25, 2007 @ 11:19 am | Comment

“”"”"”"”"”"”had it’s culture, history, and spirituality bulldozed by Mao, I’m fairly impressed with the people here despite vocal and simply stupid “feiqing” as you aptly describe. that’s all given the circumstances of the realities facing China and its history, mind you.

broad, sweeping generalizations like “china is a nation of liars”, “china is the most racist nation in the world”, “china is a country of violent, reactionaries that would kill all non-chinese they see if an american shot up beida”, “china is a country without morals”, “chinese people learn slow”, “china has no hope of a decent future”, “chinese people are such stingy cheapskates that they’d haggle the price of a thimble of water in a desert if you were .5 seconds from death, and then harvest your organs while oppressing your religion”.”"”"”"”"”"”"”"

Well as for these generalizations, I’m not sure but a few of them I do use though I know that they are generalizations and that there are some good Chinese people for sure. Oh yeah you forgot about cannibalism, Chinese people have a pretty freaky recent history of cannibalism ( I forgive those people, they were under the anti-human spell of CCP)

I think no morals could sum it up enough. But I dont think its China I think it’s brainwashing. I mean Mao told everyone to kill and steal from all the land lords and live out an ideology of crazed jealousy. He told everyone to purge certain groups one after the other over and over, genocide after ideological craziness. Lying? Well thats just normal for communist totalitarianism, example:

According to an English translation of a Chinese-language e-mail sent the night before the panel by the Columbia University Chinese Students and Scholars Association with the subject of “Urgent call: defend mother land’s reputation, deny cult’s rumor,” the CUCSSA called on its members to interrupt the forum. The e-mail said that the disruption “may entail inevitable body contact,” and continued on to read, “…we will use the sea of flags dyed by blood, to beat the cult’s high spirit, to defend the reputation and dignity of the motherland!”

http://media.www.columbiaspectator.com/media/storage/paper865/news/2007/04/23/News/Protest.Ensues.At.Falun.Dafa.Discussion-2874111.shtml

Let me explain, the men from Canada David Kilgour and David Matas are giving a talk at Clombia U about organ harvesting and the Chinese students association get the message from the CCP to interrupt. My point is that there is no regard for truth, only reputation. They do not care whether they deserve to have a good reputation or not, they blindly follow CCP commands since the CCP claims to represent the motherland.

So a nation of liars? Well, you tell me. How many Chinese have you seen interested in finding out if the CCP is really torturing Falun Gong people and selling their organs. Basically none except for Gao Shizeng. (again I’m generalizing I’m sure there are people out there who care )

And in the kilgour matas report it seems quite normal for one to call up a hospital and ask if there are any Falun Gong organs for sale. A nation of freaks?, you tell me.

Even if regular chinese people are not implicated in this particular persecution, if they do not even care to let the truth be known and all they care about is protecting the CCP, they are great big evil freaks, so I think people in China should care about there fellow human beings and not blindly follow the genocidal freak regime.

April 25, 2007 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

I guess you forgot “deny cult’s rumor” part from that CUCSSA letter. I did not see the original email. But didn’t CUCSSA make it clear that they believe it is a lie?

Falun Gong is a cult as far as I concern. period.

April 25, 2007 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

“…while you on the surface sound reasonable but has fallacious arguments and with any sound proof to maake your case.”

I AM a very reasonable person, thank you.

The arguments are not false. I live and breathe them every day. The vast majority of Chinese students are taught what to think, not HOW to think – and their thoughts are provided by those darling multi-culturalists at CCP HQ.

If you had spent some time teaching in a Chinese university or a middle school you would see for yourself how (and the result of) such hard-wiring. If you were taught in these institutions you will find it difficult, if not impossible, to countenance any information contradictory to the party line. FACT.

This inability to think in a more critical way on any number of issues, coupled with a dangerous undercurrent of nationalism, explains the knee-jerk responses we see and hear at the merest hint of criticism aimed at China. They simply can’t take it. Denial and playground finger-pointing are the only things left in the mental locker.

On the subject of racism, most Chinese that I have spoken to on the issue are of the opinion that they really are a race apart from all others. Where do you think they get that idea?

If I ask my students how they would react if their son/daughter wanted to marry a foreigner, most (not all by any means) say they would have no problem with that and will list many possible advantages of such a union. Then I ask them to imagine that the foreigner is black. The room, without fail, goes eerily quiet. Occasionally, a student will be honest enough to say that he could not accept a black partner for their offspring. The rest keep their heads bowed.

On a side note, there are many instances of non-Caucasian native English speakers being rejected for jobs once prospective employers get a look at their picture.

This thread began with the decency underpinning much of American society – a decency overlooked by the country’s staunchest critics in the rush to exploit tragedies like that in Virginia. Part of that decency is reflected in the ability of its people to face disaster openly and honestly.

China should learn to behave more openly and as self-critically when the many flaws in its own society are exposed. Racism is a flaw in all societies. In America it’s an issue, a debate, a problem talked about and addressed: in China it’s simply denied.

April 25, 2007 @ 5:02 pm | Comment

“Falun Gong is a cult as far as I concern. period.”

I wonder where you got that idea?

Btw, it’s still persecution, if not execution, when you beat the living crap out of a ‘cult’ member.

April 25, 2007 @ 5:18 pm | Comment

Stuart, you are not thinking these through clearly.

For starter, what have come out of the CCP HQ would have influenced your students the way toward blacks (as to the choice of marrying a foreigner)? Can you think of anything specifics, such as maybe the history being taught in school, presumably you have read the verbiages in the history textbooks already? It seems to me that in your mind CCP is “bad”, and the seemingly racism preference of your students is “bad”, then automatically you link those two together.

The real question is, since most if not all of these students have had little experience living with blacks or whites in their lives, so have their parents & teachers in school, where the heck did they get the ideas of blacks and whites from? The answer: second-handed knowledge. TV and movies nowadays probably are the bulk of it. Where did those come from?

I am not laying blame here. Far from it. Being a humanist (as opposite of a religionist), I tend to believe vast majority of the people, including CCP members and your students, are intrinsically good.

In Western countries with very few darker complexion minorities, such as Italy and Spain, overt hostility toward blacks is far more tolerant than in countries such as the US and the UK. Why? There is no CCP or cultural factors anymore.

April 25, 2007 @ 7:22 pm | Comment

@ JXie

“The answer: second-handed knowledge. TV and movies nowadays probably are the bulk of it. Where did those come from?”

Typical. Blame it on the foriengers. God forbid a Chinese person should ever have to take responsibility for the rotten and overwhelmingly obvious racism that the CCP peddles and the average person just laps up.

But still, you’re right. It’s not all the CCPs fault. There are Chinese nationalists and xenophobes for whom the CCP isn’t racist enough. The “run the foreigners out!” types.

Racism in mainland China (I have no idea about Taiwan) is just so deep, overwhelming obvious, ingrained obnoxious and pervasive in a way that we haven’t seen in the US in 50 years. And it existed long before Hollywood movies got here. In Wild Swans the author recounts a job she had where she had to interact with foreigners. She describes how she was told to watch out for black people because they had trouble controlling themselves. This was just after the Cultural Revolution ended, long before any Hollywood DVDs were being sold on the street so don’t give me that bullshit about how Chinese racism is America’s fault, which JiXie, you are clearly implying.

Racism is an ugly part of every culture but it is so monumentally obvious here and so obnoxiously denied as to render any comparison with American racism absurd. Elephants and mice are both mammals but they are not the same. And the source of Chinese racism is the same as all racism, ignorance. Some willful, some ordinary. Ignorance of history, ignorance of the value of other cultures, ignorance of the basic facts of human evolution, ignorance of your own history.

Is China making progress vis a vis racism? I think so, though not fast enough for me :)
I live here, and have for a long time. Don’t you dare tell me that Chinese racism is anything but Chinese.

April 25, 2007 @ 10:44 pm | Comment

Well, yu know Americans forced black people out of Africa into America to be their slaves, and the black people in America have been poor and living in slums and turning to crime since then and have not really integrated into the regular American mainstream. I dont know if America is to blame for the crime and slums of black America…… But the American black society is a huge contribution to the streotype and bad reputation of black people… So ..

Anyway I dont know if the Chinese peoples racism comes from that or if if it came along way before that. But you can’t really blame anyone for being racist if black America is your representation of black people. In American movies and even in the news, the black people are quite criminal…. So if I didnt live in a country where I was exposed to lots of nice balck friends, I might be racist to…

There are a lot of problems in Africa as well, so much rape and killing and dictatorship and AIDS… But like I said, you cant say that that is cause of the colour of their skin, that would be rediculous…its not the colour of someones skin that makes them whatever…

April 25, 2007 @ 11:14 pm | Comment

”””””””””””I guess you forgot “deny cult’s rumor” part from that CUCSSA letter. I did not see the original email. But didn’t CUCSSA make it clear that they believe it is a lie?

Falun Gong is a cult as far as I concern. period.”””””””””””’

This is EXACTLY what I was talking about.

The CCP says its a rumour and all the Chinese community is supposed to hold up that line without even checking. All it takes is a look in history and one can see that it’s entirely plausible, but the Chinese community dont dare think it through, they dont seem to care whats true or not, whether people are being slaughtered or not.

You say Falun Gong is a cult but you didnt check it out did you?

What is it that makes Chinese people willing to blur truth and lies for the sake of the longevity of the party rule? Do you really think the only way to a good future is that sick regime?

If you people dont start caring about humanity and justice, you will go down in history with the reputation: Chinese people were once considered very special and intelligent and peaceful and advanced but they lost their bloody minds and turned into cannibals who sell peoples organs for money, they didnt want to use their thinking minds and blindly followed the communist party to the point that they supported the CCP in polluting their last drop of clean water and gave the CCP their childrens blood to drink…

Some people in China are so feeble minded that their own wives and children or parents are Falun Gong practitioners and they know Falun Gong is just a spiritual dicipline and when the party says “crush Falun Gong” the person will even kill, or turn in their family members. Its just like the cultural revolution, the Chinese are brutal under the CCP.

April 25, 2007 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

The Iron Budda, take a chill pill, will you? You are like the foreigners’ equivalent of Chinese fenqing. Enlighten me or even humor me, what specifics in CCP’s teaching or propaganda promote racism to the extent that blacks are perceived as less than humans.

My reasoning is very simple. Most Chinese don’t have developed racial sensitivity simply because they grow up in largely racially homogeneous environment. Their knowledge of racial issues, rightly or wrongly, must come from somewhere else. It’s possible that it’s from CCP’s propaganda, but in my personal experience that’s a bunch of bull. CCP may try to brainwash you in many things, but it has little vested interest to put black people down.

Remember the CR ended in 1976, 27 years removed from the founding of PRC. There was enough second-handed knowledge of black people among Chinese then.

April 25, 2007 @ 11:36 pm | Comment

snow,

I think if you want make a point again chinese government or chinese people, please don’t use Falun Gong. Using it is going to weaken your case in front of clear-minded people.

April 25, 2007 @ 11:41 pm | Comment

Stuart,

I have an impression that you are one of the most idealogical persons on this form. You make sweeping statement against chinese government in at least half of your posts, often in topics have nothing to do with the government at all. Also, you seem very cynical about the chinese people too. So, if the government and the people make you such an angry man, why would you continue to live and work there?

April 25, 2007 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

>>In America it’s an issue, a debate, a problem talked about and addressed: in China it’s simply denied.

Stuart,

That’s false. I read it so many times from the news media that back people and white people can not talk honestly about race relationship.

April 26, 2007 @ 12:08 am | Comment

“Also, you seem very cynical about the chinese people too. So, if the government and the people make you such an angry man, why would you continue to live and work there?”

Not cynical; not angry. Just honest. Part of my job in China (which I enjoy immensely) is to drag the CCP apologists screaming into the light of the real world. It’s challenging work, I can tell you!

China can’t improve its society or standing in the world by denial of its shortcomings. If there is no criticism from within, then there must be criticism from without. Pointing out what is wrong here doesn’t mean that I’m not happy to live and work in the country. This is a common mistake made by the party faithful who can’t stomach the truth.

I criticise only when it is warranted. On this point the CCP provides plenty of material.

PS. 95% of my students love me; the rest think I’m a spy.

April 26, 2007 @ 12:36 am | Comment

“This is a common mistake made by the party faithful who can’t stomach the truth.”

It is also a common mistake to link every little piece of “evil” you observed from the Chinese populace back to CCP teaching and it is a fundamental attribution error to call the people who do not agree with your observation “the party truthful”.

Individual freedom is probably viewed very differently in China and focusing only on dispositional factors when talking about racism and other problems in China will not keep people away from the CCP. Instead they will realise the error in your argument that it’s lack of certain historical and social context in your “revealing the truth behavior” and I’m afraid the result will be quite on the contrary.

April 26, 2007 @ 1:06 am | Comment

“”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"snow,

I think if you want make a point again chinese government or chinese people, please don’t use Falun Gong. Using it is going to weaken your case in front of clear-minded people.”"”"”"”"”"”"”"

This is EXACTLY what I’m talking about, the dehumanizing of Falun Gong practitioners.

So you think we can have any talks about human rights in China and at the same time ignore the Falun Gong issue which is a matter of particular evil genocide and hate incitement happening at this very minute???

The CCP is torturing, brainwashing, and ideologically persecuting those people, they are lying about them in all the media and brainwashing the population to hate them and put them on par with non existents, lower than rats or something.

If you think the CCP can treat people like that and that you can just sweep 100 million people who believe in spirituality under the rug and pass yourselves off as normal, forget it, not as long as I live and not as long as there are people with a healthy sense of compassion.

If the CCP has its way, the Chinese peoples inherent sense of humanity, compassion and justice will be replaced with cynicism, social darwinism, and greed.

Go read some Buddhism or Taoism and revive your sense of humanity. The Falun Gong people are human beings, they didnt hurt anyone.

April 26, 2007 @ 1:27 am | Comment

Stuart,

That’s fair enough. And good to hear that you are not an angry man and happy to live and work there.

If the Chinese people denied shortcomings, how could have the country made such an impressive progress in the last 20 years. It is arguably the most successful country in the world in the last 20 years in areas like poverty reduction and living standard improvement.

I have many problems with the Chinese governments, particularly the ones below the top level. But compared with the Bush and Cheney, Hu and Wen sound like a dream team to me.

April 26, 2007 @ 2:18 am | Comment

Snow,

You ask me, and guess what, CCP and Falun Gong are both bad guys. The Falun Gong movement has discredited itself with widespread lies, misinformation and disinformation.

April 26, 2007 @ 2:21 am | Comment

So much for this fantasy.

April 26, 2007 @ 2:23 am | Comment

“Is China making progress vis a vis racism? I think so, though not fast enough for me :)
I live here, and have for a long time. Don’t you dare tell me that Chinese racism is anything but Chinese.”

Blah blah blah. But have you ever been assaulted for being foreign? I know you weigh 300 pounds, your penis is the 2394 skyscraper in shanghai, and you can move mountains and flood rivers with your balls, but has anyone tried to kill you for being foreign?

Or pissed on, spat on? etc. I’m curious if you’d rather deal with angry pissant chinese guys or angry trailer trash/gang bangers/ghetto thugs

April 26, 2007 @ 2:31 am | Comment

@ Nijntje

You have used something you disagree with to demonstrate to the world that you once read a psychology textbook.

Now, whenever you encounter language that you interpret as support for a particular theory, your insecurity compels you to reveal your perceived understanding of the subject.

I digress. Please provide us with the “historical and social context” that you feel my argument is lacking. This can only be done if we assume you fully understood my argument in the first place. Fundamental attribution error?

April 26, 2007 @ 2:47 am | Comment

Oh my god is this STILL going on?! Enough already. I frankly don’t give a flying f*** in a rolling donut about who wins the “Nyah, Nyah, Nyah, Your Country’s More Racist than MY Country” prize.

I’ll try to post something fresh tonight so you all will have something else to fixate on.

April 26, 2007 @ 3:22 am | Comment

“I frankly don’t give a flying f*** in a rolling donut about who wins the “Nyah, Nyah, Nyah, Your Country’s More Racist than MY Country” prize.”

She’s talking to you, ferins.

April 26, 2007 @ 3:33 am | Comment

What, do I win the prize? But my country is America, so I guess not. Luckily I live in an expensive/well-educated area and not Auburn:

Link

April 26, 2007 @ 3:46 am | Comment

“I wonder where you got that idea?

Btw, it’s still persecution, if not execution, when you beat the living crap out of a ‘cult’ member.”

How do I know it is a cult?

I got that from how they gather money from victims, how they persuade those sick people not to go to hospital, how they isolate people from sociaty, and how they burn themselves according to the order from their master.

Well, about beaten. Chinese prison is not the most civilized place on the earth. I agree it needs a lot of improvement.

April 26, 2007 @ 4:00 am | Comment

Well, about beaten. Chinese prison is not the most civilized place on the earth. I agree it needs a lot of improvement.

Understatement of the year.

April 26, 2007 @ 4:15 am | Comment

””””””’How do I know it is a cult?

I got that from how they gather money from victims, how they persuade those sick people not to go to hospital, how they isolate people from sociaty, and how they burn themselves according to the order from their master.

Well, about beaten. Chinese prison is not the most civilized place on the earth. I agree it needs a lot of improvement.””””””””””

Tell me fatty, have you ever checked out that video false fire? It sdocuments the entirely false aspects of the claim that Falun Gong people are the ones on fire that day. Also that it was CCP who set it up as propaganda. Watch it or be quiet. As long as the Chinese dont even listen to the Falun Gong side of the story, you are just crazy.

In any situation you have to look at both sides, ESPECIALLY!!! when one of the sides is the CCP who derives its lively hood from propaganda, class struggles and stirring up trouble..

And by the way what improvement would you suggest in order to stop rampant torture which comes all the way from the TOP of the CCP? It was Jiang Psycho Genocide Zemin who ordered the hating and treating like shit of Falun Gong practiitoners so dont pretend that its just some cops gone mad oh no its a country gone mad as long as you support CCP you are committing genocide against Falun Gong.

April 26, 2007 @ 4:51 am | Comment

””””””’If the Chinese people denied shortcomings, how could have the country made such an impressive progress in the last 20 years. It is arguably the most successful country in the world in the last 20 years in areas like poverty reduction and living standard improvement.

I have many problems with the Chinese governments, particularly the ones below the top level. But compared with the Bush and Cheney, Hu and Wen sound like a dream team to me.””””””””””’

No no no, the CCP is genocidal and immoral. If you call turning the most interesting culture in the world into a culture of greedy heartless feinds then happy progress to you, by the way did you know that you so called progress in fighting nature has gotten you into quite a environmental predicament? What do you suggest to solve that problem? More “development”?

Hu and Wen sound like a dream to you? I seriously seriously pitty you man. That is just so far out, i can’t believe it..

April 26, 2007 @ 4:51 am | Comment

compared to bush or cheney.

but then again, why not invade some random country in the middle east to solve oil problems? call it a war on camel spiders or something.

April 26, 2007 @ 4:57 am | Comment

Special request :

I and I would like to have a reggae bash

I think the Chinese could use a Jamaican style revival !!

Talk about roots and gettin back to nature.

Peace

April 26, 2007 @ 5:01 am | Comment

snow

I cannot tell if that video is false or not. But shortly after the video came out, my colleague saw an incident: A guy took a bottle of sprite out of bag on square, then several police jumped on that guy immediately and took that guy and the bottle away. There were probably more police on square than tourists around that time. People were told not to bring sprite to square to avoid trouble, since it looks like gas. That is why I believe it is true.

BTW, I don’t know if all the cases about cutting people’s body to take out wheel on CCTV are true. But I am sure one of them is true. I knew a police who actually involved that case.

People check out Falung’s stories too. US congress already had conclusion on that Sujiatun camp story. Also there is the famous “withdraw from CCP” joke. And the story about Jiang Zemin begged Master Lee to put off the collapse of China for 5/10/15 years… …

April 26, 2007 @ 7:07 am | Comment

How, I ask, did we go from students at VTech to the FLG?

(Otherlisa, post soon!)

April 26, 2007 @ 7:16 am | Comment

Sorry everyone, I can’t even read the comments let alone post new material this week. This thread sets a new record for thread drift and all-over-the-placeness. It sure is far different from what I intended it to be.

April 26, 2007 @ 8:59 am | Comment

Snow/Stuart/Iron Buddha

High horses, get off from your high horses.

Yes there are Chinese who are racists and in fact there may be more than less. and yes there are Eskimoes who are racist etc etc. But being more racist given the exposure to foreign cultures and people ,circumstances and history. I beg to differ. How long have the African Americans arrived in America both North and South about 400 years ago.
How long before you gave them full equal rights. About forty years ago. If you venture to Far South in US of A and the same questions you asked of your students now, I am sure due to their culture will spit venom at you. So get off get off you high horses.
Racist yes more racist under the circumstances I am not sure, but acceptable off course not. But give it time , Rome was not buid in a day.

April 26, 2007 @ 11:51 am | Comment

“How long before you gave them full equal rights. About forty years ago.”

“You”? “Them”? So predictable.

April 26, 2007 @ 12:23 pm | Comment

Well Richard I read it again to see if I could pick up on what inspired you to post this piece.

Is what you wanted to say that you are proud that Americans are not hateful towards all Koreans on account that that psycho killer was Korean?

I mean yeah, you’re right, that is great ( : I’m super happy that they didnt react the way Bush reacted after the 911 incident.

That morning of 911 I heard Bush speak and I was genuinely dismayed when I heard him speak right away of retaliation.

The guys in the planes were dead no doubt… I was just surprised that he spoke of retaliation that very morning, he must have had some idea of who carried out the attacks??

Anyway, Yeah, I don’t think counter violence and hatred are productive nor healthy.

Do you think that America should apply the same forgiving principle to Osama Bin or whoever did that 911 attack…?

Forgiveness, hm, that implies harbouring no resentment…thats pretty lofty indeed.

April 26, 2007 @ 12:48 pm | Comment

“”"”"”"”"”I cannot tell if that video is false or not. But shortly after the video came out, my colleague saw an incident: A guy took a bottle of sprite out of bag on square, then several police jumped on that guy immediately and took that guy and the bottle away. There were probably more police on square than tourists around that time. People were told not to bring sprite to square to avoid trouble, since it looks like gas. That is why I believe it is true.”"”"”"”"”"”

Compared with the evidence that ‘false fire’ brings up, this “evidence” that you site is not much eh.

If you want to talk about it though we should probly talk elsewhere since we have to respect the other conversation. Please feel free to post your comments on my blog and I’ll tell you what I think too. Anyway it’s good to know that you think a little ( :

“”"”"”BTW, I don’t know if all the cases about cutting people’s body to take out wheel on CCTV are true. But I am sure one of them is true. I knew a police who actually involved that case.”"”"”"”"

What I have to say to those stories is: what the heck total freak would cut their stomach open? Think about it. That would cause severe damage and possibly death! Thats is absolutely freak and people do not just do that kind of thing right,? So just read the Falun Gong books and you will see there is absolutely nothing there that would promote this psychotic behaviour of self mutilation. They cultivate the body and longevity, healthyness and stuff not to mention mental stability and clarity, so it makes no sense that a Falun Gong person would self mutilate.(much less elf immolate)

“”"”"”"”"”"”People check out Falung’s stories too. US congress already had conclusion on that Sujiatun camp story. Also there is the famous “withdraw from CCP” joke. And the story about Jiang Zemin begged Master Lee to put off the collapse of China for 5/10/15 years… …”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"
Actually the US embassy said they could neither deny nor confirm, they didnt see anything when they were on their CCP guided tour of the hospital, (I’m sure they also didnt check the organ transplant records either)

Begging Master Li,? never heard that one, Quitting CCP joke? whatchu mean?

April 26, 2007 @ 1:04 pm | Comment

>>much less elf immolate

immolate the elf? is that like waxing the dolphin?

I hope richard closes this thread on that note.

April 26, 2007 @ 1:10 pm | Comment

“I know…your penis is the 2394 skyscraper in shanghai, and you can move mountains and flood rivers with your balls”

So you’ve seen my DVD. I assume you bought a legitimate and not a pirated copy?

April 26, 2007 @ 2:23 pm | Comment

Nausicca, sorry! I had my gym appointment and just got home and it’s almost 11 PM and I have, ugh, work to do!

I may put up a link to an excellent New Yorker article though. okay, I’ll try to do that.

April 26, 2007 @ 2:49 pm | Comment

Iron buddha: after reading her mao biography, I am not sure I would believe half of what the Wild Swans’ author has to say. By the way, you do she is a fiction writer don’t you (both books)? Or should I say an anecdote masquerading as academic research writer.

FG – naive and troublesome, bordering on (maybe crossing into) a cult. But that is no excuse for killing them and locking them in jail. The other side of the argument, however, would say they should have known what was coming to them. After all, commit the crime, be ready to do the time is truer in china than anywhere else. and don’t expect no sympathy on the way!

April 26, 2007 @ 4:38 pm | Comment

@mike

” I am not sure I would believe half of what the Wild Swans’ author has to say”

Of course you wouldn’t. Denying racism is a national passtime in China.

I live here, I know the score. The burden of proof is on you to show me how racism has been imported into China. Good luck, you’re gonna need it.

@JXie

I do see examples of Party sponsored racism here. All the posters put up during the African summit featuring wild animals and Africans with speers for example. Not a single picture of an African in a suit anywhere on Wangfujing street. The fact that any Party vetted teaching of evolution studiously avoids the fact that people, including Chinese people, evolved in Africa.

The Party does have an interest in supporting racism. Racism has been used to promote a Chinese sense of uniqueness and superiority as part of their campaign to whip-up nationalism as a substitute for communism, and therefore, support for the Party.

Now, having said that, I know that Party members are regular people and as individuals, I doubt they are especially racist. Therefore, stuff like education on human evolution and the Wangfujing pictures might just as well be a reflection of the inherent racism of party members that is no different from the rest of the racism that pervades this society and not part of a grand scheme to push racist thought.

So, does the party conciously, actively pushing racism? It think they are a bit. It’s in their interest to do so. They are DEFINATELY not doing anything to fight it.

April 26, 2007 @ 10:45 pm | Comment

“”"”"”"”"”The other side of the argument, however, would say they should have known what was coming to them. After all, commit the crime, be ready to do the time is truer in china than anywhere else. and don’t expect no sympathy on the way!”"”"”"”"”"”

Interesting,

Well as I have understood, at the time whent he persecution started there was no crime being committed. Jiang Zemin wanted to use that group as a scape goat and pump himself up within the party, he made up stuff about the Marxists needing to defeat the theist and told the politburo that theism would destroy the party blah blah blah. He sent lots of spies out to check Falun Gong for an excuse but they didnt find any crime. (its pretty easy to believe if you read the book and know what they are following)

Then AFTER the persecution started, Jiang wrote up and anti cult blurb as a law and than totally lawlessly arrested all Falun Gong people and said they were in an “evil cult” without even stating any criteria or any due procedure.

So after he made that blurb, he punished the Falun Gong people retroactively.

When the CCP wants you beaten, it doesnt matter if you have done anything wrong or not, they get the idea and brutally go forward until the people are sufficiently terrorized into submission.

I think Jiang Zemin was just a freak who would be so cold blooded as to use the persecution as a tool for his own reputation as a party hardliner.

And I think the CCP just felt they had to follow him, or they were convinced by his arguments that Falun Gong was trying to bring down the government….

How could the Falun Gong expect to be cracked down on when they were working with the government often to spread the practice and the government was always praising it so on.

Their “crime” “under the CCP” was theism, and if you ask any theist, that simply cant be considered a crime, and should definitely not be called superstitious and evil.

In any case people should be allowed to believe in Buddha and God and strongly as they want as long as they arent being political or fighting and stuff. Just the CCP gets jealous of Buddha and God. Simple as that.

April 26, 2007 @ 11:14 pm | Comment

Oh for gods sake (and I’m an atheist).

It hardly makes sense to compare the US and China, really. The US is by definition an immigrant nation. China, though it has its “ethnic minorities” is not.

There is more overt tension and stress here in the States because people are constantly bumping up against others from very different cultural backgrounds which are not necessarily familiar to them. On the other hand, there is more genuine mixing and acceptance of difference here as well. At my workplace, I interact with people from all over the world, from all kinds of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and we mostly get along pretty well. Even though the default definition of an American is a person of White European ethnicity, this is becoming less and less the case, and there is room in the definition of an American for people regardless of where they come from or what they look like. That doesn’t mean we live in a multicultural paradise or that there aren’t a lot of tensions, fear and anger, but I’ll still say that a Chinese person can come to America and become “American,” and I’m not so sure that I could come to China and become “Chinese” – though I do think that Chinese culture is way more accepting of this than say, Japanese culture.

When China becomes an immigrant country, then we can have this discussion on a more rational basis. Until then, it’s a pretty silly argument, at least the way that it’s being conducted here.

April 27, 2007 @ 4:13 pm | Comment

And on that note, this thread is about to go to heaven.

April 27, 2007 @ 7:33 pm | Comment

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