The 8 “Don’t Asks” When Dealing with Foreigners During the Games

A morning quickie – this is probably all over the China blogs right now but is too interesting to pass up – a post that translates Olympic propaganda posters teaching the Chinese people how to interact with outsiders flocking into the city in the weeks ahead. The 8 Don’t Asks will soon have quite an audience, having made it onto Yahoo’s top 5 stories today, which is where I saw it.

The 8th rule is particularly useful.

Lastly, there was one rule on a poster about proper behavior for commuters and pedestrians that seemed a bit odd:

When men and women are walking together, men should generally walk on the outside, and the person carrying things should normally walk on the right. Men should help women carry things, but must not help women carry their handbags. When three people are walking side-by-side, elderly should walk in the middle. Where there are many cars around, men should walk on the side of the sidewalk closer to the street. When four people are walking together, it is best to walk two-by-two.

It sounds to me as if the people are being asked to mobilize into tactically advantageous walking formations, so as to maximize protection for women and elderly against rough and rowdy foreign hordes which will soon be threatening the safety of Beijing’s streets and sidewalks with unchecked groping and thieving. To sum up, it seems the message behind these posters is “Smile, but don’t let the foreigners get close.” Beijing welcomes you, indeed

To avoid any confusion and misimpressions, this post is not making fun of the Chinese people nor is it racist or hateful. This is a funny post (there are 7 more of these rules, so read it all), and the butt of the joke are the propagandists writing this drivel, not the Chinese citizens who pay their salaries. Your tax dollars at work….

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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: 44 Comments

To avoid any confusion and misimpressions, this post is not making fun of the Chinese people nor is it racist or hateful.

The fact that you even have to state that speaks volumes.

July 23, 2008 @ 9:46 am | Comment

Tactically advantageous walking formations? Protecting the women and elderly from rough foreigners? What a dumb conclusion, but typical bias.

Until the Me Generation Western men walked on the street side to prevent passing traffic from splashing the lady, a practice long gone. The other “do’s” are similarly well-intended manners as anyone who’s walked down a crowded sidewalk in China well understands: Four or more persons should not sweep the sidewalk before them like linemen, the elderly should be accompanied, even arm-in-arm (yes, even if that seems absurdly quaint to anyone not elderly) and the man should carry the lady’s packages rather than stumble along slack-jawed with hands in pockets (the common posture of many young foreign males in China) or veering ahead with cell phone to ear and cigarette in hand, indifferent to everyone but himself (typical Chinese male posture).

The government is trying to make its citizenry look good for the Olympiad and – who knows? but likely the intent – maybe the collateral benefit will be a citizenry having greater regard for others. Impossible? No, a general regard for others came about in Taiwan – yielding to others, no blaring of auto horns, a civil tongue when speaking to strangers, waiting patiently in line for one’s turn, and generally acting in public in a manner that shows you respect others that’s called “common civility” – and in time the major cities of China will probably grow into it. Taiwan did it. Hong Kong did it. Singapore mandated it. I have hope for mainland China.

July 23, 2008 @ 10:11 am | Comment

Yes, trying to make a good impression on guests is very funny, very stupid, very ridiculous. Why should China bother to be nice to foreigners if you will always just ridicule? For the last 3 posts, it’s all about some negative thing about the Chinese olympics, and you enjoy it very much. Of course I know that your biggest dream is to see a bomb explode or some big accident, and “millions die” (favorite phrase of the BBC).

July 23, 2008 @ 10:43 am | Comment

Of course I know that your biggest dream is to see a bomb explode or some big accident, and “millions die” (favorite phrase of the BBC).

Hongxing, that is an insulting conclusion, and just shows your ignorance and anti-Western bias, something that frequently comes through in your posts.

To accuse someone of wishing people to die is repugnant. But maybe you are just extending your beliefs on to someone else – you probably cheered on 9/11.

July 23, 2008 @ 10:58 am | Comment

I am an Anti-American. I do not hide that point. I admit it openly. I am a Chinese nationalist, and I do not hide that either. And not only am I a nationalist, I am a very narrow-minded nationalist. And that word narrow-minded is a positive word to me in this sense. Whatever helps China I will support, whatever hurts America I will support.

Now give me an honest answer about your stand.

July 23, 2008 @ 11:14 am | Comment

HX, there’s Being Nice and then there’s Being Insane. That the government is putting up posters telling men they “must not carry a woman’s handbag” crosses over into the Being Insane category.

Gordon, I have to put up the disclaimer. No matter what you say here, there’s a contingent that sees it as racist or hateful to the Chinese, and another that sees it as too tolerant and loving toward China.

July 23, 2008 @ 11:19 am | Comment

I don’t see what’s wrong with asking its citizens how to be gracious hosts in the olympics. You ever heard of “Paris syndrome” because the French doesn’t really care about the way they treat the tourists?

July 23, 2008 @ 11:46 am | Comment

@HX: Fortunately you don’t represent the majority…

@pug_ster: no one said there was anything wrong with it!! It’s just funny. Does not Paris have another stereotype of taking itself too seriously?

Lighten up people.

July 23, 2008 @ 12:05 pm | Comment

I guess I am going to have to repeat myself an awful lot here. From my comment above:

“there’s Being Nice and then there’s Being Insane. That the government is putting up posters telling men they ‘must not carry a woman’s handbag’ crosses over into the Being Insane category.”

Telling your people how to be gracious hosts is a wonderful, wonderful thing to do. If you feel that one of the highest priorities of being a gracious host is to not hold a woman’s purse when you offer to help her carry things, then we will never come to agreement and we can end the discussion now, respectfully agreeing to disagree. I find it batshit crazy, which is why the media is going to make a big deal out of it, the way they did 15 years ago with the US military’s $200 toilet seats. It’s not China – whenever a government does something that’s simply nutty, the media have a field day with it. Like George Bush swaggering across the deck of an aircraft carry wearing a codpiece.

July 23, 2008 @ 12:15 pm | Comment

I don’t see what was “negative” about the Olympic Viagra post, HongXing, and being that you didn’t comment at the time, I’m guessing that you didn’t either. Other people may feel that they have to defend themselves to you; I don’t.

That said, I’m going to side with you on this: the signs are well-intentioned, and I think that despite the odd ideas the writers seem to have about what will and won’t offend foreign sensibilities — as if social mores fell into the two categories of “China” and “everybody else” — it’s wonderful to see people so concerned about making a good impression on foreign guests. I hope they succeed — and I hope even more that they’ll extend one another the same courtesies.

July 23, 2008 @ 12:58 pm | Comment

“It sounds to me as if the people are being asked to mobilize into tactically advantageous walking formations”

I don’t know about you all but uh, I kinda grew up with similar “right thing to do” instilled in me and I’m a white boy from Canada.

I always walk on the outside when I’m walking with a woman, the traffic side, or the apparently ‘dangerous’ site. The ignorance you pose as “defending against evil foreigners” just tells me you grew up without values, why you gotta bag on people who are trying to improve theirs?

July 23, 2008 @ 1:38 pm | Comment

@Hong Xing
I am an Anti-American. I do not hide that point. I admit it openly. I am a Chinese nationalist, and I do not hide that either. And not only am I a nationalist, I am a very narrow-minded nationalist. And that word narrow-minded is a positive word to me in this sense. Whatever helps China I will support, whatever hurts America I will support.

When I read this, i thought the xenophobic Boxers have been resurrected from hell. You claimed that you are a Chinese “nationalist”. Can you elaborate on what defines Chinese nationalism? I suspect your so-called “nationalism” is that of absolute loyalty to the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party. Your “narrow” nationalism is none other than communist totalitarianism because to you, the party is equivalent to the Chinese nation.

My definition of Chinese nationalism is very different from yours. It is represented by Dr. Sun’s Three People’s Principles: Nationalism, Democracy, Livelihood. And the nationalism here simply means a free indepedent China freed of foreign rule. Democracy means establishing a genuine consitutional government elected by the Chinese people through universal suffrage. Livelihood involves building up the nation and let the people have a decent level of living. Long live the Republic of China! What about your “nationalism”?

Hurting US doesn’t equate to benefitting China. Try to sell all the US treasury bills held by the PRC government now. If the US dollar collapses, do you think it benefits the PRC given the volum of trade between the two countries? Or help Kim Jong Il to complete a nuclear ICBM so that he could use it against Washington? That will sure hurt the US, but should this happen, Japan will definitely go nuclear, so does that benefit the PRC in return? Your Anti-Americanism is hardly “nationalism” but some childish blind rage which would actually do the Chinese nation in.

It is God’s blessing that people like you do not have your fingers on the nuclear button or we would have vanished way back during the 13 days in 1962.

July 23, 2008 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

@HX
Yes, trying to make a good impression on guests is very funny, very stupid, very ridiculous. Why should China bother to be nice to foreigners if you will always just ridicule?

This tone reminds me of the anti-foreign and myopic frog in the well: Empress Dowager Cixi.

July 23, 2008 @ 1:47 pm | Comment

Brendan, thanks for the comment. I think the signs are well intentioned. But the packaging, and the choice of content – well, it seems funny, just like the cheerleading instructions. Case in point:

Pay attention to avoiding taboo subjects, quit using bad platitudes, and do not use insulting or discriminatory contemptuous or derogatory terms to address the disabled. Say things such as, “You are amazing,” or “You are really great.” When chatting with the visually impaired, do not say things like “It’s up ahead,” or “It’s over there.” When chatting with athletes who are paraplectic in their upper body, do not say things like “It’s behind you.”

Maybe it’s the talking to people as though they are idiots that makes it seem so odd, the need to give people a script. And some of the tips seem pretty lame and almost certainly will never be used (don’t say “It’s behind you” to paraplegics). I’ve seen tips for dealing with foreigners in other contexts; in my profession, we actually have documents for Chinese and Western executives about how to interact with one another, what to say, what to be wary of. But they are real-life and actually make sense. The purse carrying does not make sense, and it shows a deep misunderstanding of what matters to foreigners. That’s why they seem so funny.

July 23, 2008 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

Well, I found the original guidelines amusing because they really do point to some cultural differences between Westerners and Chinese that anyone who actually talks to Chinese people should realize. For example, Chinese really will ask you directly what your salary is — I ALWAYS get asked this, in every frakking conversation here when I talk to laobaixing. But in Canada, it is definitely NOT considered polite to ask a stranger how much he makes! It wouldn’t surprise me if they asked some Westerner to come up with these “don’t asks”.

Maybe what we really need is a pamphlet for VISITORS to China to tell them to relax and accept a certain directness — like how Chinese will directly tell someone they are fat. That’s definitely another cultural difference…

Also, the “walking guidelines” definitely seem culled from some Western etiquette guide, and have nothing to do with protecting Chinese from unruly foreigners. I remember reading such guides when I was younger, with a plethora of rules like “gentlemen walk behind ladies when ascending stairs, and in front of them when descending.” (In case the woman trips. And I always joked, to get a better view while ascending…)

What I DON’T find amusing is the snarky attitude in the original blogger’s article. I get the impression the writer not only doesn’t speak to many Chinese, I also think he/she must be too young to remember these sort of etiquette guides in the West. (Probably never heard of Ann Landers or Emily Post.) As the British might say, he/she doesn’t seem to show good breeding…

July 23, 2008 @ 2:25 pm | Comment

@HongXing
“Whatever helps China I will support,”

Does it means he will be a very polite person with foreigners during (even americans) the Olympic Games?

Best time to meet him then! ;-)

July 23, 2008 @ 2:30 pm | Comment

Emily Post herself:

“A GENTLEMAN, whether walking with two ladies or one, takes the curb side of the pavement. He should never sandwich himself between them.”

http://www.bartleby.com/95/5.html

The original stuff is ripe for lampooning, so it’s no wonder the Chinese version is also.

July 23, 2008 @ 2:40 pm | Comment

Hoping I’m not accidentally triple-posting, but to back up what Scott Boar and Rick in China said, here is Emily Post herself:

“A GENTLEMAN, whether walking with two ladies or one, takes the curb side of the pavement. He should never sandwich himself between them.”

http://www.bartleby.com/95/5.html

Since the original stuff is ripe for lampooning, perhaps it should be no surprise the Chinese version comes across so strangely to people like Richard.

July 23, 2008 @ 2:49 pm | Comment

Why can’t Chinese ask about personal experiences?

“Oh, so you’ve been to China before. What was your best experience?”

or

“So where have you been before and where would you recommend to travel to?”

Very, very strange “rules”.

July 23, 2008 @ 2:57 pm | Comment

Being told how to behave, especially in such a basic, paternalistic way, is somewhat of an insult to foreigners and to Chinese. Westerners are not ruled by culture to such an extent that they will be terribly offended if people ask them their age, or walk on the “wrong” side of the sidewalk! People coming to China for the first time will be curious about it and eager to meet Chinese people. If there are some misunderstandings in behavior, wouldn’t it be much more rewarding to work them out on one’s own, instead of being dictated to by a higher power?

The guidelines also take a rather broad view of “foreigner.” It seems to really mean European, North American, or Australian.

July 23, 2008 @ 3:36 pm | Comment

Good points Danfried. Not unusual at all to be asked: Are you married?: How old are you? What’s your salary?

Those Emily Post quotes – a bit outdated today, I think. That’s also why the posters seem so funny; it’s like they were written in the 1920s.

July 23, 2008 @ 4:13 pm | Comment

To be fair. Chinese do have a different set of cultural rules for traffic and pedestrian activities. I know this has been rapidly changing in the major cities with the disappearance of bicycles and the emergence of traffic lights and cars. Speaking as one who has been to china and has also experienced the “politeness” of americans walking and commuting in a major city in the US on a daily basis, americans do have a pronounced attitute problem when it comes to sharing the sidewalk, sharing the road or sharing the subway car. Americans have a more pronounced expectation to walk a linear path at all times, walking fast like you are in a hurry means you are “important” and are a “winner” in the rat race. Showing consideration to others on the sidewalk or road is a “sign of weakness”. Anyone who has been outside beijing or shanghai in a city with less contact with westerners and has tried to cross a street knows chinese (and other asian cultures) are different.

July 23, 2008 @ 8:58 pm | Comment

@Richard,

Perhaps that it is custumary that Chinese men hold women’s handbags. Perhaps that most Chinese don’t consider rude to tell the visually impared people over here and over there. Maybe most Chinese people are not used to say ‘You are amazing’ when addressing to the disabled. You live in China for how many years yet don’t even understand their customs.

July 23, 2008 @ 9:05 pm | Comment

Pugster, no one cares whether you hold or do not hold a woman’s handbag as you help her carry things. The posters make it seem like this is of huge importance to foreigners. It isn’t and that they say it is will strike most foreigners as odd and\or amusing. But as I said, if you truly see this as a very important issue when dealing with foreigners- so important it’s put up on public posters – let’s just cordially agree to disagree. If not, I’ll even offer to agree and concede one of the key things visitrs to the Games will be sensitive about is a man offering to help a woman by holding her purse.

July 23, 2008 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

I think you are all missing the point. What makes all of this so ridiculous is that lacking basic values, the ruling CCP now feels the need to impose yet another facade on the Chinese people. Air polluted? Don’t actually try to clean it up just close factories and ban cars. Citizens lack basic civility? Don’t allow social institutions to develop, just issue pamphlets and directives. Entire political system corrupt? Don’t radically reform through universal suffrage and accountability, just have “show” trials. And on and on and on. So for folks like Hong I’ll repeat what I’ve said…..you have nothing to be proud of. The achievements of a CCP led China are political and economic instability globally, an environmental disaster of epic proportions and a new “middle class” whose only values are consumerism. Not much to be proud of.

July 23, 2008 @ 10:13 pm | Comment

@Richard,

Maybe YOU don’t have a problem carrying a women’s purse. Many American men don’t think it is masculine to carry women’s purses. The poster is written in Chinese and not aimed at Americans but to Chinese to educate them about Western’s behaviors and customs. Who knows, when some Chinese man takes a women’s purse and woman might get pissed because she thinks he is trying to steal her purse.

July 23, 2008 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

@pug_ster
“Who knows, when some Chinese man takes a women’s purse and woman might get pissed because she thinks he is trying to steal her purse.”

Maybe the CH govt is just trying to protect their people. Just in case an over polite CH gentleman tries to help an old American lady by carrying her purse, but got in the end a skull fracture by being misunderstood.

Some old ladies put a brick in their purse for defense reasons…..

July 23, 2008 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

Pugster, I agree. This is one of the most important messages to ensure the Chinese people don’t offend foreigners. Why are we still discussing this? It was a stroke of genius on the part of the propaganda department. It will surely be praised for generations to come.

Sorry for being a bit snarky. It just amazes me how some can take this so seriously. And it amazes me even more (though actually not at all) to see the lengths to which some will go to defend virtually anything and everything that is emitted from the mouths (or other orifices) of their propagandist controllers.

And now, let’s change the subject. We’ve exhausted the topic and I’ve conceded defeat to pugster and those who see men carrying a lady’s purse as the paramount issue of our age.

I love China. I hate the propaganda. It’s not what China is, even if some have swallowed the bait.

July 23, 2008 @ 10:54 pm | Comment

“Don’t ask about income or expenses,…”

It was about time somebody told Chinese people not to stick their noses into my financial affairs. The problem is not that I consider it impolite because of my different cultural background. My income simply isn’t your business, no matter if you are from the USA, the PRC or the Congo. The only exceptions are my employer, the tax office and my family.

“…don’t ask about age,…”

Some ladies might have a problem with that, I certainly don’t. Does that mean I have been successfully Sinicized?

“…don’t ask about love life or marriage,…”

Maybe somebody should tell the Chinese people that in the world outside China married men and women wear marriage rings, so they don’t need to ask everybody “Are you married?” By the way, do Chinese people have the habit of asking others about their love life? That’s news to me.

“…don’t ask about health,…”

Does that mean we are not supposed to say “How are you?” anymore, because that could be interpreted as asking about one’s health?

“…don’t ask about someone’s home or address,…”

I can imagine situations in which it is actually necessary to ask for someone’s home address.

“…don’t ask about personal experience,…”

Now we haven’t got much left to talk about. Which probably was the intention in the first place.

“…don’t ask about religious beliefs or political views,…”

This advice (order?) seems to be directed at foreign visitors of China rather than Chinese people.

“…don’t ask what someone does.”

So, if some crazy car driver tries to kill me while I’m crossing the road, I’m not supposed to ask “What the hell are you doing?”

“One’s manners and bearing, and image should be graceful;[...]”

In other words, be the opposite of the average CCP party cadre.

“Pay attention to avoiding taboo subjects, quit using bad platitudes, and do not use insulting or discriminatory contemptuous or derogatory terms to address the disabled. Say things such as, ‘You are amazing,’ or ‘You are really great.’ ”

Damn, I thought that girl in the bar the other night really thought I was great, but she actually took me for a disabled person. Must have been my thick glasses and the way I walk after half a liter of vodka.

“When chatting with the visually impaired, do not say things like ‘It’s up ahead,’ or ‘It’s over there.’When chatting with athletes who are paraplectic in their upper body, do not say things like ‘It’s behind you.’”

What are we supposed to say instead? “It’s in a place you can’t reach,” and “It’s in a place you can’t see”?

“When men and women are walking together, [...]”

Did anybody tell those cyclists and drivers of motorized vehicles that the sidewalk is not for them? Otherwise, this whole walking etiquette is useless.

July 23, 2008 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

By the way, where is “Anti-American” troll Hongxing posting from? I bet it’s not China.

July 23, 2008 @ 11:44 pm | Comment

It reminds me that a couple of years ago of a nasty experience I went to London on a Business trip. One night I decided to go out on a night on the town and I would never forget the scent of the homeless people and drunks out on the street. I vow that I would never go back to London as a tourist.

In Chinese customs, the Chinese would clean up their house, dress as their ‘Sunday Best’ before a guest would come in. During the olympics, the whole world would have their eyesights in Beijing and why wouldn’t they bend over backwards to look at their ‘Sunday best?’ I think Tourists would appreciate what the Chinese has done in order to accomodate these guests and not be some dumbass city like London who thinks the tourists would come regardless whether they have cleaned up the city or not.

July 24, 2008 @ 12:04 am | Comment

pugster, we are in agreement (seriously). I have huge regard for the way the Chinese, especially here in Beijing treat their guests. It is one of the things I love most about Beijing. Absolutely love. The Chinese are often an exquisite people (like other people, they have their ups and down) – in some ways absolutely awe-inspiring. The whole world would learn a valuable lesson from Chinese hospitality toward their invited guests. (And now that I’ve said that, let’s take bets on who will attack me as a “panda slurper.” Damned if I do…)

July 24, 2008 @ 12:26 am | Comment

@Richard,

I know. I just hope that 4 years from now when London host the olympics, they would do the same thing, unlike what happened in Atlanta in 1996.

July 24, 2008 @ 1:03 am | Comment


Well, I found the original guidelines amusing because they really do point to some cultural differences between Westerners and Chinese that anyone who actually talks to Chinese people should realize. For example, Chinese really will ask you directly what your salary is — I ALWAYS get asked this, in every frakking conversation here when I talk to laobaixing. But in Canada, it is definitely NOT considered polite to ask a stranger how much he makes!”

Yeah, but is it really polite for a Chinese to ask Chinese stranger? Taxi drivers might ask because in my experience, taxi drivers anywhere in Asia will ask just about anything. The same personal questions about age and salary get asked in Korea, too, but there are limitations on when/whom it’s appropriate to ask. For example, if there is an obvious age gap, then it’s impolite for the younger Korean to ask the elder Korean’s age, yet this rule is not followed with foreigners. I was horrified when a university student asked my salary as an instructor. I replied, “Would you ask a Korean professor that question?” He looked sheepish. In other words, Asians are curious about foreigners and will ask questions that they wouldn’t necessarily ask to fellow national of the same age/position/social status.

July 24, 2008 @ 1:20 am | Comment

I should add that I don’t have enough immersion experience in China to judge whether Chinese also ask more intrusive questions to foreigners that would be considered impolite by well-mannered Chinese, but I suspect it might be true.

July 24, 2008 @ 1:23 am | Comment

In addition to the 8 “Don’t Asks”, here are the 8 “Don’t Tells” for dealing with aliens from he outside world(what the glorious CCP forgot to tell the people of China).

1. Don’t tell aliens how excellent their Mandarin is, just because they are able to say “Ni hao” and “Zaijian”. False compliments are only appreciated, if they are not too obviously false.

2. Don’t tell aliens that they are fat. They already know that and some of those overweight Americans and Europeans are very self-conscious, to the point that pointing out their physical shortcoming hurts their feelings – almost as much as it hurts your feelings when Nicholas Sarkozy or Angela Merkel have tea with his Holiness the Dalai Lama.

3. Don’t tell aliens you know the way to XXX when you don’t. Sending somebody the wrong way doesn’t save you face, it just makes you look stupid.

4. Don’t tell aliens that according to traffic rules in the PRC pedestrians always have to give way to motorized vehicles. A few aliens checked it and they know you are wrong.

5. Don’t tell aliens how much you admire Adolf Hitler. In most countries of the outside world, mass murderers are not regarded as great men or heros.

6. Don’t tell aliens how much you hate the Japanese. Most of them know about the atrocities committed by the Japanese army during the Second World War, but they don’t think those justify hating an entire nation about two generations later.

7. Don’t tell aliens what you think about black people. You don’t want to destroy the myth that “there is no racism in China.”

8. Don’t tell Chinese women in the company of foreign men what you think about them. Some of those aliens do understand Chinese.

July 24, 2008 @ 1:44 am | Comment

“Yeah, but is it really polite for a Chinese to ask Chinese stranger?”

Good point! Many Chinese people I know don’t like being asked intrusive questions about their financial situation or family matters.

July 24, 2008 @ 1:48 am | Comment

I don’t see what’s so confusing or controversial about giving this type of instruction. The only difference, perhaps, is that Western “cultural” teaching often happens in Sunday school… where the teaching material is often just as patronizing and idiotic to my eyes. There’s no polite/easy way (at least on a poster) to say: “Don’t tell the handicapped athlete he’s a pretty good runner for someone without legs.”

As far as the last item that is the heart of this post… it’s apparently a poster about riding the new subway lines (which I assume were not available in that area). Not clear to me at all that it has anything to do with foreigners. The original blogger didn’t include a picture of that poster.

July 24, 2008 @ 5:36 am | Comment

I don’t see anything confusing or controversial about it, but some of the advice is a bit silly: the sort of thing anyone with any common sense already understands.

I think that whoever came up with that list is probably wasting their time. You can’t change people’s habits simply by printing a list of do’s and don’ts. There have been signs in China telling people not to spit for decades, but people still spit. If some people don’t spit it’s because they were brought up properly by their parents, not because of some neighbourhood propaganda unit.

July 24, 2008 @ 8:02 am | Comment

I am an Anti-American. I do not hide that point. I admit it openly. I am a Chinese nationalist, and I do not hide that either. And not only am I a nationalist, I am a very narrow-minded nationalist. And that word narrow-minded is a positive word to me in this sense. Whatever helps China I will support, whatever hurts America I will support.

How many Red Guards could have said the same thing? More often than not, Chinese nationalists hurt other Chinese, not foreigners.

July 24, 2008 @ 8:31 am | Comment

They need to post signs and rules on proper elevator etiquette …. it is not a pushing or shoving match …. and you stink & are sweaty so STOP TOUCHING ME !

July 24, 2008 @ 9:24 am | Comment

Basic Instruction on Foreigners

Stop trying to be nice to foreigners because you most often fail. We don’t want you to make extraordinary efforts on our behalf. Stop fussing over us, we don’t appreciate made to constantly feel like an inconvenient guest. Implying that calculated, sanctioned nice treatment should buy our consent enrages us. Stop embarrassing yourselves and us with gestures made on false assumptions about the West, don’t humiliate yourselves with more puerile excuses about the way you are, and don’t lump us together as outsiders with no experience or appreciation of China and no understanding of the language. Just extend to us the simple practice 己所不欲勿施於人 which means you must accept us as men, fellow human beings. That seems very, very hard to do but will be more mature than slobbering more nonsense about China versus USA. Stop using nationalism to excuse your faults and as a facade for self-respect. Grow up and assume responsibility for your own mistakes.

July 24, 2008 @ 9:58 am | Comment

Dear Richard,

Thank you for being the only person on the internet who gets my point. I am personally loathe to have to point out on my website something so pedestrian as the fact that I distinguish between the people who write propaganda and the Chinese to whom the propaganda is directed as two separate groups, so I’m glad that you could explain this in my stead.

It’s an honor to be linked to from your fine site. Many thanks,

Joel

August 5, 2008 @ 5:42 pm | Comment

Largely agree with Scott Loar’s posts (#2 and #42). He took the words right out of my mouth.

August 5, 2008 @ 9:28 pm | Comment

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