China Idiocy Alert

Rick Ruffin, satirist

Rick Ruffin, satirist

This may well take the cake. I mean, a skyscraper cake with a whole jar of maraschino cherries on top and enough Cool Whip to swim in. What can one say?

History has dealt China a dirty hand. It had famine, it had Mongol invasions, it had British colonization and the Opium War. It had Japanese invasion and the Nanjing Massacre. It is no stranger to atrocity. And it never had enough land. Not good land, anyhow. Fate dealt it the Gobi Desert.

In spite of these limitations, Mao Tse-tung managed to consolidate the country, to kick out the European and Japanese colonizers, to instill a one child policy (which India has yet to do), and to embark on the Great Leap Forward. And what a leap it has been.

Yikes. Could someone in this modern world actually look with a straight face at the Great Leap Backwards and praise it? Could someone actually say, without irony, that Mao’s leadership was so positive it helped balance the “dirty hand” China had been dealt? Could they? (I guess it becomes slightly more believable when the same person claims it was Mao who implemented China’s one-child policy, which began in 1979. I was always of the impression Mao was quite dead by then.)

This is via the Marmot, who caustically remarks,

Classic, Rick. Just classic. As my good friend Hamel asks in the KT comment section, this is satire, right?

Would that it were so.


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: 73 Comments


First came to China in 1997, first started living in Beijing in 2002, now have a nice little corner of a pingfang (not big, but it works) in a yard with 30 other Beijing families, with whom we have big all-yard group dinners about once a week…exactly what else should I be doing? Please enlighten me.

Oh yeah…all the families in the yard have air conditioning, too.

September 2, 2008 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

History hasn’t always dealt China a dirty hand. She also produced Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu, great art and literature aplenty, beautiful porcelain, the world’s strongest navy for centuries, scientific and technological inventions and discoveries from which the world has benefitted immensely, and at times a well-to-do middle class. Of course, there were eyesores aplenty as well. One ought not to focus exclusively on either the rose above or the manure below.

Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, Mao and his gang are one part rose and nine parts manure. They may have done some good, but committed all too many atrocities as well.

I love China for her ancient culture. It’s the CCP whose guts I hate.

Being an overseas Chinese born in Singapore makes me a foreigner too in NJ’s eyes, I suppose. Whatever the case may be, *I* certainly wish to see change come to China as well, if only because of my emotional ties to her by virtue of being a Chink myself, whereupon I would like to see her live up to the shining values contained in the best of her ancient culture. This will IMO make China truly stand tall among the world’s nations, far more than a hundred Olympics. And I’ll be proud to be Chinese. As it happens, the acts of the CCP have repeatedly trampled on the basic values of respect for truth and for human life, and of intellectual freedom. This is such a disappointment to me I’m now tempted simply to sever all emotional ties with China. Don’t like foreigners telling you what is wrong with you? No problem, go ahead, do all you want and ROT for all I care.

Then again, with China growing increasingly influential in world affairs today, can we foreigners afford not to care about China?

September 3, 2008 @ 12:07 am | Comment

KT, well said.

I don’t think NJ’s heart is in the wrong place and I completely understand where his worldview comes from. His perception of foreigners displaying concern about the abuse of Chinese citizens as somehow showing their contempt for China is so, so common. Such a queer and marvelous distortion, so totally absurd and so well ingrained.

September 3, 2008 @ 12:31 am | Comment

Wonder if the kind of education (or indoctrination) they’ve had might have something to do with it. Sigh…

September 3, 2008 @ 12:38 am | Comment

To Richard and KT,
Please enlighten me on how to deal with China if you are free. Thanks.

September 3, 2008 @ 9:14 am | Comment

That’s a mighty big request, Cambridge, and I never said I had a magic solution. My own strategy is to keep raising awareness the way Pan does, and not let people forget that there is more to China than shiny new buildings and smiling Olympic volunteers.

Enlightenment has to come from within. I can’t do it for you. Read Pan’s book and maybe it will come to you.

September 3, 2008 @ 9:32 am | Comment

I second what Richard said.

September 3, 2008 @ 9:49 am | Comment

To Si:
You’re right. i don’t know anything about you. if you read carefully, i didn’t claim to know you. If your answer to my question is “yes” then my latter claim doesn’t apply. This is only a small part of my claim. let’s focus on the whole of my argument. In order to give a fair critique of something, one should learn it first hand. Any critiques tinted with bias only result in more bias and eventually lead to ignorance of the subject being study. With such logic in mind, information distributors have the duty to present a fair view of the subject which the information distributor claimed to have studied first handedly in an effort to prevent bias and ignorance.

To: Jeremiah
I’m glad that you make china your home. Beijing is an amazing city, and it is also good to know that you’ve found your neighbors to be friendly. I would love to enlighten you, but i lack the required wisdom. I can only offer you my own 2 sense about finding the real china. As i have said before, only a small fraction of chinese lives in cities such as Beijing. With average income of nearly 10,000 USD per year for the Beijing dwellers, this is hardly the real picture of china. So my suggestion is, hop into your car and drive for 4 hours or so. When you’re not in the Beijing city limit anymore, pick a village to live there for a few years. Nevertheless, please give us your personal account in Beijing. What is your take on issues such as human rights, political reform and the future of china? Are you scare shitless by the atrocity of the CCP in your everyday life? please provide us with a full comparison of your native country with Beijing.

To Ong:
Let me make my position clear. I’m not against constructive criticism. I’m against bias. Either the bias takes the form of criticism or acknowledgment. I understand that completely eliminating bias is impossible, but we can reduce it. Bias information is dangerous as I had explained. it will lead to ignorance, and ignorance will lead to misunderstand, misunderstand between two countries is a catastrophe in the making. So whether you are a foreigner or a non-foreigner it doesn’t matter. you have the responsibility to reduce bias and enhance understanding. If you want china to change, come to china and change it yourself. Actions speak louder than words right?

To Richard:
It is one thing to show concern, but it is another to spread ignorance.

September 3, 2008 @ 10:31 am | Comment


***What is your take on issues such as human rights, political reform and the future of china? Are you scare shitless by the atrocity of the CCP in your everyday life? please provide us with a full comparison of your native country with Beijing.***

It is precisely because Western countries are so rotten in so many ways with respect to human rights that I want to see China do better. MUCH better. China is becoming a major world player, and in this respect I’d far rather not see yet another rotten egg being added to the sorry list currently populated by the nations of the West with their lousy record on human rights.

I’ve actually become so disillusioned with China today that I almost couldn’t care less about what you mainland Chinese want to say, do or believe anymore. China can rot for all I care. Only trouble is, our world is now so interconnected and China so influential that whatever she does is going to have major repercussions all over the world. It was the ineptitude of the CCP that caused SARS to spread around the world. Just here in Singapore several people fell prey to the disease. So can you blame us if we’re concerned about China and want to see her change? If you don’t like that, shut yourself completely away from the outside world and go right back to the days of the late Ming. Then we won’t have to worry about you anymore. You can say, do and believe whatever you like. I’d be happy too.

September 3, 2008 @ 11:23 am | Comment

To Ong:
Wow! I’m speechless at the fact that you can change your position from ” whereupon I would like to see her(china) live up to the shining values contained in the best of her ancient culture.” to “China can rot for all I care” in such short period of time. It is even more shocking that you can totally ignore my position which I’ve stated over and over again on my previous entry by “I almost couldn’t care less about what you mainland Chinese want to say, do or believe anymore.” But it is just disgusting, how selfish you are when you mention that the only reason you concern about china it is not because of its social issues or its starving peasants. you only care about the effects china has on your country, Singapore. Let me restate my position once again. I’m not against genuine concern; I’m against ignorance which is a product of bias. I think I should add that I’m against selfishness also. In my eyes you are a foreigner, the worst kind. China will not rot because it has to prove herself to people like you.

September 3, 2008 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

NJ, I like the way you changed the goalposts on your own argument when readers called your bluff. First you said, “i challenge you to spend sometime in china to see china through your own eyes.” When some said they’ve been here for years, suddenly it became, “go live in a village for years.” I suppose next it will be, “go live in a village that isn’t on the coast and that is south of Chengdu for a few years.” Meanwhile, you’re reciting all the usual pro-party talking points. I am familiar with those. I’ve studied them. And I also studied other points of view, as in Pan’s book. So I ask again, have you read Pan’s book? Are you pleased that you can’t buy a copy of it here, at least not legally? As to your charge of “spreading ignorance,” please elaborate – what are you referring to?

September 3, 2008 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

NJ, that last comment of your was truly offensive. I’ve been very tolerant, but I am not so tolerant when people come on and tell me they don’t like me or my blog. No one forces you to come here. If you can’t see how I try to find a balance between the “anti-China” faction and the fen qing, then you aren’t reading carefully. Most of my coverage of the Olympics was positive. I even changed my post about the opening ceremony after I realized I had only seen one long and hopelessly cheesy segment that was not representative of the whole. I always strive to hear contradicting opinions and have changed my positions on several subjects thanks to the intelligent input of commenters. But I don’t need to tolerate personal attacks. So please consider yourself warned. Thanks.

September 3, 2008 @ 2:22 pm | Comment

Also NJ, is this your employer? Fascinating. Also fascinating (no, predictable) to see you’re in California.

September 3, 2008 @ 2:25 pm | Comment


“i haven’t seen anyone own a washer or dryer yet. people wash cloths with their hands and sun dry their wet clothes.”

In 2006, 96.77 out of every 100 urban households had a washing machine. IN the rural areas, it was 42.98%.

My source is here:

Where’s yours?

September 3, 2008 @ 2:26 pm | Comment

To Richard:
I’ve been sensor? for expression my opinion?? MY GOD!

September 3, 2008 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

Mr. Richard
I’ve never imagined that my first public censor comes from an American.

September 3, 2008 @ 3:00 pm | Comment

You aren’t being censored. No one ever gets censored here for disagreeing with me. But if you use personal attacks you will be. You put up lots of comments and I didn’t touch a single one even though we have very different opinions. If you go the route of name-calling and saying how much you dislike my site, please don’t expect me to welcome you here with open arms.Thanks a lot for your understanding.

September 3, 2008 @ 3:06 pm | Comment

I think the CCP that you want to change so badly has the same mentality too. I would like to see the CCP’s rigid mentality change in the future. But thanks for your hospitality.

September 3, 2008 @ 3:24 pm | Comment

NJ, I am not a government, I am a blogger who has set up a site where I let people comment according to my rules. Free speech is everything to me. Everyone is free to set up a blog and run it exactly as they choose. Some have no comments. Some have comments that have to be approved first. Here you are, commenting away, and I don’t interfere unless you flagrantly take advantage of the courtesy. And even then, I always let you and other commenters back. I’m a pretty easy guy to get along with. Is the CCP as easygoing? Maybe you should ask one of these guys.

September 3, 2008 @ 3:46 pm | Comment


Feel free to search the posts on this site and my own. You come across as a simpleton, relying on identity to make up for a lack of intellectual heft. I would find it sad if it weren’t so tiresome.

Now off to prepare a lecture on Manchus, ethnicity, and the early Qing Empire for tomorrow afternoon…

September 3, 2008 @ 5:39 pm | Comment


1). 200 million raised from poverty
I think China claims 300, not 200, millions raised from poverty. Have you ever thought that in the first place the communist was the one that made the whole Chinese in China became indigent. I met many older generations of entrepreneurs who escaped to HongKong, Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan with their money after the communist took over. Well, if someone took all your wealth and gave back 20 bucks to you for your bus fare, we wouldn’t call him a nice guy, would we? So to me, this propaganda of raising 300 millions above poverty line is absurd.

2). Economy
“Get tough with red China and you became U.S. president.” I don’t get what you are saying. I haven’t heard anything from the presidential candidates so far about China; which is disappointing, because it is important and I want to hear it from the horse mouth. Only Obama briefly mentioned about the safety issue of Chinese products. The problem in the US now is that it is preoccupied with Iraq. It should really focus on China, and counter-attack on the disguised trade protectionism done by China. Perhaps, the US is indebted to China on North Korea issue and its support to fight terrorism.

3). Pollution
If you travel around China, you can see and smell that the chinese suffer immensely. Their fish, clamp are dead. They cannot do anything to challenge the local party bosses.

I find it so out of context that only the communist can improve China; and the worst is there are many ignorant people who believe it. For those Chinese dispora and the chinese alike, do remember that communism and china can be seen in different realm of appreciation. Communism consistently builds itself by distorting the truth and tarnishing human character. And, China can certainly develop well without having to take that path, miring the chinese into sordid and unscrupulous character along the way. Chinese are ignored in the world not because they are poor, as most of the mainland chinese believe; rather because the world does not appreciate the unscrupulous mentality.
By hosting the Olympic, the Beijingness has learned a valuable lesson of queueing, not spitting, etc, which overall have been positive. And hopefully the next step the chinese government can put a stop to its well-disguised “screw the foreigners” mentality, so that the chinese can grow psychologically normal with sound confident in world community, instead of showing off its petty newly acquired wealth as sign of inferiority complex.

The latest development unfortunately is that the communist starts to blame foreign corporations for abusing “low” domestic wages and benefits, and mistreating the “common workers.” Insane!

September 4, 2008 @ 3:48 am | Comment


Why don’t you answer DOR’s question? He’s given you concrete numbers and a source and now you just ignore him. Don’t they teach basic manners to kids in California?

September 5, 2008 @ 7:12 pm | Comment

[…] in. What can one say? History has dealt China a dirty hand. It had famine, it had Mongol invasions injustice ‘killing on a grand scale’: WHO AFP via Yahoo! News A “toxic combination” of […]

September 17, 2008 @ 9:08 pm | Pingback

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