At the risk of igniting a blog war, I feel I have to point out what might be the very worst post on China I have read in a long, long time, from a blog I respect enough to include on my blogroll. When I say bad, when I say dumb, when I say wrong – let’s just say it’s the equivalent of what I’d expect Sarah Palin to write about the Iraq war, saying how it was an exercise in successful American can-do determination and that no civilians were hurt and it all went like a cake-walk. I mean the type of post where you have to willfully block out any and all hints of truth as you arrive at your own fact-free truthiness.
It’s about the milk scandal, and it could have been written by HongXing:
While dismayed by the rogue manufacturers’ ability to abuse the public for such a long time (a year, I heard), I am relieved that eventually the scams were exposed, exclusively by forces within the Chinese society. No foreign White knight was in a position to rescue the Chinese people from their rulers and deliver them from their misery. In fact, the New Zealand diary company who owned a stake in the main culprit, Sanlu Diary Corporation, was part of the problem. The Western media have been on the sideline; their opinions on this event are largely irrelevant to the Chinese public. It has been the Chinese parents’ outrage and the Chinese media’s probing and revelations that constitute the main source of the Chinese authorities’ embarrassment and the main forces that prompted them into action. Heads have been rolling, with the resignation of a mayor and a cabinet member, and an executive’s arrest.
An indigenous and home-grown momentum of change is a hopeful sign of the Chinese society at these turbulent times. The society has demonstrated the means and resilience to channel the momentum into productive movements of improving the way businesses are supervised in particular and social activities regulated in general, developing mechanisms for righting wrongs and addressing grievances. The same resourcefulness and resilience were demonstrated in the revelation of kidnapped and enslaved teenagers in Shanxi province’s brick making factories, in the organized reactions when the snow storms in southern China stranded millions of migrant workers on their way home for the spring festival in railway stations, and when earthquake struck Sichuan.
It is heartening to observe that foreign elements and forces have little influence over the Chinese authorities, on either their legitimacy or policy preferences.
The light at the end of this dreary tunnel: the commenters on this site ripped the writer to shreds, called him out on his fact-averse approach and made a fool of him, in the spirit of the blog’s title. This post is all about looking at some of China’s most shameful recent catastrophes and pointing to each as proof of China’s greatness. Now, I’m not saying China isn’t great. It is. (That and much more.) I think America is great, but I don’t point to the Abu Ghraib photos and say there’s the proof of our greatness.
The whole things is a bit surreal, like a big practical joke, like a parody of the party propagandist transforming a nation’s flaws into virtues. And then there’s the closing sentence: “This is the silver lining I see in the scandals and disasters inflicted upon us in the year of 2008″ – as if these scandals were “inflicted upon us” by some passive-voiced villain, and not by the sleazy corruption that is a defining characteristic of the CCP.
Nothing in this post seems to make any sense. It’s a Sarah Palin interview. Unless I’m missing something. Am I missing something?
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.