Indoctrinating China’s children

Simply beyond belief.

A commenter compares this to saying the pledge of allegiance in the US or having a flag in school. I beg to differ, strongly. We were indoctrinated in America’s schools, too (I still remember the USDA poster on the wall extolling the benefits of drinking milk and eating beef), but nothing like this. Not even close. A taste of the toxic chorus:

Lead: Earthquakes, shifting back and forth like the positions of Sarkozy, with his dirty tricks, trying to shake the great China

Lead: Did China retreat?

All: No. The Shenzhou-7 launched. We are victorious!

Lead: Pathetic Europe will never stop the insurmountable force of our great dynasty

All: Just the aftershocks from the earthquake would destroy France!

Watch the video. A shocker. And we wonder what makes the anti-CNN crowd so hostile. It’s surprising they aren’t hunting down French people in the streets with machetes.

Update: Speaking of propaganda, stop what you are doing and go here now. A moving, Karaoke-ready tribute to the Chinese heading to the Gulf of Aden to fight the Somali pirates.

With lofty sentiments, the Chinese navy heads for the deep blue
Braving wind and waves, the warship’s flag flutters,
The Chinese navy, a bright sword to harmonize the ocean.
Chinese warriors, valiant men with iron wills….

Has to be a parody, right? Harmonize the ocean?

______________

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: 111 Comments

If that happened in the UK with video evidence the teacher would have been suspended (and later fired) faster than you can say xenophobia.

This is not necessarily reflective of the whole Chinese education system, but I doubt it’s an isolated incident either. I also doubt very much that any action would be taken against the teaching staff for teaching hate to their students.

And some people would have us believe that there is no future ultra-nationalist threat from China…

December 27, 2008 @ 6:32 pm | Comment

China China über alles
über alles
über uns!
(China China above all
above all
above us)

December 27, 2008 @ 7:30 pm | Comment

Raj, your comment makes it sound like you think some threat is imminent. That isn’t supported by anything other than emotion. My bet is no ultra-nationalist threat. It is not in China’s interest. Some mighty weird people harboring a lot of nationalistic feelings like at a Republican convention, perhaps, but no threat except to their own reputation. This doesn’t make them look very good.

December 27, 2008 @ 7:55 pm | Comment

“Has to be a parody, right? Harmonize the ocean?”

It depends on what you do understand by “harmonizing”

December 27, 2008 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

New speak anyone?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak

December 27, 2008 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

can you tell me where the link to the video is?

December 27, 2008 @ 10:13 pm | Comment

got it

December 27, 2008 @ 10:23 pm | Comment

via PRI’s The World:
«A Chinese commander is quoted in the state-run Xinhua news agency today [...] He said he fully expects to his forces to engage in firefights with pirates… And that one Chinese special forces soldier could handle several enemies with his bare hands.»

December 28, 2008 @ 4:08 am | Comment

You may want to consider again your opinion regarding the pledge, the anthem and the flag and their role in U.S. national [I'd say patriotic consciousness building]. They are everywhere all the time. The pledge was [is?] said every day in grade and junior and high school. that’s a lot of pledges. The anthem is played/sung before almost every sporting event. That’s a lot of anthems. A lot of wasted time to. Sure there’s quality but the vast quantity must count for something. If nothing else the point is driven home, again and again and again. There’s also the flag. The U.S. flag is everywhere including many private homes and businesses. Plus there are what three major holidays that are patriotic. Memorial Day, Fourth, Veterans Day. And the minor one of Flag Day. The flag, the pledge, the anthem are ubiquitous in the U.S. in ways that I haven’t seen in Changsha. The anthem once a week, monday morning at 7 on the school’s intercom. Flags on police stations and other government buildings. But I don’t see flag pins in China on regular citizens the way you do in the U.S. I haven’t seen articles of clothing in China that consist of parts of the Chinese flag. As far as media propaganda that may be so but my sense is that just as many Chinese know the media is full of s*** as Americans know to not trust the media. Also I haven’t seen car dealers wrap their wares for sale in Chinese flags.

December 28, 2008 @ 7:34 am | Comment

steve, we had a flag in our classroom. We were never asked to recite anything more jingoistic than the Pledge, which is pretty innocuous. Every country that I know of has a national anthem. And a flag. The flag pins matter only to Republican nutters. Obama didn’t wear one and only those hysterics got hysterical. Other Americans couldn’t give a damn. I suspect if you asked 9 out of 10 Americans why we have holidays for Memorial and Veterans day, most wouldn’t be able to tell you; all they know is they don’t have to go to work that day. Probably three quarters would be able to tell you why the Fourth of July is a holiday.

About not seeing flag pins in China – well, maybe not pins, but last year I never saw so many people carrying and waving Chinese flags, many with symbols and slogans painted on their faces. I actually don’t mind that. It’s not a sin to be patriotic or to express your love for your country and flag. What is flat-out bonkers is what you see in that video, with crazed children talking about the destruction of France and about the supreme greatness of China. If you can point to an equivalent in America’s public schools I’ll be intrigued to hear about it. This is not about love of country, respect for the flag, national anthems or pins. This is about bat-shit crazy hyper-jingoism that we’d expect to see in North Korea, maybe.

December 28, 2008 @ 10:33 am | Comment

Interesting and depressing to see the 愤青 C-Borg factory at the assembly line stage.

Poor kids. Brain-dead ultra-nationalism poisons everything. Moreover, it’s a hell of a dangerous thing to foster and rely on for a country’s stability, as I think even China has been realizing recently. Perhaps more Chinese should set aside demonizing Japan long enough to study Japanese history during the 1930s and see what happens when a nation find itself with immense numbers of reality-incubated ultra-nationalists who may very well decide their government isn’t going ‘far’ enough in it’s actions and rhetoric against evil foreigners.

December 28, 2008 @ 11:22 am | Comment

Richard,

I am interested to know what makes you think that this video was from anti-CNN? Or, may be you are not referring to anti-cnn.com, but to the general “anti-CNN crowd”?

[quote]
Watch the video. A shocker. And we wonder what makes the anti-CNN crowd so hostile. It’s surprising they aren’t hunting down French people in the streets with machetes.
[/quote]

December 28, 2008 @ 1:23 pm | Comment

heh heh heh – I read that too.

Personally, I believe that that particular skill is inherent to anyone involved in any sort of special forces unit…in any country. I imagine though that it is of particular interest to China (whose population has a strong interest in all things military) given that this would be the first deployment of PLA forces abroad in a very long time…bound to a lot of chest pounding.

I remember when Canada’s JTF-2 unit came into the limelight in Afghanistan in 2001 – people were immediatly hailing how great they were and how much better they were than any other unit…eventhough the unit remains very secret and most information is just hearsay. It was the first time that Canada really had any units deployed in a combat role and it was a huge deal…lots of jingoism…not so much anymore though…just kind of routine now.

December 28, 2008 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

opps = should have directed that comment at lensovet

December 28, 2008 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

WW III scenario: Chinese ship launches missiles against a pirate ship. The missiles instead critically damage and sink an American war ship. Other war ships in the area retaliate and the all the Chinese ships are destroyed. All of the US Navy goes on high alert. A few out of control Chinese commanders order ships toward Taiwan. A naval confrontation escalates into the first exchange of missile fire between the mainland and Taiwan. Large sections of Taipei are destroyed. American Air Force starts bombing missile launch sites and navy bases in southern China. The Chinese declare war. America retaliates by sending troops into Xinjiang and Tibet. Russia mobilizes on the Chinese and Eastern European borders. Missiles are exchanged between Russian and NATO forces in eastern Europe and Poland is devastated. Pakistan and India exchange their first nuclear missiles. The US is forced to come to India’s aid. Pakistan launches nukes against American forces in Afghanistan. And so on and so on.

That’s one way to jump start the economy, huh?

December 28, 2008 @ 2:11 pm | Comment

I was referring to anti-cnn crowd in general.

not a S, that sounds a little far-fetched, no?

December 28, 2008 @ 3:20 pm | Comment

sorry,thiss is a Misunderstanding

Is not directed against the people of France
A small thing, the speculation,Was to enlarge
地震的余波也能把法兰西催垮!(不是指真的地震,比喻萨科奇的立场,是说两国关系的地震,并不仅仅对中国有影响,反作用力也会影响法国。在中文,联系上下文就能理解,对不懂中文的法国朋友表示道歉)。

December 28, 2008 @ 3:53 pm | Comment

Great to have the ‘misunderstanding’ cleared up!

I can now clearly see Chinese are not a nation of sick xenophobes.

December 28, 2008 @ 4:17 pm | Comment

Yeah, great to see it was a misunderstanding!

China isn’t a country of sick xenophobes. But some of their propaganda is creepy. And yes, some of America’s is too, though it tends to be more subtle.

December 28, 2008 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

Raj, your comment makes it sound like you think some threat is imminent.

How do you get imminent from the word “future”?

My bet is no ultra-nationalist threat. It is not in China’s interest.

Ultra-nationalism is rarely in any country’s interest, yet it can become a political force with a life of its own if not controlled early on. With the CCP we already know that it puts its own interest above that of the nation.

December 28, 2008 @ 5:49 pm | Comment

Ultrnationalism is thoroughly distasteful. But after seeing the clip I wouldn’t then say it’s clear China’s nationalism will inevitably or imminently pose a threat.

And some people would have us believe that there is no future ultra-nationalist threat from China…

That sounds like you’re saying anyone who doesn’t see a “future ultra-nationalist threat from China” is naive or stupid. Or did I misunderstand? The words you wrote are very clear.

December 28, 2008 @ 5:53 pm | Comment

As I responded over at Granite Studio yesterday:

“This is likely the tentative beginning of a far more active role that the military will begin to play in protecting China’s fast increasing overseas interests.

Historically speaking, I think we can call that imperialism, can’t we?

The spin boys at Zhongnanhai are going to have to work hard to remedy the cognitive dissonance they’re feeling right now. I hope they can come up with something better than ‘harmonisation of the waves’.”

In the end they came up with something far worse. Jingoism is one of those things that requires checks and balances and a free, critical media to prevent it morphing into something more dangerous.

I believe China has a role to play in keeping the peace, but there are clearly pitfalls here.

December 28, 2008 @ 6:16 pm | Comment

America has it’s ultra-nationalist crap, too. But for all the flag-waving of some on the Right, it’s balanced out by a healthy dose of self-abuse and cynicism that China just doesn’t have. If you suggest to an American that you throughly disapprove of his government’s policies, odds are decent he’ll agree with you and give his own whole laundry list of reasons why he thinks Bush has been a tremendous disaster for both the United States and the rest of the world. Tell someone Chinese that his government should stop supporting vicious thugocracies from North Korea to Burma to Africa and he’ll typically immediately assume the defensive, as if the pride of the country depends on proving that his government is completely guiltless.

There is plenty of indoctrination, but it’s heavily filtered by a culture which is just as fond of tearing itself down as it is portraying itself as the light and hope of the world. In American movies, games, TV shows, and so on, the government is regularly portrayed as inept, corrupt, heavy-handed and conspiratorial. And if any teacher were to ever have his or her students go beyond the simple, stale pledge of allegiance to the sort of jingoistic crap show in that video, they’d be out of on their ass in no time.

December 28, 2008 @ 6:27 pm | Comment

Hong Xiuguan, I pretty much agree. However, and this is in response to Stuart as well, I can’t say how big a problem it poses unless I know how widespread this sort of thing is in China. I showed it to some friends of mine here in Beijing and they were LOLing. I mean, really laughing, hard and loud. If this is the educational norm, I’ll be more inclined to worry. Which isn’t to say the video isn’t creep as hell.

December 28, 2008 @ 6:39 pm | Comment

In case anyone was wondering what the “2009, go China” author said in that above comment, here’s a quick, rough translation: (He’s explaining the line ‘Just the aftershocks from the earthquake would destroy France!’ as a misunderstanding)
So, starting in the parenthesis:

“It’s not about the actual earthquake, it’s an analogy for Sarkozy’s position. By earthquake, I mean the relations between the two countries. China isn’t the only country effected, a counterforce will also effect France. With Chinese, you have to connect everything in the piece to understand it. To all French friends who don’t can’t read Chinese, I express my apologies.”

So there it is. Take it as you will. :)

December 28, 2008 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

But after seeing the clip I wouldn’t then say it’s clear China’s nationalism will inevitably or imminently pose a threat.

It isn’t the clip itself, as I went on to say I doubt that it’s an isolated incident or that the teaching staff will be disciplined for the “lesson”. I find it is less expressions of nationalism/ultra-nationalism that are notable than the toleration and indeed endorsement from the authorities they usually receive.

That sounds like you’re saying anyone who doesn’t see a “future ultra-nationalist threat from China” is naive or stupid. Or did I misunderstand? The words you wrote are very clear.

The words are clear, but there is a difference between saying there is no threat and actually seeing one. I see a possible threat, but not an inevitable one.

December 28, 2008 @ 9:39 pm | Comment

And some people would have us believe that there is no future ultra-nationalist threat from China…

Sorry to beat a dead horse, but you are saying there IS a future threat – not that there is a chance for a threat, potentially – and that it’s hard to believe others don’t see that there is a threat. (Who are these “some people” you are referring to, by the way? That sort of struck me as a straw man.) I guess the reason I react to a sentence like that is because it reminds me of the Washington Times articles by Bill Gertz that made it sound like a “China threat” was just around the corner. We have to keep a rational mindset when it comes to China. It’s not like most other countries I’ve been to, but there is much more to China than a reader will see in this video. I want to make sure all my readers understand that.

December 28, 2008 @ 9:55 pm | Comment

Should have been ‘affect’, not ‘effect’.
Yeah…did that one on the way out the door.

December 28, 2008 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

Thanks Jason.

December 28, 2008 @ 10:45 pm | Comment

I think if your country has been through disasters and sufferings, you will all feel a kind of unity and patriotism inside your hearts, while this patriotism is not “indoctrined” by the government,although it surely has something to do with our country’s propaganda, but it’s not a decisive factor. While “a Karaoke-ready tribute to the Chinese heading to the Gulf of Aden to fight the Somali pirates” is so funny, to some extent,this lady is also patriotic though maybe her wish would never possibly be true.China sending warships to Somali is just to protect our people and property,there is nothing wrong.I wonder what makes the author think”harmonize the ocean”, i thind that’s what Americans do.

December 28, 2008 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

In order for your title of this thread to be fitting, you have to find evidence that this “Sarkozy” song was in a nation-wide or province-wide textbook.

If I find a video recording a school teacher in Arkansas who wrote a song about “The steel from the World Trade Center is enough to destroy the entire Middle East. We will not rest until Iran and Iraq are destroyed.” and teaching his entire 9th grade students to sing it in his music class.

And I post it on my blog and my heading is: “Indoctrinating America’s Children”.

What would your reaction be? Of course Richard your reaction would be: “Typical Chinese Nationalist, using a single incident to describe the whole United States. Chinese Nationalists, no logic”.

Don’t you agree?

December 29, 2008 @ 2:26 am | Comment

No Hongxing, you are ignoring the key point.

The Chinese education system is such that practically every Chinese graduate has a hugely distorted view of foreigners and China’s rightful place in the world. In a nutshell, their history education teaches them nothing of how China made others suffer, only of how China suffered at the hands of others. It is normal for Chinese graduates to make ridiculous comments like “China is the only country to have never started a war”, or “Taiwan has always been part of China”. Sorry, but this is indoctrination.

If you take history courses in most western countries you will learn a reasonably balanced and nuanced version of history that is far less wrapped up in nationalistic flag waving. This applies especially at the university level. In China, efforts to discuss controversial issues are stifled by the CCP. The problem is such that even foreign historians have difficulties researching and discussing many of issues since one controversial paper can see them denied research access.

Given the efforts to which the CCP go to promote nationalism, I agree with Raj that there is an ultra-nationalist threat from China. I also think the threat is likely to grow before it diminishes.

December 29, 2008 @ 5:08 am | Comment

Raj, your comment makes it sound like you think some threat is imminent. That isn’t supported by anything other than emotion. My bet is no ultra-nationalist threat. It is not in China’s interest.

C’mon, Richard. Nationalism is never in the “interests” of the nation. You can’t dismiss the threat of Chinese nationalism by saying that it is not in China’s interest — China has no interests save what its ruling classes identify as its interests. The ruling class might well find it in its own interest to stoke Chinese nationalism to fuel its expansionist desires or divert the public from some mess.

Michael

December 29, 2008 @ 7:07 am | Comment

Father Christmas:

1) The “key point”, if there is any, was certainly not made in that post.

2) The “key point”, as you have described, is certainly true of China, true of US, true of Japan, true of any “proud” country.

If anything, the US system “indoctrinates” people in a much deeper sense. Is the indoctrination in the same form as practiced in China, perhaps not. But indoctrination can take on many forms. In China, you say it takes on the form of textbooks, in “unbalanced education in history”. In the US, it takes a different form, in much subtler and deeper ways. Do you not agree?

The indoctrination is deeper in the US. Most Chinese people (save some extreme FQ’s), have no problem acknowledging that “cultural revolution” was a disaster, “great leap forward” was a disaster, Mao made some serious mistakes, the West has some very advanced elements that China can learn from.

But do Americans easily concede that America was morally wrong in comitting genocide to Native Americans, America was morally wrong in fighting in Vietnam for 10 years, the suffering it caused the Vietnamese people, that Americans were partially complicit in raising Bin Laden, that Americans supported dictators like Pinochet, Americans still support dictatorship today in Saudi Arabia, Americans practice a global hegemony to some extent with military bases all over the world, etc

I don’t think there’ll be very many Americans that’ll easily concede the above points, especially when asked by a Chinese immigrant. Instead they’ll get defensive and try to repeat the line that was they were fed on: “US is a beacon of Democracy, a city on a shining hill, the best place for all oppressed people in the world, blah, blah, blah.”.

This not just applies to America, but to the industrialized West in general. Raj today still says that British imperialism in India and places in Africa was wrong but “admirable”. And he’s definitely not alone.

Indoctrination exists in the West as well, and in a much more sophisticated and nebulous form, and it has a much lasting impact on the people.

To put it in a simpler way, Chinese people know, somewhere in the back of their mind, that CCTV and People’s Daily articles are to be read with a LARGE grain of salt. But Americans and British take what CNN and BBC report with full faith. Which group is easier to manipulate?

Don’t you agree?

December 29, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Comment

No, extreme nationalism is never healthy. But saying “some people” is a strawman. It makes it sound as though it’s a given that a body of people make this claim, that there is no threat. Where does this come from? Again, sorry for making what may seem to be a mountain out of a molehill, but this sort of sniffing is a swipe at anyone who sees China as anything else but a threat.

HongXing, you’re your typical lovable self. I have always ridiculed and criticized American hyper-nationalism. If you found such a video as you describe, I would be the first to link to it and condemn it.

December 29, 2008 @ 9:05 am | Comment

“Chinese people know, somewhere in the back of their mind, that CCTV and People’s Daily articles are to be read with a LARGE grain of salt.”

Whether they ‘know’ is debatable. And even if they did, how does adding salt get them to the truth? Step into any classroom in China and you’ll quickly find that the party line sticks fast.

December 29, 2008 @ 9:50 am | Comment

Whether they ‘know’ is debatable. And even if they did, how does adding salt get them to the truth? Step into any classroom in China and you’ll quickly find that the party line sticks fast.

Well, well you actually get to know a Chinese person, and when he says things like “I love CCP like my mother.”, or “The Chinese army will definitely defeat the US army in a war today!”. You’ll know that they are not being really serious, but simply either being passionate in a debate, or they are saying it to save face if you are a foreigner.

However, when an American tells you that “US is the last hope for all the oppressed people in the world” or “US is the beacon of humankind”. You’ll be amazed to discover that they are not just saying it for theatrical purposes, but they actually believe it to the letter.

This is a difference. Chinese people are innately suspicious of CCTV and Xinhua (due to their clumsy propaganda methods, and admit it is clumsy). Westerners take CNN and BBC reports to heart.

This is the difference between a rookie indoctrinator and a seasoned one.

December 29, 2008 @ 10:05 am | Comment

This is boring. Nationalism exists in every country.

American liberals are chanting about their “western freedom” or “western human rights” all the time. Their liberal fascism based on imposing their so called “American values” to others is a basic form of American ultranationalism. American conservatives never say a sentence without “Great America”, which is already hypnotic.

Japanese ultranationalism, like a genie in the bottle, humiliated by Americans for decades, will erupt anytime. Korean nationalism is never afraid of expressing itself, either. From Mongolia to Turkey, the well engineered Pan-Turkic Nationalistic agenda grows fast like weeds. Neo-Nazis dominate one side of European Nationalistic agenda, while those “European value lovers” and “western human right warriors” occupy the other side of European nationalistic movements.

A single isolated case of Nationalism exists in China, so what?

December 29, 2008 @ 11:14 am | Comment

“Chinese people are innately suspicious of CCTV and Xinhua”

Then they must be innately suspicious of the Party as well.

Your answer, both in general and with regard to western journalism/media, underlines the effectiveness of ‘clumsy’ propaganda in a one-party state.

Now I’ll sit back while you demonstrate my point with your next reply.

December 29, 2008 @ 11:15 am | Comment

Though, there are two lines that might be controversial regarding to hate speech, which may be inappropriate. However, western societies are full of hate speech indoctrinations!

Just look at all western monotheistic religions like all bunches of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The preachers and mullahs constantly preach, indoctrinate, impose, brainwash the ideas such as non-followers goint to hell to the children, young and old. American high schools even have the most ridiculous idea of adding a “Praying Session”. It is a blatant hate policy against atheists and irreligious people!! Bible is basically a book full of hate speeches.

If that teacher should be punished for adding two lines of hate speech against foreigners, most western preachers should be as well for their hate speech against those foreign to their monotheistic religion. If this poet shall be banned, so shall Bible.

December 29, 2008 @ 11:31 am | Comment

Then they must be innately suspicious of the Party as well.

Of course they are, most Chinese are.

Are Americans innately suspicious of the “American values”? Don’t try to confuse American values with American government – Of course you’ll say “Americans are CONSTANTLY suspicious of the government.

I know your favorite hobby is to come here and post about stories on how stupid and brainwashed and pathetic your “students” are (says a lot about a teacher who relishes this sort of thing). And if you really think your “students” are telling you what they sincerely thought, then the joke is on you. They are merely there to satisfy the superiority complex of another white man in China – “Oh look at those brainwashed Chinese, they know nothing. I feel so good to be an enlightened and educated white man, and I love my job in China where I can feel good about myself everyday.”

Get lost.

December 29, 2008 @ 11:37 am | Comment

“If you can point to an equivalent in America’s public schools I’ll be intrigued to hear about it. This is not about love of country, respect for the flag, national anthems or pins. This is about bat-shit crazy hyper-jingoism that we’d expect to see in North Korea, maybe.”

Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. In China does one rise for the singing of the national anthem at every high school, college, and professional sporting event? Your comment that it is “innocuous” [sp?] makes my point. The pervasiveness of these symbols and required actions in the U.S. makes them not seem as odd as they actually are. It is a worship that isn’t noticed. THe fact that there is a cynicism about them also proves my point in that these mandatory homages are so commonplace as to not seem odd. It’s called indoctrination because one is unaware of it. That is what makes it insidious. Try out not standing for the national anthem and see what happens. Nationalistic madness can grow anywhere and I’m not so sure there’s much of a disagreement but when you see American Legionnaires wearing flag pins while spitting on Quakers protesting a war you get the sense that the nationalism in the U.S. [where it is called "Americanism"] is qualitatively different. I’m not seeing it here in China. The flags last year you mention, well that was the Olympics. That Obama didn’t wear a pin was news. That supports my point actually. Are there “Chineseism” movements analogous to the Americanism movements that began in the 1910s and 1920s? Not being an ethnicity makes patriotism the glue for Americans in ways that I, am of the opinion, are different. French, Chinese, Russian, are all ethnicities in addition to nationalities. That is not so in the U.S. where “patriotism” has been used in defense of segretation. Race makes the U.S. different and makes the use/abuse of pride in country a bit different. But I go on too long.

Remember that jingoism sent the U.S. to war against the Republic of Mexico; the Empire of Spain; into the Phillippines for a genocidal war that isn’t mentioned much; nearly to war with Mexico again circa 1912; it didn’t get the U.S. into Vietnam but kept it there longer; into Grenada; into Panama; and finally into Iraq a second time. Jingoism seems to have been invented in the U.S. but I could be wrong on that. Maybe it was only perfected there. [haste means that this has been typed but not proofed]

December 29, 2008 @ 11:39 am | Comment

“But Americans and British take what CNN and BBC report with full faith.”

HongXing, that is such a ludicrous argument. Look at any recent poll and it will show you that American trust in their media is very tepid.

You entire arugment is similarly shallow.

December 29, 2008 @ 11:41 am | Comment

In case of Chinese media, they are very honest and they tell you that they are the mouthpiece of the government. CCTV or Xinhua never brag about being objective. Every Chinese is fully aware that the function of media defined by China has nothing to do with that defined by the west.

Western countries have a few honest media, as well. Voice of America is a good example, and they are doing a good job as the mouthpiece of American government.

However, for those “private” media groups who brag about their objectivity, that is a big BS. They sometimes do report different sides of DOMESTIC stories. But they totally fail to be anything near objectivity, when it comes to international stories. It is easy to see why because they all represent the values of their sponsors whose profit interest usually converge with other sponsors on foreign affairs. For instance, CNN sponsors have different interests from FOX sponsors, when it come to gay marriage, but they are the same when it come to supporting Jews.

December 29, 2008 @ 11:41 am | Comment

It is not problem of Chinese education but Chinese nature.
Chinese is too mercy in history.
They should have killed all native people after they occupied a land.
If they wanted to occupy some country now, they should just declare it is a country of terrorists and start a war on terror.

December 29, 2008 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

Sigh…once again devolving into a “whose country is worse than the other contest”

@Hongxing if you want to make the case that we cannot judge the ethos of an entire nation based on tiny fraction of the population (or in this case one short video clip), that’s fine and you are absolutely right, but don’t then turn around and use the same exact flawed method to analyze your mortal enemy the U.S.A. Does the U.S. have its fair share of xenophobic patriots? Of course. Does this mean that every American feels the same way? Just like in China, no.

I know you hate us and all. That’s fine, there’s a long line of people waiting to take shots at us. I just find it hilarious that you put all this effort into debunking (an easily debunkable) analysis, only to then use the same exact analysis to make an equally absurd rebuttal.

December 29, 2008 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

“Get lost.”

Oh dear! More red mist than red star, I sense.

I’ll put your ideas to my students later, but don’t hold your breath waiting for a positive response.

In the meantime I suggest that you attend an anger management course where you can learn to lose an argument with more grace.

Is it possible that your anger is the product of …….INDOCTRINATION? The answer, of course, is yes. Just consider the hatred generated by the anti-Japanese content in China’s media and classrooms; or the ridiculous anti-French campaign that was the inspiration behind the video at the beginning of this thread.

Unfortunately, being suspicious of the party’s motives is not enough to prevent indoctrination.

December 29, 2008 @ 2:53 pm | Comment

Steve, they rise for the national anthem in Thailand before every movie begins in a theater, and most other events. That’s not hyper-nationalism. It’s tradition, and in their eyes a sign of respect for the King. To compare standing to recite an innocuous pledge to the flag and what you see in that video is a big stretch. You’re parsing pretty hard. Standing up isn’t weird. It’s shouting truly hyper-nationalistic slogans that strikes most people as weird and unhealthy.

Chinese is too mercy in history. They should have killed all native people after they occupied a land. If they wanted to occupy some country now, they should just declare it is a country of terrorists and start a war on terror.

Rob, thanks a lot for sharing your carefully constructed arguments.

Red Star, you’ve been dumb before but this time you have surpassed all earlier records. Congratulations.

December 29, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Comment

And just in case anyone was wondering where the new fenqing commenters are coming from:

http://www.anti-cnn.com/forum/cn/thread-129018-1-1.html

December 29, 2008 @ 3:20 pm | Comment

Speaking of Anti-Cnn. this is a great song produced by them. Totally home-made, but very nice. I suggest you watch it:

Don’t Behave Like CNN with English Subtitles:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_4IQsAiJdw&feature=related

December 29, 2008 @ 3:36 pm | Comment

Was that an attempt at irony?

The video you just posted is BLOCKED in China…

December 29, 2008 @ 3:59 pm | Comment

Forget what I just said, it’s fine, playing now… The first time I got a message saying: This video is no longer available. I thought it was funny.

December 29, 2008 @ 4:05 pm | Comment

Richard

Sorry to beat a dead horse, but you are saying there IS a future threat – not that there is a chance for a threat, potentially

I can only say there is a potential and non-inevitable threat from Chinese nationalism.

Who are these “some people” you are referring to, by the way?

I can’t remember the people I’ve read dismissing the “threat” China poses but that’s probably because they’re usually American and I had never heard of their names before.

reminds me of the Washington Times articles by Bill Gertz that made it sound like a “China threat” was just around the corner

It isn’t just around the corner, but if conflict occurs it will be in our lifetimes. The problem is that when trouble starts you can’t hit the pause button to get ready, so sometimes you have to act as if it really is just around the corner.

there is much more to China than a reader will see in this video. I want to make sure all my readers understand that.

You are right. The video itself shows one classroom on one day. What it does is provoke a serious question about the role of nationalism in Chinese schools and society.

December 29, 2008 @ 6:33 pm | Comment

First of all, before you give valuation about others, please do not think others are stupid than you, especially when they can think with at least two or three languages but you can only think with engllish.

Similarly, you can not say that other country’s people were brainwashed, because you did not even realize that you americans were under daily brainwash(e.g. Do you remermer what the US mainstream medias did at the begining of the iraq war? If you want cheat some people, the best way is saying something true with some very important lie. Unfortunately, that is what the US mainstream medias did.).

You only care about what your media says, but we do have at least two different opinions to compare. So when you claim we were brainwashed, you can imagine that, what a joke we think it is.

December 29, 2008 @ 8:07 pm | Comment

QL, by any chance did you find your way here via anticnn? Just askin’.

For the record: I never said you were brainwashed.

The US media has many, many voices (watch Fox News and then listen to National Public Radio to see what I mean). It’s a mistake to see them as a single entity. China’s media are diversifying, but there’s still one hand at the controls of every one of them. Also, most Americans do not take CNN at face value; we have an intrinsic distrust of our media. That’s partly why blogs have become so popular.

December 29, 2008 @ 9:27 pm | Comment

*sigh*

As predictable as ever.

It should be a law that every China blog should have a thorough definition of ‘argumentum ad hominem’ pasted at the top, in Mandarin. Obviously in working in time for describing how the magnificent China will make Sarkozy squeal like a pig they don’t seem to have time to fit that particular lesson plan in.

December 29, 2008 @ 10:04 pm | Comment

I didn’t see other posts. But the first thread lies on a very plausible assumption, that is west media and west education are free of prejudices, or westerners are immune to them.

In fact, I found it here that ideology is prevelant in every corner of everyday life. People are trained to say only everything they want to say, to show everything they want to show, and to hide anything that could hinder their opinion.

Take “Thanksgiving” holiday for example, almost every christian family will tell the tale of may flower and thank “God” to give them food. Thank god for what? For letting Native Americans help them first for their intial survivol and slaughtered later to free up land for them? The most important people that should be granted thanks is INDIANS, who simply really helped whites at that time. But this is omitted. And the only presence of thanking god clearly demonstrated my point above.

You may be feeling pissed off at this point, and you may try to figure out a bad name for my comment, you may want to say “native” “whites” terms clearly shows I was provoking racism, and my post shall be banned or ignored. But if you do so, you showed yourself out you only want to say something that is for you and omit anything that is against you.

This happens in TV’s too. Every television channel has their own bias. OK? Unless you live in a vacuum, you are bombbasted by their subtle biases. The bias is often executed in these following ways: report the facts that only strenthens the point they want to say, and ignore disproving facts; find a commentor that only support their opinion and limit the voices against them by interviewing only minor people (preferrably one) and cut him short.

On discussion of big 3 in auto industry, Bloomberg hostess has interviewed a number of experts who may hold different opinion and may debate fiercely (to show the free world) against each other but generally are for the bailout. Then she accidentally, happened to interview a stubborn guy who says let them broke, let them broke and let them broke~ He hadn’t finish his well structured free market efficient economy thesis before the hostess’s pretty face began to look very ugly due to her narrowing frowns and finally cut him short. He shouted let me finish and quickly shoot rest of his words out before the hostess cut his camera.

Yet I remembered very well that almost every economic textbook is for his free trade opinion and justifies every case undevelopped countries shall lose their industry. Well they may illustrate some protectionism idea, but they quickly refute it with comparative advantage doctrines or some surplus calculation etc. And if you do a research, you may find the majority of western media was shouting out let them broke let them broke let them broke during Asian finicial crisis at the end of last century. Now Henry Paulson could proudly say ” shall we do the same that Japanese did?” C’mon man, it is westerners who taught them to broke to free the economy at that time now it is your turn and you not only turns your opinion 180 degrees but also laugh at the poor guy once followed your idea?

I call this filtration. Yes every fact is true and almost every interviewee is stating their opinion freely but fact and interviewee can be selected in such a way that only support what the media want to say.

Did you know an act in US after the Vietnam war to ban injured soldiers appear on TV so as not to ignite anti-war movement. That’s why you can only find healthy smiling “army-strong” soldiers (actors?) on TV.

Did you know the picture of CNN’s PLA truck to Tibet was chopped off a picture with rioting Tibetans throwing stones at it? And as well as other unshown pictures from Xinhua News showing the violent side of Tibetan riots?

Did you know Dalai Lama’s brutal slavory hierachy before 1950′s was seldom introduced on sites and media introducing him? As well as his Nazi teacher? As well as his cult friend in Japan who poisoned hundreds in subway?

Did you know Talibans were once America’s best friend and brothers and US trained them how to do terrorist’s attack? (You may need to watch First Blood II to freshen up your memory)

Did you know US was once against Jews’ zionism when UK was behind them and turns around when they have the force back Jews up? No guess you will only see moral issue that Jews are poor, we gotta help them?

Did you know “leave us alone, you should not interfere our internal affairs” was first stated by Truman or Kennedy when he hosted the Soviet president?

Did you know Indians had the first shot during the “Chinese invasion to India” war?

Did you know low Urinium bombs were widely used by US army during the war at Kosovo and the war at Iraq to strengthen the bombing power? And yes the local people in these areas now suffer a much higher blood cancer rate in new born babies than before the war. MDW? Inhumane Weapons? Who used them the most?

If you knew none of these, or only a few of these, Congratulations! You are in the propaganda game yourself! You are in we US are always right, trying to protect the world’s justice and peace doctrines yourself. You may be aware of the small discrepence going on around you, but you may not be able to point out most of the lies and filtrations around you because you yourself are in the scene “Truman Show”!

In these sense, you are not in a ground much higher than ours. Yes I admit Cambodia was Chinese’s responsibility, as well as many other Asia countries’s red revolution misfortune, and maybe I don’t know even more.

But that doesn’t mean you are alright.

Einstein once told a story, his friend and he once went through a chimney, they looked each other, his friend went to a bath before he laughed his friend’s dirtiness. But in the end he discovered he was dirty too and his friends were clearly smarter than him. It may be a fiction but this story is especially informative to YOU. or Americans.

December 30, 2008 @ 2:50 am | Comment

“Did you know an act in US after the Vietnam war to ban injured soldiers appear on TV so as not to ignite anti-war movement.”

No, but I do know about the fact that the North knew about the strategy of the US to let the war go on, in order to fill the war chest. Perpetuate it was the mantra back then…

How about we all see this tonight under a different light? How about we are ALL being understand that we’ve been manipulated by our respective governments (insert nation name here).

How about we start to think about the implication of this statement. How about that we start to realize that there are no nation confrontations anymore, that this whole thing is all just a big masquerade to keep our mind and soul busy, while the show goes on?

How about that the US and China are not so different after all, in 2008? How about that the line is blurring everyday more and mode between what separates us?

How about that?

We are one, all of us, we are humans.

Point.

December 30, 2008 @ 3:00 am | Comment

Correction:

How about: we are ALL understanding that we’ve been manipulated by our respective governments (insert nation name here).

December 30, 2008 @ 3:02 am | Comment

Zx, thanks for the sermon, although tt is filled with a lot of false assumptions and is a laundry list of tired anticnn accusations. We all know about the cropped photos, etc., and the way this has been distorted to prove perpetual victimhood on China’s part. But we’ll never get anywhere with this. If you are convinced you are always a victim and cling to your victimhood it’s your choice.

December 30, 2008 @ 8:32 am | Comment

Zx said “The bias is often executed in these following ways: report the facts that only strenthens the point they want to say, and ignore disproving facts; find a commentor that only support their opinion and limit the voices against them by interviewing only minor people (preferrably one) and cut him short.”

How is this any different than what goes on in China? I guess I don’t get the point of Anti-CNN. Are they trying to prove that the US media is biased and the Chinese media is not? Or are they trying to prove that the US media is as biased as any other media including China? If it is the latter, all I have to say is “duh!”…thanks for pointing out the obvious. Bias is inherent in news reporting, someone’s viewpoint on a certain event or issue will ALWAYS be underrepresented by virtue of the fact that there are too many perspectives to cover, i.e. I didn’t see much reporting on the KKK’s viewpoint on the election of America’s first black president (except on Howard Stern). I’m sure their ranks felt that the “media” was biased because their viewpoints were not reflected. But does that mean that we HAVE to be sensitive to this radical viewpoints when reporting? Same thing with China issues, does the media automatically have to include the ultra-nationalist fenqing viewpoint, just to satisfy a few netizens with too much time on their hands, who claim to understand their country’s viewpoint better than everybody else (including their fellow Chinese)?

One thing I don’t think the Anti-CNN crowd get is that they log onto these blogs to “defend the country”, but against what? They never really give and opinion on the topic, but just ramble on and on with the same “but the US did this” arguments we’ve heard before, with little to no effect. Richard was calling attention to an article published by SHANGHAIIST (soooo mainstream media) and giving his opinion. Why do you all care that he thinks this “patriotic poem” is disturbing? As with the Cafferty thing and the Tibet riots, all you are doing is shooting yourselves in the foot. You make a big deal out of something that wouldn’t have been such a big deal had you let it go, and in the end, you just end up unwittingly playing the part of the “angry nationalistic chinese” and reaffirming the so-called biases you claim to fighting against.

December 30, 2008 @ 12:16 pm | Comment

The original post was about what happened in a Chinese elementary school. Instead of addressing the point, people like Zx choose to start the old “in American media there is bias too” litany. Zx, this wasn’t about bias in the media, it was about indoctrinating children in an educational institution. Your reference to the “Nazi teacher” of the Dalai Lama (I guess you meant Heinrich Harrer) actually reminded me of the fact that the generation of my grandparents were taught songs of the same kind the post is talking about when they went to school in Germany, and I find that disturbing. I hope that this was a single incident in only one school in China, but the fact that this kind of indoctrination by elementary school teachers is obviously tolerated while other people are in prison because of what they said or wrote is nevertheless worrying. But I guess Zx is not worried about Chinese children singing songs like that because he’s living in an English-speaking democracy.

December 30, 2008 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

I hope that this was a single incident in only one school in China, but the fact that this kind of indoctrination by elementary school teachers is obviously tolerated while other people are in prison because of what they said or wrote is nevertheless worrying.

mor, good point.

December 30, 2008 @ 6:27 pm | Comment

Just checked the IP, and sure enough mor is right. He’s posting from the land of Star and Stripes.

Zx’s comment, unfortunately, mirrors the reflexive reaction we see almost every time a certain type of person (usually a young Chinese male living in the US) sees Westerners criticize something being done by their government/system that they cannot justify. There’s one safe and convenient mode of retaliation, and that’s to attack America. The formula is simple and predictable: Find something in America that you can sort-of compare to the issue in China, no matter how absurd a stretch it is. In this instance, the issue is indoctrination in a Chinese school. Of course, you won’t find a similar video from any American public school, so you reach for the low-hanging fruit – the media! The US media! CNN! “They say we indoctrinate people, but look at CNN!” And there we are. Easy as 1, 2, 3. Then trot out the very weak examples of a badly cropped photo on CNN (which, we all know, is far worse than CCTV insisting there was no SARS in Beijing in March 2003).

Of course, the analogy makes no sense, but what can you do? Lots of bad things happen in America. This blog devotes roughly 50 percent of its space to domestic US issues. But nothing you can say about America diminishes the creepiness of the video above. Nothing.

For the record: I love China. I take heat from some readers for liking China too much. I take heat from others for not liking it enough. I chose to live here and hope I can live here for a long time to come. But China, like the US, is not above criticism. What you have to get is that this isn’t personal, it’s not saying China is bad. Don’t cry victim every time China is criticized. It’s boring, immature, and no one outside of China believes it. (Talk about indoctrination.)

December 30, 2008 @ 7:38 pm | Comment

Well said, Richard.

I liked the earlier suggestion to post a “moronic fenqing: read this first” button somewhere on the site in order to spare us the same crap over and over and over and over…ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

It’s too bad they’re so vocal because all they are is the Chinese equivalent of those yokels, idiots, and bigots in the US who demonstrate their “patriotism” by spouting off about how the “liberal media” (including CNN) is hiding that Obama is a Muslim, 9/11 was the work of Jews, the UN is an evil global conspiracy to eradicate white people, UFOs crashed at Roswell, Elvis is, in fact, still alive, etc., etc.

Sad, really.

December 30, 2008 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

The American media is a more sophisticated liar than the Chinese media.

If someone speaks only obvious lies and untruths, then no one will believe that person. That person therefore cannot establish trust amongst the listeners, so his lies are useless.

Therefore, if someone needs his lies to be useful, he must only lie at important occasions, and tell truths at most other occasions that are unimportant. For example, if a gymnastic judge wants to help team USA, then it would be unwise for him to give unfair scoring to all of USA’s competitors all the time, because if he does that, then people will immediately notice his bias and fire him from the panel. So what he needs to do is give fair scoring to USA’s competitors most of the time (say like in the preliminaries, qualifyings, even semi-finals), and then give only one or two unfair scorings at an important juncture (say in the last rotations of the finals). That way, by being fair most of the time, he establishes his crediblity, and if he’s only unfair 1 or 2 times, people will not immediately notice it, but he has already achieved his purpose of helping team USA.

The same thing applies to international rules. Most of the time, Americans act very fairly and according to international regulations. But occasionally, when it really comes to important matters, they will suddenly be unfair. And that sudden, ocassional, unfairness won’t damage USA’s name because it’s so rare, but it will bring huge benefits.

The American media operates in the same way. On most news that are not critical, CNN or NBC appear to be very fair and balanced and even go to great lengths to show multiple sides of an issue. So if they do that for 99 issues that are not critical to American interests, they have established their name amongst both American and international audiences as fair and trustworthy. Now, when they got that reputation, they can afford to pull a lie or a misrepresentation at one or two issues that are critical to US interests. But since 90% of the time they report fairly, the 10% of the time they were lying were overlooked or forgiven by the audiences, and the audiences will continue to trust CNN or NBC… As a result, CNN and NBC succesfully bring benefits to US interests by lying at important junctions, while still maintaining a name of trustworthiness.

On the contrary, the Chinese media is a bit stupid in this regard. They have clearly not mastered the efficient way to lie. What they need to do is go to great lengths to show both sides on issues such as sports, movie reviews, entertainment, traffic laws, sex education, and all non-critial issues. And then occasionally on issues like Taiwan or Trade, they should pull a few lies. This way they are telling the truths 90% of the times and lying only 10% of the time. This is the strategic lying that the American media is very good at. If Chinese media can learn from the American media, it can be a more effective tool because it would have a reputation of fair and balanced and therefore have more audiences, and when that happens, an occasional lie would be hugely beneficial.

December 31, 2008 @ 2:06 am | Comment

Any one heard of “frog in boiling water” theory?

If you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out of the water as soon as it can. However, if you put it in cold waters and heat it slowly, the frog will enjoy the warmth until it dies.

Many Americans have been put to the warm water until they are brain dead.

December 31, 2008 @ 3:05 am | Comment

I agree that Zx’s analogy is not a logical response to your post. However, I think he made a point on the issue that media is biased you don’t normally get whole truth.

I don’t know the context of so called “toxic chorus”. I think you don’t know either. It is unclear when and how it was made; who made it; under what circumstances; whether there was any related speeches given; how students reacted before and after this event; whether it was individual effort of one teacher or concerted efforts of schools; how society and parents reacted; whether there was actions taken by authorities, etc.

It looks to me that isolating this “chorus”, jumping to conclusion that it was “beyond belief” and incriminating education system without reasonable effort to explore backgrounds and follow up news is nothing but propaganda.

Take your approach, someone could have reached conclusion that US education system is a murder incubator by watching 30 seconds Columbine video.

December 31, 2008 @ 3:15 am | Comment

Many Americans have been put to the warm water until they are brain dead.

How can they be brain dead if they didn’t have a brain to begin with?

someone could have reached conclusion that US education system is a murder incubator

This I must disagree with you. US education system IS a murder incubator, on average a mass shooting by a student happens every 2 to 3 years. Latest was Cho. Who is next?

December 31, 2008 @ 3:37 am | Comment

Red Star, this is not an appropriate way to talk about your fellow countrymen.

Who is next?

Maybe some crazy fenqing instigated by hyper-jingoistic songs he was taught as a little kid?

December 31, 2008 @ 4:05 am | Comment

Same thing with China issues, does the media automatically have to include the ultra-nationalist fenqing viewpoint, just to satisfy a few netizens with too much time on their hands, who claim to understand their country’s viewpoint better than everybody else

Hey man, have you checked my “did you know” part? Those facts are not extremists’ opinion, and not hard to cover.

What I found ironic about western media, is that whenever it is China news, it is always bad news(except during Olympics, strange why they ally in unison, aren’t they diversified?)

I will list only one example.
Before Labor Law in China, there are abundant blood factory reports on western media. True, communists did nothing to help the poor.
After Labor Law, the reports suddenly turn to criticize the stupid Chinese government’s act is murdering local business. You can check CNN BBC and business week all the same.

I am very surprised to find such inconsistency and draw a conclusion that diversified western medias are united when it comes to xeno-phobia and national narcissism.

Unless you are one of the few who doesn’t turn on TV and watch the news and instead browse among blogs (not AOL these net media), I remain my suspition that you are biased and this passage is only another biased passage that westerners know the truth while Chinese do not.

December 31, 2008 @ 5:35 am | Comment

Let me ask you this question: where have you gotten to know that China made its people suffered more than other countries did historically? From your education or media? If it is from one of those, how did you know that what you learnt from your education or media is completely true? Let me tell you this my friend, every single person on this planet has been educated in a way that people around him or her wanted him or her to be educated, in a way that the government in control of his or her country wanted him or her to be educated. You have this twisted idea about Chinese people and Chinese education system is because your educational system told you so, that does not mean that it is true. Don’t judge a thing just because you’ve seen something from media or a book, or just simply someone else told you so. You need to spend time to experience different aspects of a thing to comprehend it. Otherwise, you are just illiterate, and your snap judges are just crap.

December 31, 2008 @ 5:48 am | Comment

Good. By one fenqing’s post on another chinese bbs, I got here and found it is great that an american really care about china and don’t say lier to please some pity fenqing.

As chinese visitor, I totally agree with Richard. One sentence is enough, what those fenqing really believe is the “jungle rule”. That is also why their patriotism is so ridiculous or suspicious. They announced they loved chinese people but always remain ignorant of individual chinese tragedies. Unfortunately, it seems academic education in usa will not help them be more civilized. Who know to what stage of their life those fenqing will stop cheating ,and to,at least, be honest to themselves.

December 31, 2008 @ 7:05 am | Comment

It is good to talk about the everyday life in China, esp. considering the blogger himself is expat in China. I bet that he finds lots of interesting (maybe shocking) stuff there. It is also funny to see some people being so serious here. What a big deal with a video on the internet? Does it really matter to the whole Chinese education system? to Chinese people, or French, …

But I am not surprised to see people say that if it happened in UK, the teacher or the staff of the school would be blah blah. I just have one question to you, guys, do you really think that the classroom is the only effective place to educate the young kids? Not to mention that how many people here really understand the Chinese and the Chinese culture. As a Chinese myself, I always get this feeling that it is not easy to really UNDERSTAND the people from the different places across the China.

To better understand people, just go and talk with themselves. There is an old saying in Chinese: 听其言,观其行.

Anyway, Richard have done a good job on cooking the Peking Duck, no matter I agree with him or not on this issue. And Happy New Year to everyone here.

December 31, 2008 @ 8:13 am | Comment

Let me tell you this my friend, every single person on this planet has been educated in a way that people around him or her wanted him or her to be educated, in a way that the government in control of his or her country wanted him or her to be educated.

To some extent. But I went to a US public school and was taught to question the government and to understand the importance of checks and balances by the three branches of the government and ultimately by the Supreme Court. We were taught that a concentration of power in any one branch would inevitably lead to the abuse of power. We were “indoctrinated” into believing America was an above-average country that made dreadful mistakes like killing Native Americans and allowing slavery. In other words, we were taught America was imperfect, but that its system had worked better than most to right its wrongs. That may or may not be true, but my point is our indoctrination was relatively mild and included the strong message: you can’t trust your government 100 percent, and if not reined in America can do bad things.

You can argue that there is indoctrination everywhere in society. This video, however, takes it to a different level, one that startled even my native Chinese friends who, as I mentioned earlier were laughing out loud, they thought it was so crazy. My point being that not only foreigners find this insane, but so do people who “understand China,” native Chinese people brought up here. You can try to defend it by saying people “don’t understand China” (another of the fen qing reflexive arguments, I’m afraid) but you’re only fooling yourself – people who understand China very well say this is batshit crazy.

December 31, 2008 @ 9:09 am | Comment

@Song

I would say that many westerners will have little or no knowledge of China at all from their education system. Unless they decide to specialise in China as part of their university years. During my time at school the subject of China was not even in the curriculum with the exception of items like Imperialism and the Korean War. Of course I left school in 1990 so maybe this has changed.

Most of what I have picked up about China has been from living here. From reading the media, both Chinese and Western, from talking to people. As Haier mentioned the only way to really understand something is to go there and see it for yourself. You can’t judge a book by its cover you must open it up to see for yourself. I started to read more about China because many chinese that I met would complain to me about how America started the 1950′s korean war or that 8 armies invaded China in 1900 just to go and loot Beijing. This didn’t mesh with what i had learned so I have tried to understand why they say such things. in most cases it is because the other side of the story is not told. The N.Korean invasion of the south first or the killing of westerners in Beijing are rarely known.

From the western media I have seen, some is negative to China some is positive, maybe more so negative than positive that is true, but it is certainly no worse than the negative criticism Western countries receive from their own media.

It just seems too many people in China are unable to take any form of criticism without screaming about how they have been victimised. When the Dalai Llama met with the British PM a very good Chinese friend of mine exploded in anger at the sheer thought of this.

From what Richard has shown if such a practice is widespread it is worrying. the two most nationalistic countries in the 20th century were Japan and Germany… And look what they did.

Lets hope it is not the norm.

December 31, 2008 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

to foster and rely on for a country’s stability

I’d say rabid nationalism forged all of the “greatest” (or Gr8est) nations on our planet. China doesn’t need it, but they could use it to their benefit (possibly at the expense of others). I hope that they don’t take that despicable path though, even if it means more work.

the killing of westerners in Beijing are rarely known.

One thing to note is that China didn’t invade America when Chinese laborers were regularly lynched or robbed in California.

but it is certainly no worse than the negative criticism Western countries receive from their own media.

This isn’t true from what I’ve seen. Criticisms about Western countries by their own media tend to be at least based in truth. When it comes to China there’s a lot of spin and sensationalism, if not outright lies, propaganda, slander and racial blood libel. The trash that came out of Deutsche media (using pictures of Nepali police to make unfounded accusations) would make Goebbels and Himmler proud. People like to hear about how other people’s countries are shitty.

The China hate bandwagon around August shows this. I loved it when some idiots here threw around neologisms like “Liefenstahlesque” to describe “beijing huanyin ni”. Boy, those guys must feel like idiots. If not, they probably are idiots. That certainly lifted some eyes off of the coming train wreck of a financial crisis Americans have overspent the world into.

I’m going to guess that this is an isolated incident and the teacher is some poor soul who has very real reasons to be an ultra-nationalist. The thing is, it isn’t really apparent in the vast, vast majority of Chinese people. This leads me to think that this is once again another triviality that is overblown by whiny expats with a chip on their shoulders and a xenophobia card in their pocket.

January 2, 2009 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

*riefenstahlesque

January 2, 2009 @ 1:54 pm | Comment

reminded me of the fact that the generation of my grandparents were taught songs of the same kind

I don’t think “We will punch pirates in the face” is anything like “the Jews are subhuman vermin intent on destroying the sacred Fatherland”.

January 2, 2009 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

reply comments from Guy:
First of all, thanks for paying attention to what I have commented, but I don’t want to spend too much time on giving you a big speech on what I think about your comment, because this kinda discaussion is just too typical when a close-minded well-educated westerner starts a discussion with a well-educated Chinese. I just want to point out several things:
1) Only by staying in a place for some time and talking to some individual local people does not give you the right to say “ok, now I know the local people collectively”. You should know that there is a huge difference between “collective” and “individual”. You should also know that there are tens of thousands of Chinese living abroad professioning in speaking ill of China because that’s their livelyhood. And there are several infamous cults supported by foreign governments to do nothing else but destroying China’s reputation, and not to mention that Dali-lama’s “religion” is on top of the list. They have media control and educational control everywhere. How can you be sure the things you’ve heard and seen are not bias by these media control?
2) You have no rights to twist history related to China, around 1900, those 8 contries invaded China, it is an invasion, do you understand this word “invasion”? Countless Chinese people were killed by the invaders, countless properties were taken away by the invaders, you can easily go to any one of the biggest museums in Europe for hard proof. Humm, now that you say “the killing of westerners in Beijing are rarely known”, that actually reminds me that lots of the biggest invasions in human history began with such sort of excuses, didn’t they? After the 8 countries used it around 1900 the Japs used it again in 1938 and then in that two decades millions of Chinese were slaughtered like pigs by Japs, we are so familiar with it, don’t start with us. And you are now saying that we only recognise our own pain without mentioning others’? For your information, after the Japs received the American Nuclear gift we voluntarily gave up the right to ask huge war compensation from Japs to show our compession and understanding to their pain, which by the way, if we had claimed that we wanted it, Japs would now still be paying for it! For all of your information, one of the stupiddest things we Chinese always do, is that we are too easy to forget and forgive !
3)The Korean war? Ok if you want to mention this, this is a very complicated incident and you can not just put it in one word. I know that the north began the war, and I can almost agree that the north is having a very crappy government, but you should know that it was a very critical period of time for the newly borned People Republic of China, and we had no option but to fight for very complicated military and political reasons, and not to mention that the Soviat Union was behind the scene of the war to master us as puppets, so it was just one of the typical wars post 2nd world war between the U.S and Soviet Russia. I believe you need to learn more about this war because in my opinion you are so much ignorant on this topic.
4)I should say this only on behalf of myself: I’ve lived in a Scandinavia country for more than 5 years, and I don’t ever dare to say stuff like “ok, Scandinavian people are like ….” or “ok, Scandinavian are being educated like…” because I always think a single person needs to learn a country, a culture for life if he or she really wants to get to know it, learning is never finished. Then one thing about some of the westerners like you I never get to understand is that, how come you always dare to give those definitive judgements on others??? Who gives some of the westerners right to violently get rid of those governments that they think “evil” in their standard??? Ok, you think living in China for a while and talking to Chinese people gives you the right to be judgemental on Chinese people, and I cannot change that, but to put my comment to an end, I want to use a saying from a great leader of Repulic of China – Sun Zhong-shan, “求同存异” it means that people should have open mind towards difference of opionons from each other. I can understand why you have those ideas on Chinese people, Chinese culture and Chinese educational system, why can’t you understand the fact that you should some time try to understand a thing in a different way???

January 2, 2009 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

“one of the stupiddest things we Chinese always do, is that we are too easy to forget and forgive!”

Yeah. That’s coming across loud and clear in the video that spawned this thread, not to mention your response above.

As for signs of indoctrination, here’s a couple of classics:

“And there are several infamous cults supported by foreign governments to do nothing else but destroying China’s reputation, and not to mention that Dali-lama’s “religion” is on top of the list.”

Yawn … and his code name is ‘uncle’ and he carries a surface to air missile under his robe.

“…we voluntarily gave up the right to ask huge war compensation from Japs to show our compession and understanding to their pain.”

Sure. And China is so busy forgiving and forgetting that they don’t remember the cheap loans from Japan that were the bedrock of rebuilding the economy.

And finally, a classic re-interpretation of the ‘westerners don’t understand China’ myth:

“why can’t you understand the fact that you should some time try to understand a thing in a different way???”

We would, if only you’d give us some new material to work with.

January 2, 2009 @ 10:52 pm | Comment

to stuart
Don’t u see that you are the one who doesn’t have any new thing to provide? Don’t u see that you are just trying to be selectively blind? What you did is just screening / filtering the materials you’ve seen and pick up the words you need and put them together so that you can twist the fact according by your understanding. I am so sick of discussing things with people like u, a single chinese phrase can describe my feeling when I am talking to you, “对牛弹琴”,it means that when one plays music to a cow, all a cow can do is mooing.

January 3, 2009 @ 7:14 am | Comment

“…with people like u…”

There endeth the lesson.

January 3, 2009 @ 7:31 am | Comment

cheap loans from Japan that were the bedrock of rebuilding the economy.

Japanese reparations were well placed, but in terms of monetary value they were miniscule compared to the damage that the various Sino-Japanese Wars caused. I know you love playing the “poor foreigner/xenophobia” card to twist Chinese arms, and think big bad China is always wrong, but it’s true.

January 3, 2009 @ 9:34 am | Comment

@song

You response pretty much says it all.

Regarding your points

1 – I never stated I know the local people collectively. I don’t know any Chinese living abroad, the people I have spoken with are people in China, in the various cities and companies I have lived and worked. My wife is Chinese. She is also a member of the CCP. As is her entire family. So I hardly think they are all anti China. The news I read is both Chinese and foreign. If you had read what I had said you would understand that I am saying you can’t draw a conclusion from only one point of view which is what one seems to get in many educational institutions and media outlets in China. You have to look at many different points of view and draw your own conclusion.

2 – Who is twisting history? The 8 armies went into China because Chinese boxers with support from the Dowager empress were killing and murdering foreign dignitaries and Chinese Christians. If I remember correctly the German ambassador was actually beheaded in front of the foreign legation. If the imperial army had intervened to protect the legations and Chinese Christians instead of supporting them then no foreign troops would have gone to Beijing in the first place. So I would tend to call it a rescue mission. I don’t disagree with the fact that some of the foreign troops when they went into Beijing, especially Russians and Germans went looting in a big way. But then any army tends to go looting in such situations. But if one listens to Chinese history it never mentions the real reason why 8 countries that historically didn’t get on well would unite to go to Beijing. Regarding the compensation from the Japanese if China voluntarily decided to give this requirement up from the Japanese why then do so many people scream about how they were never compensated? Especially in the last 15 years or so.

I certainly don’t see many Chinese forgiving and forgetting. It seems quite normal in China for people to lecture you on things that happened over 150 years ago.

3 – Almost all of the Chinese I have spoken with seem to think America started the Korean conflict? They also seem to think that only America, China and the two korea’s were involved. The fact that it was a UN mission with 15 countries from the UN supporting the South is also never mentioned. So again seems like selective education to me. I am not quite certain though on why China’s involvement in the war was due to complicated military and political reasons. You were allies, so I would think it is only natural to help to support them, I am only saying that the whole reason for the war should be taught not half of it.

4) I couldn’t agree more. It is important when living in another culture that you learn about it to more understand it fully. But living in a country and immersing yourself in a country doesn’t need to take a lifetime. One can get a pretty good insight into the way people do things relatively quickly it just depends how you interact in the country. Too many people never want to integrate. They stay in their own communities, but many foreigners who come to China have a real interest in the country and the people. Just because their opinions are not the same as yours doesn’t make them wrong. It might not make them right either, but it is another point of view and worth considering

January 4, 2009 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

@yourfriend/Ferin

Believe it or not, some of the songs the children had to learn in the Third Reich were just as militaristic and nationalistic as the one shown in the video. Those Chinese teachers probably belong to the many Chinese people who are fascinated with Nazi Germany and think of Hitler as a great man.

January 4, 2009 @ 9:51 pm | Comment

to Guy

Again thanks for your reply, and I have to say I agree with some of what you just said. But I have to point out some things according to your bullet points:
1)”You have to look at many different points of view and draw your own conclusion.” First of all, I have never said that Chinese educational system is always giving unbiased things to Chinese people. But this is the same thing every where on the plannet. People only try to remember the things that they think good to them, and people only explain things in ways that is in their favor, this is how humans are. I spent first 24 years of mylife in Chinese educational system, and to be honest, I have been told to tell similar kinda of things as the “poem” shown in the video clip when I was little, but in the mean while our educational system also provides tons of great things and positive things which you don’t mention. Only by using such a small clip in one local elementary school does not say anything about the whole educational system. And since you have said the quoted sentence alot of times, obvious you don’t think what I have said is one of “many different points of view “, why is that?
2)I absolutely don’t agree with this bullet point, in fact I think it’s bullshit. An invasion is an invasion, and an invader is always trying to legalize it by using excuses and write them into history books and put it under category of “the truth”. Any history book in this world is always written in someones favor, obviously the history book is used by u is in the invaders’ favor. The fact that you said it is a “rescue mission” and its natural to “loot in such situations” really makes me laugh… By the way, you are so sure about what you said on this invasion is the “truth”, where have you even gotten to know this “truth”??? How in the world you are so sure the the version of the history that you know is the truth, and the story in the other end is untrue? You know what, even though you are always saying people needs to learn the other side of the story, I really don’t see that you are doing it yourself. And what is “forgiving and forgetting”? You really think that all the Chinese people don’t tell their children what happened for the past 200 years to our land is good for the people, and then we can finally “forgive” all of the bad things happened to us for the past? Come on, do you even understand the meaning of telling children of the history? Teaching people of what happened does not mean that we need to hate those people those country who did bad things to us, it means that we as a country need to remember what happened in the past so that we learnt our lessons and we can improve on top of it. On the other hand, I can fully understand why westerners are educated as all of the invasions they’ve initiated are all for a goooooood reasons, like they “discovered north american and made the local indian civilized”, like they “liberated the iraqi and eliminated massively distructive weapons”, oh,oh, as u said, they also occasionally on “rescue missions” and “looted” a bit because who else in this situation doesn’t? And I totally understand that you always want to explain things in your favor as no body wants to admit that he or she was a robber or thief or rapist. And you said “especially Russians and Germans”, come on man, go to London and find the biggest museum and tell me what you’ve seen their. “It seems quite normal in China for people to lecture you on things that happened over 150 years ago.” And you would think it’s perfectly right to stop teaching people that and our children won’t know anything about our history is right, hummm, sorry, I hardly agree with it, I can see stop teaching them that can benefit some other countries but not our own country at all, Chinese need to know what it means to be Chinese and where their country is from, that absolutely does not mean that we hate other countries, but only means that we need to understand history ! And we have the right to know!
3)” Almost all of the Chinese I have spoken with seem to think America started the Korean conflict?” Well, I can tell you that I am not one of them. And I can honestly tell you that as I remembered 15-20 years ago when I first learnt that part of history the book I read did mention that it was American started the Korean war. This proofs the fact that, as I mentioned, any history book is written in somebody’s favor, history is always twisted and refined on books. But after that I have learnt so many other stories about that part of history (including so many documentaries from the US and GB) on all the sides and now I don’t think it was started by America anymore. The wording you used in this bullet point shows how little you really know about that war, and you said “You were allies”? Do you even know the difference between People Republic of China and Republic of China? Who were allies? Please try to learn more about it. I just want to point out a couple of key things, 1st, at that period of time, the US almost dominated the UN, in fact during the war the US tried to force the UN to use nuclear weapon on China, yes the war was under the name of the UN, but that doesnot mean anything; 2nd, it was the north first invaded the south, and during that China did not help the north, the so called “UN” army then helped the south to drive the north army back to the original border, after that the “UN” tried to push further north then Chinese army got involved, and you don’t understand why it “was due to complicated military and political reasons” ? You would really think the newly borned communist government and the Soviet union would let the US army push the north completely out and have the US army occuppy the whole north Korea? If you have a globe at home try to have a glance on it you will know why.
4)”One can get a pretty good insight into the way people do things relatively quickly it just depends how you interact in the country” So, you think you know China too well now, don’t you? you know that we are 1.4 billion people and 56 races, you know that we totally different languages and cultures and different educations through the country, you know that a lot of our own sometime don’t even have the gut to say that we know our culture or we can represent our culture. I am sorry to say this but the way I see it, is that you always subconsciously (or maybe intensionally, I don’t know) filter the information you breath in and match those parts which are equal to your knowledge and standard so that later on you can say – “oh, I know these local Chinese people and what they have told me is matching with what I knew before”. I like to reuse the sentence from you “Just because their opinions are not the same as yours doesn’t make them wrong. It might not make them right either, but it is another point of view and worth considering” – to raise one final question to you, how come you don’t think my view point is “another point of view and worth considering”? Sorry, but from what u put up together I can only explain this as because my viewpoint does not match up with stuff in your understanding, and certainly the talk with me does not belong to “most of the Chinese” you talked to.

January 4, 2009 @ 11:13 pm | Comment

Hi Song

As always it is interesting to get your answers. However I think we must agree to disagree….

1 – Well if that is what you are taught in the Chinese education system what can I say. We were taught to question things, to draw our own conclusions on why something happened based on all the information available, not just to repeat what we are told by our teachers. I suppose that is just a difference between systems, but as for the points I made these are just a few of the inconsistencies that I had encountered myself. There are many others as well but I don’t want to sidetrack the blog by going into too much details. If you have some really positive things that your education system has taught you then feel free to tell people about them. I have never said that your viewpoint is not another point of view. It is another point of view, unfortunately it is the same point of view I have heard many times with the same arguments as I have heard from other people in China. However the facts don’t follow what you say. So at the moment I can understand what you are saying but not agree with it. Does that clarify things for you?

2 – I agree history is written by the victor. No-one can deny that. As for where I have gotten my information, I would say from a variety of different sources. From Chinese and Western articles, news and books. From different people. The conclusions are however my own based on what I have researched. Are they 100% true. Maybe not, but I believe on these points they are fairly accurate, but if someone can provide factual evidence to disprove my point of view then I can change it. Since you seem to know so much about this then maybe you can explain why the foreign soldiers went to Beijing in 1900? Give us you point of view? Explain in detail why it all happened? Rather than just repeat the normal response

Regarding looting, are you honestly trying to tell me no Chinese soldier has ever looted a city they have defeated. Have they never looted a country or an area they have gone into. Have they never taken food from the local peasants as they have gone through their land? Of course they have. All armies have. Especially then. I am not saying the other countries also did not loot in Beijing but the main culprits were considered to be the Germans and Russians. I never denied otherwise. Regarding your comments about the British Museum or any western museums for that matter, I am sure that some items in their have been looted. But a lot were also bought, many with permission from the KMT. They were later donated to museums for all people to see. So you can’t say that all items in every museum in the world have been looted.

As for forgiving and forgetting those were your words not mine. I simply stated that I didn’t think they had forgiven or forgotten anything as it gets rolled out anytime something involving that country happens that affects China. Why is it that as students you are taken to “historical sites of shame and humiliation”, if not to reinforce that fear and hatred. Why did the anti Japanese riots take place a few years ago? I agree 100% that you should be educated on your history. But this should be on all aspects. It should try to be as impartial as possible and should try to look at different reasons why a given thing happened. Chinese modern history for example seems to not even explain why anything happened in your own country in any detail. There is nothing to back it up, just rote comments. I would think this should be more relevant to today’s students? Ok China has a long history and you can’t go through everything in detail we certainly couldn’t when I was studying history at school, so we focused on certain periods of time. But at least we focused on the details and the reasons why many things happened. Not just having to memorise everything without any real discussion.

3 – What you have learnt after school is upto you. That is your choice. The fact that you have learnt differently after you left school is different. Most people have no interest in learning more about history after leaving school so they will always think America did such a thing. So you at least agree though that you were taught that at school. So goes to show something… Why do you think I know nothing about that war? I have stated a few points only, so you have no idea about what I know or don’t. As for allies, you should read the point again. I stated that “You were allies” i.e. China and N.Korea hence the reason to support them. Of course this is the P.R. China, not Taiwan. How did you even get to that one? Regarding the UN, sure the US was a big player in the UN, but Russia was also a member and an ally to both China and N.Korea. It was also a member of the security council and had the power of veto. If it really wanted it could have stopped any UN involvement. Regarding the use of Nuclear weapons. It was certainly suggested to use Nuclear weapons but this was never actively put in force, so maybe you should try reading up on the subject some more. As for why the UN forces went into N.Korea maybe it was because they didn’t surrender and sue for peace. If a hostile force attacks you then it is normal that when you fight back and ensure that they can’t do it again. This is no different than what happened to Germany and Japan. Maybe it was a trap to draw UN forces into Korea so China could attack and destroy them. It is hard to know for certain the real reasoning. I can certainly understand why China would not want western forces on the doorstep, but then as an ally they could have persuaded N.Korea not to attack in the first place.

4 – Sounds like you are just trying to make insinuations. I never said I am an expert, just that if you live somewhere long enough you start to learn about the culture. That is the right way to do so not just from reading books. As for your point of view see point 1.

January 5, 2009 @ 10:20 am | Comment

To Guy

I really don’t see this discussion is going anywhere and now it is just a dead loop, and seems to me that your stubborn view point is just so typical in the west, it seems that you only think the conclusions you draw is based on the truth, and the conclusions on the other side is somehow biased. Not to mention your idea is sometimes based on ridiculous assumption like “Maybe it was a trap to draw UN forces into Korea so China could attack and destroy them.” and”they could have persuaded N.Korea not to attack in the first place”, well, here is an idea, why didn’t american tried to persuad Iraq not to attack Kowait so that they can prevent the followed gulf war from happening? The fact you always try to simplify complication of military and political affairs just shows how naive and ignorant you are. And all of the judgment you had on the things in between China and Japan are just bullcrap. I should tell you that I was born in 70s and grown up in 80s, and I should honestly tell you that all my early years education in schools told me how it is important to maintain a good relationship between Chinese and Japanese people, in fact, I can clearly rememeber several songs we were told in school to tell “Japan and China are friends, and we need to maintain this friendship forever”. It’s only when everything in China begins to boom and we have more outside information from everywhere so that people in China had access to know how the right wing Japanese lied on the war history then some people began to change their mind toward Japan. You set the “anti-Japan riot” as an example, first of all I should say, not all Chinese fully agreed on what those young people did during throse protests, but if you don’t know the full story behind it all you can see is “oh, Chinese people hate Japanese and they went crazy again”. I don’t want to get too much into it because I sense that no matter how much fact I put here you will just ignore, it is just not worth it. For one thing, you said before “Regarding the compensation from the Japanese if China voluntarily decided to give this requirement up from the Japanese why then do so many people scream about how they were never compensated? ” It amazed me that you don’t even tell the difference between governmental compensation and civilian compensation. In fact I guess you did it on purpose, just a typical way to twist a fact to support your “justice view point”. For one thing, if a government ask for a war compensation from another country for the war damage the latter did, then the scale of the compensation is waaaay bigger then that of a civilian compensation, because the latter one is to individuals. It seems that you are so proud of your knowledge about history, then you should know better than me that one of the main reasons why Nazi Germany was able to initiate the 2nd world war was the fact that Germany kept on paying the compensation they owed to the other countries because of 1st world war and they cannot affort it anymore so the Nazi racist began to use their propaganda to swoop in and rule Germany. One of the reasons China gave up the chance to have a governmental war compensation from Japan is because we don’t want the story with Nazi Germany happened again in Asia. And then what we got by giving up that? Tons of civilian whose family members were slaughtered and raped to death did not get any compensation and recognition, and in the end most of the crimes that Japanese did were completely denied by their current goverment! This is why you see some Chinese people try to sue the Japanese government over generations for admitting the crime Japan did and for compensation. Man, you really don’t know crap about things in between Japan and China, so just stop talking please.
And I really don’t want to bother to say anything about the invasion to China around 1900, because I can easily write a book about it, just a few points, behind your “rescue mission”, not only countless cultural relic and treasure were taken away “with permission from the KMT”, hundres of thousands of people were killed probably also “with permission from the KMT” I guess, thousands of women were raped probably also “with permission from the KMT” I guess, big part of China’s land were cutting away probaly also “with permission from the KMT” I guess, and tens of thousands tons of opium were sold to China for the local people to enjoy to death”with permission from the KMT” I guess…. In fact until now I have not used the F word on you already shows too much of my respect to you, which you don’t deserve!
All you have said just shows how ignorant you are, and how useless this discussion is. I have seen enough of your show, please don’t bother to play with your keyboard to give me any of your rediculous logic anymore.

January 5, 2009 @ 6:10 pm | Comment

Song, your reaction is disproportional to what Guy wrote. (Also, your historical explanation of the origins of the Second World War is somewhat lacking, but I don’t suppose my explaining it would get us very far.) What your long message tells us more than anything else is that you cling to victimhood – which is not to deny that the West and Japan did atrocious and tragic things to China, albeit nothing compared to the mental asphyxiation and physical starvation carried out under Mao Zedong.

I believe you when you said you were not taught to hate Japan in the 70s and 80s. Both Mao and Deng were relatively reasonable about this topic. However, that has changed, and anyone who would deny a massive government-led campaign to stir up passions against Japan over the past ten years is fooling himself. (And yes, I will admit that the US government in 2002-3 led a similar campaign trying to convince Iraq was a mortal enemy that posed an immediate threat of global annihilation.) I think it has eased dramatically, having peaked in 2005, but you can still hear it on CCTV if you listen.

You seem like a smart guy. But your running through the laundry list of all the wrongs performed against China by outsiders is so familiar, so tired and knee-jerk that all it evinces from anyone outside of China is a sigh. “Oh no – it’s the ‘hurt feelings’ argument!” As I said, bad things were done to China. But it’s time to stand up and be an adult and move on, and to see the system for what it is. And this kind of indoctrination (the original theme of this post, for those of you who remember) is at the heart of that conversation. This is what they have wisely learned will keep you wound up and super-patriotic: China has been raped and beaten and assaulted, and blind rage will keep the people loyal and willing to put up with nearly anything. Works like a charm. As your comment illustrates.

January 5, 2009 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

to Rechard (comment 75)

I have to say that I agree with every single word you said here, and I have to say that I was also laughing when I saw that video for the first time. But I was not suprised at all, and honestly this kinda things happened occasionally in China, I am not denying it. But I want to say that it’s such a big country with totally different cultures and lauguages here and there, one can not just say that only judging from this clip, Chinese educational system is beyond belief as you said. In fact, have you ever met a Chinese guy who said this kinda things shown in the clip to a westerners’ face? If the educational system brain wash people then I believe you would have more aggression than that clip towards western world, and if that’s the case you would not just only saw this clip on youtube. All am I saying is that the educational system is not as bad as it shows in this clip, in fact, it barely shows anything about it, so don’t be judgmental about it only based on this clip. I grew up in such a system, and when I got old enough (this is not only me, but most all the people grew up with me) I can tell what I learnt is crap what is valuable. So don’t get me wrong.

January 5, 2009 @ 6:58 pm | Comment

have you ever met a Chinese guy who said this kinda things shown in the clip to a westerners’ face?

I have a friend named Hong Xing and another named Math I’d like to introduce you to.

I know, this video is NOT China. It is a part of China. After talking with many, many people about it I’ve changed my original viewpoint, that this was something they’d never show in the more developed coastal cities. They do. It is much more widespread than I originally thought. But still I realize, this is NOT China, just as Abu Ghraib and the Republican Convention is not America. But it can’t be ignored and it tells us much about the insecurities and neuroses of the CCP.

I appreciate your commenting here.

January 5, 2009 @ 7:11 pm | Comment

to Rechard (comment 90)

It’s really good to read your comment and I have to say that I agree on most of it again. But I have to point out that “it’s time to stand up and be an adult and move on” does not mean that we need to tolerate when people say to our face “oh, you know what, your ancenstors were raped to death for a good reason, so you should blame your ancenstors because they started it”. There is a clear line between defend our beliefs and dignities and showing out-raged aggression to westerners. I hope everybody would be able to tell this difference, but unfortunately I don’t see it going to happen, ever.

I have to say that if all of the people commenting here reasoning things as you do, things would be a lot easier.

Thanks
Song

January 5, 2009 @ 7:11 pm | Comment

[...] beyond belief” says The Peking Duck, with 93 following [...]

January 5, 2009 @ 8:15 pm | Pingback

btw, sorry that I typed your name wrong, Richard

January 5, 2009 @ 10:53 pm | Comment

The problem is some people always read…
““oh, you know what, your ancenstors were raped to death for a good reason, so you should blame your ancenstors because they started it””
…no matter what was written because they are hypersensitive BECAUSE of the the whole victimhood thing.

Anyway, not going to draw this out any further, just my two cents…

January 5, 2009 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

Believe it or not, some of the songs the children had to learn in the Third Reich were just as militaristic and nationalistic as the one shown in the video. Those Chinese teachers probably belong to the many Chinese people who are fascinated with Nazi Germany and think of Hitler as a great man.

Militaristic and nationalistic is common. In America it’s more insidious- it comes in mass media and the church, so they are deluded into thinking they are open minded because the state does not indoctrinate them with far-right material (the loony left is another story). In China it can easily be dismissed, in America you can’t avoid it.

The main difference between Nazi Germany and normal jingoism is that they made attempts at genocide against specific genetic groups, which America succeeded in accomplishing over a span of 200 to 300 years. There is no denying that, even by the smallest estimates unadjusted for population, that the deracination of the New World was an even greater tragedy than the Holocaust.

Okay so now I get where you’re coming from about the Nazi thing because your grandparents were murdering, fascist Nazis. You really don’t need to project your guilt on Chinese people. Most of them you ask will think the Nazis are quite repulsive, but for the whole of the non-Western world there is a certain type of person who will overlook Hitler’s crimes and praise him as a nationalist. This happens much more frequently in Korea and Japan than in China. You should be relieved that rabid nationalism isn’t a Chinese-specific thing.

January 6, 2009 @ 2:41 am | Comment

@ Guy, hopefully for the last time

Every time I had glance on your comment I can easily find some thing funny.
1)”Since you seem to know so much about this then maybe you can explain why the foreign soldiers went to Beijing in 1900?” China at that time was a well-known big country with an extremely weak government so it easily became a free meal for every body. Any of the big colonies in the world was once ruled by local people and then later on ruled by invaders and forced to be paying a role as resources provider and product consumer in colonists’ favor. As in colonists’ favor means that the colonists would only do things that are beneficial to their orignial country without even thinking whether the local people will suffer or not. How dumb a person could be to ask this kinda of question I will never know. Well, maybe because these things are not in your history book or you “accidentally” missed them when you do your collecting work on “different kind of opinions”.
2) It seems that you really don’t understand why I mentioned the difference between People Republic of China and Republic of China. Ok let me spend a couple of more lines here. Korean civil war started on June 25th 1950, only two days later the American navy began to participate the war, and if you say that it is not the US army but the UN have decided to participate the war, ok, then you must don’t know that this time the “UN” completely bypassed China and Soviet Union to make this decision, and you said that it was easy for China and Soviet Russia to stop UN if they wanted? Hummmmm…..Ha…Ha…. (You would think 50 years later the UN would be able to stop the US to invade Iraq as well by voting against it, right?) And then you said it’s unclear why I brought up People Republic of China and Republic of China, ok, here is the anwser, try to pay attention: PRC was founded on Oct. 1st 1949 and was never recognized by the US and a lot of other countries for a rather long period of time, and the “China” who you said was the UN member is Republic of China, the government defeated by Mao and driven to Taiwan. To tell you another important date for your rediculous reasoning, PRC offically entered UN on Oct. 25th, 1971 and the 22 years in between 1949 and 1971 the People Republic of China was not any kinda memeber of UN. You don’t learn these things from your history book, your Chinese friend and your Chinese wife, do you? Well next time you are so brave to begin to argue something, try to use google to find out if your opinion is a joke first and try to avoid to make youself a clown.

God, soooo tired from launghing at what you’ve typed here, every time I looked at it it turn out to be a new joke.

@AndyR (comment 96)

“BECAUSE of the the whole victimhood thing.” May I ask what is wrong with admitting to be a victim? Did we choose to be victim? So if I say “I know that my ancenstors were raped to death for a good reason as the western told me that they were, I really blame my ancenstors because they started it” then you would say “that’s the right spirit!”, is that right? You are so unbelievable. In fact I think the problem really is not how we educate ourselves, the problem is really on your side. You are told to recognize youselves as the most advanced economy wise and intelligence wise, and you are so darned used to pointing fingers to others and teaching others what to do, even when other people suffer you would say to them “you suffered for a good reason so please don’t regard youself as victim but just think you are paying your dues”. Is this gut you have to always tell other people what is right and what is wrong from your education? Why it is so widely spread in your world? Let me remind you the fundamental difference the fact when we talk about our educational system and when you do it: we are talking about ourselves, but you are talking about something you only get to know some small fractions of here and there.

@Richard (comment 92)

Sorry I think I need to clarify a small thing. The sentence “have you ever met a Chinese guy who said this kinda things shown in the clip to a westerners’ face?” is not that clear, still, English is not my native language, I’m sorry for the confusion. What I meant was that the kinda education you saw in the clip may be found here and there in China occasionally, but the fact that kids can be told to repeat those rediculous words does not mean that when they grow up they will believe in those words they were told and teach them to their children. By raising that question what I meant was if people are really brain washed to believe in those words, you wouldn’t just see this clip on youtube, you would be able to meet some adults in real life who is that hostile towards westerners. The question mark was on “have you met this kind of adults?” And I believe if people were all educated like that, the Chinese friends you know would not laugh when they first saw the clip, because then it is what they experienced and what their kids are experiencing. So, I really don’t think it is as bad as the clip shows.

January 6, 2009 @ 4:15 am | Comment

“May I ask what is wrong with admitting to be a victim? Did we choose to be victim?”

Because you and your generation weren’t the victim of anything and the people of today’s Japan (or Britain, France, Russia, etc) weren’t the perpetrators. The victimhood game, as has been suggested, is a cheap political tool used by the Chinese government to maintain the nationalistic sentiments of resentment and distrust towards foreigners. So much for opening up.

January 6, 2009 @ 8:38 am | Comment

Because you and your generation weren’t the victim of anything

Ridiculous. The young Chinese of this generation have grown up in poverty and destitution because of the actions of foreign countries. Sentiments of resentment and distrust of Americans and Europeans is very warranted worldwide, until they make genuine amends for their crimes.

January 6, 2009 @ 12:51 pm | Comment

@Song

Well we can stop here as it is obvious we both have different opinions. I believe Richard summed it up pretty well earlier anyway about how out of context your last set of comments were anyway.

Regarding the points you made

1 – Sure we all know China was weak, we all know it was exploited but I still don’t see any answer from my question to accurately explain why 8 different countries which as I mentioned were typically involved in fighting each other just decided to get together to march 100 KM’s whilst under attack from Boxers and the Chinese military to go out on a picnic to Beijing for a spot of looting. Nor forgetting of course that this group of 8 armies was only sent out because the first groups of soldiers sent to protect the legation in Beijing was not sufficiently strong enough to make it from Tianjin to Beijing. Your explanation lacks any substance, just the normal misdirection and evasive answers which are fairly normal for this type of discussion.

2 – Actually I know perfectly well that the P.R.China was not a part of the UN at that time so they had no ability to influence to UN decision. If you again learned to read the article properly before making your asinine comments you would have noticed I never mentioned that they did. I mentioned Russia had the power of Veto but they decided not to turn up and take advantage of it. The point is, as you yourself mentioned yourself, was that you were taught all this rubbish at school. It was only afterwards that you learnt anything differently, but even then you are still trying to go back to the rubbish they spouted at school to justify your childish arguments.

Regarding your comment to Richard on what kids will think about when they are older after listening to constant lies and half truths. Wasn’t it Joseph Goebbels that stated…. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” If ever that was an apt quote that applies here surely this has to be it.

@Stuart

I quite agree. There is a time to move on.

@ yourfriend
I would think after 60 years of single party communist rule you would have stopped on the blaming foreigners on all the ills affecting China. but I suppose somethings never change. When are you going to realise that maybe, just maybe some of that blame should and can be placed on the parties front doorstep for some of the absolutely stupid policy decisions they made in their first 30 years in power. I would think opening up to the rest of the world including western countries and Japan has helped a lot in stimulating a pretty good amount of the growth in the latter 30 years. When will you realise most people in the West and Japan want to see China grow, want to see it develop. but at the moment they still seem to be behaving like a pre-pubescent child.

January 6, 2009 @ 2:19 pm | Comment

Sooooo retarded, what a waste…., some people are just so hardheaded to only think the rest of the world is hardheaded, some people are just so close-minded to only think the rest of the world is closed-minded. The reasoning of how the 8 countries invaded China shows what a load of crap someone learnt, and the fact that he who ignored all the facts in front of him again and again and use the weak judgements like “all of the facts here are junk” to protect his face shows how pathetic he is.

I’ve lost my interest on this blog totally, thank you very much. When the tiny portion of excitment in the beginning is gone, now I just think that I am a hog tamer.

Sorry to bother you guys…..

January 6, 2009 @ 3:52 pm | Comment

I would think after 60 years of single party communist rule you would have stopped on the blaming foreigners on all the ills affecting China.

Uh, my roots are in Taiwan, and my parents were indoctrinated in extremist anti-Communism and indeed anti-CCP beliefs. They didn’t really cling too much to that though.

Nice try at “argumentum ad uracommunistlololol”

maybe some of that blame should and can be placed on the parties front doorstep for some of the absolutely stupid policy decisions

KEYWORD: SOME. You are still to blame for a huge amount of the problems China faces. That doesn’t mean they can’t disapprove of the CCP AND foreigners. Stop acting like you’re guiltless angels, it’s fucking dishonest and pig disgusting. The wealth that the developed countries enjoy is largely due to the fact that they destroyed everyone elses’ country to enrich themselves, and just dumped their colonies to be taken over by Communists after they had stripped them of currency, labor and resources.

I would think opening up to the rest of the world

China is already incredibly open, considering all the warranted bad blood and resentment they have. Stop acting like you are perfect and undeserving of criticism, because you’re not. Chinese people aren’t quiet about it when you have glaring faults. Then again the only people I hear complaining about China’s “openness” are spoiled Western men whining that only unattractive Chinese women will spread their legs for them.

but at the moment they still seem to be behaving like a pre-pubescent child.

Nope. “pre-pubescent” would describe Sarkozy’s photo ops with the Dalai Lama, neologisms like “Riefenstahlesque”, America’s hypocritical anti-Chinese campaign to distract from the financial crisis, and the Japanese right wing calling China “sankokujin with criminal DNA”.

January 7, 2009 @ 1:51 am | Comment

*sangokujin

January 7, 2009 @ 1:53 am | Comment

@Song

Nice to see you still didn’t answer the question

@ yourfriend

Sorry my mistake, you are right as I didn’t misread your point. You didn’t state that yourself but mentioned that this was the attitude of the young people within china itself.

I have never stated that western countries have never made mistakes in their former colonies or in their attitudes to other countries you are making your own assumptions now. I am simply stating that as you correctly pointed out too much emphasis is placed by mainland Chinese on blaming foreigners specifically without thinking that a lot of the issues China has had have been of their own making. What other countries have done in the past and present is not excusable I agree, but What China has also done in the past and in the present is also not excusable. The sword cuts both ways, not just sticking your head in the sand and blaming everyone else for your problems. From 1949 China closed itself off to the world for 30 years and achieved what exactly? Except a lot of poverty and mindless deaths! It was only when it decided to open up to the world that things started to change for the better. As for all the bad blood that Chinese have sure everyone has problems with other people even in the same country. But then other countries don’t tend to keep repeating it and repeating it ad nauseam about how they have been victimized by everyone… Ok maybe Israel is another example in that regard. Most countries try to get over it and move on. People have more in common with each other than they think

Not sure where you are coming from on the western men whining about unattractive Chinese women. how did that get into the conversation?

January 7, 2009 @ 10:16 am | Comment

@Guy
Answer what question? As a matter of fact I have been answering your retarded questions over and over again, you are just so dumb to deny them.
Please don’t show off your unbelievable stupility any more because it’s really not something to be proud of.

January 7, 2009 @ 8:19 pm | Comment

My absolute last comment on this blog:

@Stuart (Comment 99)

““May I ask what is wrong with admitting to be a victim? Did we choose to be victim?”

Because you and your generation weren’t the victim of anything and the people of today’s Japan (or Britain, France, Russia, etc) weren’t the perpetrators. The victimhood game, as has been suggested, is a cheap political tool used by the Chinese government to maintain the nationalistic sentiments of resentment and distrust towards foreigners. So much for opening up.

I quoted the whole comment because I think this is a typical westerner’s opinion toward China, not to judge that it is bad, just to say it’s typical. Western guys may be call it “victimhood game” because you (depending on your country) as a outsider or a invaders’ descendent can see it in a way that you are not involved or you are a benefit receiver of it. Remember, we are all human, we human have feelings. When the outsiders and the benefit receivers of the historical incidence are speaking, their feelings about the incidence is totally different from that of the victims descendent. To set a very simple example, I just saw a documentary made by NHK about the war between China and Japan during 1937-1945, I have to admit that some of the analysis in the doc is very good and rather objective, but for me, it is always a war during which tens of millions of Chinese people were slaughtered by Japanese, anybody in the world has the right to give all the slaughtering incidences some reasoning, and I have to say that some of them could be somewhat objective, but to me, these incidences will always be extremely painful, simply, just simply because those people who died have the same blood as mine! Yes, you are right on the fact that the wars does not belong to my generation, but that does not mean that you can entitle “vitimhood” to the fact that we show our pain and indignation to those type of history. It is unfair and inhuman to do that! No matter what party is ruling our country, what type of education we have, which generation we belong to, as long as we know that part of history, we Chinese, collectively, will always have to remember the history and will have the same feeling toward that part of history!!! Don’t try to turn Chinese showing their feelings to conseqences of communist policital affairs, and don’t try to use the “you are not the exact person who participated the war” excuse to rip one of the most basic human rights from us – the right to remember and feel pain about our past. And don’t try to link this feeling to hostility towards western world because those are two different things. As a matter of fact, some people have hostility toward western world not because our education or the communist party, but because some westerner do not have any concern about Chinese’s feeling but just keep on pushing their rediculous ideas about Chinese history to Chinese people and keep on teasing them by sprinkle salts on their wounds and than say: “you should not feel pain because it’s not right! The wounds do not belong to you!”. To face this kinda of teasing and insults we sometimes have to stand up and repeat our principles and then you will have a chance to say “see how stupid these Chinese are, and look how hostile they are toward us! must because they are ruled by communist!” Well actually, it’s because some westerner is too close-minded and self-centered to see that they are stepping on someones’ wound and try telling them they should not feel pain! For those kinda people, I would have to say : “F*ck u!” Yes, I am saying that to you, GUY! and all the people like you!

In fact, all of the words here in this blog are wasted, because all the discussions can be written by the following pattern:
Westerner: You Chinese are wrong, because you are ruled by Communist, and Communist is bad!
Chinese: You are wrong about us, not only we don’t think communist is perfect, but also what you think you know about our country is not completely true !
Westerner: You Chinese are wrong, because you are ruled by Communist, and Communist is bad!
Chinese: …… What the …..

WHAT THE…… !!!
!!!

January 8, 2009 @ 7:08 am | Comment

@Song

The question where I asked you to explain in detail why 8 armies, that didn’t like each other, just decided to go and invade Beijing. I gave my opinion based on what I understand happened. You stated this was all rubbish so I asked you to give your reasoning for why that happened. Perhaps if you opened your eyes and read my comments you might see that… Or maybe you just can’t answer it so you just do the usual “I don’t know the answer so I will just call the foreigner stupid and ignorant”.

You are the one getting all bent out of shape about it because it doesn’t fit your picture perfect view… So who is the stupid one… or maybe we should say the ignorant one.

Regarding your reply to Stuart, every country has been a victim at some point in time. But they don’t all keep bringing it up in conversations every time something happens with another country that did something to China in the past. I don’t think anyone believes that the Chinese should not remember the past, should not mourn those that have died, as everyone does, it is when they raise issues on the fact that when a foreign government does something that the Chinese don’t like, immediately many people will start complaining about all the bad things those countries did centuries ago. Just deal with the issue at hand instead of bringing up what happened in the past. You will never be able to move forward properly if that is something you can never get over. What happened in the past was in the past. Learn from it and move on.

I would ask why Chinese do that. Is it for the reasons you gave? Or is it because of the fact that this is constantly repeated on the TV on the internet, in classes at school, at sites of Chinese humiliation? The point is every country could use the same reasoning that you gave, so why don’t the people of those countries do that? Some do I am sure, but no way near to the same level as one tends to see here. So then is this really a type of indoctrination? Is it something that can help bring a country together? Sure it can. I think many people would call it nationalism… but then who were the most nationalist countries in the last century? Germany and Japan and look what they did? So a little bit is ok it can bring a country together, give them a purpose, but too much… No wonder many countries in the area are worried about Chinese intentions.

January 8, 2009 @ 11:24 am | Comment

@yourfriend/Ferin

Okay so now I get where you’re coming from about the Nazi thing because your grandparents were murdering, fascist Nazis.

Right, all Germans are Nazis, all Japanese are killers, all Anglo-Saxons are racists, only the great Han people are innocent victims.

Ridiculous. The young Chinese of this generation have grown up in poverty and destitution because of the actions of foreign countries.

Right out of the CCP propaganda handbook. Whatever bad happened or is happening in China is caused by evil foreign forces.

Sentiments of resentment and distrust of Americans and Europeans is very warranted worldwide, until they make genuine amends for their crimes.

Since you are American, I suggest you start making amends.

Then again the only people I hear complaining about China’s “openness” are spoiled Western men whining that only unattractive Chinese women will spread their legs for them.

If you don’t stop talking about women in such a nasty way, you will never find a girlfriend. Take a piece of advice from a grown-up man!

January 8, 2009 @ 7:27 pm | Comment

Ferin, I do have to agree with mor on this one. (I didn’t notice the obscene remark until now.) You were actually making sense until that idiotic ad hominem. Do I really need to warn you yet again?

January 8, 2009 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

I won’t worry about “future ultra-nationalist threat from China” if I were you. China has a history of collapsing on itself due to internal corruption. Just read Chinese history and you will see how every dynasty, including the great ones such as Tang and Han, fell into decay after only the first one or two great kings. Yes, Chinese can claim not to be aggressors, at least to others, but their history is full of brutally to their own people. Dictators slaughter Chinese by the millions. How many “modern Chinese” you talked to would admit that failed policies of their Great Leader Mao had led to the starvation and death of tens of millions. Of course, almost every other country has similar atrocities in their history, but Chinese tend to ignore that when they argue with people on how great and gentle they are. They went into a frenzy when Japanese businessmen held a sex junket in one of their cities, when these ladies of the night are doing great business with Chinese, Americans,…etc all the time. They complaint about the Japanese changing their history book (rightly so), but they dare not say anything about their own history books being rewritten.

As for anti-cnn, I won’t spend my precious time on that. Yes, there are Chinese who are outraged by the CNN comment, but many of the posts, in anti-cnn and other in-China political forums, are written by people from the . ‘uh..Public relations..bureau. One of the “funniest” replies I read is from someone defending their “officials” as not “thugs and goons”, but “father-mother officers” because they take such good care of their children. Yes, sure, there are no corrupted, inhumane, and despotic officials in China.

If you go to a Chinese forum you will find plenty of complaints about China. But as soon as the same complains are voiced by anyone outside of China, they will be met with angry voices from “patriotic” Chinese. (Again, that is usually true for any nation.)

The government of China is making an all out effort to foster “racial” consciousness by promoting “Racial” unity. If you are a Chinese, you are a “Chinese” under the umbrella of “China’s Chinese. If does not matter if you are a 2nd, or 3rd generation Chinese, or that you left China because you hated their government, or that you are still surviving members of the Nationalist party living in Taiwan who does not consider themselves not defeated yet (pathetic though. I am not for them either!).

January 11, 2009 @ 4:33 am | Comment

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