China has done bad things, and it’s done good things, like all countries. China has its fair share of atrocities, injustices and a considerable legacy of repression and injustice. But China is not Nazi Germany, they are not a nation of deranged Maoists, and they happen to be one of the linchpins in the global economy that keeps America afloat. They happen to be moving in the right direction, despite some infuriating steps backwards. We all know the story, we all know the bad stuff and the good stuff.
So when I see Americans go insane over the Empire State Building turning red and yellow to mark the 60th anniversary of the PRC, I have to say it’s simply nuts. We recognize China, we trade with China, we work with China – our fates are tied together, perhaps inextricably. Seeing the outpouring of hate and paranoia from the right-wing blogs, while predictable. is a good reminder of the prejudices many in America bear toward our No. 1 trading partner, and of our ongoing inbred stupidity when it comes to scare words like “Red China.”
The Village Voice today rounds up some of the hysteria, and here are some samples:
In celebrating The Peoples Republic of China’s 60th anniversary the Empire State Building in New York City will be lit up with both yellow and red lights on Wednesday. I find this most appropriate since red will represent the blood of the millions of innocent people China has murdered or thrown in their Gulag System. The yellow will represent the cowardly conduct of a nation who has chosen to rape and murder Falun Gong members as well as the Uyghur People of Turkistan.
When Chinese consul, Peng Keyu, and other officials take part in the lighting ceremony there should also be a laser light show depicting the people who’ve been tortured and used for organ transplants. The light show should also focus on U.S. Industries who have profiteered from China’s lucrative slave labor and absents of environmental laws. The laser show should also depict the million or so peasants who were displaced for the Olympic Arena. They should show the innocent people who were killed or silenced so as not to reveal what China did to them.
What’s next, Marx, Lenin and Trotsky’s birthday’s too?
What about Allah while we’re honoring our enemies under the “Commie Obammie” administration?
First it was the flying of the Commie flag of China right next to the Stars and Stripes right in our own Rose Garden of the White House last week we blogged and bi*&^%$ about here, now they’re gonna honor the birth of Communist China by turning the lighting on the Empire State Building Commie Red and Yellow???!!!!
Okay, maybe I’m overreacting, but WHAT THE HELL IS THE EMPIRE STATE DOING HONORING A BRUTAL REGIME THAT KILLED TENS OF MILLIONS OF ITS OWN CITIZENS, THAT STILL PUNISHES SPEECH WITH TORTURE AND DEATH, THAT USES SLAVE LABOR, AND THAT SEES ITS POLITICAL PRISONERS AS ORGAN DONOR MACHINES?
Former Bush attack dog Jules Crittenden also has to get into the act, of course:
Let’s hear it for putting labor camps to good use! Controlling the means of production rocks! Kleptomaniacal post-Marxist autocracy, yeah!
I know, the Chinese blogs and message boards aren’t always overflowing with nuanced, compassionate, thoughtful dialogue about the US, but really, this is absurd. The hypocrisy is beyond belief as these bloggers pound on their made-in-China keyboards.
I’m all for constructive criticism of any autocratic regime. I’m for calling China (and the US, etc.) out for their crimes and misdemeanors. But this is not only ridiculous when you consider how innocuous the actual event it – this hyperbolic, coordinated reacton is much more sinister than that. It is being used as a tacit attack on “Obama’s America,” as Rush Limbaugh has proudly called it. What these ignoramuses are saying has almost nothing to do with China, a country they know virtually nothing about. It is all about smearing Obama, because this is happening here, in “Obama’s America,” an America that encourages palling around with terrorists and coddling dictators and appeasing madmen, the new socialist communist fascist Muslim America. Of course, none of these gasbags had a word to say five years ago when we saw this:
Now the sky is falling. And, by the way, some liberals, I am sure, will also get into the act – misperceptions abound on all sides about China (I cringe when I read certain lefty blogs I usually like when they go on about Tibet, blithely unaware of even the most basic facts). It’s embarrassing and it’s stupid. The PRC plays a vital role in America’s interests, it’s here to stay (at least throughout our lifetimes), it sucks in many ways but the extension of this courtesy, lighting up the Empire State Building, is not an act of appeasement or treason. This is diplomacy, whether it’s done by Bush or Obama. Grow up and get used to it.
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.