Kaiser Kuo on China’s Internet

Last night I spent more than an hour listening to a speech Kaiser Kuo gave at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln on what the Internet has meant for China, and for US-Chinese relations. I was thinking about breaking the speech down, but then saw that a friend of mine had already done so, with greater patience and diligence than I would have mustered. I can’t recommend strongly enough that you listen to the speech and read my friend’s response and partial transcript.

Kaiser and I don’t always see eye to eye on China. But I thought this speech was practically perfect, elucidating how Chinese “netizens” perceive their American counterparts and visa versa, and giving the students in the audience more insight into today’s Chinese youth than they’d get from reading a hundred articles (or even blog posts). His love of China is always evident, but so is his clear-headedness and lack of prejudice, insisting that we see the situation from both Chinese and American eyes, and showing compassion for both sides. We need to remember, there is no black and white, that there are always two sides to the equation. What sometimes seems so obvious to us – raging nationalism, defense of a ruthless one-party system – cannot be understood without context and an understanding of the kind of world in which these people grew up and the extraordinary evolution of their country. And we need to understand how they see us, too, and why.

A beautiful job, and the best single discussion I’ve ever heard of the Internet in China.


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: 67 Comments

Michael, what I am referring to is the tendency among some pundits to see Tibet only through the eyes of the Free Tibet-type organizations – a view that Tibet was a Shangri-la, that the Dalai Lama is a saint, and that all the Chinese do is kill and repress Tibetans. Whether or not any or all of that is true is not the issue and I don’t want to debate it here (we’ve done that many times). The issue is failing to see the broader picture of Tibet and writing about it as though it’s all black or white. I don’t believe what China is doing in Tibet parallels King Leopold in the Congo, though there is plenty to criticize and I understand why the Tibetans are less than delighted. Before blasting off about it, the writer should at least understand the whole story and do some research. That’s all.

November 3, 2009 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

“Who says the East wants to be close to the West?”

They don’t. They want to own the west.

November 4, 2009 @ 10:24 am | Comment

“They want to own the west.”
Starting with Xinjiang and Tibet… 😛

November 5, 2009 @ 1:07 am | Comment

“They want to own the west.”
Starting with Xinjiang and Tibet…

The person who made the above comment better go back to school-do you have the access to Wikipedia ?It is the cheapest way to get education, that the two places you mentioned are INSIDE China.

Own the WEST? Which ‘west’?

November 5, 2009 @ 2:16 am | Comment

Nothing new here.

Please the West and the East,try exercising doublethink:

‘War is Peace,Freedom is Slavery,Ignorance is Strength’-credit to Eric A.Blair

or go visiting this site, it has got ‘IDEAS’ regarding the subject you guys arguing here.


Amen (that means bye bye)

November 5, 2009 @ 2:58 am | Comment

Sunwalker, welcome to my blog. Are you always this rude?

November 5, 2009 @ 3:08 am | Comment

Too much time walking in the sun without a hat, I suspect.

November 5, 2009 @ 7:37 am | Comment

ha ha ha lame duck why you block my comment?

November 5, 2009 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

Merp, I adore you, your way to see the western tricks. 🙂

hehe, not just USSR, we have seen Bin Laden and Zbig, Kissinger/Nixin/Deng, Saddam/Bushit/Bill etc, etc

ha ha monitoring then ban-ha ha what a confession, it is low hand, hey at least read the link recommend…


November 5, 2009 @ 8:09 pm | Comment

orry I did not mean to join this blog, I was browsing for Peking duck I just got to this lame accidentally!

Someone in here really need re-education ha ha ha WALK ON not WALK IN why hat might be boots to avoid flame from hell.

For further education try http://www.monbiot.com/ he says;tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it.Tell them something new and they will hate you for it…got it?

Chinese’s internet is a past subject if you really need foods for thoughts?

Ah so much to LEARN and to KNOW from the WORLD why particularly the west?

Alternatively morons.org-a very good place for exercising newspeak/scare tactics/smear campaign,etc

No intention of ‘talking to’ anyone in here so not to worry, carry on your newspeak

No more from me.

Have Great Fun!

fyi am in east and west.

November 5, 2009 @ 8:16 pm | Comment

I never blocked your comment – it was held in the spam filter because of the number of links you included.

November 6, 2009 @ 12:24 am | Comment

“I never blocked your comment – it was held in the spam filter…”

The spam filter knows best. You certainly seem to attract the fringe elements, Richard.

November 6, 2009 @ 9:44 am | Comment

Stuart, tell me something I don’t know!

November 6, 2009 @ 10:27 am | Comment

Sunwalker=merp=Ferin ?

November 6, 2009 @ 2:39 pm | Comment

“Sunwalker=merp=Ferin ?”

merp/ferin I can buy: similar style of derailment m/o + invective.

Sunwalker’s efforts to date are more juvenile than hateful.

I wonder how many merps were in the audience for KK’s speech and held their silence.

November 6, 2009 @ 8:51 pm | Comment

The Krause speech was interesting. By the way, my name is meant to poke fun, I am not a lover of my own country either. I am always amazed at the sweeping generalizations of what it means to be Chinese, or American, or “whatever.” My personal experience with people in China has ranged from nouveau riche factory owners to donkey cart drivers, business developers to construction laborers, university students to family farm field workers. There is almost no way to categorize these people as a block other than to refer to their citizenship. Their educational, financial, social and cultural experiences run the gamut. American citizens come from a broad spectrum as well. Think about the experiences of a rural midwesterner who has never ventured out of the area versus a new Yorker who have never ventured out of the city, or the world view of an Ivy League academic versus a day laborer in California’s central valley. The point to all of this rambling is that true understanding seems to come from actual experience. If the actual experience is unattainable, extensive research, and open mind and a real desire to get to know the “other” will eventually lead to real communication. Before long, we will all realize that the “other” shares more things in common than we could have ever imagined. I hop that’s not too naive, but I thought I’d try to insert something positive into the discussion.

November 6, 2009 @ 11:57 pm | Comment

[…] China blogs including China Herald, Useless Tree, China Digital Times, ChinaGeeks, Danwei, and Peking Duck.  Plenty of discussions have happened already around this […]

November 11, 2009 @ 8:59 am | Pingback

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