Foreign Devils

Update: I want to take back a part of this post. I wrote the Nazi comparison in great haste, and I probably shouldn’t have, because Nazi is such a super-charged word. Anyone reading the text will see I am not saying Chinese people are like Nazis, and actually say the opposite: “Let me add, however, that while most gullible Germans ate this up, I strongly believe most Chinese are going to reject the race baiting that is setting the Internets ablaze today.” The Chinese will react responsibly and not like Nazis. What I thought was comparable was the use of race-baiting terms like “foreign trash” and sstereotyping many foreigners as spies, law breakers and enemies of China. Racial stereotyping was what I was alluding to. But in retrospect, I should have avoided that term and should have know that its use would be misunderstood by many.

Scapegoats are marvelous tools for energizing the masses. Especially when they are based on race. Der Stuermer, an Nazi rag published by Julius Streicher, often depicted images of grotesquely stereotyped Jews (big noses, fiendish) molesting pure, young beautiful German maidens. It was a successful campaign. Many really believed this was what Jews were, what they did. And it was a conspiracy, designed to pollute German blood and tear down German greatness. Let me add, however, that while most gullible Germans ate this up, I strongly believe most Chinese are going to reject the race baiting that is setting the Internets ablaze today. They are too suspicious of their government at the moment and are getting good at seeing through the government’s propaganda.

Although comparisons with Nazis are used too frequently and can induce groans, it’s nevertheless the first thing I thought of as I read the appalling call by Yang Rui, host of CCTV 9’s popular show Dialogue, calling in violent language for the ouster of “foreign thugs” from China’s sacred soil. This was brought on by two disgusting incidents of foreigners acting like idiots, even rapists, one attempting to molest a Chinese woman, another treating a Chinese woman on a train like scum. Shameful. Sickening. As vile as a crime can be. But these two sorry incidents are being used as red meat by the likes of Yang to rally the masses and breed hatred of all foreigners, even if Yang doesn’t say that in so many words. In his words:

The Public Security Bureau wants to clean out the foreign trash: To arrest foreign thugs and protect innocent girls, they need to concentrate on the disaster zones in [student district] Wudaokou and [drinking district] Sanlitun. Cut off the foreign snake heads. People who can’t find jobs in the U.S. and Europe come to China to grab our money, engage in human trafficking and spread deceitful lies to encourage emigration. Foreign spies seek out Chinese girls to mask their espionage and pretend to be tourists while compiling maps and GPS data for Japan, Korea and the West. We kicked out that foreign bitch and closed Al-Jazeera’s Beijing bureau. We should shut up those who demonize China and send them packing.”

[Note: I am having serious problems with the GFW and my VPN is making it hellish for me to supply links. This is from the Shanghaiist.]

Just last week friends began warning me to carry my passport at all times, as the PSB was stopping foreigners randomly, especially around Western hangouts like Sanlitun, to make sure they hadn’t overstayed their visa. Papers please. This all smells like a concerted campaign.

China Geeks has some excellent analysis and translations of weibo users’ reactions to this nonsense, and makes a strong argument that all foreigners should boycott Dialogue. I have at least four friends who have appeared on the program, and I really think they need to reconsider. After you read Charlie’s post you’ll have to agree. [Again, sorry but I can’t link.]

An interesting moment to be in China. Something seems to be in the air, an extreme edginess brought on by doubts about the government and concern for China’s future. I’ve never heard so many Chinese people tell me they oppose their government, even hate it. Obviously that’s not scientific, but my expat friends agree. China almost seems on the brink, unable to control its dialogue (no pun intended) and floundering in the wake of recent embarrassments we all know about. Rifts and fissures are becoming more apparent, and there’s a sense that “something’s got to give.” Will it?

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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: 152 Comments

“Although comparisons with Nazis are used too frequently and can induce groans…”

But absolutely necessary, Richard, because all the ingredients are there and it’s not impossible that China takes this path. Unlikely, but not impossible. Yang Rui will clearly be up for the Goebbels role.

May 19, 2012 @ 12:56 pm | Comment

I am glad Chinese high level officials don’t allow their families to reside, do banking, study or own property and cars in the West. That would be akin to treason and selling out to Western propaganda and being pawns of the CIA, KGB, CNN, BBC, GLBT and BBW!

Only the most wen ming and cultured Chinese comrades on fiscally austere budgets should travel out of China on fact finding missions to see how depraved the West is and share with the people why exactly those loser Westerners need to come as plants of Western intelligence agencies to sabotage great China!

May 19, 2012 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

Maybe I am an optimist…but I think there are too many Chinese people who remember the excesses of the Mao days, the use and the misuse of propaganda, and who want the Chinese government to follow its own stated rules. I loved this comment from a Chinese rights lawyer in the wake of the Chen Guangcheng situation: “The ordinary Chinese people need a country that is ruled by law, and not some unprincipled ‘harmonious society’.” I don’t think they are fooled by this kind of propaganda.

The difficulty, as with the US at this point, is disentangling the ruling class, not just from positions of power, but from their control of wealth.

May 19, 2012 @ 3:27 pm | Comment

Not all foreigners are devils and not all devils are foreign

May 19, 2012 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

O/T

Chen Guangcheng is at Beijing Airport waiting for a flight to Newark with his wife and kids.

May 19, 2012 @ 5:15 pm | Comment

Yang Rui used to position himself as a liberal in person – once discussed with me how he balanced self censorship with envelope-pushing on dialogue, and people I respect told me that was for real. I wonder what happened to him? Or whether it was just a con. As ChinaGeeks said, I wondered if he was being sarcastic when I first read about this, but clearly not.

May 19, 2012 @ 5:49 pm | Comment

My impression is that older Chinese people are more skeptical of the stereotyping than the younger – even if the younger have more frequent contacts with foreigners. It’s not that the elderly necessarily like foreigners better, but it’s more a matter of temperament and experience – just my impression and guesswork.

Another aspect would be that older people never placed as many hopes in Western ideals than the younger – i. e. ppl in their late 30s or early 40s. To oversimplify things, “love has turned to hate”. It’s not that they wouldn’t have a good and instructive chat with foreigners, but many will blanketly condemn “the foreigners”, even when talking with foreigners. People who love Japan for its technologies or achievements and hate it for the past or for its policies can do that.

I don’t think Yang Rui should be likened to Julius Streicher. Yang may be worse than some American talkmasters and certain angry-citizen movements in Europe, but that would be that. I’m not groaning at Nazi comparisons, but I believe that it’s too handy a measure to make a lot of sense.

May 19, 2012 @ 6:32 pm | Comment

“Western” ideals should have come with quotation marks – but I guess that after my daily voluntary brainwash – translating a speech by Zhou Yongkang a few minutes ago -, this lapse may be forgivable.

May 19, 2012 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

Well, I hope there was a tone of sarcasm in his voice, because as. Said to you today Richard, he has just successfully alienated a large portion of his target audience.

Either that or her is WELL AWARE that pretty much NOBODY watches CCTV 9 as it is purely a JOKE CHANNEL for Chinese High School students learning English.

Seriously, has anyone ever actually tried watching the channel for more than say, ten minutes? I tried it once, next thing I remember I was in the ICU: apparently my brain had begun voluntarily starving itself of oxygen.

May 19, 2012 @ 6:50 pm | Comment

I’ve never watched it at all. Might as well ask the Chinese embassy to send me “information material”.

May 19, 2012 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

I used to watch CCTV9 every so often during my first few years in China. Frankly, it is no surprise to me that Yang Rui feels like this – ‘Dialogue’, at least during the years in which I saw it, was nothing but an outlet for government propaganda, with ‘discussions’ usually taking the form of a North Korean, a Japanese communist or whoever debating ‘motherland reunification’ with some other CCP puppet. If the government wishes to foreigner-bash as a way of distracting the public for a while, expect their dogs to be on-message.

May 19, 2012 @ 7:26 pm | Comment

JR, I actually agree with you — the Nazi metaphor is too strong. But the language did remind me of the racial stereotyping of Der Stuermer, even if it wasn’t nearly as malicious and lethal.

James Fallows put up an excellent post about this topic today as well, and he agrees that foreigners need to boycott Dialogue. What’s Yang Rui going to do? Has he shot himself seriously in the foot?

May 19, 2012 @ 11:31 pm | Comment

I’m sure Daniel Bell, Shaun Rein, and that ilk will have no qualms about appearing on his show. Another win for China “soft power”.

May 20, 2012 @ 12:13 am | Comment

By the way I have a few questions about this Facebook IPO, can t_co help me with them:

1) Before facebook stock started trading, facebook already sold all the shares to willing investors. Facebook already raised the money it wanted at that point.

Once it starts trading, those investors can sell the stocks to the public. The number of shares outstanding does not change until Facebook issues more stocks in the future Right?

2) Then why is Facebook’s market cap larger than the money raised? Aren’t they both price of stock * number of shares?

3) Those investors hope the price will rise once it starts trading, so they can sell some of them and make profit, right?

4) How does Facebook employees or mark zuckerberg directly profit from this? They got some shares like 5 years go, and today can sell them in the market. And it’s 100% profit, cause their shares were ‘given’ at 0 price?

5) What do the underwriters (morgan stanley) do and how do they profit from this?

May 20, 2012 @ 12:27 am | Comment

I’ve followed some Chinese foreign radio services for a while – my impression from the programs is that no Western station would keep CRI’s German service going, for example. Listener reactions seem so suggest that there is some kind of “early Christians” congregation who truly like the programs. But in fact, Beijing may want exactly that kind of audience, and chit-chat about inanities with them.

I seem to know a handful of Germans who would actually support Yang Rui’s statement – they uncritically worship the country, and any aspect, even if obviously evil, that may emerge in the public attention, in their views, must have come into existence for good and justifiable reasons.

I think that’s the nature of the political system. It can’t heal itself. It can only live with itself.

May 20, 2012 @ 12:33 am | Comment

What I mean to say is that an “official” boycott won’t make much sense. Yang Rui, in my view, hasn’t shot himself in the foot. He wasn’t that spontaneous, and he might actually welcome a boycott.

May 20, 2012 @ 12:35 am | Comment

Another good read as always. Nazism is also the first and only thing came into my mind after reading Yang’s comments.

I told the story of Yang’s xenophobic comments to my Granddad, who joint the CCP at the age of 13 and had been a hard-line party member ever since. He said Yang’s comment disqualifies him from any serious discussion. Then I told the story to my mum, also a member of CCP. She thought it wrong to attach a race tag to rapist and Yang should be denounced for inciting hatred.

So, Yang may present the ruling class, but really not the people, not my family for the least.

May 20, 2012 @ 4:22 am | Comment

I say go on the show but keep repeating his crap.

“You’ve asked me for my opinion on X. I’m afraid as a foreign piece of trash I don’t think I’m qualified to say anything.”

May 20, 2012 @ 7:55 am | Comment

An interesting moment to be in China. Something seems to be in the air, an extreme edginess brought on by doubts about the government and concern for China’s future.

I’d watch for the period of time immediately following the 18th Congresses. The domestic security forces are likely to have personnel reshufflings, and bringing less experienced cadres into upper management there could result in a downtick in the Party’s instability adjustment mechanisms.

May 20, 2012 @ 8:55 am | Comment

By the by, here is Mr Yang’s email, from his CCTV profile:

yrcctv@sina.com

May 20, 2012 @ 10:13 am | Comment

Having resided in some western countries for many years, I think it is perfectly ok for the white people to have a taste of their own medicine in China. At least Chinese are more cultured & will not organise into skin-heads or those kind of hate gangs to roam around singling out coloured people to hurl abuses for no apparent reasons. Richard, I can quite appreciate how you guys here feel. May be time to appreciate how Chinese feel on your turf for a change.

May 20, 2012 @ 11:20 am | Comment

“I’ve never heard so many Chinese people tell me they oppose their government, even hate it.” I thought that scenario describes more about the US or Euro Zone than China. Ever heard the PEW survey? More Chinese seem to have a positive view of their government than most western nations. Ya, Chinese hate the CCP alright, but that is as far as why it does not rein in corruption & remedying the social distortions fast enough. There is no quarrel with the CCP for the direction the nation is heading. We might hate it but at the end of the day, WTF, may be others may be even worse-this type of mentality. In fact Chinese hate the CCP for being too considerate for the feelings on others-should have “banged” the Philippines, Vietnam, S Korea, Japan much sooner, like what the Russians did to Georgia.

“Rifts and fissures are becoming more apparent, and there’s a sense that “something’s got to give.” Will it?” May be you guys are drunk by your own western media propaganda more than anything else? It is jolly good enjoying yourselves among the groups with the same political leanings. It is, however, not real, too much removed form reality. Try reading some of Chinese sites in Chinese for a good balance.

Hear our side of the story, mates!

May 20, 2012 @ 11:43 am | Comment

Of course the hope would be that the little darling children of the “elite” would return and apply some of what they learn to the China they “love dearly” but we all know they already have their pre-ordained successful businesses to start/take over, live in gated communities and drive around in white plated “jun pai” cars honking away at peasants.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/chinese-communist-leaders-denounce-us-values-but-send-children-to-us-colleges/2012/05/18/gIQAiEidZU_story.html

May 20, 2012 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

He said Yang’s comment disqualifies him from any serious discussion.

That’s pretty much why I don’t think an organized boycott would make sense. If people want entertainment bizarre, let them watch Yang’s programs. If they want information, they’d better look for something else. People who don’t want to watch, won’t tune in to Yang’s programs anyway.

And I think the older people are, the less they are inclined to agree with Yang. In fact, I don’t think there are any people who respect him anyway – because those who do agree with his lines probably don’t know that concept.

May 20, 2012 @ 1:38 pm | Comment

Yang’s comments remind of a few similar instances when ‘liberal/enlightened’ Chinese have let the mask slip about their real feelings towards foreigners. At one office party I ended up on the same table as a group of junior managers who had either received some of their education in the west or who had visited or worked briefly in the west. After a couple of glasses of XO or whatever they were drinking, the friendly and slightly formal chat started to take on a more leery and accusatory tone. I started being questioned about how long I was going to remain in China, whether I had yet found a ‘pretty’ Chinese girl. And a couple of more glasses the xenophobia really started to pour out – especially when we switched to putonghua. It was classic resentment and conspiracy stuff – ‘you only come here to take our jobs/our women .. you get preferential treatment … you couldn’t get a job back home … and yet you come here with your airs and graces, stirring up trouble, breaking the law … foreigners just want to put China down and act like lords over us. It was actually quite scary to see how apparently educated Chinese could hold such xenophobic views and believe in ridiculous conspiracy theories. There was also a big pre-occupation with race – not just Chinese vs white, but right across the spectrum. Every region and ethnicity (Arabic, African, Asian American etc) was ascribed certain traits. I came away with the impression that many apparently urbane Chinese have a massive inferiority complex and are inwardly seething with resentment towards foreigners. And interestingly the level of xenophobia seem to be higher among the middle class educated Chinese – your working class Chinese tended to be much more sensible and open minded!

May 20, 2012 @ 5:22 pm | Comment

@ Mick: I hear ya! Kind of like Arizona Republican officials continually pressing the Obama birth certificate thing!!!

May 20, 2012 @ 5:28 pm | Comment

This post has drawn an unusual number of trolls. Please note, if your comments are snide, nasty or hateful they’re not going to appear.

Overseas Chinese: “Ever heard the PEW survey?”

Good grief. Nice to know where you’re coming from. Yes, the Chinese are happy, happy, happy.

May 20, 2012 @ 5:33 pm | Comment

@ Richard

It really shouldn’t surprise that a topic as intrinsically related to nationalism as this should draw xenophobes and such; indeed, if you are right and things are indeed becoming more tense in the PRC, it is expected we will see such rhetoric from people. When individuals become concerned about their future they inherently seek to form platitudes and attack others.

Indeed, when one lacks certitude in their own life, it becomes so much easier to disconnect oneself from the reality around them and criticize the faults of others (perceived or otherwise); basic psychological defensive mechanisms of denial and projection, effectively.

May 20, 2012 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

@narweasels – I sent an email asking that Yang Rui apologise to Melissa Chan to that email address, but it cam up invalid.

@Richard – I definitely support Charlie Custer’s Weibo campaign to get Yang Rui fired, but I don’t think it’s going to achieve it’s desired result – if CCTV haven’t fired him already, they never will. Having crossed swords with a few thin-skinned psychopathic narcissists in the past (hi CDE), I sure hope Charlie comes out of this alright – people like that are willing to tell any lie in an effort to destroy the reputations of a just critic. I see Yang Rui’s already pointedly pointing out that Charlie is an American, and has called him trash amongst other things. Not good.

May 20, 2012 @ 10:01 pm | Comment

I definitely do not support any campaign to get Yang Rui fired – it’s not my business. I see a lot of things in China that warrant “interference”, but this isn’t one of them.

Besides, I can remember the contempt I felt in 2008, for Chinese protesters in Germany who accused German media of “muzzling their voices”. I had known that there were such feelings among them, but parading them on big city squares here while somewhere, umm, else, voices were indeed being muzzled left the impression on me that a new quality of indulgence had been reached.

I don’t know Custer’s campaign, and I’m not suggesting that it is similar to the one I remember, but I believe it won’t just fail – it is also counter-productive. Especially if it should succeed.

What’s next? Demanding the sacking of nationalist writers at Huanqiu Shibao?

May 21, 2012 @ 2:13 am | Comment

I agree with JR. I don’t think his statement reflects especially non-mainstream thinking in China at this time,* and any firing would basically just be throwing people a bone. A growing section of the Chinese public seems to be aware that that stereotyping people is Not Cool, but please remember that this is a country where language that would be considered offensive or at least insensitive or biased elsewhere is pervasive, and absolutely blood-curdling statements about other countries are far from rare. You can’t ask China to be what it currently isn’t: that is, a place where many people have enough experience with foreigners to deal with them on a case-by-case basis instead of based on conclusions drawn from one or two personal contacts or long-standing stereotypes.

*Although I imagine that many of the people who would defend this saying “he’s only talking about people breaking the law, do you have a problem with that?” would go ballistic if a western media figure advocated “getting rid of Chinese trash.”

May 21, 2012 @ 5:03 am | Comment

@FOARP

That’s strange, it’s on his profile. Let’s see if we can’t dig for another means of contact.

I left a comment on the dialogue contact page:

“I was appalled by the comments made about foreigners by your host, Mr Yang. I would like Mr Yang to make a public apology. His remarks could stir up hatred against foreigners. He is in an influential position and should consider his words more carefully. ”

Here’s the link:

http://www.cctv.com/english/special/poll/06/12/index.shtml

May the flooding begin.

May 21, 2012 @ 8:36 am | Comment

Yang Rui was peddling this stuff in 2000 but in a sort of high culture way, plus a good dose of Sino Truimphalism.

People who can’t find jobs in the U.S. and Europe come to China to grab our money, engage in human trafficking and spread deceitful lies to encourage emigration. Foreign spies seek out Chinese girls to mask their espionage and pretend to be tourists while compiling maps and GPS data for Japan, Korea and the West.

This is priceless, if tres downmarket. He must have rabies to produce such unhinged nonsense, but it will strike an urban chord as noted by Mick above.

As for getting him fired. An aspiration in your dreams, since there must have been a degree of official cognisance.

May 21, 2012 @ 8:42 am | Comment

Well, it doesn’t help that the various translators have had to attempt to smooth out the post by kind of guessing at implied/bridging words due to the sloppy message resulting from the Weibo length limit, Yang posting from an iPhone, and the inherent quirks of the Chinese language (such the always wonderful sentences with fifteen commas where the connections between ideas are not always clear). But it’s pretty bad no matter how you slice it.

May 21, 2012 @ 9:13 am | Comment

CCTV host may sue over xenophobia claim:

http://www.china.org.cn/china/2012-05/21/content_25429571.htm

May 21, 2012 @ 10:41 am | Comment

LOL, Yang is complaining that Custer damaged his reputation? Why are buffoons like Yang so incapable of owning it? All that was required to damage his reputation were his own words.

Before Overseas Chinese draws wood over the Pew survey, he/she should really look over the survey methodology, and then we’ll talk. Folks like that are so keen to run with the top line results that they fail to realize, such as in Pew’s case, how little those results mean.

May 21, 2012 @ 11:01 am | Comment

He is in an influential position and should consider his words more carefully.

narsfweasels, this reads to me like “I want to be lied to more efficiently.”

May 21, 2012 @ 11:28 am | Comment

@justrecently

You have to be polite in these circumstances. It’s something adults learn. Speaking your mind “I think Yang Rui is having trouble getting it up so he is taking it out on foreigners” doesn’t quite fit the bill. Shame.

May 21, 2012 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

There are a plethora of entries on the Chinese Internet casting
aspersions upon foreigners in China.

Search: 外国人玩女人

For example, this blog entry linked to below says that with a few very
limited exceptions almost all foreigners are in China only to (1)
“make easy money”; and (2) chase Chinese girls.

http://blog.renren.com/share/235268090/1418043983

Be careful: They tend to take pictures or videos of foreigners and
publish them on the Internet.

May 21, 2012 @ 1:54 pm | Comment

There are lots of photographs of foreign men with Chinese women on the
Chinese internet. I never paid much attention to this sort of thing
until now, but that may have been a big mistake? The comments in
Chinese below the photos are very negative and creepy….

http://image.baidu.com/i?ct=201326592&cl=2&lm=-1&nc=1&tn=baiduimage&fr=ala0&pv=&word=%CD%E2%B9%FA%C8%CB%C9%CF%D6%D0%B9%FA%C5%AE&istype=2&z=0&fm=rs1

May 21, 2012 @ 2:30 pm | Comment

That’s not the point I’m trying to make, narsfweasels. Why do you want Yang Rui to apologize? It sounds as if you don’t want to believe that he meant what he said.

Which, btw, isn’t impossible. Nobody can tell Yang’s motivation for sure. But whatever he would do or say next, in response to the indignation he aroused, it wouldn’t amount to a convincing clarification, or explanation.

Btw, I think we may have gotten a few clues concerning the questions about al-Jazeera’s correspondent – the questions a foreign ministry spokesman declined to answer. Personally, I’m thinking of this as a semi-official answer.

May 21, 2012 @ 3:28 pm | Comment

There are now calls to get tough with foreigners in China. Euphemistically phrased as “ending preferential treatment” for foreigners.

http://www.360doc.com/content/12/0520/18/943329_212351401.shtml

May 21, 2012 @ 3:46 pm | Comment

I think Rectified Name gets it about right that this is not surprising nor an isolated case.

Yang Rui has been a problematic presence for a long time, even in a country where media integrity and professionalism are exceedingly scarce.

Honestly, it would more astonishing if Yang said something insightful, intelligent and uplifting.

May 21, 2012 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

To the troll who keeps spamming my comments using about 10 different aliases, but only one IP address, please note:

1. You aren’t allowed to use multiple avatars

2. I never said “the Chinese are like Nazis,” I said Yang Rui’s fatwah with words like “foreign trash” sounded similar to the Nazi stereotyping of Jews

3. You last incredibly obscene comments belie your claims you want to engage in serious conversation. So please go away. Nothing personal.

My God, if you guys could only see the flood of troll comments I am getting today.

Any readers who want to have a totally jaw-dropping experience need to go to that other blog and read the new post on James Fallows, who I had no idea was a racist xenophobic sociopath. All this time I thought he was among the most balanced, sane, respectful and open-minded journalists commenting on China. Live and learn.

May 21, 2012 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

Slim, I think it has to do with a shift in tone toward foreigners in the past couple of weeks, like the “show us your papers” warning. Yang Rui was the icing on the cake. Not that this attitude toward foreigners is particularly new, but the forthrightness with which it was expressed by those in power was unusual.

May 21, 2012 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

Finally, here is one of the best pieces of journalism yet on the downfall of Bo Xilai. This is Pulitzer material.

May 21, 2012 @ 10:01 pm | Comment

As soon as a good number of “foreigners” (read: white people) stop being arrogant and abusive toward their host nations you can expect to see the hatred naturally dissipate.

The difference between the Holocaust and Yang Rui (utterly laughable that I even have to point this out) is that the Jewish people (along with everyone else Hitler marked for extermination) did not have a history of racist abuse against the Germans. They didn’t try to contain or antagonize the German nation as part of a broader strategic objective. They didn’t have a history of raping and murdering German women. They didn’t commit race hate crimes against Germans in their own nation (which of course didn’t exist at the time).

Instead of acting the victim and whining about how you don’t think you’re being treated fairly, instead remember that the overwhelming majority of Chinese people are excessively kind to “foreigners” and the reverse is absolutely not true. Then think long on why “foreigners” are not trusted or even hated all over the world – from the Middle East (rape and murder of reporters, tourists), to India (burning of effigies, mass protests against Western culture), to Africa (farm murders) to South America (race based class conflict).

May 21, 2012 @ 10:04 pm | Comment

Cookie, read what I said more carefully: ” Let me add, however, that while most gullible Germans ate this up, I strongly believe most Chinese are going to reject the race baiting that is setting the Internets ablaze today.”

I never made a comparison with the Holocaust. I said Yang’s stereotyping of foreigners reminded me of Nazi tactics to lump Jews in a single box, as leering perverted hooked-nosed fiends. And I said I believe the Chinese people reject this! (I also said in a comment above that my Nazi comparison was a little too harsh, made in the heat of the moment.)

I am soooo surprised that you turned the conversation around to how bad Westerners are.

remember that the overwhelming majority of Chinese people are excessively kind to “foreigners” and the reverse is absolutely not true.

Many certainly are, and I love them for their kindness. Deeply. But many, even good friends of mine, can be easily manipulated with propaganda about Opium Wars, the Summer Palace, and other reminders of imperialism and subjugation. In other words, along with the kindness, there often lurks some anger, carefully cultivated, even among those who truly do go out of their way to be kind. I’ve seen it in people I’ve dealt with in my office, gracious and delightful, who can switch like a light when their buttons are pushed and they are reminded of what Westerners did to China (even if it was over a hundred years ago).

May 21, 2012 @ 10:13 pm | Comment

Richard
I said Yang’s stereotyping of foreigners reminded me of Nazi tactics to lump Jews in a single box, as leering perverted hooked-nosed fiends.

They’re absolutely not similar. Nazi propaganda is several orders of magnitude more offensive. Yang’s stereotyping of foreigners is like the stereotyping of foreigners everywhere, except in this case it’s even more fringe and based in reality. In that case are you saying people who advocate building a wall between the US and Mexico are like Goebbels?

can be easily manipulated with propaganda about Opium Wars, the Summer Palace, and other reminders of imperialism and subjugation

Can be manipulated with propaganda? Do you realize that Chinese people raised outside of the PRC are also “manipulated” by history? That is, they understand its meaning in context. Look at the Opium Wars then and the West’s shadow banking and illegal wars now. Many individual Westerners are decent people, but a lot of things don’t change.

In other words, along with the kindness, there often lurks some anger, carefully cultivated, even among those who truly do go out of their way to be kind.

Oh please, you think anger towards foreigners has to be “carefully cultivated”? Need I remind you that China, of all nations I can think of, is responsible for the absolute least violence against foreigners? Even in Japan and Korea, so-called American allies, you’ll see similar attitudes and far more vocal protests.

I’ve seen it in people I’ve dealt with in my office, gracious and delightful, who can switch like a light when their buttons are pushed and they are reminded of what Westerners did to China

Maybe it’s because of what Westerners did to China, or maybe their resentment comes from the fact that you think they’re stupid sheep who swallow everything the government tells them prima facie. Maybe they don’t like how you not-so-subtly imply that they’re brainwashed stooges incapable of independent thought.

Perhaps they’re annoyed by a pervasive attitude among Westerners that any kind of anti-foreign (read: Western) sentiment can ONLY be the result of lies and slander against “your people”, and not the natural consequences of your bad behavior.

(even if it was over a hundred years ago).

Selling arms to Taiwan, encouraging separatism in Tibet is over 100 years ago? The CIA air-dropping paratroopers into Tibet was over a hundred years ago? America’s threats to use nuclear weapons on China pre-emptively was 100 years ago?

“Chinese professor” and “Debbie-spend-it-now” were 100 years ago? Vincent Chin was 100 years ago?

The West is simply out of touch with the interests and concerns of non-Westerners. Entitlement and insularity will do that.

May 21, 2012 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

Richard, I think you have too much faith in the effect of words or logical points on certain people. You might as well just insert a link showing to your previous statement, in reply to imputations like those. People who read this post & thread and believe that you equated the holocaust and Yang are hopeless.

To choose blogging certainly comes from a belief in the use of discussions, but you can’t walk every extra mile any person may demand, unless you want to get out of breath.

Btw, I don’t find that HH blogpost of May 20 jaw-dropping. It’s very globaltimes, pretty much as usual, only more like a blogger’s rant, i. e. more personal. I had read there more regularly soon after they started, but both the posts and threads keep going in circles. Supposed news, “Chinese” indignation, approving comments adding to the message, a bit of opposition, a big “quash” of the latter, happy end, next post.

Basically, I don’t think HH has a lot to do with China. It has a lot to do with very individual issues, i. e. the bloggers’ issues. Which would be perfectly fine if it was a personal blog. The way things are, I think they either never defined their own mission, or lost it.

May 21, 2012 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

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