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Why China Is Always Misinterpreted
2016/07/20 12:06
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There have always been a lot of article, video, seminars resources regarding China on internet, and many articles about China on paper either in English or in Chinese as well. Unfortunately many of them failed to understand China in a correct way, not only a lot of misunderstandings about China by ordinal citizens, but also by a lot of democracy/freedom/human right/labor activists even politics and scholars shows limited understanding on China even those who live in China especially those who earned the name of “Public Intellectuals”. Lots of easy tags were put on China like communism, capitalism, dictatorship, totalitarian, bubble, collapse, no freedom, illegal etc. In fact I have chosen to neglect those Chinese public intellectuals opinion for quite a long time by turning to observe the country and the communist party. Those tags are misleading and poisonous, that is why I write this to give people who are interested in China some hints on where to start in a correct way. This is only my observation and I am either a scholar nor a Politian but only an ordinal people who had work experience in SOE, private company and an American company for total over 20 years and live in China except dozens of short oversea travel.

Starting by legitimacy, as this is a key towards all of the rest. I believe both foreigner and Chinese want to understand China.

Chinese has totally different views about legitimacy if you have a little history knowledge about china. In Chinese historic view, if a government failed to hold the country together, failed to protect its people from external invasion or internal turmoil the government is not legal; If the government is not clean enough to act for collective good the government would lose it moral legitimacy. Every history rotation of each dynasty in thousands years was caused by the very simple reasons just mentioned. That is why in history each Chinese government never accept any unfair treaty imposed on China by foreign powers in whatever form , it will lose support from its people. Chinese government only inherit its own claims from its previous government in a row, but abide by those treaties whether it is fair or not till they expired, like Hong Kong, Macao cases; China in history seldom outspread provocatively as western culture did but mostly passively fought back like the anti Japanese war, Chinese involvement into Korea war confronting with US in 50s etc. That is the what the meaning of Great Wall exists. And the 1989 western people called large democracy movement in China was actually initiated as anti-corruption movement by students when I was at university, later it evolved into a turmoil targeting to overthrown the government. It is a reflection that if government ignore corruption it will lose its legitimacy.

In fact, Chinese view its miserable history in the past centuries as a consequence of dysfunctional government since late Qing dynasty, Chinese don’t blame UK,US etc for the country's unfortunate past. But Chinese do blame Japan because western power like UK, US at least had signed treaty but Japan did not. In 1919 after WW 1 ends Germany was forced to return its occupied land to original country. Qingdao, a China city on east coast, occupied by Japan where there are still lots of German style buildings, was reclaimed by Japan and western powers at that time agreed Japanese stole Diaoyu Island in 1800's without any treaty without acknowledging the Qing Dynasty. During 1912 to 1927, China was actually controlled by morn than 100 military groups, there were morn than 1300 wars during that period. China communist party was created in 1921 under chaos targeting to rebuild the country. Now you may understand what Chinese government mean by "mutual respect". In Chinese view let the people in that country decide their own destiny as a biggest respect because everything badly happened to China is still in everyone’s memory and the wound still exists like Taiwan. Also that is why China don’t interfere other country's political affairs actively because we don’t want to bring to our bitter experience to other people.

Next about what is China, why those tags you put are wrong.

China is not communism , nor is capitalism. Communism means absolute average of property right. Capitalism means capital power overwhelm many other social power even political power. US defined democracy means absolute average of political right among all people based on almost absolute utmost personal freedom. China seek to find a balance between them to benefit Chinese people most. Chinese gradually realize that both communism and US defined democracy is extreme and ideal, which could be a target of human being to pursue but probably they can be never 100% realized. Hence any easy tag you put on china means your thinking stuck either in capitalism, communism, democracy or whatever. The truth is China don't deny any of them, each has its great aspects and worse aspects. Walking by touching stones means China wants to find a best dynamic balance, which can shape the society will full of energy, keep utmost stability, liberate its people to utmost personal freedom. So if any signal of those single elements perils most which may endanger the complex social balance, government will take measures to counterbalance. If you want to read china correctly, you need to understand communism, capitalism, democracy, freedom, order and Chinese culture heritage from Chinese perspective of understanding...Simply because of these seemingly contradicting irrelevant complex elements little even if not none in the west could understand China correctly as they either don't have all knowledge of those ingredients nor stuck in one theory. Also the problem is they did not ever experience all of them but regards some of them as evil theory for long, while china have experienced almost all of them. So China is not US, is not UK, is not Russia, is not Japan, is not Iran, is not Syria, is not Saudi. Thinking out of box you will find any tag you put on China is wrong., if not in that way what you can get is confusion only. See? Chinese don't against democracy we only discuss how to fit it into our society; Chinese don't deny human right but we think on what priority we should list on top; China don't deny communism we regard it as a dream, though it is hard probably never could be realized one, if we have our dream why should we deny those who sacrificed their life for their dream? Is not it the best respect we can show to ancestor with their dream and best reminder to us that what terrible things they have ever done for their dream? China don't deny capitalism, what we think is how to utilize it effectively and properly while avoid its dysfunction as it had happened many times around the developed world; China don't deny any religion, either it is Christian, Catholic, Islamist, Buddhist or Atheist but we think how to make them melt into our society and enable them peacefully co-existence with each other.

Here comes the most important part: Chinese don't believe anything but do believe we can find a way to handle difference peacefully. We don't against anything but do against any which/who go to extreme. This is the core value of Chinese culture. Sound stranger, weird and hard to understand? well if yes you should have never stepped into a Chinese Restaurant. Or else most should have tasted Chinese culture between lips for long, it is the making of Chinese dish represents the essence of Chinese culture.

You may come to conclusion by yourself now what is China and what is the real challenge for China. Chinese don't against one party system, nor deny the authority of community party; Chinese gradually understand that the party is not God it can make mistakes; Mao Zhedong is not God he can made serious mistakes and he did in his effort of driving China to a modern country, most people forgave him though he had caused thousands of family tragedy because Chinese don't believe it is his purpose to let the people suffered those pains; Chinese also get to understand that Chiang Kai-shek did try best to save the country and even his religion turned to Christian for whatever reason and his fight with Communist party were tries to restore the order, but he failed. See? Both Jiang Kai-Shek and Mao Zedong went to opposite extreme to save the country! The V-Day celebration on Sep3 was a sign China signaled to Taiwan the mainland recognizes RoC's contribution in shaping a modern China during the darkest moment of Chinese history. The communist party let Taiwan figured it out over time also allow its people living in China figure out where is China going by not saying it loud ; It a Signal to Japan that China want to co-exist peacefully with Japan by striding out of history grief but Japan fully misinterpreted; It is also a signal that Chinese people do love peace but Chinese don't beg for peace, we fight for peace if we have to, as we had done in thousands of years of history. We have to be prepared because human being in nature is greedy and selfish, sometime inherent defect is strong enough to give place to merit. Most countries failed to interpret but simply view this as a show of military muscle because they did not pay attention to the selection of the date which is not the birthday of People’s Republic of China but a date that marks the end of deep interference into Chinese  affairs from foreign power. We let it go of the American’s booming on Chinese embassy in 1999 though almost no Chinese believe it is a mistake, but people do make mistake, what if American did? Should we believe it will be another mistake if similar accident occurs again?

 

China is not heaven, nor it is hell. We are simply living in a country with enormous challenges ahead of us such as pollution, corruption etc. Chinese leaders don’t deny them, Chinese people don’t deny them. Chinese choose to evolve its society but not any revolution in any form like its history ever did. Everything is under shaping , that is why the majority of people living in this country is full of hope and that is why the communist party gets so many supports and pressures from Chinese people.

 

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