Agitated Americans & Gratified Chinese, Get Real

American national flag with a Chinese communist star on it, from the Red Dawn remake.

"WTF is that on my flag?"

Hidden Harmonies (aka “Fool’s Mountain version 2.0″) quotes Deng Xiaoping in a recent post responding to the “Red Scare” growing amongst Americans as China continues growing and exerting increasing influence over international matters. As the famous former Chinese leader often credited for reversing many of Mao’s legendary policies, there’s no lack of reasons to find the little runt of a man to be far more cuddly relative to “murderous” Mao, but the post does offer a few more reminders.

For the most part, however, Hidden Harmonies highlights by way of reposting a recent op-ed from China Daily. In that article, author Chen Weihua cites a Washington Post-ABC News poll that showed that 41% of Americans surveyed believe the 21st century will be China’s economically, while a slightly larger 43% think it will be China’s as well when it comes to world affairs. Then, Chen proceeds to temper some of the fear and elation surrounding China’s current “rising” trend, targeting both Americans and Chinese alike1. A sample:

While these polls have reflected China’s rapid rise on the world stage in recent years, both in economical and political arenas, they have also camouflaged the fact that China is fundamentally a developing country and still poor in the per capita sense.

China’s per capita GDP ranks 96th in the world and is less than a seventh of that in the US. At least 150 million Chinese are still living under the global poverty line of $1 a day set by the World Bank.

As a developing country and one in transition, China is facing mounting pressure from serious environment pollution, a widening income disparity, a weak social security network as well as ethical and moral confusion.

None of these statements are new for anyone with a balanced consumption of news and commentary concerning China’s economic rise. But given how easy and how common it is to dismiss Chinese publications like China Daily for being government mouthpieces chock full of nauseating propaganda, it’s probably fair and proper to recognize, even praise, them when they print something that isn’t.

Some more related and great reads:

Propaganda poster "Rebuilding Your Reputation" from the new Red Dawn movie.

Rebuilding America's "Reputation"? Damn, that's harsh.

And from nearly half a decade ago, Jakub Wrzesniewski of the now defunct WorldAndUS blog2 had posted “The Red Scare, Yellow Peril Style“, taking on a piece from The Atlantic penned by Robert D. Kaplan. An excerpt from Kaplan:

How We Would Fight China cover from The Atlantic magazine.

My eyes, they are so sinister!

China has committed itself to significant military spending, but its navy and air force will not be able to match ours for some decades. The Chinese are therefore not going to do us the favor of engaging in conventional air and naval battles, like those fought in the Pacific during World War II. […] Instead the Chinese will approach us asymmetrically, as terrorists do. In Iraq the insurgents have shown us the low end of asymmetry, with car bombs. But the Chinese are poised to show us the high end of the art. That is the threat.

Emphasis mine. Wow, right? Want more? The post goes on to recount “unprecedentedly harsh” rhetoric coming from Beijing in response to a 10-year military cooperation agreement signed between India and the United States on June 28, 2005, which one Canadian writer suggested as the act of encirclement and containment that would piss China off enough to eventually lead to a third World War:

Major General Zhu Chenghu warned in an official briefing that China is under pressure to drop its policy of ‘no first strike’ of nuclear weapons in the event of a military conflict with the US over Taiwan. “We have no capability to fight a conventional war against the United States,” he said. “We can’t win this kind of war.’ And so China would deliberately escalate to nuclear weapons: “We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of [their] cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”

But is it really surprising for military and defense people to be saying these things? Not really.

See:

[polldaddy poll=2790521]


  1. Albeit the article is written in English — I haven’t found a Chinese version, if it exists. []
  2. Hosted by the journalism department at UC Berkeley, go Bears! []


36 Comments

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  1. Jay (a different one)

    What the world really needs is some nice hostile aliens or a comet or something, so that we can send Bruce Willis, Jet Li and Rowan Atkinson to save the planet, and move beyond red or yellow peril nonsense… If only.

    • In all seriousness, I think an alien invasion would do wonders for human unity. You know, before we were all destroyed by the aliens (except those of us allowed to live in order to better serve our glorious masters, all praise be to Them!). Also, Rowan Atkinson? Really? That’s who the UK is sending? Oh, for the days of the empire…if only Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton were still alive (look this dude up if you don’t know the name, he was a Badass with a capital “B”).

      Anyway, yeah, not surprised to see the “unwarranted” option winning the poll. As you and several other people have said, it’s not surprising that generals on both sides talk about war — that’s what they’re trained to do. But at the moment, China needs the West, and the West needs China. If there ever comes a point when China doesn’t need the West, I doubt they would care enough about it to invade.

      Which, I suppose, is good news for the Wolverines!

  2. ecodelta

    I hope it will not go so far as that.

    They cant win a nuclear war either. China has not enough delivery vectors for its nuclear warheads.

    Quite probably, most of the nuclear arsenal would be preemptively destroyed.

    I also very much fear the destruction would reach beyond west of Xian. Besides, the high population of China and limited arable make it extremely vulnerable to targeted (nuclear) attack to that land. It wouldn’t even be necessary to target the cities.

    If they even manage to get a few nukes over some US cities. The answer would be devastating. Much would not be left besides vitrified radioactive wasteland.

    About asymmetric warfare…. It may be quite dangerous if the opponent finally decides to apply an asymmetry of his own.

  3. Congratulations on the start of your new blog, China / divide.

    Being “middlenuts” is a worthy goal. One of your challenges will be your ability to put your values on pause while listening intensely to what the Chinese have to say, as equals.

    For example, you said:
    But given how easy and how common it is to dismiss Chinese publications like China Daily for being government mouthpieces chock full of nauseating propaganda, it’s probably fair and proper to recognize, even praise, them when they print something that isn’t.

    “Government mouthpiece” in Chinese does not have this nasty connotation in the West. Just to be clear, you said two things here:

    1. its a “government mouthpiece”
    2. on this rare occasion, it deserves praise

    Major diplomats around the world subscribe to the China Daily. The White House does too. The need in the “West” to label China Daily a “government mouthpiece” is either insecurity, contempt, or both. Your stance (intentional or otherwise) on the Chinese media as somehow “illegitimate” is not middlenuts enough.

    • Kai Pan

      DeWang, thank you for the comment.

      My comment about China Daily was echoing popular sentiments about China Daily amongst the expat and foreigner crowd (though I’d also argue that many Chinese, in my experience, also implicitly understand that domestic publications are necessarily government mouthpieces). It certainly also echoes my own, insofar that I think its easier to be skeptical of a publication’s independence when I know it cannot exist without explicit government authorization, approval, and oversight (to a degree significantly different from publications in other parts of the world). To the extent that there is a “need” in “the West” to “label” China Daily as something or another, I agree that possibly belies a measure of insecurity and contempt. However, I don’t think the “observation” itself necessarily or inherently suggests one or the other.

      I recognize and praise this article for what I consider to be its level-headedness because I think it is. Now, it is unavoidable for each person to have a criteria for their judgment of legitimacy, but my conception of being a middlenut is to genuinely try to be fair. Not everyone is going to think I’m being fair, but there’s a difference between disagreeing with my conclusion and disagreeing with my efforts and sincerity (though I grant the vast majority of people confuse the two). My point is, I think a middlenut is someone who isn’t afraid to concede and express agreement contrary to their own expectations because they care more about what makes sense than maintaining “sides”, or an “identity” of who they are relative to others. As such, I’m not sure if I personally interpret my inclination (you say “stance) to be skeptical of the legitimacy of Chinese media output as being “not middlenuts enough.”

      Put anther way, maybe you can define how people should judge any media’s “legitimacy”? I’m saying a middlenut avoids judging based upon an “us vs. them” dynamic, so that whatever is “their’s” is automatically met with skepticism based on that association alone. Is being skeptical of Chinese media because I’m familiar with their government-mandated astroturfing the same thing? I don’t think so. It might be so, though, if I were to then insist that non-Chinese media are devoid of anything to be skeptical of. But that isn’t the case, nor my stance.

      So, I think you bring up a good point and hope you’ll share what “middlenuts” means to you. Cheers.

      EDIT: Edited for clarity. I woke up way too early.

    • ecodelta

      It is always of interest to read/hear what the mouthpiece of a government says, of any government, no matter the political system.

      Whatever it says, or doesn’t say, is useful to know better the system/country/govt.

      I bet that major diplomats were subscribed to Pravda and Izvestia from ex soviet Russia in its time, and that some balanced article could be find there, even if it means reading between lines.

      In the same way diplomats in ex soviet Russian sure did read Financial Times or Wall Street Journal. No matter how Marxist-Leninist they felt.

      By the way. Nice new look of China Daily website

  4. S

    Regarding China’s harsh rhetoric on the US- India deal:

    China is actively engaged with all South Asian countries (all with borders joining India) China especially has had a military relationship with Pakistan since its inception. After years of deliberately siding with pro-Pakistani rhetoric, military, economy etc against India, it was quite predictable that India would seek a power balance by asking the US into a strategic relationship that threatens the China-Pakistan-Bangladesh-Bhutan-Nepal-Sri Lanka relationships. It is not a given that China should react harshly to US-India military relations. In fact, its track record shows that its rhetoric increases / ebbs selectively based on its aggressive stance towards South Asia.

    What I am trying to say is that the harshness of its reactions to South Asian strategic situations are less a defensive stance (I dont think China actually thinks India can hurt China or will want to) and more a stance taken by an Asian dominant country trying to assert its dominance towards its neighbors.

  5. S

    Also, as Americans its easy to look at Chinese posturing as just that / legitimate given the response. Such responses / actions may be common for superpowers like the US. But how many superpowers are there? Chinese actions seem normal by American standards but may be viewed quite differently by most countries not part of the developed countries country club. China was a developing country not long ago. Hence its actions, when they reflect western type dominant attitude, it has negative connotations that Americans may not notice. A bit similar to Japan’s westernized attitude that continues to turn off ppl in other asian countries.

  6. Jones

    A large amount of the fear of China in the US doesn’t so much stem from China itself. It stems from this trend in American politics to go for the “idiot” demographic. There’s far more people that are willing to buy into the scare tactics in both major parties. The War on “Terra” was fueled by this. Build up the nation’s fear in some distant enemy, who’s just ready to kick down our doors and set our Chevy Tahoe ablaze.

    If you look at China’s military spending and apply it to what becomes of the US’s military spending, then of course it’s easy to make it look like China is preparing for a big fight somewhere. China is “modernizing” it’s military through technology and training, which is fine. However, it’s easy for people with political hopes, dreams, and agendas to make it look like we need a valiant leader who can stand up to this Communist menace in the name of the great bald eagle, soaring majestically in the sky, screeching the most beautiful freedom call ever heard, praising Jesus. These are otherwise called “Republicans”. Then, once they’re voted into office, it’s back to business as usual.

    The harsh words on both sides is just the mewling of the ultra conservatives.

  7. Josh

    One thing that should be noted in the discussion on whether or not the fear of China is warranted or not is the quality of Chinese PR/propaganda, and the nature of Western (or American) sensibilities.

    For example, about two years ago, I remember reading an article after the whole lead paint on the toys thing had just occurred saying that the Chinese were trying to undermine American society by trying to poison their children with lead-paint covered toys. Obviously ridiculous. The Chinese Foreign Minister released a statement calling it ridiculous and saying that was becoming of a Cold War mentality.

    I thought it was interesting that they said this because I think that a lot of people, when they think of Soviet Russia, think of images of endless streams of soldiers marching in front of the Kremlin, columns of tanks and other armor, etc. So then let’s rewind to last year on October 1st when there was a military parade that looked exactly like this. I remember even thinking, “Wow, this shit looks like Soviet Russia!”

    Or take for example how whenever Nicolas Sarkozy or Barack Obama meet the Dalai Lama or when Jack Cafferty says that the Chinese government is a gang of goons and thugs, there’s always someone there to demand an apology and state how they’ve hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. Or when criticized, someone will say that the “smiling faces of the Chinese people attest to the quality of Chinese leadership.”

    Maybe it’s just me over-analyzing, but I can imagine that anyone who saw these events would think first, “Wow, China is a military state like North Korea or the the former Soviet Union,” and then would think, “Wow, the Chinese are completely united in opinion and mindset.”

    Is it really any wonder that someone would get scared from seeing something like that? Lucky for me that I actually live in China and therefore know that it’s nothing at all like that.

  8. Good post.

    I think that the US often uses China and a China scare to a)divert attention from domestic problems and b)to hide its own mistakes.

    To me US intentions are as clear as daylight – if an international ‘crisis’ is solved, take credit and pat yourself on the back (And if possible use it as an excuse to become even more complacent). If its not, blame China.

    This might set up a dangerous precedent of using the China scare to one’s advantage, like the terrorist scare was used during Bush’s second election campaign.

    China represents no threat to the world (yet). It has never sought any leadership position and has never meddled in other countries’ internal affairs.

    As far as India is concerned, it is quite natural for China to be concerned about the Indo-US nuclear deal, just as India was concerned about China’s nuclear capabilities and thus developed its own nuclear program. India has been used as a scapegoat for years, by both the cold war powers and now by the US against China.

    China, on the other hand, was literally surrounded by its ‘enemies’ during the 60s and 70s.
    With US allies S.Korea, Japan, Taiwan on one side; and USSR, Vietnam, India and North Korea on the other. Pakistan was the only breathing space left.
    Even Henry Kissinger is said to have joked that he ‘jumped into the China room through the (Pakistan) window’

    (BTW, those polls represent further proof, if any where needed, that Americans are one of the stupidest people in the world.)

    • ecodelta

      “if an international ‘crisis’ is solved, take credit and pat
      yourself on the back”

      I do that all the time too.

      “It has never sought any leadership position and has
      never meddled in other countries’ internal affairs.”
      Like being a primus inter pares of several developing organizations, when it could not achieve anything else?
      Like telling other countries and their leaders what to do and not to do when a sensitive person comes to visit?

      “China, on the other hand, was literally surrounded by its ‘enemies’ during the 60s and 70s.”
      Tell that to those that are surrounded by China, Tibet, Xinjiang and to less extent Burma, North Korea, etc.

      • China has hardly been a primus inter pares of developing organizations. And even if it has, that doesn’t amount to meddling in others’ internal affairs.

        As for “telling other countries and their leaders what to do and not to do when a sensitive person comes to visit”, that cannot be construed as interference in those countries’ internal affairs, since those affairs involve China too.

        I don’t think that China’s neighbours have any significant reason (yet) to be alarmed by China’s rise. For one, China has offered significant concessions in its land border settlements with almost all of its neighbouring countries.

    • To me US intentions are as clear as daylight – if an international ‘crisis’ is solved, take credit and pat yourself on the back (And if possible use it as an excuse to become even more complacent). If its not, blame China.

      For some reason, I swear I’ve read these exact words before, and recently, but can’t for the life of me figure out where.

  9. yangrouchuan

    @ Maitreya Bhakal

    How is it that when China makes belligerent comments (towards EU, US, Canada, Japan, Vietnam, SK, etc) and interferes in other countries elections (mostly Africa, but some oddities involving Chinese-American postal workers in California) or the PRC consulates organize Chinese students in other countries to bully locals who dared to speak out about the “Blood Olympics”, China is not interfering in others’ affairs because those affairs affect China.

    But when other countries do similar things, they are bad and China is better?

    China has a long history of bullying and invading its neighbors. Two occupations of Korea, three attempted invasions of Japan, 13 invasions of Vietnam, several failed invasions of Thailand/Siam Empire.

    China goes far beyond any other meddling by shipping nuclear bomb technology around the world. Who taught AQ Khan and supplied the hardware? Who continues to ship HF6 and electronics to Kim Fat Troll and the the NK gulag? Who is supplying Iran with nuclear electronics, triggers, cruise missiles and guidance systems? Lybia exposed all when they turned over the blueprints, hardware and fuel samples that China had given them.

    China is a diabolical empire of darkness, the enemy of man and must be permanently disassembled.

  10. Zuo Ai

    So, a piece done in 2005 where a writer likens the probable approach of the Chinese in a conflict with the US is a “Wow” moment, but an active Chinese general calling for deliberate escalation towards nuclear war is “Not really” surprising? No “Wow” there?

    • I think you’ve misread. The “wow” moment is in reference to the language used, which I emphasized. The “not really” is to show how that language isn’t actually so “wow”. This is to lead up to my recommendation to check out Will’s piece.

      • Zuo Ai

        yeah, to me, the language in both aren’t actually so “wow”, and I guess I’m saying I don’t get why you see one that way, while not the other. I guess I get the “zomg! he’s calling china terrorists!”, but then to criticize when someone is like “zomg! he’s calling for first strike!” seems a bit hypocritical. He’s a general, so what? We should expect him to say some wild shit? But when Robert Kaplan, a journalist who is a “senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, in Washington, D.C.” (from The Atlantic) uses the word terrorist in or around the word China, people’s butts should start hurting?

        gimme a break

        • Nah, that’s the point. The idea is that the language in both are indeed inflammatory (“wow”) to an extent unless and until you put them in the context of military and defense people doing what they do best, which then renders them “not really”. Both General Zhu and Robert Kaplan have agendas related to military security and defense. I’m not drawing a distinction between them, I’m showing how they’re similar. The link to Imagethief should spell it out.

  11. @yangrouchuan

    When has China made any ‘belligerent’ comment towards those countries?

    As far as interfering in other countries’ elections, that is mostly talk without any evidence.
    And if you actually believe that China can influence US elections (yet), then all I have to say is – No Comment.

    “PRC consulates organize Chinese students in other countries to bully locals”

    ‘Bully locals’? There were only some pro-China rallies and protests. Does every pro-China rally necessarily have to be organized by the consulate?
    By that logic, every anti-China rally also has to be organized by the west. Is that it?

    “But when other countries do similar things, they are bad and China is better?”

    When have I ever said that?

    “China has a long history of bullying and invading its neighbors. Two occupations of Korea, three attempted invasions of Japan, 13 invasions of Vietnam, several failed invasions of Thailand/Siam Empire.”

    There is no point in discussing history here.

    Also, what a civilization or country may have done hundreds of years ago doesn’t mean that it will do the same thing now. Europe has a history of colonizing Asia and Africa, will they do the same today too? The Mayans and Aztecs of South America sacrificed hundreds of people a day. Does it mean that Latin American countries will do the same today?

    “China goes far beyond any other meddling by shipping nuclear bomb technology around the world. Who taught AQ Khan and supplied the hardware?”

    China certainly does not ‘ship nuclear bomb technology around the world’!
    When it supplied nuclear technology to Pakistan, it had not signed the NPT yet. Also, it had no way of knowing what A.Q.Khan would do. Even the Pakistani government didn’t know that.

    “Lybia exposed all when they turned over the blueprints, hardware and fuel samples that China had given them.”

    China had not given Libya anything. Libya had acquired nuclear weapons from other sources.

    Same thing for your other accusations.

    • Jones

      “By that logic, every anti-China rally also has to be organized by the west. Is that it?”
      You do realize that “The West” has more than just one country. There’s a lot of them actually, each one with different government standpoints on certain issues, different cultures, languages, histories, etc.

      Whenever I see someone refer to non-Chinese as one large faceless group called “The West”, I pretty much dismiss the person’s argument because it doesn’t really show much understanding of the outside world.

      • The argument against people saying “the West” is similar to people saying “all Chinese”. The thing is, with the sentence you quoted, Maitreya isn’t exactly trying to ascribe a characteristic or phenomenon to all of the West. Rather, Maitreya is faulting the logic behind ascribing all pro-China rallies as being organized by Chinese consulates. Him doing so shares the same logic as you resisting the idea that The West is collectively responsible for being anti-China, namely that it’s not so simple.

        What makes you think Maitreya doesn’t show much understanding of the outside world? What exactly is the “inside” world you feel Maitreya is trapped in? And what leads you to think that of Maitreya?

  12. @Jones

    It seems that you missed the point completely.

    If someone says that all pro-China protests are organised by a single entity – Chinese government, then that logic could also indicate that all anti-China protests are organised by the west – considered as one entity.

    I was demonstrating the flaws in that logic, as Kai Pan correctly pointed out.

    “each one with different government standpoints on certain issues, different cultures, languages, histories, etc.”

    Similarly, even people who support China also have ‘different standpoints on certain issues, different cultures, languages, histories, etc’, and hence it is wrong to label them as simply cronies of the Chinese government.

    Now let me further indicate this point by turning your argument(the last sentence) on its head:

    Whenever I see someone refer to pro-Chinese as some large faceless group called “the Chinese government and its consulates”, I pretty much dismiss the person’s argument because it doesn’t really show much understanding of the China and the Chinese world.

    • Jones

      “The West” is not one entity. There’s a ton of countries out there. The logic you just tried to use it false, because it’s comparing a nation (China) with a hemisphere (The West).

      “…all anti-China protests are organised by the US Government” then it’d be a little more accurate.”

      I get the fact that you were trying to make an analogy and use the same logic, but I think in your haste you put everyone outside of China into one group “the West”, or possibly it was just US, Canada, France, UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc all lumped into one? Which countries are you talking about? There’s a ton of countries in the West. Hell, even Venezuela is in the West. Cuba is in the West. I’m not well read on these places as far as their stance on the Tibet issue.

      Kai,
      Simply stated, any time I see someone generalize whatever countries they’re talking about by just saying “The West” or something like that, I pretty much lose hope that the person really has much clue about the fact that there’s a lot of difference in culture, society, government policy, etc in those countries in “the West”. The “inside world” would be the world where someone feels like they or their people, or whatever you want to call it, is being antagonized by a bunch of faceless foreign enemies. I think that of Matreiya for the reasons I mentioned above.

  13. @Jones

    Again the same thing.

    The usage of the term ‘west’ here represents the fact that just as the ‘west’ has different opinions, so do Chinese citizens and protesters. If I had used the US government to illustrate my point, it would have amounted to the same thing, because there are differing opinions within the US too.

    Its not about comparing a nation with a hemisphere. Its about (illustrating the fallacy of) comparing two different entities, each of which have different opinions within themselves.

    You said: “but I think in your haste you put everyone outside of China into one group “the West””

    I did that on purpose, not in haste, to illustrate the point that yangrouchuan, in his haste, put everyone inside of China (and pro-China protesters) into one.

    Your arguments seem to indicate that while yangrouchuan is justified in doing so, but when someone else, to illustrate the fallacy of his logic, uses it to argue from the other extreme, then they are not.
    It was this question that I had asked yangrouchuan.

    In fact, each and every one of your sentences and arguments can be turned on its head to illustrate the other extreme point of view, as I’ve already demonstrated.

    Just as there is lots of difference in the point of view of the various sub-entities forming the ‘west’, there is also a lot of difference in the entities forming the protesters, or China.

    “The “inside world” would be the world where someone feels like they or their people, or whatever you want to call it, is being antagonized by a bunch of faceless foreign enemies”

    That is EXACTLY what yangrouchuan thinks when he says that all protests are organized by PRC consulates to “bully locals”. I’ve just illustrated the fallacy in his logic by using it from the other extreme.

    I don’t see how I could have been any MORE clearer in this matter.

    • Jones

      Ok so, comparing two different entities. I could rightfully compare, say, China and The Girl Scouts of America? That makes logical sense in an argument? No, it doesn’t. That’s why a China vs a Hemisphere doesn’t work either.

      I get the part where you’re trying to use an example to show that two separate entities have different opinions, I’m kind of against you assuming that every single nation in the Western hemisphere would have a cohesive enough opinion to lump them all into one group. That’s a lot of different nations, many of which are very, very different and hardly agree on anything.

      Kai,
      I don’t know what Matreiyu is.

      The writer (I didn’t get the joke about the last name), I don’t know, seems to be pretty upset with Beijing and very possibly has a grudge against them? Or just plain doesn’t like them? Bias? It reads more like an opinion column than a news story. He looks like an older version of Michael Swaim from Cracked.com. Seems to know more about financial things than I do. I don’t know. What are you looking for about the writer, exactly?

      So…go ahead…tell me what trap I’ve walked into.

      • Jones, I just think Pritchard is a funny last name, for very immature stupid reasons. :)

        About the Telegraph piece, I was looking to see if you’d dismiss him and his argument because he used “The West” as well. The trap you walked into was a test for how strictly you apply your “The West” rebuttal.

        To me, the context in which both Maitreya and Evans-Pritchard used “The West” was completely and easily understood, with neither suggesting “The West” is actually one completely cohesive faceless unit. It isn’t difficult to know the limitations of their use of that shorthand or generalization just as people can and often do say “Chinese” without everyone jumping down their throats suggesting they mean “all” Chinese. Again, this hinges upon context and I just don’t think Maitreya used it in any fashion that would be guilty of the criticism you’re lodging.

        If you don’t know what race or nationality Maitreya is, how are you so confident about what is the inside and outside world for him, and how much of a clue he has one of one or the other?

  14. I have never said that the west has a single opinion. Just as all Chinese don’t have a single opinion.

    “I could rightfully compare, say, China and The Girl Scouts of America? That makes logical sense in an argument? No, it doesn’t. “

    It does in theory, if your argument is to prove the fallacy in yangrouchuan’s logic. Barring the simple fact that The Girl Scouts of America have nothing whatsoever to do with this matter.

    “I’m kind of against you assuming that every single nation in the Western hemisphere would have a cohesive enough opinion to lump them all into one group.”

    When have I EVER assumed that? Now you are simply putting words in people’s mouths. Read my original comment carefully, where I ask yangrouchuan, “By that logic, every anti-China rally also has to be organized by the west. Is that it?”.
    Does that amount to assuming per se that “every single nation in the Western hemisphere would have a cohesive enough opinion to lump them all into one group”? I was simply doing that to illustrate the fallacy in his argument.

    “That’s a lot of different nations, many of which are very, very different and hardly agree on anything.”

    That was what I myself said originally.

    So when yangrouchuan would say that all pro-China protesters and Chinese are the same and agree on everything, then is that all right?

    It is abundantly clear to me that now you have understood my point, even if you didn’t before, but are simply arguing for the sake of argument and being pedantic. Try to read things also in spirit, and not just in the letter.

    My original comment was quite clear and concise and hardly susceptible to misinterpretation. How else would you explain the fact that Kai understood what I was saying, but you didn’t?

    Again – I don’t see how I could have been any MORE clearer in this matter.

    • JGW

      Seems to me you are getting bogged down in semantics. Yes, Chinese and Westerns are individuals with differing opinions. Nevertheless, we can generalize about certain common attitudes held within a culture. I would argue that it is much better to compare like to like – so Chinese attitudes to American attitudes, say, rather than Western attitudes.

      The issue about pro-China and anti-China rallies is different though. In China, there is no right to rally or protest per se, so it’s fair enough to assume that when a protest is allowed to happen, it is doing so with the consent of the state. There is no reason to extrapolate from this that anti-China protests are organized by Western governments, because there is a clear legal difference in the systems. Westerners can legally protest their own governments and other governments. Chinese people can only legally protest the actions of foreign governments. The state doesn’t have to overtly organize anything. It can run the education system, control the media story, and then ride the tiger until the tiger starts tearing down foreign embassies (as in after the Sarajevo bombings).

      For pro-Chinese rallies outside of China, two issues. First, Chinese passport holders are still subject to punishment back at home if they do something overseas that is displeasing – for example, the Chinese girl who attempted to instigate dialogue between Pro-tibet and pro-China protesters in the US, whose family had to go into hiding. Second, there is a degree of control exercised over Chinese students studying abroad. Many Chinese students abroad went to protests in the US and took pictures of the pro-tibet protesters. Presumably these photos were turned over to the authorities.

      “As for “telling other countries and their leaders what to do and not to do when a sensitive person comes to visit”, that cannot be construed as interference in those countries’ internal affairs, since those affairs involve China too.”

      Interesting. What is the definition of what does and does not “involve” China, and how to we apply it to other countries? Does Chinese criticism of US economic policy mount to interfering in US internal affairs? Given how tightly the world is connected together, it’s safe to assume that many things that other countries do will affect China’s interests for better or worse… AND vice versa. So clearly we can’t just define interference as having an effect in another country. How do we define it? Keep in mind that more and more Chinese citizens are abroad, and subject to foreign laws. In some cases they have been subject to violence. Does China have an obligation to protect them or to not interfere, even at the expense of Chinese lives and property?

      • I think that you are blurring the issue here.

        1. I have already answered previously the issue which you raised in the first paragraph ,and have repeated it many times. If you read my previous comments carefully, you will find the answer to your point.

        2. This discussion was only about the protests taking place OUTSIDE China, not within it. The ONLY point here is that every pro-Chinese protest outside China need not necessarily be organized by PRC consulates.

        3. “Internal Affairs” means those affairs which do not affect another country in any way, either directly or indirectly. International protocol dictates that a country does not interfere in the internal affairs of any nation until and unless it has a special reason for doing so. Economic considerations certainly do effect many countries, but again that point is irrelevant and does not add significantly to the discussion.
        Of course China has an obligation to protect its citizens abroad, so does every other country. That “affair” cannot be counted as internal to the host country.

        The US has a long history of interfering in others’ internal affairs, even if US National Interest was not threatened in any way. There is hardly an example where China has done so.

Continuing the Discussion