Do Chinese Cheer On American Misfortune, Fantasize Invading?

9/11 World Trade Center South Tower collapsing.

In response to my post yesterday promoting Aimee Barnes’ commentary on the upcoming Red Dawn remake for discussion, I got this response on Google Buzz from Thomas Morfew, director of Chinese social media marketing firm Ren Media in London:

It’s just a movie, but maybe China should be happy that they’re so much of an apparent threat that Hollywood is making movies about it.

In fact, I bet that tons of netizens are loving it. Whether this is a good thing for world peace, or not, I can’t say, but talking fantasy, how many Chinese have had an “invading America” fantasy?

I remember when 9/11 happened I was in a Taxi in 武汉 (admittedly not the most enlightened of Chinese cities) and the taxi driver showed me the newspaper with the picture of a smoking world trade center and laughed. :P

The idea that Chinese are (or should be) flattered that Americans see them as a threat is something Aimee quoted from Chinese website ifeng.com in her blog post. It was also mentioned in my previous post about a recent China Daily op-ed. Indeed, a certain subset of Chinese people are somewhat gratified that Americans see them as strong enough to militarily invade the United States. There’s a definitely a certain validation in that. I totally understand it.

However, I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten the “it’d be great to invade America!” vibe from Chinese people. The vibe I consistently get from them is that they’d love emigrating to America if they had the chance, as they sincerely believe things may be better for them and their children there. The American Dream is alive and well amongst the Chinese. If there’s any doubt, don’t forget the sour grapes effect. So, no, I don’t think there’s any significant amount of Chinese people harboring the fantasy of militarily invading America. Taiwan? Maybe. America? No.

As for celebrating America being humbled? Yes. There are plenty of Chinese people who get a kick when America was attacked, is attacked, or otherwise shown to be flawed. Part of it is because they don’t feel much sympathy towards an America they see as not being sympathetic to them. Another part is that everyone likes seeing those at the top stumble and fall. It reminds them that no one is perfect, so it’s okay that they themselves aren’t either. Humans have been comforting and reassuring themselves on the tragedies of others since the beginning of time. It’s human nature. It’s insensitive, but it’s not surprising. Not one bit.

Okay, I lied. I was stunned, appalled even, when a young Chinese girl once told me that her class “cheered” upon hearing news of the Twin Towers attack.

“You guys did what?!”

It bothered me deeply for a long time and it bothered me because I couldn’t dismiss it as simply stupid, ignorant youth. I knew it probably wasn’t an isolated reaction limited to a particular demographic. It also bothered me because I couldn’t recall ever consciously cheering on any attack or tragedy that has happened to China. I don’t think I’ve ever wished ill upon China and the Chinese people. Never had a reason.

But that’s just me.

It wasn’t the first time I realized I can’t persist in thinking about the world from my own perspective, but it was a very powerful reminder.

Your turn:

  1. Should the Chinese be happy that Hollywood is making movies casting them as a threat to anything?
  2. Do you think any significant proportion of the Chinese population harbor fantasies of invading America?
  3. Have you had any experiences involving a Chinese reaction or sentiment that was startling different from your own? How have you, if at all, rationalized it?


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  1. Jones

    While traveling in Chengdu with some friends, a taxi driver asked us where we’re from. After telling him that we’re all Americans, he laughed, said “bin-uh laden-uh” and gave a thumbs up. I made a mocking face and said “haha JAPAN…我喜欢日本人…Tojo很好” (or some shit along those lines) and he got pissed off and started rambling about all the Chinese that were killed by the Japanese. Really.

    He didn’t give any reason other than “oh, sweet, here’s an opportunity to be a dick!” I really don’t believe that he even considered what would happen, or what could happen after saying that.

    I don’t think Chinese should be happy about the movie role, I can understand the annoyance in it. I could say, and have said, that they should be proud that they do have the seemingly impossible success of landing an actual invasion force in the US…but they know they’ll get school by school boys with .22s in the end. So I guess that kind of negates the “oh wow our military is awesome” aspect. As for the new attention…well…it’s the same kind of attention that Al Qaeda gets.

    I don’t think a significant portion of Chinese want to invade the US. Perhaps the military upper brass might jerk off in the shower while thinking about it. The average people? I don’t think most of them have ever really even thought about it.

    • friendo

      The difference is that 9-11 was a result of American policy, so yeah you made yourself look like an ass just like he did.

      • Jones

        That was the point. The difference here, which I think you fail to realize, is that I didn’t seriously like the Japanese or think Tojo was great. Besides, Japanese occupation of China was a result of China not being able to defend itself, Chinese too busy killing each other, the Communists unwilling to really engage the Japanese…whatever way you want to put it. You can turn anything around in your head if you’re that eager to find a reason to cheer the deaths of people. Try again.

        • friendo

          Americans kill Americans, have an incompetent government, and can’t defend itself properly from many terrorist attacks either. That’s not why they chose to fly planes into the Twin Towers.

          You missed the point, obviously. 9-11 came about directly as a result of American policy, through provocation of the Middle East. The fact that Americans kill themselves and hate each other isn’t going to make Muslims want to kill them.

          The fact that America kills Muslim babies, occupies Muslim countries, and otherwise just tries to destroy the Middle East does.

          China never invaded Japan or even desired to.

    • friendo

      I really doubt anyone is fantasizing about invading the US. Chinese people are too pragmatic to do that- not to mention that China “proper” doesn’t have a history of invading anyone (stuart will rub his sweaty bitch tits and scream Tibet, but he’d be way off the mark).

      No one would want to babysit America after invading it.

      • k

        I’ll leave the Tibet question, which is a matter or perspective, but what about the Sino-Vietnamese War? Looked like China invading to me….

        • friendo

          Punitive campaign. Don’t commit mass murder on ethnic Chinese and you don’t get slapped in the face.

          • SAM

            What about non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states? I guess its cool when its Arab Sudanese killing black Africans but hey ethnic-Han in Vietnam (or Indonesia and Burma for that matter) hey lets raise a hissy fit, who looks like a hypocritical d*ck then eh?

          • friendo

            You do. It’s not “Arab Sudanese” killing “black Africans” but both killing each other. In fact rebel groups refuse to sit down for talks and just continue raiding and murdering with US support.

            Get a clue and stop relying on Hollywood to teach you everything

        • friendo

          and no, the Tibet ‘question’ is not a matter of ‘perspective’.

          Okay maybe, I guess it’s a question of whether you have historical perspective or Hollywood perspective.

      • nemo

        I believe China invaded and occupied Korea during the Tang dynasty, and Vietnam in the Ming dynasty. They were kicked out after a couple of decades in both cases, about twice as long as the US has been in Iraq to date… Tibet, Yunnan, Xinjiang and Mongolia only became truly unified later under the Manchus in the Qing dynasty, through military conquest (pragmatic military conquest perhaps), around the time Scotland and England united.

        • friendo

          The occupation of Korea stemmed from a line of wars that were essentially a punitive campaign against the Northern Kingdoms of Korea for making alliances with China’s nomadic enemies.

          The occupation of Vietnam was essentially initiated by mutual military conflict between recently Sinicized South Chinese states and their non-Sinicized counterparts to the south.

    • JoE

      Hey! You get around a lot :D (In a good way, like walking)

  2. Agree, though I think this is one truth of Chinese culture, (being able to hold two apparently contradictory opinions, in this love/hate of the USA)

    1. No I don’t think they “should” be happy, but are they? I say yes, some are. A minority, hmm……

    2. I’d say yes! Though maybe they don’t know it….

    3. As above.

    • “being able to hold two apparently contradictory opinions”

      Indeed. There does seem to be a particular immunity to cognitive dissonance.

      As for celebrating anything that demonstrates American frustration/fallability/weakness/defeat, this (as in the quite appalling example of 9/11) is an attitude that I’ve encountered in China many times.

      • friendo

        They have nothing on the British when it comes to laughing at other’s misfortunes. The Brits gleefully kill Iraqis to this day.

    • Thomas, “though maybe they don’t know it”? Is that like “Westerners are prejudiced against the Chinese, though maybe they don’t know it?” Come on, man…

  3. tony

    It’s natural to rejoice when your competition gets struck with tragedy; just as Americans cheered and broke out the champagne when Sichuan was devastated by the earthquake and Chinese children were buried alive.

  4. Let me ask you this with regard to the events of 9/11, Kai:

    Do you think for one moment that had China’s leaders received intelligence about what was about to unfold on that dreadful day they would have made any effort to stop it?

    • Wow, stuart.

      Are you seriously hoping that they wouldn’t so you could feel validated in your categorical hatred for China’s leaders?

      • Double wow, Kai.

        Way to ignore the question! Too discomfiting?

        It’s a fair talking point, I feel – especially because one thing is definitely not categorical: the answer to the original question.

        • stuart,

          I ignored your question not only because I think it’s atrocious, but also because you ignored mine. I’ll consider obliging you when you do likewise.

          • Woah there, Kai

            What the hell? I take your starter questions as a general guide for the discussion rather than an obligatory template.

            I have no problem with you ignoring my question, but I have to defend its relevance and import to the overall theme of this thread.

            Perhaps the “for one moment” insert was a touch inflammatory. Let’s put it like this:

            What would have been the Chinese government’s response to conclusive intelligence regarding the planned time, location, and manner of the 9/11 attacks?

            The question is not absurd, because it is clear from initial responses that doubt exists as to whether Beijing would have said or done anything. It’s disturbing enough to think that there should be any need for debate at all in such a scenario.

            The wider implications of such strategising are not for the sqeamish.

          • stuart,

            Yes, they’re conversation starters, not an obligatory template…until you start suggesting I’m ignoring your questions because they’re discomfiting and I’m scared to admit something. We both know that tactic. You can defend your question without doing the above.

            Look, stuart, it isn’t lost on anyone, especially not me, that in asking such a question you’re trying to win a point in favor of your categorical distrust and even prejudice against the Chinese leadership. You don’t care to discuss why some Chinese people might cheer on American misfortune because you already assume they would, seemingly as if you believe it is their nature to do so. You don’t want to figure out why, you just want to emphasize that they have, do, and will. This is fear-mongering, and your initial question there was to poison the well further.

            Moreover, not only do you seem disinterested in figuring out why some Chinese may cheer on American misfortune, you don’t even seem to want to change it. You seem to rejoice at every opportunity that something or another validates or can be presented to validate your prejudice.

            I believe you want people to agree with your distrust and then proceed to adopt your prejudice. I don’t like that. I don’t agree with your attempt. I think it’s atrocious. It’s hella twisted.

            Now, let me try to demonstrate how your hypothetical question is — if not simply atrocious — ultimately pointless:

            Let me ask you this with regard to the events of 3/14, stuart:

            Do you think for one moment that had America’s leaders received intelligence about what was about to unfold on that dreadful day they would have made any effort to stop it?

            It isn’t so hard to insinuate anything about any government, stuart. The Tibetan rioters, like the terrorists, had reasons for their actions, actions that hurt many people we see as innocent but they see as complicit by association. Americans, like China, had geo-political strategic interests involved where making an effort or not making an effort both would’ve yielded pros and cons. I can easily imagine the benefits of either country doing one or the other. Can you?

            Do you think the United States would’ve immediately acted on any moral imperative? What would that be? The moral imperative to see innocents not slaughtered in the streets, burned to death in their hiding places, having pieces of meat carved out of their asses? The moral imperative to fight religious and cultural oppression? Which one? And you don’t think there would be strategic geo-political considerations?

            Yes, some people in China would stay their hand because they want to see America humbled. Others wouldn’t. Same in America, same in just about everywhere. Your crusade to paint the Chinese as immoral bastards out of step with the rest of humanity’s enlightenment is tiresome, as tiresome as the crusade of Chinese fenqing to paint Westerners as cultural imperialists. There’s a bit of truth in each, but they’re ultimately useless for moving our world forward.

          • Kai,

            “…your categorical distrust and even prejudice against the Chinese leadership.”

            There are many sound reasons why they can’t be trusted, most of all by the Chinese themselves; but that judgment isn’t prejudiced.

            “You don’t care to discuss why some Chinese people might cheer on American misfortune because you already assume they would”

            Not true, I’ve asked several Chinese friends during the last 24 hrs about their 9/11 memories and other moments of teacher-led classroom schadenfreude at American misfortune.

            “…seemingly as if you believe it is their nature to do so.”

            Come on, Kai. First it was the ‘dehumanizing’ jibe (really below the belt, quite frankly) and now this. The people who know me – myself included – would laugh at such suggestions (right after they removed the straw, that is).

            “This is fear-mongering, and your initial question there was to poison the well further.”

            That was absolutely not my intention. There is a lot of uncertainty in this world, increasingly China-related, and it’s only by asking questions that we can hope to avoid some of the disasters that are going to befall this planet.

            Fear-mongering? Take a look at that header again, Kai. That’s a pretty juicy question you ask, along with an emotive image.

            “…you seem disinterested in figuring out why some Chinese may cheer on American misfortune…”

            See above

            “…you don’t even seem to want to change it.

            How wrong you are. In fact I’ve already suggested a radical overhaul of discourse in China’s education sector.

            “You seem to rejoice at every opportunity … to validate your prejudice.”

            I know that you know that I know that we both know the weakness of that argument.

            I believe you want people to agree with your distrust and then proceed to adopt your prejudice.

            Again, I necessarily must reject the premise of your ‘belief’

            “It’s hella twisted.”

            There’s a lot of it about.

            Do you think for one moment that had America’s leaders received intelligence about what was about to unfold on that dreadful day they would have made any effort to stop it?

            If we assume that that intelligence left no doubt that many innocent lives would be taken that day (as opposed to mere information about a planned protest), and that the information was placed before Obama, I have not one doubt he would have made the call.

            “Do you think the United States would’ve immediately acted on any moral imperative? What would that be?”

            The present administration, yes – primarily to save the loss of life. Previous incumbents I wouldn’t be so sure about.

            I think you’re trying to get me to say that 9/11 was a different ball game to the Lhasa riots. I advise taking another look at the pic you posted. If you can find the moral justification for not stopping such an act I’d be glad to read it.

            “Your crusade to paint the Chinese as immoral bastards …”

            Really! Really?? I think the amount of mud and straw you’re throwing in my direction constitutes a crusade of its own.

            Premier Wen called for the Chinese media to be allowed to fulfil their oversight duties a few days ago. I hope he can be trusted to mean it, because the ‘misunderstandings’ evident in the comments here (even in this relatively sober corner of cyberspace) are, at least in part, a product of limited debate in China.

            In the meantime I’ll continue to ask questions and respond with civility and respect.

          • stuart,

            I’ve made my point. I’ll let others worry if I’ve done so with civility and due respect.

    • Teacher in C

      Stuart, I think China’s leaders would have been smart enough to know that they could gain a lot more by telling that information than by keeping it secret. Talk about a PR campaign, wow, China would have been a hero to everyone in America. I bet they wouldn’t have half the problems with each other that they have now.

      • “China would have been a hero to everyone in America.”

        Only because we know what happened. In this scenario it’s just a plan that failed – we don’t get the shocking imagery.

        “China’s leaders would have been smart enough to know that they could gain a lot more”

        This is my point: that would make it a strategic decision not a moral imperative.

        • Teacher in C

          “Only because we know what happened. In this scenario it’s just a plan that failed – we don’t get the shocking imagery.”

          It wouldn’t have been too hard to imagine what would have happened if jumbo jets crashed into the towers. I think the imagery (and the inevitable artist’s rendition that would have been in the newspaper) would be strong enough for people to still see it as heroic.

          “This is my point: that would make it a strategic decision not a moral imperative.”

          Thanks for explaining your point, because you didn’t make it clear in your original statement, you asked an open-ended question which is easy to pin a negative thought to.

          Besides the fact that it would have been a strategic decision, it still would have been based in real human emotion and the want to avoid pointless suffering.

          I’m finding this all a bit too “what if”y for my liking, it’s pointless to waste any more time on.

        • stuart,

          This is my point: that would make it a strategic decision not a moral imperative.

          My point against you is that you act as if only the Chinese make strategic decisions, and worse, that they do so devoid of any morality. You presume the later to vilify the former, without any acknowledgment of other countries (or worse, people) doing likewise. Tell me, stuart, what country doesn’t have ample evidence of them making strategic decisions that often contradict moral imperatives? What country hasn’t done things that are seen made being strategic instead of moral?

          The vast majority of your approach to criticizing China is couched in “they’re immoral”. That’s dehumanizing. That’s what makes much of what you say and suggest atrocious in my eyes.

          • Kai,

            “My point against you is that you act as if only the Chinese make strategic decisions…”

            No. This is going to sound familiar, but that’s just your perception. Besides, your header justifies a China focus:

            Do Chinese Cheer On American Misfortune, Fantasize Invading?

            “…and worse, that they do so devoid of any morality.”

            I posed a hypothetical question. That question has raised doubts not about how the Chinese government should have reacted, but about how they would have reacted. Any response in the scenario described that deviates from ‘immediate communication of intelligence in order to prevent a human tragedy’ is immoral. Period.

            “without any acknowledgment of other countries (or worse, people) doing likewise.”

            We both know very well that they do without having to pander to the tu quoque fan club.

            “Tell me, stuart, what country doesn’t have ample evidence of them making strategic decisions that often contradict moral imperatives?”

            I think you’re describing Pandora before humans arrived.

            “The vast majority of your approach to criticizing China is couched in “they’re immoral”. That’s dehumanizing. That’s what makes much of what you say and suggest atrocious in my eyes.”

            I can only assume that you’ve laid down so much straw in an attempt to conceal the trap door beneath.

          • stuart,

            I’ve made my point.

        • maotai

          Like the US’s strategic decision to forment riots and rebellions in China?

          http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19595.htm

          • Jones

            Oh man, that’s new (sarcasm). That was 1959. Relations have changed quite a bit since then. We’re kind of in a new era, so to speak. To give an example, do you think Chinese leadership would have warned of terrorist attacks on the US in 1959 had they known beforehand? See? It’s a little bit different of a situation. Now if you have an article on a more modern attempt (Something like the past 10 years or so), then there you go.

          • maotai

            Jones

            What makes you think that the situation has changed?

        • friendo

          America doesn’t have moral imperatives. To expect it from China is just laughable- it’s a step above your governments’ behavior which is to automatically assume all non-whites are evil and consider the death of one to be of inherent value in geostrategy.

    • friendo

      America’s leaders knew long, long beforehand. Yet they did nothing. Maybe Bush made a call to Hu Jintao.

    • Inst

      Do you honestly think they wouldn’t have passed on the information to obtain a relations coup?

    • Bevous

      “On September 12, a group of Chinese journalists, invited to the US, cheered the attack on the World Trade Center and were soon sent back home.”

      http://www.atimes.com/china/CI19Ad02.html

  5. maotai

    During Sept 11, the Chinese public was still smarting at their government’s perceived impotence at the 1999 embassy bombing and the Hainan Island incident. I would not be surprised by the reaction of the Chinese.

    • Josh

      Yeah, I agree. The death of a few government workers and a fighter pilot certainly warrants the gleeful reaction expressed at civilians leaping from the 80th floor of a building to escape flames as well as hundreds of firefighters being crushed by a collapsing skyscraper.

      We in America also looked on cheerfully when we heard about all those children being crushed in their schools in Sichuan considering how the Chinese wronged us with their poisoned pet food and lead-painted toys. That’ll show them! (…/sarcasm.)

      • maotai

        Am not surprised that you agreed with the Chinese sentiment of that time. Afterall, many Americans have had expressed feelings as alluded to in your second paragraph.

        (…/sarcasm.) LOL

      • KrSund70

        See Pat Robertson, Haiti, Earthquake, Pact, Devil.

        Josh, for you to describe the Hainan Is. incident as just a fighter pilot shows your complete lack of ability to view the Chinese perspective.

        What an America EP-3 was doing that close to Chinese airspace (regardless of where the collision occurred) is in of itself suspect. That Bush would go in, knowing the Chinese lost a pilot, knowing the EP-3 (either before or after) broke Chinese airspace, demanding an immediate return of the plane and US aircrew, and repairs to the plane (oh, but don’t touch our secrets, nevermind that we’ve dissected enough MiGs from Soviet defectors despite Moscow pleas for the planes back without investigation) … was down right insulting.

        That he made the demands in so public a sphere, Beijing could not cave in immediately even if it wanted to, the public would not have let them.

      • friendo

        Yeah, I agree. The death of a few government workers and a fighter pilot

        America made a grave transgression when it launched bombs at the Chinese embassy and murdered several people. The American spy plane encroached too far on Chinese air space. It’s not just that these were cold blooded murders sanctioned by unrepentant governments, but also the arrogance of the American people that made these acts particularly heinous.

        We in America also looked on cheerfully when we heard about all those children being crushed in their schools in Sichuan

        You did, actually. Some even called it “karma”. Did you see any Chinese celebrities going on screen and cheering about 9-11? No, but you have plenty of Americans cheering about civilian deaths in Iraq and the Sichuan Earthquake.

        Pet food and tainted drywall? Better compare that to your own food industry poisoning your people, like the salmonella/e.coli/peanut thing.

        • Josh

          The both of you are missing the point of my comparison completely. My response, largely directed at maotai’s assumption that the Chinese cheered on at news of 9/11, is meant to highlight the fact that the death of government employees is hardly comparable to the deaths of more than a thousand civilians, and not just from America.

    • Jones

      I wonder if they know that those soldiers involved in both of those incidents probably survived 9/11 completely unscathed. In fact, the odds that any of their known family members were harmed at all, are very small.

      • friendo

        9/11 had far reaching effects beyond that. The whole mess in Iraq is one consequence.

        • Jones

          But those people involved in the Embassy missile and spy plane thing were probably not involved in any of that. If they really wanted vengeance, they should have cheered the death of one of them. It’s like a Chinese guy steals my wallet…so then a few years later I hear about a completely different Chinese guy getting hit by a bus. I then laugh, sit back, light up a cigar and say “showed that fucker who stole my wallet”.

          • friendo

            Yeah you’d be just like 55-60% of Americans then. Hey, those turban heads bombed our tower! Lets kill a million of them! WOO

    • Henry

      Yes, the U.S. intentionally bombed the Chinese Embassy. But why did they do it? The Chinese Embassy was relaying military commands from Slobodan Milosovic to Serb militias. Was it also a way to send a message to Chinese leaders that the U.S. wouldn’t permit military interference? Of course. But it wasn’t an unprovoked attack.

      I quote: At the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Vincenza in northern Italy, British, Canadian and French air targeteers rounded on an American colonel on the morning of 8 May. Angrily they denounced the `cock-up’. The US colonel was relaxed. ‘Bullshit,’ he replied to the complaints. `That was great targeting … we put two JDAMs down into the attache’s office and took out the exact room we wanted … they (the Chinese) won’t be using that place for rebro (re-broadcasting radio transmissions) any more, and it will have given that bastard Arkan a headache.’

      Observer, Nov. 28 1999.

  6. Once saw a documentary on sea turtles. Curious, the mamma would fight another turtle to death to save her egg filled nest. Yet, when a bird landed nearby and proceeded to peck-feast on the eggs, the mamma seemed disinterested. Sort of like the discussions on this movie; why sweat the Chinese when USA’s internal problems are so severe that it doesn’t need an outside source to inflict injury. Presently, I hope the CCP is more concerned about water, pollution, and graft than Hollywood. Like USA, Chinese does not need an outside source to implode.

    • Totally unrelated but…I’m having a hard time not laughing at the idea of sea turtles battling to the death. I mean, what do they do? And how long would it take?

  7. xian

    There are people in China who take pleasure in other’s misfortunes, like there are anywhere else. This is mostly an internet phenomenon though, and should not be given any serious light.

    1. Maybe. It does show that the US recognizes China as a rival/important player
    2. No. Just because fenqing talk the most doesn’t mean they are anywhere near the majority. This fact is often lost on people who don’t live in China, non-Chinese believing this is what Chinese people are like, and overseas Chinese believing this is what they should act like to represent China.
    3. Well of course I’ve met different opinions. The rationalisation is the same as anywhere else: some people are stupid, some people succumb to their own ego, some people are misinformed, and some people might know better than me.

  8. Teacher in C

    1. Should the Chinese be happy that Hollywood is making movies casting them as a threat to anything?

    China should ignore any pretentious and/or vapid bullsh@t coming out of Hollywood. Sure, some people watching it may in fact believe it, but some people will believe anything. They’ll forget about it soon enough once the next stupid thing comes along.

    2. Do you think any significant proportion of the Chinese population harbor fantasies of invading America?

    I can mainly only speak to the demographic that I have constant interaction with through work: 15-20 year olds. I would say a huge portion of them do not have any such fantasies. NBA, rap music and Prison Break come from the US, as well as some of the “best” new movies like “High School Musical”. I’ve never sensed any seriously hard feelings coming from them at all. Now Taiwan on the other hand…

    3. Have you had any experiences involving a Chinese reaction or sentiment that was startling different from your own? How have you, if at all, rationalized it?

    There’s one big one that I don’t feel comfortable sharing on a message board, as it involves my present job.
    Here’s a good one. I was buying a ticket from someone for the semi-finals for men’s basketball at the Olympics. We agreed on a price over the internet, and arranged to meet somewhere. On the way to the meeting, he sent me a message and said the price had increased by 800 rmb, as he had just had another offer. I, of course, was outraged. When I arrived to meet him, I asked to see the ticket so that I could make sure it was genuine. I then then handed him over the money – the original amount that we had agreed upon. He, of course, was outraged. I explained to him that what we had was essentially a contract, and that he couldn’t just raise the price because he felt like it. He then said to me something along the lines of “When two businesses have a contract, and one business wants to change it, it’s no problem”. To which I said, “Uhhhh…I don’t think you understand the meaning of the word “contract”.” So we stood and argued for like another 5-10 minutes, each one refusing to give over. How do I rationalize it? Easy. He was greedy and dishonest. I bought several other tickets from people online, and none of them tried the same garbage, so it was clearly a problem with him. Although, I’m guessing this is going to start a huge “the way Chinese do business” response… my apologies in advance for that.

    • xian

      Kids these days like “High School Musical”? That’s.. terrifying.

    • KrSund70

      In legal jargon, this is called “efficient breach.” And there’s been much debate as to whether efficient breach should be allowed, as a general matter.

      Of course, from a certainty perspective, contracts exist to provide certainy in uncertain conditions, breach, regardless of whether it’s efficient, should never be allowed. But from an economic perspective, efficient breach may well be encouraged.

      If the original price was 200rmb, and he was able to sell for 1000rmb, he has efficiently breached. The question is, what is the true market price? if it is higher than the original contract price, say 500 rmb, then you could cover for 500 (obtain another ticket on the market) and even if he were to pay you the price of your cover (300rmb), he is economically incentivized to efficiently breach (he’s still making an extra 500rmb). if the market price is 200rmb or lower, you shouldn’t have a problem covering, so you’re not harmed, why deny him his ability to make a bit more?

      But if the market price is in fact 1000rmb, and he just originally agreed to a crappy deal, then he’s in the wrong, as his breach is no longer efficient, your price of cover would be having to pay an extra 800 rmb (from a 200rmb price to a 1000rmb price), and he should pay you that extra cost to you, which would take all of his additional profit.

      So, the question is, was his breach truly efficient, i.e., does he still come out on top after making you whole, to the extent you are harmed as a result of his breach of contract with you? If so, then there is a strong economic argument that such breach should be allowed! :-)

      • Teacher in C

        Ok, without disclosing the actual sum, let’s just say that he was already doubling if not tripling (or even quatrupling…is that a word?) his money. Trying to get an extra 800 out of me was just plain greedy.
        You’re obviously an expert in legal matters, so I’m not even going there. But what I can say about all this, which speaks to the theme of the post, is that there is a fundamental difference in thinking there – which is me, thinking that once you make a deal with someone and agree to price, then that’s the end of it. You don’t keep shopping that item around, it’s just not right. And then there’s him, who insists that he has done nothing wrong at all. Definitely two “startlingly different” trains of thought happening there.

        @xian
        Yeah, my kids love it. We were just talking about it in class the other day actually, talking about target markets for movies. It wasn’t marketed to 30+ year old men, and in fact it would be kind of weird for a 30+ year old man to like it. imho, of course :)

        • KrSund70

          Sorry, didn’t mean to get all technical.

          Talking about ways of looking at things from another perspective which doesn’t not occur to us ourselves, this may be a good allegory.

          Only point was, from a different way of look at things, there’s a certain economic justification for efficient breach, (breach has to be TRULY efficient, i.e., efficient not just for the breaching party, but for both parties combined).

          Of course, the moral, certainty-based argument (the obvious perspective) is to counsel against all breach, even if truly efficient. More often than not, this position is the accepted position, because uncertainty (the need to cover whenever someone else decides to breach, efficiently) itself has an economic cost (i.e., certainty via contract brings down the costs of transactions in general).

          • Teacher in C

            I’d never considered this from a legal standpoint, given that I know next to nothing about it. The only equations I’ve always had in my mind were “contract = unbreakable” and “breaking a contract = bad”.

            So would you say that this incident was an efficient breach? It’s not efficient for me, since I was already overpaying by a lot, then asked to overpay by an additional $100 (which in the grand scheme of my life isn’t a lot, but in context of buying a basketball game ticket, an extra $100 is actually a lot to suddenly tack on). It also, admittedly in my opinion, which is biased, wasn’t efficient for him (this sounds like I’m misusing the term) in that he was already earning enough money from the “contract” we had in place.

          • KrSund70

            Don’t get me wrong, efficient breach is still usually not legal. There’s merely an economic argument for permitting efficient breach.

            And for it to be truly efficient, the party breaching should pay your cover cost, and still come out on top.

            For example. A ticket is worth $10 on the market. Assume you and the seller reach a deal for $8. He realizes he’s mad a bad deal, he’s got someone else now willing to offer $20, he breaks the contract.

            Now, assume you, have to now go back and pay $12 for another ticket. Your cover cost is $4. He should pay you the $4 to make you whole, such that you essentially still get the benefit of the original bargain. But for him, he’s just made $12 extra bucks by going with the 2nd offer ($20 v. $8). Even after he pays you $4 to make you whole, he’s still up $8.

            That’s a typical efficient breach. The economic argument is that he should pay you the $4, and be in a position to make the extra $8, such that his efficient breach may be excused from a moral/contractual perspective. He still has to make you whole by paying you the $4, but he should be allowed to break the contract to be economically efficient himself.

            That’s the argument. Again, like I said, it’s just an agrument. Most cases, the breach is either not truly efficient (i.e., after he pays your cover cost, he doesn’t still end up with extra money), or the economic certainty value of contract is more valuable nevertheless.

          • Teacher in C

            Gotcha. I’d never heard of that before, it’s interesting to have it so clearly explained. Again, he was already making a ton of money, as he was charging at least triple for what he paid, and probably more (it was a men’s semi-final game, with the U.S team), so it’s hard to swallow this economic argument for breaching the contract that we had.

            The worst part is, it wasn’t even a very good game. :(

          • Mocha

            Interesting explanation of efficient breach. But you know what, if the seller simply went ahead and sold the ticket for $20 to the new buyer without informing the original buyer, then bought a new ticket for $12 and then sold that new ticket to the original buyer for $8. No one would know that the original contract had been breached, unless it was for a specific ticket to a specific seat :)

          • KrSund70

            Ah, that gets into other contracts issues, like you said, whether the original contract was for a specific ticket/seat. Also, even if it was, the question is whether the substitute performance (the other ticket) can be considered “substantial” performance, such that no breach occurs. Typically, substantial performance is not breach.

  9. Ted

    “However, I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten the “it’d be great to invade America!” vibe from Chinese people.”

    I have, from plenty of people, all be it not as often from those in the larger cities. Generally the comment is more like “Do you think there will be a war between China and the US?” with a big fat grin on their face and the questions come from people across all age groups. I have also had people reference the World Trade Centers with a big smile. This segment of the Chinese market would react as gleefully to a movie about a Chimerica war as the targeted American market segment will react to a Red Dawn remake. The old Red Dawn, like Road House, kicked butt. I doubt the new one will hold a candle to it.

  10. I don’t think that the opinion of a couple of Chinese people can be extrapolated to judge the opinion of “Chinese” in general. For example, if someone encounters a class who “cheered” about 9/11 (Personally, I’m appalled to hear such a thing), that doesn’t mean that (a majority of) Chinese people actually enjoy innocent Americans getting killed in terrorist attacks. It simply means that the people whom one has met might have that opinion. There might me an equal amount of (or more) people who might have the opposite opinion.

    @Kai

    “…..I couldn’t dismiss it as simply stupid, ignorant youth”

    Why not?
    What was the age group of that class anyway?

    In a country of more than a billion people, one can certainly expect contradictory opinions.
    You concluded that there aren’t “any significant amount of Chinese people harboring the fantasy of militarily invading America“. In the same way, if some youth cheer about 9/11, I don’t think that that should be generalized to mean that it “wasn’t an isolated reaction limited to a particular demographic“, or that most Chinese have that opinion.

    • Maitreya,

      You know me, I’m definitely not suggesting anyone should extrapolate one class into a majority of Chinese people. I couldn’t dismiss it as simple stupid, ignorant youth because the reasons behind why they cheered go beyond simple stupidity, ignorance, or youth. This is evident when they’re not the only ones. And it would be more useful to think about what other reasons there might be instead of quickly dismissing it like that. There’s a difference between acknowledging that something isn’t isolated and suggesting that it represents “most” people. I thought I was quite clear on expressing the former.

      • (I know that YOU were not suggesting it. Its just that I’ve seen many other people do so, and I think that that’s wrong.)

        Thanks for the reply.

        You said that “There are ‘plenty’ of Chinese people who get a kick when America was attacked, is attacked, or otherwise shown to be flawed.
        And then you went on to say that the class cheering phenomenon “wasn’t an isolated reaction limited to a particular demographic.
        Now does that mean that there are “plenty” of people who would cheer at 9/11, or when America was attacked?

        Of course it depends on what your definition of “plenty” is – does an opinion “not being isolated” and not being “limited to a particular demographic” mean that “plenty” of people have that opinion?

        a) If it does, then your statement about plenty of Chinese getting a kick when America was attacked, would extend to plenty of Chinese being happy about 9/11 too, based on the fact that a couple of students cheered it, which would amount to extrapolation.

        b) And, if ‘plenty’ doesn’t mean that (i.e. if there’s a difference between a) ‘plenty’ of people having an opinion, and b) that opinion NOT being ‘isolated’ and ‘limited’), then the cheering was an isolated reaction; and was limited to a particular group of people, and hence was not shared by ‘plenty’ of other Chinese.

        “I couldn’t dismiss it as simple stupid, ignorant youth because the reasons behind why they cheered go beyond simple stupidity, ignorance, or youth. This is evident when they’re not the only ones.”

        I don’t see how them not being the only ones having that opinion can be taken as evidence that that opinion cannot be attributed to stupidity or youth. There might be more than one class who might have that opinion, but that doesn’t mean that that opinion can not categorically be attributed to ignorance.

        For example, a poll showed that 44% of Americans think that the world’s leading economic power is China. Only 27% thought it’s the United States. Now, a majority think that China is more economically powerful than the US – can that be, or not be, attributed to ignorance or stupidity, or as James Fallows puts it, plain craziness?

        “There’s a difference between acknowledging that something isn’t isolated and suggesting that it represents “most” people.”

        Of course that would depend on the degree of isolation.

        As you mentioned, it would be extremely useful to think about the reasons and rationale for anyone having such an appalling opinion.
        The intellectual capacities of the person(s) having that opinion are also important. That is why I asked the age of that class. Because, a comparatively younger child’s opinion can be attributed, to a large extent, to the opinion of the people around him/her, like parents, teachers, relatives etc. and to the opinions that he/she has been exposed to. But in case of a graduate or a post graduate student, it would be a different matter altogether.

        • Maitreya,

          Re: “plenty“. I think you’re getting into a semantic argument that isn’t necessary, nor does it seem appropriate.

          As per the definition, I’m saying there are more than enough Chinese people who get a kick when America was attacked (as in 9/11), is attacked (were it to happen again), or otherwise shown to be flawed (as happens all the time). More than enough for me. This is based on my own experience and my own tolerances.

          Such sentiments amongst certain Chinese was indeed not “isolated” to that one example nor “limited” to that one demographic (Chinese high schoolers). This is also my experience and it is “plenty” according to my own tolerances. I’m not sure what the disagreement could be here.

          …but that doesn’t mean that that opinion can not categorically be attributed to ignorance.

          That’s why I said “the reasons behind why they cheered go beyond simple stupidity, ignorance, or youth.” There’s more to it, as in, if this is ignorance, why is there this ignorance? It is ignorance. It is also insensitivity. I’m not saying they aren’t, I’m asking what led to one or the other. The idea is to go deeper so there’s a better understanding of how to change anything we wish to change.

          You seem to understand and agree with this in your last paragraph. Just not sure what you’re trying to argue in the first few.

          • Let me put it a bit more clearly:

            1. The reason why some children cheered at 9/11, as we both agree, go beyond simple ignorance or youth. But your assertion that “this is evident when they are not the only ones”, i.e. the only reason that the reason as to why they cheered go beyond ignorance is that they are not the only ones who cheered, is wrong according to me. This logic would imply that the sole reason behind the reason that 44% Americans in a poll where wrong goes beyond ignorance – is only that there are so many Americans having that opinion.
            A majority, or “many”, or even “most” people can also be ignorant. Ignorant people may not always necessarily form a minority.

            In short, consider your two statements A and B:
            A: Some Chinese schoolchildren cheered 9/11 due to reasons which go beyond ignorance and stupidity.
            B: They were not the only ones who cheered

            I agree with both A and B.
            However, the reason for A is not B only ( If it was, then that would amount to saying – The fact that they were not the only ones who cheered is the only reason that the reason they cheered go beyond ignorance and stupidity) . In other words, B is not the sole reason for A to be true. B alone does not imply A.

            In conclusion, a majority of people, or MANY people, or PLENTY of people can ALSO be ignorant.

            2. It is abundantly clear that you have met many Chinese who seem to be happy about 9/11, or in general when America was attacked; but who don’t want China to invade America per se.

            (Which further begs the question – is there an objective difference between not wanting to invade America and cheering about America’s misfortunes? If there is – then that would mean that plenty of Chinese don’t want the PLA to invade America, but at the same time will be happy when someone else does so!)

            Contrary to what I’ve seen many people think, the fact that some Chinese cheered at 9/11 alone doesn’t imply that there are plenty of Chinese who would be happy when America is attacked. If it does, then that would amount to extrapolation without sufficient (or ‘plenty’ of) data points to start with.

            In conclusion, this extrapolating and rationalizing others’ opinions, is in fact, as I said earlier, an excellent and extremely useful exercise; and I’ve myself tried it on numerous occasions in India, specially on sensitive topics.

          • Maitreya,

            the only reason that the reason as to why they cheered go beyond ignorance is that they are not the only ones who cheered, is wrong according to me.

            Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say here. I don’t see what’s logically wrong with recognizing that people who are not simply stupid, ignorant, or youth mean that the reasons for cheering on American misfortune go beyond the mere characteristic of being stupid, ignorant, or young. For example, it could be “anger” or “resentment”.

            This logic would imply that the sole reason behind the reason that 44% Americans in a poll where wrong goes beyond ignorance – is only that there are so many Americans having that opinion.

            I think you’ve misinterpreted my words here. No where am I suggesting anything of that sort, that many people having one opinion is the reason why anyone has that opinion. Again, I have no idea where this is coming from.

            A majority, or “many”, or even “most” people can also be ignorant. Ignorant people may not always necessarily form a minority.

            I’m not sure how I’ve said anything that contradicts with this fact. Of course any amount of people can be ignorant. I never suggested ignorance is a minority. In fact, I’ve probably more often suggested the opposite. A majority can be ignorant, but simply saying someone is ignorant isn’t going to change that ignorance. If we want to change what we perceive to be ignorance, we need to investigate what brought about or what is conducive towards that ignorance.

            I really don’t understand how you read my comments the way you did. I never said B is the “only” reason for A. In fact, I never said B is any reason for A. I think you need to review my original statements.

          • Jones

            How old was this class of “stupid, ignorant youth”? Because…it’s a bit odd and alarming that young kids would care that much about international relations/conflict. Seriously.

          • Jones, age mentioned here. Totally empathize with what you mean. Not keen on the idea of little kids cheering on death and destruction, and yet…

    • MAC

      Come on. We can’t say “most,” but far too many people have had these experiences (not to mention people still invoke 9/11 as a Good Thing to this day; one charming fellow I saw wished a 9/11 on America every day because of the mayor of Portland’s refusal to cancel “Tibetan Awareness Day.”) to dismiss them.

      I was in China for 9/11, and while I didn’t really witness anything, I was too new there and my Chinese was too poor to really know what was going on. I did have a guy ask me “what do you think about 9/11?” and the girl he was with shut him up quickly because she knew it wasn’t going to go anywhere good.

      I don’t believe these assertions that there are tons of Americans celebrating Chinese deaths. Yes, I suppose there were people who said “China shouldn’t be in Tibet anyway” after 3/14.* But do you see a lot of Americans on mainstream news sites (Youtube doesn’t count) celebrating Chinese coal mining deaths, bus crashes, stabbings, shootings, earthquakes?** Because you can find plenty of that whenever any misfortune befalls innocent people in the US, Japan, Korea, India, the UK, Taiwan, France, and probably any other country to recently offend China. Now I read the Global Times because apparently I’m a fenwai who enjoys being angry, but I’ve seen the same stuff just about anywhere to varying degrees.

      **I need to get back to work so I’m not looking too hard, but I didn’t find any mainstream websites that allow comments on all stories that give access to stuff dating back to the Sichuan earthquake. (FOX News, to choose the most despicable mainstream media outlet in America, has comments on the eight kids stabbed to death in Fujian yesterday, but I figure that’s too far beyond the pale to be a fair example, as even in China very few people would be smirking about the same happening in the US- I think.) But here are the comments from a Digg post about the earthquake: http://digg.com/world_news/Huge_earthquake_jolts_Sichuan_tremors_felt_across_China

      Digg comments, it seems, are less than serious; a lot of the comments I see are off-topic and could be seen as disrespectful, but on sites like that, people are flippant about all kinds of things. But I would estimate that there are more people bashing those who made explicitly offensive comments (“karma’s a bitch” and so forth) than there are offensive comments, and the nasty ones have been voted down. Of course, I don’t know that everyone there is American, but as an English site most users should be from The West.

      Congratulations if you managed to get through all those parenthetical comments and footnotes. Yes, I have been diagnosed with ADD; yes, I take meds, but sometimes that just means I spend too much time concentrating on things like this post.

      • MAC

        Oops, I got rid of my first “footnote.” Wasn’t important, just an aside about how Sharon Stone’s famous “karma” comment, while tasteless an ill-advised, was taken out of context in China and left out how she went on to say that she realized (after hearing what the DL had to say?) that her gut reaction had been shameful and wrong.

  11. yangrouchuan

    I tend to believe that most Chinese would like to see China damage the US enough to knock it off stage in two ways: direct warfare to show how strong China is but also through indirect means to show how clever China is.

    I do think China would like to take enough of the US to control all of the Pacific and rule the rest by leverage.

    If this wasn’t true, then the “Green Island Chain” strategy wouldn’t exist. Go ahead and research it.

    • xian

      Be it the prediction of paranoid Americans or overconfident Chinese, military conflict between China and the US is extremely unlikely anytime soon. America would have to slide pretty far and lose a lot of allies for anything like that to happen.

    • friendo

      It’s a strategy, unlike America’s current occupation of several countries across the globe.

      • Josh
        • Josh, how is that a straw man?

          yangrouchuan, I’m having a difficult time seeing the Green Island Chain as representative of “most” Chinese. You do, after all, premise your belief upon it in your comment above, right? Not a good premise.

          • friendo

            It’s a strawman because it makes him angry and disagrees with his and yangrouchuans overarching point, which of course is that the US can do no wrong.

  12. max

    It’s wrong to count Chinese as a whole ,there are a great number of Chinese like America and share sympathy with you .when America decided to invade Iraq many country followed ,but do the people of majority from those countries supported your war? obviously NOT ! ,but their goverment did anyway, because you are America and to difficult to say no to you .

    I was cryed when got the news on tv in China,age 21

  13. Jones

    Four Chinese were killed in 9/11. That’s the exact total of dead Chinese in the 1999 embassy bombing and the Hainan spy plane incident combined. They’re essentially cheering that which they were so upset about.

    • wgj

      Are you for real, Jones? Lives are cheap for Chinese, the territorial sovereignty of the motherland, on the other hand, is holy. That’s what they were “upset” about in both cases. You don’t think they would have thrown stones at the US embassy in Beijing if no countrymen of their were killed in those incidents?

      • Jones

        Slightly joking there. I mean, seriously, I realize that they weren’t paying attention to the lives lost, but the symbolic nature of the attacks. Pretty sure everyone on this blog should realize how trivially lives are taken in China, comparatively speaking.

        • friendo

          Pretty sure everyone on this blog should realize how trivially lives are taken in China, comparatively speaking.

          I hate to do this but substantiate your claim. 1.1 Americans gets killed on the streets every hour, and many more get gang raped. Oh here we are, another one just died.

          Good thing America has the largest prison population in the world or crime rates would go up even higher.

          • Mocha

            Firing squads are great for keeping prison population down, and a controlled media helps in lowering perceived crime rates too. Aren’t they wonderful :)

          • friendo

            Oh yes because we all know mainland China is rife with violent crime, unlike every other Chinese polity in history.

  14. wgj

    I live in a Western European country, and I distinctly remember the sentimental first reaction on 9/11 being: “It’s horrible for all the civilians who lost their lives, but America as a country finally got what it deserves.” There wasn’t even a hint if this in the press, of course, but it was how most people actually expressed themselves privately — not just nationalistic hotheads, but even well-educated, perfectly nice people.

    Is it possible that people *everywhere* outside the US cheered, to varying degrees? Nobody has much empathy for an imperialistic bully, which is how the US is generally seen, even by people from the “NATO allies”.

  15. Kai I reposted this on Buzz and got a ton of comments. You might want to take a look http://goo.gl/0BWN

  16. Kai,

    You said,

    I couldn’t dismiss it as simple stupid, ignorant youth because the reasons behind why they cheered go beyond simple stupidity, ignorance, or youth. This is evident when they’re not the only ones.

    Now IF you are trying to say that the fact that they are not the only ones who cheered is the reason that the reason behind the cheering go beyond stupidity or ignorance, then my question in a nutshell, is: How exactly is it evident?

    • Maitreya,

      I still didn’t understand your sentence above but I’ll reword and elaborate on my statement that you quoted to see if this gets us anywhere to understanding each other.

      That there are reasons beyond simple stupidity, ignorance, or youth for a class of Chinese students to cheer upon hearing of 9/11 is evident when I know that those Chinese students were not the only ones who did or would do so. What is evident is the plurality of reasons behind such a reaction.

      It is evident to me because I can’t identify a single common cause for all the Chinese who cheered or would cheer. Some would do so out of ignorance, some out of stupidity, some out of insensitivity, some out of resentment, some out of a combination of these, some out of a combination of other things. Dismissing it as one of these things or only some of these things would mean failure to investigate the other reasons, which increases the odds of those reasons surviving. If my goal is to see less Chinese cheering the next time something like 9/11 happens, it behooves me to not casually dismiss the reasons for the cheering as being only ignorance, stupidity, and youth.

      • Kai,

        The reason why one would cheer 9/11 certainly go beyond simple ignorance etc. which is also what I had said earlier.

        The plurality of reasons is of course evident, but my point is different.

        As far as that ‘A’ and ‘B’ statements thing is concerned, as I said in my earlier comment, I’ll try to explain it again.

        You said,

        I couldn’t dismiss it as simple stupid, ignorant youth because the reasons behind why they cheered go beyond simple stupidity, ignorance, or youth. This is evident when they’re not the only ones

        That there are reasons beyond simple stupidity, ignorance, or youth for a class of Chinese students to cheer upon hearing of 9/11 is evident when I know that those Chinese students were not the only ones who did or would do so.

        If you had reviewed my previous comments, then you would have realized that the crux of what I had asked you was: In what way exactly is the bold part of your statement evidence of the non-bold part?
        Does the fact that those students were not the only ones to do so represent sufficient evidence that the reasons they did so go beyond ignorance?
        The reasons for cheering certainly do go beyond ignorance, but the evidence for that is not the fact that they were not the only ones who cheered.

        • Maitreya,

          No, that they were not the only ones who cheered is not evidence that the reasons for cheering go beyond ignorance. That they were not the only ones who cheered made it evident to me that there may be more reasons than just ignorance, stupidity, or youth.

          I think if you wanted to criticize my statement, you should question why I’d associate “ignorance, stupidity” with Chinese students. After all, there’s no reason to assume that of them (youth is okay).

          Overall though, I’m not seeing the importance of your criticism here when you know my point is that a plurality of individuals without a common superficial characteristic sharing similar reactions towards a specific event suggests that there is a plurality of reasons, and that quickly settling for only some of them to dismiss them likely lead us to not address the real reasons behind the reactions we don’t want to see again.

          Can we agree with that point?

          • I think if you wanted to criticize my statement, you should question why I’d associate “ignorance, stupidity” with Chinese students. After all, there’s no reason to assume that of them

            The POSSIBILITY cannot be ruled out that the students who cheered at 9/11 were simply ignorant or stupid. My point is, that that possibility cannot be ruled out even if they were not the only ones who cheered. As I said earlier, more people can be ignorant too; and not just one class or group.

            ….my point is that a plurality of individuals without a common superficial characteristic sharing similar reactions towards a specific event suggests that there is a plurality of reasons

            I don’t think that a plurality of individuals having an opinion is evidence of a plurality of reasons behind that opinion, which is what I have been saying all along.
            For all we know, all those individuals might be having that opinion for the same reason (ignorance, or stupidity, or anything else). With equal justice it can be argued that even if a few people have an opinion, that opinion can still be attributed to reasons beyond plain ignorance and stupidity.
            That’s why I said that such rationalization of people’s opinions is extremely important.

            I’ll quote three of your statements:

            I couldn’t dismiss it as simple stupid, ignorant youth because the reasons behind why they cheered go beyond simple stupidity, ignorance, or youth. This is evident when they’re not the only ones

            That there are reasons beyond simple stupidity, ignorance, or youth for a class of Chinese students to cheer upon hearing of 9/11 is evident when I know that those Chinese students were not the only ones who did or would do so.

            ….that they were not the only ones who cheered is not evidence that the reasons for cheering go beyond ignorance. That they were not the only ones who cheered made it evident to me that there may be more reasons than just ignorance, stupidity, or youth.

            Is their a difference between “the reasons going BEYOND ignorance” and “there MAY BE MORE reasons than just ignorance..”?

            You statements would seem contradictory if one were to lump ignorance, stupidity and youth together, just calling it a (common) “characteristic” of the ones who cheered.

            In your third statement however, since you use the word “may”, then I see that you come around to the exact point which I made earlier on numerous occasions, namely that there MAY be a multitude of reasons for some people having an opinion, but one doesn’t need to know that they were not the only ones having an opinion to know that. Even if a few people (or even a single opinion) have an opinion, that opinion can still be attributed to reasons beyond plain ignorance and stupidity, as I said before.

          • Maitreya,

            How about this: I know that the reasons some Chinese people cheered and would cheer American misfortune are not limited to stupidity, ignorance, or youth.

            Maitreya, I’m no longer interested in entertaining and, in fact, greatly saddened that my point has been rendered utterly impotent by this ridiculous discussion.

  17. As for the “invade America” cracks – you may want to slide over to the China Daily BBS, or just crack open a history book about pre-1980’s P.R. China, or maybe take a gander at P.R. China’s little buddy, DPRK and the lovely propaganda they have been producing.

  18. yangrouchuan

    @ Kai Pan,

    “yangrouchuan, I’m having a difficult time seeing the Green Island Chain as representative of “most” Chinese. You do, after all, premise your belief upon it in your comment above, right? Not a good premise.”

    It is proof of China’s desire to knock down US power and assert itself as the ruler of at least the Pacific region.

    And the Aleutians are the 3rd island chain.

    • yangrouchuan, I’m having a difficult time seeing the Green Island Chain as representative of “most” Chinese. You do, after all, premise your belief upon it in your comment above, right? Not a good premise.

  19. battle beneath the earth 1967 !!!

    not many of you suckas where around back then
    AWESOME movie, a time here in China, when things where getting CULTURALized..

    a great song came out that year,
    can anyone guess? here are some lyrics,

    …when the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go…

    ….when the white knight is talking backwards….

    go ask alice, I think she’ll know!

  20. lolz

    Okay, I have been spending some time lurking and posting in MOP, the Chinese equiv of 4chan in the US. It’s a cesspool but you do get a good feel of China’s young, internet dork segment.

    I would say that most Chinese people are not really antagonistic towards America. Americans on the other hand harbor much more hatred towards the Chinese because the American media blame China (and Wall St.) for America’s economic woes.

    Chinese netizens do however harbor some major resentments for the Japanese despite the fact that most of them love Japanese AV (you can always find mention of tokyo-hot in japanese related postings).

    Other than I have also seen some anti-Korea posts. The term they often use is 韩棒子, or Korean Stick. It’s important to use this term when referring to Koreans on Chinese interwebs.

    • King Tubby

      LOLZ What are the steps to check out MOP and similar sites. Ive tried but was a failure, and to make it worse I rely on a translation program. Any recommendations most welcome.

      • lolz

        Hmm, the two popular sites which I check often are Tianya and MOP. They can be reached at http://www.tianya.cn and http://www.mop.com

        You will need a translation program since the content is 100% Chinese, but I am not sure how effective machine translations will be because a lot of the contents are slangs. I don’t use translation programs so I can’t recommend you which is good.

        So far Chinasmack does a pretty good job at translating this sort of thing along with selective replies (which often are more telling). I would think there are other blog sites which translates these types of articles as hobby but I have no idea how to find them myself..

        • King Tubby

          Thanks. Your point about slang explains why my previous visits to Tianya and a couple of other sites confounded the translating program I use. Love the new word gaining currency….lurking.
          *appreciative nod*

  21. Hank

    The real question should be do Americans fantasize about the collapse and breakup of China.

    I believe there are many Americans who cheer each misfortune the PRC experiences. They are all looking forward to the day when it will have a Tian An Men II.

    That will be the beginning of the end of the PRC.

  22. asdf

    “It also bothered me because I couldn’t recall ever consciously cheering on any attack or tragedy that has happened to China.”

    You bet that Pat Roberts, Rush Limbaugh, Chuck Schumer and tons of US nationalists secretly (and some overtly) cheered when the earthquake hit china.

    1) China shouldn’t be happy, because hollywood and media is at the forefront of shaping national/world views and agenda. If they are portraying China as a threat, you can be sure more substantive and concrete measures (trade war, etc.) are coming. An example of hollywood as a leading indicator is Denzel, Halle and Sidney sweeping the Oscars, and a few years later, Obama is president and Patterson is governor of NY.
    2) Sure, probably lots of chinese fantasize about the arrogant US being invaded. But there are just as many Americans who want to see China fall into an abyss. In fact, the loonies (china bashers) often get media coverage and outlet to spew their hate, while chinese media pundits are more civilized.
    3) Hell, a good portion of the redneck US states probably thought 9/11 was just desserts for the sinful greedy metropolis lives, so it’s not surprising some foriegn people who are half a world away and have no real tangible concept of the trade towers other than through TV give ignorant mocking responses. “Trade towers fell? Meh… I saw better with LA blown up to Terminator 2. So what…”

  23. I’m no longer interested in entertaining and, in fact, greatly saddened that my point has been rendered utterly impotent by this ridiculous discussion.

    You miss my point. I’ve repeatedly said that this point is VERY important (“an excellent and extremely useful exercise”, I had said, if you had read properly, in my earlier comments). I cannot see why you are greatly saddened by it either or how the point was rendered ‘impotent’. In fact, I am saddened that you think that way.

    In any case, it is clear that either a) You are unable, as you said earlier, to understand my comments completely, OR b) I am not making myself clear enough in my comments

    Whatever be the case, I think that we both are in fundamental agreement that the reasons why some would cheer 9/11 should certainly be investigated, and let that be that.

    As Humphrey Appleby would say, I always like to end on a note of agreement.

  24. unbiased

    Not that the 911 was a tragic thing – but Americans really should look at themselves from other people’s eyes sometimes for a dose of reality. The USA has been defecating all over the world with failed policy after failed policy – supporting dictators, violent oppressive governments, drug dealers, and through indifference – genocide – while trying to play the role of world leader. I don’t think it’s an issue of snearing as much as more an issue of “I was wondering when something like this would happen”.

    It was recently reported that the US sends roughly USD 65 Billion dollars in untaxed drug money to Mexico annually – an issue that has been a thorn in american society for over 30 years.

    If you can’t clean your own house – how can you possibly expect respect and admiration elsewhere?

    The USA complains about China’s tight censorship over its media – and yet I have yet to find a reasonably unbiased news agency presenting both sides fairly in as unbiased a fashion as possible. Editorial censorship in the USA creates incredible bias resulting in incredible censorship. The problem with eyes is you can’t see yourself – only others. Ears were designed to hear how others see you – but seems they’re not working quite well at the moment.

    • Jones

      I have not supported any dictators or oppressive governments, drug dealers, or genocide. Nor have I tried to be a world leader. Why, again, do I have to look at myself while not supposed to see 9/11 as tragic?

      Since when are innocent civilians guilty of their government’s wrongdoing? Are we to say that innocents killed in Afghanistan are valid targets based solely on their government doing whatever we, ourselves, consider to be “wrong”?

      And just where are you from, that given your logic, deems you free to comment on other people? Again, I’m just going by your logic here. Otherwise I wouldn’t be so audacious as to claim that innocent people are indeed guilty of historical crimes committed by governments.

    • yangrouchuan

      The US hasn’t supported a monster like Kim Jong Il, ever. How about Pol Pot? Good ole China! And who armed so many tin pot regimes with nukes? NK, Pakistan, Iran, Lybia? Yep, China. It is rumored that Argentina’s nuke project in the late 70s was also backed by China.

      The borders of every country from Vietnam to Turkey to South Africa and the ensuing border and ethnic conflicts were all caused by European hands. And Europe does nothing to help resolve these conflicts beyond endless consensus building meeting in which everyone talks in luxurious locations and does nothing.

      The world demands that the US solve every problem but with the caveat that the US sacrifice US lives and spend US money according to the wishes of the utterly useless global community.

      The world can F&*K itself.

      • maotai

        Don’t be naive. The US is involved mainly due to the spoils/ loot it picks up in such conflicts. As for dictators, … just a short list;

        1979

        Iran — The CIA fails to predict the fall of the Shah of Iran, a longtime CIA puppet, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalists who are furious at the CIA’s backing of SAVAK, the Shah’s bloodthirsty secret police. In revenge, the Muslims take 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

        Afghanistan — The Soviets invade Afghanistan. The CIA immediately begins supplying arms to any faction willing to fight the occupying Soviets. Such indiscriminate arming means that when the Soviets leave Afghanistan, civil war will erupt. Also, fanatical Muslim extremists now possess state-of-the-art weaponry. One of these is Sheik Abdel Rahman, who will become involved in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.

        El Salvador — An idealistic group of young military officers, repulsed by the massacre of the poor, overthrows the right-wing government. However, the U.S. compels the inexperienced officers to include many of the old guard in key positions in their new government. Soon, things are back to “normal” — the military government is repressing and killing poor civilian protesters. Many of the young military and civilian reformers, finding themselves powerless, resign in disgust.

        Nicaragua — Anastasios Samoza II, the CIA-backed dictator, falls. The Marxist Sandinistas take over government, and they are initially popular because of their commitment to land and anti-poverty reform. Samoza had a murderous and hated personal army called the National Guard. Remnants of the Guard will become the Contras, who fight a CIA-backed guerilla war against the Sandinista government throughout the 1980s.

        1980

        El Salvador — The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, pleads with President Carter “Christian to Christian” to stop aiding the military government slaughtering his people. Carter refuses. Shortly afterwards, right-wing leader Roberto D’Aubuisson has Romero shot through the heart while saying Mass. The country soon dissolves into civil war, with the peasants in the hills fighting against the military government. The CIA and U.S. Armed Forces supply the government with overwhelming military and intelligence superiority. CIA-trained death squads roam the countryside, committing atrocities like that of El Mazote in 1982, where they massacre between 700 and 1000 men, women and children. By 1992, some 63,000 Salvadorans will be killed.

        1981

        Iran/Contra Begins — The CIA begins selling arms to Iran at high prices, using the profits to arm the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. President Reagan vows that the Sandinistas will be “pressured” until “they say ‘uncle.’” The CIA’s Freedom Fighter’s Manual disbursed to the Contras includes instruction on economic sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail, interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination.

        1983

        Honduras — The CIA gives Honduran military officers the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983, which teaches how to torture people. Honduras’ notorious “Battalion 316″ then uses these techniques, with the CIA’s full knowledge, on thousands of leftist dissidents. At least 184 are murdered.

        1984

        The Boland Amendment — The last of a series of Boland Amendments is passed. These amendments have reduced CIA aid to the Contras; the last one cuts it off completely. However, CIA Director William Casey is already prepared to “hand off” the operation to Colonel Oliver North, who illegally continues supplying the Contras through the CIA’s informal, secret, and self-financing network. This includes “humanitarian aid” donated by Adolph Coors and William Simon, and military aid funded by Iranian arms sales.

        1986

        Eugene Hasenfus — Nicaragua shoots down a C-123 transport plane carrying military supplies to the Contras. The lone survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, turns out to be a CIA employee, as are the two dead pilots. The airplane belongs to Southern Air Transport, a CIA front. The incident makes a mockery of President Reagan’s claims that the CIA is not illegally arming the Contras.

        Iran/Contra Scandal — Although the details have long been known, the Iran/Contra scandal finally captures the media’s attention in 1986. Congress holds hearings, and several key figures (like Oliver North) lie under oath to protect the intelligence community. CIA Director William Casey dies of brain cancer before Congress can question him. All reforms enacted by Congress after the scandal are purely cosmetic.

        Haiti — Rising popular revolt in Haiti means that “Baby Doc” Duvalier will remain “President for Life” only if he has a short one. The U.S., which hates instability in a puppet country, flies the despotic Duvalier to the South of France for a comfortable retirement. The CIA then rigs the upcoming elections in favor of another right-wing military strongman. However, violence keeps the country in political turmoil for another four years. The CIA tries to strengthen the military by creating the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which suppresses popular revolt through torture and assassination.

        1989

        Panama — The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow a dictator of its own making, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega has been on the CIA’s payroll since 1966, and has been transporting drugs with the CIA’s knowledge since 1972. By the late 80s, Noriega’s growing independence and intransigence have angered Washington… so out he goes.

        1990

        Haiti — Competing against 10 comparatively wealthy candidates, leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide captures 68 percent of the vote. After only eight months in power, however, the CIA-backed military deposes him. More military dictators brutalize the country, as thousands of Haitian refugees escape the turmoil in barely seaworthy boats. As popular opinion calls for Aristide’s return, the CIA begins a disinformation campaign painting the courageous priest as mentally unstable.

        1991

        The Gulf War — The U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq. But Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, is another creature of the CIA. With U.S. encouragement, Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During this costly eight-year war, the CIA built up Hussein’s forces with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing. This cemented Hussein’s power at home, allowing him to crush the many internal rebellions that erupted from time to time, sometimes with poison gas. It also gave him all the military might he needed to conduct further adventurism — in Kuwait, for example.

        The Fall of the Soviet Union — The CIA fails to predict this most important event of the Cold War. This suggests that it has been so busy undermining governments that it hasn’t been doing its primary job: gathering and analyzing information. The fall of the Soviet Union also robs the CIA of its reason for existence: fighting communism. This leads some to accuse the CIA of intentionally failing to predict the downfall of the Soviet Union. Curiously, the intelligence community’s budget is not significantly reduced after the demise of communism.

        1992

        Economic Espionage — In the years following the end of the Cold War, the CIA is increasingly used for economic espionage. This involves stealing the technological secrets of competing foreign companies and giving them to American ones. Given the CIA’s clear preference for dirty tricks over mere information gathering, the possibility of serious criminal behavior is very great indeed.

        1993

        Haiti — The chaos in Haiti grows so bad that President Clinton has no choice but to remove the Haitian military dictator, Raoul Cedras, on threat of U.S. invasion. The U.S. occupiers do not arrest Haiti’s military leaders for crimes against humanity, but instead ensure their safety and rich retirements. Aristide is returned to power only after being forced to accept an agenda favorable to the country’s ruling class.

        http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/CIAtimeline.html

        http://home.iprimus.com.au/korob/fdtcards/Cards_Index.html

        • yangrouchuan

          Individual actions, and letting tin pot dictators seek refuge in country, typically Switzerland, reduces violence during a forced replacement of the government because the top rulers are no longer fighting for their survival.

          The same has been offered to Kim Jong Il by China and Russia btw.

          We could talk about China’s active claims on 30% of northern Korea. We could talk in-depth about China’s peddling of nuclear weapons technology and support of the tyrannical Kim Fat Troll gov’t.

  25. Octavian

    God Bless Japan and all they did to China

  26. Crazyb

    People forget there are Chinese americans who fight with the wolverines against communism in the movie