Not Just Identify Problems for China – Solve Them!

I wrote the following in response to a reader, mac, just now. I want to share it with everyone (with little bit editorial change). The original comment is here.

@mac, calm down. I like discussion, although I don’t expect myself to answer every single comment, and even if I try to join some discussion, I will try to carefully state what I believe, with no expectation that the other end may agree with me or even understand (understanding is the hardest part, although people often claim to be).

Back to your questions, I hope I am in the position to say I understand your feeling. The collapse of value system after knowing many truth will be the main theme for many people in the next decade in China. I experience that during my month long cross North American trip in the winter of 2004.

Turning from trust of what we are educated since we were born, to completely lose trust is a very hard time for everyone who ever experienced it. I was also turned very negative for some time. However, as Tommy described it very well, that is also not the whole story. After 4 years of seeking for the truth (via this blog, and many other ways), I feel pretty calm now, and I started to learn more about China. After that, I am even more confidence about the future of China. I started to understand the root of many imperfection of the country, then we can solve it one by one. The good thing is, when we try to discover, there are many promising solutions for many problem.

As you mentioned in your question 1, 2, 3, GFW is certainly a shame in our country. With the wisdom of the great nation, we are still not able to remove it. There are even more serious problems within this country, like people’s right to make decisions, pollutions, economic imbalance, unfair treatment to people in remote area like Tibet, and Xinjiang, morale standards… I can list many of them. However, that is not the whole story. There are so many bright side also – the economic improvement, the slow but gradual awareness of the political needs of more people, and the transform of the society, just to name a few. We are the people who need to contribute to a better China, instead of just complainer, like those outside the country.

Young Generations like myself tend to be able to identify a problem, but often fail to solve the problem. The feeling that they cannot change anything turns into desperations and anger. Many problems are easy to identify, just like the potential conflict between China and France (the criss around Torch relay). My belief is, I need to do something to HELP SOLVING the problem, instead of doing something just because everyone is doing, and don’t care about the consequences. My way of doing it is to start conversation between people in France, British, US, and all the other countries to talk with people in China. Although it is not as big as people may wish, I think at least it is a solution I can think of.

Again, I’d like to help if you think my experience is worth to listen. However, don’t expect me to help you understand how the world is working (I don’t know yet), and it took me four years to understand a little better than before. Sometimes, only time can help.

Besides that, I wrote another comment back to Confused regarding the three questions they don’t know about Chinese:

@Confused, good question. I guess that is the key questions many people may ask.

First question, why anger against France is stronger. For several reasons. Reports from blog and message from people in France described that it is not just the protesters, many people (bigger portion of common people) in Paris joined the violent protests (I saw many pictures with body attack). Besides that, three particular events gave people strong impressions about Paris: 1) Disabled girl Jin Jing was attacked on the wheelchair by Pro-Tibet protester. 2) The Paris Mayor hanged banners in the city hall, an action perceived as representing the city, instead of just protestres. 3) The headline about “the miserable defeat of China” in the major newspaper. This is my guess about why anger against Paris is stronger than UK, and US. For UK and US, based on what I learned, people still think it is the Pro-Tibet group who made the trouble. For Paris, it is clearly the government (and some extends it to the people there) who are anti-China. This perception may be far from the truth, just as China’s image in the international stage, but that is how the whole thing is “PERCEIVED”.

For the second question about there are Chinese product in Carrefour, as I said, boycotting is an immature way of handling problems. It is based on the simple judgment that the world is completely black and white, and boycotting French Products “ONLY impact those French”. However, the current world is a well connected world, and it is so hard to distinguish who owns which part. If you ask people who boycotting some product, they may also get very confused, and may ask back: “Well. It seems so. So, tell me what’s next I can do just to make them feel bad?” I want to make it very clear that I don’t like what is happening in Paris, especially those *violent* protesters, I don’t think boycott really do the work.

For the last question, about why Chinese tend to take criticism for government so personally, there are two reasons, I think. First, due to 50 years of education by the current government, people have formed the thinking logic that the Party = the Government = the whole country. To the extreme extend, people are educated that the Party is the mother, and Chairman is the Sun…. This believe may fade out a little bit in the last 20 years, but is still there. For this part, I think it is more of a problem in China, instead of the rest world.

The second reason: because it is Olympic. If it were not Olympic Games, people may not take it so personally. Olympic is a dream of Chinese people for 100 years (please note: this is long before the current Communist Party was formed). Being invaded by many countries in the 1800s, and being a backward country for even longer, people in China do want to find a change to get back to the center stage of the world. That is the dream of almost everyone. For people outside China, it may be hard to understand the importance of this Game to normal people in China. So, by definition, Olympic don’t have too much to do with the government, in some sense. Unlike people in many other country who just take it as a sport event, people in China don’t think it that way. So, because of this, any attack to the Olympic Game in Beijing is the attack to the people.

Just as I told delegation from the US Congress, it is like the big fat wedding ceremony of the PEOPLE, not the government. Ruin the opening ceremony of a company is not a big deal for its employees, but to ruin someone’s wedding is completely another story.

In conclusion, I won’t say who is right or wrong in these unpleasant days. However, I do hope people understand each other more. I hope people in China to understand not to take political protest too personal, and hope people in France and other country to understand, people will DEFINITELY take it personal if you attack Olympic Game.

14 thoughts on “Not Just Identify Problems for China – Solve Them!

  1. ecodelta

    My congratulations again for your great blog.

    I do not use to contribute here, just find reading it fascinating.

    Hope Wendy will change soon her mind about French products, the French really know what to offer a woman to make her even more elegant ;-)

  2. vive la frog

    confrontation is the way that western civilizations uses to communicate with each other and with other culture/country/government

    in fact, i pity those western people brainwashed by their media. the whole protest began with a unfounded lie that china crackdown “peaceful protester” in tibet, thier media and brainwashed people just disguesting

    west media will never report feelings of chinese people, when they report, they say those chinese are brainwashed by goverment

    boycott france will send a message that chinese people are angry

    this is the only way when china still lack a media that have international influence

    in fact, we should boycott germany and france together

    germany media is very crazy this time and produce many lies, perhaps more lies than bbc and cnn

    as for reason why we don’t boycott english, there is no english products in china we can boycott

  3. ecodelta

    After reading your blog entries I changed my mind about the boycott to the OG proposed in the EU parliament. According to the proposal the head of state and other major politicians should be absent from the opening ceremony.

    I consider now such a boycott to be too clumsy, could be misunderstood and would unwittingly hurt the sensibilities of a great part of a CH people.

    I agree with you in that we should not ruin wedding just because we do not totally agree how the governor is running the town. Specially if so much effort, passion and expectation has been put into it by normal CH people. To do so would be a lack of respect from our part.

    There are better ways to express our disagreement on several issues and I think that they could be better expressed by being there than not.

    I also consider important to separate our opinions and differences with the government in CH and some of its policies from our view and perception of CH people. I consider it wrong to accuse them of just being brainwashed when their views do not coincide with our preconceived perception of their problems and feelings.

    Thanks to your blog I has been able to get a clearer view of what is going in CH people minds, how their struggle with the current problems and what are their feelings about them.

  4. Disagree

    Dear Jianshuo,

    I have to disagree with you that it is the rest of the world that has a problem when China (or for the bigger part, ordinary Chinese) is the one that lumps the party=govt=China=Chinese and therefore olympics=chinese wedding up. You cannot blame others when it is your own mentality at work. That is just plain childish….

    Any international event, be it sports, fashion or economical forum opens up a new channel for delegates to propose issues/ express concerns of any kind. Since the event is “international” then rightfully it serves as an opportunity to propose other international problems (deal with that!). If this event is a national event like “China Table Tennis Championship” then I am confident that things like these would not have occurred. Even if its not the olympics, I am sure other important international events like APEC would cause similar uproar. You can the link?

    On and don’t say the Tibet-protest is calculated or stages. Of course it is, it has been planned way in advance when China won the rights to run the Olympics… They only chose to act now due to OPPORTUNITY…. if these happened 3-4 years ago then it would not have produced as good results. Would you study 3-4 years ago for an exam that will take place only now?

  5. lin

    i am not good at english language.but i try my best to tell what i feel as a native chinese.

    for the first part,i want to claim than the big trend inside country is that much of us young people

    appeal more equity to government,like pay . right to vote…etc. this part is inside issue.and we sometimes hope outworld like west country or media could play a role in positive work here.

    and for the current issue list before —French violence toward olympic torch.that is another feeling we can perceive.despite the fact that if we are not aware of wrong educated from gov.

    but the direct feeling of those event is that someone always play his/her superiority towards us chinese whom they think of lowlife. donot mention humen right or somethig ,we donot want those form of human right.

  6. Jian Shuo Wang

    @Disagree, regarding your comments about people in other country’s thinking is “plain childish”, I do have a different idea. I agree there are different mentality in this world, but don’t simply say it is childish or not. Although I do agree with you that for people need to take protest fairly and don’t put an equal sign to protest again a government to protest against a country, it IS the current mentality, and people need to respect it.

    If you think the western world has formed a mature way of thinking for this world, it is just from the western point of view. If so, you may feel people with some religions (especially those religions you are not familiar with) even more childish, since they believe in something you don’t believe in. Maybe to die for something just spiritual is not mature, from your perspective.

    If the mentality of a country is “Olympic = Wedding”, and not knowing it IS a big problem for the rest of the world, although it is ALSO a problem for people in China. That is the reason I am trying to stand in the middle to help people in China (me included) to understand how it works by sharing the great comments (including yours), and help others to understand how people in China thinks. Any communication problem is a two-sided problem.

    Just my 2 cents.

  7. Disagree

    Dear Jianshuo,

    You may have misunderstood my comment. I was not referring to you or “people in other countries” (in quoting you) as childish.

    I said to blame anyone else when its one’s own mentality at work is plain childish. This can happen to anyone – in any country, any social class, at any age.

    My 3 years old cousin always do the same thing to me, if he falls when I’m not holding his hand, he would complain to his mom that I am the one who caused him to fall.

    Similarly if people refused to look at things objectively and decide that China = PLA = CCP = Chinese = Zhang, Wang, Chen on the road ….I cannot do anything to stop them from thinking that way. You cannot blame “westerners” (I believe its more like “foreigners”) from not being sensitive. In the first place, it was not the foreigners who lump things up into one….That is what I call childish. Anyone displaying that sort of behaviour is childish and it can happen to anyone anywhere in the world, not just childish.

    I don’t get offended when people critics the government….I do that all the time and especially during elections

  8. Disagree

    To correct typos……

    Dear Jianshuo,

    You may have misunderstood my comment. I was not referring to you or “people in other countries” (in quoting you) as childish.

    I mean “to blame anyone else when its one’s own mentality at work” is plain childish. This can happen to anyone – in any country, any social class, at any age.

    My 3 years old cousin always do the same thing to me, if he falls when I’m not holding his hand, he would complain to his mom that I am the one who caused him to fall.

    Similarly if people refused to look at things objectively and decide that China = PLA = CCP = Chinese = the ordinary Zhang, Wang, Chen on the road… then I cannot do anything to stop them from thinking that way.

    You cannot blame “westerners” (I believe its more like “foreigners”) from NOT being sensitive. In the first place, it was not the foreigners who lump things up into one….That is what I call childish. Anyone displaying that sort of behaviour is childish and it can happen to anyone anywhere in the world, not just Chinese.

    I don’t get offended when people critics the government….I do that all the time and especially during elections

  9. Jian Shuo Wang

    @Disagree, thanks for clarification. I understand your point more clearly and that is also what I think.

    To future the thinking, even if we think some mentality is childish, we can contribute to a better world by thinking of way to live with “different” mentalities. Taking the example of you and your cousin, if your cousin thinks that way, there must be some way to help him understand the real situation instead of simply holding a sign with “Your Fault, Not Mine!”, or “STOP Falling!”. The kid won’t understand. Sometimes, tolerate is a better option.

    I am not implying people in China is childish. It is the same to people in western world, that people in China also need to tolerate the different. I will always call it different, because each party translate may the word “different” to “childish”.

  10. Disagree

    Dear Jianshuo,

    Thanks for your fast reply. I sort of understand where you are coming from. You want people to establish a bridge for people to understand each other and tolerate differences. The example that you have given regarding my little cousin is a fair one, yeah that boy would not understand me if I simply put up a sign that reads “Your Fault, Not Mine”, however the Tibetan Rights vs. Beijing’s stand is a far more complicated one.

    First of all, do you really think there Beijing does not know what is happening and what the Tibetans want? They do!

    They also understand that Dalai Lama wants to speak to Beijing regarding the protest in Tibet but what is Beijing doing? They are closing all doors to communication. Frankly speaking, do you think Beijing will release Tibet after the dialogue? No, they won’t. So whats the point then?

    Fact is the Tibetans are not happy with the life they are living under the Chinese rule and like it or not, the route to true freedom lies in their hand, not the Chinese. I suppose I am a stance supporter of self determination so please dont take it personally as being anti-Chinese. China or not, I would have shown similar support for human rights…. If it is India who has invaded Tibet back then, I would be going against the New Delhi govt too…

  11. Myself

    The banner “Paris support human rights all over the world” has not been put by the french government but the city council of Paris.

    And are chinese feeling bad that another country support the human right? Are chinese feeling bad that the city council of Paris (the city which start the French revolution, which bring democratie, and human right to the world) support human right?

    I did not think that supporting the human right can be something bad.

    for your information go read the declaration of human right, and tell me what is bad in it:

    English:

    http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

    Chinese:

    http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/chn.htm

    PS: The chinese constitution say something like: china protect and respect the human right…

    Many chinese should grow up and accept that other may have different opinion, and respect their right to express it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *