- Posted August 5, 2008 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Beijing Fan Zone
Typical Western Misunderstanding on Today's China
For years, Western media and human rights organization criticized China government on many issues. But most of Chinese do not agree those criticism and think that it is double standard and lack of understanding of Chinese history and culture!
Misunderstanding 1: China = Communist country.
Most of Chinese think that Communism is dead in today's China. Chairman Mao led the country to gain the national independency in the name of communism but failed to improve people's lives. When China opened the door 30 years ago, Chinese government has been pushing capitalism, such as free market and reduce government control. The economic development has been so magnificent that Chinese can never imagine 30 years ago. And it is capitalism not communism brought up the improvement.
Misunderstanding2: China = a police country.
In the minds of most Chinese, the image of army is friendly and helpful to the people, more like firefighters in America. Whenever there is natural disaster, earthquake, flood, the first thing on the minds of Chinese people in disaster is that army is on the way to rescue very soon. Chinese today is very outspoken. On internet, in restaurants, cafes, people openly criticize the corrupted government officials, complain the environmental degration. Westerners expect to find police and solider all over the country watching the daily life of the ordinary people, they will be disappointed as it is not true.
Misunderstanding 3: China has no religious freedom.
Temples and churches in today's China are swamped with believers. Religious freedom may not exist during Chairman Mao's time. But since China opened the door 30 years ago, communism gradually died in China, there is strong spiritual needs among Chinese to handle the stressful modern life. Nowadays, temples and churches are swamped. My mother goes to Church every weekend in Beijing and found the church is so crowded that no places to even stand and sit. Family churches and groups studies are getting popular. Most of Chinese view FaLunGong as a evil religion. FLG told the believers that no need to see a doctor when you are sick. FLG also encourages believers to be involved in politics against government, which most of Chinese believe that they are supported by anti-China organizations to denounce China.
Misunderstanding 4: Genocide Minority in China
Tibetan as well as other minorities in China has been treated equally as others, sometimes with more privileges that Han Chinese. The privileges include government special subsidiary on education and medical care, enforcement to have minority as leading members of government officials in the autonomous regions. The one child policy only applied to Han Chinese, but never to the minorities. The natural growth rate of Tibetan is 14%, higher than Han Chinese 9.4% in 2003. Tibetan population increased from 1.2M, reported by Dalai Lama in 1953, to 2.7M in 2003.
Cultural revolution 30 years ago called up by Chairman Mao was a mistake and a disaster to the culture of Han Chinese as well as other minorities. Temples were burned down by the little Red Guard. My grandparents were kicked out of their three layers mansion to work in quarry not allowed going back home. My family book recording my ancestors dated back 500 years ago was burned by the little Red Guard in the family. It is a very dark time in Chinese modern history. But today things has been changed. Chinese government invested heavily to rebuild and renovate the damaged temples and historical heritages. When Chinese got richer, more and more new temples are built across the country. Chinese are proud of their history and work hard to get them back piece by piece.
Misunderstanding 5: Chinese people = Brainwashed
When Westerners found that Chinese people trust their government or be positive about the government, they concluded that it is a result of brainwash, which is not true. When China is more open to the world, more and more Chinese walked out of door to travel around the world or even reside in other countries. Chinese today are very open minded to the Western culture. Internet population and the use of cellophone created a brand new active platform for people to share information. The media influence from government has been reduced. Most of Chinese made their own judgement on political and economic issues but not repeat what the media says. Most of Chinese people has concluded that the government in Today's China deserved the trust as the goverment did a great job to lift the people out of poverty. The basic human rights empowered to Chinese people. Facing the comments of being brainwashed, most of Chinese will say that the critics is ignorant of the change of today's China and China's history. When Chinese work hard to learn from Western culture, seldom Western people made efforts to learn today's China.
Chinese are welcome to any criticism from others to help the nation developed. But keep in mind that 1. The biased media may not give you a true picture of Today's China. More research by yourself or a visit to China can help you to know China better. 2. Chinese culture is very diffrent from the West. There is a reason why China is like today in this way. Learning the history and culture of China before pointing the fingers can help you look less like an idiot.
There are still many problems in China, government corruption, air pollution, you name it. As the American architect living in China said in Todd's show, China has its own way to get to the democracy and it won't be like the westerner expected and won't be happened over night.