Are your views on China ever misunderstood?



Talldarkn67 

I’m a very blunt person. I appreciate “tough love” and criticism if I’m doing or saying something wrong. I’ve found that when I’m discussing China, people think I have something personal against all things China. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve lived in China for 8 years now. I have a Chinese wife and a half Chinese daughter. I have a small close knit circle of local friends in multiple Chinese cities. Sort of like my extended family. The warmth, friendliness and generosity of my actual Chinese family and my extended Chinese family, never ceases to amaze me. Even after 8 years. Only people who don’t know me would think I “dislike China”.


What bothers me is when I discuss the problems in China, I get branded a “hater”. For example. When talking about China’s lack of inventions and constant copying. While China’s ability to take existing ideas and improve them or make them bigger is clear to anyone. In my opinion this way of doing business limits their potential. Rather than improving or increasing the scale of current tech and ideas. 


I believe that the population of China has the ability to come up with ideas that change the world like gunpowder and the compass did so long ago. What kind of “world changing tech” would we have today from China, if people in China weren’t allowed to copy from others? While some people make take my thoughts on China’s copying as “hating on” them. Its not true. It makes me sad to think of what could be but isn’t in regards to China’s potential for invention.


While that’s just one example. I find that anytime I discuss any subject that pertains to China in anything but a positive light. Some people always seem to think I have a completely negative opinion about China. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. I feel only by being honest and frank about the problems in China will they ever be solved. 


I truly hope China continues to rise and that the lives of the Chinese population continue to be improved. Not only for the sake of my Chinese family and extended family but for the benefit of the world. I just think some “tough love” and honesty about the real problems in China are best for China’s future. Has anyone else had similar experiences?


(ALL COMMENTARY FROM reddit.com/r/China)

UtterPartialRefrains 

Perhaps you can word your criticism differently. As a foreigner, you’re in the unfortunate position that any critique is naturally seen as overbearing and triggers an Us vs. them mentality. Being blunt is perhaps something you value but that is not shared by all people.


As for your choice of topic, the lack of innovation within Chinese culture has been hacked over again and again. Whether it’s true or not, it’s like discussing a stereotype like saying Americans are fat or the British are haughty. Perhaps you should use some of your western ingenuity and find other fresher perspectives.


arechinathrowaway

I find that there is a time and a place for talking about these sorts of things, and also that it depends a lot on the person who you are talking to.


Generally, if you’re going to talk about these sorts of things, it may be better to discuss them in a 1-on-1 setting with someone. If you’re bringing things up at the dinner table in front of all the colleagues, then you’re essentially pressuring people to divulge personal opinions/positions when they might not want to do so. This will, inevitably, be met with a lot of backlash.


Also, many people simply are not interested in talking about politics or these problems. The truth is that talking about these things is unlikely to have any effect whatsoever on the issue at hand.

iwazaruu 

“I’ve lived in China for 8 years now.”

still thinks talking about problems in China with Chinese people is a good idea

At the end of the day though no one wants to hear people whine or complain.


BillyBattsShinebox 

Come to Britain, where bitching and moaning is the nation’s favourite pastime



LeeroyJenkins430

I mean Chinese people talk shit all the time about china they’re just really low key about it


mthmchris

I’m the opposite. I like it here and (although it’s rare) have at times been branded an apologist or a wumao.


Like, certainly the politburo ain’t a council of angels. I’m pretty cynical when it comes to politics here and really, the sustainability of the economic growth in general. But I find it strange that people have difficulty separating ‘politics/economics’ and ‘life’. I’ll voraciously defend the latter, but people then seem to mistake me for one of those goofy wide-eyed newcomers that ooh and aah over the latest shiny skyscraper and think the CCP as some collection of philosopher kings.


There’s more to a society than its government. But I guess in the Western mystique we tend to conflate the two, and assume any malfeasance from the latter is a reflection on the character of the former. But whatever.


Why ANYONE Can Be Chinese !


HotNatured United States

There’s more to a society than its government. But I guess in the Western mystique we tend to conflate the two.


I would disagree with you here, but appreciate what you’re saying otherwise. In Mao’s Talks at the Yenan Forum, he argued that there is no art that is not political– that Chinese art must serve the working people. The way I have come to see it, this is the case with everything in China. Nothing can be interpreted as apolitical, because nothing is given that sort of leeway in the eyes of the government or the people.


I also think that you’re wrong about the relationship between government and society. You have it backwards. People see sociocultural malfeasance as a product of government steering.


mthmchris

Except I feel like that’s a real ‘top-down’ overly analytical lens to view things. In terms of people’s everyday life, nowadays I don’t think there’s much interaction between the politics of the central government and what sort of baozi they’re eating for breakfast or how many gym membership flyers they hand out on the tianqiao.

Of course, it’s possible to twist and construe everything as somehow intrinsically political – but I think that’s just because people feel vaguely comforted by the idea that there’s some sort of tangible person or organization to praise or blame. It’s an easy shorthand to make sense of the world.


You have it backwards. People see sociocultural malfeasance as a product of government steering.


You’re totally right here, this is way more common. I see a good chunk of expats periodically say what would be otherwise some pretty bigoted shit (“these savages can’t queue and always eat food with bones!”) – but their comments are excused in their head because they implicitly ‘blame’ the government (“I’m not racist, I love Hong Kong!”… that sort of thing).


ArcboundChampion

How is it bigoted to point out China’s flaws?

Like, you can acknowledge that these things exist and even get annoyed by it. But at the end of the day, it’s their culture and you just gotta deal. I avoid chicken and fish because of all the bones, but I’m not all, “Fuckin’ dumbasses can’t debone for shit.” It’s just not something I enjoy, so I avoid it. Similarly, I get annoyed at checkout, but I’ll be damned if I haven’t learned to throw an elbow with the best of them.


And for the everyday things, no, there isn’t a lot of politics, but as a teacher at an international school? I fucking tiptoe around that shit everyday because they are taught certain indisputable “facts” that can’t be contradicted. I accidentally asked if anyone went to Taiwan (one student was from Taiwan) during a discussion of recent travel over a holiday and kids went apeshit. There are many topics I will not broach for fear of backlash from parents or Chinese admin (kids generally don’t care). One teacher got shuffled because a worksheet mentioned the One Child Policy after it was relaxed.


Things that aren’t considered political elsewhere are supercharged here because the Party makes it so


mthmchris

Yeah nothing wrong with that. Like, I’ve heard people say variants of “dumbasses can’t debone” and people throwing around the word ‘savage’. That’s bigoted.


Adorabro United States

While that’s just one example. I find that anytime I discuss any subject that pertains to China in anything but a positive light. Some people always seem to think I have a completely negative opinion about China. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.

I find this to be the case with people who are either completely unfamiliar with China or people who are still in their honeymoon stage of culture shock. Whenever I’m remotely critical of anything here, some of these people tend to get on the defensive as if they’re trying to protect some sort of picture of China they already have. Mind you, it’s one thing to talk about the pros and cons of a country or culture, but if it’s constant criticism, then not a lot of people want to deal with that. Hell… I wouldn’t want to hear about it all the time.


Wusuowhey

Certain people have defined what it means to “like” and “dislike” china, and according to their paramaters, you’re operating in the dislike category. Even though that isn’t true for you. Yeah, it’s the reality and the narrative they’ve created for themselves, and the same one they carry with them to all corners of the world to twist arms, gain influence, or win praise.


BixKoopTaiwan

You need a lot of tact and a positive mentality. Or you shouldn’t bother.

For the conversation to go anywhere, you need to convince people you’re sincere, not concern trolling.

Start off talking about how China can improve its education system and boost innovation rather than go on about how China can’t invent anything and Chinese only copies/steals.


Heywood12

….talking about China’s lack of inventions…..

They gave us gunpowder, the compass, paper making, mechanical clocks, the umbrella, movable print, and kung fu films. You want MORE?


LaoSh

That wasn’t current China. The PRC took that China and threw it off a building. The PRC has contributed nothing to the world other than human suffering.


Locadoes

Also a lot of the Kung Fu films were made in Hong Kong or Taiwan. Right after Handover, Hong Kong’s filmmaking industry went downhill.


HotNaturedUnited States

Jackie Chan’s tour-de-force performance in Who Am I? can be interpreted as a rumination on this.


krang123

The PRC has contributed nothing to the world other than human suffering.

And, like… 30 fold economic growth and the greatest reduction in poverty in human history.

But yeah… nothing but suffering.


LaoSh

Putting people into poverty then pulling them out is not a net benefit. I’ve worked in a lot of those “no longer impoverished” locations. Food security should not be a concern of those no longer in poverty. Turns out the $1 a day your government needs to insure to keep you out of the poverty stats does nothing if you are legally not permitted to seek gainful employment and have zero protection from institutionalized racism.

krang123

Putting people into poverty then pulling them out is not a net benefit.


Yeah, it was the CCP that put the Chinese people in poverty, right? Under Chaing, everyone was just rolling around in Lambos and the streets were paved with gold, and it wasn’t a 90% rural country full of peasants with zero industry, right?


Turns out the $1 a day your government needs to insure to keep you out of the poverty stats does nothing if you are legally not permitted to seek gainful employment and have zero protection from institutionalized racism.


Not really sure what you’re talking about with the “not being able to seek gainful employment” stuff, or the “institutionalized racism” stuff. 92% of the Chinese are Han. The other 8% have integrated to varying degrees into society. But African immigrants, or, hell, even African Americans whose ancestors have lived in the country for 300 years don’t face institutionalized racism, right?


You’re being delusional if you think that there hasn’t been a substantial reduction in poverty in the country over the past 20 years. You’re delusional if you think that the CCP was responsible for the poverty in the country after they took over post-WWII.


But I suppose you can always head to the utopian democracy that is India, if you don’t like it in China, right?


Caucasian Men HYPER-SEXUALIZED by Chinese TV


enxiongenxiong United States

Not true, the word “brainwash” is directly from Chinese


LaoSh

The PRC has contributed nothing to the world other than human suffering.


tian_yang

To be fair I’d be insecure too if I was from a country as shitty as China.


djbeefstew

If I’m going to insult China— I’ve usually prepared an even bigger critique of my home country to follow it.


Polypinoon European Union

I’ve found that when I’m discussing China, people think I have something personal against all things China.

Mainlanders have been brainwash to view even the slightest, smallest of negative comments on China as a personal attack on them.


krang123

This may be true, but often people go out of their way to shit on the country as well.

People bitching about the air pollution here, when most of it is coming from keeping factories open that provide shit for Western consumption, is a key example.

I was watching a food vlog about someone eating street food in Beijing, and there were people rambling in the comments section about gutter oil and the likes rather than how good the food looked.

There’s room for honest criticism of China. But the West also has a huge inferiority complex and has been rudderless for decades, whereas China’s a vibrant and exciting place undergoing tremendous change.


XitlerDadaJinpingTaiwan

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

You are a duck.

If I’m going to insult China— I’ve usually prepared an even bigger critique of my home country to follow it.


PolypinoonEuropean Union

I’ve found that when I’m discussing China, people think I have something personal against all things China.

Mainlanders have been brainwash to view even the slightest, smallest of negative comments on China as a personal attack on them.


I had a chat with an expat “Uncle Tom”


krang123

This may be true, but often people go out of their way to shit on the country as well.

People bitching about the air pollution here, when most of it is coming from keeping factories open that provide shit for Western consumption, is a key example.

I was watching a food vlog about someone eating street food in Beijing, and there were people rambling in the comments section about gutter oil and the likes rather than how good the food looked.

There’s room for honest criticism of China. But the West also has a huge inferiority complex and has been rudderless for decades, whereas China’s a vibrant and exciting place undergoing tremendous change.


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