Hyperlink to the source text in Chinese: 中国为什么容易被妖魔化？
translated by @krizcpec
proofread by Michelle Adams @Michelle9647
I do not agree that China is being demonized. Then why am I writing about this topic? It is because occasionally, there may be some inaccurate reports by the West; and whenever our official media and people with strong nationalist sentiment see such reports, they would say that this is a collective, intentional distortion of China. English writer Joseph Rudyard Kipling once said, “Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”
Kipling's words were too absolute, the two sides shall surely meet; yet how they meet, and how do the two sides handle it when they meet, these are the (underlying) questions of the East and the West. The way to handle it when the two sides meet would involve many aspects of the spiritual and material life of both sides; this puzzle is one that begs study. In the course of the East-West convergence, China's reactions, needless to say, are different from many other countries in the East. The problems [of misreport] in the West – is that they have their own check and constraints from interested parties. (If we are a bit more sensible, we could see the self-correcting ability and mechanism of China's media is in no way comparable to that of Western media. Not unless if a [Western] news agency wants to fold up, otherwise none of them would not take credibility seriously.) I think what the Chinese should ponder is: if indeed China is being demonized, what have we done wrong, so that the West can demonize us so easily? If misunderstood, people should first ask themselves if there is anything wrong with them. This is exactly one of the reasons I stress reflection on China's own problems. Although I cannot make clear such a vast proposition in a hastily written article, there are some viewpoints I'd like to share, and in so doing provide everyone with something to think over and to criticize. The viewpoints are listed out as follows.
One: The land mines of irrational nationalism we have today are the result of China's education that fools the public. As Chip Tsao has put it, “China's education is laying mines for the future.” This saying is an alternative of describing the same thing as Yuan Weishi's saying of “Wolf's milk education” did. Our education is one that mixes up the notions of loving our country, loving the government, and loving the [Chinese Communist] Party, one that stupefies the people. Whenever the West criticizes the CCP dictatorship, our government would say that is criticizing China, that is anti-China, an insult on China. On hearing these, the ordinary people who received the official stupefying education would, jump in an illusory fury and want to fight. What I am trying to say is that many of the foreign criticism on China are actually on the government, on the CCP dictatorship, they are not criticizing this country or our culture, they have no discrimination against us, that's all. As an ordinary person, it is important to be able to see this and not be swayed by the government. Sadly though, how many of those are not upset with their miserable state of living and yet have a strong sense of patriotic anger actually understand this? The government just makes good use of all this to legitimize its rule and to maximize the interests of the ruling clique.
Two: As a country that lags behind [in developments], [China] has a feeling of [being threatened by other more advanced countries]. Thus it sees all criticisms as provocations. Since 1949, we have been taught that if one lags behind, one will inevitably be thrashed. This proposition is ridiculous, yet it is still widely accepted today. There are many countries in the world that lag behind, they have not been thrashed before; the fact that one lags behind does not naturally links to its being thrashed. However, dated notions do indeed bring about unnecessary hassles in a world that is more interconnected than in the past. Let's take the Opium war for example, the British wanted nothing more than mutually beneficial business ties, and it was turned down unreasonably by China, this resulted in the troubles that followed. Of course leading to a war like that, the West was not unsuspected of bullying; yet we should not overlook China's own role in the outbreak of that war. From the Opium War to now, we still have not been freed from the masochistic mindset. This reflects our people's distorted, and fragile mentality, which was, nevertheless, magnified for the needs of our terrible modern history studies and ideologies, thereby becoming a maniacal sentiment of nationalism.
Three: the government nurtures the masochistic mindset in the general public so that its image of a great savior that saves the world looks grander. After risen to power in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party's initial propaganda was “without the CCP, there is no China.” Later they felt such absolute statement to be overly shameless, they changed it to “without the CCP, there is no NEW China.” Dogmatic sentences with the structure of “without..., there is no...” have been repeatedly abused since 1949. This abuse strengthened the illusory sense that without the Communist party, the Chinese is not Chinese, the Chinese could no longer live. Why do they want to stupefy the public and create this type of illusory sense? That's because they know very well that they seized power by force; that they grew in size when the rest of the country was busy fighting the Sino-Japanese War; they fear they do not have the populace's allegiance. Therefore they have adopted a series of brainwash strategies, and successfully implanted in the public's head the notion of “without the CCP, there is no new China”; rendering its citizens completely unable to think independently. From nurturing the masochistic mindset, to exaggerating oppression and aggression by other countries, [the CCP] has completed its full mental enslavement and domination of the nationals. They then exercise all-inclusive control on human's material needs by authoritarian economy, thereby successfully inserted into the people's mind the chip of its image as a great savior.
Four: [The CCP] implants [within the Chinese] the chip of “[its image as the] great savior”, exaggerates the Imperialist aggression history, and nurtures the opium of nationalism [in China]. Whether or not the West had invaded China is without question. Indeed, the West's bullying behaviors when they interacted with China [back then] should be criticized; yet those [bullying behaviors] to some extent was also related to our country's dictatorship and its xenophobia. Surely many of the contemporary wars that broke out [in China] were caused by foreign countries' bullying, invasions, and provocations; but China's own problems had also played a part in leading to these disasters, we need to face this rationally. Prior to 1949, people would still call a spade a spade when they talked about the Western invasions; yet after that year, people would have no hesitation in distorting all historical facts to eliminate doubts about the legitimacy of the CCP regime, all in the interests of that party. For instance, they refuted everything about the U.S. only because it supported the Kuomintang; the wave of anti-America sentiment that swept through the country in 1950s served only the private interests of the rulers, it was not [started] for the benefits of the people, or the nation. The reason they demonized the U.S. in the 1950s was of course in part due to the Cold War, but we must not deny the facts that the Chinese Communist Party leaned to the totalitarian U.S.S.R. and its practices that served the party's own interests.
Five: Foreign policies that serve the interests not of the nation but of the party are a cause of the frictions between the East and the West as well as leading to the so-called demonizing of China. As everyone knows, back in 1950s and 1960s, many died in the country and yet our government had us tightened our belts to support the ideological class “brother” Vietnam; later on, due to differences in ideology, our government made us go punish Vietnam. These were all partisan diplomacy, which brought about national disasters. Even in its foreign policy today, when [our government] decides whether a country is a friend or a foe it is the party and the ideology, rather than the interests of the country and the nation, that is taken into consideration. [As we can see], whichever country that the free and democratic world sees as a hooligan regime is a friend of China—such as North Korea and Cuba. Making irrational decisions in the interests of the party and disregarding everything else, China, how should the West see you then? Democracy does have its problems, but for the last three or four hundred years, the 20th century in particular, it has proven to be a social system more superior than others, including the so-called Socialism.
Six: Totalitarian rule is the real cause of the West “demonizing” the Chinese government. Politics nowadays needs to be rid of monopoly and calls for checks and balances between the power and political parties. Only in this way can the rights and freedom of each individual gets protected gradually. A system that monopolizes politically and engages in one-party dictatorship is continuing the savage law of the jungle of the past; that is uncivilized power politics. A system like this should be criticized, condemned, and corrected. An autocratic system causes many things to go wrong. Lets just look major Tibet issues today. Firstly, [the government] blocks information, rejects the truth, and denies the West the opportunity to really get close to Tibet, this results in reportage in the Western media. Secondly, the official propaganda media lost all its credibility, and yet the government allows only Xinhua News Agency to cover stories [in Tibet] exclusively; this of course stir up strong reactions from all sides around the world. Thirdly, there is the practice of organizing interviews for media, that is, restricting media's freedom of conducting interviews. The practice of “organized interviews” is in itself absurd, and way different from interviews that require the truth. Moreover, during the interviews official acts of deception were discovered. We can say that the strong reactions, as well as misreports, from the international community this time may be caused by their own values and bias. But the most important thing is the concealing attitude of the Chinese government and its extremely inept public relations response to crises. The government thinks that by continue using the long employed practice of blindfolding the masses with the power it has it can eliminate all other voices and questions. This is just self-deception. [With the West] unable to cover the truth, it inevitably leads to misreport, which is then exaggerated as “demonizing”.
Seven： Irrational nationalism is a double-edged sword which ultimate victims are the public and the country. With the decades old stupefying education that preaches loving the party equals loving the government, and loving the government equals to loving the country, the government has succeeded in sneakily switching concepts, placing the interests of the party above that of the country and the people, substituting the latter with the former; the interests of many have therefore been taken away without even realizing it. This is the success of the decades old stupefying education. Besides, in the interests of the party, [the ruling clique] successfully “demonized” freedom and democracy, and convinces the general public that freedom and democracy do not suit China, thereby completing their hijack of the rights of the people. To ensure their grip on the country and the people and facilitate their grab for partisan interests, they launch every propaganda machine without hesitation to distort the benefits of democracies, they would also say anything to stress the superiority of the socialist system. One such example is the Taiwan Straits issues, they take a tough stance on Taiwan not because they are patriotic, but because otherwise they cannot answer to those who get irrational with nationalism or those who get drunk with patriotism, and this involves their governing legitimacy. In fact, to really solve the Taiwan problem is not difficult, simply set aside the partisan interests and putting the interests of the general public, of the people, and of the country first. That's it. However, will the autocratic government do this? I sure yearn for unification, but if the government does not relinquish partisan interests, if it does not stop putting its dictatorship first, then how can it unify Taiwan? Who would be willing to unify under a totalitarian regime when they can enjoy freedom and democracy? The Hong Kong model is simply not applicable to solving the Taiwan problem. Whereas Hu Jintao's recent suggestion,“One China, respective interpretations”, is comparatively more practical. But the road to true unification is long and winding, unless China adopts freedom and democracy, it cannot unify Taiwan. Without changing its authoritarian rule, and use partisan interests to go against the democracies of the entire world and the interests of your citizens, China, if unfortunately you get demonized, who can you blame?
Written at 8.40 A.M. , April 10, 2008 in Chengdu