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What doesn’t China need?

Popularity 11Viewed 10298 times 2014-5-5 21:14 |System category:Economy| improvement, future, China, development

Inspired by the comments to my previous post about what China needs, I decided to write what China needs to give up, what it doesn’t need. The title speaks for itself, no further explanation is needed. Let’s jumpstart:

0. The base: “你不了解中国” (You don’t understand China) reflex & The need to take action on its own
I mentioned in my previous post, but feel the need to underline: Any foreigner telling China what to do and what not to will only poke what I call the “你不了解中国” (You don’t understand China) reflex. Chinese people need to think and act for themselves. Many of the obstacles China faces is socially constructed to hinder its own progress, sad but true. And the solutions need to come from within.

Take my opinions as recommendations for raising awareness instead of arrogant dictations please. Because I aim at evoking no further patriotism (we have a lot of that in my country as well, I've had enough of it and not looking for more of the same for sure).

1. GDP is not everything
Alright, we know GDP makes people congratulate you and respect you. But it’s not everything. What matters is what you do with the increased levels of growth. There is no magical formula to determine the development levels of countries yet, because it’s a very broad and complex concept. However the current economic models are deficient in many ways, therefore politicians tend to focus on short term gains. Nevertheless, there are some other measurements such as Gini coefficient and Human Development Index (HDI)

China doesn’t need any ongoing infatuation with GDP.

2. Nationalism and military aggression distracts your people (and help your enemies instead)
These two go in hand in hand. In many countries, politicans use patriotism to divert attention from other issues (for example bad economy, high inflation rates, etc). Russia’s Putin is doing the same thing, and he consoles people with the idea of a historical strength an unity (annexing Crimea and drooling over other other autonomous/independent regions of sovereign countries)

China should realize that strong military is not a medicine for its bleeding wounds. And also that nationalism does nothing other than putting a line between “us” and others. Nationalism only creates a distinction, whereas the 21st century is that of integration and cooperation. Useless!

China doesn’t need anymore military obsession or nationalism. Nationalism worked in the past when nation-states emerged and large empires were done away it. But it’s no help to PRC in 2014.

3. History fetish doesn’t make you a hero automatically
Chinese culture, to Chinese people, is something like the descriptions of God in the Old Testament. Should you get a glimpse of it, your eyes burn and your whole existence melts. No mortal can appreciate it enough. It’s so unique that no laowai brain is capable of understanding it. And the proof is American exchange students’ accents and European tourists’amazement in their 1 week sightseeing in China. Other laowais? You don’t even exist.

OK, going on with my sarcasm. We know that nobody “understands China”. We know that Chinese have history. We know that the Chinese have ancient history as well. Americans may be mesmerized by it, but we non-Americans have our ancient histories as well, therefore not as impressed. My country had a great civilization and culture as well. But what do we do right now? Screw it up. Sounds similar? I’m not Chinese, remember, I don’t understand Chinese culture. It’s just that the development patterns are so similar. Even knowing a tiny bit about my history and culture provides me with a great insight into Chinese struggles. But in your opinion I can’t understand Chinese culture because…. You have no idea about other cultures in the world. Except for American stuff maybe (even that you know very little about)

Ancient history is ancient, you know. In the past. Move on. What advantage having an ancient history gives you except for bragging about it to foreigner?

Ahem, yes, I as an observant foreigner am angry. Sorry about that.

China doesn’t need to cling on its past to feel like it’s something. China doesn’t need to be a loser who always talks about his parents’ achievements in order to cover his lack of intelligence or skills.

4. Attachment to foreign stuff is China’s curse
Superiority complex always exists with the fear of inferiority. When it comes to foreign brand names and products, China feels ultimately inferior.

Remember how opium wars have started. China had a lot to export, foreigners needed and wanted lots of stuff, but didn’t have anything to sell back, China wanted nothing. Self-sufficient, wealthy and glamourous, China used to refuse the inventions and goods of the foreignlands.

Apparently gods didn’t like the situation, and it's advanced civilization became China’s curse. Modern China is punished with the admiration of foreign named stuff. I don’t know about electronics or fashion much, can’t give you specific examples. But go to Italy, France, USA, and see many clerks working in those luxury, designer-brand stores speaking in Chinese. Remember the girl who put up her virginity on sale online for an iPhone? It is a sociological problem no matter how you look at it, having sex with a man just because he has money is one of the worst things a woman can do to her body and to her self respect and virginity has a price?! But I’ll emphasis the iPhone nevertheless.

I used to teach English for some time, and asked about the materials they use. I remember the wonderful lady who hired me, and the expression her face had, and the tone of her voice when she proudly announced that the books they use are Oxford press. Which doesn’t guarantee that there will be no typo or whatever, just means they’re pricey!

China has a long way to be competitive in this sense, I know. My country had a similar admiration to French stuff but we dealt with it somehow, now names alone don’t signify anything.

China definately doesn’t need anymore of this commodified praisal of the West.


5. Taking things for granted isn't good in the long run
...especially natural resources, environment and... the people. When someone points out the graphics of China's economic growth, I can't help but imagine millions of people bent under those lines to lift them up. 

The emerging middle class lacks awareness about the nature. People waste food and electricity and water like there's no tomorrow. Paying money doesn't make any of these endless sources and always available. Many Chinese feel like they own the world when they own money. The poor, on the other hand, don't care for the environment because their options are limited. Toxic waste doesn't bother them unless they start facing its direct results.

And people, all, because there's a large number of them, are seen as a source to be exploited as well. Yet they have limits. Some sociological problems are deeply rooted in the culture and even though people would defend them to foreigners, they are paying the toll.

Setting aims wrong can lead to failure even though there is great work and progress. Short-term goals and trying to find short cuts don't produce desirable results in the long run. Sustainability should be the key, not fast results.

China doesn't need any more bragging about the things which constitute its assets, especially when it's wasting and hurting them. Definately no need for further wasting of anything.

6. And of course... Authoritarianism
I don't want to write long about this. The government is not your father, period.

And your father probably had it very hard when all burden was on his shoulders. I again feel the need to repeat that we have a similar problem in my country, in case people write comments like authoritiarianism, Confucianism etc in the comments. We don't know much about Confucius back home but we sure know about traiditional family burden, gender roles, hierarchichal political culture and authoritarianism which often shows itself in the form of expecting things to be done by your superiors instead, because you think you have no power. Which breeds lethargy. Even though individual power is not everything, not even necessary. That's why I emphasis civil society in the What China needs post.

China doesn't need any more of this authoritarian worldview, or holding onto it because it's tradition or something. All cultures need to weed their gardens from time to time.

*  *  * 


I feel like there should be more of what China doesn’t need anymore, but these are what I can think of right now (also there is considerable amount of self-censorship). What do you think I missed, what else is there that China doesn’t need?

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report robert237 2014-5-6 10:38
This sounds like a carbon copy of the trash talk of seanboyce88 and AndrewPKU.
The only difference is this gay western propagandist now has a female ghost.
With the mouth wide open of course.
Reply Report ross-chang 2014-5-6 11:50
After reading your article, I found that you are not mature, I don't know which country you are come from, but I bet every countries has it's own problems. Yes, I admit that China has some problems, during the developing, every countries has some problem. including USA and your country. China just like a baby or teenage, we should give more chances to her.
When you siad that China doesn't need patriotism, I disagree with your opinion, every countries needs the patrotism, if the German hasn't the patrotism, I don't believe it can grown fast and become to a big strong country after the world war II, there are many and many examples exist. You said the Chinese just like bragging about the ancient history to foreigner, I bet you found that from the newspaper and the TV show, but I can tell you that almost Chinese are not that, we know what's the life level we are, we know we are not a developed country, we have many problems to deal with, we believe that we can resolve it well. You telk about the poor and the rich, they don't care about the country and everionment, they just care about themselve, I admit that there are some people like that who live in China, but they are a few amount, you can't use the small amount number people to evaluate the whole country. You can say that some Chinese needn't something, but don't say the China needn't something. OK
Reply Report Eire8233 2014-5-6 13:28
This article is the greatest lot of 'codswallop' I've ever read about China.  It's so immature that it has taken 'naivety' to a whole new level;  an embarrassment to any foreigner who has lived in China.
Reply Report Maierwei 2014-5-6 15:51
Eire8233: This article is the greatest lot of 'codswallop' I've ever read about China.  It's so immature that it has taken 'naivety' to a whole new level;  an e ...
I'd appreciate if you would be kind enough to explain why and what made you think so.
Reply Report Maierwei 2014-5-6 15:53
robert237: This sounds like a carbon copy of the trash talk of seanboyce88 and AndrewPKU.
The only difference is this gay western propagandist now has a female g ...
Female ghost of a gay Western propagandist sounds quite cool to me, thanks! I will never ever take "gay" as an offensive word, but think mixing people's sexual orientations into the opinions they express and making a judgement accordingly feels offensive.

You must be right though, no wonder I sympatized with seanboyce88's posts before, will read AndrewPKU's posts as well.

FYI, there are many people who wouldn't include my country in the "West", we don't share most most common values with them. I can't say I feel totally non-Western either, I'd say I'm somewhere inbetween. You making the judgement can have something to do with prejudice about people's races, I guess?
Reply Report Maierwei 2014-5-6 16:05
ross-chang: After reading your article, I found that you are not mature, I don't know which country you are come from, but I bet every countries has it's own prob ...
Thanks for your comment and criticism!

I have to admit I can't understand what "You can say that some Chinese needn't something, but don't say the China needn't something" means. I know that it's not 100% of Chinese people doing the same thing! But a considerable number of people doing the same thing can harm China and China's image. That's why I say China doesn't need it. It's like, there are too many trees in this park, we need no more (because we have more than enough, and need more space and sunlight, for example)

I don't know what makes you think I don't give chances to China. But I agree with your analogy of developing countries being like babies or teenagers on the way to grow up.

That China doesn't need more patriotism, just like the rest of my post, is my personal opinion and of course people (like yourself) may not agree with it. It's kind of like a school of thought. Some people are conservative and value traditions whereas some people focus on the relativity of values. Lines are blurry in the postmodern times and subjectivity is maybe more apparent than ever. I agree that there is a line between patriotism and nationalism though, both of which can turn to be harmful.

And my views about history fetishism don't come from TV shows but on the contrary to what you said, from real people. Internet forums and people I talk with (Actually they start talking to me about these things) However I don't say ALL Chinese are like this. Neither you (saying most Chinese aren't like that) nor me (saying most Chinese people are like that) is a scientific argument, so we need to talk no further. This is a blog where people write about their opinions, not a sociological journal where people publish the outcomes of their recent surveys and researches.
Reply Report KIyer 2014-5-6 19:47
the people of the USA and UK are the most nationalist and militarist nations I have seen or known. When others are patriotic and value their own identity some term it 'nationalism' and as bad. how come? This is just playing with words to confuse people and justify hypocrisy. Everyone is entitled to the same measure of nationalism and militarism!
Reply Report Maierwei 2014-5-6 20:04
KIyer: the people of the USA and UK are the most nationalist and militarist nations I have seen or known. When others are patriotic and value their own ident ...
YES, totally agree!

I criticize my own country harshly for the same reason (not on this platform of course, which is not the right place)

American patriotism usually turns into a kind of propaganda, not clear aimed at who (outsiders or Americans)

About militarism... I'd say name any undereveloped, late industrialized country an you see coup d'etats, military-power worship...

I also agree what you say about patriotism and nationalism. It can easily become word-play. In my mind, I feel like nationalism would be more "active" or aggressive, whereas patriotism can be that "I recycle trash because I love my country" kind of thing. But of course, so easy to manipulate.
Reply Report Azindoo 2014-5-6 21:40
One must or should know that one horse race is not a race .If Chinese don't want to be assessed by others ,then they are scratching their anus as they Chinese say .
Reply Report TheMakerzBiz 2014-5-6 22:34
Your comments on environmental concerns are well needed. I am shamed at how people treat resources here. Sometimes when I see people throw their garbage on the ground I ask them why they don't want China to be beautiful. They are baffled. Of course China is beautiful, so who cares that it's now covered in garbage?

The problem with the "foreigners made their environment dirty when they developed" argument is that no developed country had 1+ billion people. Oh well. Nice post!
Reply Report Maierwei 2014-5-6 23:36
TheMakerzBiz: Your comments on environmental concerns are well needed. I am shamed at how people treat resources here. Sometimes when I see people throw their garba ...
Thanks, and population size is something of course. And it's not only China, many countries have problems accepting that green growth is more adventageous in the long run...
Reply Report AndrewPKU 2014-5-7 01:20
Maierwei: Female ghost of a gay Western propagandist sounds quite cool to me, thanks! I will never ever take "gay" as an offensive word, but think mix ...
Ahahaha.  Now I've seen the "aggressive comment" you mentioned.    :)
Reply Report TheMakerzBiz 2014-5-7 07:50
Maierwei: Thanks, and population size is something of course. And it's not only China, many countries have problems accepting that green growth is more adventag ...
Environmental destruction is a problem all over the world. Regardless, China, especially in the dense east, will have extra environmental challenges. This is exacerbated by the flippant attitude of people towards environment and conservation -- big cars, trash on the ground, AC on full all summer, etc.

Sometimes I try to encourage positive environmental behaviours that a single person can perform. For example, I bring up a vegetarian diet with my Chinese friends. Not a strict vegan or vegetable-based diet, but perhaps two days a week without meat. My friends scoff! They tell me they aren't peasants and they will eat meat three meals a day thank you very much -- concerns about antibiotics, water tables, arable land, or feed are simply not considered worth their time . An inability to think about the future, especially the environment they will give their grandchildren, is frightening.

Of course, it's easy for me, a relatively well-to-do "westerner" to criticize!
Reply Report robert237 2014-5-7 08:35
You seem to know everything there is to know about the Chinese people.
It offends you when they try to point out that being a native of China suggests they know more about China.
That's very offense to just about everyone other than a western propagandist or a self important little twerp from the west.
Reply Report TheMakerzBiz 2014-5-7 12:08
robert237: You seem to know everything there is to know about the Chinese people.
It offends you when they try to point out that being a native of China suggests ...
aren't you a foreigner?
Reply Report robert237 2014-5-7 12:10
TheMakerzBiz: aren't you a foreigner?
A foreigner? Are you an alien?
Reply Report TheMakerzBiz 2014-5-7 12:18
robert237: A foreigner? Are you an alien?
you seem to know everything there is to know about the chiense people, so i wanted to ask: are you chinese or a foreigner?

of course i'm not an alien. i'm from earth and have legal status is my place of residence :)
Reply Report robert237 2014-5-7 12:22
TheMakerzBiz: you seem to know everything there is to know about the chiense people, so i wanted to ask: are you chinese or a foreigner?

of course i'm not an alie ...
So do I.
Reply Report Maierwei 2014-5-7 14:49
TheMakerzBiz: Environmental destruction is a problem all over the world. Regardless, China, especially in the dense east, will have extra environmental challenges.  ...
Oh my, I love the "We're not peasants" reaction! Haven't heard that before. If they knew about the hippie things foreigners do, like going to organic farms and work for food (which is 'peasant food' of course) Their ideas might change? It got me thinking that agricultural volunteering may not happen in China because growing food is a offensive word. (In my language it's "villager", and refers to minimalistic, simple yet ignorant lifestyle, that's why is slightly offensive)

Recycling can be an easier point to start, but many think "That's for old folks".

OK one good news: A friend of mine got small green plants for everyone in the office. And his green movement is growing! People started giving seedlings (I'm not sure this is what it is called) to friends an relatives so that they can grow the same plant as well.
Reply Report Maierwei 2014-5-7 14:57
robert237: You seem to know everything there is to know about the Chinese people.
It offends you when they try to point out that being a native of China suggests ...
I don't know everything about Chinese people but am good at literary analysis. Which makes me understand the contexts of literary texts and situations in real life. I plan to do important things in future and am totally at peace with my strong and weak points.

And I already told you that one of my weak points is that I am not a "Westerner".

You are wrong, I'm not offended the least bit that native Chinese can know more than I do. I am bothered when the context they point things out is irrelevant. Do you see what I mean? It is the context. Irrelevance. Not fighting to see who is more important or knowledgable, I don't care!

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Maierwei

Whenever I get lost I look super-confident. Whenever I feel so scary, boring and ordinary people tell me I\'m so nice, interesting and friendly.

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    hi,younger sister,it seems you haven't written blog more than two years.what's up?(袁新圣)

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