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My Opinions on Patriotism

Popularity 18Viewed 4517 times 2015-6-7 21:21 |Personal category:life abroad|System category:Life| chinese, china, patriotism

This piece of article originates from a fierce debate (which was evolved into a quarrel I’d say) among our forum members (Chinese and foreign friends inclusive) last Friday. And after the debate, one foreign friend studying in China sighed "I could not ever understand national pride, because to me, pride should be reserved for something you achieve or attain on yourself, not somethinhg that happens by accident at birth.” Thus comes my opinion.


I understand that people who are born and grown up in diffrent countries with different culture and social environment will obtain their distinct underatnding of life values, which should be respected by all of us living on this common planet. As to Chinese people, maybe you (our foreigner friends) feel like that many of us are a little bit sensitive and techy when others are making negative comments on the nation, the government and the leading party, which is even convoluted to you.


Here I’d like to try to give you a probable reason on this phenomenon, from the point of Chinese culture.


This kind of national pride, or more accurately, patriotism, is really not a small probability event among the Chinese population, domestically and overseas, and even the overseas Chinese who have changed their nationality for two or three generations. You may feel puzzling and wierd, how comes it like this? But I think it's deeply and profoundly related to the Chinese culture.


You know the conception of 'home' and 'country'. In our culture, the two concepts are tightly related with each other. One wouldn’t expect that he could keep his home if his country had been invaded, occupied and taken over by other foreign nations. At a deeper level, the home refers to a small family, while the country means a greater one for all the people. Once the greater one is at risk, any family members, I mean everyone in the country should take the responsibility to unite and protect it, and let his own small family aside. It sounds to you guys there is no human rights to each individual, but this view of ‘the country is exactly our home’ is one of the most important component in the philosophy of Confucius. I think this is far different from many other cultures over the world.


The period full of tears and blood for Chinese nation from the year 1840 till 1949 further imprinted the view deep in the mind of the people. The location of China on the earth is at a corner, with endless sea to its east and south part, insurmountable great Himalaya mountain to its west and barren deserts to its northwestern part. Thus the country is almost isolated and protected from outside, and this is why the nearly 5000 years of Chinese culture has been well developed and conserved and passed down, until the year of 1840. Like every coin has two sides, on the other side, China lagged behind other countries because the ignorant emperors were so self-satisfied of the current state without any knowledge of what happened outside. So the result was that Chinese people suffered a lot from the hell-like life during the tough period, and there was nowhere to escape. Therefore we realized that how important if we could have our own independent country.


And then comes the Mao’s and Deng’s period. There appeared kinds of problems during the process of development, among which some have been resolved and some remain. And new problems keep coming out. Today's China is far different from the one in 1980s. Individuals begin to realize and ask for more rights of themselves. Kinds of social conflicts emerged. And people today, especially the post-90s, many of whom don't care much about the nation and the country as their elder generations do, they care more about the own rights, because they are born in a peaceful period which good living conditions. That's why many elderly sigh, ‘oh, don't know what to say about the current youngsters!’ However, this is not bad sign, because we can see that the society is more advanced and more open. When I say China is great, I’m really proud of her, because it gets more open and keeps making progress (without the meaning of making comparison with other countries). Although it's in a new era, the two concepts of home and country are still closely related in our culture. In addition, Chinese people are liable to look for their positions in the world. He may not realize one thing, but he always keeps in mind that, 'I'm a Chinese, and I belong to the Chinese nation.’  


But I don’t think this phenomenon is unique to Chinese nation. I remember that I was deeply touched by a famous film ‘Brave Heart’ about fifteen years ago. Gibson in the film portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. I still remember the last scene that Wallace refused to submit to the king. When the magistrate offered him one final chance, asking him only to utter the word, "Mercy", and be granted a quick death. Wallace instead shouted, "Freedom!", and the judge ordered his death. He is really a national hero. And there are many national heroes like Wallace in every country during such kind of critical periods.


This is my opinion about Chinese people’s patriotism. Hope this explanation will help getting you out from the confusion. And your opinions and comments are welcome!

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




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