BBC dared to publish pro-China essay

A Mr. Li sends the BBC an essay from a popular Chinese perspective critical of Western media and dares them to publish it. They have, and EastSouthWestNorth translates the essay and some of the reader comments.
“Like the majority of people around me, we support our government and we love our nation even though we know that there is still a long way to go before we attain the ideal society in our hearts … The reason why we no longer worship the western media is because they make inaccurate and unfair reports about China and damage our dignity … We firmly believe that China will join the ranks of the most developed nations in the world, and China will become the most important nation for world civilization!”

9 thoughts on “BBC dared to publish pro-China essay”

  1. I’m not qualified to decide which parties get how much blame. I assume that (1) people are ultimately responsible for their own actions/decisions/responses, (2) Western nations aren’t completely innocent bystanders when it comes to China, (3) there’s probably plenty of blame to go around.

    Chris – we you in China in 1950?

    By the way, there’s a discussion of this essay at Fool’s Mountain: The Chinese essay BBC was dared to publish (contrasting argumentation styles)

  2. I hope that China will soon become the most important nation in the world if only because then it could finally shed this annoyingly insecure nationalism. Who in the UK waves the Union Jack, complains about national dignity, and dreams of the world bowing down to its national greatness? The BNP, basically, and other assorted idiots. Even in the United States you have pockets of people in New York and maybe San Francisco who don’t idiotically chant U-S-A at every chance. In China, however, across the board everyone shares this childish nationalism. Please, China, achieve your goals and grow up.

  3. No doubt the view of the writer is a popular one. But just judging from our very limited experience here and the little bit of reading we do on and offline, I’d say the diversity in opinion on the Mainland regarding issues linked to nationalism is broader than Mainland media or Western media suggests. The Mainland media is herded toward projecting a sense of “harmony” for the sake of “social stability,” and the major Western news media… I guess there’s a lot of reasons why our different countries’ media don’t convey a wider variety of Mainland opinion.

    I feel your annoyance; we bump into this insecurity often (see here and here for examples). Although I don’t think “the West” deserves all the blame for the state of things in China, many Western nations did have a significant historical hand in shaping the way things are today. See here for bit of the official narrative.

  4. Thanks for your response. I’m sure I am completely wrong in saying that people across the board in China have a childish nationalism. Something as complex as people’s feelings about their own country couldn’t possibly be that simple. The Western press has been particularly bad in portraying the feelings of the Chinese people. As just one example, I remember how they simplified and misrepresented the thoughts and feelings of the students in June, 1989. Saying they were ‘pro-Western’ completely missed the story. I experienced more nostalgia for Mao and the Party of the early 1950’s when I was living in Jilin City at the time than love or admiration of the West.
    Good point about the West having a historical hand in shaping current Chinese nationalistic feelings.

  5. Yes we (not really “we” so much as those who happened to be born in the same country but a century or so before) share some blame for screwing them over in the midst of what should have been just the next transition between Dynasties.

    But is it our fault that China managed to import and embrace so many of the West’s very worst ideas? nationalism, communism/Marxism-Leninism….

  6. No, I was in Jilin City in 1989. I wasn’t clear with that sentence.
    My point was that there was a huge disconnect between what I would read in Western newspapers and what I experienced. Everyone from the NYTimes to the Guardian gave the impression that the Chinese who supported the students were ‘pro-democracy’ and compared them to the East Germans on the eve of the wall falling. Everyone I knew, however, agreed that corruption was a problem but wanted to return to the pre-Great Leap days of the Communist Party.

  7. I had the same realization when I finally started to take a closer look at those events. It was much less organized and focused than the popular-level rendition I grew up hearing in North America.

    By the way, the Fool’s Mountain discussion I linked to above is turning out to be more civilized than most. If you’re interested in ‘Chinese’ (loosely defined) reactions to that article (in English), I suggest you check it out.

  8. thanks, Joel. I will definitely check it out. I didn’t mean to come across as so abrasive by saying ‘grow up’ in my initial e-mail. I was in a bit of crotchety mood at the time.
    I would love to join in a civil, cool-headed discussion about nationalism and other China topics.

  9. well, “civil, cool-headed” discussion might be a little too generous. The reason they’re not yelling at one another over there is because most of them share similar views. They’re still a ways off from really connecting with a normal English-speaking Westerners.

    your “grow up” comment… at this point it’s doomed to be counterproductive, but I feel where you’re coming from, and I do an awful lot of tongue-biting myself some days.

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