Value Of Life Compared With Taiwan, Korea, United States

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From NetEase:

According to internet media reports: On the morning of May 5th, a cremation ceremony in Taiwan was held for the three victims from last month’s [April] 24th incident in Taipei where a crane smashed a mainland tour bus. After the cremation, the family brought their ashes back to Guangdong. The initial investigation results, the construction contractor compensated for each victim7,500,000 NT, which is over 1,800,000 yuan [RMB].
Upon release of this news, it attracted a lot of attention online. First was because the astronomical figure truly made mainland netizens sigh/sob, with some netizens even humorously saying: those who want to commit suicide, loan some money to go to TW (sorry, those two words/characters are sensitive words) to vacation, then wait under a crane to die, as this is the new age’s “waiting for good things to fall in your lap”; Second was because many netizens complained “why is the death compensation for the mainland so little? When the railway hit and killed a person they only paid 200 yuan…”; Third was because some netizens felt being born in mainland China was unfair, that even death was not worth anything…

Although netizens feelings are a little emotional, from another angle it shows that in mainland China, there are indeed many problems/issues regarding the value of life.

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Coincidentally, similar things have happened at the beginning of 2008. In an explosion and large fire of a refrigerated logistics warehouse in Korea’s Kyeonggi Province where 12 Chinese citizens died, the final agreement reached between the victim’s family members and “Korea Refrigeration [?]” was: “Victims’ families got at least 145 million WON to at most 480 million WON compensation, with an average compensation of 240 million WON (about 1.95 million yuan RMB).
1.80 or 1.95 million, to the ordinary common people in China is definitely an astronomical figure. According to present income standards/norms, over 80% of China’s married couples can struggle/work an entire life and, even without eating or drinking,  not earn this amount.  Because of these two accidents, the moment the compensation agreements were announced, people in the country were shocked,  and being saddened is already very normal. However, apart from being shocked and saddened, combined with China’s death compensation standards, people also could not help but be amazed and have many questions.

Not only is it surprise with the huge difference between the enormous sums of compensation compared to the standards of death compensation in mainland China, it is more the indignation seeing the difference in principles between how China and foreign countries treat death compensation, the difference in understanding the value of life, and also how China looks down upon and treats the lives of its own citizens!

China’s death compensation, having changed over the years, at present, the highest limit is 400,000. Please note, there is a probem with a highest limit here because itself is an unbelievable thing.

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The value of a life is supreme/paramount, intrinsically unable to be measured by money, which is also to say, the value of life should not be a highest limit problem. Life is not merchandise, it should not be haggled over, and even less have a highest limit. Instead, there should be the opposite regulation, which is to have only a lowest limit, and even without one, there should not be an upper limit standard. The 400,000 upper limit, actually is us standardizing the value of our own citizens’ lives, treating Chinese people like merchandise, whose lives have a price tag, and what more is a low price! If this is not us insulting (prostituting) ourselves, then what is it? Moreover, how often do the families of victims get 400,000 in compensation? Just looking at “2007’s Shanxi Hongtong mine accident” compensation, with such a large storm, such broad affects, with 104 coal miners dead, each victim’s family only received 215,000 yuan.

The most exasperating and incredible is the railway department, which completely deviates from the country’s unified standards and created its own system, unilaterally setting its own compensation standards.

Its compensation is based upon the State Council’s 1979 document #178 “Provisions for accidents involving collisions between trains and other vehicles and railway staff casualties”. “Provisions” point out: “The victim’s families indeed will have difficuties,  so the railway department at its discretion can give 80-150 yuan for cremation or burial expenses, and also at its discretion give a one-time relief payment of 100-150 yuan,  but the patient’s hospital food expenses mus be paid by the patient himself…” no matter what the reason,  even suicide, it will be these few hundred yuan compensation. I bet even African refugees would mock Chinese people’s cheap price! However, this is how it is in China, and it continues to exist confidently!

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Seriously speaking, the compensation amount TW and Korea gives Chinese victim family members in comparison to China is of course a lot more, but it is still far inferior whome compared to America and other even more developed countries. However no matter what, their understanding and attitude towards the value of life is the same. It is said, Chinese people who die in Korea are basically third-class citizens, also what is known as “illegal workers”. However, in the process of compensation, Korea’s company did not bring up their legal status issue, but treated them like other ordinary citizens, and compensated them as they would other ordinary citizens, because from their perspective, people are people. On the other hand, let us again look at mainland China. We ourselves have divided ourselves into various levels. The cities and rural areas are not the same; and the cities from different areas are also not the same. The so-called “after the Chinese people have stood up” has been over 50 years now, all day shouting and screaming that everyone is equal, but now, even death compensation can be divided into various grades, so what face do we have to say everyone is equal?

Mainland China’s insult (prostitution) toward itself also directly encourages the citizens or oneself to disregard life. How many news reports have there been of cars, after hitting people, repeatedly running them over [to kill them]? You cannot remember clearly, right?! Why does this kinda of tragic thing repeatedly happens in China? The reason is simple, because Chinese people’s lives has an upper limit, and if they die, there is a standard for death so there is no need to worry. If they are injured, and must receive ongoing care, that would be a bottomless pit… If instead there were a lower limit provision, just like America and other developed democratic countries where every life must be compensated 1 million to 800,000, even several million, I bet all drivers would know how to drive even without warnings. Also, why is it that coal mine accidents keep happening? It is because the coal mine bosses who make huge amounts of money each day know very well that each life is only 400,000 and under and only a loss of a day’s or even a few hour’s profit. So everyone, would they take safety seriously? Moreover, there are even more similar phenomenon…

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Even more frustrating is that China’s laws has reduced the worth of Chinese people’s lives to less than animals!

Previously there was a new report in Xinjiang where a wild horse was accidentally hit and killed by a driver, and in the end the sentenced compensation amount was actually 810,000! It is not to say that wild horse is not worth that amount of money, nor is it to say that the driver shouldn’t have been sentenced to pay that much, but just like killing a giant panda, the price of 8 million would even be low. What people find hard to understand is how could the value of human lives not be that high? How could human lives in China be inferior to animals?

Another thing, as long as you are a foreigner who dies in China or dies riding a Chinese cargo vessel, it will immediately be in line with international standards, and huge differences immediately appear in the compensation standards! Why is it that simply being born in China automatically means a cheap life? Yet foreigners are born automatically noble? Either way, foreigners look down upon us Chinese, and even act as if they are aggrieved. Just take a look at China, we ourselves reducing the value of life, so what face do we have to still say anything?

Indeed, in mainland China there are a lot of people, and the level of consumption is relatively low, so drawing up the compensation sums of developed countries is not very practical, but we still cannot stipulate an upper limit for compensation. Stipulating an upper limit is essentially devaluing human life.

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Seriously, seeing news about compensation similar to the TW crane crushing people and Korea’s refrigerated warehouse explosion incidents, the first thought of this author first is: If it is possible, I want to go to a place or country like Taiwan, Korea, America to die, because at least there is gain in dead…otherwise, it will be like that popular phrase on the internet — being born in China and also dying in China is truly a lot of misfortune!

Notice: Recently, because there cross-provincial pursuits of guilt for speech (text) have happened, this person has cautiously, wary, and silently written this post. All clues and quotes come from the internet.  of come from the internet. If the BBS forum editor and moderator discover there is a problem, please timely notify through private message and delete to protect the author and forum. If a legal dispute occurs as a result of untimely post deletion, this person is not responsible. Thank you!

Comments from Tianya:

做鸭鸭:

It is because these who can go travel are all those who have money and power.
If you do not believe, go and search about these deceased people yourselves.
If they are not officials, they are bosses.
Their lives are expensive.

惊弓↑鸟:

There is an even more traffic example, a car hit and killed three children, and it turns out that two had city hukous while one had a rural hukou. The ones with city hukous were compensated over 200,000 each, but the rural hukou only got 40,000. This is the mysterious China…

我很Book14:

First, let us see if what would happen if Chinese tourists at a mainland China tourist attraction suffered the same accident. I bet the death compensations would be between 200,000-300,000. Yet Taiwan paid 1.8 million, which is 6-9 times the mainland’s standards.

According to America’s authoritative “World Wealth Report”, Taiwan’s per capital income is already over 16,000 USD, but mainland China’s per capita income is 2000 USD, which means Taiwan is 8 times more than mainland. It is therefore easy to see that the compensation amount is determined in accordance with the per capita income and price index. Taiwanese people’s per capital income is 8 times the mainland’s and death compensation is 6-9 times, very fair and reasonable, so where does the “astronomical figure” come from?

If the lou zhu is envious, you can illegally immigrate to Taiwan before dying.

卧槽他吗:

With so many Chinese people to go, more dying is no big deal, it will even alleviate the employment pressure and traffic congestion. Some have to give way for others!

TOM8306:

This is the lack of human rights problem that America often points at China for.

扬州府才子_a:

China is poor, Taiwan and Korea’s GDP per capita is 20+ times our’s.

China is simultaneously poor, chaotic, unequal, and unfair.

I党指挥抢I:

Too JB shocking, how can Chinese people be worth this much money?
Taiwanese people must have a plot, attempting to disrupt the mainland’s harmonious human life marketplace!!!

Comrades, we must be on our guard!!

爬着过河:

We cannot choose where we are born, but at least we can choose where we live and where we die.

爱雅虎:

Posting these kind of topics these days one needs to be careful.

If you anger the wrong person you could be taken to be reeducated.

haotaiyang12345:

I do not understand what your point is. When something like this happens, how much money can heal the wound? Money for the disabled/deceased is determined by so many factors: The financial ability of the party responsible, the kindness of the responsible party’s leadership, the level of importance to the government, the identity/social status of the victim, the government’s relevant laws, and the human rights we scream about daily. Which factor can determine how much the compensation should be? I personally believe, that the deceased is deceased, and so long as the family members get comfort/appeased it is good. Everyone be well.

ppl666:

Taiwanese people have said: If Taiwanese people were united [with China], the value of life would immediately drop N fold. If it were you, would you do it?

重庆一棒棒:

Chongqing’s newest compensation standards have been promulgated/released/announced.

City hukou is over 280,000, rural hukou is 80,000.

Truly shameless.

白髮小妖:

Regarding donations,

China has never been stingy,

Especially with foreign aid~~

Always easily giving how many hundreds of millions~~

Just hearing about it makes me drool~~

wshhhf:

Bullshit comparison!
You obviously know you live in the great socialist China, yet you still take things from the outside to compare compare compare!
Comparing bullshit, you TMD leave the country!

ayczq:

Not agreeing with some of your points, I personally believe:
1. In most circumstances, a train hitting a person is the pedestrians responsibility, and the train should not have to compensate.
2. On highways, when a car hits a person, it is also the pedestrian’s responsibility, and the driver should not have to compensate.

This is not a problem of how much money, this is a problem of responsibility. and it is not related to your discussion of compensation being higher outside of the country and low inside the country. You should not have discussed the railway problem.

是不是总想狂扁:

*Spit! I get angry whenever I see these kind of posts, TMD Chinese people are not worth anything, living like dogs.

清醇佳酿:

Strongly request organizing a five day trip to Taiwan!

Comments from NetEase:

zhangrui_tr:

You think Guangdong tourists who can afford to go to Taiwan for vacation are only worth 1.8 million?

I do not understand the victim’s background, I speculate that the victims in the incident can at least earn 1.8 million a year.

I even feel they paid too little.

自己找对象:

After the internet police arrested several people, everyone has been very wary. If they arrest a few more, there will be even more good news on the internet.

luoyi00050:

China really is the minority’s heaven, and absolutely hell for the majority.

For the vast majority of people born in China, aside from abandoning thinking, they also need to have good bodies.

duolingjiao:

They have all lost their lives, what is the point of thinking of these things. So pointless.

nndtsn:

Make some money and go to America to play a few days, and if you have nothing better to do, head towards the black people areas and look around! I guarantee there will be whatever you can think of! Hehe!

liudong19641:

Yeah, us Chinese always put down ourselves. When we do not respect ourselves, how can we raise our heads? Look at how all our movie stars like to marry foreign paupers (Zhang Ziyi), nevermind the ordinary common people.

daiyun1975:

Hehe, all you know are what normal Chinese citizens are compensated. I heard that some bureau-level leader from Hunan died while on a trip with his little secret [mistress], his family was compensated with 1.2 million. And it was considered dying in the line of duty. (This is just something I heard. I am not legally responsible.]

bubiao-liao:

How can life be measured with money? The problem of compensation should be determined by regulations. I personally hope this kind of thing will not happen to me.

森田国际电子:

The best part of this text was at the very end, everyone please skip the rest, thank you.

Note: Images are from EastSouthWestNorth.

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  • infinity

    5-12 remember

    • http://cnreviews.com/ Kai

      Is it me or has Ctrip taken over all of the Google Ads on chinaSMACK?

      FARE ALERT! FARE ALERT! FARE ALERT!

      LoL…

  • http://haxs jason

    Being chinese american. I’m still poor. Then again I live better lives than most chinese people. A tad bit better not that much better.

    Its what you do with your life. Its the fact that you don’t possess any skills. hence, lower gdp means lower level of labor. hence, china get your act together smarter not harder. Don’t cheat either. Hong Kong and shang hai is freakin rich? wtf?

  • http://haxs jason

    Oopz, I meant work smarter not harder. In addition, to stop cheating and bribing. That can get you so far. Women should not sleep their way to their top and men should not bribe their way to the top. Get their by your own merit. If not you just suck at life. End of story.

  • Be

    I agree with the fact that coal worker should definitely compensated more. It is not their fault for dying in an unsafe working environment. That should be government regulated to set a high minimum. However I agree with the person who said
    “1. In most circumstances, a train hitting a person is the pedestrians responsibility, and the train should not have to compensate.
    2. On highways, when a car hits a person, it is also the pedestrian’s responsibility, and the driver should not have to compensate.”

    Also, I feel that because of that the GDP per capita is so low, matching compensation money with richer countries is not economically feasible for the society.

  • anotherteacher

    Compensation is reflective of GDP per capita, but there is a lot more to it than just that.

    Lawsuits against companies for death and injury are meant to keep companies responsible for potential harm. Unfortunately, companies know how much people are “worth” and will use that information to maximize profits…

    The Ford Pinto had a problem with leaky gas tanks in the 70’s. Instead of recalling their product and fixing it, they decided that it would be cheaper to pay the lawsuits of “80 burn deaths” and “180 serious burn injuries” and to fix “2100 burned vehicles” at a total of $49.5 million than to pay $11 per vehicle at a total cost of $137 million. (Part of that actual document can be found on page 13 of this link: http://www.sociology101.net/readings/Pinto-Madness.pdf)

    So what did this tell the American people? Americans saw the settlement of their death at $200,000 as meaning that their life was only worth $200,000. They all believed that they were worth more than this so a big change happened. Laws were put into place to sue companies for ridiculous amounts of money to better reflect the perceived value of a human life.

    The reason ridiculous lawsuits happen in America all the time now are to stop companies from valuing life at too low a value. Unfortunately, this has been abused and we hear of the cases where a girl wins millions for spilled coffee at McDonalds…

    • too yellow

      remember that $200,000 is still taxable at 30-40%. A lot people forgot to factor in the ridiculous tax system most countries have. Which china so far doesn’t have or simply just isn’t enforced.

    • ST

      To be fair, that spilled coffee story from McDonalds has more too it than just someone trying to grub money (and she got hundreds of thousands, not millions). It has become so famous that it is starting to take on urban legen proportions d. Check out the details here if you are interested: http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm

  • Name

    It depends on the company involved. In the late 90s a US news program (can’t remember if it was 60min, 20/20, Dateline, etc) got ahold of an internal airline memo that said each life was worth about $50,000 US dollars to them

    • too yellow

      remember that $50,000 is still taxable at 30-40%.

  • http://www.jaydwang.com jay

    I feel china’s still living in the industrial age, when most western countries (didn’t want to sound euro-centric, but can’t really help it) are living in the post-industrial era. third world countries will remain in their third world country status unless they transcend their way of thinking. however it is so difficult to transcend anything without having enough food on the table. until china figures out a way to easily feed and not worry about running out of food for 1.3+ billion people, she will have a tough time breaking free from this shackle that has been placed on her own ankle by herself.

  • The Wade

    If anyone reads the “Around China” or “China Scene” part of the China Daily you might know what I’m talking about, but I’ve noticed the same sort of trend in the punishment of crimes. While this is far from a scientific study and only comes from my infrequent reading of that section of the paper, I’ve noticed that people who commit murder or manslaughter are often given lesser sentences than people who steal any sort of property.

    I read two stories that were right next to each other in the newspaper earlier this year, in one a young man killed his mother in a rage and received around a 4 year sentence because he said he remorseful. The other featured an ayi who stole a large sum of money (300,000yuan maybe?) from the house she was working at and left on a train. A couple days later she felt bad about it and had her father return the money. She was caught soon after and was sentenced to around 12 years in prison.

    I’d love to see some real research on this to see if that trend is true.

  • klimmer

    I think everyone is missing the point. In Korea, Japan, US and Taiwan, victims can take the government or a company to court and have a good chance of having justice meted. The courts are to different extents, independent of the government or of corporate influence.

    Can one say the same for China?

    • http://cnreviews.com/ Kai

      I think the lack of an independent judiciary is definitely part of this problem. The other thing is the lack of a representative legislature legislating laws that represent the interests of the people they are enforced upon. Oversimplification: A more paternalistic government can breed corruption; a more democratic government can breed inefficiency.

  • Yin

    It’s more than the amount of compensation. It’s the inequity that galls this particular poster, I think, whether it’s the inequity between countries or the inequity between regions and social classes (esp. urban vs. rural, worker vs. official). Part of the reason Communism took hold in China was because people, esp. poor, rural people living under the yoke of feudal landlords and corrupt officials, were tired of inequity. The Communists said they were going to bring equality to all; this ideology won them big time among the downtrodden masses, whose support secured their takeover of the country.

    Now, that concept of equality has seemingly vanished. Once again you have social, economic, and regional stratification. The “Communists” have turned against their ideology. They’ve become capitalists or worse. Yet, among the young, the impressionable, and the idealistic, this original belief – that all men and women should be equal – have become a source of cognitive dissonance. They are told that they are equal, but in reality they are not. This bitterness is not easily swallowed, and often spills out for all to see. The only reason it hasn’t become the sparks of a revolution is because there is no intellectual leadership: the CCP has made sure of that through its crushing of dissent. And so life goes on, and the resentment against inequity grows. How long can it last, I wonder?

  • http://lewannian.blog.sohu.com/ petit bonheur

    Very interesting. Amazing traduction job. Thanks a lot Fauna.

  • Jane

    “being born in China and also dying in China is truly a lot of misfortune!” That totally as same as what I think . what can we do for that ? Study hard and progress everyday–(by Chairman Mao)? I don’t think it works.

  • http://cnreviews.com/ Kai

    This is a pretty interesting piece coming on the heels of the May 12th Sichuan Earthquake anniversary (dig the greyscale theme for the day too…though it’s the 13th now).

    Two huge huge posts this week so far. Rock on.

  • shin

    A price should not be placed on a human life. “Compensation” paid to families and fines paid by companies are enforced in Western countries to prevent tragedies. In China minor compensation packages are paid to families to initially make them happy because the Chinese are so focused on MONEY. Empathy is simply non-existent in China and China will never progress without it. Basically the local comments are saying “WhaWhaWha why aren’t we worth as much as foreign people when we die” when really the Chinese should focus on bettering themselves when they’re alive.

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      Chinese are so focused on MONEY. Empathy is simply non-existent in China and China will never progress without it.

      What the…?

      Seriously, where the hell do you people COME FROM?

      Absolutely mind-boggling idiocy.

      • Asis

        All over the place, Kai. Including China.

        I have spoken to quite a few Chinese people who themselves say that the Chinese people lack empathy for each other.

        They have gone on to give reasonable arguments why… overpopulation, lack of religion, focus on family, poverty, etc. But still, it’s certainly an observation that is commonly made about China; from the inside and the outside.

        I don’t think you have the right to scoff at and call people idiots for saying so.

        Reign yourself in 一下.

      • Asis

        …… rein

      • Fat American

        Sorry Kai, but I have to agree that most Chinese are not yet in the habit of understanding the feelings of other people–aside from those who are higher in the Confucian social hierarchy.

        Most non-urban Chinese also do not believe in the moral principle of fair treatment for insiders/self and outsiders/other. Bosses who sell fake milk powder or who skimp on safety equipment for mines often do so because they think they are doing the right thing–benefiting their family, even if it hurts outsiders.

        Adequate compensation and punitive damages mean that companies have to learn to care about consumers if they care about their profits.

        Most compensation in the USA actually makes sense, as the priniciple is generally that every human life has some intrinsic value $1-$2 million, plus the NPV (Net Present Value) of expected earnings (easily a couple million USD for a 40 year old manager).

        • mike

          right. this post seemed so ironic to me; hearing so many chinese whine about lack of respect for human life…please. when they stop polluting all the air, water and poisoning their own people with corrupted food, etc then maybe their words will have some weight.

          • infinity

            hahahahahaha this is funny! *holds up a mirror

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          Asis & Fat American:

          Are you two seriously defending someone who claims that “empathy is simply non-existent in China?”

          That is one of the most intentionally ignorant and insensitive thing you could possibly say, especially one day after the first anniversary of the Sichuan Earthquake where there were TONS of examples of Chinese empathy from ALL strata of Chinese society, not just those “higher in the Confucian social hierarchy.”

          You guys should be ashamed of yourselves (though I expected it from Asis). I have every right to scoff and call someone who makes such an absolute statement as “simply non-existent” as an idiot JUST as that person has the “right” to scoff and make such an ignorant statement, and just as YOU have every right to disagree with me and shamelessly defend it. A Brit and American should know better.

          Furthermore, Shin’s statement wasn’t even in your average “generalization” territory either (yes, I’m talking to you, Asis). Even Fat American leaves a wee bit of room for error with “most” (though I would’ve used “many”), but Shin’s statement? Indefensibly ignorant if not outright idiotic.

          Both of you are broadening the issue and I’m not going to argue with you on that because that’s not what I objected to. What I was appalled by was what I bolded: “Empathy is simply non-existent in China.” If you agree with the (lack of) intelligence behind such a statement, fine. I feel sorry for you. If you don’t, shut the fuck up and learn to defend what deserves defending, especially you, Asis, one who literally goes around boasting about your own “intellectualism”.

          • Stimpy

            I’m sorry, the fact that it is a year since the earhquake is neither here nor there, in relation to this subject.

            Are you really comparing discussing compensation for 3 victims on a bus with the 70,000 that died last year? Because that it what it sounds like to me.

          • a foreign teacher

            Kai, how many times have you seen a traffic accident and you have a person lying in the street injured with maybe 20-50 people standing around staring and chatting with friends. No one gives a crap! “empathy is simply non-existent in China?” Whoever wrote this is right!

            2 stories but I have maybe 50 or more in my 5 years here:

            1st: on the 3rd ring road around my city, a man was lying down on the dotted white line in the road. I came up on my motorcycle and thought it was a pile of fabric in the road. I see people on the side of the road stopped on motos and electric bikes just staring. I realize its a living MAN! I stop my motorcycle in the middle of the lane and immediately go to him, I pull him up and he is shaking (from fear)… he is wearing ripped clothes and no shoes, dirty… he looks at me and tells me he killed someone the night before. My, he was so frightened! I pull him off to the side of the road and pull out my cell phone. At this time my spoken chinese was just ok, so I tried to get someone to use my phone to talk to police to say where we were. No one came to me. Yes, they understood me. Finally I was able to figure out how to tell the cops how to come, and they did. The onlookers grew to a great number cause a laowai (me) was there. None did anything to help besides staring.

            2nd: I myself was in a motorcycle accident with a taxi – I’m in slow lane and he cuts across 4 lanes of traffic perpendicular to the road and I hit his front fender, flipping over the hood and sliding 15 meters down the road. I was wearing a suit as I just came from work. My helmet hit off the ground, his front bumper was ripped off… it was bad. Instantly a crowd forms to stop and stare. I felt so terrible, but even worse with those hollow, emotionless eyes staring at me, with no one caring for me even a tiny bit in their black hearts. First, the taxi man was remorseful – he knew he caused the accident. The police showed to get the information. When the taximan saw that my legal chinese driver’s license is only for C1, not including motorcycles, he turned into a greedy troll. He demanded that the cop impound my motorcycle and have me pay fines unless we could come to an “agreement” (bribe him). The cop agreed (the cop said, it’s the taxi man’s decision to bring charges or not! This piece of trash cop knew the taxi man was extorting me!) SO the taxi man demanded I pay him everything in my pockets, which was luckily only 100 in change. By now the crowd grew to so many people. One young woman holding her daughter by her hand came to me and offered me a tissue (my hands were bloody, pant leg ripped open and bloody and my suit ripped), as I had started to get emotional from almost loosing my life… I had a few tears, I’ll admit. Anyway, she gave me the tissue and immediately walked away. She knew what kind of pain I was going through and didn’t want to stop and stare without helping like these soul-less masses.

            I wholeheartedly agree that Chinese 100% do not and can not empathize with anyone else.

            That by far is the worst thing about Chinese society.

          • Asis

            You get real ugly when someone says something you don’t like, Kai. That was my most important point, and one that you have compounded with your silly response.

            A response in which you deliberately blur the issue, and veer off the point with your childish attempts to insult me.

            Shin’s statement was hyperbolic. Anybody could recognise that. It was excessive, but he did have a point.

            And ye, mentioning the Sichuan earthquake just marks your desperation to demonise people who say things about China that YOU don’t like.

          • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

            Stimpy:

            shin declared that “empathy is simply non-existent in China.” Pointing out the copious amounts of empathy displayed both following the Sichuan Earthquake and the empathy that continued to be visible by many Chinese in, again, many strata of Chinese society JUST YESTERDAY (er, two days ago) shows how incredibly IGNORANT and WRONG such a statement was.

            The SUBJECT of my response was shin’s comment, NOT this topic.

            a foreign teacher:

            If you’re seriously going to defend an absolute statement like “empathy is simply non-existent in China” by using “50 or more” examples to damn a country of 1.3 billion people as simply not having any empathy whatsoever, you’re not even worth the effort.

            Asis:

            Get ugly? LoL, you’re one to talk.

            A response that blurs the issue is bringing up “reasonable arguments” that Chinese people offer for why empathy is lacking in China when criticizing someone who took issue with someone who felt “empathy is simply non-existent in China” was indefensible. Do YOU think “empathy is simply non-existent in China?” Do you think such a hyperbolic statement is so completely innocent that no one might find it in poor taste? You? Someone who got his panties in a twist completely missing the point about expats having or not having local Chinese friends?

            No shit it was hyperbolic. It was still needlessly hyperbolic in poor taste in my opinion. Why do you think I expressed such annoyance and called him an idiot? Since when should shin be excused for saying something patently stupid and anyone else be damned for pointing it out and taking offense to it? The best part is you being upset because someone was upset with what he said. Great, we’re all upset, but you’re the only who is objectively justifed in being so, yeah?

    • a foreign teacher

      when really the Chinese should focus on bettering themselves when they’re alive.

      you’re dang right.

      same with americans too while were at it.

    • Lurkio

      Fucking ridiculous statement by shin, as Kai has rightly pointed out.

      What he should have said was “unless there is an utterly cataclysmic disaster of inimaginable magnitude, such as a foreign invasion which leads to the death of millions or a huge natural disaster, empathy is practically non-existent in China”.

      Much better.

  • manusan

    4 days ago a huge accident in China with a tourism bus in Yunnan province between Kunming and Daly kill 18 peoples from china & Taiwan, 23 peoples injuried.

    let see to compare.

  • the tank man

    Chinese people are too low life forms in the world to gain a decent compensation from an accident like that.
    Pray if you are chinese !

    • Fat American

      A young university graduate who gets killed by a rich idiot crossing the street in Hangzhou might make 3 million RMB during his life. The maximum compensation is only 400,000 RMB, maybe less than the spoiled child’s Evo.

      It is up to the Chinese people to decide if their lives are still worth so little, and it is the responsibility of the Chinese people to fix this problem if they want to.

  • shin

    kai…me again…and thanks for calling me names. I don’t know what part of China you’re from and empathy may exist in 0.01% of the population (the educated portion…sorry) but it’s completely not comparable to the western world. A woman recently drowned in her vehicle while bystanders watched and smoked cigarettes, there are numerous comparable examples on this website, and I’ve witnessed accidents where people were dying and nobody did anything to provide any aid besides using their camera phone to record someone’s last moments (including my driver who refused to stop because “it’s raining and we’re not getting wet”…and I do have regrets and apologize for not doing more but I’m trying to live like the Chinese). There are numerous papers out there with believable arguments. Deal with it and stop calling me names because I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings…..empathy.

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      shin, there were two parts to my response to you:

      1. Proving your statement to be wrong and ignorant.
      2. Calling you an idiot because you’re ignorant.

      You could have acknowledged your statement to be indefensible, but instead you’ve persisted in being an ass out of sheer pride. Therefore, if your feelings were hurt by me calling you out for what you are, deal with it.

      Oh, and it is just absolutely fantastic that you fail to help those in need because you think it is more important to “live like the Chinese” and make a statement about Chinese inferiority. At least the Chinese who fail to help have the excuse of socialized apathy and fear of accountability, whereas all you have is a perverted sense of racial/ethnic/cultural superiority. Thankfully, not everyone is like you.

      • shin

        Kai…Holy shit dude, I said “i have regrets.”
        Relax and realize this is only an opinion by experience. And again thank you for the personal attack.
        I dug this up…if it comes through….

        http://ezinearticles.com/?Chinese-Cultural-Lack-of-Empathy-in-Development—Counselling-Practice&id=1907719

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          shin, do your regrets manifest themselves indefensible statements like the one I originally objected to: “Empathy is simply non-existent in China”?

          A simple, “my bad, I was exaggerating” would’ve sufficed. Instead, you followed up with: “empathy may exist in 0.01% of the population (the educated portion…sorry)”. Again, all of this just one day after the 1-year anniversary of the Sichuan Earthquake.

          • shin

            I hope you don’t read the bible as literally as you read these posts. Get off the computer…

  • shantai

    great work with this piece Fauna, you provide a great service.
    Shin, I really don’t know where your comments are coming from, why would you say there is no empathy in China? Have you met anyone here? If you do I think you’ll realize that we all have dreams and ambitions and tragedies and families and lives, just like you do. You might even learn that we have feelings too. I assume you were just posting because you thought it was fun, and not because you had carefully thought through what you wanted to say and wanted to contribute to an intellectual discussion. But sometimes words mean something, and sometimes we should all be careful about how we use them.
    my two cents

    • a foreign teacher

      sometimes words mean something, and sometimes we should all be careful about how we use them.
      my two cents

      Shantai – words mean nothing.
      Actions speak louder than words, and Chinese are infamous among all foreigners who have visited this country about their complete lack of help for a stranger in their midst.

      Strangers need a helping hand, they need action, but they definitely don’t get it from their fellow Chinese. That’s for bloody sure.

      Sure, you have outpouring of grief and money from well meaning people who live far away after 5.12, but I tell you what, all non-chinese were banned from going anywhere near the earthquake zones in the days after the quake. I had friends in rented trucks full of supplies that were turned around cause a white faced foreigner was driving the truck. By their bizarre logic maybe that doesn’t look good for some officials if a foreigner wants to go in and help in a more concrete and timely fashion than just putting hundred yuan bills in an envelope with your name written on it in huge letters to be presented during a national TV telethon.

      • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

        All non-Chinese, like the Japanese rescue crews who worked night and day after the windows of opportunity because they believed in miracles? Whom the local Chinese brought hot bowls of instant noodles to because that’s the best they could offer knowing that these Japanese crews were going on empty stomachs?

        And since the original statement in contention was “empathy is simply non-existent in China” to which I offered the Chinese response to the Sichuan Earthquake in refutation, isn’t it obvious that empathy surely DOES exist in China? Besides the money and grief, there were armies of volunteers and emphatic civilians who willingly travelled to see if they could lend a hand or just haul relief supplies. That’s not empathy amongst the Chinese?

        You’re still broadening the issue, and I fully understand (and EMPATHIZE) with the larger phenomenon you feel is more prevalent in China than elsewhere, but that larger issue was NOT what I was blasting shin for. Yet some of you feel the need to defend shin for what is clearly an indefensible statement? What? We’re going to excuse his ridiculous statement as being “hyperbolic” and dog-pile Kai because he said “idiot?” This isn’t just bias, this is simply picking the wrong battle.

        You guys want to make a reasoned argument that empathy is lacking (not “simply non-existent”) in China, by all means. However, if you want to swagger about making ridiculous condemnations with an air of contemptuous intrinsic racial/ethnic/cultural superiority, fuck you. I’ll call you out and damn you for being an idiot.

        If shin or anyone else can’t make an argument without putting down an entire nation of people, that’s disrespect to his own intelligence and those of others. I have no qualms about disrespecting someone who disrespects others. You can say words mean nothing, but the very act of speaking/writing those words is, you guessed it, an action. It is an action that shows a part of who you are. For shin and those defending shin, it meant they have the arrogance to think such a statement should fly without reservation.

        Many of you take and voice offense to plenty of the hyperboles of Chinese netizens translated by this website. Use your EMPATHY to understand why someone like myself would take offense to the hyperbole shin used and then had the titanium balls to, get this, defend.

        • The Wade

          jesus christ. sticks and stones…. you’re all retarded for arguing this ridiculous point for so long.

        • Mike Fish

          It does not take titanium balls to defend against hyperbole. In dragonball z they state “to defend againts idiotic hyperbole one must have balls of some sort of carbon alloy” and in the James Bond universe M once stated “James, you’ll need balls of steal to defend againts that sort of hyperbole” and on MASH Dr. Pierce once told Frank “with the sort of hyperbole flying around this operating room, hotlips will need some major balls of potassium”.

  • Yin

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Chinese-Cultural-Lack-of-Empathy-in-Development—Counselling-Practice&id=1907719

    Hmm, interesting article. It blames the lack of empathy on the one-child policy & overpopulation. These seem valid reasons at first glance (albeit presenting a conundrum – namely that the one-child policy was introduced to address the overpopulation issue in the first place), but how do you reconcile the following?

    1. Not only teens and tweens, but *adults* in China demonstrate a lack of empathy. Much of today’s adult population in China were born *before* the one-child policy was instituted in 1979. In fact, many were part of China’s baby boom generation, and probably had several siblings.

    2. Overpopulation in Japan did not seem to produce the same phenomenon (or has it? I don’t know the situation in Japan that well).

    It is interesting to me that people in China apparently believe that their country is overpopulated. Who told them this? Let us consider this idea momentarily. China has a population density of 138/km^2. This makes it the 73rd most densely populated country in the world. Granted, most of China’s population lives in a subset of the country. So let us consider the ten major metropolitan regions (~10% of the country’s area, ~35% of the population): this would inflate the earlier number to 460/km^2. This places China in the same category as Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. Do those countries also lack empathy? What about Singapore, which is more than ten times more densely populated than China (using the metropolitan data)?

    More disturbing is the notion that people don’t seem to know how other people feel – ie “I’m not them so how would I know?” What sort of circumstance would produce this sort of psychology? Is it a problem with the education system or simply a consequence of rapid urbanization (cities, I’m told, have a tendency to create alienation)?

    • FangYao

      there are many reasons for the lack of empathy in china, but for sure one-child policy & overpopulation wasnt the right answer.
      1 history background: most people grew up during chinese bloody 10 years ( culture revolution, reeducation and violent beat-up, everyone was in great danger, teach the chinese do not trust anyone,do not care other people’s business, there are many backstab.)
      2 lack of the education
      3 poor living condition (whatever Japan,south Korean,taiwan, Singapore, they are highly developed countries. the other hand many of the chinese are still in the life struggle condition, so the human’s desire first level is for food and living, there are no many times for others)
      4 part of the Chinese Confucius idea is teaching people do not show your motion, keep deep inside yourself, dont defeat higher position people ( which is easier for one king to control the whole country, also that is one of the reason every king loves Confucius idea)
      …..try to think some more…..

      • Lewceein

        FangYao, I agree that the one-child policy and overpopulation are not the answer to this perceived lack of Chinese empathy. I think all your points are interesting, but your point about poor living conditions is by far the best.

        From personal experience, when I have no money, and I’m stressing about how I’m going to pay bills, I’m definitely less willing to go out of my way to help other people. I imagine it works the same way for a lot of people, especially in Shanghai, where the social gap between rich and poor makes it hard not to be conscious of how you’re getting by compared to your neighbors.

        To those who have stories about Chinese people who have looked on while you or others suffered – that certainly does sound bad. I know what you’re talking about, and I’ve seen it on several occasions too. One thing is for certain, though, it is not unique to China or Chinese people. I have to wonder why you wouldn’t balance out your opinion with good experiences as well. I can’t help but wonder if you have somehow managed to view large parts of your life here through some kind of filter. So many Chinese people have helped me here in Shanghai for no personal gain at all – perfect strangers. I have met some of the most caring and giving people here.

        I have also had a scooter crash in Shanghai, and a nearby policeman came over and helped me up. He showed me where a nearby repair shop was and also gave me some tissues.

        I think more likely than lacking empathy, many people are affected by a combination of poverty and crowd psychology. If so many Chinese people were as cold hearted as some of you claim, I’d have been out of here long ago. Instead, I’ve been here for almost four years, and don’t have plans to leave any time soon.

        Furthermore, an individual’s capacity for empathy is determined by much more than cultural or legal factors (here I’m referring to the legal accountability for those who get involved in accidents, etc.). Everyone’s neurological capacity for empathy is a bit different, and many environmental factors other than culture also play a large role. Claiming that a culture lacks empathy is ridiculous. Claiming that a society encourages conformity, which increases the effects of group behavior, is probably more accurate.

        • Our China

          You want to put the truth in a nice pretty dress and high heels, go ahead, whatever floats your boat.

        • FangYao

          there are the facts for the lack of empathy in china, we all know that, if not, why so many people have same kind of feeling. but it doesn’t means Chinese people are all careless ass, i am sure we can meet many of Chinese people have a great heart, they are willing to help , much better than a lot of westerners.
          by the way i am a mainland Chinese, i wrote these reasons for people to understand each other, for these who are misunderstanding Chinese. there are reasons to cause troubles, if we try to understand each other, looking deeply, you may not have so many anger.

  • fireworks

    This is about occupational health and safety.

    Unions, governments and large companies need to provide a safe working environment and stop constructing the “cheapest” and shoddy infrastructure.

    Tougher regulations, regular breaks and safety inspections.

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  • Demosthenes

    Obsiously some form of superficial empathy, usually applied when it stands to the greatest benefit of the empathizer, exists in China.

    However, in general, the statement that “empathy simply does not exist in China”, though exaggerated, is true in it’s essence.

    I don’t think it’s idiotic, as aforementioned. Seems to be a product of day-to-day observations of these people and the way they conduct their manners and lives. I vigorously concur.

    What’s idiotic is the unequivocal chastising given from Kai denouncing idiocy while at the same time not showing any levity as to why rational people would come to such a harsh conclusion.

    Life is worthless in China, and most people I see are reflections of this fact and proceed in their daily lives with a disdain for order and safety which often makes me wonder if they want to die.

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      Demosthenes, I think you made a reasonable criticism of me so I’ll explain my disagreement with your overall statement. First, your criticism:

      What’s idiotic is the unequivocal chastising given from Kai denouncing idiocy while at the same time not showing any levity as to why rational people would come to such a harsh conclusion.

      “Levity” is my original response expressing how incredulous I felt reading the bolded part of shin’s “harsh conclusion”: “Where the hell do you people COME FROM?”

      The “unequivocal chastising” comes after shin and others decided it would be wise to defend such an indefensible statement when, like you, an admission of its exaggeration would’ve sufficed without detracting from their overall point. shin and others who agree with him could indeed be “rational” people, but his statement and defense of such a statement was NOT. At best, they are “understandable” even “reasonable” but not “rational.” Given your vocabulary, I trust you understand the difference.

      Now, let me get to the thrust of what you’re trying to reinforce:

      Obsiously some form of superficial empathy, usually applied when it stands to the greatest benefit of the empathizer, exists in China.

      However, in general, the statement that “empathy simply does not exist in China”, though exaggerated, is true in it’s essence.

      I don’t think it’s idiotic, as aforementioned. Seems to be a product of day-to-day observations of these people and the way they conduct their manners and lives. I vigorously concur.

      There’s a difference between empathy and sympathy. There’s a difference between empathy and pity. There’s a difference between empathy and casting judgements down from above. The fact is that few of you (not all) truly understand what it is like to live in China as a Chinese person faced with all manner of unreliable and unfair facts of life. One can feel empathy without acting upon it. One can feel empathy without being able to act upon it. For many of the situations we shake our heads in dismay at the Chinese for, there really is a difficult decision that was made evaluating very real risks that you overlook simply because of who you are and where you’re from. Many of you take certain things for granted that just don’t apply in China. It isn’t that the Chinese don’t wish they did, it’s just that it isn’t that simple. In this world, you don’t just get the things you want simply by wanting them.

      If you want to talk about empathy, let’s talk about whether all of us casting judgments are really able to EMPATHIZE with the tough decisions these Chinese people need to make, often choosing veritably between themselves, their own, versus others. Let’s go back to 8 people on 1 motorcycle thread and review the comments by those who rightfully pointed out how dangerous it was AND the comments by those who also rightfully pointed out how poor people sometimes really don’t have much of a choice and they’re really, honestly, doing the best they can whether because they lack the money you possess, the social infrastructure you take for granted, the lawful protections you can depend on, or the IQ you have.

      You want to talk about empathy? Let’s talk about whether or not all of you foreigners have emapthy, swaggering about looking down at the Chinese just for not exhibiting the same “empathy” you do? Let’s talk about whether or not you can EMPATHIZE with the Chinese LIFE where the “right” thing is not always the “wise” thing, where what is good for others is unfortunately often too risky for yourself.

      But you know what? That’s a topic for another day. To stick to the topic at hand, as to whether or not empathy exists in China, I think the answer is obvious: It sure does. Moreover, it isn’t the “superficial empthy” you denigrate it for, it’s often the “empathy of the helpless” very few of you can actually understand much less appreciate. But if you do want to understand, just start with a situation you’ve personally experienced where you really wanted to help but you just COULDN’T for whatever reason. Start there and you might have a chance. If you start with “unequivocally chastising” the Chinese for not having all of the same GESTURES of empathy you have without consideration for the facts of their existence in their society, then yes, you’re an idiot. You’re not exhibiting any empathy so much as you’re exhibiting classism if not, as I’ve said before, a sense of intrinsic cultural/ethnic/racial superiority.

      Ask yourselves, do you really think bitching about the Chinese “lacking empathy” here on chinaSMACK is doing anything good towards “fostering empathy” (that meets your definition) amongst the Chinese? Or is it because you derive some positive subconscious reinforcement for whining about the same things with your own like-minded kind? “Oh good, I’m not the only one who thinks the Chinese are awful!” Congratulations, you’re empathizing with each other’s disdain for the Chinese. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last to think you’re entitled to use these comments for your therepy sessions without anyone faulting you for your exaggerations or idiocy.

      But bravo, seriously bravo, to those of you who are truly trying to understand the Chinese predicament and actually helping them with your patience and sincerity instead of your contempt and arrogance. You are the ones who exhibit the EMPATHY and the GESTURES of empathy that Chinese society can benefit from, from learning from, from overcoming their fears of extending such gestures, and reforming their legal system to protect such gestures. Bravo to those of you who can appreciate what you have and where you’re from without having to put down the Chinese to reaffirm your own self-worth.

      • Asis

        I’m a bit confused at the idea of someone who is so concerned with countering notions of ‘superiority’ going around himself using comments on this website to label people idiots and stupid.

        Everyone likes feeling superior, Kai, and there’s no better example of that than the derisive and insulting responses to comments that YOU leave on this site.

        To use your own words:

        “You’re not the first and you won’t be the last to think you’re entitled to use these comments for your therepy (sic) sessions without anyone faulting you for your exaggerations or idiocy.”

        You wanna cut down on arrogant comments on this website Kai, you should start by not leaving any yourself.

        • Asis

          And also, if you want to use environmentalism to excuse negative cultural features then you have automatically negated criticism of Western feelings of superiority… That is, if you are not going to have double standards.

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          Ah, right, the hypocrisy argument…except you’re overlooking one critical factor: I’m RESPONDING to insults with my insults, not starting them. You want to talk about hypocrisy, Asis? Hypocrisy is you being angry that someone insults you or those you share opinions with but not being angry with the insults you and those you share opinions with first let fly. I suspect it is because you find that the insults you or those you agree with make to be legitimate and justified, whereas insults against you are not.

          So I’m fighting fire with fire. But who started the fire, Asis? Did I come in and call all of you idiots without provocation? No. Someone comes in and makes an indefensible statement that I found incredibly ignorant and insensitive. I call him an idiot for it. You find my criticsm or outrage to annoy you, and you thus go to bat for him. I explain why his statement was indefensible and then call you an idiot for having the misguided audacity to defend it. We’re now going back and forth.

          You find my comments on this website to be arrogant because you don’t like me challenging your authority or judgement for saying the things you do, for using strong words to express how strongly I disagree, for using strong insults against what I feel to be inexcusable idiocy. I’m not here to convince you or people like you to like me or change your ways. Why? Because after a few run-ins, I pretty much know you guys aren’t going to. Your comments speak as much, aggrieved as you present yourselves after being rightfully chastised for uttering reprehensible insults against others. No, when I comment against you guys, it is because I just want to call you guys out for the sake of calling you guys out alone. Some bystanders are going to identify with you and your side, gasping “oh my god, how dare he challenge us foreigners’ rightful judgements!” Some bystanders will identify with my side, agreeing that some of you do indeed swagger about with an air of noxious self-righteous superiority. Some will think I’m a prick, but they’ll still agree with what I say. Otherwise will not. That’s life.

          I’m just going with my conscience, and that involves me voicing my disagreement when I feel compelled to. I owe you as much respect or disrespect as you extend others, and that begins with the comments against the Chinese you make or defend. You, Asis, took issue with my tone of voice when arguing with another idiot on this website. That’s fine, you may just not like me, but don’t forget that you first came at me, not the other way around. So now you’re an idiot, not because I’m a hateful person, but because your comments against me or in defense of that which I disagree with suggest such to me. This is the same as how shin’s comment and especially his subsequent defense of his comment suggested to me that he’s an idiot. There’s a cause and effect mechanism in play here, Asis. You’re at least smart enough to understand that, right?

          So spare me the self-righteous, fallacious, hypocritical rhetoric. The only reason you’re not blasting shin for his statement is simply because you agree with it, not because it is devoid of the arrogance you selectively and hypocritically accuse me of.

      • Mike Fish

        Who can suggest some places that have more empathy than China? I’d especially like to know about really poor places without China’s wealth, social stability, functioning government, etc. where there are consistent examples of some of the acts of empathy that many on here feel China lacks. Kai really seems to think the China experience is so mind-boggling un-understandable for those of us who haven’t lived it. Maybe he could learn that people with living conditions and governments far worse than China’s might be more considerate and understanding of others’ pain and suffering.

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          What the hell are you talking about, places with more empathy than China? No one suggested that China has MORE empathy than anywhere else. I don’t think the China experience is so mind-boggling un-understandable, I said it is legitimtely difficult for many of you who haven’t lived it to genuinely EMPATHIZE with it. Look up the word, EMPATHY. Let me give you an easy example: Chinese people who voice dissent are arguably more courageous than foreigners voicing dissent in China. Unlike the foreigners, the Chinese person doesn’t have the luxury or comfort of having a government that will come to their defense or rescue. You piss off the government here and more often than not, you’ll simply be deported. What about the Chinese person? So, as I said, many of you DON’T truly empathize with the realities of living in mainland China as a Chinese person. Sure, not everything is different and most things are indeed the same, but there stil exist a different set of rules, expectations, and consequences that foreigners are VERY rarely subject to. If you can’t EMPATHIZE with that, at least have the decency to RESPECT it.

          For the record, if you’ve studied sociology, you’d know there’s a positive correlation between socio-economic poverty and gestures of empathy (at least as defined and measured by Western developed/affluent countries).

          • Mike Fish

            Kai… though that one sentence was directed at you… not all of it was. My question was actually more directed at those suggesting China has no empathy; I wanted to get some examples of countries they consider to have “it”. Take a chill pill.

          • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

            Fair enough, Mike, I did mistake it all as a snarky response to me.

        • Shanghai Slim

          Easy example: the Philippines. Mostly poor, under-developed, inefficient government – yet the people are extremely generous and helpful, even to total strangers.

          • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

            Dude, you do know that there are a lot of people who would say the opposite, right? Just like there are people who think the Chinese are extremely generous and helpful, even to total strangers, as well?

            Here’s an interesting post over at the Lost Laowai blog:
            Xenophobia on the Shanghai underground
            .

          • Shanghai Slim

            “Dude, you do know that there are a lot of people who would say the opposite, right?”

            Sure, but probably not many who have first-hand experience with both groups.

  • http://hi hi

    living in the states i thought the mainlanders that came are selfish and care only about themselves. I thought its because they came from rich or corrupted families.After moving to china to help my family business. I realized most of the people there are selfish and care about themselves. I only met a couple good people.

  • spider

    all the arguments here that chinese lack empathy or even sympathy to others is true.the exaggeration should be well be undertood.it is used to show how serious it is in china, it doesnt mean there isnt any empathy. i can give countless examples,but the truth is some chinese are helpful,using sichuan example is not a good example becos the whole wolrd felt the pains of the chinese,but u know politicians used it as means to boost their powers.kai take it easy ,not many people will undertand this kind of hyperbole, we love chinese and we want them to be part of the world,but i will say any comment here which is meant at looking down on chinese is unwelcome.humans are humans despite our differences…..

  • Be

    I agree that Chinese people lack empathy for strangers when compared to western countries. But that’s only against strangers. If you have an extended Chinese family, you will see the story differently. Chinese don’t care about strangers and probably are reluctant to help, however many are eager to help their extended family. This contrasts to westerners who perhaps barely even see their parents. Cousins and other blood relations are even more distant. Maybe once a few decade? Extended family that asks for help is extremely annoying and unwelcomed for westerners. At least this is from what I perceived.

    Perhaps foreigner’s perception of a complete lack of sympathy in Chinese is because they don’t have extended family relations and thus don’t see that side of things. It would be nice if people stop making insulting blanket statements about the Chinese people.

    Also, I feel that part of this lack of empathy to strangers is due to lack of education and modernization as others have mention above.

    • bert

      “This contrasts to westerners who perhaps barely even see their parents. Cousins and other blood relations are even more distant. Maybe once a few decade?”

      “It would be nice if people stop making insulting blanket statements about the Chinese people.”

      Blanket statement indeed.

    • demosthenes

      Perhaps the perception of foreigners that there’s a complete lack of sympathy is due to daily first-hand observations of said lack of sympathy.

      Or perhaps foreigners are just AIDS-carrying, prostitute-buying, indiscriminately-fvcking mouthbreathers who couldn’t possibly understand the Chinese people and their culture.

      Who knows?

      • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

        Sympathy is an emotion. Gestures of sympathy are visible actions. Do you really think there’s a “complete lack of sympathy” with the Chinese or is it because certain environmental factors have constrained or contrain their proclivity to act on that sympathy?

        I’ve already brought up this point before. You haven’t responded to it. Please don’t play stupid.

        • demosthenes

          All I did was give two possible explanations of why foreigners percieve that there’s a ‘complete lack of sympathy’. One is reasonable and the other is not. One, however, I hear more than the other.

          I’ve not really given my personal verdict on this point, regardless of what I may have implied.

          Sympathy is something, as you have observed, which can only be expressed through action. Absence of sympathy, as well, can be observed by lack of action. While I do believe there’s some merit to the fact that the percieved lack of sympathy is caused by “certain environmental factors”, I don’t think it holds much water due to the fact that those selfsame factors are due to deep-seated pathos and perversions in the Chinese culture which Chinese people dedicate a significant porton of willpower and energy NOT addressing.

          These are problems that these people have brought upon themselves, and they constantly react with indignation, anger, and oppression of their own whenever these issues are touched upon.

          I won’t say that I don’t see where you’re coming from, but the idea that Chinese people are reasonably dispassionate and unsympathetic toward each other due to “certain environmental factors” is simply a rationalization for inhuman behavior and a striking unwillingness to take any steps to change it.

          • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

            Sympathy is something, as you have observed, which can only be expressed through action. Absence of sympathy, as well, can be observed by lack of action.

            False, and again, therein lies a major problem with the overzealous condemnations of the Chinese not having sympathy or empathy. Both are emotions that CAN be expressed with gestures/actions. Absence of action DOES NOT mean absence of emotion just as you may hate someone but not express it.

            Chinese people dedicate a significant porton of willpower and energy NOT addressing.

            You’re again dictating what the Chinese people should dedicate their willpower and energy towards based upon your own values. Life can be cruel in China and overall social prosperity is a factor. You need only look at the most developed countries’ past histories to know this sociological and historical fact. It really wasn’t THAT long ago that the Chinese thought that many Europeans, relative to their own vastly more advanced and organized society, were dirty, uncouth barbarians who lacked the simplest of empathy, sympathy, and basic social niceties. And then history happened, where some societies leap ahead while others stagnate or regress. The Europeans advanced while the Chinese squandered away what they had, and so it is as it is today, where China is a developing country and its past glory being something veritably of the past.

            These are problems that these people have brought upon themselves, and they constantly react with indignation, anger, and oppression of their own whenever these issues are touched upon.

            I understand what you’re referring to, and in my experience, I think a lot of foreigners run into this because of how they’re breaching the topic and how they discuss it. Not always, but very often. And they often talk like Shin or Asis above. Whether intended or not, it is important to consider whether the receiving end interprets your comments as judgemental, self-righteous, hypocritical, etc. If you genuinely care for and want to help someone, you’ll be mindful of it. If you just want to blast someone, then own up to it, take the lumps you’re going to get, and don’t try to pass yourself as if you care about anyone other than yourself. No one likes someone who berates you but pretends they’re doing it for your own good, just like no one liked the Chinese government randomly quarantining Mexican nationals and claiming it was for their own good.

            the idea that Chinese people are reasonably dispassionate and unsympathetic toward each other due to “certain environmental factors” is simply a rationalization for inhuman behavior and a striking unwillingness to take any steps to change it.

            I disagree and I’ve explained why. You’re judging the “humanity” of the Chinese as a race on the basis of a singlar moment of their social development. People and societies change, just as the Europeans changed. The only thing the Chinese could do to be “human” in your eyes would be for them to already exhibit the same gestures of sympathy you demand or suddenly adopt them basically overnight. That’s an unreasonable criteria that is disrespectful, in fact, to intelligence. Pointing out that China and Chinese society has met setback after setback or features unique circumstances compared to other societies is not an excuse because no one is saying they SHOULDN’T develop further. It is merely ACKNOWLEDGING pertinent facts. It is both scientific and rational to do so. Trying to throw both out is, again, racial/ethnic/cultural arrogance.

      • http://www.chinasmack.com Fauna

        You should meet more Chinese people or not read so much chinaSMACK.

        • demosthenes

          Me?

          What makes you assume that:

          a- I read a lot of China Smack

          or

          b- I don’t know many Chinese people

          ?

  • demosthenes

    The status quo regarding empathy, manners, and compassion in China will not change until apologists – both foreign and Chinese – stop the constant employment of cultural relativism to defend China’s glaring inequity and pholosophical backwardness.

    I rarely, almost never, hear a defense of China’s people or system which does not involve some ham-handed comparison with other countries or systems. Furthermore, I am constantly amazed at the seeming “developing nation” free pass that China is constantly given by it’s supporters and it’s own people.

    This country will never exhibit any kind of true equality or even healthy development as long as people continue to generously give China miles of leeway and make up every excuse in the book for them.

    In fact, I often find the apologists and cultural relativists are much more patronizing and degrading towards the Chinese than the antagonists. Sure they have bags of excuses for and nice things to say about China, but deigning to look past that facade exposes the fact that they honestly believe Chinese people lack the humanity or intelligence to conduct their society in a civilized manner.

    Many so-called ‘sinophiles’ are in fact the basest kind of enablers and patronizers.

    • Mike Fish

      Preach on brother, preach on!

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      That sounded intelligent and everything, but you completely avoided the point. You’re confusing understanding something with accepting something, and therein lies the folly of your entire rant.

      No one is suggesting that anyone wholesale accept what they don’t like or disagree with about China. What is being suggested is that people actually try to understand a problem before shooting out solutions or condemnations from the hip. The cultural/ethnic/racial chauvinism is precisely the “I don’t need to understand in order to judge” attitude you’re enabling.

      Cultural relativism intrinsically acknowledges that arrogant ethnocentrism is not the most peaceful way for you to go about interacting and influencing others. Who here exactly is using cultural relativism to defend the inequity and backwardness that exists in China? No one.

      China wants to and is trying to modernize, but it doesn’t necessarily want to Westernize. You come across as equating the two as one and the same. They may not see it that way, but you’re damning them for it. Why? Because of your own ethnocentrism.

      Don’t equate proving you wrong about the Chinese with making excuses for the Chinese. That’s a fallacious argument. You can do better.

      It is antagonists who think China lacks the humanity or intelligence to develop their society on their own, to make their own decisions about what they desire and want in their society. It is antagonists like you who patronize the Chinese, thinking you know what’s best for them. Those who struggle to fight antagonists like you are the ones who believe the Chinese have the human dignity to chart their own course and pursue their own interests without your paternalism.

      Mike, I can’t believe you agreed with that drivel.

      • demosthenes

        Kai,

        You appear to be couching this discussion as some kind of battle in an effort to prove that you are more enlightened about China and it’s problems than the rest of us.

        You’ve pegged me as ranting and spewing “drivel”, but I’m basically giving my opinion, and thus far it’s all been fairly rational and based on repeated observations and reasonable deductions.

        So far you have been more than eager to point out that actions inexcusable in other countries are acceptable in China due to special circumstances, certain environmental factors, and a host of non-universal criteria to judge what are in essence universal human emotions.

        Regardless, the above post (somehow pegged as a ‘rant’) wan’t directed at you. For some reason, though, you knee-jerked right towards it. I wonder why?

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          No, I don’t couch any discussion as some kind of battle in an effort to prove anything about myself. This kind of discussion happens when someone says something I find inexcusably and/or unreasonably wrong.

          You’re right that I’ve lumped you into my “foes” insofar as I’ve interpreted your comments to support their’s. I think this initial characterization of you on my part may have earned you a bit more venom that you may deserve as someone just joining the conversation. For that, I do apologize. Insofar as your comments and arguments DO in fact reinforce my “foes” inexcusably wrong arguments, I do not apologize for vehemently disagreeing with you.

          I do, in fact, think your arguments are inexcusably wrong, or “drivel” for shorthand. I know that’s mean, but I found your comments to be really mean towards the Chinese as well. As I’ve said before, if you don’t respect others, I’m not likely to go out of my way to be very respectful when responding to you.

          it’s all been fairly rational and based on repeated observations and reasonable deductions.

          This is a disingeneous argument. You’re justifying racism on the basis of “repeated” observation and “reasonable” deductions. You’re further demanding that people not take offense to how you express the conclusions of your “repeated observations and reasonable deductions.” That doesn’t fly. Let me expain why:

          If I repeatedly observe African-Americans jaywalking slowly to intentionally hold up traffic, am I to “reasonably deduce” that African-Americans flippantly disregard the law or are lacking empathy for the drivers they’re delaying? Like you, it is an observation (a repeated one if you’ve ever lived near Oakland) but is the deduction reasonable? Moreover, if I came out and said “Respect for the law and consideration for others is simply non-existent amongst African-Americans”, would you expect some people to call me out and take me to task for it?

          First, the deduction is not reasonable unless you’re so ignorant that you do not accept that Chinese people are humans too, just like yourself. If you accept that humans can be sympathetic, you must accept that Chinese people are fully capable of being sympathetic and probably are. This should lead someone to reasonably deduce from their observations the next question: So why is it that Chinese people don’t exhibit the same gestures of sympathy/empathy I expected from them? That’s when you should start trying to understand the environment and socialization that Chinese people exist in. This is where you start worrying about your own ethnocentrism and become a logical, rational human being who takes into account what might be the cause of the phenomenon you’re seeing.

          A logical, rational human being does not simply skip to asserting that empathy is simply nonexistent in China and then attacking anyone who disagrees as being apologists, enablers, or patronizers.

          Second, you can be damn sure someone is going to call me out and take me to task for making such an offense statement suggesting that African-Americans lack a respect for the law and consideration for others. No matter how much I keep citing my repeated observations, the simple bottom line fact is that I SHOULD KNOW BETTER. I should KNOW that my observations are not scientifically rigorous. I should KNOW that my observations betray a certain but definite subjectivity. I should KNOW that saying such a thing is easily rebutted AND offensive, inflammatory, perhaps racist, and definitely an insult to my own intelligence.

          So far you have been more than eager to point out that actions inexcusable in other countries are acceptable in China due to special circumstances,

          Wrong. These are not special circumstances. They are DIFFERENT circumstances. China today has been likened to turn of the 20th century United States. Why would anyone say such a thing if it weren’t for the implicit truth that societies change and can resemble each other at different points in their development?

          certain environmental factors, and a host of non-universal criteria to judge what are in essence universal human emotions.

          Here you are making an argument with the ASSUMPTION that the Chinese lack what you say is a universal human emotion. This is fallacious. I disagree with the very premise you’re abusing. I do not think the Chinese lack this universal human emotion whatsoever. In fact, they fully possess it, but it is often tempered by the realities of their existence. Both Europeans and Americans have the emotion of lust, but why is it that Americans have a harder time tolerating nudity on television than the Europeans? Because the reality of their existence (puritanical as some may say) says it’s not appropriate for TV. Many observe a vice versa tolerance for violence on TV between Americans and Europeans. Japanese people also have lust, but why is it that there’s such a notable culture of perversion in Japan? Some observe that a rigid mainstream formalism repressing the Japanese causes certain behaviors or impulses to manifest themselves in extreme ways. Why do Chinese people seem to be less sympathetic to their fellow man? Many note that it is because the legal risks for getting involved are much higher to the average Chinese than it is for citizens of other countries. Even more note that bystander effect is actually universally prominent to all countries and societies.

          So the CIRCUMSTANCES in which any phenomenon exists are DEFINITELY deserving of consideration. Educated, rational, logica individuals can NOT excuse their offensive comments on the basis of “Oh, it’s something I’ve observed many times.” I observer many foreigners swaggering about with an air of racial/ethnic/cultural superiority but I don’t go around saying stupid shit like “humility is simply non-existent amongst foreigners.” Moreover, I don’t defend anyone who says such patently and inexcusably idiotic things.

          Regardless, the above post (somehow pegged as a ‘rant’) wan’t directed at you. For some reason, though, you knee-jerked right towards it. I wonder why?

          It directly tried to justify an argument/statement I objected to. Rant is subjective, but when you say you repeatedly see a behavior you consider negative, it fits within the term “rant.” As I said already, I will grant that you intially got some splash damage as a newcomer to a side I’m against, but your subsequent arguments definitely put us at odds. I grant also that you find my response to be aggressive, but I trust you’ll grant that I find your comments to be aggressive as well. However emphatically I argue my point, I trust you’ll also note that I’ve responded to your arguments with my own, meaning I’m definitely respecting you enough to engage you in debating this issue. If you want to debate this respectfully (even if passionately), I’m all for it and we can start with reining in our respective vemon with the next round now that we both acknowledge it. Agreed?

      • demosthenes

        p.s.

        You’ve also lumped me in with the rest of your ‘foes’ who you’re trying to set straight. My understanding of China is a lot more sophisticated and developed than the simple ‘antagonist’ you’ve coined me.

        There’s very little about your last 8 or 9 posts besides condescention, arrogance, assumptions, and strawman-building. And no, it’s not acceptable for you to degrade your intellectual integrity simply because you percieve others are doing so.

        Sorry I offended your sensibilities by accounting for Chinese behavior the way I see it. When you stop hyperventilating, perhaps we can actually discuss something without you intentionally perverting my meaning.

        You win. You’re the king of understanding China. Congrats!

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          See the end to my above response.

          To be honest, so far, your comments do not suggest to me a lot of sophistication and development. This is because you mistake existence of emotion with expression of emotion. This is because you’re intellectually willing to subvert good sense and objective fact with subjective observations and subjective deductions. You do, however, appear to have a decent vocabulary.

          That said, it is not acceptable for you to say it is not acceptable for me to degrade my intellectual integrity simply because I perceive others are doing so…when you’re doing the same thing. As I said above, we can agree to try to control our biting words from here on out if you want to.

          For the record, you haven’t made many arguments in your past 5 posts other than “this is supported by my observations.” You have, however, been guilty of the very condescension, arrogance, assumptions, and strawman-building you accuse me of (show me my strawmen if you want, I’ll debate you on that alone).

          How have I perverted your meaning? Please point it out and we can review. We can start again, so we can avoid the intellectual degredation that is evident in you intentionally misconstruing my disagreement with you as me trying to be the “king of understanding China.”

          So can we lose the fallacies and also lose the fallacious accusations of fallacies?

        • Asis

          Completely agree (despite the fact that you perhaps implied that my argument was unsophisticated and undeveloped).

          “You’ve also lumped me in with the rest of your ‘foes’”

          Kai, said ‘you guys’ a whopping 6 times when referring to disparate critics! Amazing for someone who concerns himself so much with generalisations.

          “it’s not acceptable for you to degrade your intellectual integrity simply because you percieve (sic)others are doing so”

          Right. People always seem to say ‘I’m fighting fire with fire’ when engaged in morally reprehensible behaviour. It basically equates to ‘he started it!!!’.

          It’s obvious that Kai is well educated, so all the more disappointing when he starts calling people names on this website. Just more evidence that Kai’s comments are dogmatic and visceral rather than pragmatic and objective. Perhaps there is something more personal at play.

          • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

            You’re obviously correct about “fighting fire with fire” but that’s something we’re all guilty of. I’ve always been keen to call people “idiots” and I usually do so because I’m not interested in changing them. I’m just more interesting in calling them out. I’m repeating myself.

            Asis, you spend more time accusing my comments of this or that (in this commnet, dogmatic and visceral) than actually explaining how they are. For example, what is dogmatic about what I’ve said? Dogmatic is saying something offensive, getting called out for it, and then insisting on what was said to be true and not offensive. Dogmatic is you arguing that I have no right to criticize a person who criticizes the Chinese. Dogmatic is you spending more time repeatedly insinuating and atacking my character as a substitute to arguing the issues and points at hand. Unlike you, and dogmatism, I may drop some “idiots” here and there, but I actually bother to engage and address the topic in dispute. You’ve spent your comments sitting on the sidelines chucking tomatoes at me.

            How are your comments pragmatic and objective with regards to the actual issue at hand? Or can you acknowledge that your comments amount to little more than circumstantial ad hominem attacks? That you’re here just to attack me personally instead of any genuine intent to debate the point in contention?

            Let me ask you again:

            Are you…seriously defending someone who claims that “empathy is simply non-existent in China?”

            Are you going to answer the question or just continue publicly whining about me using the word “idiotic”?

          • Asis

            I took you up on it because you always do the same thing Kai. Someone criticises mainland China and you call him an idiot or arrogant because YOU don’t like it.

            Shin’s statement was a hyperbole. That hardly makes him a ‘mind boggling idiot’. You can already see from this comments section how many people (Chinese included) have observed that; compared with other societies the mainland appears to lack empathy for strangers.

            And it does.

            So, now can you please clarify your own position on this subject by providing a ONE word response to the following statement:

            “In general, the majority of mainland Chinese people appear to (for whatever reason) lack empathy for strangers.”

            Agree or disagree?

          • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

            Asis, please don’t expect me to answer your question when you don’t answer mine. See all of the questions above that you’ve saw convenient to side-step? You answering just one of them would’ve cleared up the issue you’re still disingenuously claim to need clarification. The moment you genuinely engage me in discussion is the moment I will take you seriously.

          • Asis

            I was trying to return us to the point.

            Doesn’t matter, since the question negated your ‘on the fence’ approach, I didn’t expect you to be able to answer it.

            I try to keep my comments punchy and succinct so that my ideas are clear and accessible. Not everyone is prepared to sit around blogging all day on their PC. There’s better things to do.

            Anyway… Kai, it’s not true that I ‘don’t like you’. I take up people who I think will challenge my ideas. I don’t agree with your comments, it’s not about you personally.

            If you have any evidence of me calling YOU names, bring them forward and I will apologise. People shouldn’t get personal or aggressive on this site (and I don’t think that your ‘fight fire with fire’ legitimates anything).

            Anything I say on here, I would say to your face and shake hands afterwards. Bar the people who fleetingly drop into this site to write trollish rubbish, we’re all bound by our interest in Chinese culture and our enjoyment of open discussion.

          • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

            Asis, do you know what disingenuous means? If you were serious and genuine about returning us to the point, you’d start with the very first question I asked you:

            Are you…seriously defending someone who claims that “empathy is simply non-existent in China?”

            There’s two scenarios here: Either you don’t even bother to read and understand what I’m objecting to before you get in my face OR you’re being disingenous. Neither deserves further responses.

  • bert

    “China wants to and is trying to modernize, but it doesn’t necessarily want to Westernize.”

    But who says this? And is everything that allows people to have more say or control in their lives and involvement with his or her gov’t “westernization”? This seems like the new bad word and a new created thought process for the masses here? Another you must follow this line of thinking? I certainly don’t know what everyone in China wants, but it probably includes respect from outside AND IN! Is that being “westernized”?

    I am NOT trying to argue with anyone so please no super lengthy replies, ok?:) Just normal ones will suffice. I am also not calling anyone names :P

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      But who says this?

      Short answer: A variety of both scholars and Chinese observers, both Chinese and foreign.

      Long answer: Click here.

      And is everything that allows people to have more say or control in their lives and involvement with his or her gov’t “westernization”?

      Absolutely not, and be careful not to suggest such. Please be especially careful not to suggest that I’m saying so either. When we say China may not be interested in Westernization, it means China doesn’t necessarily want the same things as the West FOR the same reasons AS the West OR through the same steps as the West. It can say “sure, I want the same things you have, but I don’t see why I must do things exactly the same way you did.”

      “Westernization” is not a bad word in of itself. It only comes to carry a negative connotation in the context of Westerners thinking others must do things their way, for their reasons, or risk being labeled as backwards, inhuman, etc. by those Westerners.

      China gaining respect from outside and in does not mean they need to westernize, though that’s certainly one way to gain acceptance. As you can see, respect and acceptance are different things. A large amount of (albeit begrudging) respect that China gets today in the academic, economic, business, and political scene is precisely because China is, in many ways, developing without the degree of prerequisite or concurrent democratization that many argued and expected as necessary.

      The bottom line is that success garners respect, not necessarily conformity. A lot of foreigners (particularly Westerners) are saying to China “if you don’t act like us, we won’t respect you.” That’s ethnocentricism, expecting that others do things you do because you think the things you do or the values you have should be universal and everyone should desire to be just like you. Often, we want others to do things we do, not because we want to respect them, but because we want validation for our own ideology or behavior. Think of all the successful people in Silicon Valley or elsewhere, who have our respect precisely because they succeeded in doing things DIFFERENTLY.

      Now, China isn’t doing things differently just for the sake of doing things differently or just for the sake of proving that one can gain respect by doing things differently. China is doing things differently for much more pragmatic reasons (and fears). China certainly believes that many of its citizen’s political limits (“cotrol in their lives and involvement with his or her government”) are necessary to maintain social stability and forward progress. The specifics of this are arguable but a rational observer of China who seriously wants to engage in influencing of bettering China needs to acknwoledge and understand that this exists. I’ve personally argued on CNR that I think the whole “we must educate the ignorant masses before we empower them” is a slippery-slope bad argument rife with the potential for perpetual deprivation of political empowerment, but I first bother to understand the argument and the social and historical context from which it comes from.

      The West wants China to westernize. China itself wants to modernize. The West believes it represents what everyone should want. China doesn’t think so and thinks it itself can determine what it wants. Ideologically, China and the Chinese have already reaffirmed the appeal of the values Westerners hold dear. However, the friction arises from whether those values are practices. Westerners deride the Chinese for not practicing what Westerners do, or for not adopting as fast as Westerners demand. The Chinese chafe against the Westerners judgements because the Chinese feel it just isn’t that easy to do what the Westerners want them to do. They also don’t like being talked down to or told what to do. No one does, right? Give them the human dignity to make their own decisions, instead of calling them inhuman for not listening to you (I’m not speaking about you specifically, bert).

      I hope the above response, if long, clearly and abundantly addresses your question.

  • Yin

    Demosthenes: you’ve been talking in the general for the whole time. Without diving into specifics, it is hard to take you seriously. I think it would be conducive to your case if you would demonstrate some of that deep and profound insight into China and its psyche. Otherwise, your comments come off as vague references to bygone experiences for which you reserve a great deal of furor, but which no one else can empathize with.

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt that way. Too bad I’m not as good at expressing it. Thanks, Yin.

  • bert

    “Short answer: A variety of both scholars and Chinese observers, both Chinese and foreign.”

    But who says they are correct or not? Who is the “West” and who is “China”? Should we say, “the people of China want…….this or that”, instead of “China wants”? Are they (Chinese) all in such an deep agreement with each other?

    Power is power, there is no east or west.

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      But who says they are correct or not?

      If you’re not being disingeneous, even bordering on facetious, clearly I think they are correct or their arguments are persuasive. You’re free to argue otherwise and I’m game to listen/discuss. If you’re looking for an objective arbiter of correct or incorrect, I don’t think you’re going to find one.

      If you’re a power is power kind of person, then you probably see nothing inherently wrong or unfair with cultural imperialism or ethnocentrism. If that’s the case, I don’t think we have any common premise for us to have a discussion. The conclusion will be the same: You think it is right and proper for the more powerful to judge and control the less powerful. I think it is wrong and implicitly disrespects the inherent humanity of others to make their own decisions.

      • bert

        I am not trying to be a certain type of person that you mentioned.

        “I think it is wrong and implicitly disrespects the inherent humanity of others to make their own decisions.”

        I agree.

        Are there experts out there, both “western” and Chinese, that say the opposite of what these other experts (who you mentioned) state or say? Can they be considered credible too? I am not saying you have to agree with them but are they not allowed credibility if you (or I) simply don’t agree? I think there is most likely credibility in both camps.

        The power is power statement seems to ring true in most cases and that is unfortunate. I have never said it is okay or that I am fine with that. I am not. I am not a brute? The golden rule applies in my life, at least I try.

        No, I don’t think it is right and proper for the more powerful to judge and control the less powerful. But sadly the world has this spirit in it.

        Kai, believe it or not I am not trying to be a wiseguy with you.

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          Are there experts out there, both “western” and Chinese, that say the opposite of what these other experts (who you mentioned) state or say? Can they be considered credible too?

          You mean experts who say “China wants to Westernize, not necessarily modernize?” ;) Okay, just joking, I know by opposite you must mean experts who say “China wants to Westernize.” To be honest, I’m sure there are “experts” who say this but I’d be very suspicious of their credibility because I find the statement “China wants to modernize, not necessarily Westernize” very difficult to argue without adopting an ethnocentric perspective that takes Western values as universally subscribed to. What do you think?

          No, I don’t think it is right and proper for the more powerful to judge and control the less powerful. But sadly the world has this spirit in it.

          I agree. I’ll just do whatever I can to fight it in my own small largely inconsequential ways. :) I may even be guilty of it at times. But that’s life, right?

          Kai, believe it or not I am not trying to be a wiseguy with you.

          LoL, you actually CAN be a wiseguy with me if you want so long as you’re prepared for me to be a wiseguy back at you. Just don’t be like Asis and be a wiseguy to me and then self-righteously argue that me being a wiseguy back at him is unilaterally “morally reprehensible.” :)

          Overall, I’m genuinely enjoying the conversations I’m having with you and pug here.

  • FangYao

    Demosthenes,
    there are the facts for the lack of empathy in china, we all know that, but it doesn’t mean Chinese people are all careless ass, i am sure we can meet many of Chinese people have a great heart, they are willing to help others. for the individual person it is unfair to judge as the whole china region. the most of Chinese people they are victims by the government and society. chinese government and society need criticism , but your hopeless negative opinion is too selfish and useless. i cant see you as a open mind person and try to help others too.

    Kai
    as usual, listen to the people, debate on the right point.

    there are many reasons to cause Chinese society today, if we can try to understand each other more, looking deeply, you may not have so many anger.

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      Fangyao, I support understanding each other more, looking deeply. I don’t think I have any anger that isn’t warranted. You ask me to listen to the people. Who are you asking me to listen to? What do you want me to listen to? What do you think is the right point to debate on? What do you think I’m saying is NOT debating on the right point? Thanks.

      • Fat American

        Kai, sorry for making you angry earlier for not contradicting the earlier poster who wrote that “all” Chinese lack empathy. I should not have lent unqualified support to a blanket statement against Chinese people which, though probably hyperbolic, was unjustifiably broad.

        Certainly there are widespread social problems that arise from the lack of empathy of many persons in Chinese society, yet you are obviously correct that there are very many kind and selfless people. I think though that the generosity of many Chinese is even more remarkable considering their environment. It is easy to be generous and charitable when living in a rich country.

        Please forgive us spoiled expats who occasionally use this forum to bitch, becuase it just wouldn’t be polite for us to complain as we do to our Chinese colleagues or friends in “real life”. There is not much we can do when a guy cuts in line in front of us, or when youth on the internet blame foreigners for everything. I’m sure during your time in the USA you occasionally needed to complain about some things. Probably you can see some broad social issues in American culture that Americans have trouble to perceive themselves.

        I am not so sure about Fang Yao’s meaning “as usual, listen to the people. debate on the right point” but I think the following is good advice for all of us: “there are many reasons to cause Chinese society today, if we can try to understand each other more, looking deeply, you may not have so many anger.”

        You are a good guy, and there will always be idiots (especially online), so for your own good health, please try to let go of your anger a little. Your anger may be justified, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

        • Mike Fish

          I aggree with the Fat American… did I just say that? Kai needs to relax. His commentary and “rhetoric” have gone from calm and cool in the old days to being mostly “idiot” filled tirades now.

          I totally felt the original “Empathy is simply non-existent in China” comment was so base as to not even justify a snicker or any reply. Kai got pulled into an argument with a person who’d already made a huge blanket judgement likely not based on much experience in China at all.

          We should ask Shin and the others who support his amazing generalization what examples they base that conclusion on? How long have they lived in China? Where? What things happened to make them feel China has no empathy?

          • shin

            Do you guys have jobs or is your job to post replies on CS? Go out and have fun! China’s beautiful!

          • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

            Mike, in defense of myself, I didn’t launch into a huge tirade against shin intially. He made what I felt was a offensive remark and I replied with one (one sentence expressing consternation, the next expressing judgement). Mine was even shorter than his.

            To be fair, the catalyst for the big arguments was Asis flaming me (as he has done before) and Fat American coming in seemingly defending shin. shin also then defended his own comment later. Fat American has since above explained that he didn’t mean to appear to defend shin’s statement and I accept his clarification. I had, if you’re willing to concede, repeatedly made clear what I was objecting to.

            Also, for the record, I think I’ve employed “idiot” fairly consistently throughout my tenure here at chinaSMACK. Cool and calm is reserved for those who are cool and calm, but maybe someone bored enough can do a “Kai says “idiot” tracker and we can have a nifty graph to review at the end of the year. ;)

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          Fat American, thank you for taking the time to write this comment of your’s. I very much appreciate it and I very much respect you for it. As I initially responded to you, I felt you guys were picking the wrong battle to fight as I had made clear what my objection was and I couldn’t believe most people would defend such a statement (except people like Asis who come at me regardless of what I say just because he doesn’t like me as a person).

          There is not much we can do when a guy cuts in line in front of us, or when youth on the internet blame foreigners for everything.

          I understand how you feel, emphatically. I have put up with it a lot myself though these days I’m very comfortable with just calling them out to their face (unless they’re clearly psychotic weidling a chainsaw, then maybe my extra value meal isn’t worth it). As for the youth blaming foreigners for everything on the internet, I just don’t think it makes sense to be the Western equivalent if you can help it. I mean, you have a clear example of idiocy before you, yet you go ahead and copy them? It just doesn’t make sense to me. There are ways to be indignant or angry or in violent disagreement without employing the same tactics and demonstrating the same willful ignorance. Since Westerners are usually the ones who are judging and admonishing the Chinese to be better, I think it is even more imperative for the Westerners to behave better. If you take up that role, you gotta live up to be that role-model.

          You are a good guy, and there will always be idiots (especially online), so for your own good health, please try to let go of your anger a little. Your anger may be justified, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

          Thanks for your compliment. I think your advice about being easy to anger is certainly relevant to me, and in turn, I’d pass it on to people like shin or anyone else who are so angry with or disgusted with the Chinese for how many of them are like at this point in time. I hope they’ll keep an open-mind and understand that these people and this society will indeed change (likely for the better) over time, just as other more developed and agreeable societies have from their own humble beginnings or out from their own darker/lower/more backwards periods.

          Cheers, mate.

      • Migrant Worker

        I agreed with Kai’s statements concerning empathy, but not when he said that modernization did not mean westernization. Call me ethnocentric, I believe it does, and here’s why.

        What does “modernization” truly mean? Its meaning is expressed in the essence of time, what is now or coming to be so, and therefore its technical definition is open to many interpretations.

        Some people equate modernity with material wealth, first world status or developed country status – ipods and 3g cell phones. But, I believe the greatest human accomplishments have not been and will not be high GDP’s, Apollo 11 missions or maglev trains, but systems of GOVERNANCE that recognize concepts of human rights, have frequent and peaceful transitions of power, construct viable social safety nets, grant freedoms to __ and freedoms from __, recognize legal rights such as habeas corpus, etc. etc.

        I equate “modernity” with human advancement relative to the past, and the greatest development in my opinion has been the development of rights as laid down by law. Now, you can say that China has had a long legal history, sure, but do you want to live under those laws now? Hell no, because they’re not “modern.” Everyone wants a fairer legal system with guaranteed rights (unless your corrupt), and that means emulating
        the best models at present. I’m sorry if it ruffles some people’s feathers to hear that those best models are currently western models. But who cares if they are western or eastern, the point is what’s good for humanity.

        Now if you disagree with my concept of “modernity” and think GDP is a better indicator of modernization than concepts of human rights etc., well then we will have to agree to disagree.

        Peace

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          That’s fine, and that’s because you semantically equate modernization with westernization and vice versa. My own arguments are clearly not about such word games. For discussion, I do want to respond to a few of the things you say in what I consider to be a well-written emphathic ideological pitch:

          systems of GOVERNANCE that recognize concepts of human rights, have frequent and peaceful transitions of power, construct viable social safety nets, grant freedoms to __ and freedoms from __, recognize legal rights such as habeas corpus, etc. etc.

          You know, it’s arguable that China’s government and legal system has all of these so really what you’re trying to say is difference in perceived degrees. For example, even the most Western liberal democratic government systems can violate human rights, not have viable social safety nets, deprive freedoms to and from, ignore legal rights, etc. etc.

          I’m sorry if it ruffles some people’s feathers to hear that those best models are currently western models.

          Sure, I personally agree that western models (or is examples a better word?) are attractive. That’s because like you, I largely value the same values you do. That may not be the case for the Chinese and it may not be the case for a lot of legitimate reasons. Furthermore, it is arguable that the Chinese agree with your values, but they don’t agree with your prescribed plan for them to emulate or adopt your systems/institutions. Why? Because they have fears of what could happen during the process of adoption/emulation.

          So a difference in value and motivation and circumstance is still present. They may say, yeah, we’d like to be like the United States some day, but we’re just not sold on how the United States suggests we become more like them.

          Now if you disagree with my concept of “modernity” and think GDP is a better indicator of modernization than concepts of human rights etc., well then we will have to agree to disagree.

          Yeah, that’s fine. I fully understand the rhetorical device you’re employing with defining modernity as you have, but I’d rather not confuse how I personally was using the word. You’ve infused modernity with subjective, even ethnocentric values. You’re aware of that and, more importantly, you freely state so. That’s worthy of respect in any discussion.

          I do just want to state that what you said doesn’t actually refute my statement that “China wants to modernize, not necessarily westernize”. It merely changes the definition of the words. Please see my ongoing discussion with pug if you want to discuss the point behind that statement.

  • StonedCat

    Kai is high.

  • mike

    i think you guys all miss the point (not like i wasted time reading all the above pms-ing, but…)

    chinese people arent willing to help in an accident because they’re likely to get blamed for it. it only has to happen once for everyone to hear about it and act the same way. personally, i still think its a weak excuse, but who doesnt fear getting arrested in china?! thus people look apathetic.

    (the ones who arent apathetic are all govt officials who take sichuan relief money and buy themselves benz’s)

  • bert

    Modernization is just that…at least to me. I never considered it being a ‘western’ thing. Some do it first and others later. There are many bad things in Chinese society that get blamed on western influences. I don’t like that. There are things blamed on China in general by “the west” that I also don’t like at all. As much as I complain about China I find I always end up defending it when I go home for the summer. People have the wrong ideas about each other when they have no experience.

    Kai, when these other experts, (whoever they are? I don’t know) I mean the ones that stand for Chinese westernization, state their thoughts, demands, whatever, on Chinese westernization changes, what is it that you and others don’t agree with? I think everything will be compared to some previous system, at least generally. It’s probably inevitable that western style might be incorporated into the process, whatever that means.

    Is it the voting system or the economic system? What is it? I am curious about this.

    I am glad it has calmed down here. Some of us just want to make a simple comment or pose a question without pissing the next guy off. Some of us need to chill.

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      Kai, when these other experts, (whoever they are? I don’t know) I mean the ones that stand for Chinese westernization, state their thoughts, demands, whatever, on Chinese westernization changes, what is it that you and others don’t agree with?

      I might’ve lost the plot because I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

      • bert

        Yeah, sorry about that. I tend to write like I talk.

        What is it that you disagree with when some others mention that China should adopt a “western” style democracy? What are the examples (politically, economic or social) that you think are not good for China’s growth? I have heard many say this but I haven’t seen them site examples. I’d kindly like to hear someone’s ideas on this.

        Thanks

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          I don’t disagree with people who want China to adopt a “western” style democracy. I’m merely pointing out that 1) the Chinese may not WANT a “western” style democracy, and 2) the Chinese may not LIKE people telling China it should adopt a “western” style democracy.

          A lot of Westerners talk AT the Chinese, telling them they should adopt a “western” style democracy with a tone of voice that it should be OBVIOUS to the Chinese that doing so, ideally immediately, would be in their best interests. The Chinese may not think so, because they may value, for example, overall social stability over individual freedoms. They may, for example, feel that rapid adoption of a “western” style democracy is too risky, and they’d rather try working towards it in another way than what the Westerners advocate or a different style of democracy or government entirely.

          I think the Chinese should be accorded enough respect to make their own decisions. This isn’t to mean that others cannot try to influence them or encourage and advocate their own solutions/ideas, it just means you need to be careful of talking down to others or treating them like idiots, as anything less than yourself. We all know its fair to say the Chinese know their unique problems and abilities probably better than Westerners. We also know that doesn’t mean their solutions are better than those suggested by Westerners. But at the end of the day, you need to be willing to say: well, it IS their choice.

          The most common examples that offered for why a rapid adoption of a “western” style democracy may not be in China’s best interests include pretty much all of the failed democracies in the world. If such small countries are in disarray, the Chinese can only fear how much worse it’d be with a huge country like their own. Another common example is India, which many Westerners, Chinese, and Indians themselves compare to China. India is a democracy yet corruption and poverty is rampant. Moreover, their democratic institutions make it harder for the government to mobilize and direct long-term investment. There’s actually waste and inefficiencies in both systems (democratic or autocratic), but people argue that of these two mega-populous nations, China is doing better, economically and politically, even socially (certain aspects of poverty and literacy for example).

          A lot of Westerners present democracy as a prerequsite for development. Many others including the Chinese push back on this, arguing that it isn’t, and their current development is a threatening testimony to the political system prerequisite dogma. China is showing that you don’t need “western” style political institutions or “western” levels of individual political freedoms to develop/modernize/advance the country and society. The whole Deng/Zhao concept of reforming, opening up, and modernizing China was based upon the idea of how they can do it under the political construct of a single-party government.

          Now, for political science enthusiasts, what China is doing won’t be proven to be a true alternative (depending on the metrics) to the “western” style democracy model until China can show similar living standards for a similar distribution of its population compared to Western nations. However, at the same time, advocates of the “western” style democracy model also can’t argue conclusively that their model always works, again, as evidenced by the number of failed democracies the West has tried repeatedly to build in various countries. The bottom line is that the West developed what it has given their own unique circumstances. We must accept that circumstances and people can differ enough for different methods and models to be reasonable enough to try. We also need to acknowledge that its quite understandable why Westerners feel threatened by alternative models and why they’re so insistent upon their model being the “right” one. No one likes competition, no one likes not being “right.” Everyone likes the idea of everyone else agreeing with them or thinking like they do.

          But the fact is that not everyone does.

  • J-man

    “Either way, foreigners look down upon us Chinese, and even act as if they are aggrieved.”

    Wow, I don’t know if anyone else noticed it , but that is a F*cked up statement, Clearly written with a chip on the shoulder.

    I can see why one might have a chip on the shoulder about this issue, but this is a broad sweeping statement of bull shit.

    Yes, ANY person can look down about any culture but this statement is ridiculous. The statements that foreigners fake their grievances and look down on Chinese, is really unrelated to the article…. To write that “foreigners” are secretly putting Chinese down and faking their true intentions is paranoia and racism.

    Your paragraph which includes the example of a Chinese or foreigner dying on a cargo ship is flawed because it is not the person that chooses the compensation but rather the governing body, ergo, YOUR government. So… then the nobility complex, according to your argument, derives from the government looking down on people and faking their grievances. Here, I think you might find a more convincing argument.

  • Asis

    The first ones to tread the path of modernity are the ones who will dominate the discourse and define what exactly it is.

    Since the West got there first it follows then that the 2 words: Westernisation and Modernisation are inextricably linked. In an international community bound by capitalism the most affluent and dynamic culture will define the word. It’s discourse ownership.

    At the moment, Chinese people would not know how to define ‘modern’ if they did not have the West to take it from. They might add their own flavour through conflation, manipulation and misinterpretation, but it’s a Western dish they’re eating.

    • FangYao

      the world is beautiful because the variety of the culture, is that good thing that everyone becomes the same western mind.
      it would be so sad,if one day everyone think like a westerner whatever china or everywhere.
      if everyone is the same so what is the point for traveling to the different places, the world would become so boring.
      maybe accept different is the better way …..

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      That was, seriously, an intelligent comment, right up until the very last sentence when it became willfully offensive.

      • Asis

        What you mean is; that was an intelligent point, right up until the bit where it hurt your feelings.

        • http://www.chinasmack.com Fauna

          You complain about China and Chinese people. Other people complain about you complaining about China and Chinese people. You complain about other people complaining about you complaining about China and Chinese people. You are all complaining about your hurt feelings. Stop being stupid.

          • Asis

            Fauna and Kai… same people? know each other?

            Fauna. I don’t complain about China on this site. I make observations which aren’t diluted for the sake of being PC.

            I respect your ownership of this site, but strongly urge you to stay seated on your throne. Just like the British monarchy, I think you should avoid getting involved in the politics.

            Oh, and if you haven’t noticed yet, 70% of the comments here are a hell of a lot stronger than mine. You wade in now because it’s with Kai. If you don’t like criticisms of China, you have a hell of a lot of moderating to do. Either that or just shut down the whole site.

          • Asis

            Okay, so you weren’t really talking about ‘complaints’ alone, you were talking about the whole cycle. The last sentence was a bit strong. But why come in on my comment?

            This is a forum, Fauna, and like you said, we’re all using it as some sort of release. Kai against generalised and oversimplified criticisms of China and me against narrow minded liberalism that omits important objective observations.

            Maybe it seems like ‘hurt feelings’. Racism should not be accepted but neither should the other end of the extreme. For that reason, I don’t think it’s ‘stupid’. Oh, and by the way…

            You just became the person complaining about the people complaining about the people complaining about the people complaining.~ Welcome to the mud pit.

        • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

          me against narrow minded liberalism that omits important objective observations.

          Ah, hard to argue with someone who spends so much time automatically assuming himself, his opinion, and his side to be “objective.”

          Fauna made a salient observation, most of which applies as much to me as to you. The last part, however, I reckon applies specifically to you persisting in being so self-righteous. If you’ve lurked long enough on chinaSMACK, you’d already know what Fauna thinks is me being stupid.

          Racism should not be accepted but neither should the other end of the extreme.

          You make a lot of these comments simply asserting things, but do you ever go about explaining them? No, rarely. See, when I called shin an idiot, I explained why (when it became obvious that some people couldn’t already guess). When I disagree with others, I explain why and while not everyone likes how much I write, I am at least respecting the other person enough to spend that much time and energy to do my best to explain.

          You? You just accuse others of something and declare it true. When people object or take offense to it, you don’t actually respond to their objections or counterpoints, you just accuse them of having hurt feelings. Your self-righteousness and arrogance lies in this behavior.

          You’ve misrepresented me as the “opposite extreme” of racism without explaining why. You’ve also misrepresented my positions as “narrow minded liberalism” without explanation. I, of course, disagree with these misrepresentations. So long as you’re willing to come off your high-horse and bother having a respectful discussion where you actually explain and argue for your side instead of disingeneously side-stepping everything the other side says, I’m willing to take you seriously. You don’t need to change your mind about me, but you do no need to humble yourself to admitting that you’ve just been making accusations without substantiation and without the decency to try substantiating.

          BTW, going back to a little experiment of mine, I noticed you responded:

          Anyway… Kai, it’s not true that I ‘don’t like you’. I take up people who I think will challenge my ideas. I don’t agree with your comments, it’s not about you personally.

          Did you notice that me accusing you of not liking me for what I say is the same as you accusing me of not liking what others say:

          You get real ugly when someone says something you don’t like, Kai.

          I feel the same about you, and the snide self-righteousness that comes from your comments. Have you ever considered that, like you, I simply “don’t agree” with those comments, just as you “don’t agree” with my comments (or in this case, my disagreements with other people’s comments that you agree with)? So why is it that you can accuse me of such when you do the very exact same thing?

          Self-righteousness, Asis. You want to disagree with me vehemently just as I do with others, at least be willing to make an argument instead of just hypocritical accussations. Me chiding someone who, in poor taste, said “empathy is simply non-existent in China” does not make me a narrow-minded liberal. It just means I think any half-intelligent person would know better than to make such a comment, much less go on to defend it.

  • Sushi

    I read a lot of this post. And, I agree and disagree. I agree that ‘in general’ the Chinese that I encountered in China are not very empathetic. But, I don’t think Chinese are inherently less empathetic than New Yorkers or Londoners.

    And, there are real historical and psychological reasons for it. There have been a lot of studies about why people do not help in emergencies. First, is that uncertainty will keep people from helping (Latane & Rodin, 1969). Second, when people are certain of an emergency, they will help more than 90 percent of the time (R. D. Clark & Word, 1972, 1974). Ironically, individuals that are in an urbanized environment are less likely to receive aid. Since China, is hyper-urbanized in many cases, this makes sense. I bet in the countryside there would be more aid.

    Another thing is the social proof. If everyone is sitting around watching, then the inclination is to sit around and watch (Abrams et al., 1990; Burn, 1990; Schultz, 1999). So, if you have a crowd of people watching a scene and nobody helping, the likelihood is that you won’t get helped.

    Okay, so you add this all together and you get “a lack of empathy in China.” Really, it’s a human problem. We are generally self-centered. Evolution makes us not want to get involved in conflict (that is if we got good genes) because it may harm us (and our ability too procreate).

    Add in Chinese history and society, and you get even more reasons not to help. As a helper you may become a victim of a shakedown. The threat may be real or perceived, but if you were trying to help a victim and some harm befell them, there is no “Good Samaritan” law and a decent judiciary there to protect you. It’s best just to stay out of it.

    And, it has already been said that people do have value. It is the NPV of future cash flows. Same way you’d value a business. In a biological sense people are just another mammal. In western law (common or statutory), if you killed your neighbors cow, you are liable to pay for its value. Why should we think that people are somehow more sacred then cows in the whole economic valuation thing. It may seem callous, but there are plenty of people out there. So, yes, if Chinese mainlanders earn less, the payout should be less. It is only fair (so long as the payout is economically correct).

  • Asis

    I’m sorry Kai, but I’m just gonna have to cut through a lot of this because I literally (and I mean really ‘literally’, not the type of ‘literally’ you used to describe my ‘going around boasting about my intellectualism’).. I literally don’t have time to get back to you on all the points you have made.

    What I can do though, is take us right to the root of why I take up your comments rather than other people’s. It’s this phobia you have of people pointing out the negative things about China with the predisposition you have that it is ALL due to foreign arrogance.

    I won’t defend Shin’s comment because that would be silly, as you could nail me to the wall for advocating his use of ‘simply does not have’ when this is obviously not true.

    BUT, albeit crudely, Shin has a point. Chinese society, in general, lacks empathy for strangers. That’s not an emotively charged statement. That’s a well-known observation that many, yes MANY, have made about mainland Chinese society.

    And yes, I am wide open to your charges of lacking empirical evidence, but the point is, it doesn’t matter how many big words you use or how much you condescend to people making these observations, it doesn’t matter about the whys or the wherefores, the fact is, it’s there. It definitely exists and would take willful ignorance not to pick up on it.

    For you to argue that there is no difference between China and other foreign societies, ‘it’s just arrogance’ is ludicrous. I have stayed in other impoverished countries, Kai. I’m not walking around China in a top hat and white khakis. I have nothing invested in feeling superior to the Chinese, and certainly haven’t ever felt superior to the people in the other poor countries that I have stayed in. China however, is strikingly different to ALL the other countries I have been to. For me, the lack of empathy for strangers is one thing that marks it out.

    What I am concerned with is your attempt to argue every negative comment about China like it doesn’t exist. And secondly, your language in doing so.

    You can’t call Shin a ‘mind boggling idiot’ for saying so. The fact that you do, is evidence of your trollish behaviour at times, which, it seems you have admitted to being guilty of (‘fight fire with fire’).

    If you’d just said;

    “hang on Shin, that’s a bit unfair, it’s obvious that not ALL Chinese people lack empathy”

    you wouldn’t have heard from me. Hell, I might have even given you a thumbs up.

    There’s plenty examples like this. Like when you deliberately insinuated that I want the CN review to be about ‘foreigner bashing’ just to get a rise out of me. Or like when you said that I ‘literally go around boasting about my own intellectualism’ when the source that you link to shows nothing of the sort, and certainly not “LITERALLY”.

    Your trollisms make your triviliasations of problems in China seem even more visceral; ‘visceral’ because you appear to have an instinctive disliking of people criticising China, even it seems, when it is a reasonable observation. It’s this element that lies at the heart of your responses, and at the heart of why I take you up on what you say.

    • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

      I’m sorry Kai, but I’m just gonna have to cut through a lot of this because…I literally don’t have time to get back to you on all the points you have made.

      This is a problem, Asis, because at best it suggests you haven’t been bothering to read my points before you make some silly argument against me based upon your mistaken preconceptions of me and my position. At worst, this is just a convenient way for you to ignore and sidestep the counterpoints raised against your accusations. Now, having read your comment, I already know I’m going to spend the next few blockquotes and responses just restating your mistakes, oversights, and misrepresentations.

      What I can do though, is take us right to the root of why I take up your comments rather than other people’s. It’s this phobia you have of people pointing out the negative things about China with the predisposition you have that it is ALL due to foreign arrogance.

      I have no problem with people pointing out the negative things about China as many other comments I have personally made and agreed with on this website clearly demonstrate. I DO have a problem with foreign arrogance, just as I have a problem with Chinese arrogance.

      In another topic, you ask why I don’t blast the Chinese commenters of the comments translated by Fauna as “mind boggling idiocy” for their oversimplified generalizations. In reality, I’ve actually occassionally commented on it before, but generally, the reason I don’t respond to them is because those people are unlikely to see my response here on chinaSMACK. I bother to respond to commenters on chinaSMACK because there’s a reasonable probability that doing so will lead to an actual engagement, discussion, and exchange of ideas with the party I’m disagreeing with. I respond to shin and you and bert and pug because you guys will likely see my response. The Chinese commenters that were translated? Not so much. Even so, I still do occassionally criticize some of what they say, but it is impractical to yell at someone who can’t hear you because you’re yelling at them from a website they’re not on. Shin and you CAN hear me because you’re ON chinaSMACK like I am.

      I understand you made this argument because you’re trying to show that I’m hypocritical in what I object to, but a simple consideration of the situational dynamics and the setting of discourse should’ve shown you how ill-conceived your argument was. Moreover, as I’ve stated before in response to other complaints, I fully acknowledge that I react more to foreigners here than Chinese, though I’ve blasted the random ignorant Chinese fenqing that have occassionally find their way here. Is it really difficult to understand why? It is because foreigners are naturally disproportionately represented here by virtue of the website being in English. Yes, I do take it upon myself to be part of the minority voice of dissent here against a majority voice that I feel sometimes gets to be too unfair. This isn’t narrow-minded liberalism, this is me appraising the situation I’m in and speaking my conscience. Given that you are not party to the conversations I engage in with Chinese people (in Chinese), you have absolutely NO idea if and how I’m equally (and often more so) critical of them for their own ignorance, arrogance, and mistakes of rhetoric.

      I don’t have a “phobia” of people pointing out negatives things about China. You subjectively interpret and accuse my actions as such. This is the same as me subjectively interpreting and accusing shin’s statement of being “mind-boggling idiocy.” Your self-righteousness is in failing to see how your objection and criticisms of me are no different and, by themselves, no more objective than my objection and criticisms of others like shin. One difference between you and I that I think is prevalent, however, is my willingness to respond to others point by point, explain my disagreement, substantiate my argument, flesh out my points, and actually take the time to do all of the above. While I also own up to indulging in some name-calling and vemon while I do the above, my indulgences don’t invalidate my arguments (though I grant they might make them more difficult to stomach).

      Fauna made a good point above. shin made a complaint about China. I felt the complaint was offensive enough to complain about it. When you complained about my complaint, I explained explicitly what I was objecting to and why. While you now finally come out explicitly saying you’re not defending shin’s comment and distance yourself by calling it “silly”, you initially saw fit to complain about me for complaining about a comment you now also acknowledge to be indefensible. Why?

      Because of your mistaken preconceptions of me. Because you subjectively long ago concluded I have some phobia of people saying negative things about China (despite the many instances where it is clear I do not). Because you’re too eager to confuse my objections against foreign arrogance to be objections against any criticism of China. You’re too eager to make me out to be the streotypical Chinese hyper-nationalist fenqing, because it would be easier to dismiss my objections and criticisms of the offensive exaggerations SOME foreigners indulge in, and even feel entitled to indulge in. You’re too eager to make it “us vs. them” instead of acknowledging mistakes and missteps where they are made. Yes, even though in the end you must rationally admit shin’s comment to be indefensible, you still chose to attack me instead of just acknowledging my valid criticism of his indefensible comment. Why?

      Because you identify with what he felt:

      BUT, albeit crudely, Shin has a point. Chinese society, in general, lacks empathy for strangers. That’s not an emotively charged statement. That’s a well-known observation that many, yes MANY, have made about mainland Chinese society.

      Despite my repeated bolding and explanations of precisely what I was objecting to, you continued on your attack against me. You see, as evident by many of my other comments here on chinaSMACK and elsewhere you see fit to ignore or dismisss, I fully understand and identify with what shin felt too. I even said so:

      I fully understand (and EMPATHIZE) with the larger phenomenon you feel is more prevalent in China than elsewhere, but that larger issue was NOT what I was blasting shin for.

      Also:

      Both of you are broadening the issue and I’m not going to argue with you on that because that’s not what I objected to. What I was appalled by was what I bolded: “Empathy is simply non-existent in China.” If you agree with the (lack of) intelligence behind such a statement, fine. I feel sorry for you. If you don’t, shut the fuck up and learn to defend what deserves defending, especially you, Asis

      I already SAW where you were going, Asis, and sure enough, you continued right down that path, feeling it was more important for you to spend your time and energy accusing me of criticizing what I don’t like (no shit!) to culminate in some half-baked, ill-conceived, grand conclusion that I have a phobia against any negative comments about China DESPITE the evidence to the contrary and despite the very fact that I MAKE, WELCOME, AND OFTEN AGREE with well-reasoned criticisms of China.

      I did make a mistake though. I mistook your comments to be a defense of shin when in reality they were more of an attack against people who criticize foreigners for criticizing the Chinese. The fact that you persisted in broadening the issue instead of acknowledging my argument that shin’s comment was indefensible showed you to be reluctant to accept even valid criticisms. You just had to broaden the issue and find some kind of way to argue why I shouldn’t object to shin’s comment. I respect Fat American far more than you, because he has the humility to read my response, acknowledge exactly what I was objecting to, and clarify his position. When he did so, he communicated to me that he wasn’t trying to defend the indefensible, and he made a reasoned argument for his own feelings. What he said was still something negative about China, but why didn’t I jump on him for it? Why did I fully acknowledge and accept it? Because I don’t have the phobia you accuse me of.

      And yes, I am wide open to your charges of lacking empirical evidence, but the point is, it doesn’t matter how many big words you use or how much you condescend to people making these observations, it doesn’t matter about the whys or the wherefores, the fact is, it’s there. It definitely exists and would take willful ignorance not to pick up on it.

      Further evidence that you don’t bother to read, or if you do, you’re so blinded by the prejudice you have against me borne by your own subjective mistaken conceptions of my position, that you don’t even process what you’re reading. As I quoted myself above, I very early and repeatedly explained that I fully pick up on the widespread feeling that acts/getures/demonstrations of empathy are notable lacking to many observers (including the Chinese themselves) in China. Why you would ignore these and press on accusing me of something that is not true is because of your own dogmatic pursuit to pigeon-hole me into what you prefer to think: someone who has a phobia. You’re so insecure with admitting your own mistakes or the mistakes of those you share sentiments with that you PURSUE denouncing anyone who critciizes you or those you share sentiments with. Instead of addressing my points of objection to shin’s indefensible statement and subsequent poor decision to defend his indefensible statement, you instead fabricated a persona for me, built a straw man, then pointed at it and asked everyone to dismiss my objections as invalid and only raised because I’m someone who illegitimately reacts to any criticism of China.

      I do not illegitimately react to any criticism of China, however much you insist that I do. I was not disagreeing with the very understandable and shared observation that gestures of empathy in China seem lacking compared to many foreign countries. I was disagreeing and condescending towards someone who defended the indefensible statement of “empathy is simply non-existent in China.”

      I have repeatedly brought the conversation back to this point of contention, and each time you’ve avoided it because you know (and have now admitted) that you could not win it. You’re now trying to frame the original disagreement as being about something else in order to make a false argument against me.

      For you to argue that there is no difference between China and other foreign societies, ‘it’s just arrogance’ is ludicrous.

      I never argued this. In fact, I often argue that there ARE very real differences. What did you think the whole conversation I had with bert and pug was about? Again, you’re misrepresenting my position in order to attack me for something I am not.

      I have stayed in other impoverished countries, Kai. I’m not walking around China in a top hat and white khakis. I have nothing invested in feeling superior to the Chinese, and certainly haven’t ever felt superior to the people in the other poor countries that I have stayed in.

      I subjectively think otherwise. I point to your comments and especially your comment over on CNR as the reasons for why I think otherwise. Everyone has a vested interest in feeling superior to others, it reaffirms our own values and ideology. Some people just do a better job than others of keeping that in check, reminding themselves to be careful with this very human proclivity. I find your absolute denial that you ever feel superior to others to be inconsistent with your comments and basic human nature. Your self-righteousness also comes across in this self-portrayal. I at least fully acknowledge my contempt for those I argue to be worthy of that contempt.

      China however, is strikingly different to ALL the other countries I have been to. For me, the lack of empathy for strangers is one thing that marks it out.

      If you read what I wrote above and previous comments, you wouldn’t even feel the need to say this. You doing so however only evidences the straw man you’re still trying to build.

      As I have argued with others, I fully acknowledge that gestures of empathy appear lacking in China compared to many other foreign countries, but I do NOT think this evidences a non-existence of empathy in the Chinese, or even a substantial lack of empathy in the Chinese. Empathy is an emotion I feel the vast majority of Chinese possess in quantities similar or equivalent to most other humans in this world. I believe a better explanation and reason for why GESTURES or manifestations of this emotion are due to unique circumstances and environment in China that is DIFFERENT from many other countries. These DIFFERENCES discourage or make acting on such human empathy to be riskier or less wise. Others have corroborated this.

      With you having the disingeneuousness to lecture ME on China being “different” is ludicrous given everything I have said that is now obvious YOU saw fit to completely IGNORE!

      Again, this is your mistake, this is your oversight, you are again misrepresentating.

      What I am concerned with is your attempt to argue every negative comment about China like it doesn’t exist.

      Untrue. See above.

      And secondly, your language in doing so.

      That’s fine. I fully acknowledge and accept people criticizing me for my language or tone. I just point out to them that it’s still better to challenge my points and arguments. At the same time, I clearly don’t like your language or tone of voice either. Are we even on this count? Sure.

      You can’t call Shin a ‘mind boggling idiot’ for saying so.

      I most certainly can and did, just as you CAN and DID accuse me of all manner of things. The difference is that I did a better job arguing for why I called shin what I did, whereas you’ve used a lot of imagination or selective reading building straw men to argue for why you call me what you do.

      The fact that you do, is evidence of your trollish behaviour at times, which, it seems you have admitted to being guilty of (’fight fire with fire’).

      I don’t think “trollish” is applicable to either of us, as I certainly thought of accusing you of it before but refrained from doing so because there is insufficient evidence to support such an accusation.

      A troll exists to flame and annoy other people just for the sake of doing so. smickno was a troll, even by his own admission. Given that I make tons of comments on chinaSMACK, many of which discuss the subject matter of the post or constitute reasoned debate with other commenters, I do not think my overall behavior qualifies as “trollish”. In fact, between the two of us, and the proportion of the comments you contribute that are preoccupied with reacting to and attacking me instead of talking about some objective subject, I’d say your behavior is closer to “trollish.”

      “Fighting fire with fire” is not trollish behavior. Go look up the urban dictionary or something. In fact, you persistently attacking me with clear misrepresentations is closer to being trollish behavior. Mind you, this isn’t just me saying “no, you!”, this is me pointing out your mistaken understanding of the word “troll” and how your behavior is more in line with the actual definition of “troll.”

      If you’d just said;

      “hang on Shin, that’s a bit unfair, it’s obvious that not ALL Chinese people lack empathy”

      you wouldn’t have heard from me. Hell, I might have even given you a thumbs up.

      Yeah, I know. I could have, but I chose not to because I don’t think he deserved me being so polite to him after he was so disrespectful and impolite to others.

      I’m tickled silly that you’d even presume to lecture me on this after I responded to shin arrogantly defending his indefensible comment with:

      A simple, “my bad, I was exaggerating” would’ve sufficed. Instead, you followed up with: “empathy may exist in 0.01% of the population (the educated portion…sorry)”. Again, all of this just one day after the 1-year anniversary of the Sichuan Earthquake.

      I’m not shin’s fucking parent. I don’t owe it to him to coddle him and teach him how to not make patently stupid and indefensible comments. We can even say my willingness to call him out so directly implies my inherent belief that he’s a peer, not some fragile child I should handle with care. What’s wrong with me expecting and being disappointed with him not being intelligent enough to not make such an indefensible comment? What’s wrong with me expecting him to be humble enough to acknowledge the inherent idiocy of what I objected to? What’s wrong with me taking him or others further to task for actually have the gall and arrogance to defend his initial indefensible statement?

      Yeah, I fought fire with fire. He was disrespectful and I opted to be disrespectful to him. If and when I make a patently idiotic and indefensible statement, I’m perfectly fine with people calling me out for it, just as I’m perfectly fine with you objecting to a tone of voice you find disagreeable. What I’m NOT perfectly fine with is you accusing me and attacking me hypocritically and without substantiation. I own up to what I cannot defend. I do NOT accept your misrepresentations and mischaracterizations of me so long as I can show them to be misrepresentations and mischaracterizations.

      There’s plenty examples like this.

      Like what?

      Like when you deliberately insinuated that I want the CN review to be about ‘foreigner bashing’ just to get a rise out of me. Or like when you said that I ‘literally go around boasting about my own intellectualism’ when the source that you link to shows nothing of the sort, and certainly not “LITERALLY”.

      When you retorted on CNReviews that its a “pointless blog” AFTER I replied to you that the post you were responding to was NOT about bashing foreigners (in fact, it was actually kinda defending them), what do you want me to think?

      When your comment on CNR evidences you completely missing the point of the post and jumping to writing a defensive rant (“Well, excuse me if I don’t indulge in some orientalist fantasy”) explaining that the reason you aren’t interested in making local Chinese friends because you “don’t have anything in common with” them because “the fact” is that, “intellectualism is dead here” and “[m]ainland Chinese people don’t really do ‘deep’”. I know you excepted “some pockets in the big cities (and best universities)” but that certainly looks like you “literally boasting about your own intellectualism” relative to the Chinese. That you then juxtapose it with the “Taiwanese friends” you made certainly reinforces my interpretation of you boasting.

      Now, certainly, people are free to go read what you wrote and judge for themselves. I’m fine with that. That’s why I provided the link.

      I was even nice and didn’t even take you to task for doing what you all too often do in reaction to reading something I wrote that you don’t like: accuse me of knee-jerk reacting to any negative comment about China. You spent two paragraphs in your comment on CNR pre-emptively arguing for why I shouldn’t take offense to your comments before I even took offense. And when I was correct in pointing out that you missed the point of the post thus negating your whole rant and pre-emptive defense, you got all huffy and retorted:

      Well if that’s true, your blog is even more pointless than I first thought.

      So my blog is pointless because you missed the point, jumped to conclusions, and embarrassed yourself by acting on those conclusions. Good job.

      Your trollisms make your triviliasations of problems in China seem even more visceral; ‘visceral’ because you appear to have an instinctive disliking of people criticising China, even it seems, when it is a reasonable observation. It’s this element that lies at the heart of your responses, and at the heart of why I take you up on what you say.

      No, it is you prefering to think this of me that lies at the heart of why you take me up on what I say, not that you do a good job of it what with all the misrepresentations and failure to acknowledge what others say. I don’t trivialize the problems of China. If anything, I take them quite seriously as others have noted throughout this website and elsewhere. I don’t have an instinctive dislike of people criticizing China but I do have an instinctive (thank God) bullshit meter AND dislike of self-righteous racial/ethnic/cultural superiorty-complexes, whether it manifests itself in criticizing China or otherwise. You would do well to learn the difference between the two.

      • http://www.chinasmack.com Fauna

        操 everyone please do not waste your time complaining about Kai writing so long.

      • ST

        Kai, why are you writing so long?

        Kidding! I’m on Kai’s side here. For the most part his points are solid, his complaints valid and any criticisms that I’ve seen him make are, frankly, deserved. Keep going Kai.

      • tutu

        i think kai and asis should just meet up and duke it out like real men and stop nagging at each other like little wussies online.

  • Jay

    Don’t put your blame on foreigners because your government figures their lives are worth more compensation. This is your government’s decision alone. In the US the courts figure the value of a life based on how much the person would have earned in a natural lifetime – thus compensating the person’s family for the earnings loss. Nothing can compensate the loss of a loved one.

  • Mike Fish

    Kai doesn’t even write this much on cnreviews!

  • Asis

    What a great comeback! Some really slamming responses, but then.. all of a sudden you let it all go up in flames.

    “I’m not Shin’s fucking parent”

    I can almost hear you shouting it at your screen. This Kai, is exactly what I am talking about. There’s a fire inside you that affects your ability to speak pragmatically and maturely about China. To address the things that really matter.

    You called Shin a mind boggling idiot for making a comment that you “fully understand and identify with”. That’s what I took you up on, and who can blame me for misunderstanding you, given your strange use of words?

    You favour calling people names (misleading names at that) for making generalisations, rather than taking up observations that you “fully understand and identify with”. A lot of us did, like you, “fully understand and identify” with Shin’s statement. So why did you sidestep the issue and roll with a childish insult instead?

    I know, I know… because it is offensive and not worth a proper response; but that was, and is my point. If people like you (someone who knows about China and is ready to tackle cultural issues) can’t address a point that thousands of visitors here “fully understand and identify with” then what the hell kind of issues are you tackling with your comments?

    That’s why I called you bland earlier, because you never actually deal with the big issues head on. You microscope and de-contextualise stories as part of your phobia of generalisations and fear of being guilty of the crime of feeling superior to China. But in doing so, you negate the opportunity to look at the bigger picture here in China. There is a bigger picture, and generalistions can and do serve a function other than racism (I admit it is difficult in a country more resembling a continent).

    Shin’s comment might have been offensive, but the issue itself WAS worthy of a proper response.

    It’s the same thing with your CNreview blog, which serves as another example of your misleading people and avoiding the larger issues. You rightly observe that foreign people very rarely have Chinese friends (which so many are not ready to admit), but then go on to write an entirely innocuous blog reminding people who came to integrate that they should review their current situation. I mean.. WTF kind of point is that? Why would that make interesting reading?

    (Any readers still following this should note that Kai did later admit that this blog was ‘probably a trap’ in response to the MANY people who ‘misread’ it. This is one of the reasons why I called him a troll – Wiki definition of troll is someone who has the “primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response”)

    It was the same on the ‘woman drowns in car’ story. You get red-faced and shout at people who cite it as an example of how Chinese people don’t help each other when in trouble, and in doing so, completely fail to take up a very obvious phenomenon here, which is the fact that people often don’t help each other.

    You want to fight against oversimplifications; fine, but please don’t do it at the expense of honest discussion about China. Instead of deliberately evading and misleading just to prove your point that foreigners feel superior to the Chinese, why not spend some time actually tackling these issues? It would make you a hell of a better writer; and at the same would save me and MANY others from ‘misinterpreting’ your meaning and thinking that you are deliberately ignoring the relevant features in this society.

  • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

    You’re still playing stupid, Asis.

    You called Shin a mind boggling idiot for making a comment that you “fully understand and identify with”.

    I called shin a mind boggling idiot for make an indefensible statement, not for making a comment I “fully understand and identify with.” I do not “fully understand and identify” with the idiocy required to say something as patently absurd as “empathy is simply non-existent in China.” You’re intentionally misrepresenting my objection.

    So why did you sidestep the issue and roll with a childish insult instead?

    I didn’t side-step the issue. I clearly bolded and explained what I was objecting to and insulting. You’re intentionally misrepresenting my position yet again.

    I know, I know… because it is offensive and not worth a proper response;

    I offered a proper response. I explained why the indefensible statement I objected to was false and idiotic when it became apparent that you couldn’t accept that such an indefensible statement could be criticized because it resonates with you.

    Instead of making a valid argument against my explanation of why shin’s statement was idiotic and indefensible, you proceeded to defend it by broadening the issue and making hypocritical self-righteous attacks against me, accusing me of having a phobia the record does not evidence me having.

    Instead of acknowledging the indefensible as indefensible, you went on the attack, making unfounded and unsupported accusations about my character.

    If people like you (someone who knows about China and is ready to tackle cultural issues) can’t address a point that thousands of visitors here “fully understand and identify with” then what the hell kind of issues are you tackling with your comments?

    Wow, when did you suddenly know what “thousands of visitors here” think and become qualified to speak on their behalf?

    The issue I was tackling with my initial comment to shin was that such a patently idiotic comment is offensive, not appreciated, and liable to be called out for what it is.

    The issue I am tackling with my subsequent comments to you is that your disingeneous, misrepresenting, hypocritical, self-righteous, fallacious attacks against me are, well, disingenous, misrepresentive, hypocritical, self-righteous, and fallacious. I think I’ve done a good job above providing evidence and argumentation supporting this conclusion.

    That’s why I called you bland earlier,

    Right, you can’t figure out how to counter my argument so you call me boring instead. That’s new.

    because you never actually deal with the big issues head on.

    Only according to you. Or have you become the arbiter of what is a “big issue”? I do not exist to deal with the issues YOU think are “big.” I deal with the issues that matter to me. Your self-righteousness manifests itself yet again with you dictating what other people should consider important or not.

    You microscope and de-contextualise stories as part of your phobia of generalisations and fear of being guilty of the crime of feeling superior to China.

    That sounded intelligent but it wasn’t. You’re still making the “phobia” accusation without substantiation. Pointing out that a comment made was patently idiotic is not microscoping or de-contextualizing anything. It’s calling a cigar a cigar. You’re still desperately trying to broaden the issue.

    But in doing so, you negate the opportunity to look at the bigger picture here in China. There is a bigger picture, and generalistions can and do serve a function other than racism (I admit it is difficult in a country more resembling a continent).

    You’re broadening and veering off topic. I have nothing against looking at the bigger picture here in China. I have nothing against reasonably used generalizations. I DO have something against people copping a superiority complex. shin’s comment indicated such. His subsequent defense corroborated it. I’ve already demonstrated how you have a nauseating superiority complex as well above.

    Shin’s comment might have been offensive, but the issue itself WAS worthy of a proper response.

    I gave a proper response and had good discussions with those who were able to discuss the issue without being patently offensive and then defending such offensiveness. You’re still broadening.

    It’s the same thing with your CNreview blog, which serves as another example of your misleading people and avoiding the larger issues. You rightly observe that foreign people very rarely have Chinese friends (which so many are not ready to admit), but then go on to write an entirely innocuous blog reminding people who came to integrate that they should review their current situation. I mean.. WTF kind of point is that? Why would that make interesting reading?

    What isn’t interesting to you doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting to others. How arrogant can you be to think that your tastes and interests define everyone elses?

    I didn’t think it was necessary to lecture foreigners to make Chinese friends. 1. I don’t think they need to.
    2. If they want to, a simple reminder that they think about their situation, consider their original goals, and then maybe make different decisions going forward is sufficient in my mind for my purposes.

    Your criticism of CNR is the lamest argument I’ve seen you make yet. Now, maybe YOU don’t think these are big issues, but I’ve written about racism in China, Jackie Chan’s comments on the Chinese needing to be “controlled”, freedom of speech on the internet, biases and prejudices towards the movie Nanjing Nanjing, and Tiananmen Square amongst others. Do I need to tell you how “big” these issues are? Or are you going to dismiss them all because it is more convenient for your argument to do so? Or because you might not agree with my position on these issues?

    So anything you disagree with is automatically not a “big” issue, eh?

    (Any readers still following this should note that Kai did later admit that this blog was ‘probably a trap’ in response to the MANY people who ‘misread’ it. This is one of the reasons why I called him a troll – Wiki definition of troll is someone who has the “primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response”)

    Wow, if you mistake an provocative introduction that segways into a larger point as trolling, you’re a bigger idiot that I though. I am, however, glad you finally looked up what “troll” means. I hope you’ll now realize that the vast majority of my comments on this website are is not “trollish” behavior. Likewise, various writing techniques used to engage or prompt a reaction from a reader is not trolling. Keep reading that Wikipedia definition.

    It was the same on the ‘woman drowns in car’ story. You get red-faced and shout at people who cite it as an example of how Chinese people don’t help each other when in trouble, and in doing so, completely fail to take up a very obvious phenomenon here, which is the fact that people often don’t help each other.

    Ah, I was waiting for when you’d bring that up. You’re basically demanding that I have the same thoughts and reactions as you do. This is ridiculous. I already made my point in that thread. I’m not going to re-argue my point here. You’re again broadening and trying to change the subject instead of simply acknowledging that I have the right and freedom to take offense to what shin said but you’re trying to force me to accept it. I don’t need to accept what I find unacceptable, even if you demand it, Asis.

    You want to fight against oversimplifications; fine, but please don’t do it at the expense of honest discussion about China.

    You’re not very good at honest discussions, Asis. When someone starts an honest discussion, I’ll honor it with an honest discussion. What shin did was not an honest discussion, thou you apparently think so and demand that I agree. When others like bert or pug started honest discussions, I was happy to engage them on it. You’re again depending on broadening the issue in order to make a criticism against me that isn’t applicable.

    You’re trying to blackmail me into accepting offensive comments, claiming that if I don’t, then I’m wasting an opportunity for an honest discussion. That’s some fucked up logic, Asis. The person who squandered the opportunity for an honest discussion is the person who first made the patently idiotic and indefensible statement. How does someone engage shin in an honest discussion when he already came out saying “empathy is simply non-existent in China?” When confronted and called out, he then defends it? I’m supposed to have an honest discussion with someone who is more interested in casting judgement and condemnation, reaffirming his own ethnic/racial/cultural superiority? Sorry, Asis, you’re defending the wrong example and picking the wrong battle. An honest discussion begins with mutual respect. Why is it that you’re arguing that I should accord shin respect when he offered none?

    Are you one of those people who think foreigners and foreign opinions should be sincerely considered and accepted no matter how offensive they are?

    Instead of deliberately evading and misleading just to prove your point that foreigners feel superior to the Chinese, why not spend some time actually tackling these issues?

    Because I don’t owe it to you to play by your ridiculously unfair rules. Instead of deliberately trying to assert superiority over the Chinese, why not spend some time actually tackling these issues? See how it works, Asis?

    It would make you a hell of a better writer;

    Um, yeah, I don’t think I’m very interested in being a “better writer” in your eyes.

    • Migrant Worker
      • lazy

        Well looks like this has died off but there was a debate somewhere in there that got me thinking :) so I thought i’d post anyway. I think there is an arguement for saying that more empathy does exist in China than us foreigners give credit for. Its just that the peoples’ empathy is felt and directed towards different situations. As an example( sorry its simplistic and probable not the best example but its the first one i could think of and hopefully gets what i’m trying to say across) I think its fair to say that many rural and urban families in China still hope for a boy.(Yes this happens in many countries but I think you know what I mean). The arrival of a girl would in many situations induce sympathy and people in china can empathise with this but foreigners might not emathise with this as much

        I do agree however that the level of empathy in the parts of china that I have visited seem to be much lower than I’ve seen elsewhere. I agree with Kai about the reasons behind people not acting in many of the situations given as examples, though I disagree heavily the reasoning behind one arguement. In a life or death situation where a person is trapped if a person where to truly empathise if they believed they could help and save that individuals life no matter the financial/ legal risk then surely at least one person would overcome their fear and act. i.e It could be me trapped there and I would want someone to help me so I will act.Easy to say perhaps…

        on the westernization-vs modernization debate( really enjoyed reading the posts)I’d say there are signs of westernization coming through not just superficial ones of dress and eating habits;but also the adoption of ‘western’ words and concepts into hanzi that did not exist before in the 80’s (language helps to define how people think by adding foreign concepts and ideas you can’t help but shift some peoples thinking) , the shifting of moral standards on acceptable behaviour as mentioned before by someone, old traditions being left behind… I could go on but I want to balance this a bit, with the reverse has also been true and one wonders how much of what we think of western has been drawn from elsewhere. I think the use of developed countries rather than western might get rid of some of the baggage. Sorry this is all a bit messy too tired. Last but not least I think a one party country is perfectly possible and can be more efficient than democracy in a fluid or overly large environment. To encapsulate so much power in so few however necessitates that you can get rid of corruption, enforce all laws equally and make sure the people in power are intelligent and compassionate or at least be Just, otherwise it will eventually become oppresive. Human nature here does tend to make that inevitable. The good thing about democracy as a system is it tends to take into account the corruption, stupidity and a selfserving nature in its leaders and in most cases corrects before things can get too bad. If it doesn’t democracy ends and well..

  • J

    Why the hell are you putting a price on life this is insane. Treat life as priceless. Teach your children this Fu*k Compensation! Don’t even think about it. Why are people even arguing the point. This is one of the stupidest articles I have ever read!

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  • Lily

    Haha, Kai you’re my hero.
    Asis and others like him can go fall down a manhole.

  • Honibaz

    The main problem with setting a standard for compensation is the get rich mindset of the average mainland Chinese. If you start to set higher compensation people will want to start defraud by pretending to be injured in order to get rich from the compensation. Before we can even talk about setting a lower limit, the values of the average citizen needs to be substantially improved.

  • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

    ‘Westernization’ and ‘modernization’ are so deeply and inseparably interwoven into one another that it’s impossible to make neat distinctions between the two. Obviously, China is going to develop along different lines to any other country, infusing the process with its own cultural flavours (as does every country), but it’s little more than ‘Westernization with Chinese characteristics’ ultimately.

    This is a game of semantics that really needn’t be played. You’re manipulating “modernization” into “westernization” on the basis that the West modernized first and now in some ways “owns” the concept of “modernization.” This is absurd, like saying Europeans “sinocized” after they caught up with the Chinese on various societal developments.

    When we speak of “westernization” here, we’re talking about subjective social/cultural values and political ideology. A simple (maybe too simple, but I trust you can understand it) example: Modernization means GDP growth. Westernization means GDP growth through Western methods.

    We can easily point to a ton of things in China and call it “Western” or “Westernized” simply because there was a Western predecessor. Many of those things are indeed “Western” but not all of them are under the surface. One good example is the recent issue of Tiananmen we had on CNR. Students and workers 20 years ago protested against the government. The Western media presented it as a Western style pro-democracy protest. However, over time, academics and scholars have all offered up evidence that while 1989 was definitely a protest, it isn’t accurate to say it was a “western” protest for “western democracy” or “western democratic ideals”.

    “Westernization” is about doing something for the same reasons as the West does them. Modernization is independent of those reasons. Does the Chinese government that allows dissent on the internet do so for the same reasons the American government allows dissent on the internet? No, not necessarily. The American government may allow such because it is an ideal they subscribe to, whereas the Chinese government may do so as a pragmatic and calculated release of public pressure. The action is the same, but the reason is different. Both the West and China can modernize by do so for different reasons. China can modernize without westernizing, unless you misappropriate all independent tenets of modernization as “westernization”

    But again, that’s playing with semantics.

    China’s growth is utterly predicated on ‘Western’ capitalist norms and principle. Even if a Shaolin monk opens a tea house on the top of a sacred Taoist mountain which you have to ride on the back of a dragon to get to, in modern China it’s *still* going to be based on the inherently ‘Western’ capitalist principles of supply and demand, profit, etc. Sorry if that’s all a bit Karl Marx 101, but it’d be churlish to dispute.

    Whoa, did you seriously just write that and take yourself seriously? I’m sorry, but the concept of capitalism (profit) and the principles of suppley and demand are NOT Western principles. They existed since time immemorial. They’re principles of life. When did the West and Westerners start thinking they invented such social phenomenon or basic human interaction? What? You don’t think the Chinese were adjusting prices based upon S&D and running profitable businesses thousands of years ago? That they had to wait until some Westerner landed on their shores to enlighten them to such concepts?

    The global capitalist system is not inherently Western, even if its largest players currently are Western (which is really arguable given that Japan is the world’s second largest economic power and China third). The global capitalist system is just a fancy name for international trade, something that has been happening around the world for eons. China’s more mature (RE)engagemement with the outside world in the past few decades is not China “westernizing” as it is China simply, well, re-engaging. You are, again, misappropriating an independent term as “western.”

    If you take the standard Laowai bugbears of spitting and shoving on the subway, lots of educated, ‘modern’ Chinese will concur in disgust, or at least are aware that it’s not the done thing. Now, do you really think that this is because they’re harking back to Confucianist values, or something else hermetically ‘Chinese’? Or is it more likely due to awareness of ‘modern’ norms elsewhere?

    I’m not going to lay into you because you’re actually trying to discuss respectfully but I read something like that and red flags of cultural/racial chauvinism pop up like crazy. Why? Because it really sounds like you believe finer social behaviors such as “not spitting” are an inherently Western norm. It isn’t. It is a by product of education and prosperity. The educated, moneyed, cultured, refined, etc. classes of China both past and present also saw spitting as a rather uncouth behavior. For sure, there isn’t aren’t parallels for everything, but the Chinese fully have class-deliminted behaviors. Many Chinese find certain Western behaviors to be uncouth as well, and I certainly know many Westerners engage in the same uncouth behaviors as the Chinese. These uncouth behaviors are a largely a function of social development, not race or “westernization”.

    The Chinese don’t shame because these uncouth behaviors so prevalent in their society show that they aren’t “western” enough. They feel shame because these behaviors evidence how far behind they are compared to where they want to be. Where they want to be is not “western” or even “more like the West.” Where they want to be is “as developed as the best Western examples.” They want to stamp out spitting not because they want to copy Westerners, but because they know that their own educated and cultured people (both past and present) don’t do such things.

    And on and on it goes, with every other disparate totem of cultural modernity you care to name; divorce, shiny shopping malls, blogging, mass tourism etc etc etc…they’re not examples of parallel development, they’ve been transmitted directly from the West to China in one way or another, and subsequently tailored to suit Chinese preferences.

    I understand what you’re trying to say but I think you’re going WAY too far with it, enough so that you’re coming across as dangerously arrogant. The fact is that people learn from and influence each other throughout history. I’m certain you don’t intend it, but you’re sounding as if everything China has done ever was copied from the West or copied and adapted. That’s not true. Just as the West once learned from China, China’s definitely going to learn from the West. Few people delight in reinventing the wheel and one day, there stands a chance that the West will again learn from China. No one knows, things change. You do know you’re coming across as unreasonably and offensively appropriating everything good as “Western”, right?

    The nexus between modernization and Westernization is intrinsic, and therefore I don’t think a claim such as “the West wants China to westernize. China itself wants to modernize” is meaningful.

    With all due respect, I think you’ve largely misunderstood the context such a statement was used. The best case scenario is that we’re unintentionally talking about different things entirely. The worst case scenario is that you’re actually trying to muddy the issue. The statement you quote is meaningful precisely because it makes us consider the differences in motivations and values. It is the difference between “you should do A because of B” and “no, I should do A because of C”. The West developed as it did for its own reasons. Some people from the West are now telling the Chinese, “you should do this for reasons just like our own if you want to be developed.” China has often said “well, no, I can still be developed with or without doing that, and whether with or without the same reasons as you.”

    Again, you really cannot misappropriate the concept of “development” as inherently “Western.” Furthermore, you need to address the ethnocrentrism inherent in arguing that others can only develop if they do so in the same way you did.

    There will always be distinct cultural flavours, but whether they are Western countries or not not, all nations’ route to modernity is ‘Western’ in its essence.

    Again, only by playing word games.

  • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

    Nonetheless, I still think that Westernization is inextricably tied in with modernization (for better or for worse, and I’m certainly not claiming for the better) to a larger extent than you may wish to concede.

    I think this is a reasonable disagreement.

    If anything, I’m quite glad you’ve been irked by my claims of the extent to which Westernization is interlinked with modernization, because I feel that to a large extent it’s quite an uncomforable truth;

    Well wait a second, I’m not irked because its an “uncomfortable truth.” I’m irked because I think some of the things you’re suggesting to be a truth (uncomfortable or not) aren’t persuasive. Major examples include your appropriation (for the West) of the concepts of capitalism, supply & demand, profit, business, etc. You now generalize it back down to “economic model” and I still disagree with you because the basic foundation, the tenents of the current world economy isn’t really that different from what existed before. We can even take your own reasoning and say the West merely added certain characteristics to a pre-existing and inherently universal human phenomenon. I don’t think its fair or even arguable that the current economic model of the world is inherently Western and China’s re-adoption of capitalism since Deng/Zhao is a “westernization” of China.

    “Capitalism” as a concept may have been theorized and given a term by a Westerner but the phenomenon itself is not inherently Western just as a respect for one’s elders or authority is not inherently Confucian.

    I’m not arguing about Chinese adopting Western modes of dress, higher education institutiosn and curricula, past-times and modes of consumption, etc. In fact, I think it is a given phenomenon for any culture or society to envy, aspire to, and emulate the dominant culture. Furthermore, the reason this tendency is more apparent today than ever before in history is not due to the inherent appeal of “the West” as it is a function of the technology connecting us today that did not exist in the past. China emulates the West because the West IS powerful and wealthy, and it is able to know so and do so BECAUSE of the speed at which information flows today. This wasnt the case back in the day pre-European dominance because the exposure to China’s greatness was largely limited to a very small subset of society (traders and moneyed classes). Yet, even then, evidence of emulating the Chinese were present in the purchase and display of Chinese artifacts, Chines silk, jade, porcelin, etc., or the consumption of Chinese teas (just using what most should recall from their high school European History courses).

    “Westernization” for these things is easier and more prevalent today because of factors separate and independent of the its intrinsic appeal. The appeal comes from perceived power and wealth. The catalyst and facilitation comes from technology.

    At this point, in case the point was lost, I’m objecting to you equating basic universal human concepts with “the West” and hence any adoption or phenomenon of those concepts evidencing “Westernization.” I could care less about fashion, etc. because that wasn’t what I was objecting to.

    These are all areas in which development in China umistakably bears the mark of Western influence, that’s a FACT, not an attempt to manipulate anything.

    Influence and motivation are different. I’m afraid we’re talking about different things.

    Therefore I think it’s a bit naive to presume that China can forge its own model of development which doesn’t carry an awful lot of Westernization in tow, regardless of how its intentions and reasons for doing so differ from those of the West.

    You’ve misunderstood (or I’ve miscommunicated). Some say there’s a model in how China is development, others say it’s just a lot of blind luck groping in the darkness, while yet others say they’re just doing their best and adjusting as necessary. Either way, China’s model of development will necessarily be influenced by the West simply because the West has developed first and the technology exists for China to observe the West’s development. Influence is unavoidable. However, I’m talking about motivations for development and the motivations behind adoption of various ideology and institutions during development.

    For example, is Communist ideology invoked today because the government genuinely subscribes to the ideology, or is it because it is a political vehicle to secure their rule? Likewise, did the protestors of Tiananmen 20 years ago adopt the buzzword of democracy because they genuinely understood and subscribed to the ideals of democracy or was it because it was a nice buzzword short-hand for their true goal of getting the government to respect them and address their concerns/desires? Back to this original topic, do the Chinese fail to help others (acting on their sympathy) because they fundamentally lack empathy or because the risks of doing in the context of the realities of their society were deemed too high?

    In each of these examples, the key is that motivations can vary. Westernization is doing something for a specific Western reason/motivation. What if you do the same thing but for a DIFFERENT reason/motivation? Do you still call it “westernization?”

    No, I don’t think so. This is why I disagree with you, because I think you’re too eager to equate a lot of the things Chinese people do (or don’t do) that Western people do (or don’t do) as the Chinese “westernizing” or copying the West for exactly the same reasons. You cannot separate the word “Westernization” and the phenomenon it represents from the subjective values involved in that phenomenon.

    So, I do think China wants to modernize, not necessarily Westernize is a completely legitimate and, in fact, incisive observation of what China is doing in many regards. Insofar as the West has argued that polticial democracy is a prerequisite to economic development, the Chinese have said “no, we don’t think it is necessary.” Had the Chinese agreed and said “yes, we need to become a Western liberal democracy because we believe such ideals and values are necesary for the advancement of our society” your characterization of China “westernizing” (in this regard) might hold more water. But they didn’t, they don’t see political democracy as a prerequisite to economic development nor do they see democracy or “human rights” to be a good unto themselves to be pursued and protected above all else. Their motivations, understandings, and value-system is different but they’re still developing. So this is development and modernization but not necessarily “westernization.”

    “Westernization” and “modernization” may share similar symptoms or signs, but the underlying motivations are different. The former is weighted in subjective ideology and values. The latter is an objective description of a process. China (in many but not all or most) ways is NOT “westernizing” because the motivations and values underneath such modernization is NOT identical or even similar to the subjective ideology and values of “the West.”

    China may want to modernize without Westernizing. But- let’s leave the realms of theoretical wankery behind for a moment- do you really think that’s likely in the near future?

    I never argued that China wants to modernize without Westernizing. I said China wants to modernize, not necessarily Westernize. Modernization is the goal, not westernization. I never denied that this modernization will be influenced by the West. I never argued that there is no westernization happening. I’m just pointing out that there is a conscious desire to modernize without adopting western values or ideology because the Chinese don’t think it is necessary to have such values or ideology in order to modernize. You earlier seemed to disagree, but judging by what you’ve been arguing, I think our disagreement is largely based upon a misunderstanding of what each of us was saying.

    I want to thank you for an interesting and intelligent discussion, even if we’re not exactly on the same page (or are arguing because we think we are).

  • http://www.cnreviews.com Kai

    OK, I’ll accept your premise that China (do you mean people or government, by the way?) wants to modernize without Westernization, and accept that it’s an incisive observation.

    In this case, both. I don’t mean everyone in both, but that there are people in both who when presented with this issue will argue that China definitely wants to modernize but not necessarily modernize.

    However my point, perhaps separate to the one you’re making, is : tough luck, it can’t/won’t.

    I think we’re going in circles now and I don’t think it is a matter of either side conceding anything as it is both sides talking about different things. I find that you’re equating “modernization” with “westernization” on surface phenomenon while I’m trying to explain the difference UNDER the surface in terms of motivations and values.

    Anyway, the crux of what I’m saying is that it’s hard to separate models of development from everyday stuff like this.

    I understand what you’re driving at but I just simply disagree. I don’t think it’s that hard to think of modernization or development in abstract compartmentalized terms. I don’t think a statement like “China wants to modernize, not necessarily westernize” is difficult to understand, even empathize with. The basic point of such a statement is really simple: it wants to achieve the same things but not necessarily for the same reasons or through the same processes.

    You’re saying that “if it looks western, then it is a result of westernization.” Believe me, I understand what you’re saying, but that’s not what the above statement is referring to. Westernization is no just a result, it is a process infused with and inseparable from the values that motivate such a process. When you have a process that does NOT have those same values, then it is NOT “westernization.” Do you understand how my understanding and use of “westernization” is different from your’s? Do you understand how that statement’s use of “westernize” is thus different from “modernize”?

    A few points which I don’t entirely agree with you on. First of all, on the economic stuff I *do* think that the re-adoption of capitalism in China amounts to at least a partial Westernization of sorts.

    Eh…

    Yes, supply and demand have existed for eons, but they are not manifested in the same way as they are under capitalism

    By capitalism, you mean the “capitalism” that is inherently “Western” that you think China is now copying from the West, right?

    I think your claim that it’s the same phenomenon merely with a different name is like saying the blitzkrieg was not an inherently Nazi military tactic, because the Mongols and Zulus also utilised forms of fluid, mobile warfare.

    I like this comment, just because it’s a wonderful bit of random trivia. But no, I’m not claiming that its the same phenomenon merely with a different name. I’m saying its the same concept and phenomenon. Capitalism is just a Western term for something that is universal. Capitalism is not something I consider to be inherently Western. If it is not inherently “Western” then capitalism in China was not copied from the West, which is what you’re trying to argue.

    Capitalism is not a military tactic, it’s an abstract concept: an economic system featuring private ownership and pursuit of profit. I really don’t think “the West” created such an economic system, nor did they discover “private ownership” or the idea of “profit.”

    For the record, “blitzkrieg” as a name/term serves to identify the user (and time) as much as it does to describe the tactic used. “Capitalism” on the other hand does NOT identify a user but it does describe a phenomenon/system.

    I think if you want to argue that China is doing something that is inherently Western and thus evidence of westernization, you need to let go of trying to appropriate the word “capitalism.” It isn’t uniquely Western, never was, and you trying to insist on it will lead us to a dead end. I think I know what you’re driving at, but you need to find a better word than “capitalism.”

    The West has shaped the discources and modi operandi of market forces in the capitalist system…all bear witness to this.

    No offense (really, no offense) but that was a lot of factoids that didn’t actually drive home a point. It sounded cool, but please explain further because it sounded like “because of this and this and this, I’m right” where it wasn’t explained how “this and this and this” actually prove you to be right.

    In short, the West *has* shaped the development of capitalism to a fundamental extent, and therefore if not ‘Westernization’ then the adoption of capitalism does constitute at least an acceptance of (at least originally) Western discourses.

    Okay, this is clearer. So you’re saying that modern manifestations of the basic concept of capitalism is Western, hence if China copies these same manifestations, it is copying something the West developed and thus has “westernized.”

    So yes, I’m absolutely correct and certain that we’re talking about different things entirely, as I mentioned in my second paragraph. pug, I’m not arguing about surface phenomenon. In fact, I think your reasoning is sound, even if I think you’re playing too loose with some terminology. However, I’m talking about “westernization” of motivations and values, not surface phenomenon. I’m saying, if China does something just like or similar to what the West has done or is doing, how might their motivations or values for doing so be different. That statement, “China wants to modernize, not necessarily westernize” is also about this same thing.

    We’re not on the same page, mate.

    Next, maybe I’m delving too deeply into a semantic quagmire here, but I don’t agree with you on the issue of motivations, with regards to the meaning of ‘Westernization’.

    Okay, maybe we’re getting on the same page finally…

    To be an utter pedant, a quick glance at dictionary.com defines Westernization as “to influence with ideas, customs, practices, etc., characteristic of the Occident or of the western U.S.”. That’s what’s happening in China, both in economic and social terms, regardless of what the ‘motivations’ might be, even if it doesn’t apply with regards to liberal democratic values.

    I like the wikipedia definition better:

    “Westernization or occidentalization is a process whereby societies come under or adopt the Western culture in such matters as industry, technology, law, politics, economics, lifestyle, diet, language, alphabet, religion or values.”

    I do think this is becoming a semantic quagmire. As you yourself said, I think we agree on the surface phenomenon, that Chinese people chomping down burgers or sipping lattes is an example of becoming “westernized.” However, again, and this can’t be stressed enough, that isn’t what the statement was referring to. This is important to stress because that staement and what it means is actually the root of our discussion, right?

    See my above bolded portions. The statement is really about “China wants to be powerful and prosperous, but it doesn’t necessarily want to achieve such in the same way as the West.” That really IS what that statement is about. Initially, I thought you were trying to argue that China can’t modernize without westernizing in the sense that China can’t become powerful and prosperous without doing it the same way as the West (which includes adopting similar values or politics).

    If you tell me that’s not what you’re arguing and that you agree that China does want to develop but not necessarily in the same way as the West, then our debate has ended, with both of us realizing we’ve misunderstood each other and realizing we’re not actually in disagreement.

    If, however, you want to argue that China DOES have to develop/modernize by copying the West, then we do have a disagreement that I think you’re going to easily lose based upon the information we have available about China’s current rise. If, also however, you want to argue that China’s current development/modernization IS how the West did it, I think we also have a disagreement. No doubt certain things are similar (economic policies), but other things are obviously not (political systems).

    So has our debate ended or are we just getting started?

    P.S. While I typically respond point-by-point and I’m tempted to respond to your further examples just for fun, I think doing so will unnecessarily lengthen this discussion when it should be refocused right now. The bolded parts are what we need to double-check our positions. I think we should agree on them, and if so, there is no point for us to go on and on confusing each other. Wait…there’s one I have to blockquote just for its inherent awesomeness:

    Right finished, time to have a pint and a FUCK AND A FUCKING FIGHT with someone to balance out all this unseemly theorising.

    LOL, pug, you’re all right, man, you’re all right. *big thumbs up*

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