The bilingual weblog that dares to go
beyond "ideas" and "opinions"
to see what lies hidden underneath

Contact the Webmaster

Chinese Outrage:
Humiliations' Hidden Agenda

I fully understand China's outrage over the 2001 spy plane incident just as I fully understand why Tang Jiaxuan, the Chinese foreign minister, said that his government and his people "shall never forget" the embassy blast in Belgrade in May 1999. Remembering a pilot downed by his own stupidity and the three countrymen killed by a foreign missile (through a mistake or otherwise), after all, allows the Chinese people to forget the tens of millions of countrymen who were killed by the Chinese government through the 1960s.

I also fully understand why Chinese authorities speak of the necessity to restore national pride and repair past humiliations. Remembering, for instance, the (admittedly shameful) Opium War of the 1840s allows the Chinese to forget the 20 million people slaughtered during the Taiping Rebellion 10 years later at the hands of their fellow Chinese countrymen. Remembering with bitterness periods of foreign domination and the attendant "national humiliation" covers up the fact that for much of their history, recent and otherwise, the Chinese have suffered far more at the hands of their fellow citizens and of their leaders in Beijing.

Coupled with calls for the need for patriotism and national pride, the claims of victimization, past and present, at the hands of mischievious foreigners — along with the vilification of same foreigners as well as any Chinese citizen who might be "manipulated" by foreign influence — induces the populace to: discount the horrendous sufferings imposed on occupied Tibet by the People's Liberation Army; condone Beijing's saber-rattling over Taiwan (even though war, if it comes to that, and the attendant hardships for Chinese people, both on the mainland and on the island, will come as a result entirely of Beijing's aggressive policies); and, perhaps most importantly, frown on dissidents and forgo their calls for democratization.

June 1, 2001

© Erik Svane