Lu Yilong: A cultural analysis of Europe´s and America´s anti-Chinese and anti-Olympic phenomenon
First published by China Economic Weekly (中国经济周刊), June 2008
Accessible Online: 龙腾空间 Blog
My usual initial remarks about my translation: it may not be perfect, and advice and corrections are welcome. The Chinese text on the blog linked above was probably transcribed by the blogger from a printed version of Lu Yilong´s article. There seem to be some typos in it (such as "藏毒").
Lu Yilong (陆益龙) is an associate professor at the People´s University in Peking
Britain’s TIMES launches hostile attacks on the preparations for the Beijing Olympics. America’s CNN’s anchor uses vicious language and openly slanders Chinese products and calls the Chinese names. There is violent resistance against the Olympic Torch Relay in Europe and America, especially in Paris. These incidents aren’t coincidental or accidental. They are not just the expression of a minority´s aspirations. From a sociologist or anthropologist perspective, these cases reflect that the anti-China forces are connived, and a spread of the phenomenon of anti-China phenomena.
From outside, the anti-China phenomenons are anti-Chinese discrimination, slander, discrimination and attacks, but from a depth-psychological cultural perspective, the anti-Chinese behaviour is racism and racial discrimination that can be traced back to Germany’s Nazism, to America’s and South Africa’s former racial segregation and discrimination policies.
So, one must not believe that the current anti-Chinese phenomenon in Europe and America are about supporting Tibetan independence or resisting the Olympic Games. In substance, they are using Tibetan independence forces, or one could say that these independence forces have become the West´s anti-Chinese and racism’s cannon fodder. The real goal is to oppose China and to contain China’s development.
As can be seen from the origins of culture, the opposition and racism against China stems from the values of Western culture. The foundation of these values is the egocentrism of Western culture. For example, since the 19th century, evolution theory has been popular in European and American societies. It amply reflects that Western egocentrism has widespread social foundations. Western people like evolution theory because this theory implies that the West’s cultural and social systems are until today the most perfect and most progressive values. In other words, other cultural and social systems are all backward, need to learn and to improve.
Under this value discrimination, Europe and America have carried out colonial policies and brought about serious destruction of the world’s civilisational and cultural ecology. A great number of original inhabitants and cultures have suffered extinction, such as America’s Indians and their culture.
Nowadays, their colonial tactics have already changed into ideological and cultural colonisation. They hope that the people of the world all accept and practice this ideology and Western culture. But this cultural colonialism is now meeting with challenges and resistance from China, the Islamic world, and Russia. Especially with the rise of China, with this ideology with Chinese characteristics, and the maintenance of Chinese culture, China becomes the West’s cultural colonialism’s and hegemony’s biggest opponent. That is also why China is pushed to where the wind and waves of the West’s attacks are highest.
China has neglected criticising the West’s gangster culture
Apart from origins of its own, the egocentrism of European and American egocentrism also receives external encouragement. When Western powern invaded China in modern times, Chinese people examined their own cultural weaknesses all the time and did their utmost to learn from the Western world. Summarising the teachings of historical experience, we came to some kind of conclusion: "We were beaten because we were backward." That is to say, "we suffered aggression because we had fallen behind."
Once this concept had become popular, the victims blamed themselves and ran after, but never directly replied to the invaders. Since having suffered Western powers’ invasions, Chinese people have only emphasised learning from the West, but have neglected to criticise the West’s gangster culture from a correct point of view. When you fall behind, you have to work hard on your development, that is correct. But backwardness of strength and tools should not become a justification for suffering aggression.
Many movements and revolutions in modern times were flawed in that they were overly superstitious about the Western culture and system. To put it bluntly, they worshipped everything foreign and fawned everything foreign, and that helped the spread and expansion of European and American egocentrism in every way. In the process of development, we must criticise and condemn the hegemony contained in Western culture and its gangster logic. We must especially track the crimes committed against the Chinese by the imperialist powers, and promote the Western world’s self-communication and reflection about its own contamination.
For a long time, we have become used to use the Confucian virtue and helped the Western gangster culture to appear logical. History and current affairs make it clear that this doesn’t help to change the attitude and behaviour of Western people towards China, but rather encourages anti-China forces.
Containing Western anti-China forces requires both internal and external measures
Right now, how can we contain the Western world’s anti-China momentum? As a result of the deep cultural origins behind the Western anti-China phenomenon, and the values that sustain this phenomenon, two causes become clear- the West’s egocentrism and its hegemonic tendencies, as well as the clash culture of East-Western exchange.
As far as the West is concerned, they should carefully conduct self-examination and introspection, they should look at their egocentrism and hegemonism which brought about misfortune and disaster for the entire humanity.
A lot of history and current affairs make it clear that their human rights, freedom and democracy slogan tactics do not serve their own egocentrism, nor do they really bring about well-being for humankind. The crimes committed by Americans in Iraq are the best example. Because Americans didn’t like Saddam, they started the Iraq war. What did it bring to the Iraqi people? Hard to believe that it is human rights and development.
Similarly, when they help Africa, Westerners say: "You must practice democracy!" The results are frequent chaos resulting from war, people being dispersed and bereft, and never-ending famine. When the question is how to solve the problem of access to food, Western countries avoid this question just like the devil fears the holy water. It is evident that the West, when it is hanging out the shop sign of "human rights" to other countries, actually only wants to mess those countries up, and does not want them to develop.
Actually, every culture has been developed by the people on the ground in a long process. It corresponds to their natural and social environment. When this cultural ecology suffers invasion and destruction, it can only endanger the place’s development. This illustrates that the hegemonism and cultural simplification is humankind’s cultural disaster.
Honest Western common people with a sense of justice should stand up and fight against the hegemonic culture. If they tolerate that hegemonial reckless and arrogant behaviour, they actually connive the malignant tumor that invades global culture. In a sense, just as Europeans tolerated and covered Germany’s Nazism, they will not only bring disaster onto others, but also onto themselves.
Two Chinese tactics should answer the Western anti-Chinese forces
China needs to pay much attention to tactics.
First of all, China needs self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-improvement.
Self-confidence means that the Chinese must believe in themselves, in their own culture, and their ability to develop themselves. Day by day, in the frequent international exchange, faith in yourself defines the attitude and outcomes of others to you.
Self-esteem is about respect for unity and for oneself, for ones own culture. Since the policies of reform and opening, our mass culture has shown common tendencies of fawning foreign things, such as superstitious foreign brand names, this shows that the peoples’ cultural self-esteem still needs to be awakened. When I worked in Korea I found that the Koreans’ sense of this is really strong, this really deserves our learning and reflection.
Self-improvement is about maintaining ones own innovative and independent development road. Reform and opening doesn’t amount to giving up the principle of independence, and these foundations need to be built. No matter if it is reform or opening, the ultimate goal is to strengthen the ability to stand on ones own.
Secondly, to solve the contradictions and clashes between East and West, it takes both strategies for communication and battles.
To maintain openness requires cultural exchange, to promote the Western world’s knowledge of Chinese culture. But knowledge isn’t the same as understanding, and a lack of understanding easily leads to contradictions and clashes. When facing contradictions and clashes, Chinese people should have the courage for open battles. Battling face to face will more often than not help to solve contradictions and clashes, just as the popular saying goes: "You don’t strike a deal without battling" (不打不成交).
In such direct battles, some Western methods, such as openness, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, legal remedy and so on should be understood. For example, when meeting an anti-Chinese wave such as the recent one in Europe or America, overseas Chinese students (海外华人华侨和留学生) should organise peaceful demonstrations, they should use internet media to start boycott promotion. At actions such as anti-Chinese forces at torch relays, it is all about active reason. Such actions are effective in containing anti-Chinese forces that are swollen with arrogance, in safeguarding Chinese peoples’ and China’s cultural dignity. At the same time, some Chinese enterprises and organisations can also start lawssuits against media that vilify China, and they can use legal weapons to safeguard their own dignity.
In short, facing Western provocations and aggression from anti-China forces, we must not use silent no-news work to react, but we should use those peoples’ ways to pay them back in their own currency. As long as we stand on the rightful side, every hostile force that tries to contain China’s development will be doomed to fail.
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