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China’s Gen Z overconfident and thinks West is ‘evil’, top academic says, cautioning against nationalism among the young

beijingwalker

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China’s Gen Z overconfident and thinks West is ‘evil’, top academic says, cautioning against nationalism among the young
  • Students have ‘make-believe mindset, thinking it’s very easy for China to achieve its foreign policy goals’, Yan Xuetong of Tsinghua University tells conference
  • Lecturers should help them recognise diversity and strengthen critical thinking, he says, cautioning against nationalism driven by key opinion leaders

Published: 10:30pm, 14 Jan, 2022


Post-millennial students’ growing nationalism has distorted their perspective, a Chinese academic has argued. Photo: AFP


China’s Generation Z is displaying a high level of overconfidence in the country’s power and hostility towards Westerners, a prominent Chinese academic on US affairs has warned.

“Post-millennial students usually have a strong sense of superiority and confidence, and they tend to look at other countries from a condescending perspective,” Yan Xuetong, director of Tsinghua University’s international studies institute, said at a conference in Beijing last Saturday.

“[They] look at international affairs with a make-believe mindset, thinking it’s very easy for China to achieve its foreign policy goals. They think only China is just and innocent, while other countries, especially Western countries, are evil and thus have natural hatred towards Westerners.”

He added that students tended to divide the world into China and the rest, viewing all other countries as the same.

Published by his university’s website on Monday, Yan’s remarks were made at a conference it hosted about political science and international relations education, attended by more than 100 professors and researchers from dozens of universities and institutes.

The warning from Yan – one of China’s leading experts on American affairs – came amid intensifying political headwinds from the US and its allies and rising nationalism in China.

He said heightened nationalism among people born after 2000 was driven mainly by key opinion leaders on the internet, with students being heavily influenced by conspiracy theories and economic determinism.

Yan suggested that his fellow lecturers on international affairs should try to focus on hard facts so that students did not develop overconfidence in the country.

“[We should] help students recognise the diversity of the world and rid them of the assumption that the world is just divided into China and the outside,” he said. “[We should] strengthen the students’ logical and critical thinking to lower the influence of key opinion leaders.”

Chinese internet regulators are strict on content related to China, but have generally turned a blind eye to conspiracy theories and fake news about foreign governments and societies.

Conspiracy theories, especially those related to the United States, had a massive audience online in China, not least among Generation Z, said Wei Xing, a Shanghai-based journalist and founder of China Fact Check, which focuses on fake international news on Chinese-language sites.

“They tend to understand many issues through the lens of these conspiracy theories,” he said. “Fact-checking doesn’t work very well with them – it’s like you can’t wake a person who pretends to be asleep.


“These theories win good traffic, and are highly deceptive and difficult to debunk with fact-checking, and thus deemed safer to spread.”

Nationalism has also grown against the backdrop of the state’s considerable efforts to warn the country of espionage and infiltration, especially from Western nations.

A high level of scepticism towards the West is shared by Chinese leaders. In one speech in 2014, President Xi Jinping told the country’s security officials that the West, led by the US, was “intensifying their efforts to Westernise and split China” after seeing the balance of power shifting in China’s favour.

Public perceptions of China in developed economies have plunged to new lows in the past two years. A Pew Research Centre survey from March found that 89 per cent of American adults considered China a “competitor or enemy” of the United States.

Meanwhile, opinion polls also suggest a high level of distrust of the US among Chinese, especially among the young. In a survey published in November by the Carter Centre’s US-China Perception Monitor, 62 per cent of Chinese held unfavourable views of the US, rising to 63 per cent among those aged 16 to 24.

In the same poll, 78 per cent of respondents said they believed China was viewed favourably internationally, with 84 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds expressing that view.

 

Stranagor

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Let's see if the following US-led policies are real or imagined:

*Economic sanctions on China
*Promoting anti-China separatist organizations outside China
*Trade war
*Attempts to military ganging-up (AUKUS, QUAD, FIVE-EYES)
*MSM fake news: Generalization, manipulation, exaggeration, conspiracy)
*Attempts to derail BRI, AIIB
*Encroachment into SCS and ECS
*Statewide war against tech companies
...

I guess the young people should be taught with these historical facts, not some fabricated pseudo-religious ideas of US-led neoliberalism, democracy or human rights.

Also, students must be provided with enough updated data on real economic and political condition in the US-led fraction of international system.
 

beijingwalker

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Over 99% of Chinese people are only on the Chinese social media, only a tiny fraction of Chinese speak and read English, whatever happens on English language media platform doesn't mean much to the Chinese population
 

MH.Yang

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Trump's trade war has stimulated Chinese nationalism and hostility to the West.
Before and after the trade war, China's public opinion has changed dramatically, almost all Internet celebrities who had a positive attitude towards American and Western values have changed their attitude.
 

Leishangthem

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I hope for China to rise and upend the US because ,asians will never be truly liberated from the humiliation and trauma of the centuries long western oppression until China the last major asian power in asia ,the representative of Asianness and the scapegoat of western hidden anti Asian instincts, rises to prominence,the Koreans and Japanese who are like but we are " not Chinese" are only fooling themselves. It is vital that the US is left humiliated and possibly brutalized for the actual liberation of asia.

Meanwhile Chinese Gen Z on Reddit
Pathetic ccp bot offering money to delete comments against China

View attachment 808719 View attachment 808720 View attachment 808721 View attachment 808722
Real or not,anyone can make that up, I think only intellectually challenged people fall for that so blindly.Not that it represents china.
 
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tower9

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Let's see if the following US-led policies are real or imagined:

*Economic sanctions on China
*Promoting anti-China separatist organizations outside China
*Trade war
*Attempts to military ganging-up (AUKUS, QUAD, FIVE-EYES)
*MSM fake news: Generalization, manipulation, exaggeration, conspiracy)
*Attempts to derail BRI, AIIB
*Encroachment into SCS and ECS
*Statewide war against tech companies
...

I guess the young people should be taught with these historical facts, not some fabricated pseudo-religious ideas of US-led neoliberalism, democracy or human rights.

Also, students must be provided with enough updated data on real economic and political condition in the US-led fraction of international system.
Exactly. If Chinese people have become overnationalistic and overzealous, which I will agree is a problem, it’s only because it’s been fanned by the hostility from the west.
 

ARMalik

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Chinese Gen-Z is very, very intelligent and smart indeed !! Is this possible that the Chinese Gen Z can teach the fat lazy Gen Z of Pakistan, who is dying to become Western and love to speak their broken and incoherent English to impress everyone ! :lol:
 

Beidou2020

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Chinese Gen-Z is very, very intelligent and smart indeed !! Is this possible that the Chinese Gen Z can teach the fat lazy Gen Z of Pakistan, who is dying to become Western and love to speak their broken and incoherent English to impress everyone ! :lol:
Sadly there are Western loving liberals in every country including in China. These people pose a national security threat as they are the ones the West uses to destabilise and control foreign nations.
 

arjunk

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Sadly there are Western loving liberals in every country including in China. These people pose a national security threat as they are the ones the West uses to destabilise and control foreign nations.
Most China supporters on the internet are China loving Americans. Chinese internet is mostly confined by the "great firewall." If there were as many Chinese China supporters as Americans claim, Chinese nationalists would infest the internet like Indians have.
 

Sainthood 101

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Most China supporters on the internet are China loving Americans. Chinese internet is mostly confined by the "great firewall." If there were as many Chinese China supporters as Americans claim, Chinese nationalists would infest the internet like Indians have.
Dude Chinese nationalists vs Indians, both billion plus people
Damn that'll be the end of internet for regular folks and the guy who invented the internet would kill himself for this crime against humanity
Indians on internet are already annoying af for everyone in the world
now add another billion people to the mix
 

ARMalik

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Sadly there are Western loving liberals in every country including in China. These people pose a national security threat as they are the ones the West uses to destabilise and control foreign nations.
Very true but China has the tools and capabilities to counter this disease but in Pakistan the government is corrupt and incompetent and hence these Liberal scums are having a field day.
 

MH.Yang

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But we should strictly distinguish between nationalism and populism. Appropriate nationalism is necessary, which can stimulate people's patriotic enthusiasm. But we must put an end to populism, which may destroy our society from the inside.
China's 1990s&2000s generations have never experienced any bad life. From the time they were born, they have been seeing the rapid development of this country and the life is getting richer and richer. So they have excessive confidence and patriotic enthusiasm, and they lack enough prudence and modesty. This is very dangerous.
The mentality of these young people is easy to go crazy and extreme. May cause them to misunderstand our values. Understand Confucian nationalism as populism and communism as authoritarianism. If they make such mistakes, we will fail and China will no longer be the China we want.
 
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