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Myth of a valueless China

Steakhouse

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HONG KONG -- As part of its Richer World series, the BBC recently ran exclusive footage of a former senior Chinese Communist Party official meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2012, two years after the last formal talks between the two sides, and praying at a personal shrine he had constructed in his Beijing apartment, complete with the Dalai Lama's picture in pride of place.

In his write-up, BBC reporter John Sudworth claims "the idea that an official would invite the BBC to witness him praying in front of a portrait of the Dalai Lama would seem a preposterous one. Laughable -- insane even." For publishing what is undeniably an interesting story, the BBC should be commended, but for suggesting that any display of religious feeling or sensitivity on the part of the Chinese government is itself akin to a religious miracle, the BBC does a disservice to all those who would seek to truly understand modern China.

The truth is that, despite its media portrayals as a spiritual and cultural wasteland, China is home to more than 200 million people who are either "Buddhists, Taoists or worshippers of legendary figures such as the Dragon King and God of Fortune." China also has 36,000 mosques, 45,000 imams and over 21 million Muslims. By 2030, it will have a Muslim population larger than Saudi Arabia's today and a Christian population larger than any other country in the world. The world's largest publisher of Bibles, Amity Printing Company, is located in the Chinese city of Nanjing.

Unfortunately, when it comes to China, religion is just one example of the mismatch between the mainstream media narrative and the underlying reality.

The transformative changes that have taken place in China have always been accompanied by changes in the way it has been perceived abroad. For many years the conventional wisdom was that China would fail because it was autocratic, corrupt and inefficient. When it did not fail, its critics changed tack to instead accusing it of an empty materialistic success. This "valueless China" narrative claims that spoiled princelings, grasping businessmen and venal officials are all symptoms of a society has sold its soul and replaced its culture and traditions with pure greed. Take this much reported 2013 poll that "Chinese today are just too materialistic," or this Economist cover from August. Entitled 'What China wants," the photo is of a Chinese dragon hungrily eyeing a globe, inside, the caption proclaims that China "does not know how to achieve or deserve [respect]." But this most recent oversimplification is no closer to the truth than any of the old ones.

Earlier this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that he was comfortable with allowing the country's rate of economic growth to slow. As of 2012, the Communist Party of China has also written into its constitution the need for the "establishment of ecological civilization."

Talk is cheap, but Xi backed up these words by agreeing to a historic climate deal with the U.S. that will require China to make massive economic changes in order to move away from the coal that currently supplies 80 percent of its electricity. Even a relatively seamless transition will likely reduce China's GDP growth, a tradeoff Xi has publicly stated his government will make if necessary. These are not the actions of a government concerned only with material accumulation.

By numbers alone, China may very well be the most religious country on earth. Much the same is true when it comes to more secular cultural measurements. China graduated 3 million undergraduate students in 2012, almost 25 percent of whom studied either literature, philosophy, history or education. Beijing has the second largest number of museums of any city in the world, with 159, more than New York with 113. The number of people employed in the performing arts in China is 250,000 according to National Bureau of Statistics, nearly twice the number in the United States. Then there is female participation in the labor force, which at 64 percent is far higher than Japan's 48 and India's 29 percent. And when it comes to law and order, which are surely part of a country's culture, China compares extremely well with other nations. China has a lower homicide rate (1 per hundred thousand population per year) than the United States (4.7) and a far lower rate than fellow BRIC economy Brazil (25.2) despite a much lower GDP per capita.

The truth is the narrative of a valueless China is one that has been constructed by a group of commentators -- some of whom have only a superficial understanding of the country they are critiquing -- with an ideological axe to grind. The China they know is the China they deliberately seek out, one of unruly tourists and undeserving "princelings." This side of China does exist, but it does not even come close to being representative of the lives of the majority of Chinese, and it is not the side that has been and will continue to change the world.

It is true, for instance, that the Chinese do not make the most well-behaved of tourists. But while a widely reported 2012 poll found the Chinese to be the second-worst tourists in the world, the top spot went to Americans.

As for the princelings, their greed is surely not incomparable to that of the investment bankers and hedge fund managers who brought the world economy to the brink in 2007-2008. More importantly, they are an absolutely tiny fraction of China's billion person population. Inequality in China is worse even than in much richer America, and the average annual income for a Chinese family remains only U.S. $2100 a year, barely a fifth of the global average. It is the height of absurdity to brand China a country of princelings while most people still struggle to make ends meet.

Now that China's economic growth has begun to slow markedly, the narrative seems on the cusp of changing yet again. Already one hears arguments detailing how China is destined to fail because it is not a democracy and how this top-down style of doing business has made it an economy of copycats and rote-learners devoid of innovation. "Designed in California, Made in China" is already an accepted formulation in the West. Just last March Harvard Business Review published a piece titled 'Why China Can't Innovate.'

Yet since the new millennium, the number of Chinese graduating from university has risen a staggering 7 fold. (1 million in 1999 compared to almost 7 in 2013).

Foreign Policy reports the United States' National Science Board as concluding that "The center of high-tech gravity is shifting to Asia, and to China in particular."

And when it comes to low-tech, China has an unparalleled civilization on which to draw from. As Professor Wen Tiejun of Renmin University's Institute of Advanced Studies for Sustainability notes, China's 240 million small household farmers represent rural communities "rich with indigenous knowledge." Their practices represent not just ancient tradition but a potential solution to "protecting the environment and providing for sustainable livelihoods."

China is a large nation with much that can be said truthfully about it. It is both crude and refined, rich and poor, crowded and desolate. It is both one of the most dynamic economies in the world and, as its own leaders well know, a country facing serious challenges to do with resource constraints, environmental degradation and a massive and rapidly aging population. But one thing that cannot be seriously asserted about a country of 1.35 billion people is that it has no culture. That is not the case, nor has it ever been or will it ever be, and it does not help crucial international relationships to project these kinds of distorted images.
 

Kolaps

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Only 200 millions.

And the rest of 1.1 billions of people hate Chinese traditional religion.


Unlike Taiwan.

All Taiwanese and Sunflower Movement hate the Chinese who hate and deny their own culture and religion.

Why do Mainlanders and their government hate so much everything about China?
 

FairAndUnbiased

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Only 200 millions.

And the rest of 1.1 billions of people hate Chinese traditional religion.


Unlike Taiwan.

All Taiwanese and Sunflower Movement hate the Chinese who hate and deny their own culture and religion.

Why do Mainlanders and their government hate so much everything about China?
You don't even know what culture is. That's why you have ppl with English names in the highest levels of government and business.
 

Keel

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Only 200 millions.
And the rest of 1.1 billions of people hate Chinese traditional religion.
Unlike Taiwan.
All Taiwanese and Sunflower Movement hate the Chinese who hate and deny their own culture and religion.
Why do Mainlanders and their government hate so much everything about China?
Dont start another round of BS here please
The 'sunflower' kingpins have been arrested for various charges
Taiwan indicts Sunflower Movement members

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/林飛帆
2014年太阳花运动期间,林飞帆被告发违反《刑法》与《集会游行法》等7罪、共16案,由台北地检署侦办[23][24]。后于2015年2月10日侦结起诉

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/陳為廷
陈为廷曾数次涉及性骚扰事件,包括:

  • 2011年7月5日,陈为廷搭乘客运前往台北市,以其左手抚摸同车女性之胸部。经报警后,被害女子拒绝和解,警方依性骚扰防治法罪嫌移送士林地检署。[49][50]。检察官决定缓起诉处分,陈为廷须写悔过书道歉、缴交1万元罚锾、强制接受6小时法治教育。[51]
  • 2012年,陈为廷在夜店舞池与女性有“不当肢体碰触”,再次涉入性骚扰案。此事经清华大学性别平等委员会决议,陈为廷开始进行心理咨商[52][53]
这两个事件在陈为廷投入苗栗县立法委员补选后爆发。在2014年12月23日,陈为廷承认2011年及2012年曾涉入性骚扰案件,新闻媒体后续报道他在高中时就可能曾涉及类似性骚扰行为[54][55],陈为廷对后续报道未作证实,但在12月25日宣布退选。

陈为廷的性骚扰事件,曾被日本媒体报道[56][57][58][59]。2014年岁末,蕃薯藤汇集由网友票选出最具正、负面能量的五位台湾名人,陈为廷因性扰扰丑闻而被票选为负面第五名

 

+4vsgorillas-Apebane

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Only 200 millions.

And the rest of 1.1 billions of people hate Chinese traditional religion.


Unlike Taiwan.

All Taiwanese and Sunflower Movement hate the Chinese who hate and deny their own culture and religion.

Why do Mainlanders and their government hate so much everything about China?
Why did the KMT sell the Chinese people down river?

Why did they fight so poorly?

Why do the people of Taiwan hate their own people so much that they would side with foreigners to undermine their brothers and sisters on the mainland?

Why did you change your avatar? Where is the cat?

 

Zsari

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Religion was never center stage throughout the Chinese history. "Valueless" without religion is a pure western narrative.
 

frequency

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Dont start another round of BS here please
The 'sunflower' kingpins have been arrested for various charges
Taiwan indicts Sunflower Movement members

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/林飛帆
2014年太阳花运动期间,林飞帆被告发违反《刑法》与《集会游行法》等7罪、共16案,由台北地检署侦办[23][24]。后于2015年2月10日侦结起诉

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/陳為廷
陈为廷曾数次涉及性骚扰事件,包括:

  • 2011年7月5日,陈为廷搭乘客运前往台北市,以其左手抚摸同车女性之胸部。经报警后,被害女子拒绝和解,警方依性骚扰防治法罪嫌移送士林地检署。[49][50]。检察官决定缓起诉处分,陈为廷须写悔过书道歉、缴交1万元罚锾、强制接受6小时法治教育。[51]
  • 2012年,陈为廷在夜店舞池与女性有“不当肢体碰触”,再次涉入性骚扰案。此事经清华大学性别平等委员会决议,陈为廷开始进行心理咨商[52][53]
这两个事件在陈为廷投入苗栗县立法委员补选后爆发。在2014年12月23日,陈为廷承认2011年及2012年曾涉入性骚扰案件,新闻媒体后续报道他在高中时就可能曾涉及类似性骚扰行为[54][55],陈为廷对后续报道未作证实,但在12月25日宣布退选。

陈为廷的性骚扰事件,曾被日本媒体报道[56][57][58][59]。2014年岁末,蕃薯藤汇集由网友票选出最具正、负面能量的五位台湾名人,陈为廷因性扰扰丑闻而被票选为负面第五名

Cuckoo!
 

Nan Yang

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Religion was never center stage throughout the Chinese history. "Valueless" without religion is a pure western narrative.
True, religion so overrated and non productive.
Chinese culture is supported by 3 pillars. Daoism which teaches about the balance of the universe, changes and the middle path, Buddhism which teaches about meaning of life and happiness and Confucianism which teaches about how people should behave. All three may contradict each other and may overlap but they coexist. Thus Chinese learn from ancient times to coexist in harmony.
This is unlike many other culture in the world that is only based one pillar which is religion.
 

bolo

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Chinese culture is supported by 3 pillars. Daoism which teaches about the balance of the universe, changes and the middle path, Buddhism which teaches about meaning of life and happiness and Confucianism which teaches about how people should behave. All three may contradict each other and may overlap but they coexist. Thus Chinese learn from ancient times to coexist in harmony.
This is unlike many other culture in the world that is only based one pillar which is religion.
The useless value of religion I am referring to are Christianity. Chinese religion is fine because it's more about spirituality and the focus is more about humans interacting with nature and each other, not singing hymns and sacrificing virgins to a fictional genocidal being.
 

TaiShang

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The useless value of religion I am referring to are Christianity. Chinese religion is fine because it's more about spirituality and the focus is more about humans interacting with nature and each other, not singing hymns and sacrificing virgins to a fictional genocidal being.
Chinese religion is secular, that is mundane. Hence, no chance of sectarianism in China. People are world and now-oriented; unlike some religious nut-jobs, one can hardly convince us to die for some reward in the afterlife.

There is little difference between sectarian wars in the Middle Ages and today's sectarian wars in the Middle East. It is all because of world-hating and after-life oriented religions.

I do not think of religion of this sort as value. It is barbarism.
 

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