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Chinese Junk

by : Daveparts
Thursday April 24, 2008 - 17:38
JPEG - 79.4 kb

By David Glenn Cox

Strother Martin, in the classic film, "Cool Hand Luke," uttered those immortal words: “What we’ve have here is failure to communicate.” That sums up the current war of words between the Peoples Republic of China and CNN. Part of this situation is pure, heavy-handed, government propaganda, and part is American arrogance, quick to point out the sty in other’s eyes while unwilling to deal with the log in their own. A failure to communicate, based on culture, politics, custom, profit and national pride.

While American children are singing the Barney theme, “I love you, you love me,” the children in China are taught to sing, “I love the party, the party loves me.” Americans, without hesitation, will quickly tell you what is wrong with their boss, their company, their Congressman, their President. No borders or boundaries to such talk, American publications regularly call for the President’s arrest, removal, and, if convicted, jail time. There is a huge cultural gulf between the Chinese and the Americans; we accept such talk as just that, loose talk. In China, such talk is slander. “How can you speak against the foreman? You are not a foreman! You do not know his problems in doing his job so you speak from ignorance!”

Dissent and complaints are offered politely and couched in inoffensive language; this is in keeping with Chinese culture and Chinese political thought. China has undergone a massive change in the way that it does business but the river of change moves at different speeds. While the capitalist Fortune 500 joyously operate unrestrained in China, were the Tiananmen marchers to return tomorrow with another paper-mache’ Statue of Liberty, their fate would be the same as before.

China is one of the great civilizations on Earth, ancient, creative, brilliant but always struggling to achieve their rightful place at the table. To that end Chinese communism has been a success; they have unified the country, ended starvation and brought about universal education, but still they have to deal with the problems of being a backwards giant. With the fall of the Soviet Bloc, they were forced to deal with looming economic crises.

With courage and a pragmatic approach, the Chinese government moved towards a market-based economy. Now they have a two-system, one-China policy, but most certainly, buried in a ministry building somewhere, gathering dust, is a report warning of the possible ramifications of exposing Chinese society to Western media outlets. We have recently seen that this is a country where Internet providers are pressured to follow government rules and to do as they are told if they wish to continue to do business in China.

Far be it from me to defend CNN or Jack Cafferty but that is the crux of this issue. Cafferty referred to the Chinese as thugs and goons and their products as junk. In China it is considered wrong to say such things. It is a crime and an insult to national pride! In America, it’s just another Bozo shooting his mouth off, half-cocked. CNN employs them by the trainload; watching Glenn Beck requires hip-wader boots as he doles out his half-cooked horse hockey. CNN is a for-profit venture, owned and operated by Time Warner, a name that you’ve come to know and trust as a supplier of low-quality horse kaka.

To the Chinese populace, for cultural and political reasons, this is hard to accept. Does CNN distort and mislead? Yes, they do. But is there a grain of truth buried in their stories? Yes, buried somewhere. But to the Chinese population, raised from the cradle on “We never lie and we’re always right,” this puts them at absolute, cultural opposites with the west.

Do I think Cafferty meant any insult to the Chinese people as a whole? He’s a Bozo, not an idiot; he is playing counterpoint to Lou Dobbs’ sophist hyperbole and it’s very clear to whom he was speaking and at whom his comments were directed. A government that still feels that its people cannot be trusted with the truth and that cannot be trusted at all. This is the knife edge of Chinese politics; as prosperity comes and China rises economically, more questions will be asked about the management of the Chinese communist government, building a capitalist machine that might eventually destroy them.

The Chinese government worked for over a decade to win the Olympic games; their goal was to showcase the new China. But the cultural ignorance about the Western media extends all the way to the top of the Chinese government. The protests in Tibet appeared to take them by surprise, as if they forgot that China has issues in the world and the world has issues with China. They seemed to think that the Olympic dream would somehow cloak political issues in a fog of politeness. Very quickly, the website Anti-CNN popped up:

"This website is established to expose the lies and distortions in the western media. The site is maintained by volunteers, who are not associated with any government officials. We are not against the western media, but against the lies and fabricated stories in the media. We are not against the western people, but against the prejudice from the western society."

What began as a campaign against CNN and their coverage of the riots in Tibet has become an umbrella organization, because as they see it, the whole of the Western Media is telling lies about China. Not one charge is true! All fabrication! It opens with a youTube video about the US invasion in Iraq, pointing to US hypocrisy. Yes, we are hypocrites.

We are hypocrites, hypocrites that will freely admit it, just as we call our news commentators Bozos and call our political leaders morons. That is the central tenant in a free country, to let others with different viewpoints speak their minds, no matter how stupid or insolent we might personally find it. The anti-CNN web site makes it clear how fundamental the difference between our two countries is. We can both admire the Chinese and revile them at the same time. Just as while I dislike Republicans, my brother-in-law is a Republican, he’s a great guy and I love him very much, but I hate Republicans. The Chinese seem unable to compartmentalize; for them it’s either/or.

The forum is full of nationalist and Maoist slogans about Western imperialists trying to destroy China. All the comments were in full agreement with anti-CNN’s position, but some comments posted yesterday seemed to take issue with it and I decided to check back later to see if they were still there. When I did, they weren’t. “A failure to Communicate.”

A nation of a billion people, a nuclear power, a rising, economic power, unused to and unaccustomed to direct criticism. A country where criticism is not allowed domestically and too thin-skinned to ignore internationally. A China of two policies, butting heads. On the one hand you are free to work and earn, to nod and agreeably smile. To spend and to dream the dreams of compliant complacent consumers. If, however, you dissent, to have Mao’s red book thrust at you as the green jackets come out of the closest. To be called an imperialist stooge and a spy, seeking to destroy China, all are CIA operatives spreading lies about China.

Perhaps the Chinese leadership erred in wanting to host the Olympics in the first place. Now their noble desire to showcase their country is overwhelmed and undone by their inability to accept any critique, as the only actors who go uncriticized are the ones who stay offstage.

http://www.anti-cnn.com



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