Author: waveheatin

What Makes Chinese Chinese? -- part II [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 4

Post time 2003-12-4 15:23:42 |Display all floors

Waveheatin and green_outfit

Thank you for your wonderful posts and polite discussion!

I have read many of your posts, and they give me a great deal of valuable insight into Chinese culture.

I don't believe that education--teaching and learning--can ever be a finished, complete system with no further room for improvement.

All humans have far to go to become truly civilized, such that the idea of war is unthinkable.

So far, technology has brought many good things, but--seemingly--it has created more more serious problems.

Still, we all live in a world inhabited by techno-barbarians and savages.

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Post time 2003-12-5 18:21:35 |Display all floors

State-run Enterprises and Private Entreprises in old China

"For whatever reason (can someone contribute on this?), private enterprises seldom developed to the point of rivaling state-run business in the history of China, and commercial enterprises thus offered relatively fewer opportunities than employment in the imperial government. As such the only realistic means to climb the social ladder was climbing the bureaucratic ladder. "

Generally speaking, it is true that state enterprises dominated the Chinese economy throughout history, but this does not overshadow the powerful influence of clan and regional-based gongsi who at times,sought to rival the power of the central government.

One such example of a powerful gongsi was that led by the corsaire king Chen Zhuyi who sought to establish his personal realm of power independent of China in South East Asia which at during his time (Ming era) was a Chinese protectorate. Chen's pirate fleet was disarmed by the Chinese armada led by Admiral Zheng He and his private army was disarmed, he was brought to Beijing in chain were he was beheaded in public.

Today, the legacy of the powerful gongsi remains at large among the overseas Chinese while at the same time powerful private enterprise concerns are developing on the mainland, the existant and emerging bourgeoisie are a powerful force to be reckoned with.

On one hand, they can either be a positive factor, in that they can play a major role in China's internal development, on the other hand, they can be a negative factor, playing into the hands of hostile foreign powers such as the Americans and the Japanese, to the detriment of China and her interests both domestically and internationally. It is therefore very important for China's government to co-opt these businessmen, which it has done a very well enabling China to officially reach the rank of the world's 4th largest economy.

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Post time 2003-12-6 01:51:36 |Display all floors

Please more about Chinese in southeast asia


Southeast is a forgotten corner in many Chinese’s mind,s mine included. People like to conveniently forget the pain they cause on others while vividly remember the insult brought by others on themselves. We remember the barbarians from north, but hardly know anything in the South.

I learned more about Vietnam after I meet many Vietnamese in barber shops and   became enormously curious about them. From history book, I learned they are a brave but very unfortunate people. It seems in their entire recorded history they were ruled by others. First by the Chinese (1000 years or more) whom they fought hard to finally get rid of, but were replaced by the French. Again they fought for more than 200 years to drive the French out, only to see the American rushed in. Eventually they got rid of them all. I now have a great respect for the Vietnamese, and regret the history textbook I used in China did not tell me the dark side of the Chinese rule there.

You definitely sound an expert in that region. Please share with us more. Many thanks.


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Post time 2003-12-6 01:53:42 |Display all floors

civilization seems to have been motivated by greed and empowered by evil brutali


I am lucky to have a fellow like you participating in the discussion in this thread.

I agree with you on that hunger was a key factor in pushing people into the barbarous acts of enslavement and spoils of other state/nation/city. But hunger alone may not fully explain the behavior of Greeks and Romans, whose civilizations were at the very peak of the world civilizations of their time, and whose wealth was considerably above that of its neighbors. Similarly, hunger could not explain the colonization by China in its neighbors, nor colonization by English in India and America, for often it was the most powerful and wealthy nations that went out to colonize or enslave other poorer ones.

I admire the art and scientific achievements of the Greeks and Romans, and often I find my jaws dropped when looking at a piece of Greek or Roman sculpture (far superior to a Chinese one, by my own taste). But at the same time I feel equally sad, thinking that civilization must be built on the blood and sacrifice of the enslaved, and the looting and spoils of other civilizations. But without the slave and the looted treasure, how can a free man find time to pursue desires beyond feeding his stomach and clothing his body? Sad, isn’t it?

The fall of Roman empire and eventually being conquered spiritually by Christi_anity, may to some extent be attributed to its immoral and co_rrupt behaviors. I am not a religious person, but I can understand in the Roman time a poor soul in real life had no other thing to look forward to than a dream of going to heaven. Despite the severe persecution by both Jews and Romans, Christi_anity spread like a wild fire, and eventually engulfed the entire empire, and then half of the world.

I would like to think it was greed that motivated such barbarous act (looting, spoil, and enslavement), but greed alone was not sufficient, for it must be backed by power, and often power went to the ones who were willing to kill, spoil, and terrorize. Desire and willingness to kill played a far more important role in ancient warfare than technology.

Nevertheless, the judgment of human as good or evil is very subjective one and as such my opinion must be viewed as a personal view based on my own life experience.

Look forward to reading more postings from you.


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Post time 2003-12-6 15:33:30 |Display all floors

More on education, please. Thanks


Your reference system is very interesting. Do you mind analyzing the Chinese education system, past and/or present, using whatever system you prefer?  If possible do so using your personal experience.

Enormously grateful.


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Post time 2003-12-6 16:40:53 |Display all floors

It is my pleasure to contribute, Wave :)

I've actually planned to have a quiet weekend but my dear friend, Wave, felt he missed presence. So, here I am.
Wave's contention is difficult to dispute. For one thing, I'm no historian and therefore cannot call upon a vast researched knowledge to explore if I've been right or wrong. Secondly, we're talking about ancient civilisations in which available information may be scarce, and neither Wave or I can speak convincingly on the topic.

So what I've done is to step back and look at the "forest instead of the trees". A few key concepts soon became apparent to me. [But, first, let me amend my earlier use of the word "hunger" to "necessity" which would include basic needs such as hunger, warmth, shelter etc].

First, I realised that "evil and brutality" are not human needs, unlike "hunger".  At best, they are just forms of HUMAN BEHAVIOUR. Maslow's Theory of Needs to explain human behaviour tells us that the most basic NEEDS are hunger for food (and water), comfort of warmth and security, shelter, society needs, self-actualization. The difference led to a "cause & effect" analysis , ie. is "evil & brutality" (I've used a singular verb 'coz I'd treat it as a single concept) the cause for war, invasion, occupation, enslavement etc? Or, are NEEDS the cause for brutal and evil wars, occupation, enslavement etc? The Three-Word Classics tells us that man is basically kind and humane and it is the people he mixes with and the environments he goes through in life that changes him.

So with this line of thought I began to imagine what kind of societies the Greeks and the Romans had. One thing is sure - they were still agrarian societies then. Science had not develop to the extent that agricultural production was yielding bountiful harvest. Perhaps, the plough had been invented but what about other agricultural tools? Was irrigation primitive or advanced relatively? Were they very dependent on good weather for good harvest? How do they supplement their poor harvest during natural calamities? How they do pay for the construction of their beautiful but monumental buildings (the remains of which we still see today) and sports arena, their irrigation system, their education and other forms of government? Even if they were to tax the farmers, there is obviously a limit because agricultural yields cannot meet their sophisticated needs! Knowing that they were more advanced and stronger than others, could it be this necessity and need that made them covet their neighbours' land?
The next question to ask is "why didn't they tried to trade instead of invading their neighbours?". Are there any agricultural produce or wealth that they have which their neighbours would want to trade with at that time?

Next, I begin to reflect on the nature of wars, invasions, occupation, enslavement generally. What cause these occurrences? Today, we've wars over religious strife dating back centuries, wars over ethnic differences (eg. with the disintegration of Czechoslovakia, and I believe, in World War One over the murder of Duke Ferdinand), war over ethnic superiority (sounds like Hitler's self-actualization of the domination of the German race to me), Japan's need for a larger hinterland of natural resources....(could someone check me on this line of thought)??? What about the motive of America"s invasion of Iraq?

Sorry Wave, I can only respond by asking these questions. Hopefully, this will generate more views, disagreements, criticisms and more questions by others. If these do come about, I would have done my part :)

Now, time to watch my favourite TV programmes ^_^

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Post time 2003-12-7 19:48:51 |Display all floors

A little simplistic and this only addresses a small section of your post

A private enterprise is owned by individuals or shareholders who expect to get a return on their investment. This can only happen if the business makes a profit. Obviously this means that the business must be efficient to keep costs down and the price of the goods sold must be high enough to cover all the costs. If the business has to borrow money, it must pay it back or the banks will close it down.

Government enterprises on the other hand do not have to worry about making a profit because the government will cover any losses. The government is the owner. A good example is the loans that chinese banks have had to make to governmment businesses. Mostly these loans are never repaid so they are in effect, a subsidy that allows the business to sell its goods or services at an unrealistically low price. The whole system is prone to inefficiency because there is no incentive to make a profit. Many government businesses are also a monopoly that is protected by the goverment -- such as postal service, rail, communications. What really happens is that the poor taxpayer (who is the real owner of these government enterprises) has to pay twice. Once in the form of higher prices and again in the form of higher taxes .

The tendency nowadays is for governments to sell off these businesses to private industry. The downside is that usually a large percentage of the workers gets the sack. The upside is that prices come down and service goes up. Workers must perform, and must give service to customers or they get the sack. China is in the process of selling off some of these and the process will gather momentum. The theory is that governments may be OK at governing but they are generally lousy at running a business.

Australia for instance has sold (meaning "privatised") banks, raulways, airports, shipping companies, railways, phone companies, roads, power stations -- you name it. They haven't sold the post office yet, but many post offices are run as private businesses and private companies compete with the post office in almost everything it does. In return the post offices compete with private businesses too and many are like minature department stores.

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