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Language is obviously related to culture. If you understand the language, you understand the culture much better. How can you understand the people of a place if you can't understand what they are saying. If you only go by secondhand experiences, meaning what you know is only from what you've read or heard, then how can you say that it is YOU who understands...you are using other people's experiences...you can only be a messenger.|
But to truly understand a culture, I do think you need to be raised in it...otherwise, you can pick up the pieces here and there, after living in a certain place for some time, but the understanding still can't be as good as people who have been born and raised there...
I try to keep an open mind, but I think we do judge others, but in the end, no one has the right to judge another, even those who are close to you, because we're not in their shoes, and we don't know what they've gone through.
If you want to judge China's politics, that is a different matter. But here I assume we mean the Chinese people.