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Regarding Western vs. Chinese ideas [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 4

Post time 2005-1-12 16:37:17 |Display all floors
There are a number of Chinese members here who repeatedly warn about the dangers of Western ideas, and warn Chinese that they should adhere to their own culture and traditions, not listen to others.

So I'd like to address that particular notion.

The fact is, China today is almost ENTIRELY a result of non-Chinese thinking and culture.  Why do I say this?  Because modern China is, in many ways, a result of the efforts of the Chinese Commu-nist Party, and the changes that that party has made in building China up.

Now, the question is, what are the origins of Commu-nism?  Did a Chinese man invent Commu-nism?  No.  Did the principles of Commu-nism come from Chinese culture or history?  No.

Commu-nism is a result of WESTERN culture.  It was invented by foreigners.  It was first implemented by foreigners.  Chinese leaders COPIED a system already DEVELOPED by foreigners.  When Chinese students study about Commu-nism in school, they study about KARL MARX -- who most certainly was not Chinese, and who knew nothing about Chinese culture.  Quite the opposite, he attended Western universities, and lived his life in Western countries.

Now, look at China today.

Men can only have one wife.  That is NOT traditional Chinese culture -- for almost 100% of Chinese history, men could have many wives.  It was COMMU-NISM that made it illegal to have more than one wife.  And that idea came from WESTERN culture, not from Chinese culture.

Chinese women are not forced to wear tiny shoes that destroy their feet.  Again, for much of Chinese history, Chinese women were terribly abused in this manner, but it was a TRADITIONAL Chinese practice.  It was COMMU-NISM that made it illegal to bind womens' feet.  And that idea came from WESTERN culture, not from Chinese culture.

Men and women in China are considered legally equal.  Again, for most of Chinese history, women were not equal with men, and were often treated as possessions rather than as people.  They were barred from receiving the same education as men; they were barred from holding many of the same jobs as men; etc.  Yes, there were a FEW Chinese women who managed to overcome those restrictions...but most did not.  It was COMMU-NISM that created legal equality of men and women.  And that idea came from WESTERN culture, not from Chinese culture.

Look at how many parts of "traditional Chinese culture" were changed because of Commu-nism.  And then remember that MANY of those changes did NOT come from Chinese culture (which never had some of those ideas in its own history/tradition); it came from the writings of Karl Marx (and others like him) who were foreigners.

Some of those teachings resulted in damage for China (like the "Great Leap Forward", or the Cultural Revolution); but in other ways, they have benefitted China.  Creating greater equality, and removing many of the abuses of the old, "traditional" Chinese cultural system.  In other words, TODAY'S CHINA is the result of the ideas and beliefs of a FOREIGNER.

If you want to argue that accepting Western ideas MUST be wrong, and that the ONLY way for China to grow strong is to strictly maintain Chinese culture in an unchanging manner, then you must be willing to throw away all of the equality, throw away the women's rights, throw away MANY of the things that have made China what it is today.  Because ALL of those ideas came from WESTERN culture, not Chinese.

My point?

There are some fools here who point to things that they call "Chinese culture" and "Chinese tradition"...yet they blindly ignore the fact that the very ideas they DEFEND came from a foreigner.

There is a saying that "no man is an island"...and the same is true of countries.  China has ALREADY tried to close itself to the outside world, to get rid of all foreign influences.  The result was a long period of stagnation and suffering for the Chinese people.  North Korea today is STILL practicing the same policy, and its people are STILL suffering for that.

Mao Zedong -- and the leaders that succeeded him -- didn't ignore Western ideas.  Quite the opposite.  Mao Zedong took the ideas of a FOREIGNER, and adapted them in a manner that he felt was more suitable for China.  Sadly, later, he changed from being open-minded and accepting other ideas, to being closed-minded and shutting out any other ideas.

Deng Xiaoping took it a step farther by acknowledging that China could not grow and prosper by itself...that it needed to be a part of the rest of the world, and to welcome foreign ideas.

So, for those people who CONTINUE to condemn everything "western", keep in mind the following points:

1) By condemning all Western ideas, you are condemning modern China, since modern China is based on many Western ideas.

2) By condemning any Chinese who accepts foreign ideas, you are condemning men like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, who both accepted AND INTEGRATED Western ideas into Chinese culture.

Yes, there ARE some aspects of foreign culture that may not be good for China.  I agree with that, and I do NOT think that China should become just like other countries.  But that doesn't mean to throw away ALL Western ideas.

If "traditional Chinese culture" was the "only right way" for Chinese people, then today Chinese women would still be wearing tiny shoes, with many women married to the same man, treated as animals/possessions, with little or no chance for improvement or success in their lives.  

How many "traditional Chinese" here REALLY believe that those "traditional Chinese beliefs" are superior to the WESTERN beliefs, introduced by Commu-nism, that men should have one wife, that women should NOT have to wear tiny shoes, and men and women should be equal under the law?

Please, DO speak up.

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Rank: 6Rank: 6

Post time 2005-1-12 18:29:12 |Display all floors


I am interested in your view on how guan-xi is instrumental to everything in China. I am told to be PATIENT. I am told you can't want things quick in China. It does not happen that way.

Is the idea of efficiency western, and its opposite chinese? Stripped of efficiency, can not things work? Is it just a change of attitude that is required to adjust oneself to the Chinese way?

While we may argue the system here is inefficient, the chinese are most famous for doing everything via short-cuts. If left uncontrolled, they can be most crude, ignoring all things as long as it fattens their wallet. That's why when an average consumer wants to buy something and if he can afford it, he looks for "imported" "foreign brand" "imported technologies" "imported machines". Here I see efficiency at work. Why waste all the effort and time and money doing research and building your own brand when you can just import.

What do you say canadianguy? I am half-drunk, so excuse my incoherence.

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Rank: 4

Post time 2005-1-12 18:44:33 |Display all floors

canadianguy, you made convincing points

Modern China is just a part of the world.

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Rank: 4

Post time 2005-1-13 01:50:45 |Display all floors

The Middle Path

The absorption of foreign elements into Chinese civilization has been an ongoing process since time immemorial.

The adaptation of Manchu feet binding practise, wearing of Qipao(Manchu gown)/cheongsam and keeping a pigtail hairstyle is an example of it. This occur in two ways: imposition by the ruler and natural cultural diffusion.

However, each time the Chinese manage to survive in retaining its own unique cultural identity apart from being enriched. Therefore, whether an incorporation of foreign culture empowers the people or emasculates them very much depends on the ruling class or the person who lead the nation!

As pointed out by Canadian Guy, Communism can be both beneficial and damaging. Maoism regime was preoccupied with carrying out measures to purge certain traditional ways incompatible with socialism which almost resulted in the annihilation of many good Chinese culture. This is an example of EXTREMISM at its best. Notwithstanding, such an effort was fortunately reversed immediately by a succeeding moderate group. They seek modernization. Thus, the people of China in this era has the choice to CHOOSE which culture to adopt and fuse them with its own.

I can see that this thread was intentionally designed to put some extremists to the edge of their stance.

China will prosper even more when the majority of its people adopt moderate view by being reciprocative of certain foreign ideas. And Deng Xiaoping was right on this one.

I am on the side of keeping "cultural erosion" in check while encouraging Chinese in both the motherland and overseas to embrace empowering Western values and cultures.

A culturally rich China could enable overseas Chinese to draw inspirations from the motherland. However, in making way for incoming Western ones, Chinese culture [[[MUST]]] be preserved at all cost.

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Rank: 4

Post time 2005-1-13 03:07:09 |Display all floors


I wonder if forumites on this thread have noticed that this WESTERN loud-mouth here is DELIBERATELY trying to equate "foreign" with "Western"? Can he point out which WESTERN country ( other than Cuba) is COMMUNIST? Even the former USSR and other European countries who were communist were not considered  "Western" but "EASTERN block countries".

Re: "Commu-nism is a result of WESTERN culture. "

Does this WESTERN loud-mouth know that Karl Marx was a "Jew" originally from an Eastern Block country or from the Middle East and despite being a German, he was still despised because of his EASTERN origins and had to seek refuge in Britiain where he later died and was buried?

Re: "...more than one wife. And that idea came from WESTERN culture,.."

Wife? I guess this Western loud-mouth would rather not know that his "Western culture" encourages couples to remain UNMARRIED and for women to be UNMARRIED MOTHERS with bastards from multiple lovers!

Re: "How many "traditional Chinese" here REALLY believe that those "traditional Chinese beliefs" are superior to the WESTERN beliefs,..... "

Really? So the wheel must have been a WESTERNER idea, otherwise Chinese would still be carrying loads on their backs or their livestock. Houses and teacups must have been WESTERNER idea, otherwise Chinese would still be living naked in caves and drinking from streams like wild animals. Gunpowder is also a WESTERNER idea, otherwise Chinese would still be using bows&arrows and swords to defend themselves. The chisel was a WESTERNER idea, otherwise neither the Chinese nor the Egyptians would have built the Great Wall nor the Pyramids respectively. The numericals 1,2,3, 4,...and Algebra was a WESTERNER idea and not that of some backward Easterner Arab. Marco Polo didn't go to China, it was a Chinese peasant who trekked all the way to Italy to learn how to make silk and noodles. And of course, Albert Einstein was not a despised Easterner Jew who had to flee for his life from the WESTERNER Nazis!!

Dirty despicable hypocrite indeed!!

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Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2005-1-13 03:58:46 |Display all floors

One glaring error

destroys any credibility or glimmer of value the rest of your post might have because it demonstrates a true lack of knowledge about China - other than that of the Charlie Chan variety.

The form of Communism created by the party was and is not a copy - it is an improvement based on the principals that were neither understood nor put into practice by the Russians.

Call it whatever you want but the best is "with Chinese characteristics."

It is the same way that China is going to develop a democratic system - one with Chinese characteristics and based on the application of the best parts of the many iterations of the democratic system into what will finally be a cohesive and workable whole and not a direct copy of the many failed attempts now current elsewhere.

This is also probably the very first time I have ever come across someone including Russia as "Western" - I'm sure there are many people in the States rolling over in their graves.

Even the aspects you mention in the rest of your piece clarify that the China system is an improvement on what they absorbed.

You obviously also did not know that Mao and the Russians did not see eye to eye at all and that in fact the Russians criticized China for not using the negative aspects of their newly designed concept but only the positive.

Perhaps you should restrict yourself to writing about the things with which you are familiar.

China does now what she has always done and what Deng Xiaoping (Xiaoping hao!) instituted fully during his tenure - Absorb what is useful to make China great and the people great and disregard that which proves to be useless.

Even when Deng was criticized for the incredible changes he personally brought to China; two of his most famous quotes were immortalized:

"I don't care if it is a black cat or a white cat - as long as it catches mice it is a good cat."


When you open the door to the outside, bad things are going to get in as well as the good - the key is being able to tell the difference and improve upon the good and discard the bad. (paraphrased so no quotes)

I find it ludicrous for anyone - especially someone from the same country I stem from - to suggest that what is developed in China is not Chinese or that all things today were only stimulated in the last 50 years, ignoring the previous millennia and also ignoring the fact that until the 1800's the "west" had no impact whatsoever on China.

And this from someone from a country that is just a bit over a hundred years old. Are you sure you're not an American masquerading as a Canadian? Many do in China - wearing Canadian flags and trying to learn how to say eh!

I guess, using your convoluted reasoning, that you are then suggesting that there is nothing American as all of the concepts they apply come from countries in and around the Mediterranean?

No, this is not a topic for which you are suited to discuss.

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Rank: 4

Post time 2005-1-13 10:05:59 |Display all floors

haha,state capitalism

that's a variant of capitalism.

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