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Wikipedia has a succinct summary of the story of Ah-Q and the essence of Ah-Q's character that is almost uniquely Chinese, before and sadly, now again, is that of self-delusion, interpreting every failure as a "spiritual victory", even in the face of death by public execution, as Ah-Q experienced.|
Seeing all the failures of China in the recent past, calling this a China Dream only begets the laughter of her enemies, who would indulge China her fatal fantasy.
"Ah Q is known for deluding himself into believing he is the victor every time he loses a fight. In one scene, Ah Q is beaten and his silver is stolen. He slaps himself on the face, and because he is the person doing the slapping, he sees himself as the victor.
When Mr. Zhao, an honored landlord of the village, beats Ah Q in a fight, Ah Q considers himself important for having even a tiny association with such a person. Though some villagers suspect Ah Q may have no true association with Mr. Zhao, they do not question the matter closely, and instead give Ah Q more respect for a time.
Ah Q is often close-minded about petty things. When he ventures into a new town and sees that a "long bench" is called a "straight bench," he believes their way to be instantly inferior and totally wrong.
There is a scene in which Ah Q harasses a nun to make himself feel better. He pinches her and blames his problems on her. Instead of crying out at the injustice of Ah Q's bullying, the crowd nearby laughs.
One day, news of the Xinhai Revolution comes into town. Both landlord families, the Zhaos and the Chiens, become revolutionaries to keep their power. Other people, calling themselves a "revolutionary army", rob the houses of the landlords and rich men. Ah Q also wants to join them and also call himself a revolutionary. But when the time comes, he misses the opportunity to act, because he slept in one morning and no one woke him up. Finally, Ah Q is arrested as a scapegoat for the looting and sentenced to death by the new governor.
When Ah Q is asked to sign a confession, he worries that he cannot write his name. The officers tell him to sign a circle instead. Ah Q is so worried about drawing a perfect circle to save face that he is unaware he would be executed until it is too late. Before his death he tries to entertain the crowds watching his execution, but cannot decide on suitable lines from any Chinese opera."