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China: Reflection on patriotism

When the Olympic torch relay approaches China, Mo Yang saw how the “protection” for this torch relay provided by oversea Chinese hurts China.

这次奥运火炬全球传递基本上是被中国的海外愤青给搞砸了[…]。圣火传递开始阶段,在伦敦和巴黎藏独分子出来破坏,抢夺火炬,阻挠传递的进行。这个时候,理亏的是藏独分子。[…]如果我们能够保持冷静,采取克制[…],继续按部就班地进行传递接力,把藏独破坏问题完全交给各国警察来处理,那么,[…]各国人民会说:“噢,看来,中国人确实是一心一意要办 好奥运会的,确实是把体育和政治分开的。”[…]但是,不知从哪里跳出来一大堆海外“爱国华人”,[…]反而给中国的形象带来了负面影响。

This torch relay around the world was sabotaged by those “patriotic” oversea Chinese. In the beginning when the torch was relayed in London and Paris, the people supporting Tibet tried to get the torch and stop the relay. At that time, those people did not have good excuse for what they did.[…] If we could keep calm, be composed, […] and let the relay be what it should be—let the police in other countries take care of those protestants–people all over the world would say, “well, we can see Chinese really want to hold a successful Olympic Game, and they do not mix athletics and politics together.”[…] However, these “patriotic Chinese” in other countries showed up out of no where,[…] and they brought negative influence to China's image.

Wan-Er-Bu-Liou-Mang-Gan-Ga analyzed why there are so many angry “patriots”:

这段时间的一系列事件,为什么会激起中国那么多人的愤怒?固然,事件本身没办法不让我们愤怒。但我总觉得这里面有不少是盲目,是被煽动起来的,或者有些愤怒只是冲着事件的本身,而忽略了探析事件背后的一系列复杂的原因。简洁点说:因为我们以往的印象中国是和谐的,是他国的形象中是美好的,当这突如其来的一系列事件,让我们知道其实并不是完美的,形成了巨大的心理落差,愤怒的声音愈加得强烈。

Why do events occurred these days make so many Chinese angry? Well, the events do make us angry. However, I feel there is blindness in the anger, which is stirred up. On the other hand, the anger only points at these events but ignores the complicate background behind these events. Let me put it simple: Our impression of China is harmonic, and we think foreigners have good impression on us. When these events occurred, we found not everything is as perfect as we think, and this cognitive conflict makes our anger more furious.

On the other hand, Hua-Bin Jing argued if doing these anti-boycott activities is patriotic, not everyone can be this kind of patriotic:

有网友说‘既为奥运会捐款,还为海外势力抵制奥运会而大声疾呼;这样的人不爱国,难道是那些无动于衷的人爱国’。

Some people said, ‘if a person donates money to the Olympic Game in Beijing and confronts the boycott to the Olympic game in other countries, how can we say this person is not patriotic? Would you say the people who do not care patriotic?’

如此说来,腐败分子的确比我们下岗人员爱国;因为我们下岗人既没有钱捐,也没有时间来参加活动。是啊!我们机关事业单位的人参加游行抗议,国家还给他们钱;而我们下岗人员参加游行抗议,却不知谁给我们工资。

If this is how we define a patriot, those corrupt people are more patriotic than us, who are laid off. We do not have money to donate, and we do not have time to join these activities. Well, the government paid people working in institutions money if they joined these protests, but we do not know who would pay us if we joined these protests.

腐败分子,是指那些贪污受贿、生活腐化、以权谋私、侵吞国家或集体财产等的人。

Corrupt people means people who are corrupt in the government and in their own lives. They embezzle the money of our country, which is we people's property.

同样是祖国的儿女,也有亲疏贵贱之分;看我们的高管,[…]年薪6000多万。而老百姓[…]收入也不到他的六千分之一;也就是说 我们的高管一年,相当于老百姓的6000年。祖国这样爱他们,他们能不爱国吗;因为他们并不是公平竞争的结果,[…]你比他们能力强,祖国只爱他们而不爱你;你有什么办法呢。

We are all sons and daughters of our country, but we are treated differently. Look at the elite:[…] their salary is more than sixty millions RMB. However, the average salary of us is less than their 1/6000. In other words, an year for them is 6000 years for a common person. Our country loves them so much, so how can they not love this country?–They become elite not from fair competition.[…] Maybe your ability is better than theirs, but the country still loves them more. What can you do?

这爱国是遗传的,下岗人员没有能力爱国;他们的子女同样也没有能力爱国。看我们的下岗人员的子女,不是因为没有钱上大学而过早地为生活奔波;就是因为贷款读书而背包袱。

As a result, patriotism is inherited. We people without job cannot be patriotic, and our children are not able to be, either. Look at our children, they either work when they are very young because they do not have money to attend colleges or live very hard because of the loan.

Da-Da-De-You discussed how to define the target for patriotism,

如果国只是民族的、文化的概念,则腐败分子是不爱国的,它们只是卖国贼。如果“国”即政权,当然,它们就是最爱国的一群人,因为正是这样的国给了它们腐败的机会。

If the target is ethnicity- or culture-based concept, those corrupt people are not patriotic. Instead, they sell our country. If the target is the government, the ruling party, of course, they are the most patriotic, because this government gives them opportunity to be corrupt.

Feng-Yen-Feng-You said those “patriots” oversea are traitors:

那些闹得最欢的海外”爱国人士”,[…]他们真要爱国,就应该废掉他们洋国公民身份,撕碎绿卡,回国来。按他们爱国的标准,他们中有的人是双重的背叛:先是背叛了生养他的祖国,投奔了被他们所视为的”敌国”;然后又背叛了他们所属的洋国,声称爱他们所属的洋国的”敌国”。

Those oversea “patriots” acted too furious.[…] If they really love our country, they should void their identity as foreigners, rip their green cards, and come back China. Based on their standard of patriotism, some of them are traitors to two countries: they betrayed their motherland to be citizens in a country they viewed as “enemy,” and they betray those countries and claim they belong to the “enemy” of those countries.

Touch123456 also argued what a patriot should do,

反腐败才是真正的爱国, 因为他们这群混蛋正在从人民身上喝血。

Anti-corrupt is what a patriot should do, because those corrupt assholes are sucking our blood.

You-Ren Li said the correct way to patriotism is to study the history and to find a way to build a new country.

作为一个爱国青年,要知道怎么爱国,首要的便是了解这个国家的历史。[…]知道历史的细节,便明了这个国家真正需要个体做的是什么。 […]“五四”的传统不是“破坏”,而是反省之后重建,反省历史,反省传统,创造一个经济、制度、文化、科技、人性上都崭新的国家。

Being a young patriot, the first thing we should do is studying this country's history if we want to know how to be patriotic.[…] If we know history, we know what we really need to do for this country.[…] The tradition of May Fourth Movement is not to destroy but to create after reflection. Reflecting the history and tradition, and we can build a new country, economically, systematically, culturally, technologically, and humanistically.

97 comments

  • ur chinese friend

    Ah, so much bitterness here from the select few Chinese who are obviously upset or maybe simply envious. Apparently it hasn’t occurred to some that the Overseas Chinese are demonstrating not to show their love for China the country but rather to celebrate their Chinese heritage. It looks like someone else on the bbs has it right though. http://club2.cat898.com/newbbs/dispbbs.asp?boardid=1&id=2218221

    On the pro-China demonstrations which went around the world, I for one think they have been fantastic and extremely useful to advance the Chinese influence outside of China. I do not believe I have ever seen this many Chinese expats around the world stood up in unison before to demonstrate their pride. Regardless of how conservatives and right wingnuts in other nations receive this, it does send the clear message that Chinese expats can be mobilized and act on a certain cause.

    Lastly, although I disagree with many of the sentiments expressed across various Chinese forums, I am happy to observe the diverse voices expressed in them. Chinese netizens are clearly not as single-minded as many in the West and Taiwan would like them to be.

  • ur chinese friend

    I would also like to add that many of these posts are directed at a certain Chinese student in Korea beating up a Korean local during the torch relay. The act was rather stupid and should be criticized.

    Without the proper context, this blog entry is rather misleading.

  • Wei

    1) I see no issue with supporting your home country with a sea of flags(I read the whole post). I don’t think people think twice about seeing French/Italian etc flags displayed outside of their own country.

    2) I do see a problem if the protests turn violent with Chinese as aggressors…then it does tarnish the image of Chinese abroad. I read the blogs on the Korean protests; if true(the blogger is clearly very biased against China), then the violence should be condemned.

    3) As an American, I am loyal to this country; however, I also realize it is to the best interest of myself, my family and other Chinese Americans that differences and misunderstandings between US and China be resolved; and biases and unfair reportings aired. I do not hope for a relationship between US and China like the one between US and Britain; but I hope for the best.

  • FloraQ

    Good information to share.
    We Chinese have to admit all the real problems that we are facing, and open up to suggestion and discussion from outside.
    After seeing these messsages, at least they westerner would know a little bit more about China, and they could understand the country is not full of brain-washed idiot, like they imagined.

  • […] translations of different takes on Chinese demonstrations of patriotism at Global Voices: This torch relay around the world was sabotaged by those “patriotic” oversea Chinese. In the […]

  • Kneecap

    ur chinese friend>>

    You took an interesting `spin` on these reactions. Firstly, you label these bloggers as an envious, bitter minority when you say: `so much bitterness here from the select few Chinese who are obviously upset or maybe simply envious.` I`d like to argue instead that perhaps these bloggers are in fact representative of a much larger minority who found these protests embarassing.

    You further `spin` these posts by stating they are reacting to `a certain Chinese student in Korea beating up a Korean local during the torch relay`. Try going on YouTube and searching, `Torch relay violence Korea` and see what comes up. It was hardly a case of one Chinese student beating up one Korean local. It was mobs of angry Chinese students assaulting protestors with stones, tools and bottles. I`m also curious if you`ve seen the video of another mob of dozens of Chinese students assaulting someone (be they Tibetan, Korean or otherwise), as well as security guards, in a hotel in Seoul.

    I would also argue that the majority of these protests are comprised of overseas students, not expats in the sense that they are Korean, Japanese, American, British or French citizens (or permenant residents). If the Chinese government did in fact encourage these protests and bus students in along the route, they certainly owe the Koreans an apology.

    I think the Olympics is a great opportunity for Chinese to take pride in their nation and express themselves a little more clearly to the rest of the world. But be careful with what kind of message you are sending. Quite contrary to your belief that these protests are fueling Chinese influence overseas they are, in my opinion, creating grounds for tighter control on the amount of Chinese students allowed into foreign countries and even more frighteningly, encouraging anti-Chinese sentiment.

    While I welcome and support Chinese peoples` right to express their support for their country and this year`s Olympics, I strongly question whether these protests are doing anything other than confirming stereotypes and biases against Chinese held by locals in the countries where the relays are taking place. Articles in Korean newspapers (see yesterday`s The Herald and The Times), as well as speaking to my Japanese friends here in Japan, would support my opinion.

  • Knights

    I think the Chinese student was a Korean faker. Who knows, South Koreans are poodles of U.S.A They hired a Korean to fake as a Chinese Student to beat up an old guy to make Chinese Student look bad that’s all! Americans came up with the plan to accuse Chinese of faking as Tibetan, and with CNN, BBC lies etc, I am not suprised Bush is playing the double standards.

  • FloraQ

    Some young Chinese are expressing their patriot in an inappropriat way. I don’t like the violent part, but I do respect the thought of patriot. I may not stay calm if some forgeiner burn up my national flag infront of me. No need to blame too hard on these kids.
    Yet people have got to open their minds, and see WHY they get so invoked.

  • Its sheer madness. Not patriotism.

  • Kneecap

    Knights>>

    I have a great flying carpet I’ll sell you for cheap.

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