Thursday, August 9, 2007

It's China's Choice!

I came across this interesting article today:-

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/07/AR2007080701289.html

As a Chinese, I can only wish the best of outcomes for China from the international sport event. Having said that, I must admit I am not very optimistic.

My pessimism stems from the fact that bad habits die hard – and I’m not referring to the spitting either. Thousands of years of imperialism have instilled in Chinese people a tendency to conceal the truth, especially in the presence of emperors or rulers, as telling the truth might bring on disasters or even death upon oneself and one’s family. During the Cultural Revolution, this tendency was carried to the extreme in the whole society – lying and denial became a way of life, which was necessary for survival.

Though it is understandable that China wants to show her best face to the world during the Olympics, it does not help her progress if she continues using propaganda to trumpet her strengths and hide her weaknesses. The western media are landing in China for one purpose – to find out the truth by experience about this rising nation. From now up to and during the actual games, China will be under the scrutinizing eye of world class media workers. For them, propaganda is propaganda, not truth.

Globalization has helped put China on the economic world stage; it has also catapulted her towards western values and beliefs like open and accountable government, open competition, human rights and freedom of the press. Rather than hiding behind the shield of denial, saying that China has its own unique characteristics, which she does of course but not good as an excuse to reject outright those values and beliefs, it would be in her interest to let down her guard, accept constructive criticisms, understand, learn from and let herself be understood by the developed world before, during and after this international event.

2 comments:

Kempton said...

Hi Alice,

Thanks for an interesting piece.

You are quite right in saying "China will be under the scrutinizing eye of world class media workers."

At the same time, IMHO, the growing power of YouTube, etc. under the hands of sophisticated users (both activists and citizen journalists) have now given ordinary people the power to draw worldwide attention. A case in point is what the Canadian Tibet activist Lhadon Tethong and her group was able to achieve with a shoe-string budget.

With the coming Olympics, a new age may have dawned on China and I hope, when the moment present itself, the Chinese government will have the collective wisdom of doing what Mikhail Gorbachev did in letting go of Power.

Best Regards,
Kempton

P.S. Here is a link to a blog entry about Lhadon Tethong
http://kempton.wordpress.com/2007/08/08/vienna-convention-rights/

Alice Poon said...

Hi Kempton. Thank you for your comment and the link. I have the same hope as you do.