Thursday, 21 April 2011

Tell us how you really feel

This comment in a thread on the 1860 burning of the Summer Palace from Jxie, US resident and regular blogger at Hidden Harmonies, tells you everything you need to know about the tone of the discussion on that blog nowadays:

". . . I am OK with the looted art pieces being displaced in some foreign museums or auctioned off, but I am also perfectly OK with on a future day Chinese burning down London and Paris."


It would be easy to dismiss this kind of extremism as mere posing. The fact is, though, that some among the Chinese nationalists genuinely feel this way.

16 comments:

Wukailong said...

His comments are actually some of the saner ones... Just look at what raventhorn and whooper writes. I guess they seem harmless because they're so illucid in general.

FOARP said...

Wasn't it Raventhorn who wrote an entire ost advising people not to use ad hominem arguments, which he finished up with an attack on people arguing in favour of democracy as "idiots"?

justrecently said...

I think the most interesting aspect about HH is how "let's-dialogue" they set out, and how sectarian they turned out to be soon after.

It was foreseeable though. Some neighbors allowed some peripatetic missionaries to embroil them in long discussions about God and the World, and found it very difficult (or impossible) to wind those visits down in a basically civilized manner.

The good thing about websites (compared to front doors and kitchens) is that, as a commenter, you can't only check out, but actually leave. And when trolls flood your own commenting threads, you can simply block them.

Wukailong said...

@FOARP: Yeah! That post and the context of it were both hilarious.

yt liu said...

Explain to me what is it with this statement that you find so unreasonable? I honestly, no sarcasm, don't see how you can find offense to that, when the entire British Museum is literally stocked with artifacts from the hundreds of millions people the British have subjugated and looted from, some from civilizations the British exterminated. Explain why you find it absolutely shocking when people talk of doing to you the exact same thing your country have done to literally the whole world and would have continued to do if Suez didn't end the Empire.

Please explain all this, Mr. Fear. I am confused by your reaction.

And I like how you completely didn't even provide any context to the blog post in question, except to say that "its on the 1860 burning of the Summer Palace". Nice one.

justrecently said...

IC no offense in that statement, ytliu, only the expression of a state of mind which may be quite widely spread.

It's worth the time to quote such statements, and to think about its implications.

Obviously, if someone attacked my country, I'd defend it. And when I can see an attack coming, even if remotely so far, it is time to get prepared.

No offense. Just a piece of information.

FOARP said...

@yt Liu - You aren't seriously speaking up for someone making a statement that they would be "OK" with destroying whole cities and killing millions of innocent people in revenge for the burning of a palace 150 years ago, are you?

As for the supposed lack of context, I did not write this as a historical piece. The subject of this piece is the comment, and no more context than is necessary to say what it is about was included.

ytliu said...

No where did I speak up for someone that "didn't mind burning London or Paris", and neither did I speak up for the non-existent person that endorsed the killings of millions of people (you can burn London or Paris without killing millions of people, you know). When a sensitive topic like historical looting and destruction is raised, I think the guy's reaction is at least understandable. If you don't agree, then perhaps you should criticize the US for making a fuss over some world trade center; it was just some building that got rammed a decade ago. That's a long time.

I just said found your reaction hilarious. Both by how indignant you are and how you honestly think that the guy is talking literally.

Also, why is it that when an Anglo/American talk like that on the internet (we should nuke china!!!), the guy is an idiot, but when a Chinese person talk that, it's the official policy of the PRC and the collective mindset of 1.3 billion Chinese people? The difference between them is that the Chinese don't get the vote, and thus have no influence in government policy, but the American does. So which planet is it that you should REALLY fear?

ytliu said...

By the way, I do NOT condone nor did I endorse the burning of London or Paris. It would inconvenience my vacation greatly if it were burned.

FOARP said...

@Yt - Jxie isn't just a commenter at HH, he's one of their main contributors. And yeah, where did I say that he represent government policy? All I said was that at least some Chinese nationalists think like this.

You may also notice, if you read some of my other posts, that I have also criticised paranoia directed against the PRC.

Anonymous said...

FOARP,

"Wasn't it Raventhorn who wrote an entire ost advising people not to use ad hominem arguments, which he finished up with an attack on people arguing in favour of democracy as "idiots"?"

NO. I attacked on people who use ad hominem arguments,

"But if you reach for an ad hominem label to dismiss my facts, you are deserving of being called an idiot. (Am I using a label? Yes, Only when forced to respond in the language best understood in the art of idiots)."

"And all you idiots out there with the twitching ad hominem trigger finger, you are not doing your "democracy" arguments any good."

You can at least post the link to my comments.

And it's not the 1st time you take other people's words out of context for your own ill-founded assertions.

Frankly, AGAIN! You are not doing your own arguments any good.

Allen said...

@FOARP,

Just as a clarification, jxie is a regular commentator at HH and is weclomed - as are you - at HH, but he is not one of my main "contributors" - defined in my book as someone we have asked to write posts, with a login, etc., etc.

As for the post and comment you linked, I can understand that if someone see it as eye for an eye sort of thing, how distasteful it is. People can differ of course, but I tend to agree with WKL that in this particular context, it's more "harmless" than anything else.

Posts like this do have one important value though: it reveals how raw and "emotional" the opium war, the palace burning, and subsequent unequal treaties are still to many Chinese people. Rather than pushing it pc style - like racism - into some sort of categorical no no, it should be welcomed and exposed, even if it is neither comfortable for the person saying it nor the person hearing it (summer palace evokes a sense of shame and sadness; it's not as if it's some bravado Chinese people enjoy talking about).

As for justrecently's comment about HH seeking "dialogue" but falling into "secatarian" divisiveness - well, that's one thing I hope we all should strive to fix - on all China blogs. We at HH try to represent what we believe to be the Chinese perspective, but we are like everyone else, we attract our own crowd much easier than those we want to engage for dialogue.

True, persistent, respectful dialogue is difficult, I don't deny that. So I accept the criticism as a challenge. But I do note: the burden of meeting that challenge should not only fall on those who run blogs, but also who comment... i.e. everyone.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of extreme and sectarian and ad hominem:

Speaking of the owner of this blog whose own logo is apparently a political "democratic" statement of "F your mother" in a made up Chinese character.

I am reminded how when I first came to US, all the American kids wanted to know from me was "how to say the F word in Chinese", because they all thought it would be cool to learn that.

Well, I guess it has come full circle.

FOARP has finally spent enough years in China to learn a brand new way to say the F word in Chinese-ish language. (and take other people's words out of context).

I guess that makes you cool now?

Doesn't that just symbolically represent everything that's wrong with the West?

I mean, what can I possibly call you, FOARP, who argues "in favour of democracy" in this fashion, under such fashionably democratic logo?

justrecently said...

Posts like this do have one important value though: it reveals how raw and "emotional" the opium war, the palace burning, and subsequent unequal treaties are still to many Chinese people.

Interestingly, much fresher memories, such as of the "Great Leap Forward" or the "Cultural Revolution", are expressed in a much less raw or emotional way.
One interpretation could be that public Chinese anger goes where it is can be vented with little consequence for the individual. Another might have something to do with xenophobia.

Anonymous said...

"Interestingly, much fresher memories, such as of the "Great Leap Forward" or the "Cultural Revolution", are expressed in a much less raw or emotional way."

Where do you get this from?

My parents generation talked our heads off about the "bitter times" stories.

I went through part of "Cultural Revolution" myself as a child. My father was imprisoned. My grandfather was hauled off as a "Capitalist" to be yelled at in "struggle meetings".

You think "expressed in a much less raw or emotional way"??!!

What would you like?

I cringe every time some people say they want "revolutions" in the world, because I have seen and lived the results of "revolutions".

Is that "raw or emotional" enough for you?

How about I drop the "F" bomb on FOARP every time he want to talk about "revolution" in China?

Would that be better?

justrecently said...

You think "expressed in a much less raw or emotional way"??!!
Sure it's talked about - but without a demand to Chinese political leaders to "confront the past".
I'm not angered to see my country and its past aggressions against China used as a moral jerk-off file to avoid more recent topics and responsibilities - but obviously, I'm taking note of that.

I cringe every time some people say they want "revolutions" in the world, because I have seen and lived the results of "revolutions".
That's a very stabilizing way to see China, isn't it? But if you want to blame the opium wars for the absence of healing in China, you'd better explain that in more detail.
Worries about revolution in the wrong place, I'd say. There won't be a revolution in any place, unless a critical number of people (i. e. hundreds of millions in China) would feel that they have gotten into an ultimate blind alley. After all, your leaders have made it clear enough what they are capable of when dealing with - real or supposed - revolutionaries.