Thursday, 29 January 2009


One of the things which left me quite surprised when I first encountered it in China was the level of esteem existing in some quarters for George W. Bush. Whilst there is a certain part of the Chinese population which is very much in awe of the United States, the people who gave Bush a grudging admiration were often not otherwise inclined to praise that much about America. I remember one person, a rather straight-laced university student, said that he was a fan of Bush because "He is a strong leader, he is not afraid of war".

It is therefore not surprising to see this recent article by co-author of best-selling nationalist screed, China Can Say No, Wang Xiaodong, expressing great doubts about the prospects of Barack Obama. In his essay, entitled "Unfortunately, History
Might Show Obama
Inferior to Bush Jr."
(English translation available here), Wang Xiaodong describes how he believes that Obama is over-reaching himself, and will unleash a racist backlash amongst the white population of the United States. Naturally when his economic schemes fail Obama will be forced to invade other countries to seize their wealth, Wang Xiaodong's proof for this? Read on:

One of my friends, who has an American boss, left words on my blog: “One time, my American boss talked about America’s financial deficit and the big American bonds. I told him that there are a lot of natural resources in Alaska, and the U.S. can mortgage it for paying the debts. The boss said without any thought that the U.S. has such a big military force that they can be sent overseas to grasp money back if the bad time comes. It is unnecessary to sell the property.” It seems that this American was outspoken, telling his first thought is to use military forces to get money when an economic crisis happens. I feel that it is a typical point of view among American people, just people like reporters, professors and politicians will not tell it in this frank way.

Of course, the fact that it might be some idiot expat shooting his mouth off doesn't seem to have crossed Wang Xiaodong's mind. It would be foolish to dismiss this opinion, as Wang is a popular author in China, not dissimilar to certain American authors - Mark Stein comes to mind. Here's what one of the commenters said:

Last year, in July/August, I went to Bangkok with my family. At the Democracy Memorial I felt a sudden swell of emotion, I pulled out my note book and wrote "Wang Xiaodong is a prophet"

Of course plenty of people are critical of his position, and no one should imagine that these are the views of the majority, but they are the heart and soul of the Chinese nationalist (small 'n') movement.


Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised at all. In the introduction to "China can say no", one of the authors describes his origins as a worshipping Reaganite. Same thing over at Fool's Mountain - look at what some of the nationalistic one-liner posters tend to write. One of them (whose moniker begins with "p" and ends with "ster") said somewhere that he was happy he voted for McCain, and he seems to be an ideological friend of Wang Xiaodong.

I'm pretty sure Wang would have preferred a white, conservative president because that's what he understands. When the US doesn't fit his picture, he gets even more aggressive.

Gilman Grundy said...

@WKL - Spot on.

Anonymous said...

Is Wang an economist? He doesn't sound like it. He refers to some of the demographic causes of America's problems - but compared to Europe's or Japan's demographic structures, America's isn't that much of the problem. Not to mention China's one-child policy. With all what might be said to its credit, it has led to demographic problems there, too.
High expectations may backfire. But you'd have to do a heckuvajob to be a president worse than Bush jr.
I suppose that Wang worships power. Many Chinese intellectuals do. But Bush's power abuse hasn't led America anywhere.