What do Chinese people misunderstand about America?

  • Americans != White people

almost 30% of Americans are not white. But whenever Chinese (or other Asians) think of ‘American’ they think of a ‘white’ person. You cannot generalize all Americans as this or that, since America is one of the most diverse countries in the world, even more so than China is.

  • Americans do not directly elect the President and they do not elect by popular vote. They elect their President using an archaic system called the United States Electoral College – Wikipedia which is quite different from any other democratic country. The Electoral College can in fact be quite undemocratic in that a minority of people (NOT the majority as in a democracy) can actually elect the President and this has indeed happened in 2016 with Clinton getting more votes but Trump becoming President. Furthermore, the votes for President are cast by electors, not by the people. The people merely decide who the electors *should* vote for, but in many cases like in 2016 the electors don’t actually vote for who they are supposed to vote for. It is more about who wins more states, not who wins more votes. So next time Chinese people want to talk about Trump being a result of the ‘failure of democracy’, it is incorrect because Americans did not directly elect Trump by popular vote, like in other countries.
  • Americans are not as nationalistic as Chinese think. In fact, more than half of Americans disapprove of the job President Trump is doing. How Popular Is Donald Trump? 54% disapprove of the President. Every mainstream news channel (except Fox News) and late night talk show constantly derides and mocks the President. This is in my opinion, one of the major differences between America and China. You will never hear about Chinese state media or a Chinese talk show mocking the President of China, Xi Jinping.
  • Americans are not ‘brainwashed’ by the media. In fact, the vast majority of Americans don’t even believe their own media. ‘Fake News’ Fears: 95% of Americans ‘Troubled’ by Current State of Media, Poll Finds
  • Not all Americans have an unfavorable view of China. Yes the number is higher now than before due to the trade war, but many Chinese believe that all Americans are brainwashed to hate China, and that’s just not true. In fact at one point (2006) the majority of Americans had favorable views of China. It is due to the recent trade war + increasing nationalism and hostility towards America from Chinese people themselves, that has caused this unfavorability to grow

  • Not all Americans own guns. There are a lot of guns in the US, but this is due to a large number of people owning multiple guns. What Percentage of Americans Own Guns? 30% of American adults own a gun. This is not a small number – but it also means 70% of American adults do not own a gun.
  • America != Western countries. Chinese people like to use America as a proxy for ALL Western countries, but it’s not true. All the above I just mentioned makes America quite different from Europe, or Canada, or Australia. I really dislike it when as a Canadian, our country gets grouped together with America as the same type of country, what a broad label and brush to apply to millions of people.

I just want to clear these things up. I see many Chinese people on Quora (obviously either overseas or using VPNs since Quora is not accessible in China) claiming that ‘Americans are like ___’ ‘America is ___’ American news is biased and brainwashes Americans to hate China etc. You cannot generalize Americans as this or that.

Yes there are a lot of questions on Quora that are basically trolling Chinese people or insulting China. You know what you should do? Ignore those trolls and move on. Don’t be a hypocrite and start insulting or generalizing Americans/America back. America is a very diverse country, that particularly prides itself on individualism, which means that everyone is going to be very different from one another and have very different opinions from one another. I don’t think its fair to take some online trolls as an example and extend it ALL Americans + ALL Westerners. That’s over a billion people on 3 continents (Australia is considered a Western country and is its own continent). That’s just ridiculous.