- extreme nationalism. It prevents them from looking at things from an unbiased point of view. They tend to make irrational generalizing arguments defending the CCP’s decisions. Here’s a few examples.
“Aren’t you bothered by the censorship in China? can’t post political opinions, can’t access foreign websites etc”
Chinese response: That’s ok, foreign companies are a danger to China! the CCP is just protecting Chinese interests! And censorship of social media is to prevent unrest and preserve social order! We don’t want chaos and unrest like the USA!
“What do you think about the new rule limiting video game playing time?”
Chinese response: Its for own benefit! video game addiction is bad! and this will help our eyesight too!
“What do you think about the CCP blanket banning all sex/porn/violence in entertainment?”
Chinese response: It’s a good thing! We don’t want everyone to become sex addicted violent criminals!
“Why don’t Chinese wear prettier school uniforms?”
Chinese response: We need to focus on our studies not our appearance! Pretty school uniforms will distract the boys in school!
See, these are all irrational generalizing responses that indicate that the CCP has basically fed this to the public and they lap it up without question. Of course, there’s a simple counterexample to these arguments: Korea, Taiwan and Japan. They don’t have any of the restrictions China has, yet they are peaceful, organized societies, even less crime than China, full of hard working people.. just like China. They also share the same Confucian culture.
So how can Chinese people make these silly arguments when they have counterexamples just next door? I know the Chinese response to this is: look at Japan’s economy! Look at Taiwans economy! They are all coming to mainland for jobs! That means China is better! All of Korea’s presidents have been jailed! They are all US puppets! etc this just indicates an unwillingness for Chinese to accept that there could be faults in their system, always seeking to find flaws in other countries so that they can feel better about their own. Part of this is also because Chinese are in a way bitter about the way those other Asian countries surpassed them economically when China had been dominant over them for over 2 millennia. That’s why you’ll hear Chinese talk about Koreans or Japanese “stealing” their culture. It’s a hard bitter pill to swallow to have countries once considered vassal states now have more soft power in the world and in the case of Korea even infiltrating China itself.
When I talk to a Korean, Taiwanese or Japanese person, they are more than willing to criticize their government and organize protests. Heck, 2 years ago Park Geun-Hye was removed from office with a 4% approval rate! there were protests in Gwanghwamun of millions of people against her. Even if Xi Jinping decides to roll a tank into the streets to crush people, I don’t think he will ever get that low of approval rating from Chinese.
2. Inability to accept criticism and deflection to America/West. Chinese need to be more willing to accept criticism of their country. That’s one major thing I think Chinese need to improve on.
You can look at the comments on my other China-related Quora answers for proof of this – any perceived criticism against China is taken as a personal attack by Chinese people – they get outraged and offended and almost always deflect saying something about the USA/Trump instead of addressing their own issues.
Here are some of the comments I have received: “You have a double standard!” “USA/Trump would do the same thing but 10x worse and you won’t say a thing!” “Western media has brainwashed you!” “Westerners must have been racist to you when you were young and thats why you hate your own race” “Westerners just want to see China fail and always lie about China!” This constant generalizing about Western people and whataboutism is very irritating – especially when Chinese people themselves complain that they’re the victim all the time, the victim of lies and generalization – and then they do it right back to Western countries/America – if this isn’t hypocrisy then what is?
You’ll notice plenty of pro-Chinese answers on Quora being written by Westerners – you will never find pro-America answers being written by Chinese. As well, you will find plenty of anti-Trump answers written by Westerners – you will never find anti-Xi answers written by Chinese. The thing about Americans or Westerners is that they are all different – you can’t generalize them. Trump’s approval ratings are rarely above 40% during his term, meanwhile Xi’s is always above 80% in China. Say what you will but I definitely have not met as many Chinese openly criticizing their country as much as Westerners openly criticizing theirs. Or even Koreans/Japanese criticizing theirs.
Many Chinese responders felt that I was being unfair and had a double standard against China. They feel that if the USA was in a similar situation they would have done something similar.
Firstly, I don’t understand why Chinese always have to deflect their answers to Trump/USA. Let’s take a look at some Quora questions that are being ‘unfair’ to Americans:
How many of the answers in these topics mention China? How many of them accuse the question asker of being ‘brainwashed’ and having a ‘double standard’? You think Americans constantly compare themselves to China? No, they don’t care. But Chinese always bring up USA and America in their answers.
As for pro-Chinese answers, they are the standard in any popular Chinese topic. Take a look at my answer here: Tong Zou’s answer to Why is Quora still allowed in China despite so much criticism of China?
3. Over-sensitivity. This is related to the other 2 points I mentioned but I noticed more and more in Xi’s administration especially, the rise of overzealous nationalism also lead to more arrogance and protectionism in China.
And they have gotten more politically sensitive as well. It doesn’t take much to trigger China or Chinese these days. I would say things definitely accelerated around 2014/2015 – now more and more foreign websites have gotten banned, foreign companies and countries get boycotted more easily than before, and really all it takes is a small thing. Now Chinese may do their typical deflection response and say that the USA/Trump would do the same but let’s take a look:
-China banned Kpop concerts after South Korea accepted the THAAD defense system from the US. Would America ban Canadian entertainers if Russia put a ‘defense’ system in the Yukon on the border of Alaska?
-China detained Canadian diplomats after Canada honored an extradition treaty with America. Would America detain South Korean diplomats if South Korea honored an extradition treaty with China?
-Chinese consumers boycotted Dolce&Gabbana after a racist commercial + instagram comment was shown. Would American consumers boycott them if they did a racist commercial against Americans? (Keep in mind that Americans make fun of themselves all the time with shows like Family Guy and Simpsons)
-Banning everyone and every company who supported the Hong Kong protests. China bans airline staff backing Hong Kong protest Denise Ho, Anthony Wong Yiu Ming and Chapman To ‘banned in China for joining Hong Kong protests’ China suspends business ties with NBA’s Houston Rockets over Hong Kong tweet Hmm so would the US ban anyone who supported something like the Texas succession movement? Or the California succession movement? Given that people like Ted Nugent are still allowed to perform concerts?
-banning South Park because they mentioned Winnie the Pooh and the Dalai Llama. Would the US ban any show that made fun of Trump? Keeping in mind that every talk show in the US except Fox makes fun of Trump every day?
So Chinese like to think they are allowed to do whatever they want because the USA does it too, but we should probably look at whether or not that would actually be the case. Most likely they are trying to find ways to justify China’s bullying behavior.
4. Lack of humility
These days, you are likely to meet Chinese who went abroad or overseas and then complained about the homeless or drug problems or the crappy Western infrastructure/transportation system or the food etc and then asserts how much more superior China is in all these aspects. More diverse food, prettier women, faster transportation, better infrastructure etc – even if they think its true I don’t think its humble to say those things, they should keep it to themselves, like Koreans and Japanese do (they think the same probably but they don’t openly brag about their countries being better). Chinese used to be humble but these days things have changed.
5. They like to paint themselves as the victim
They generalize all American/Western media has hating on China. They cherry pick examples online as proof and based on that it must mean that every Westerner hates on them. They think there’s a vast conspiracy against China from Western countries that want China to fail.
You’ll find some of the most upvoted, most pro-Chinese answers in the China topic are actually written by Westerners. They always cite the ‘century of humiliation’ as justification that basically China can do whatever they want (like bully other countries) because they are tired of being shamed by Westerners.
I mean, it’s not like other countries aren’t being generalized and shamed either. How many questions do I see from foreigners that criticize or mock Korea/Koreans about how they eat dogs or get too much plastic surgery? But I don’t see any Koreans on here complaining that Westerners are all biased to hate Korea. You see what I mean now that Chinese nationalism is significantly more extreme compared to other countries?