I’m not sure if the CCP actually encourages extreme nationalism, but it certainly isn’t doing much to prevent it.
Since the opening of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 I feel that Chinese have gotten considerably more prideful and dare I say, arrogant since then.
I can only speak from personal anecdotes. I’ve seen Chinese people and Western people living in China post the most biased answers on Quora, upvoted 1k+ times by other Chinese nationalists. This is only the segment of Chinese who are either abroad or using a VPN (since Quora is banned in China), I can only imagine what it’s like on Zhihu.
You can do a search on Quora: notice that all the answers regarding China written by Chinese that have massive amount of upvotes have something the lines of:
[shows pictures of China’s high speed rail system and skyscrapers] -> China’s the best country! we have the best technology! see, there’s no poverty here at all!
[shows pictures of Chinese food] -> China has the best food! way better than Japan/Korea! etc
One poster even went out his way to search for the ugliest pictures of Korean/Japanese school uniforms he could find, and the best pictures of Chinese uniforms he could find, to show that Chinese school uniforms were actually ‘prettier’ (he failed, they still looked worse).
And from personal experiences, it seems that Chinese almost never miss a chance to praise their technology, development, food, women, etc especially at the expense of either America, Korea, Japan or Taiwan. Whenever one of those countries have an issue, Chinese jump on it.
Korea president goes to jail? we never have that problem! Our country is perfectly stable! Taiwan and Japan economy declining? Well that’s because our country is better! USA having issues with Trump? Well we don’t elect our leaders so we don’t have that problem!
And they rationalize the CCP’s blanket decisions by thinking in the extreme. Ban on sex/violence/too much video game playing? It’s so that we don’t have a country of sex-addicted criminals! Censorship on social media? its for a more stable country just look at the chaos in the US! Everything is justified by thinking in the extreme. It’s actually not unlike how in the US, Republicans justify their expensive healthcare by assuming that anything socialist will lead the country to become like Venezuela or that any firearm restrictions will turn the whole country into a crime riddled dystopia like Chicago.
Also don’t forget: Korea and Japan stole everything from China, and they are US puppets. Chinese never miss a chance to put down other countries, even if those countries never provoked them, even if they never talked to any Korean/Japanese before and personally I’ve never met a Korean/Japanese person who insulted any Chinese person, but Chinese cannot pass up a chance to assert their superiority.
Of course Chinese also say ‘but Americans brag about themselves all the time too and are nationalistic too, so we can be like that too’. Hmm. I thought Chinese didn’t want to be like America. Oh wait.. biggest income inequality gap in Asia, likes to be bullies to their neighbors, almost no traditional Chinese clothing in favor of casual Western style clothing, everyone for themself culture, thinks that their political system and culture is the best.. China is almost exactly like America.
Now where I have a problem is that Chinese people can’t seem to take any kind of criticism of their country well, they perceive everything as an insult, and are way too sensitive to any kind of feedback. If I ever criticize anything about China/Chinese, I get labeled a ‘traitor’ to my kind and/or ‘brainwashed’ by white people. I’ve had so many Chinese collapse my answers and comments on Quora, for no other reason other than because it was ‘anti-Chinese’ (really? my parents are Chinese FYI, since when is using empirical evidence + trying to be unbiased “anti-Chinese”?)
Tong Zou’s answer to What do you dislike the most about Chinese people? I’ve already gone over this here.
So look it’s ok to have pride in your country and achievements, but I just wish Chinese would tone it down a little. Arrogance was the main reason why they had that ‘century of humiliation’ last time. If this continues, it seems like it will happen again.
It’s ok to be humble about your achievements. But I’ve never met a Korean/Japanese/Taiwanese that boasts about their country and achievements as often or as voraciously as mainland Chinese people do. And although Chinese like to say Americans are arrogant and nationalistic, you will notice a lot of Americans don’t like their country these days either. The USA is split between half of which support the current President and half of which hate his guts. On the other hand, I think something like 80–85% of Chinese people support Xi Jinping and the CCP. quite a big difference from the 35% that support Trump in the USA.
If I had to guess, I think the extreme nationalism is not solely because of CCP propaganda and education but an overcompensation for the century of humiliation and the Mao-era where China was far behind other powers. Now that China has caught up – Chinese people have been so caught up in the rapid progress of their country that they express their patriotism (i.e extreme patriotism is nationalism) in extreme ways, and are very defensive about it.
-my 2 cents from interacting with Chinese-Canadians, Chinese-Americans, mainland Chinese, Hong Kong Chinese, Taiwanese, Koreans, Japanese, Americans etc btw keep this answer saved. It might be collapsed by Quora soon as well. Quora is surprisingly pro-Chinese, which you will notice in which answers gets upvoted the most and which answers get collapsed the most.