Jun 28

The Chinese debate – Part 1: The West

Written by Buxi on Saturday, June 28th, 2008 at 7:47 am
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One of our myriad goals for this blog was to make one simple point: the Chinese debate politics. The Chinese community debate eloquently and foolishly, intelligently and blindly, informed and uninformed, left and right, China and West… the Chinese are not brain-washed robots living in a closed society; we often disagree, often very passionately. To make this point, we talked about the divide between “old and little generals“; we talked about the Chinese that love America; we talked about Tianya, one of the bastions of online debate in China; and we of course had a long series about the deeply divisive issue of Six Four

Debate is important, because debate is the foundation of true knowledge and true conviction; without opening yourself up to true debate and reconsideration, any knowledge or conviction is suspect. Most in the West have never seen the Chinese debate political issues, so our conclusions are often ignored for exactly the reason. The more that we explain what the Chinese debate about, the more we will gain respect (if not agreement)… and gradually, we can erase Western bias and ignorance. And even more importantly, the better we’ll know what we want from our own country.

Thanks to one our visitors (Traveler, Youzi, 游子), this debate has been brought to our blog (see comment in previous thread).

In terms of the problem with Western media’s “bias”, different Chinese can have different feelings. For overseas Chinese, because they exist in a different cultural environment, it’s easy for them to develop some isolation while interacting with locals. Minorities will often feel more sensitive about mainstream media’s criticisms. In reality, the same reaction can be seen in China’s interior as well. Furthermore, outsiders always feel discriminated against by locals, and the most basic reason is a cultural gap. This sort of discrimination due to the cultural gap is a very common phenomenon, and can only be erased through integration. Clearly, any sort of specific discrimination that causes injury or loss, can be rectified through a lawsuit seeking economic compensation. Therefore, the discrimination due to cultural differences in the West should be resolved by law if effective rule of law exists; cultural problems can only be resolved through cultural interaction.

This is unfortunately a common misconception amongst some in China, with only a slight kernel of truth. Overseas Chinese are speaking out because they haven’t been able to integrate, because they feel victimized for their own reasons, and not because of what is actually happening in China. If we were speaking of the 19th century, or even the early 20th century, there would’ve been truth to this. In that era, Chinese living overseas existed in an isolated environment, unable to understand or integrate into mainstream society.

In the 21st century, that’s simply not accurate. The West has (sometimes grudgingly) opened up much of its society up to non-whites. In parts of the United States, east Asians (and Chinese in particular) are even a majority, not a minority. Within the University of California (where I received my bachelor’s degree), east Asians represent more than half of the student body on numerous campuses, but the vast majority of them fully integrated into the “American” way. When I walk away from this keyboard, I am as comfortable in the American cultural environment as Barack Obama or John McCain. I personally have not been a victim of regular discrimination; I’m extremely successful in my chosen career, and few doors have ever been closed to me. I am not alone.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the rally to “defend” the Olympic Torch was partly organized by a group on MITBBS, a bulletin board. When you visit this bulletin board on a normal day, other than the fact that the discussion is (primarily) in Chinese, it would be basically indistinguishable from any other American forum in Silicon Valley. The vast majority of discussions are about (Western) concerts, (Western) movies, BBQs, mortgage rates, home prices, stock investments, changing jobs, school districts, pick-up soccer… and who will make a better US president, Obama or McCain. The only time that bulletin board dramatically differed was in the week before and after the Olympic Torch rally, when out of righteous indignation, when out of true pride in the Olympics, many of us chose to step out.

Traveler, you’re wrong if you believe that the Chinese people and Chinese culture remain marginalized in the West. The forced, victimized Chinatowns of yesterday have been replaced with proud, successful Chinese who thrive in a now-diverse American society, on our terms, without having to compromise or apologize. When a community is fragile and threatened, it might lash out in fear and anger; we might have seen that in Lhasa on 3/14. But what I saw on April 12th in San Francisco, the day of the Olympic Torch rally, was not a community lashing out in fear or anger. It was a community proudly celebrating a display of unity.

We are absolutely not seeking comfort in China because we have been rejected by American society.

Other than this, politicizing cultural and legal problems, will simply suck issues into the mire. Unfortunately, this problem is already very political – and as a Chinese person, I believe the Chinese government bears great responsibility. In processing the negative reporting from the western media, the Chinese government has for a long time blocked outside news in order to create stupidity, keeping the vast majority of Chinese from coming in contact with the Western media, pretending as if things didn’t happen.

On the other hand, once things are escalated and difficult to cover up, then it selectively uses nationalism and patriotism as tools for a counter-attack, encouraging China’s ignorant masses to hate the Western media. In this rigid approach, the question of whether the Western media’s coverage is accurate or partially accurate, whether it can improve, etc, all become sacrificed for political means. Of course, the government does this because it has its own difficulties: because many of the Western media’s reporting truly do have these problems, and often points directly at the heart of the Chinese political system, and these are exactly the problems that are difficult for the government to respond to. I also firmly believe that the “biases” being spread by China’s official statement media, especially “political bias”, can not possibly lose to the Western media.

You are sitting in a deep well; when you look up, all you see is the Chinese state media, and this leads you to the conclusions you draw.

I believe the vast majority of Chinese in the United States do not read the Chinese state media regularly. Of course, Sina and Sohu are part of my regular reading (after Tianya, MaoYan, and MOP)… but even for China coverage, most Chinese regularly read US-based media. The biases that angered us in the US-based media has nothing to do with the Chinese government, or Chinese propaganda.

I do not need the Chinese government to tell me whether I should be interested in or support the Olympics; therefore, I do not need the Chinese government to tell me to be offended when the San Francisco Chronicle runs a column calling for China to “fall in on itself”.

I do not need the Chinese government to tell me to be angry, when I watch videos of being beaten in the streets of a Chinese city for the crime of being Chinese (by the way, I was extremely frustrated when Chinese censors repeatedly blocked these videos shortly after 3/14), while the Western media described Chinese “government suppression”.

I do not need the Chinese government to tell me to be offended, when I see videos of a Chinese sitting in a wheelchair attacked by angry protesters.

I think you’re exaggerating your own ignorance of the Western media. You have quite a bit of access to the Western media, which you aren’t mentioning. CNN, NY Times, CS Monitor, (and now BBC)… these are available without blocking in China. And if you used a relay-tool like many do, you have access to everything. If you’re like many other 网友, you watch CNN, BBC, and NBC regularly either via peer-to-peer TV (like TvAnts), or via clips on Tudou and Youku. And even if you don’t do any of the above, the vast majority of overseas articles about China are ultimately pasted into Chinese internet forums anyways. I can’t imagine that you aren’t aware of this.

And when you access these videos, it’s hard to imagine that you aren’t aware of these “problems”. The problem isn’t with Western criticism with China, but the degree, tone, and attitude of this criticism. I’ve said before that many Chinese become more “left” and pro-government when they go overseas and confront this face to face, as confirmed by many posters on MITBBS. I hope you have the opportunity to spend a few years outside of China some day, and see this for yourself.

But I, like you, am not especially sensitive to the issue of media bias. Media bias in the West is only the symptom of a problem; the real problem is systematic bias amongst Western society, period. This disease of ignorance is definitely fostered in part by the Chinese government’s actions; the propaganda arms of an undemocratic government that cracks down on dissent will never be believed in the West. But regardless, this disease exists, and I intend to do my part to fight it. I will not fight this disease by suing for compensation… but I will try to fight this disease of ignorance by washing away the soil that it grows on.

I will close my comments on this topic here. Youzi/Traveler moves on to another common point of debate: economics, democracy, and the Chinese government. I will continue that discussion in part 2.

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37 Responses to “The Chinese debate – Part 1: The West”

  1. my_mother Says:

    Hey Buxi,

    You said you’re a product of the UC system, right? Which one did you go to? UCI (University of Chinese Immigrants) or UCB (University of Crazy Broccolis)? If I have to guess, my leaning is toward the latter.

    Anyhow, I have to say that ignorance is pretty pervasive here in the states. It is going to be a long uphill battle for you. I’ve been having a running discussion with several of my friends about what is the root cause of it all. The only thing that we seem to agree on it’s that it probably have something to do with chess burgers. What’s you feeling about it (I don’t mean chess burgers)?

  2. Xing Says:

    Buxi, first of all, this is a very great and informative blog. I’ve been quitely following this blog for some time now, and I’m really impressed at the relative level of tolerance and mutual exchange, not to mention the enormous diversity of opinion expressed here. In other forums, I’ve seen many similarly emotional topics end up in shouting matches.

    A message for Ma Bole: great passion in the previous topic, keep it up! Incidentally, you mentioned that you studied Chinese history in the Bay Area. Did you study at Cal or Stanford? I’m actually in the same field as you are, and will actually be going to Taipei this September for my dissertation research.

    Sorry if this is unrelated to the post, but just want to express my appreciation for the blog.

  3. Buxi Says:

    Haha, I sacrificed a couple of hours last night to get this out last night, but you guys make me feel like it was worth it. I hope you stay around and contribute your thoughts.

    @my_mother, there are more than two UCs! Are you basing your guess off of what I said about the Asian majority? 🙂 Looking around, it looks like even more UCs are getting close to that 50% boundary… But since you asked, yes, I’m a Cal Bear.

    I don’t believe the existence of ignorance in the US is itself surprising, most Americans don’t spend much time understanding foreign issues in general. What is surprising or at least unique about China, is that this ignorance manifests itself in such a one-sided direction. You can look at the Global Attitudes survey… China and the United States haven’t fought in a war since 1952, and have been allies since 1973… is there any other country with a similar profile that’s viewed with such hostility?

    I’ve heard some in the West say 1989 was the fracture point. The anger and hostility that the events of 1989 generated in the West has never healed, because no one has been here to do the healing. Other than paid professional dissidents, the Chinese that are here have been doing what we always do… making money silently, without protest, without much discussion. So, we’re all partly responsible for this sad state of affairs.

  4. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – On the other hand, a great number of people in China are convinced that war with America is inevitable – see any newsstand in the country.

  5. MutantJedi Says:

    The degree of the American ignorance of foreign affairs is reflected in the fact that Obama’s foreign experience is a point of criticism by many Americans rather than a factor of strength. Not only is there a strong vein of ignorance but also a dash of xenophobia which only gets worse when the economy tanks. Talking to Americans pokes fun at this. 🙂 I remember driving with my family as a kid into the States. The further South we got the more likely we’d hear the question after they looked at our license plate: “So, which state is Alberta?”

  6. MutantJedi Says:

    @FOARP – I watched a show on PBS that had 5 Secretaries of State from past administrations. Their opinion about China was very positive with absolutely no concern of war.

    What benefit would there be for China to have a war with America? Or America with China? Aside from Taiwan, I can’t imagine any compelling battleground. Now with the collective exhale of breath after the win of the KMT, why jabber about war?

    I’ve been reading blogs of expats in China and there is no mention by them of war clouds building in China. While in Beijing, HK and Taiwan last Feb, I didn’t see the headlines in the newsstands.

    The current administration has its hands full with his fixation to bomb Iran. While there are always hawks everywhere who dream of war, I find the suggestion that either China or America are intent on war with each other to be fear mongering in aid of some other political agenda.

  7. EugeneZ Says:

    A comment about future war between US and China (althought it distracts the main topic that Buxi started) –

    It is non sense, IMO.

    Not only an all-out war between US and China is a non-sense, war, in general, does not make sense any more. We, as human species, need to put war behind us, once and for all, and I think we can and we will. There are much more compelling issues to deal with – cut the worldwide military spending to half immediately, use the $400B dollars saved to develop alternative, renewable energy, clean up environment, slow down CO2 emission, reduce poverty, improve education, and consequently slow down population growth. For that matter, electing Barak Obama (instead of John McCain) would be the good first step coming Novermber. For all the discussions about China vs. US, and despite of all the pride I have in being a Chinese person, I still think that US needs to step up and take on leadership role in saving our beloved planet – earth !

  8. my_mother Says:

    Hey Buxi,

    “@my_mother, there are more than two UCs! Are you basing your guess off of what I said about the Asian majority?”

    No, I didn’t base it on racial make up. I throw UCI in there just for kicks. I assumed that you were a Berkeley alum from various details you said in your articles.

    As a matter of fact, one of the things that started the discussion about how come people in the states are so ignorant was our frequent run ins with Berkeley folks. Well, not just Berkeley people, but with people in the immediate SF bay area. It was quite perplexing that the SF Bay Area, particular Berkeley and SF — the bastions of liberalness and tolerance, sometimes look awful lot like Nazi Germany. I guess a large number are only liberal and tolerant if people subscribe the same view they do.

    I remember the most prevalent comment that I ran across at SF-Chronicle on 4.9 is “I can’t believe they [the Chinese Consulate] actually bused CH*NKS in.” Yeah, that was one of the actual comments, verbatim. Maybe it is all because of all them pachouli oil. But wait, that can’t be. What about the non-hippies. Contact high?

    Like I said, Buxi, you have a long uphill battle ahead of you. I think the first place that you should start is Berkeley. Or if you are lazy like me, just do what I keep seeing on cardboard signs and crude homemade bumper stickers — “Nuke Berkeley!” But of course, the same people that drew up all them signs, could just as easily scratch off “Berkeley” and put “China” in its stead. Matter of fact, that was another comment that keep popping up in the SF-Chronicle on 4.9.

    I guess that kind of sentiments speak for themselves. We live in a country full of morons, and that’s why I love the states so much — even a dumb ass like me can feel smart. In this respect, I don’t feel that people in the US (I can’t speak for other countries) are any more ignorant of China as they are of anybody else. Just think about what the average Joe here knows about any country in the middle east, Africa, or any outside of the Anglo culture sphere for that matter. It is probably the case that the Olympics made that ignorance very very salient.

    But you are dead on on one thing though.

    “…Chinese that are here [, even those of us who are 4th generation,] have been doing what we always do… making money silently, without protest, without much discussion. So, we’re all partly responsible for this sad state of affairs.”

    I guess that’s why they call us the “Model Minority”. Any thought on organizing? That is, a greater influence to our voice.

  9. DJ Says:


    I must say I disagree. War almost always made sense in human history and still do today.

    In most cases, it can be reduced to a fight over ownership of or access to resources, of any and all kinds. Villages feud over water holes; tribes raid for feeding grounds; and lately, “the single greatest, best, freest country God ever gave man” somehow found itself duty bound to station troops on 115-350 billion barrels of oil reserve potentially for the next 100 years or even more.

    Of course, this view becomes problematic in the case of Helen of Troy. Could she be properly labeled a resource? Or was there some hidden agenda behind the war? 😉

  10. JD Says:

    Violence is to be abhorred. With reference to your “crime of being Chinese view”, it’s important to recall that the problems in Tibet were Chinese-on-Chinese violence. The crime of being Chinese was on all sides, and the international protests were led by exiled and emigrant Chinese.

    If see the problems in Tibet as being Tibetan vs Chinese, then you implicitly argue that Tibet is a colony and the violence as that of a colonial rebellion against a governing Han minority. If “Chinese” are victims in this view, then the Chinese are also colonial oppressors.

    Be careful which side you pick because you can’t have it both ways.

  11. my_mother Says:

    @EugeneZ & DJ,

    War does make sense sometimes, but war between China and US is not going to happen anytime in the near future. That is, unless we can disengage from each other economically. Both countries would go down in flames if any sizable conflict would to happen between the two.

  12. cat Says:

    @JD, the people who protested and rioted in Tibet and abroad did not consider themselves to be Chinese. For them, this *is* a colonial issue. It makes no difference whether Tibet is or should be a part of China – that is still their view. And whether or not they are right, there are enough people in China (including the government and the media) whose speech and actions confirm the colonialism view. The same is true of Xinjiang. Tibet and Xinjiang are not simply issues of regional rivalry and stereotypes that exist throughout China (and everywhere else). These are regions that could, under different circumstances have been independent countries and a significant number of people within those regions want that independence.

  13. Buxi Says:


    I wasn’t remotely political while at at Berkeley… what happens “around” Berkeley is mostly political entertainment for people trying to live up to the ideals of a movement that aged decades ago. We’re all victims of history more or less, them perhaps more so.

    As far as the idea of organizing… I haven’t thought that far ahead. But I will say that we’re very fortunate to be part of a huge, world-wide community of people with many shared ideals. I believe when the threat and cause is real, the Chinese community will rise up and react, as we saw this Spring. In all honesty, I’m not concerned or offended by activist groups as they exist in the United States; China is not so fragile, today, as to be really vulnerable to their activities.

    My goals are very modest, in comparison. I want nothing more than a platform where people interested in these ideals, interested in China can get information and discuss without many of the political pigeon-holes that we’re often forced into. I don’t necessarily want to change the world; I’m very optimistic about present trends, I’m very optimistic about the future of China and the Chinese community around the world. But I want to make sure that the next generations of Chinese and non-Chinese are ready to face the difficult issues that will inevitably arise.

  14. Buxi Says:


    I agree with DJ. I’d love to see an utopian peaceful world, but that will only happen when everyone can agree on fundamental rules.

    I think there is some logic to the argument that without democracy (if we define that in a very loose way as a system that views all citizens as equal), a country can’t be at peace with itself. Well, I think the same is just as true on the world level.

    Without world democracy, this world can’t be at peace with itself. Unless every nation is willing to treat citizens of every other country exactly the same (especially financially) as their own citizens… this world won’t be at peace with itself. We will need to see something like the European Union, extended to the world scale. Many liberals in China talk about “universal values”, but the truth is, so far these universal values have only been applied *within* countries… not across borders.

    When will that happen? I don’t see it on the near horizon. If the EU is hesitating about bringing “different” and “poor” countries like Turkey… when will the United States and the EU be willing to join in a world union with China, Malaysia, and Rwanda?

    I don’t think war is likely, but I think conflict of some kind is inevitable.

  15. FOARP Says:

    @Mutantjedi – Did you read any of the endless ‘defence’ themed magazines and newspapers which carry on endlessly about the possibility of a future war with America? Did you watch the programs on CCTV’s education channel about Americas staelth bombers, the comments I remember were “We do not care how it looks, knowing how to shoot it down is the important thing”. Did you speak to anyone from the PLA Nanjing garrison about who they thought was the biggest threat to China (Japan or America – take your pick, they’re both blood enemies of China)?

  16. WillF Says:

    As an American, I feel compelled to clear up some confusion about anti-China sentiment in the US.

    That there is a lot of hostility in the US towards China’s political system, but from what I can tell, for most Americans the hostility ends there. There are, of course, people who resent China’s economic development for “taking” jobs away from the US, but that resentment is not China-specific; the same resentment is felt against India, and used to be felt against Japan in the 1980s, for instance.

    As for the political system, it’s important to remember the context of American feelings here. During most of the Cold War, China was a typical example of the “enemy” to Americans: a totalitarian state run by a Communist party. The USSR was more threatening, of course, but the PRC was considered just as oppressive to its own people. After Nixon went to China, and especially after Deng came to power, there was a sense that things in China were changing, and Americans became less focused on China’s government structure than they were on the USSR’s, which hadn’t changed nearly as much. Then, Americans saw the fall of the USSR and the Eastern bloc on the one hand, and Tiananmen Square on the other hand, all within a few years of each other. Americans were convinced (incorrectly) that China really hadn’t changed that much politically; the ruling party even continued to call itself Communist. So in my opinion, most Americans’ dislike of China stems from the Cold War era. There will probably always be a bit of suspicion in the US of the Chinese government, as long as it is run by the Communist Party, simply because of the word “Communist” in the title.

    However, anti-China sentiment varies with one’s political opinion. The left in the US is particularly sympathetic to human rights abuses, and also somewhat resents China’s abandonment of the state-run economy in favor of capitalism. To them, China is the worst of both worlds: political authoritarianism combined with capitalist inequality. The right, on the other hand, applauds China’s capitalism but decries the lack of Western-style democracy there, which in the opinion of most right-wingers is a universal right. Many suspect that the Chinese will eventually turn into another USSR and cause a new Cold War. Headline-grabbing instances of Chinese spying on our nuclear secrets in the 1990s added to this fear. Still, these people are generally not in favor of war with China, but rather are afraid that the Chinese will attack us.

    I find that those Americans who have the most favorable take on China are those who actually know a lot about China. Of course, they acknowledge China’s problems, but also acknowledge its remarkable progress in recent years. These people are usually business people or foreign policy experts who deal with China a lot. They are also generally pro-capitalist, and are well-educated. And hardly any of them think war with China would make any sense, though a few may still suspect that the Chinese want to start one with us, and most still tend to favor eventual democratization.

    I guess the point of all this is to clarify the various nuances of anti-China sentiment in the US. I’m not trying to make any excuses, or say anyone is right or wrong. But I think it’s important to differentiate between the various groups.

    I’d also like to say I love this blog and I hope you keep up the good work, everyone!

  17. WillF Says:

    @FOARP – American military shows used to talk about the same stuff before the War on Terror. The military types are always gearing up for some conflict, but they represent a small portion of the population. From my experience in China, I never came across much pro-war sentiment, though a few folks expressed fear that America would attack China. The only time anyone spoke favorably of war was when it would involve Taiwan. But from what I can see neither the US nor the Chinese government wants a war over Taiwan. The US especially would hate to get so involved in such a remote political interest, which is why it is so eager to maintain the status quo.

  18. FOARP Says:

    @WillF – The problem for both the US and PRC governments is that they cannot afford to give the impression that they wouldn’t go to war over Taiwan, nor, if it came to a crisis, could either side afford to back down. It is not a case of ‘wanting’ but a case of ‘having to’. America has of course left allies it has sworn to protect hanging out to dry – South Vietnam in 1975 being a prime example. China has also allowed ‘provinces’ to secede and become independent countries – but both sides act as if these events had never happened.

    As for a lack of pro-war sentiment, go to any newstand and look at the war-themed newspapers and magazines – give them a read and have a look at how much they concentrate on how each weapon system might be used in a war between the US and China – it’s like no other enemy exists. Speak to people in the PLA, or some of the younger party members, they’re pretty sure who their enemies are.

  19. JD Says:

    Cat, the article above suggests that Tibet is a colony as it argues that Tibetans aren’t Chinese (they have apparently not committed the “crime of being Chinese”). However, the railings against Western media and bias suggest the author’s suggestion it wasn’t intentional. The viewpoints are contradictory, as is Chinese government policy. It can’t be both ways.

  20. Buxi Says:


    On the “crime of being Chinese” comment… there’s not much doubt in my mind that’s how the attackers phrased their actions. As far as whether this means Tibet is or is not a colony… this isn’t the sort of logical “contradiction” that keeps me up at night, to put it mildly.


    China has also allowed ‘provinces’ to secede and become independent countries – but both sides act as if these events had never happened.

    Not in the modern era; for those insisting China = PRC, then it’s never happened at all.

    It’s remarkable going back and reading editorials from the People’s Daily back in the 1940s (before the establishment of the PRC), and seeing all the back-bending justifications they had to put together to justify the independence referendum for Mongolia. Anyone is lying when they say that independence *can’t* happen; it’s much more accurate to say that many in China are determined to keep it from happening.

  21. JD Says:

    Buxi, it’s an important point. If Tibet’s a colony, then the “crime of being Chinese” is actually the crime of being a colonizer under the authority of an apartheid government. The issue isn’t ethnic but political, and it’s no surprise that the underclass is resentful. There’s not much doubt in my mind that this is how the situation is viewed from Tibet.

    I draw attention to your comment because it demonstrates a strong bias grounded in ethnicity which is central to the overall issue.

  22. WillF Says:

    @ FOARP – The US is the world’s largest power and has the world’s best weapons. It’s no surprise that magazines would focus on war with the US, because that’s what their market wants to read about: how China can take down the best weapons in the world. PLA members focus on the US not because they necessarily believe war with the US is inevitable but because at the moment it’s the only conceivable military threat to China. Again, the only plausible war scenario between the US and China is over Taiwan, and both countries are working overtime to make sure it doesn’t happen.

    And the US could afford to back down over Taiwan, and in my opinion, should do so. The costs to the US of outright war with China would far outweigh the benefits of preserving Taiwan’s de facto independence.

  23. FOARP Says:

    @WillF – At which point, not only would all those who had supported the pan-green camp be in grave danger, but the US government would have sold out an ally they are bound by treaty and by law to protect, and the name of America would be mud world-wide.

  24. nanheyangrouchuan Says:

    “If we were speaking of the 19th century, or even the early 20th century, there would’ve been truth to this. In that era, Chinese living overseas existed in an isolated environment, unable to understand or integrate into mainstream society.

    In the 21st century, that’s simply not accurate. The West has (sometimes grudgingly) opened up much of its society up to non-whites.”

    How ignorant you people are of American history. Not just non-white minorities but white European immigrants chose to isolate themselves. “Little Italy”, “Little Russia”, etc don’t exist just for tourism. And among immigrants they don’t like it when their American born kids date outside of “their race”.

    As for war with China, there are plenty of reasons:
    1. China’s claim over 1/3 of northern Korea, the old Kogoryo (spelling?) empire.
    2. Japan
    3. Siberia
    4. India
    5. water wars with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia over the multiple damings of the Mekong River.
    6. Kazakstan (China claims some of that territory as well)
    7. Foreign enemies distract people from the failings of the domestic government.

  25. Buxi Says:


    @WillF – At which point, not only would all those who had supported the pan-green camp be in grave danger, but the US government would have sold out an ally they are bound by treaty and by law to protect, and the name of America would be mud world-wide.

    First of all, the “pan-green camp” would be in no more grave danger than pro-democracy, FLG, and anti-communist activists in Hong Kong. I’m disappointed that you would help perpetuate this hysteria. And there is no “treaty” binding the two, only the Taiwan Relations Act. And laws are changed easily enough by an act of Congress. As far as selling out an ally… that kind of rhetoric would be more appropriate for the 1970s when the US changed recognition from the ROC to the PRC, I think.

    I agree Taiwan is a potential flash-point, but that’s increasingly less of an issue. Both Hu Jintao and Bush get credit in my book for making that happen. Hu has clearly been less allergic to international “involvement” in maintaining cross-strait status guo, and Bush has lived up to his end of the bargain.

    But the bottom line is, until there is a world democracy, the fault lines for potential conflict between China and the US will always be there. The two are just culturally too different, and geographically too close. And considering it’s only been less than a decade since the US bombed the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia and a Chinese fighter crashed while intercepting a US spy plane off of the Chinese coast… anyone would be extremely naive to claim otherwise.

    I don’t think, however, that either side anticipates any real action in the near, near future, and all of the military magazines out there are more or less just focused on the US because it is the world’s greatest military power.


    I’m not going to entertain your meaningless discussion on the meaning of what I meant by “Chinese” above; I believe the meaning is clear to myself and any other casual reader. On the other hand, there are probably 10 different threads on Tibet in which I list exactly how I feel about Tibetans, colonialism, and the Chinese. If you want to discuss the topic, take it there.

  26. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – I doubt the PRC government would be that forgiving towards the pan-greens in the wake of a successful invasion of Taiwan. As far as I am aware the punishment for attempting to ‘split the motherland’ is death. Peaceful re-unification would be a different matter.

  27. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – Interestingly enough there is debate as to whether Taiwan is included in the US-Japan defence treaty, but I suppose this treaty does not actually ‘bind’ the US as it is free to interpret it either way.

  28. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – Finally, yes, promising millions of people that you will defend them and then cutting a deal over their head is ‘selling out’ – if this was said about the refusal to defend the Saigon regime in 1975 it is with good cause.

  29. Buxi Says:


    @Buxi – I doubt the PRC government would be that forgiving towards the pan-greens in the wake of a successful invasion of Taiwan. As far as I am aware the punishment for attempting to ’split the motherland’ is death. Peaceful re-unification would be a different matter.

    You are aware that the Dalai Lama’s siblings and other members of the TGIE live in Hong Kong? For that matter, that Taiwan has always had a semi-official diplomatic presence in Hong Kong…?

    Sounds to me like you’ve caught a bit of that hysteria.

  30. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – I am also quite aware that the CCP was bound by its treaty with the UK, and by the Hong Kong basic law, to respect the human rights that existed in Hong Kong pre-1997. Don’t try to tell me that these individuals would not be made to suffer in the PRC – we have seen the record of individuals like Hu Jia (who you seem to regard as a traitor), the Tibetan monks of 1989, the student protesters of the same year, the Ghulja massacre, the Fa Lun Gong, the ‘capitalist roaders’, the ‘rightists’, the ‘landlords’ and everybody else who has been made to face PRC ‘justice’.

    I simply cannot believe that you are using the system currently in operation in Hong Kong as a demostration of PRC leniency – everybody knows that Margaret Thatcher would never have willingly signed over Hong Kong without the guarantees that were given. The other side of the check points really is another world as far as the rule of law is concerned.

  31. Buxi Says:


    Don’t try to tell me that these individuals would not be made to suffer in the PRC

    Anyone living in Hong Kong is living in the PRC. The logic here is not complicated.

    I simply cannot believe that you are using the system currently in operation in Hong Kong as a demostration of PRC leniency

    Whatever agreement would be worked out with Taiwan would be even more firmly protective of Taiwan’s rights than what the Basic Law in Hong Kong has. The positive ratings given by Hong Kong residents confirms Beijing’s willingness to not only firmly respect the letter of the Basic Law, but also the spirit.

    I thought you were better and more informed than this.

  32. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – They are living in a Special Administrative Region of the PRC, not in the PRC proper, and there is no guarantee whatsoever that any kind of SAR status would be granted in the wake of an invasion – this is what we are talking about, an invasion, not the aftermath of a peaceful agreement. Rather, the most likely result would be that which has occured in all places which have fallen to communist armies – the rounding up of political enemies and the crushing of all opposition.

  33. Buxi Says:


    I apologize, I did not realize you had said “after a successful invasion”. I thought you were making a broad statement that China would punish pan-Green politicians after any sort of unification.

    I think the odds of us having to turn to invasion are very low, and if it happened, it would only follow an overt declaration of independence by a Taiwan led by pan-Green politicians.

  34. JD Says:

    Interesting discussion. Even in the most optimistic scenario, I wonder what would happen after an invasion assuming that it doesn’t spark a broader regional conflict. Would there even be a chance to settle political scores or would there be a wave of division and instability across the mainland? War is a pretty divisive instrument and the only thing certain about predicting a simplistic outcome is that it’s probably wrong. Taiwan could lose the battle and win the war by unintentionally prompting regime change in the PRC. A negotiated resolution is really the only way.

    Buxi, I seem to have irked you by pointing out your ethnically-based nationalism above. Don’t take it so personally, it’s part of the broader debate and it’s useful that your transparently defending such a position.

  35. opersai Says:

    Talking to Americans pokes fun at this.

    Lol!~ I show a couple episode of that show. I laughed too hard. Too bad I can’t seem to find it anymore. Did it stop running?

  36. Bert Says:

    “The Chinese are NOT brain-washed robots living in a closed society”.

    This might be true but whenever an “outsider” talks about certain issues with a Chinese Mainlander they get the same robotic, emotionally charged, overly sensitive, frothing at the mouth. When people in the Chinese mainland society are ALLOWED to have thier own independent idea/s w/o the people around them beating them down for not taking the “Chinese side” of things then maybe people will stop thinking that they are robots.

    To WillF

    “I find that those Americans who have the most favorable take on China are those who actually know a lot about China.”

    I can probably introduce just as many people who know a lot about China who will have the opposite take on China.

  37. MutantJedi Says:

    @opersai, yes they stopped doing the segment. Mercer has another show but I haven’t watched much of it.

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