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Jul 03

What does it mean to be Chinese?

Written by Buxi on Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 at 5:46 pm
Filed under:Letters | Tags:, , ,
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Seems like a simple enough question. Actually… while the question of what it means to be Chinese is very simple, it is all of the numerous, equally valid answers that make the issue complicated. We have to accept that there are different answers for different people.

Here is one answer, translated from a post written by an American-raised Chinese on MITBBS (原贴):

I was eating lunch with a good friend (both a colleague and a classmate) a few days ago. He’s a true Englishman, having lived in England from birth through university. Although he’s now attending school with me in the United States, he naturally does so with the identity of an Englishman. Whereas I, as an ethnic Chinese person raised in the United States, have in his eyes been categorized as an “American”. And I will often correct him by saying “I’m Chinese”. This time, when the topic popped up again, he laughed and asked: “From your point of view, what is a Chinese person?”

I believe “Chinese” has three different meanings.

1) From a superficial point of view, it would mean the legal definition. If you are a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, if you use a Chinese passport outside of China’s borders, then this person from a legal point of view is Chinese. Based on China’s constitution, if a Chinese citizen acquires foreign citizenship and a foreign passport, they automatically relinquish their Chinese citizenship. So, with this definition, you can only choose one between the identities “Chinese” and “foreigner”. So, if you acquire American citizenship, you’re no longer Chinese. But I don’t believe the definition of “Chinese” is limited to this.

2) “Chinese” can also be defined on the basis of race and blood. If we talk a little loosely, all of the descendants of Yan and Yellow Emperors, all of the heirs of the dragon are Chinese. Just like the song goes, “always an heir of the dragon“.

If we talk a little more tightly, if your bloodlines are 100% Chinese, then using this definition, you are Chinese, and this will never change. It doesn’t matter what passport you hold, it doesn’t matter what citizenship you hold, even if you grow up or are born in a different country and can’t speak Chinese, you’re still Chinese. But I believe that even this definition isn’t the most important.

3) I believe the most important definition is understanding of China’s language, history, and culture. Understanding of China’s way of life. These people, even if they don’t have Chinese citizenship, even if they don’t have Chinese blood-lines, they can also be called Chinese. For example, let’s talk about Dashan (ed: aka Mark Henry Rowswell). He’s completely fluent in all things “China”; even if he doesn’t have a drop of Chinese blood, when compared to those with Chinese blood but can’t speak Hanyu, he’s more Chinese. And from that point of view, someone can both be Chinese and a foreigner. And I believe that because I grew up in the United States and understand American culture, I am Chinese, and also American.

On some discussion boards, some people argue endlessly over whether someone who’s changed passports should still be considered Chinese. But I believe this is too rigidly claiming the first definition of Chinese to be the most important, or even the only definition of the term. Although I can’t accuse them of being wrong, but I have my opinion on this point. Some people raised in China choose to give up their citizenship after going overseas for various reasons; some of these reasons I can understand, some of these reasons I can’t approve of. But this doesn’t represent that they’ve relinquished their Chinese blood, relinquished the Chinese culture that represents a part of themselves. If some people insist they can forget or discard everything that they learned from the age of 20, and can forget the Chinese language, Chinese culture, and all of the traces left on them by their lives in China… then they either have saintly powers, or are only in self-denial. Our China doesn’t give us saints very often, so I don’t think we need to discuss these people too much further.

In many of those threads discussing the changing of passports, someone will mention patriotism. Now, what kind of definition is appropriate? If you have a Chinese passport, that’s proof you’re a Chinese patriot? Maybe, but that’s not a necessary condition. Many people say “I’m proud of being Chinese!” I often say this myself. But what layer of Chinese am I talking about? I believe the meaning of the first and second layers don’t really apply. No one can choose their blood-lines and where they were born. Anyone that believes they and their descendants are superior to others on the basis of their blood-lines or their place of birth… to be honest, that’s both superficial and pathetic. But to a certain degree, we can select our own culture. And I believe that, when I say I’m proud of being Chinese, I’m not expressing pride over my passport (after all, isn’t it just a red-covered little book?), and I’m not expressing pride over my Chinese blood. Instead, it’s because I was raised and live overseas, but have still maintained my Chinese language skills while trying hard to absorb the broad and deep expanses of Chinese culture that I’m proud… it’s because that I still monitor China’s development, and hope to one day contribute to China’s development that I’m proud.

What does everyone think?

Well, I will duplicate his question. What does everyone think? (On MITBBS, the most popular response has been admiration for his excellent writing in Chinese.)

UPDATE: And I can’t forget to include this version of “Heir to the Dragon“, by US born and raised Wang Lihong.


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264 Responses to “What does it mean to be Chinese?”

  1. Daniel Says:

    I had a discussion similar to this on other blogs/forums and we all had different but slightly the same opinions. Basically, I agree to all three reasons, the legal definition, the heritage definition as well as the “knowledge and relationship to culture” definition. The first one is quite straight-forward.

    The second one may raise a lot of critical questions, but I personally see nothing wrong with identifying your roots as part of who you are. I read quite a bit about the Chinese people, and whether it’s in China or the diaspora, the people are a very diverse group. In some cases, people with one Chinese parent or just one ancestor will claim some sense of admiration and pride (though not always in the extreme fashion as ethnic chauvinists do) in this factor.

    The third reason seems to reflect on what matters most to the Chinese mentality. Knowledge and close familiar interactions, which is basically relationships. Some ancient cultures have something similar where a foreigner will be adopted as a full member of their clan/tribe/civilization based on their knowledge or willingness to interact and be part of their community, with or without close bloodlines.

    In comparison, I myself as an American of Chinese descent as well, I use somewhat similar definitions. The legal definition of citizenship, as this is the place of my birth, my environment I grew up in makes me American. However, with the US as still one of the “youngest” nations in terms of cultural and historical weight, I see being American in more terms of ideas and values rather than ethnicity or lineage. It would be too hard considering how diverse and almost constant change the American society goes through, or admit.

    In a sense, I understand the writer’s position.
    However, I’m afraid that there are quite a number of people who will not. I’ve used similar statements regarding how someone identifies being Chinese to many people, Americans, Canadians, some Europeans even other Asians (East Asians if you want to be more precise), but it’s like hard for them to comprehend. The most common response I got was how could someone identify with a group that hasn’t step foot in it’s ancestorial soil for more than a generation?…
    In a lot of cases, I couldn’t think of a good reply and just said it’s that way. After a while, I just gave a brief but somewhat silly response to that question…We identified ourselves being Chinese, even if it’s generations ago, because it’s worth remembering.

  2. Daniel Says:

    I have to mention this because my previous comment may upset some of my friends.
    Having a strong sense of identity with your heritage is not unique among the Chinese. I said before that there were people who do not understand this, and it is true, but there are that do comprehend. It may be a North American concept, but there are people here who feel the same way as the Chinese, expressing their heritage with such strong sentiments, such as the Italians, Jewish peoples and Persian groups.

    I re-read the article by the MITBBS writer and it’s worth thinking over the last portion where the writer mentions about the free will to choose to maintain those links with being Chinese as an important factor. In a sense, the individual has to choose whether or not to maintain their relationship with being Chinese, and the same be said for everyone else, excluding the legal definition. Then, it raises the question of free-will, destiny, and other semi-philosophical/religious questions of who we are and how we came to be, and that’s lilke a whole another topic so I’ll leave it at that.

  3. Jane Says:

    Interesting topic. I don’t think the term “Chinese” has a fixed or a single meaning; it is a fluid concept that may change depending on the context. I disagree with some people that not having a Chinese passport makes one less Chinese (well, I guess yes if you are referring to the legal/political definition of Chinese, but no if you are referring to ethnic/cultural definition). Biologically, people do not become less Chinese simply because they acquire non-Chinese citizenship.

    As for meaning #2, I don’t believe in the pure Chinese blood idea. Although there is a Han Chinese ethnicity, it seems it too is a fluid and not a fixed notion. Chinese are genetically very diverse. There is the northern/southern genetic split not to mention some culturally/legally Chinese people are not ethnically Chinese at all. For example, northeasterners are Manchurians who are genetically probably closer to Mongolians and Koreans than they are to Han Chinese. They became “Hanized” and lost their Manchurian culture because their ancestors invaded China. Like many other ethnic minorities, it seems many northeasterners do not even know whether their ancestors were Han Chinese or were Manchurians and simply believe they are (or choose to identify as) Han Chinese. Also, with the recent mass migrations, we are seeing much more intermarriages among people from different provinces, I doubt anyone really knows whether they are pure blooded Han Chinese anymore.

    I tend to prefer a cultural definition of Chinese. I know an elderly Chinese lady who is ethnically Japanese. She was abandoned by her parents in Manchuria following Japan’s defeat during WWII. But she considers herself 100% Chinese and doesn’t see herself Japanese at all. So, although ethnically she is Japanese (something she can’t change), she became culturally and legally Chinese and she is no less Chinese than any other Chinese (be it legal, cultural or ethnic) anywhere in the world.

  4. JL Says:

    Thanks for this Buxi.

    At the risk of being accused of being obsessed with the ethnic minorities, I think it’s interesting and worthwhile to think about where they fit into all this.
    Clearly they are Chinese in the first sense.
    As far as the second understanding of Chinese-ness goes, a lot of paper, ink and hard-drive space has been used trying to show that they Tibetans etc. are also descendants of the Yellow Emperor. But as Jane points out, this is notion of Chinese-ness is mostly based on myth rather than genetic science. (Which isn’t to say people are wrong to believe it, only that we can’t use this sense of Chinese-ness to categorically say that someone is or isn’t Chinese.)
    In the third sense? Yes and no, I would say. Yes, if Chinese culture is understood to be more than just Han culture (although, irritatingly both Chinese and foreign descriptions of “Chinese culture” often are limited to just Han-Chinese culture). On the other hand, the culture of some of the minorities is also identified with another non-Chinese nation-state: i.e. Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Korea, Tajikistan etc. So identifying with Kazakh culture does not on its own make a person Chinese.

    It’s a question that has plagued intellectuals and politicians as they have tried to construct a modern Chinese nation state. For what it’s worth, my view is that a passport is the only objective marker of identity, everything else comes down to subjective opinion.

  5. ZT Says:

    Interesting blog Buxi. I have read your blogs for sometime but this is the first time I have written anything. I am particularly interested in this topic but hesitant to express fully what I believe.

    I live in Guizhou and for fear of offending any of the people here in this backward, uncivilized place, I refer to myself as “ban zhonguoren”. Chinese Nationalists may not accept my thinking but you have come so close to parroting my thoughts that I thought I might scribe a few lines from a little different perspective.

    I have lived in Guizhou for over 8 years by my own personal choice. While I am not ethnic Asian, I believe I have become Chinese. I have no political, economic or social interests outside of China and I love this country and it’s people (as I do my birth country). I live here to escape the pressure of too many drugs, too many guns and too much aggression. I can tolerate all the “hushuo”, as a result, including the massive and sometimes overwhelming corruption and aversion of both reality and the truth.

    If you are interested in what I have to say I would enjoy participating.

  6. Otto Kerner Says:

    It’s interesting that the MITBBS poster appears to contradict himself regarding his own identity: “Whereas I, as an ethnic Chinese person raised in the United States, have in his eyes been categorized as an ‘American’. And I will often correct him by saying ‘I’m Chinese’”. But then, later: “And I believe that because I grew up in the United States and understand American culture, I am Chinese, and also American.”

  7. DKwan Says:

    Hi Buxi.

    I believe there’s basically Chinese ethnicity and Chinese citizenship. What is to be considered Chinese ethnicity is the tricky part.

    But my view is it really shouldn’t matter. If a person views himself as Chinese, then he’s Chinese. If he doesn’t consider himself Chinese, no one should argue with that. I basically agree with JL that it’s subjective opinion.

  8. Karma Says:

    This is such a loaded question because Chineseness can be defined in so many contexts.

    In the cultural context, I like to view Chineseness as incorporating a family of different cultures and languages in China. But how big is this family?

    If one looks to history, one can try to define the extent of the Chinese family based on the historical territorial scope of Chinese Imperial Empires.

    Of course, this is problematic because China used to be territorially larger than today, and such a definition would be too broad for today’s geopolitical landscape.

    And as other have already said, inks have been spilled to define what is Chinese in the modern context.

    Here is what I think: the question of what it means to be “Chinese” is really a political question. As a political question, it is more a forward looking than a backward looking exercise.

    What Chineseness means has less to do with what China was (although that is important) and more with what China wants to become…

  9. opersai Says:

    I have to say, at the time I gave up my Chinese citizenship, I had not given it much thought, because, while, I didn’t thought having or not having that little red-covered book would made me any less of a Chinese than I had. The Chinese passport, to me, is political, and I did not rely on it to define my Chinese identity.

  10. ZT Says:

    opersai: you are indeed fortunate . If you wish to regain your Chinese passport you will be given VIP treatment, grants for education, allowances for housing and a good job provided you return to the mainland. However, renounce your citizenship in almost any other country and there is no going back.

  11. Lime Says:

    I’m with Dkwan. The fourth and most important category will be how you define yourself. I have a friend who meets all three of the first criteria; has a passport that says ‘Chinese’, is ethnically ‘han’, speaks Mandarin as her (almost) first language, and makes a mean sweet and sour pork. But she will tell you emphatically that she’s not Chinese, has never even set foot in China, and has no plans to do so. She says she’s pure Taiwanian through and through.

  12. chorasmian Says:

    I also agree that Chinese identity is a subjective opinion. The English word “Chinese” can be interpreted into zhong-guo-ren, Han-ren, Hua-ren, Tang-ren, or Zhong-hua-min-zu, all come with different meaning in Chinese language. Given the example as Lime mentioned, his/her friend may be comfortable with being citizen of Republic of China, but refuse to be a Chinese which means citizen of People’s Republic of China by her understanding.

    @ZT

    You are wrong at post #10. To regain a PRC passport is almost impossible for those who gave it up like opersai under current PRC citizenship policy.

  13. phoenox Says:

    This is really an interesting topic.
    Politically, a Chinese merely implies that this individual was born in P.R.C. and he/she is a citizen of this country, which is ruled by the communist dictatorship. Otherwise, people of Chinese racial and cultural background would be distinguished as Taiwanese, Singaporean, overseas Chinese or people from Hongkong and Macau.
    However, the reason why this topic is interesting, is weather a Chinese have a sense of belonging to P.R.C. and weather this individual is patriotic.
    Factor 1: China has the largest gap between the rich and the poor. A person can enjoy a happy life or not, mostly deponds on which social class he/she was born to. Moreover, due to the fact that China is a poor country, Chinese passport is not effective at all.
    Factor 2: The Chinese are supposed to be courteous and confucian, but the fact is that, since the communist party has destructed the traditional Chinese value system, the very majorty of people in China become so materialistic; they really lose their spiritual belief.
    Factor 3: There is almost no social welfare system in China; as a result, so many people are economically and psychologically depressed.
    So, what does it mean of being Chinese?

  14. Jane Says:

    Lime, no offense, but it seems some Taiwanese have serious identity issues. I suspect it’s more out of embarrassment to associate with the “barbarian” Mainlanders (plus 50 + years of propaganda by KMT & DDP authorities) than anything else. Funnily, some of the most vehemely “I am not Chinese” Taiwanese are at the same time most eager to pretend to be more Japanese-like (which is deemed more refined, I suppose).

    It’s fine if people want to be Taiwanese, but some Taiwanese’ denial of their heritage is to the point of absurdity. Many overseas ethnic Chinese are not Chinese nationals (Singaporeans, Chinese-Americans, etc.), but they don’t have any problem acknowledging the simple fact that they are ethnically Chinese. Even the elderly Chinese lady I met (who is ethnically Japanese and left by her parents in Manchuria at the end of WWII) and who thinks she is Chinese through and through acknowledges that she is ethnically Japanese. It’s a simple fact. What’s so difficult about it? Again, I think some Taiwanese have a (somewhat unhealthy) mental block. Hopefully with more interaction with Chinese worldwide, they will again have a more balanced outlook on their heritage.

  15. Lime Says:

    Jane,
    I’m not sure what’s so difficult about it, but it is a two way street. You can imagine that if the British government made big speeches about how Americans are all really just rogue Britons, discussing their ethnicity would become a more prickly subject for most Anglo-Americans. I suppose it may be in part because, as you implied, there are some very strong anti-mainland (which for them means anti-Chinese) feelings.

    It’s interesting to see that many Chinese Americans and Canadians (or American and Canadian Born Chinese if they prefer), like the author of the bit that Buxi translated here, seem to still want to be ‘Chinese’ and want to have a connection with China, meaning usually the PRC, where as many Taiwanians really don’t. The difference might be in the fact that a Chinese American as an immigrant or part of the first generation born in America may not feel that they are really a part of America, and, as they try develop their own identity, looks to their family’s cultural roots to find something to be a part of. In contrast, the ethnically Chinese Taiwanian (at least if they are from an old pre-ROC family) is in the same culture their family has been in for generations, is in no danger of losing touch with their linguistic background, and is surrounded and governed by culturally almost identical people. Perhaps the Taiwanian doesn’t need China nearly as much as the Chinese American does?

    I’ve noticed that Japanese thing too, although a lot of Japanese art, music, TV, literature, etc. seems to be just really well liked in Taiwan, above and beyond the political aspect some people may give it. Maybe they just relate?

  16. DKwan Says:

    Hi Jane,
    I don’t think it’s absurd for people on Taiwan to say they’re not Chinese, ethnically or otherwise. Imagine growing up under Japanese rule and learning Japanese in school, and then living under martial law by a Chinese government. And now today, the world refers to the mainland as China, and the island as Taiwan. From that point of view I think it’s very reasonable for them to say they’re not Chinese.

  17. Karma Says:

    @DKwan

    I don’t think it’s absurd for people on Taiwan to say they’re not Chinese, ethnically or otherwise.

    It’s politics. It is absurd. I grew up under the KMT and was taught to hate the commies – was even slapped a couple of times at school for speaking “Taiwanese.” But I still consider myself wholly Chinese.

    That’s doesn’t mean I want to unconditionally unify with the mainland. But I don’t think we should forget our roots.

    It’s one thing for Taiwanese to argue that it’s best for us not to become politically re-unified with the mainland – but it’s quite another (and not ok) for Taiwanese to deny their Chinese heritage – or worse, somehow deluded into believing they are Japanese! Political expediency does not justify denying your roots!

  18. BMY Says:

    @phoenox,

    “So, what does it mean of being Chinese? ”

    From all the 3 factors you listed and I agree they are close to accurate.

    Then I draw a conclusion/answer from your comments:
    Chinese are people with no effective passport, no spiritual belief, economically and psychologically depressed . Dam ,I am part of these people.

    wow, I can see we have someone here with a effective passport, has great spiritual belief, is economically and psychologically advanced.

    am I the only one who smells a superior race belief?

  19. MutantJedi Says:

    Years ago, I attended a Chinese church. Pre-1997 so a lot of students and immigrants from Hong Kong. There were also a lot Canadian born Chinese (CBC) or Canadian grown Chinese (CGC). My closest friends were from the Hong Kong student group. While, I didn’t have any barriers to the English side, many of my HK friends felt a barrier. And definitely the English side found itself outside the Chinese side.

    A few times I found myself in a situation where I was accepted as a “Chinese” but a CBC next to me wasn’t. I think the difference in acceptance was a combination of effort and expectation. The Chinese didn’t expect much from me so my bad Cantonese was a recognized and appreciated effort. But, from the CBC, the expectation was high so the expected effort was also high. “You are Chinese so why don’t you speak Chinese.”

    I watched a few CBCs struggle with issues of identity. Most were fine being Chinese Canadians and took the language barrier in stride. Of course the kids strongly identified with being Chinese when the red pockets were about.

    I think, if you were born outside of China, that it may be easier to be accepted as “Chinese” if you don’t look “Chinese”. Obviously this is very generalized as so much depends on the individuals.

    As for me – I’m just me.

  20. MutantJedi Says:

    I was in Taiwan in 1986. One of my friends told me that there were three prices. A price for Taiwanese, 3x for Americans but 5x for Japanese (punctuated by a rude face). Japanese is what the old people spoke who lived through the occupation. No love for the Japanese. 20 years later, it is completely different. Learning Japanese is very popular. Japanese have invested a lot in Taiwan. And I watch a TV show where a popular Japanese star surprised the crowd by speaking Mandarin – wow – so different than before.

    I do think that a lot of people in the ROC see themselves as Taiwanese, even before “Chinese”. But I also think that a lot of people in the ROC recognize that they are not exactly an island unto themselves. Like it or not, they are connected to the Mainland. Continued prosperity means working something out with the Mainland. If attitudes towards Japanese can change so much… :)

  21. phoenox Says:

    BMY:
    I feel sorry that you seem to be offended. Anyway, please analyze my comment rather than judge me as a racist.

  22. Jane Says:

    Lime,

    I beg to differ. Ethnicity (like gender) is usually what it is, a fact. Nationality on the other hand, can be changed. I agree though, in some instances, ethnicity may be a little uncertain, such as the Japanese Ainu people or many Caucasian Americans who are a melting pot of European ethnicities. But in Taiwan’s case, it’s pretty clear cut. The majority of today’s Taiwanese are not indigenous Taiwanese, they are recent immigrants from Fujian province and the Fujianese are Han Chinese. (In fact, ethnically, they are much more “Chinese” than many Mainland Chinese such as the Manchurians, Tibetans, Mongolians, Uighurs, Nashis or other Mainland minorities.)

    Chinese Americans do not consider themselves “Chinese” because they have a need to look back to the PRC to find their identity. Again, it’s simply a fact to be filled out on census forms, college applications, etc. It’s nothing complicated that would require cultural psycho analysis.

    What I find bothersome about Taiwanese nationalism is its condescending and provincial attitude, as if any association with the poor “Chinese” would taint their Taiwanese-ness and drag them down the Asian ethnic “heirarchy”, hence the eagerness to associate with the Japanese.

  23. BMY Says:

    @DKwan,
    your #16,

    I think these days many Taiwanese refuse be called Chinese is not that much to do with Japanese rule which finished in 1945. It’s more to do with “去中国化“ movement has been practiced in the past 2 decades since Li Denghui then DDP. Also internationally, people refer China as the mainland and Chinese are mainlanders. Many Taiwanese don’t want themselves to be mixed up with “backwards” mainlanders with the same name of “Chinese”.

    It’s individual’s will and freedom to be called whatever they like. no big deal.

  24. lee Says:

    to be a real Chinese, one not only need speak and write in Chinese, but have to understand the Chinese history, traditional value, culture…and think/act accordingly.
    too bad, there are not many real “Chinese” around.

  25. JL Says:

    Jane:

    Taiwanese nationalists have conscending attitude, you say?

    I disagree that ethnicity is simple fact. We treat it as fact, but the reality is quite different. I was born in England, but grew up in a different country. I don’t think I’m English and neither does anybody I know. So I don’t see why you think it’s “unhealthy” for Taiwanese people not to consider themselves Chinese.

  26. BMY Says:

    @phoenox ,

    not a worry.

    what I am trying to say is to define a ethnic/race/nationality by wealth,effectiveness of passport,religion etc might not be very wise as a person well educated in the democratic west.

    there would be only progress for people to be able to live side by side happily together(don’t you want that) when there are no(or very little) prejudice against each other and respect each other.

    I know you might say the government you hate dose not respect the government you love. again, two wrongs dose not make a right we always say

    just my 2 cents

  27. Daniel Says:

    I have read and heard quite a lot from people regarding the materialistic worship among the Chinese on the Mainland. I don’t know what to believe because for one thing, I’ve never been there, yet from a lot of Mainland Chinese who have immigrated to my country (the US, but I’m a little aquainted with the ones in Canada and France) that I met in person, I don’t really see them as spiritually empty or that shallow.

    I mean, I’ve met and quite aware of the really “high maintainence” people that obviously exist in every society, (as well as some very sad stories that go along with that) but I can’t judge the people as a whole when face with so many examples and exceptions. Religious pursuits are quite personal and according to many, life is a journey. So who is to say whether one is not fulfilled in their life’s mission or not. Almost like reading a book, maybe what you are seeing is chapter 3 in a person’s life, how do you know what has happened in chapters 1 and 2 or what will happen in chapters 4 and 5?

    A lot of people mentioned the ethnic diversity among the Chinese (including or not the official status of minorities in the PRC) but there’s quite a lot of cultural diversity as well. So many different foods, customs, family traditions, etc. One example I witness was this church I attended before where a fairly educated Mainland couple (from Hebei possibly) did not realized one of their members was also Chinese despite being there and openly interacting with everyone else for years (she is a Tusan…Peruvian-Chinese). It’s confusing looking at it from the outside of how to define the “Chinese identity” but how does one understand if the people themselves have different notions of their own?
    The couple didn’t have much trouble seeing other church members as Chinese despite not stepping foot on Mainland soil for generations.

  28. Buxi Says:

    Glad to see this article attracted interest. Welcome especially to new visitors. A few people with unique backgrounds…

    - Phoenox is Tibetan (are you in the PRC with Chinese citizenship?),
    - and ZT the non-Asian Chinese from Guizhou (I’m sure we’d all like to hear more about your experiences).

    That’s not to suggest the ABCs are boring… everyone brings a different take on things.

    There was a bit of confusion at the top. Just to clarify, this article is not written by me. Some of its opinions are identical to mine, and some are not. I’m still trying to make up my mind on some of these issues. I tend to agree with those who argue being Chinese should be a subjective, personal choice.

    On the one hand, I know many Chinese holding Chinese passports who’re hoping to emigrate and discard their citizenship as soon as possible. I’ve also seen many Chinese trying to isolate their children out of the “Chinese community”, making sure they’re raised in a purely English environment… it’s hard for me to call these people Chinese, regardless of their ethnic roots (or even legal status).

    On the other hand, I know many Chinese overseas who work very hard to make sure their children understand they are Chinese and will always be Chinese. I know 4th, 5th, even greater generation Chinese throughout southeast Asia and North America who still have Chinese names, who still work on learning Chinese language and culture. It’s hard for me to call these people anything but Chinese, regardless of their citizenship.

    For those of us who are raised in a Chinese household… it’s hard to entirely discard the cultural DNA that has left its imprint on all of us. Most of us are raised from our first breath to miss home, to think of home, to think of family, to think of our heritage. If you have a Chinese grandparent that you’re close to (and most Chinese have just such a grandparent), then it’s really unlikely you haven’t been imprinted in some way with this cultural tradition. And even if you don’t have someone in your household passing on this to you… No matter whether we’re reading Tang dynasty poetry or watching a New Yorker with Taiwanese parents rapping in English (see: Wang Lihong), we’re almost always reminded of that linkage to home and to our heritage.

    With that in mind, it’s hard for me to be completely emotion-free when I see someone walk away and discard that cultural tradition. It’s hard for me to be completely emotion-free when I meet someone who has no idea that cultural tradition even exists. Even though some of my closest friends fall into these categories, I have to admit that in my heart of hearts, I do judge them.

    On the issue of Taiwan… because of the politics and history of what the island has gone through, this has been perverted. In reality, the same cultural DNA towards respecting our heritage is just as strong, if not stronger, in Taiwan. I don’t know if the story was ever proven true or false, but it’s been said that Chen Shui-bian carries with him a slip of paper reminding him of his family’s ancestral village in Fujian province.

    For some in Taiwan, they’ve tried to redefine their “links” in order to tie themselves to the island of Taiwan itself… and they’ve redirected the passion that Chinese around the world have felt for “China” into passion for “Taiwan”. I’m not going to say that’s absurd… in fact, I think it’s encouraging that they care, it tells me the cultural DNA is still going strong. Taiwanese politicians now have to publically pledge they were raised “drinking Taiwan’s water and breathing Taiwan’s air”, because that actually matters amongst the Taiwanese electorate. I don’t know how many American or European politicians find it necessary to do the same… I know not many Californians care that Arnold Schwarzeneger was raised on Austrian water and Austrian air.

    In the long term, I’m optimistic. Chinese civilization is too long, Chinese culture is too deep to be dampened by a political dispute. I don’t think “desinification” will actually take root in Taiwan. When China flourishes (as I believe that she will), the children and grandchildren of today’s Taiwanese independence activists may very well rediscover that link. And of course, there are MANY Taiwanese families today who are doing everything they can to make sure “desinification” never happens in Taiwan.

    Just to wrap up this comment for now… I want to propose a question that I don’t really know the answer to. What can we learn from the experience of the Chinese diaspora in southeast Asia? We’ve had several posters on this blog (maybe not on this thread) who are ethnic Chinese of the nth generation, and proudly proclaim themselves as such. Will the Chinese diaspora in the West hold on with the same pride and determination…? The Jewish community has done precisely that in the West for thousands of years; will the Chinese do the same?

  29. cephaloless Says:

    Regarding introducing oneself as taiwanese rather than chinese, something to consider is how its perceived. I’m not talking about how rich/poor/advanced/backward your native country is considered by the people you’re talking to. More like a canadian or mexican or brazilian, etc could introduce themselves as americans but then the first thing most people would think of is probably that they’re from the united states. I think it’s the same with “chinese”. The first question after saying “I’m chinese” is most likely “how do you like living in china?”

  30. Buxi Says:

    @phoenox,

    Part of the reason for this blog is to help everyone understand the real situation in China (instead of relying on anti-China or pro-China propaganda). So, yes, the problems you bring up are real, and we should discuss them.

    But I don’t agree that being a “proud Chinese” is the same thing as being patriotic to the PRC, or being proud of the PRC’s current situation. There have been proud Chinese for hundreds of years, even when China was in worse shape than it is today; Sun Zhongshan was an American citizen when he risked his live to overthrow the Qing empire. In my own opinion, all of the problems in the PRC today is more reason for Chinese around the world to care about China… not less.

  31. CalNYC Says:

    You are Chinese if any of the following situation occurs:

    1. You carry a passport that says China somewhere.
    2. Your ancestors came from China (you might NOT think you are Chinese, but other people will).
    3. You live in China because you truly love the county and its people and are proud to be considered as a Chinese person with all its values, obligations, and practices.

  32. BMY Says:

    @JL
    re: your #25

    to compare your case , I think there is a culture different between English culture and some other cultures.

    It’s hardly to see a second generation British in New Zealand or Australia still be called or want to be called British rather than Kiwi or Aussie. But a second(even a fourth ) generation Chinese, Italian,Lebanese more than often are still be called or still want to be called Chinese, Italian or Lebanese, at same time they might be also called a Kiwi or Aussie.

    for the Taiwanese case, there are many people don’t think Taiwan is a different country(another endless argument) then which is not similar to your case.

    I don’t think it’s “unhealthy” for some Taiwanese people not to consider themselves Chinese. But I think they overdo it sometimes like Buxi points out.

    Personally I think, people have the rights to be called whoever they want to be called.

  33. Daniel Says:

    @Buxi,

    Regarding the question you posted on your comment about the Diaspora…well, in S.E.A. it’s complex and differs from place to place. Because the waves of immigration were different than the West (or elsewhere) a lot of the desire to followed closely with their Chinese heritage correlates with how close they are with their family. These are just generalizations but for example in Thailand, due to high rates or intermarriage, many citizens have and are aware of their Chinese roots and there is a growing number wanting to learn more for various reasons….in Malaysia, the community is strong and despite discrimination they are a basic part of the country’s identity, admittenly or not. In the Phillipines, the Chinese part is just one out of many influences and heritages that flourishes there. In Singapore, the majority and from what I’ve seen, it’s just who they are and how they wish to identify…Vietnam (my family’s situation) the Chinese there were technically a nation within a nation.

    Although it really depends on the individual, two big factors of what kept the people there to strongly remember their roots was how they were raised by their families and how much knowledge they were able to access (since the Southeast Asian diaspora were still in close proximity to China and other strong Chinese communities, knowledge could still be obtain in an almost stable manner).

    With the world being more “globalized” everyone is connecting, knowledge being accessible and with East Asia being a strong area of focus, I have a strong feeling that throughout the Non-Asian Continent Chinese Diaspora will be just as aware of their roots yet diverse in how to relate it to their personal lives. For example, I know of 4th generation elderly ethnic Chinese in the States who are quite indistinguishable from other Americans who live in that time. Like other than their physical features, the way they talk, behave and think is practically the same as most Americans who lived in their region and time period. Very little or no knowledge of the traditions and language. However, their descendents are re-learning their culture and language (at least the most common ones like Mandarin) for several obvious reasons.

    So who knows, we will see how the future will turn out. Anything is possible.

  34. Daniel Says:

    I should add in a somewhat controversial factor in what helps people strongly remember their ancestory. One major yet uncomfortable reason why many in Southeast Asia Diaspora and elsewhere are like that was prejudice. It works both ways.

    Being discriminated against and persecuted could in many ways help people become more determine in their ways. Like the situation in Indonesia where many ethnic Chinese were forced to change their names in the past still kept going. A lot of families just wanted to live and for their children to survive so many basically just let go of this heritage, but many would not forget and are re-learning. They are still proud members of their native countries but willing to see being Chinese as an unforgettable part of their lives. Again, this might have to do with how they were raised and taught by their families and how much knowledge could be access.

    The other prejudice that makes people uncomfortable is that there is a somewhat chauvinist mentality that makes people stand out or seperate themselves from others. It really isn’t that bad because every group of people does this where they think they are the center of the world. It’s the actions that affects others that needs to be study. In comparison with other Diaspora groups, the overseas Chinese are quite sophisticated. In some areas they will be exclusive, keep to themelves, in other areas, inclusive like willing to learn, live and uplift where ever they go. Either way, these are also ways to help remember why they are different and it’s up to themselves to decide what to do about it.

    Hope this helps.

  35. Andy Says:

    I’d like to add something about the three original criteria. The first, your passport, is arbitrary. I agree with the comment that if you grow up in China then change passports in your 30′s or whenever, there’s no affective change to ‘you’. Just a book you carry around. A few years down the line your ‘self’ will have continued to change and grow but the fact of changing nationality has little meaning at the time.

    What I wanted to get into – and what has been brought up already is the complex nature of the second and third categories. Most so-called continuous cultures, or races, are just created in retrospect by academics who draw lines through history.

    In the UK, where I’m from, there’s a basic idea of being ‘English’ and some people identify themselves with ‘anglo-saxon’. But to say that your ‘blood’ or ‘race’ is unchanged from before 1066 is impossible. There’s no such thing and it can’t be proved. Also, the culture and beliefs of people thought of as Anglo-saxon have radically changed down the ages.

    It’s still a widely accepted idea that modern ‘anglo-american’ culture is part of a western civilisation going back to ancient greece. It’s also wishful thinking by nationalists. Ancient Greece was distinctly non caucasian and influenced by Egypt and Persia. Most of the region was made up of small military-facist states too. This particular connection was drawn up by victorian era academics to lend weight to their superiority.

    To say that there’s a single Chinese race going back to a Yellow Emporer (suggesting pre-shang dynasty) is pure myth making.

    Wether it is in China or in Europe or wherever, a small amount of research will reveal the realities of such wild assumptions. But the thing to remember is that when people talk about ‘Britishness’ or ‘Chineseness’ it’s almost meaningless.

    Which leads me to wonder what the current debates actually do ‘mean’.

    When I hear someone take personal offence at criticism of their country (by political membership or passport) I just assume they’re bigoted or whatever. I feel no pride for the past achievements of ‘my country’, I wasn’t around and it’s nothing to do with me.

    I’m caucasian and was born in the UK – what do I think Britishness means? I think it means this: A set of values or ideas designed to make people loyal to power.

  36. ZT Says:

    @chorasmian post #12

    Sorry but I have to disagree to your comment about my post #10. In Jan 2007 the Chinese gov’t developed a sort of “amnesty” and it was widely published in Feb and March of 2007 in China Daily and Xinhua. An English teacher I know who received her MBA in the USA and decided to stay, renounced her Chinese citizenship and was later laid off from a good teaching job at a n USA college.She traveled the world on a USA passport but, after she lost her job, she wanted to return home and she was allowed to return under that program. She applied for and received a Chinese Huzao after she turned in her US passport. The process took more than a year but she got it done. She is now the head of the English dept at the mingzhu daxue here. I don’t know if the program is periodic or perpetual but it makes sense to repatriate people with foreign training. Frankly, I would like everyone to come back. I am starved for intelligent conversation.

  37. ZT Says:

    @buxi

    The diaspora are alive and well in France, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia’s 14,000 Islands and Africa. I travel to all those places frequently and even though they speak a multitude of other languages, they are definitely Chinese. I have jokingly tried to convince them they were not and they got very upset. Most of my Chinese friends subscribe throughout the world to “Once Chinese always Chinese.” It’s really pretty cool.

  38. vadaga Says:

    I think that also there is something of a problem with the vagueness of terms in English. My reasoning is like this:

    In Chinese, there are very specific and commonly-used terms for things like:

    ‘Ethnically Chinese’
    ‘Ethnically pan-Chinese’
    ‘Ethnic Han’
    ‘overseas Chinese’
    ‘overseas Chinese not born in the PRC’
    and so on.

    In Chinese, because we are familiar with the terms, there is a lot more subtle deliniation. On the other hand, if you use such terms in English to someone who is not familiar with the overall Chinese diaspora, then you are likely to get a blank stare unless you start explaining exactly what you mean.

    The lazy man’s approach to this is just to cover all of the subtleties under the basket term ‘Chinese’, which is quite possibly a reason that people start getting all of these unclarities about what exactly it means ‘to be Chinese.’

  39. ZT Says:

    @phoenox re: your #13 posting.

    I beg to differ with you that the current ruling government is a dictatorship. In the time of Mao that was true but today and most closely allied with Socialism but you are not alone. People I live with here still think that the latest “dictator” is Hu Jintao. Distant from reality but you cannot prevent peoples thoughts. You might be able to get a job with CNN with your belief but you might end up with the same fate as they.

    Since Qin Shi Huang it has been the endeavor of every emperor, president, premiere, leader (whatever title) of China to “unite the tribes”. It is called simply; “Nationalism”. The unfortunate conclusion is that we are still, after thousands of years, “a nation divided”. We have 56 minorities and geographically separated “possessions” who are still out there, basically on their own. The good news is that the plan for unification hasn’t changed since Qin Shi Huang and although the country has gone through a few “re-starts” we still follow the same ideology.

    Sun Zhongshan (Sun Yatsen) said there are three steps to democracy. The first is dictatorship, the second is military rule and the third is Democracy. He said the problem has always been that a race of people must be ready for democracy and fron Sun to Zhang Jieshi to Mao Zedung we have traveled he road of the first step. From 1965 to now we have been in the “military” phase protected and, at the same time, controlled by one of the most effective police departments the world will ever see and after Jiang Jemin we now enter the third stage.

    My point in this entry is that those intelligent Chinese who work hard enough to really comprehend Chinese history must realize that the basic plan for Nationalization has never changed. We are right on target. However, a non-united people can never become an effective democracy. “United we stand…divided, we fall”

    The Olympics were expected to unite the tribes once and for all as we all enter the third stage of Mr. Sun’s three step plan. You cannot argue about the effectiveness of the Torch Relays and the excitement we all feel about the Olympics. However, have you reflected on the fact that the Wenchuan earthquake has just “upstaged ” the Olympics and probably done more to unify China than any other event in 2500 years?

    We are ready for the third stage madam (or sir) phoenox. Grouse if you will, but the people in this blog seem to be both proud and confident to be a part of China. We have every reason to be optimistic. Don’t be left behind.

  40. phoenox Says:

    As China has the oldest and continuous civilizations, China’s cultural sphere has been very influential in East Asia, including Chinese religion, governance,writing system and customs. Not only that, the Chinese have been proven to be one of the intellegent and diligent peoples in the world.
    Frankly speaking, the current situation in P.R.C. has negatively impacted the Chinese people. Since 1 out of 5 peoples in the world are Chinese live in P.R.C.,our world really needs a healthy, developed and democratic China. I mean that China deserve it.
    I am a China born Tibetan Canadian(flatfish), so I am also one of your compatriots.

  41. phoenox Says:

    ZT, I am afraid that I can not buy your comment(#39). It seems to me that you are a Pollyanna, rather than being optimistic.What I believe is that only the objective attitude is proper, especially if you really want to address the problems. Therefore, I don’t agree with your definition on the current situation in P.R.C., as well as “the 3 stage theory”.

  42. chorasmian Says:

    @ZT

    Thanks for your response at post #36, which give me some update informations. What I know about this issue is based on the policy started from 2004.

  43. andyjh Says:

    Ethnicity, contrary to Lime’s assertion, undoubtedly changes in time and space. People move around, state borders change and ideologies shift to create vastly different identities, at least in emphasis if not in content. History is replete with examples. Sorry to refer to the UK for a minute but there are some general points that come out of it. Now we have more ethnic flavours than the average Ben and Jerry’s store, including many hyphenated categories. The point is that identities are incredibly dynamic. One can be Scottish and British, can be Asian and Indian, can be Scottish-Asian and Scottish-Indian, can be and British-Asian and British-Indian… all at the same time! That covers the culture and the descent, what I would say are the two key factors in ‘ethnicity’, but there is also a racial component (here I mean phenotype) which can be of saliency to certain people at certain times. The problem with nationality – simply, ‘British’ – is that it doesn’t really capture these intricacies.

    It’s also worth noting that different ethnicities may be combined into what are generally called nation-states with or against their will. Assuming the Tibetans are a national minority (by which I mean a distinct ethno-cultural entity associated with a specific territory), they are not as Daniel suggested a “nation within a nation”, but more accurately a “nation without a state” (Guiberneau, 1996). The Scots, the Bretons, the Catalans, and indigenous peoples all around the world suffer the same fate. This is why I would suggest that to have a passport of a particular state does (or should) not necessarily classify you as from that nation. Lets face it, some Tibetans, Uighurs, Manchus, Zhuang, Scots, Welsh, AmerIndians, Aboriginies etc cannot get a passport that does do justice to their national identity.

    That is not to say that the passport is necessarily aribitrary, as Andy suggests. For the majority for whom a state-issued passport does accurately represent their ethno-national identity, the recognition offers an ability to form dialogue with others anywhere in the world on an equal footing. It can be a source of both belonging and pride. For all the talk of globalisation reducing difference, a glimpse at any major sporting event would suggest that state-orientated nationalism is alive and well.

    With reference to China, I think we’ve had a pretty solid discussion on the combination of ethnic, national and racial minorities when we talked about the 民考汉. I would say that the PRC’s categorisation system is archaic and static, and fails to accurately reflect the ‘actually-exsting’ cultural identities of its citizens. When scaled up to the idea of the nation, diversity within China’s state borders is ignored, meaning that ‘Chinese’ becomes synonymous with Han culture and history in popular discourse. Chinese nationalism as we now know it is surely at least in part a response to European imperialism, to Manchurian control during the Qing and to Japanese aggression. If we look at the recent outpourings of nationalist fervour, they have been directed at CNN and Carrefour due perceived/real bias in the Western media and funding subversives, and against Japanese businesses due to Koizumi’s visits to the war shrine. The state has generally encouraged this, but neither really requires any cultural homogeneity amongst the masses, rather it is a political sense of injustice that galvanizes the nation.

    With respect to the Chinese diaspora, I had a good friend in Beijing whose grandparents were Chinese but who was born in Indonesia and schooled in Singapore. He used to say that when he was in Indonesia he was considered Chinese or Singaporean, when in Singapore he was considered Chinese or Indo, and that when in China he was considered Singaporean or Indo. Thus, it’s not necessarily as CalNYC suggested that you will be thought of by others as Chinese. For my friend, racially Han but psychologically perhaps not particularly so, the only way he could ‘fit in’ was to learn Chinese to fluency. It was both about satisfying a personal mission and gaining that all important external approval. The Indonesian passport stood for little.

    (Sorry that’s turned out so long. Buxi and commentators – great work, keep it up!)

  44. BMY Says:

    @phoenox,

    I am very glad to see you here. I read through all your comments on DavidPeng’s blog and you are very thoughtful and knowledgeable about everything of Tibet culture.

    I am a long time reader in this blog but I haven’t seen a Tibetan expert like yourself ,who also has deep knowledge of Han culture and firsthand experience of living in Tibet and inland China,joined discussion before.

    I deeply beleive many others would also like to see you stay and share your thoughts when you have time.

    Please forgive me if I misinterpreted your first comment.

  45. NZer Says:

    I never remember meeting Taiwanese who thought they were Japanese, and I did live there for four years.

    I found most are happy being simultaneously Taiwanese (nationality) and Chinese (ethnicity). Nothing odd about that. That’s what the majority are.

  46. Southerner Says:

    Is “Chinese” an ethnicity, or should it be used in the same context as “European”,
    because China is as big and diverse as Europe?

    Chinese “dialects” are possibly the remnants of former languages that decayed over centuries of imperial rule. The first emperor, after unifying the different tribes and kingdoms, burnt the books of the former languages and imposed a common written language that was adopted by subsequent dynasties.

  47. Hemulen Says:

    I am happy to see that this discussion has been able to progress without to much reference to the “sons of the dragon” and other blood-line theories. I think that at the end of the day, the idea of Chineseness is more a racial idea than anything else, and no matter how well you speak Chinese and how Chinese you behave, you will be treated as non-Chinese if you don’t look like a Chinese. If you want to break the mold and make people accept you as a Chinese, you basically have to reinvent the wheel with every person you meet, going through the formulaic question-and-answer sessions people of foreign descent have to grapple with. It’s OK if you are 23 years old and full of energy, quite another if you are approaching 40. I speak from personal experience. Having said that, I appreciate the attempts made here to expand the concept of Chineseness to something larger.

    I just have one question, which is prompted by Buxi’s reference to Taiwan and its links to Chinese. If Chineseness is something larger than the current government of China, shouldn’t it be possible to accept the idea of a two state solution and a demilitarization of the Taiwan straits? Just look at the rest of the world. Today, we have four major countries and two statelets in Europe that use German as the official language and the German-speaking peoples of Europe have long given up the idea of having one state for all Germans. Nevertheless, the can all travel freely between each other’s countries and with the exception for Switzerland, they all use the same currency anyway. When those of us who are not Chinese read Xinhua editorials that talk about how blood is thicker than water and that all Chinese demands reunification, we cannot help to think of those who clamored for the Anschluss of Austria to Germany no matter what. Yes, Nazi Germany is not identical to Communist China, but the rhetoric is disturbingly similar. And rhetoric can get a life of its own and push governments into war.

    Most Taiwanese have origins in mainland China and they speak Chinese dialects, but that fact does not in itself mean that Taiwan must become a province of China again. It is time to think of a solution of cross straits relations that allows for different expressions of Chinesess and can guarantee peace in the region.

  48. DKwan Says:

    Hi Hemulen,

    In regards to your first paragraph, on the other hand, if you look like a Chinese and had any Chinese ancestry, you will be treated not necessarily as Chinese, but someone who SHOULD be Chinese, even if you’ve never set foot in China or used chopsticks. Same goes for anyone who doesn’t want to be considered Chinese but lives within PRC China’s borders.

    And regarding Taiwan, I feel that the rhetoric is encouraging people to ignore reality and see idealism as reality instead. Just because the phrase “One China” gets repeated over and over doesn’t make it true, but it’s what the PRC wants. And many people in China are so religious (I feel it goes beyond nationalism) about the “Zhonghua Minzu” concept that they’ll forgo reality and believe any PRC dogma.

    Honestly I’m not for or against reunification – either way is fine by me – but the stupidity of it all makes me not want to be called Chinese. But in the eyes of many, I don’t have a choice, and in the end that is what I really hate most about being Chinese – this idea that if you’re even a teensy bit Chinese, you are a “Hua ren” and ought to be loyal to the “motherland”. I understand that not all Chinese on the mainland are this way, but I’ve come across so many who are.

  49. Hemulen Says:

    @DKWan

    I know exactly what you are talking about, from my own pespective. I don’t how many times I have been on the streets of Beijing or elsewhere in China with people who look Asian (ABCs, Japanese, whatever) and people have assumed that they speak Chinese and not me. Even when I initiate the conversation (to order a dish in a restaurant), they would look at the “Asian faces” when responding, even if my Chinese was better than theirs.

    I don’t think this behavior is only about ignorance or even Chinese culture, but is an acquired behavior that is promoted by the government almost like religion, just like you said. The few times I have been to Taiwan and HK, I have seen xenophobia and nationalism, but never this kind of overbearing assertiveness of Chineseness. And I don’t think that many mainland Chinese really understand how much hostility against China this form of nationalism generates. I don’t know how many people Chinese descent I have met who leave China with disgust. And many foreigners who have learned Chinese to perfection regret their effort when they realize how much BS they have learned to understand. All too often, ignorance is bliss in China.

  50. zuiweng Says:

    Another interesting thread (despite a slightly hackneyed subject).

    Hemulen’s comment is very much up my road, so I’ll just add some fragments on related matters:

    - rather loose use of the terms “nation” in several comments: Somewhere in Joseph Levenson’s work there is a remark to the effect that Modern China’s history can be understood as a transformation of 天下into 国家. The latter is a standard translation for “nation”, the former isn’t and it doesn’t really make much sense to speak of a Chinese nation (or nationalism) during the pre-modern period (neither is there for example a Roman nationalism or an Italian or German nation – as a fact, not as an idea – until the 18th-19th centuries).

    - some of the talk on “blood-lines” in connection with political issues sounds pretty horrible to European ears (if I’m allowed to wildly generalize for once…), even if it isn’t necessarily “racist”. Anybody interested in an up-to-date take on genetic differences and their evolution in the human species (and their connections to linguistic change), could do worse than checking out the writings of population geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza. A lot of preconceptions about “race” will immediately vanish…

    - Da Shan: Chinese?! Please, haven’t the Chinese people suffered enough indignities already?

  51. Bob Says:

    Not sure I’d agree on Buxi’s 3rd “definition.”

    Da Shan is considered Chinese not just because of his flawless command of Chinese language, but because of his genuine (it seems to me) love of China/Chinese.

    One can be the best 中国通 who knows everything Chinese better than any individual Chinese in the world. But being an expert on China doesn’t necessarily qualify one as a Chinese, if his/her inner most carries fundamental prejudice, resentment and hatred of Chinese.

  52. Marc Says:

    The question posted here (i.e., what is Chinese?) is very relevant today if you are of Chinese descent. I was born and raised in China and came to the U.S. at the ripe age of 23. I went to the graduate school in America, graduated, got a job and settled down here in the U.S. I married a fellow Chinese (not born in China), have kids and am raising them here in America. I totally understand that in some people’s eyes, I am always a Chinese. Oftentimes my kids are Chinese and not Americans, even though they are everything American except for their bloodline. When the Olympic torch relay went through our city, many overseas Chinese (mainly Mainland Chinese) were so excited and sent e-mails to get us all to show our support. I emphatically declined my support because I understood the real reason behind their support. In that instance, I regarded myself as 100% American as in “You are a great American” as one radio talk show host here would say. My point is this: Being Chinese for a political reason is dumb. We are all individuals. Don’t let some government, being it a democratic one or dictatorship, use you to advance their political agenda. Now if some Chinese cultural or language group would need my help to represent them, I would be more than happy to use my Chinese appearance to serve their purpose as long as it’s ethical and good for humanity. I have one other point to all other friendly, kind non-Chinese Americans. You know, I love you guys. You are kind, open-minded and truly have a burden in your heart for other people groups like Chinese. But please, please, please don’t ask me or my kids to dress in these stupid Chinese costumes on these culture awareness days. We are into political correctness crap. Please don’t ask use for these stupid dragon dance music. China is very diversed. I am not from a region of China where we do the dragon dance. We regard them as backwards and stupid. Not to mention all these stupid local operas.

  53. Marc Says:

    Oops. Grammar and typo corrections. Two sentences in #52 should read:

    We are NOT into political correctness crap. Please don’t ask us for these stupid dragon dance music.

  54. Buxi Says:

    @NZer,

    I never remember meeting Taiwanese who thought they were Japanese, and I did live there for four years.

    I’ve always heard (never confirmed) that former ROC president Li Denghui thought of himself as Japanese until his college years, and grew up speaking primarily Japanese; I do know for a fact that his brother died fighting in the Imperial Japanese army during WW2. His autobiographies have been published first in Japan, written in Japanese. He would be more or less the prototype that we’re talking about.

    @DKwan,

    Honestly I’m not for or against reunification – either way is fine by me – but the stupidity of it all makes me not want to be called Chinese. But in the eyes of many, I don’t have a choice, and in the end that is what I really hate most about being Chinese – this idea that if you’re even a teensy bit Chinese, you are a “Hua ren” and ought to be loyal to the “motherland”. I understand that not all Chinese on the mainland are this way, but I’ve come across so many who are.

    With all due respect, I think you should take a closer look and understand that your own perspective, however reasonable it might seem to you, is just one perspective… and if you can’t step away from it, then you too have the biased/restricted view of the world.

    You describe the common Chinese perspective as a “religion”, but that’s really not the right term… it’s more accurate to describe it as a “value set”. I’ll give it a simple definition: people should be loyal to their cultural heritage and their homeland. In that sense, it’s no different than the equally firm “dogma” that you should be filial to your parents and care for them during their old age, for example. What you might see as common sense, that you’re just a human being with certain physical exterior features… (being Chinese is like having green eyes)… well, in the eyes of some, that’s an incomprehensible way of seeing the world.

    My suggestion is, well, deal with it. I don’t see either way of seeing the world as being more “stupid” than the other; they’re just different. That’s why I personally try not to judge those who are ethnic Chinese but have no interest in being tied to the “motherland”… just as I try not to judge those who think family ties are cut off at the age of 18. And you, you might want to try not judging those who believe if you’re ethnic Chinese you will always be Chinese, and that China should always be treated as your homeland… after all, there are more than a billion people that feel this way.

    One last comment: if you’re *trying* to learn Chinese, that tells me you don’t think this value set is so stupid after all. And if that’s the case… well, welcome to the family (and the church)!

  55. Buxi Says:

    @Hemulen,

    When those of us who are not Chinese read Xinhua editorials that talk about how blood is thicker than water and that all Chinese demands reunification, we cannot help to think of those who clamored for the Anschluss of Austria to Germany no matter what.

    Yes, but I have a different perspective on that issue.

    Germans (and Europeans) have occasionally “demanded unification” ever since the days of the Roman Empire. Before Nazi Germany, you had Charlemagne, Napolean… but ultimately, they largely failed and Europe eventually ended up warring and competing against each other time and time again. If history is any judge, then your blase attitude about “German unity” has always been typical amongst Europeans. We talked about this before; this could very well be why the European Union is doomed to failure. (Or at least faces a more difficult path.)

    On the other hand, in Chinese culture, “everything under the heaven” has been united more often than not… and well, most of us like it that way.

    Nimrod had an excellent article about this:
    http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/06/23/political-unification-and-china%e2%80%99s-grand-union-ideal/

  56. Daniel Says:

    I guess to some minds, they can see comparisons with other Nationalistic movements, but I’ve often assumed that “everything under Heaven” was more of a poetic saying for the world. (or the world in Traditional Chinese Cultural Realm, which itself is full of interesting topics to discussed about).

    If possible, putting aside the political talk and ethnic/cultural/historical factors, my personal observations and encounters with Hua Ren (I tried my best to choose a neutral term) …the impressions that I and my friends get is that a lot of Hua Ren care more about their personal well-being and relationships rather than questionable ideals (which of course depends on the individual and occupations but just overall impressions). I mean, this is quite down to Earth and practical.

    I could be very wrong but I and some aquaintences of mine tend to form a small list of what many Hua Ren value and appeared to pursue.
    1. Relationships. The closer the better and need not any “blood” relations.
    2. Education. Whether it’s formal or informal, there’s always something to learn and value in it.
    3. Self-empowerment. To always improve yourself and achieve the fullest potential possible. I guess this might go hand in hand with a notorious remark I’ve heard quite a lot in the Hua Ren community that everyone want’s to be Kings or Masters of his/her own lot. This might also be one of the many factors why the Hua Ren appeared to be quite Materalistic. I wouldn’t know whether it could be justified or not since this is a personal matter.

    I’m sure there’s more “values” but I personally would rank the 3 above as the highest.

  57. Jane Says:

    Hmmm, I don’t think we are all talking about the same thing here. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to associate with China or being culturally Chinese, that’s one’s choice. My friend’s mom is 4th or 5th gen Jamaican Chinese. She doesn’t speak Chinese, married a fellow Jamaican and has no particular feelings for China which makes perfect sense, it’s been hundreds of years since her ancestors left China. But she has no problem acknowledging that she is of Chinese ancestry (it seems this is the part some extremist Taiwanese have problem with and this is where I find their I have nothing to do with the “Chinese” argument absurd and it’s not like Taiwan is on the other side of the globe). Acknowledging Chinese ancestry (ie ethnicity) or choosing to be culturally Chinese doesn’t make one a supporter of the PRC regime. It seems many people get hung up on this point.

    And yes, I do find some Taiwanese being condescending towards Mainlanders. Most non-Mainland people probably wouldn’t know it since the Taiwanese are usually very friendly people but when it comes to Mainlanders some Taiwanese sort of almost have a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde double personality. You sort of can sense the animosity. Funnily, when I go to Taiwan, I get treated very well if I don’t say anything or speak English (many think I am Japanese or overseas Taiwanese as I am American and do not have the Mainland looks or mannerisms), but if I speak Mandarin, it’s another story (my parents are from the Mainland so my Mandarin has one of the Mainland accents). Kind of sad, because I am the same person. And yes, I have been warned by Taiwanese friends that I may get chewed out by the locals if I go to southern Taiwan and speak Mainland accented Mandarin.

    Anyway, yeah, at the end of the day, I think we all just need to chill and come up with a win win solution. And last but not least, to my fellow Americans out there, Happy Fourth of July!

  58. Buxi Says:

    @Marc,

    My point is this: Being Chinese for a political reason is dumb. We are all individuals. Don’t let some government, being it a democratic one or dictatorship, use you to advance their political agenda.

    Sounds like you’re talking about Sean Hannity!

    As one of those who defended the torch and gave my reasons why, I don’t feel like I was used in any way in order to advance any political agenda but my own.

  59. EugeneZ Says:

    Does anybody know how Hou Dejian is doing these days and where he lives, etc. His “heir to dragon” was extremely popular on the mainland pre-1989 and during 1989. He was active in Tiananmen in 1989, one of the last people who left the square on 6/4. His songs were essentially banned in China after 1989, and of course, the government of Taiwan did not like him either because he had “defected” to the mainland years earlier.

    I believe that he lived in Australia after 1989, and married the famous singer in late 1980′s Cheng Ling (and got divorced years later?) One thing I remember about Hou Dejian was that he stood up and said that he did not see bloodshed on Tiananmen square itself while rumors had it that the square was a bloodbath. It was an act of integrity as compared to people like Cai Ling, etc.

    He lived a legendary life, and I am curious about his life after 1989, and how he is doing today.

  60. Hemulen Says:

    @Buxi

    Yes, but I have a different perspective on that issue.

    Of course you do.

    If history is any judge, then your blase attitude about “German unity” has always been typical amongst Europeans.

    You clearly need to read up on European history. German unity in 1800 is not the same thing as German unity in 1938. And the question is not whether “unity” is a good thing or not, but whether unity should be brought about at the expense of other values.

    We talked about this before; this could very well be why the European Union is doomed to failure.

    European unity is a fact for the foreseeable future; what we disagree about is the exact nature of the Union. Most of us are happy with freedom of travel and residency, we might differ about the precise nature of European government in Brussels. Historically speaking, a unified but politically weak Europe is much better for the rest of the world than a fractured Europe. It was the competing nation states of disunited 19th century Europe that conquered the rest of the world and pushed China around for a while.

    On the other hand, in Chinese culture, “everything under the heaven” has been united more often than not… and well, most of us like it that way.

    Well, if you care to read up on Levenson, as suggested by Zuiweng, you’d realize that the concept of Tianxia two hundred years ago is very different from the idea of a unified China today. And do most of “you” like it that way? I don’t know, neither do you, because the mainland Chinese government does not allow any alternative public opinion to develop. So the jury is out for the moment.

    Nimrod had an excellent article about this

    I read it and I was so horrified that I didn’t know how to respond. If the message of the post was to show to a non-Chinese speaking audience what some Chinese people feel about “unity”, fair enough. But the post was actually trying to persuade us to believe in this way of reading world history and Chinese history, which is impossible to either refute or to prove, making it a religious view of history more than anything else. I appreciate your idea of trying to create balance in cyberspace when it comes to China, but posting that kind of stuff without any critical comment will just turn readers away.

  61. Hemulen Says:

    Eugene Z:

    One thing I remember about Hou Dejian was that he stood up and said that he did not see bloodshed on Tiananmen square itself while rumors had it that the square was a bloodbath.

    Hou Dejian didn’t deny that there was bloodshed in Beijing on June 4, he only said that he didn’t see any bloodshed in Tiananmen square. He also warned against using lies to fight your lying enemy. Take a look for 05:58 on the following footage:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igsW5yQ6428&feature=related

    The rest of the footage leaves little doubt as to what actually happened.

  62. Buxi Says:

    @ZT,

    By the way, I meant to respond to this earlier… you’re wrong about any sort of “amnesty”. Ethnic Chinese holding foreign citizenship are by and large treated no differently than anyone else holding foreign citizenship, and there are no favorable policies at this time for becoming a naturalized citizen.

    There are a couple of scenarios for the friend that you mentioned had studied overseas:

    - she never took foreign citizenship (or at least the Chinese government was unaware of it),

    - she might have taken advantage of various policies (implemented differently in different cities/provinces) for liuxuesheng (Chinese students originally from the mainland who have studied overseas); these policies allow liuxuesheng to have special residency permits in some cities… but actual citizenship is controlled at the national level, and there are no favorable advantages for liuxuesheng.

    The only other policy unique for ethnic Chinese would be that for previous citizens who’ve reached old age, and have no blood relatives outside of China. They’re given a special path for citizenship if they can prove they have relatives within China capable of providing for their care.

  63. perspectivehere Says:

    @Jane

    As with everything there is a historical explanation. My understanding of the Taiwanese feelings towards Mainlanders is the “shock and awe” they experienced when the KMT soldiers initially went to Taiwan after the end of WWII poisoned the attitudes of many locals.

    The initial feeling among the Taiwanese was one of welcome anticipation of reunification with the motherland after 50 years of Japanese colonization.

    However, the reality was that many of the KMT soldiers and administrators sent over were brutal in their administration (many having fought a long war against the Japanese and may have seen the local population as having “collaborated” with the hated enemy). Tensions rose.

    This reached a climax in the “228 incident” (February 28, 1947) which resulted in thousands of deaths. You can read about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/228_Incident.

    “The initial purge was followed by repression under one-party rule, in what was termed “white terror,” which lasted until the end of martial law in 1987.
    Thousands of people, including both mainlanders and Taiwanese, were imprisoned or executed for their real or perceived dissent, leaving the Taiwanese victims among them with a deep-seated bitterness towards what they term the mainlander regime, and by extension, all mainlanders.”

    Most Americans (including American Chinese) know zilch about this incident and the subsequent repression, and in the cold war mentality of the 50′s to 1979 when Taiwan was officially China for Americans (and media reporting about Taiwan was for the most part positive), this history was either ignored at best or covered up at worst.

    Knowing this, I might cut Taiwanese who have negative feelings about Mainlanders some slack.

    The words of failed U.S. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to an interviewer regarding the “America-hating statements” of Obama’s now former pastor, Rev. Wright, might be instructive here:

    “HUCKABEE: And one other thing I think we’ve got to remember: As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say, “That’s a terrible statement,” I grew up in a very segregated South, and I think that you have to cut some slack. And I’m going to be probably the only conservative in America who’s going to say something like this, but I’m just telling you: We’ve got to cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told, “You have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can’t sit out there with everyone else. There’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office. Here’s where you sit on the bus.” And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had a more, more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.”

    INTERVIEWER: It’s the Atticus Finch line about walking a mile in somebody else’s shoes.”

    (http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/03/huckabee-defend.html)

    I think the point of Huckabee’s words (probably the most uplifting words I heard in the entire presidential campaign so far) is that when we hear criticism, even if it sounds unreasonable, we need to think about the reasons behind that criticism before being too quick to strike back.

    ******

    @Buxi

    I’m curious whether in the Mainland the history of 228 incident is well known? My guess would have initially been that it would be publicized because of the CCP-KMT antagonism, but then again because it cuts against “One China”, so I think on balance it would be not be news that would be publicized. Would you have a view on this?

    Many thanks for a great post and blog, by the way.

  64. Buxi Says:

    @Daniel,

    By the way, meant to thank you earlier for the tour through overseas Chinese communities in southeast Asia. I’ve always been very impressed and touched by how such communities have maintained their heritage for centuries after emigrating to a foreign land where they were the clear minority.

    Most Chinese in China are well aware of the existence of these communities, and yes, are equally impressed with those that have hung on to their culture. Everyone’s aware of the key role they played as far back as the Xinhai revolution. Long before I knew much of anything about Thailand, I remember my uncles talking with some pride about the fact that the current king si of Chinese descent.

    I’m curious about your feelings on a different issue, which is sort of the intersection between political and cultural definitions of Chinese. Many, many Chinese in the PRC are very unhappy that the PRC government did nothing during the Indonesian race riots targeted at ethnic Chinese. Many Chinese in the PRC have always felt very strongly that the PRC had a moral responsibility to protect ethnic Chinese in foreign countries, even if legally they aren’t PRC citizens.

    (The China-Vietnam war in 1979 was in part launched because of persecution of ethnic Chinese in Vietnam.)

    So… both for you personally, and also for the community around you… how do you feel about that? Do you believe the “Chinese government” (however you define that) should act to protect ethnic Chinese in southeast Asia?

  65. NZer Says:

    Buxi said:

    “@NZer,

    I never remember meeting Taiwanese who thought they were Japanese, and I did live there for four years.

    I’ve always heard (never confirmed) that former ROC president Li Denghui thought of himself as Japanese until his college years, and grew up speaking primarily Japanese; I do know for a fact that his brother died fighting in the Imperial Japanese army during WW2. His autobiographies have been published first in Japan, written in Japanese. He would be more or less the prototype that we’re talking about.”

    Sure. . . Actually was 3am where I was when I wrote the above, and end of a long day’s work.

    Yeah, there are a (shrinking) group who identify as Japanese because they were brought up as Japanese. Hardly seems surprising.

    But these people were elderly and really did grow up under Japanese colonial rule. I don’t see any problem with them feeling Japanese.

    Spanish colonization, Dutch colonization, Ming loyalist colonization, Qing colonization, Japanese colonization, KMT colonization. . . It’s been a long history of colonization in Taiwan. Given that the Japanese colonization wasn’t so long ago a few traces remain, and so they should.

    But I have yet to meet young to middle-aged Taiwanese who feel more Japanese than Chinese (i.e. would claim to be culturally more Japanese than Han/Chinese). Japanese culture has had an influence in Taiwan, but the mainstream is definitely Chinese.

  66. Hemulen Says:

    @Buxi

    The China-Vietnam war in 1979 was in part launched because of persecution of ethnic Chinese in Vietnam.

    Perhaps. But the PRC government refuses to grant citizenship to the many ethnic Chinese refugees who came to China as a result of the war. I wager more ethnic Chinese from Vietnam eventually acquired European nationality than a PRC passport. As usual, “China” is banking on more charity and hospitality to its lost sons and daughters than it would ever grant to a foreigner of any nationality. And over-populated Europe gets no credit. This time around, we take care of more Iraqi refugees than the nation that provoked the war in the first place.

  67. Buxi Says:

    @Hemulen,

    You clearly need to read up on European history. German unity in 1800 is not the same thing as German unity in 1938. And the question is not whether “unity” is a good thing or not, but whether unity should be brought about at the expense of other values.

    First of all, Chinese unity in 2008 isn’t even the same thing it was in 1949. I’m not talking a specific political formula, but a cultural perogative, that cultural DNA.

    As far as the goodness of “unity”… we talked about this exact same point in that thread, and I don’t want to get back into it here as well. But very briefly, it’s not that the Chinese want unity while the Europeans are against it; it’s exactly as you said, a matter of priorities. Our priorities are different, period.

    It was the competing nation states of disunited 19th century Europe that conquered the rest of the world and pushed China around for a while.

    Personally, speaking as a Chinese person, I would prefer the competing nation states of a disunited Europe than a united polity with shared economic and political weight. I’m not one of those inclined to exclusively blame Europe for “pushing around China”… I place most of the blame on China’s own isolated state, and its complete failure to modernize and reform.

    I appreciate your idea of trying to create balance in cyberspace when it comes to China, but posting that kind of stuff without any critical comment will just turn readers away.

    That’s why we leave the blog open, for critical comment. As far as the blog itself, our goal is not to “create balance”, but to represent the Chinese voice. You assert repeatedly that this Chinese nationalist “religion” exists in China based on your own experience… so, absolutely that perspective will appear in our blog, presented as we see it, without your dismissive editorializing.

    You insist that this “religion” is propagated by the PRC government. I don’t know how the PRC government managed to brain-wash Hawaii-raised American citizen Sun Zhongshan into dedicating his life to the Chinese revolution. I don’t know how the PRC government managed to brain-wash New York born/raised, Boston educated Wang Lihong so that he’d sing lyrics like this:

    Now here’s a story that’ll make u cry
    Straight from Taiwan they came
    Just a girl and a homeboy in love
    No money no job no speak no English
    Nobody gonna give’em the time of day in a city so cold
    They made a wish
    And then they had the strength to graduate with honors
    And borrowed 50 just to consummate
    A marriage under GOD
    Who never left their side
    Gave their children pride
    Raise ur voices high
    Love will never die never die…

    (translation courtesy of link in the original post)
    Many years ago on a tranquil night, our whole family arrived in New York
    Nothing can destroy what is in our hearts: every night, every day longing for home

    I grew up in someone else’s land, after I grew up I became an heir of the dragon
    Mighty dragon, mighty dragon open your eyes, forever and ever open your eyes

  68. Nimrod Says:

    Hemulen wrote:

    I read it and I was so horrified that I didn’t know how to respond. If the message of the post was to show to a non-Chinese speaking audience what some Chinese people feel about “unity”, fair enough. But the post was actually trying to persuade us to believe in this way of reading world history and Chinese history, which is impossible to either refute or to prove, making it a religious view of history more than anything else. I appreciate your idea of trying to create balance in cyberspace when it comes to China, but posting that kind of stuff without any critical comment will just turn readers away.

    +++++
    The point of that post was exactly the first thing you said, to tell you how Chinese people feel about unity and how they understand their country’s history. It’s not trying to persuade you of anything, except to suggest that you should consider this perspective or take this into account, for the purpose of understanding today’s China and its people.

    As for critical comments, I provided some in the summary of that post and there is always the space for everybody to chime in, so go ahead, don’t just be “horrified”.

  69. Buxi Says:

    @Hemulen,

    But the PRC government refuses to grant citizenship to the many ethnic Chinese refugees who came to China as a result of the war.

    Your’e exactly right on this point. China accepted 200,000 refugees from Vietnam (90% are ethnic Chinese). But few of them have been granted citizenship. A new “Refugee Law” is promised to change this, but hasn’t happened yet.

    Many Chinese are also unhappy with government policy on that front, just as we’re unhappy with 1996 treatment of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. The government’s stance is that China is too poor to deal with a huge influx of refugees… well, with increasing wealth, that policy needs to change. Many Chinese believe China’s policy towards ethnic Chinese should mirror that of Israel with Jews.

    And that’s a question I’d pose to you, then. What similarities and differences do you see between the nature of the “Jewish diaspora” and the “Chinese diaspora”? I’ll be honest; although I haven’t thought this through deeply, I see many similarities.

  70. Hemulen Says:

    @Buxi

    Our priorities are different, period.

    As far as you can tell perhaps. But we don’t have enough data to tell what are the priorities of mainland Chinese. I would argue most Chinese want a happy life and rising living standards, most of them probably don’t give a crap about Taiwan or Tibet. You may disagree, but neither of us can prove our points, so let’s allow our arguments to stand on their own feet instead of bringing in people that have not been asked to join the debate.

    You insist that this “religion” is propagated by the PRC government.

    Yes, today this religion is propagated by the PRC government. Needless to say, there were other contenders for this job, such as the KMT.

    I don’t know how the PRC government managed to brain-wash Hawaii-raised American citizen Sun Zhongshan into dedicating his life to the Chinese revolution.

    Sun is one of the creators of modern Chinese nationalism, not one of its victims.

    I don’t know how the PRC government managed to brain-wash New York born/raised, Boston educated Wang Lihong so that he’d sing lyrics like this

    Wang is an artist who sings about the culture of his ancestral homeland, just like Irish-Americans or Italian-Americans do. That’s cool, part of the immigrant experience. But he would probably never give up his US passport in favor of a PRC one. Neither would you, if you were in his shoes.

  71. DJ Says:

    vadaga made a good point in comment #38. This discussion in English about what it means to be Chinese seems to suffer from an overloading of the term “Chinese”.

    While there are many variations of the term “Chinese” in Chinese with subtle differences, such differentiations are lost in English. vadaga listed a few of them in English. The list below is my attempt to map them in Chinese. Please provide feedback and corrections, and I will update the list.

    What is interesting about this list below is that 中国人, the term essentially being discussed here, is also vague in definition and suffers from overloading of meanings.

    中国人 a Chinese person (This seems to be the particular term being discussed by most people here)
    中国公民 a person with Chinese citizenship
    华人 ethnic Chinese people (emphasis on culture)
    汉人 ethnic Han people (emphasis on ethnicity)
    华侨 a person holding Chinese passport but residing overseas on a permanent basis
    华裔 a foreign citizen with Chinese ancestry (It’s generally limited to those born and raised overseas)
    外籍华人 a ethnic Chinese with foreign citizenship (a superset of 华裔 and covers 1st gen immigrants)

  72. Hemulen Says:

    @Buxi

    What similarities and differences do you see between the nature of the “Jewish diaspora” and the “Chinese diaspora”?

    There is a huge difference, there has always been a China for better or worse, but for most of Jewish history there has never been a Jewish state. Jews have been living at the sufferance of their host country in a way that has few comparisons.

  73. Hemulen Says:

    @DJ

    I think there is a great deal of variety when it comes to defining Chinesness, some of which are more racial and some of which are less racial. But at the end of the day most definitions default to Han Chinese and nothing else. To quote Perry Link:

    Or consider the term huaqiao, which is commonly understood to mean “Chinese abroad.” In fact it means “Han abroad.” Han people living in Singapore are considered huaqiao, even if they have lived in Singapore for several generations; but if a Uighur family were to move from Urumqi to Samarkand, it would not occur to speakers of daily-life Chinese to refer to them as huaqiao. Implicitly if nit officially, hua is Han.

    http://www.uscc.gov/hearings/2008hearings/written_testimonies/08_06_18_wrts/08_06_18_link_statement.php

    This is the sad truth and this is the very reason why it is very difficult for the PRC government to convince Uighurs or Tibetans that China is really a multi-ethnic country.

  74. DKwan Says:

    Hi Buxi,

    If the average person in China could be like you and accept others’ decisions to not be Chinese, I wouldn’t have a problem with their “value set”. Of course Chinese values aren’t stupid. The stupid part is the belief that anyone in China or perceived to be Chinese MUST do things the “Hua ren” way.

    Overseas “Chinese” MUST consider themselves Chinese and MUST consider China their homeland. There is no other choice that’s acceptable.

    People in the western provinces who never considered themselves Chinese MUST accept that they’re part of Zhonghua Minzu.

    Taiwan MUST be part of PRC, in the name of Zhonghua Minzu unity (religious idealism), even though Taiwan already operates as a separate country (unacceptable reality). But it seems that the value set of Zhonghua Minzu, according to PRC, cannot allow Taiwan to continue to do things their own way.

    I blame the PRC gov for this. People are just people, and without the government’s rhetoric, no one would care that Taiwan is separate, or that people in the western provinces don’t want to be Chinese, just as people don’t care that Mongolia is no longer part of China.

    I’m not saying the PRC gov is all bad, really. I think they do an admirable job running such a diverse and overpopulated country. It’s this use of Zhonghua Minzu to rally people behind their own agendas, and the fact that people go along with it, that I find unfortunate.

  75. DJ Says:

    Hemulen,

    What you said is most likely true but I wouldn’t necessarily infer too much negative implications out of it. When overseas Han Chinese is considered, it is easy and natural to trace their racial and culture heritage back to China, because, where else could you point to? So it is completely logical to automatically call them “overseas Chinese”. An ethnic Uighur living outside of China, however, presents a scenario of overlapping sets. A quick check on Wikipedia shows that 8 countries have significant Uighur population (i.e., China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Turkey, Russia). So on what basis should one automatically refer to an ethnic Uighur with foreign citizenship living outside of China as overseas Chinese?

    And I wouldn’t call Chinese Singaporean huaqiao 华侨 since I have always perceived 华侨 as someone with Chinese citizenship but living aboad. However, I am not sure what would be the proper definition of that term per se. If it means Chinese nationals living aboard, then 外籍华人 would be subset of it.

    By the way, I know Perry Link. Don’t ask him about simplified vs. traditional Chinese characters. He sees no point in that debate.

  76. Hemulen Says:

    @DJ

    I don’t infer to much negative implications, other than that the Han-centricity of the idea of Zhonghua minzu dooms it in the eyes of non-Han.

    It may be true that there are significant Uighur populations in many countries, but most Uighurs do live in southern Xinjiang and have lived in the same area for centuries. Different Chinese rulers have come and gone their way, but until recently Uighurs have run their own affairs and knowledge in Chinese was not a top requirement. All that is different now, like it or not. Similarly the center of Tibetan culture is in the Tibetan areas controlled by the PRC. And there may be an independent Mongolian republic, but most ethnic Mongols live in the PRC.

  77. Nimrod Says:

    DKwan,

    I blame the PRC gov for this. People are just people, and without the government’s rhetoric, no one would care that Taiwan is separate, or that people in the western provinces don’t want to be Chinese, just as people don’t care that Mongolia is no longer part of China.

    You, along with Perry Link of the article that Hemulen linked to, make the same mistake by assuming the PRC government or the CCP is a singularity unto itself or comes up with these values in a vacuum, that it is pushes these ideas onto an unsuspecting Chinese people. This is silly. The Party members are Chinese people. The government is run by Chinese people, and obviously takes being the “legitimate” government of China as a serious matter. No, the reason why anything gets traction is precisely because these are values held by the people of what the government should be doing. The people are nationalistic. They haven’t just been taught this by the government, but they’ve been taught this by their parents, their grandparents, and by each other. The first time I heard about Mongolia’s independence was when I was 5 years old sitting on my grandfather’s lap looking at some old atlases. Same for Japanese atrocities or other such things. I’ve never seen anything that “stokes” my nationalism in school or on state TV, which is about as boring and politically correct as you can get, as much as the most heated nationalistic comments traded among ordinary people over dinner parties or on the internet, who evidently do care a lot. If the government does or says something that ends up “stoking” nationalism, it is because there is resonance. You refuse to see this at your ignorance.

    And here is where Perry Link, despite his excellent Chinese language abilities, does not “get” it, because he did not have a typical Chinese upbringing.

  78. Daniel Says:

    @Buxi

    Your welcome for giving a “small account” of the Chinese Diaspora. There’s still a lot to study and talk about and I’m pretty sure there are many others who are interested in this subject.

    I think I might have to say two things about what you posted, if you don’t mind.
    For one thing, The conflict in the 70′s between China and Vietnam might….might have had to do with territorial disuptes and internal politics…alongside with some issues of the Hua Ren. I recalled my older relatives saying there were quite a number of people affiliated with the KMT party living in Vietnam during those turbulent times but it might not have anything to do with the conflict. There was some dsicrimination against this minority but for several reasons, it remain strong and large enough where they could take care of themselve fair enough and persecution didn’t reach the point as other countries. The reason I mentioned how they were like a nation within a nation was because many Hua Ren communities there operated like that. A lot of commercial and social activities could be conducted in one of the Chinese dialects, internally and externally. One interesting fact is that you might run into someone from this community that will identify strongly with being an “Hakka” or “teochiew” rather than the term Chinese. I did but that was a while back and maybe things are different.

    As for Indonesia…The riots that happened in 1998 were very unfortunante and I think from what I’ve read online there was quite a lot going on politically-internally alongside the anti-Chinese actions. I only know personally two Indonesian-Chinese who lived at that time but moved elsewhere and based on their opinions, I’m not sure how they would have felt if PRC or ROC or anyone else step in because of those ethnic ties. The Hua Ren in Indonesia are actually very diverse itself. Some recent immigrants to 7th or 9th Generation, practicing many different religions and customs, many intermarry many did not, etc. I think if you google online about this subject, it might be interesting to know that there was a significant conflict among this community between different ideas in the last century or so regarding their ways of life. Some wanted to be like their Indonesian neighbors, some wanted European standards and others held strong to Chinese standards. Some sad stories and worth studying. It’s not like there were “wrong” or “right” answers, it’s just how things were at that time and the particular struggles people had to go through.

    Personally, I think a lot of these conflicts are internal to many countries and it might further complicate things if PRC or Taiwan wants to step in because of these links. There’s really not one single straight answer. Many things have changed too, but I am aware there are still issues.

    I have two generalizations I could tell that can offer some impression of what many in the Diaspora feel and I will understand if people find it hard to believe or choose not to accept it. I also don’t mind if people are very skeptical to a point to challenge them so it’s alright. Just to remind that these are thoughts and feelings from people with little or no ties with Mainland or Taiwan politics.
    One, many, a significant number of opinions tend to believe that a Stronger China will give off an image that it would be futile or ridiculous for people to want to hurt them because of their links. These opinions differ one the definition of what it means to be strong and vary from person to person.
    Second, many or a significant number tend to believe that family or clans/ancestorial village links can offer more hope and strength than any organization or government. It may surprise some people that even in the States, quite a number of people here place that much trust and value in their family for those reasons. Look at the Wenzhou community for example.

  79. Hemulen Says:

    @Nimrod

    I respect your opinion and cannot argue with you about your upbringing. But your blanket statements about Chinese and Chinese nationalisms feel more like statements of faith than of reality, and it is difficult to argue against faith.

  80. Hemulen Says:

    If anyone doubted what I said about the racial component of Chinese nationalism, read the criteria for being included in this blog, which seems to endorse Blog 4 China:

    http://easterly.wordpress.com/about/%e5%9b%9b%e5%ad%a3-the-spring-society/

  81. DKwan Says:

    Hi Nimrod, thanks for calling me ignorant. I think your view of China is unrealistically harmonious and too CCTV. I don’t think you’re open for discussion so I’ll leave it at that.

  82. Oli Says:

    @Hemulen to Buxi

    “You clearly need to read up on European history. German unity in 1800 is not the same thing as German unity in 1938. “

    Actually Hemulen, Buxi is right and you are wrong. By focusing on the trees you are blind to the forest. Although the mechanics and the details of German “unity” in 1800 may differ from that of 1938, the dominant theme in German history since the time of the Roman Empire is one of striving towards unification, whether consciously (Arminius, Charlemagne, Bismarck, Hitler) or unconsciously (Luther). Thus, German identity, more so than any other European polity with the possible exception of Poland, is shaped by and a function of external forces around its periphery.

    The irony is that the name Germany is derived from the Roman/Latin description of the land beyond the River Rhine, i.e. Germania. Prior to the Roman invasion, there was no such thing as a “German” identity, but there were tribal identities such as die Franken, Sachsen, Prussen, Friesen, Thueringen, Juten, Schwaben etc. In resisting Rome, these tribes banded together, such that arguably it is the Romans who gave birth to the “idea” of Germany. This idea coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire and was later given a “cultural flesh” by Martin Luther’s Protestant declaration/reformation in the Thirty Years War that created the distinction of a Protestant Germany against its Catholic neighbours. But it was not until the Zollverein (a precursor of the EU) and later the Franco-Prussian War that the “political skin” of modern Germany was first donned. Consequently, it can be said that Europe’s labour pains in giving birth to Germany lasted 2000 years.

    Hemulen, falls Sie mir nicht glauben moechten und anstatt deutschen Geschichte aussichtlicht von englischen Lehrbueche zu lessen, vielleicht koennen Sie ein paar Deutschen nach ihren Meinungen darueber mal fragen, sonst bringen Sie sich nurch noch tiefer in Verlegenheit.

    “And the question is not whether “unity” is a good thing or not, but whether unity should be brought about at the expense of other values.”

    Again, Hemulen, I am not sure whether your statement above demonstrates a poor grasp of the ebb and flow of history or whether it’s simply born out of myopic self-belief or intolerant arrogance. You appear to be making a very big assumption that current European/Western values are universal for all times, when in fact any person with a half-decent reasoning ability will appreciate that individuals, societies and nations have differing priorities over any period of time, so that emphasis on various values is reflective of different priorities at any specific time.

    In contrast to Germany the genesis of the “idea” of “China” was not a function of outside forces, but rather the result of internal dynamics and strife which resulted in its unification under the First Emperor, who planted the idea of a unified “China”. Subsequent dynasties and its people came to see a unified China as desirable because historical experiences has taught its peoples that it is only when they are internally weak and disunited that China becomes susceptible to internal strife and outside invasions. And this is arguably born out by history. The Song Dynasty failed when it was divided between Northern and Southern Song, the Ming and the Qing Dynasty failed because of internal rebellions (Li Zhicheng and the Taiping Rebellion).

    Furthermore, although the terms used to describe the “area” that is “China” and its people has always been mutable, whether it is the various dynastic names (ie Tang Chao (ren)), Zhong Yuen (ren) (the central flood plains of the Huang and Yangtze Rivers), Zhong Guo (ren) or even Tianxia de ren, it is the idea of “China” and being “Chinese” that matters and which has endured beyond most civilisations, irrespective however much that definition and its meaning may change from day to day, era to era or even from one side of the earth to another in today’s globalised world, for it is precisely that mutability and adaptability that gives it its strength and endurance.

    As humans, we individually possess multiple “layers” of identities, whether it is social, political, psychological or even biological. Having an American or Canadian citizenship neither exclude nor preclude one from considering oneself as being “Chinese”. Just as today there are Italian, Irish, Polish or Chinese Americans, there have been Mongolian, Tibetan, Korean or Vietnamese “Chinese”, just as there are Chinese who are also Hakka, Hokkien (Fujianese), Cantonese etc.

    Consequently, just as some 4th or even 5th generation Irish Americans still cherish their ties, whether real or merely sentimental, to the “old country” and many did even went so far as to support the IRA, it does not mean that a person born in the PRC but chose to live in another country or even surrender their PRC citizenship for whatever personal reasons is automatically a “traitor”, much less those who did not have a choice by the circumstances of birth. Similarly, just because a PRC citizen who currently lives or work in another country but continue to support China, its government or one of or all its policies is automatically a hypocrite.

    Such simplifications are all too often indicative of either an inflexible and/or narrow mindset, so that your cliché comment, “Be as it may, these overseas Chinese have chosen to live in the least flawed system, it appears to me”, under The Prospect for Democracy in China thread, is just so much infantile BS in today’s globalised world. Consequently, I think many here would agree with me if I said that you should get out more.

    As for your complaint that much of “Chinese” culture is defined by Han-centric culture, this is simply the product of history in that the first contact Westerns have were with coastal China, followed by Chinese emigrants from these same provinces and the vibrancy of the Hong Kong film industry. There is no PRC central government-directed conspiracy.

  83. Nimrod Says:

    DKwan,

    I think your view of China is unrealistically harmonious and too CCTV. I don’t think you’re open for discussion so I’ll leave it at that.

    +++++
    I’m always open for discussion. I don’t see what’s so unrealistic about what I wrote — it was personal experience. If you have other personal experience with Chinese people in China to back up what you said, that really “they don’t care” and the CCP “did it” to them, please share.

  84. pug_ster Says:

    Just want to add my 2 cents. I lived here in the US for more than 25 years became naturalized citizen, but I thought that the US was a good and compassionate nation until the Tibetan Riots. There is racism against Chinese here in the US but those politicians in Washington don’t want to acknowledge or don’t even care. Because of the hate towards China due in our History books, there is significantly hate toward the Chinese people.

    http://www.adl.org/misc/american_attitudes_towards_chinese.asp

    Personally, I could not put my faith on a country which does not put their faith on me. The problem is similiar to the muslim people, an average US citizen could not distinguish the hatred toward China as a country to the Chinese people, even those who chose to try to live like any other Americans. So the only choice for me, I can put one feet in the US and my other feet in China.

  85. Hemulen Says:

    @Oli

    Interesting lecture. You just seem to have some issues when it comes to both European and Chinese history.

    I am not sure whether your statement above demonstrates a poor grasp of the ebb and flow of history or whether it’s simply born out of myopic self-belief or intolerant arrogance.

    Shall I ask for an apology for this gratuitous insult? No. Fair enough, I may be arrogant, but I’m not ignorant of history. Unlike you.

    This idea coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire and was later given a “cultural flesh” by Martin Luther’s Protestant declaration/reformation in the Thirty Years War

    A fair share of the people that lived in the Holy Roman Empire weren’t German, they were Czechs, Poles, Italians and so on. And just a detail: Martin Luther died more than seventy years before the Thirty Years’ war.

    …created the distinction of a Protestant Germany against its Catholic neighbours.

    Most German-speaking people are not Lutheran; they are Catholic. Austria is and was predominantly Catholic, which is why Bismarck did not want Austria to join Germany. Just a detail.

    Subsequent dynasties and its people came to see a unified China as desirable because historical experiences has taught its peoples that it is only when they are internally weak and disunited that China becomes susceptible to internal strife and outside invasions.

    We don’t know very much what the “Chinese people” thought about unity or division during the Song dynasty. We know some about what elite observers thought. But dynastic politics 1000 years ago are quite different from popular politics in the 21st century. Accept it.

    the Qing Dynasty failed because of internal rebellions (Li Zhicheng and the Taiping Rebellion).

    Well, the Qing dynasty fell almost fifty year after the Taipings were defeated.

    Similarly, just because a PRC citizen who currently lives or work in another country but continue to support China, its government or one of or all its policies is automatically a hypocrite.

    Of course not. But it undermines his or her argument. If the PRC and its policies are good enough to defend, the country itself should be good enough to live in. I just don’t see that is what is happening right now. The most fervent apologists of the PRC do not live in China, while many of the people who actually live there would be happy to settle elsewhere. I respect PRC patriots who have chosen to live there, and I argue with them on site. We usually part as friends who agree to disagree. I can’t say the same for those of you who do not want to live in the country you defend. And I know that as much as I disagree with real PRC patriots, this is a point where we actually share.

  86. Nimrod Says:

    Hemulen,

    Are you going to lose respect for Jews living around the world who defend Israel (I know not all of them do, but the ones who do)? Not to mention we aren’t even talking about any kind of “defense” of a country, more like a defense of our own views in debate. But what’s the connection between where you live and what you say exactly?

  87. Andy Says:

    @ ZT and Buxi

    I have read through your comments and get the feeling that you don’t see nationalism or the nationalistic drawing up of a historical ‘race’ of Chinese as a negative thing? Do you consider yourselves reactionary or conservative?

    What do you think of people who ‘look’ Chinese but believe that humans are one race and nationalism is un-natural and negative? Are they traitors of some kind?

    I thought this whole debate was coming out of the right wing attacks in Chinese net sites aimed at Chinese who have foreign passports? Do we not agree it’s a bad thing?

    This debate has been civilised and free of name calling etc – but a lot of people are coming down on the side of nationalism. When someone points out, for example, WW2 germany, or the great racist-nationalist empires like victorian Britain, you can’t just say somethign along the lines of “oh, but for China/Chinese, it’s different.” That’s adding a new dimension of racial superiority to it.

    Belief in having unique blood is racism and it is rightly dismissed as bigoted nonsense in Europe – although it still goes on. That’s why I have no concept of being ‘English’ in the genetic or racial sense – it doesn’t exist.

  88. DKwan Says:

    I didn’t say “they don’t care”, unless you mean they don’t care about differing views (of Taiwanese, Tibetans, etc). And I didn’t say the CCP “did it” to them, I said they use the Zhonghua Minzu concept (which was originally created by government, and later modified by government) as a method to promote their own agendas.

    If you don’t mind, please give me an example of what you’d consider “personal experience” to backup my belief that people are manipulated by the government. I can’t think of anything I can say that you can’t turn around and say “that’s just how Chinese people feel” or “that’s exactly what the Chinese people want”. Or I can point out control and distortion of information, but that’s not exactly personal experience.

  89. Hemulen Says:

    @Nimrod

    Are you going to lose respect for Jews living around the world who defend Israel (I know not all of them do, but the ones who do)?

    This is a tricky one, I agree. To begin with, Israel is much more vulnerable than China is, and China is not threatened of extinction. Many Jews (though not all) still feel that they should defend Israel and even serve in the IDF. Regardless of how they feel about Israeli policy. I disagree with many Israeli policies, but when I talk to Israelis – many of whom have served in the IDF – I do realize that they have made sacrifices to their country, however misguided, that I was never forced to make. I politely tell them that I do feel sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians and sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t. It has never been a problem to me.

    I haven’t met a single PRC apologist who have deigned to serve in the PLA for any length of time. Have you? Even I have served the army of my native country as a conscript. I know what it is to sacrifice a year of your life to my country. Do you?

    As for Jews who are born in Israel and feel that something has gone wrong, it is very delicate. Some emigrate. Some grow cynical. Others stay on and join different peace initiatives. If you watch news carefully, you’ll see Israelis demonstrate with Palestinians for peace. When was the last time Han Chinese in China demonstrated in solidarity with non-Han?

  90. carryanne Says:

    I have come across an article that can help people see China more accurately. I think everyone should read it because it exposes certain facets of the communist party’s ways of censoring reality and justice. If we do not hear about this from dissidents willing to risk everything, then the CCP would effectively have repressed all knowledge of it’s crimes and would get away with it’s absolute abuse of power over China and people of the world.

    The article is titled: The Last Hero of Tiananmen
    by Philip P. Pan
    How an aging doctor became the conscience of China.

    As linked to on my blog, http://nomoreccp.wordpress.com/

    Actually this story if from Philip Pans new book: OUT OF MAO’S SHADOW, The Struggle for the Soul of a New China

    I think to be Chinese you would have to have some rich qualities ingrained in the historical culture and you should take care of China and the people there, also I think a good Chinese person should take care of not only Chinese but be hospitable and open to other people as well. Currently I would have to say that the Chinese dissidents are the real Chinese people and the people who are bought off by the CCP are just superficial materialists or suckers of the communist propaganda, both of these qualities are not very Chinese.

  91. pug_ster Says:

    @Hemulen

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_reactions_to_the_September_11%2C_2001_attacks#Rest_of_the_world

    RE: When was the last time Han Chinese in China demonstrated in solidarity with non-Han? How about 9/11

  92. Xiaoping Li Says:

    Your Chineseness can be defined in two ways: 1) by other people; 2) by yourself.

    Jan Wong, author of best seller “Red China Blues”, is the n-th generation of “Chinese-Canadian” — as defined by other Canadians. But she defines herself as Canadian, not a hyphenated Canadian. She acknowledges that she is a Canadian of Chinese descent.

    I really like her spunk to claim what is rightfully hers. Most of the white Americans call themselves Americans, not English-Americans or German-Americans. I would like to see more Chinese-Americans call themselves Americans.

    Let’s claim our right to the land we live and own, and to win our rightful places in our governments and societies.

  93. pug_ster Says:

    @CaryAnne

    Seriously, have you ever thought that most Chinese come to the US or any foreign country is because of economic opportunity and not because of political persecution? To say the “real Chinese people and the people who brought off by the CCP are just superficial materials or suckers for communist propaganda” is a racist statement. This is the kind of discrimination that towards the Chinese people just because of the US’ stance towards China.

  94. Buxi Says:

    @Hemulen,

    I think there is a great deal of variety when it comes to defining Chinesness, some of which are more racial and some of which are less racial. But at the end of the day most definitions default to Han Chinese and nothing else. To quote Perry Link:

    Interestingly, Chinese law now gives a formal legal definition of the term “huaqiao”. Legally speaking, the term refers to anyone holding PRC citizenship/passports, but residing overseas. It applies equally to Chinese of all ethnicity.

    I want to go back to the Israeli diaspora question, since that seems like the best route to understand your theories on this issue. You’ve brought up a few points that distinguish Israel from China, but quite frankly, it seems like a distinction without a difference. I don’t see how the fact that Israeli residents are obligated to serve in the IDF, and the fact that Chinese literally have to compete to be selected into the PLA are relevant to understanding the Chinese and Jewish diasporas.

    You’re probably aware that all Jews can at any time claim Israeli citizenship if they choose. Many Jews who don’t hold Israeli citizenship and have never stepped foot in Israel still take a great deal of interest in Israeli affairs. If your point is that Israel’s current political situation justifies the existence of the Jewish community… well, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Didn’t the persistence of a “unique” and distinct Jewish diaspora in effective *lead* to the creation of anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe, which necessitated the creation of an Israeli state *and* put it at risk? If we could rewind 80 years, and if this site was instead called “Blogging for Zion”… what would your position on the Jewish diaspora have been?

    I’m not trying to pick on your positions, but as it happens, some Chinese who take on American citizenship look to the “Israeli lobby” in the United States as a model. Looking at what Daniel has described in southeast Asia, the “nation within a nation” common with Chinese communities isn’t so different from what some Jewish communities became.

    The theory goes, if the Jews can forward the interests of their homeland without compromising their citizenship in their host nations… why can’t the Chinese?

  95. Buxi Says:

    @perspectivehere,

    I’m curious whether in the Mainland the history of 228 incident is well known? My guess would have initially been that it would be publicized because of the CCP-KMT antagonism, but then again because it cuts against “One China”, so I think on balance it would be not be news that would be publicized. Would you have a view on this?>

    The 228 incident was not well known on the mainland, until the past 5-10 years when it became regular headline news in Tawan. When it happened (1948?), it was just one of a series of similar acts of corrupt brutality by the KMT in the territory that it controlled, so it wasn’t especially unique.

    But absolutely, I’ve read that the CCP embraced the movement as its own. (And it’s very possible the CCP + sympathizers were partly behind instigating 228. In case people out there are not aware of it, Li Denghui was himself a member of the Communist Party of China for a brief time around this period.) I believe some of the figures associated with 228 fled to the mainland, into Communist-controlled territory. This is all just rough stuff “I’ve heard”, don’t ask me for exact references. :)

  96. Buxi Says:

    @Dkwan,

    You’ve called Chinese nationalism “stupid”… the least you can do is cut Nimrod some slack for saying your argument is based on ignorance. :) Let’s call it a tie.

    More seriously, I don’t think he meant it as an insult of your intelligence, nor did he use the term as a way of cutting off discussion. You’ve drawn conclusions that we, as people with decades of experience with modern China, simply can not accept. It’s not just a matter of agreeing to disagree, it’s more an issue of thinking you don’t have all of the facts.

    I said they use the Zhonghua Minzu concept (which was originally created by government, and later modified by government) as a method to promote their own agendas.

    The zhonghua minzu concept itself is important only when we’re trying to understand how Chinese nationalism has changed (and expanded) over the course of the last century. I think it’s a positive development, just like when the United States learned to treat African-Americans as more than 3/5th of other Americans. But the Chinese community’s ties to the Chinese nation goes back beyond that point.

    I wrote a thread on this blog about The Creationist Myth of Chinese Nationalism. I am willing to agree with those who say that the government has learned to use Chinese nationalism as a policy tool… just like George Bush has learned to use fear of terrorism as a policy tool… but the roots of Chinese nationalism is very real, and very independent of the Communist Party.

    My suggestion is that you take a look at the archived New York Times articles I linked at the bottom of that thread.

  97. ZT Says:

    @Buxi

    Regarding amnesty for huaqio Chinese. I defer to your superior knowledge on the subject but I accurately stated the news published in the English newspapers in Beijing and I agree that my teacher friend may have slipped through the cracks of established policy. However, I can list several exceptions I have witnessed while living here. I dare not put anyone at risk by delineating them. I do feel strongly that there are ways for expatriated Chinese to regain their citizenship in China whether it is legal or not. I live here and the law is only effective in some cases. Guanxi rules the balance.

    On another point conclusive to this blog. I try to apply numbers to everything I do. Sometimes impossible but it helps sort out the BS from the buckwheat sometimes. My interpretation of the contributions in this blog is that the majority of blood born ethnic Chinese writing here are offended that we gui lao have strong empathy with the Chinese and would consider it honorable to be accepted into the Chinese community.

    I am appalled that anyone could criticize Da shan for the great work he does trying to bridge two languages and two people. Despite the money and success he enjoys for his hard work, he is a selfless devotee to helping people. How tragic that a good person is seemingly unwelcome and is resposible for Chinese people “suffering indignities.

    All us “mongrels” from America, Europe and elsewhere whose bloodlines are filled with mixed ethnicity certainly need to come up with new reasons for leaving our comfortable lives elsewhere to come and help people we genuinely like.

    Really pissed on my day.!

  98. Buxi Says:

    @ZT,

    I think just about everyone that mocked Da Shan in the comments above were western expats, not Chinese… I could be wrong.

    The vast majority of Chinese people I know love the fact that Da Shan is so intimately familiar with Chinese culture/language, enough to be an ambassador for it. I won’t exaggerate and say that many people are actually ready to think of him as being Chinese, but they have true affection for him and any other foreigner that invests so much time in learning Chinese culture.

    On citizenship, you’re certainly right that with guanxi anything is possible, so it’s not too difficult to imagine people going through the backdoor. But legally speaking, the laws are clear.

  99. Buxi Says:

    @Andy,

    I have read through your comments and get the feeling that you don’t see nationalism or the nationalistic drawing up of a historical ‘race’ of Chinese as a negative thing? Do you consider yourselves reactionary or conservative?

    I don’t consider myself reactionary or conservative. I’ll leave the labeling to others.

    But yes, while I’m not going to speak for anyone else who blogs here (although I suspect most will echo me here): Chinese nationalism is a wonderful thing, and it’s precisely what motivates me into writing for this blog. I feel a great deal of pride in my country, people, and culture. I also feel a responsibility to do what little I can, as a Chinese person, to make my nation a better place.

    Now, there are some negative ways of demonstrating Chinese nationalism, and it’s also fair to question whether our government is using nationalism as a tool to gain other purposes… but all of this is just a reminder that we have to be logical, honest, and cynical even as we work to defend, forward, and respect the Chinese nation. Perhaps I would just say blind nationalism (blind anything) is clearly a negative thing.

    What do you think of people who ‘look’ Chinese but believe that humans are one race and nationalism is un-natural and negative? Are they traitors of some kind?… I thought this whole debate was coming out of the right wing attacks in Chinese net sites aimed at Chinese who have foreign passports? Do we not agree it’s a bad thing?

    Attacking Chinese with foreign passports is a horrible thing, and fortunately not something that happens very often. (My observation is that it’s mostly “rightists” in the Chinese world trying to score points by suggesting those with foreign passports can’t really be patriotic.) When it happens, my response is simple: Sun Zhongshan had an American passport.

    As far as those Chinese who think nationalism is un-natural and negative… I don’t use the label “traitors” lightly. I fundamentally disagree with their perspective, but I don’t feel a need to insult or belittle them. I’m just thankful that the vast majority of Chinese I know tend to share my view of the world.

  100. DJ Says:

    The following is what I heard two years ago from someone who was a middle level official at the political consultative conference.

    Over the last decade, there have been increasingly strong suggestions/pleadings to the Chinese government to recognize dual-citizenship so that many Chinese immigrated to the north America can retain their formal links to the homeland, which many do not want to lose. Beijing, apparently, was quite sympathetic to such requests and seriously considered it. Why not? It would have been a win-win situation, wouldn’t it? However, such a step was doomed by diplomatic considerations for the S.E.A. The concern was that the governments there would feel threatened if many ethnic Chinese, who were controlling disproportional chunks of the economy in those countries, were given Chinese citizenships.

  101. cephaloless Says:

    I think I’m about to throw in another tangent.

    In #94: “The theory goes, if the Jews can forward the interests of their homeland without compromising their citizenship in their host nations… why can’t the Chinese?”

    These enclaves certainly can make all sorts of difference in their adopted countries but when they rally behind another country’s flag, it doesn’t make a good impression. I’m not so sure about the overall perception of the overseas chinese support for the torch relay but I do have a better feel about protests about recent immigration laws in the united states. I remember there were protests with lots of mexican flags being waved around that didn’t leave a good impression with other locals in the area.

    Besides that, I don’t think it makes sense for ethnic chinese around the world to “love” the chinese nation (zhongguo) the most when there’s plenty of other chinese enclaves close by to pay attention to.

  102. EugeneZ Says:

    On the night of 4th of July in America, after a day of barbeque and an evening of fireworks, family/friend gatherings, what is on my mind is not so much “what does mean to be a Chinese”, a more relevant question for me is “what does it mean to be a Chinese American”, and for my children I have tentatively been teaching them to say “I am an American, and I am a Chinese”. But what does that mean to them when they grow up? The measure of “Chineseness” will be certainly be affected by birth and also by experience / influence /choice. The weight of “I am a Chinese” to my children will be undoubtfully influenced by decisions my wife and I make for them. I would like to see them grow up and be very proud of their Chinese heritage just I am.

  103. DKwan Says:

    Hi Buxi,
    Hey now I didn’t say Chinese nationalism is stupid. This is what I wrote:

    Honestly I’m not for or against reunification – either way is fine by me – but the stupidity of it all makes me not want to be called Chinese.

    It’s fine that people in China feel that reunification is the right thing, as long as they take the views of the people in Taiwan into consideration and not force reunification on them. But the consensus seems to be that reunification by any means, including military force, is acceptable, and that is what I feel is stupid. Sorry if it sounded like I meant Chinese nationalism in general, but I think this whole time all I’ve been talking about is values being forced upon others.

  104. Buxi Says:

    @DKwan,

    No blood, no foul. You don’t need to apologize, but your frustration with … “all of it”… was obvious. I just want to make sure you see the other side of the story.

    @EugeneZ,

    We were kicking around that exact topic, actually. (Admin/CLC suggested it.) What does it mean to be Chinese in America on the Fourth of July? I was too caught up with my own BBQ to get around to it… and I’m also really not sure what to say.

    Do you want to take a stab at the topic?

  105. Southerner Says:

    @ZT #97 Re: ‘All us “mongrels” from America, Europe and elsewhere whose bloodlines are filled with mixed ethnicity’

    Chinese are a mixed ethnicity.
    Call someone an ethnic Chinese is like calling you an ethnic American or ethnic European.

  106. zuiweng Says:

    @ZT (#97)

    Ooohh, now you’ve made me feel bad, I certainly didn’t want to ruin your day with my sarcastic Da Shan bashing. To clear it up, a few words on this tangential topic:

    - I’m highly appreciative of Da Shan’s Chinese language abilities. He deserves great credit for investing years of hard work into acquiring these skills and for immersing himself in a culture different from the one he has been brought up in. Same credit goes to everyone who’s looking beyond the confinement of his/her own culture and language – few experiences are as challenging and as rewarding.
    - As for his contributions to the venerable art of xiangsheng, I’m not so enthusiastic. Listen to any recording of his and you will instantly recognize him – and not by his superior skills. A native Chinese xiangsheng yanyuan with similar skills would be confined to private gatherings, I’m afraid. Listen to recordings of Hou Baolin, Ma Sanli, Jiang Kun, Ma Ji and so on, or even the more rowdy xiangsheng of Guo Degang, and tell me that there isn’t a world of difference.
    - Da Shan’s act hinges on the fact of his being a tall, gangly, blond foreigner, who speaks very decent Chinese and most of his scenes revolve around this inherently comic set-up. His variety of xiangsheng is very affirmative of the audience’s cultural values and unchallenging to the point of being bland (a rather common problem in modern xiangsheng, to be honest).
    - It might be interesting to compare this to „immigrant“ comedians in other countries, e.g. Muslim stand-up comedians in the UK and France, the Turkish comedy/slam-poetry/rap scene in Germany. Not quite so cuddly, would be my guess.

  107. Cwalking Says:

    Though I have not completely followed every response thread, I would venture to add another dimension into this discussion:

    mainly the role that “open” immigration and “melting-pot” ideas have had on North America. Culturally, ABCs and BBCs are actually more likely to believe they are “both” American and Chinese– fundamentally accepting that these two identifiers are not mutually exclusive.

    However, I must say outside the professional sphere, (where these questions are often politely addressed)– and into the more personal realm, often this identification is a compromise because, most ABCs and BBCs are quite aware they are far outside the mainstream definition of being American or Canadian. Becoming a “hybrid” allows a unique identity that makes up for the unique failure for both Americans and Chinese to fully accept these ABCs and BBCs.

    In America, in particular, there is much veiled racism and prejudice in nearly every strata of society– being culturally and ethnically different is always a criteria for being on the receiving end of animosity from the host races (e.g. whites and blacks).

    That’s all.

  108. ZT Says:

    @ zuiweng

    Your tangled rhetoric only confirms my suspicions that you are on a mission the rest of us in this blog may never understand. My skin is thick so this is not about Da shan but other people who sympathize, empathize with Chinese people. I see no intelligent reason to take you on one on one and I appreciate the candor and verbosity of your thoughts but I can’t really see where you stand on the specific issue of this blog. I clearly don’t understand what you think about foreigners feeling that they are Chinese and I want you to spit out the truth no matter how you feel. Your posts are just a little confusing and a part of this blog is to examine how you Chinese feel about foreigners wanting to belong to the Chinese community. Slow down…think about it …and then type slowly so that I know exactly where you are coming from.

  109. zuiweng Says:

    @ZT

    A few untangled words:

    - foreigners / non-Han as holders of Chinese nationality: No problem at all, there should be more of them and China should be well pleased if their nation is so attractive that foreigners want to be a permanent part of it.

    - Chineseness as defined by “blood lines” / genealogy / genes: This is possibly the prevalent feeling not only among Chinese (and who am I to criticize other people’s feelings about who belongs to their in-group), but I will readily admit that I’m not comfortable with this definition when it is applied to my own ethnic/national group (German, living in Europe)

    - Chinese by cultural adaptation/assimilation/integration: As stated above, I’m all for cross-cultural endeavours (learning foreign languages, living in different cultural environments, marrying across nationalities and generally re-inventing yourself whenever the fancy takes you), it’s just that I’ve never met one Chinese person who regarded Da Shan as a Chinese and not as a Canadian who speaks damn good Chinese.

    - fyi: my first visit to China was in 1982, I’ve been back at least once a year ever since, spent a couple of years there in the mid-80s as a student, worked in China as a translator on trade fairs and as a volunteer on environmental projects. My stance is unabashedly sinophile, but I refuse to regard Da Shan as a great xiangsheng yanyuan, even though he is probably a very nice person. So, there…

    Lighten up and have a laugh, you won’t lose your identity.

  110. Oli Says:

    @Hemulen

    “Shall I ask for an apology for this gratuitous insult? No. Fair enough, I may be arrogant, but I’m not ignorant of history.”
    “A fair share of the people that lived in the Holy Roman Empire weren’t German, they were Czechs, Poles, Italians and so on. And just a detail: Martin Luther died more than seventy years before the Thirty Years’ war.”

    You may know the facts of history, but you don’t seem to understand history. Martin Luther may have died 70 years before the 30 Years War, but his reformation with all its political, social and religious connotations led directly to the perceived distinction between Protestant Germany and its elite and that of Catholic Germany and Germany’s Catholic neighbours. Also, just a detail, but you seem not to know that Poland, Italy and the Czech polity were not yet nation states during the Holy Roman Empire. From historical texts we know that these people, while speaking different languages, nevertheless did consider themselves part of the Empire, much like different ethnic groups in China have always considered and continue to consider themselves as part of the various imperial dynasties and of today’s modern China.

    “Most German-speaking people are not Lutheran; they are Catholic. Austria is and was predominantly Catholic, which is why Bismarck did not want Austria to join Germany. Just a detail.”

    Actually, Bismarck didn’t want Austria to join, not because it was Catholic, but because the Austro-Hungarian Hapsburg dynasty was seen as in direct competition with the Prussian Hohenzollern dynasty for the leadership of a united Germany. Although being Catholic was a social issue it was not a political issue, otherwise the Kingdom of Bavaria would never have been willingly accepted into Germany (although bailing out Ludwig II after he built Hohenschwangau/Neuschwanstein may have helped). Just a detail.

    “We don’t know very much what the “Chinese people” thought about unity or division during the Song dynasty. We know some about what elite observers thought.

    Actually, from Song dynasty literature, both popular and the classics and from imperial records (the elite observers I presume) we Chinese do know exactly what people thought at the time about unity, and we are not just talking about Yue Fei, but also Chen Yi and Song dynasty poets. What non-Chinese always seem to forget is that the Chinese invented printing and consequently books and records became very much a social obsession even beyond the realm of the central imperial bureaucracy. To such an extent that there are even surviving Song and Ming Dyansty records of how much toilet paper one district produced and consumed.

    “Well, the Qing dynasty fell almost fifty year after the Taipings were defeated.”

    Hmmm, I rest my case about knowing history and understanding history.

    “Of course not. But it undermines his or her argument. If the PRC and its policies are good enough to defend, the country itself should be good enough to live in.”

    Now that’s the dumbest statement I’ve read in a very long time in this day and age of globalisation and air travel. People go to live in China and leave China for all sorts of different reasons, yet you appear to think that all PRC Chinese left China because of government policies alone. You need to broaden your horizon a bit more and perhaps trying to learn some German could be a start.

  111. Oli Says:

    @Zuiweng

    So von wo aus Deutschland sind Sie?

  112. zuiweng Says:

    @Oli

    Ein kleines Rätsel:

    父亲是柏林人,我长大在博登湖滨,今自称”苏黎山醉翁”。

    你知道我住在哪里?

  113. Oli Says:

    @zuiweng

    Sie sind ein Berliner, ich bin ein Frankfurter, aber Bodensee ist auch ganz schoen. Und prost! 苏黎山醉翁. :)

  114. Oli Says:

    @ Hemulen

    “Even I have served the army of my native country as a conscript. I know what it is to sacrifice a year of your life to my country.”

    Wow! You did one year of military service! Whoopee do. Thats barely out of basic training, but I suppose anything to make you feel all da man.

  115. Hemulen Says:

    @Oli

    If you claim to understand history, it helps if you get the facts straight. Your original point about German nationalism always having been the same speaks volumes of your ignorance of European history.

    you seem not to know that Poland, Italy and the Czech polity were not yet nation states during the Holy Roman Empire.

    Well, that was precisely my point, the Holy Roman Empire was not a nation state at all, but a religiously defined state and many of the people who lived there were not German.

    we Chinese do know exactly what people thought at the time about unity, and we are not just talking about Yue Fei, but also Chen Yi and Song dynasty poets.

    Song dynasty poetry is elite discourse.

    Now that’s the dumbest statement I’ve read in a very long time in this day and age of globalisation and air travel.

    No, it’s not. There is nothing wrong with living abroad, but the fact that many of China’s leaders and many Chinese patriots either have chosen to live abroad or carry permanent resident cards in foreign countries says a lot of confident they are in their country’s future. I am not the first one to have pointed this out.

    You did one year of military service! Whoopee do. Thats barely out of basic training, but I suppose anything to make you feel all da man.

    Yup, just basic training, very unglamorous. All I am trying to say is that if you come from a small country, you are not inclined to outsource the army to the rural underclass, as in China or the US. All those Chinese hotheads who argue for war with Taiwan or Japan expect someone else to do the fighting for them.

    The bottom line is that Chinese nationalism is difficult to take seriously as long as many of its chief proponents are not prepared to serve in its armed forces and are not willing to live in China. You seem to be one of them.

  116. Hemulen Says:

    @Buxi

    Legally speaking, the term refers to anyone holding PRC citizenship/passports, but residing overseas. It applies equally to Chinese of all ethnicity.

    Well, that’s not what it seems to most Chinese. Very few Chinese would recognize DL as one of the few Chinese-born Nobel Prize winners.

    I want to go back to the Israeli diaspora question, since that seems like the best route to understand your theories on this issue. You’ve brought up a few points that distinguish Israel from China, but quite frankly, it seems like a distinction without a difference. I don’t see how the fact that Israeli residents are obligated to serve in the IDF, and the fact that Chinese literally have to compete to be selected into the PLA are relevant to understanding the Chinese and Jewish diasporas.

    I don’t think that the biggest difference between the Chinese and Jewish diaspora is the the nature of the national armies. The biggest difference is the fact that Jews have been without a state until the foundation of Israel, the existence of which remains controversial. Whether we agree with it or not, many Jews regard the existence of Israel as a safeguard of the existence of the Jewish people.

    The Chinese as a nation has never faced an existential threat comparable to Jews and other stateless peoples; there has always been a China you can go back to, although the attractiveness of that option has varied. Chinese do not face the dangers of complete assimilations as the Jews have faced. Quite on the contrary, Chinese have been able to create majorities in some place where they have settled and thus change the rules of the game. With the notable exception of Israel, that has never been the case of the Jews.

    As to the role of the army, as much as I disagree with the occupation of Palestinian lands, I do respect the nationalist zeal of those who chose to emigrate to Israel and let their children serve in the army. Legions of Chinese patriots have learned that the PRC is not worth risking their lives for and they have found that a foreign passport or a green card is a convenient insurance policy.

    Didn’t the persistence of a “unique” and distinct Jewish diaspora in effective *lead* to the creation of anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe, which necessitated the creation of an Israeli state *and* put it at risk?

    Anti-semitism in Europe has taken many different forms over the centuries and you could write a whole blog about that and I am wary of blaming the Jews for their own plight, which you seem to do here. Remember that the Holocaust started in Germany, one of the first countries in Europe that gave Jews full citizenship rights and where most Jews were fully assimilated.

  117. Buxi Says:

    @Hemulen,

    On the term huaqiao, I’m giving you the legal definition. And if the Dalai Lama returned in China in 1988, he would’ve been appointed a vice chairman of the National People’s Congress. I think most of us would, if that had happened, happily thought of him as being Chinese. Of course, I’m suspicious he would’ve been given the Nobel Peace Prize in that context…

    I don’t think that the biggest difference between the Chinese and Jewish diaspora is the the nature of the national armies. The biggest difference is the fact that Jews have been without a state until the foundation of Israel, the existence of which remains controversial. Whether we agree with it or not, many Jews regard the existence of Israel as a safeguard of the existence of the Jewish people.

    You’re more or less missing the point. Why is there, or why was there a “Jewish people” at all? After more than 1500 years of history in Europe, why weren’t there simply German (French, Russian, American) citizens of Jewish extraction?

    If a unique “Jewish people” can exist for thousands of years in non-Jewish lands, then what’s so confusing or debatable about the existence of a unique “Chinese people” in non-Chinese lands?

  118. Buxi Says:

    Did I stumble onto Blogging for Germany…? :) I will say a quick word in Zuiwang’s defense.

    @ZT, everyone here is allowed to be on a mission. I only ask that the mission is carried out logically and intelligently, and (god help me) politely. I think Zuiwang has proven he knows quite a bit about China, and he’s been logical, intelligent, and polite. None of us have to agree with him, but let’s focus on what he’s saying instead of him as a person.

    I even agree with him that Da Shan gets a lot of air time because he happens to be a “foreigner” speaking Chinese very, very well. But I’d disagree with zuiwang in the sense that… well, I don’t see that as a bad thing for either the ethnic Chinese or “cultural” Chinese. We really appreciate and like Da Shan and the Liberian singer Hao Ge.

  119. nanheyangrouchuan Says:

    For all of the author’s bluster about being “Chinese” despite being born and raised in the US, the closest he gets to living in China is living in Taiwan, a separate country. And I’ll bet the guy still goes after American food quite often, likes his share of American TV shows and music and understands the nuances. What does that make him? American.

    Our cultural identity, whether we like it or not, is a product of the environment we are raised in. I’ll bet the author makes the most out of his bilingual abilities and western cultural fluency as well. Hardly a “typical” Chinese person who would be working a very average white collar job, doing construction, plowing a field or owning a small store. Let’s see the author really get down with real born and raised Chinese.

  120. Hemulen Says:

    @Buxi

    You’re more or less missing the point. Why is there, or why was there a “Jewish people” at all? After more than 1500 years of history in Europe, why weren’t there simply German (French, Russian, American) citizens of Jewish extraction?

    Well, Jewish identity is mutable and has been defined in a variety of ways. Today there are people who consider themselves Jewish citizens of Germany and other countries, and noting more. For most of European history, people defined themselves by religion, not by ethnicity, and Jewish identity was a question of faith. Just like any other nationalism the idea that Jews are a people or a nation is a relatively recent idea, which originated in the 19th century. Zionism was controversial to many Jews, who would say that there is no Jewish people, just people of Jewish faith. The Holocaust and the creation of Israel changed all that, of course.

    If a unique “Jewish people” can exist for thousands of years in non-Jewish lands, then what’s so confusing or debatable about the existence of a unique “Chinese people” in non-Chinese lands?

    There is nothing confusing about the existence of very diverse Chinese communities outside of China. I just don’t see how you can make any meaningful comparisons between the Jewish and Chinese diasporas. And it is debatable why overseas Chinese should feel any loyalty the Chinese government as it exists today or what gives the PRC government the right to define Chineseness. Historically, to most overseas Chinese, their loyalty has been to the clan or home region. Of course, there were some Ming loyalists who went to Japan and elsewhere, but most ordinary Chinese have never felt any attachment to a dynasty as such, the family and the home region mattered. Unlike Jewish communities, who have no particular regional origin in Palestine, most Chinese communities have strong ties to the ancestral region. Regardless of what government that happen to be in the capital, overseas Chinese could return to their home village and meet relatives who speak their home dialect. Israel is a much more recent creation and no comparable relationship exists between Jews in the diaspora and Israel.

    What is undebatable however is that many Jews regard the survival of Israel as vital to the survival of the Jewish people, regardless of how you define Jewish identity. China, on the other hand, will always be there in one shape or another.

  121. Daniel Says:

    I’m going to have to agree in part with Hemulen.

    The Experiences and conditions between the Chinese and Jewish Diasporas and the Ancestorial Homelands are a bit different and unique.
    There are some similarities, but topic with Israel was full of needs and different opinions. The urgent need for a safe Haven, debateble religious callings to re-establish a sovereign state, a desire to have a central focal point of specific Jewish needs, (some of their Mitzvahs or commandments are only applicable in the Land of Israel), symbolic representation, etc.

    Throughout Hua Ren communities around the world, many have been able to either lay down their roots, play by their own rules or integrate in their local societies, are both. They are pretty much active in almost every area of society, nearly every occupation and environment can be consider opportunity to either support their love ones or achieve whatever personal goals each individual have. A lot of aid sent back to the Mainland was directed or intended for their particular home villages or relatives.

  122. Oli Says:

    @Hemulen

    “f you claim to understand history, it helps if you get the facts straight. Your original point about German nationalism always having been the same speaks volumes of your ignorance of European history.
    Well, that was precisely my point, the Holy Roman Empire was not a nation state at all, but a religiously defined state and many of the people who lived there were not German.”

    The fact that the HGE had people of different ethnicity is largely irrelevant to the genesis and the development of the “idea” of a unified Germany in the minds of “Germans” down the centuries, be they Preussen, Sachsen, Schwaben or Hessen. Similarly, just as the “idea” of “China” has always endured in the minds of “Chinese”, whether they were Hunanese, Szechuanese, Mongolians, Koreans, Miaos, Qiangs, Hakka or Cantonese or of the Turkic peoples, or whether they were Tang chao ren or Qing chao ren. Similarly in modern China, there too are Taiwanese, HKers and Overseas Chinese of whatever nationality etc who also consider themselves “Chinese”.

    Being Chinese is not just about citizenship or allegiance to China’s government, whichever form it has, had or will have. It is not just about food, language, literature or even culture in general for all that has changed and will change. Ultimately, what causes one “Chinese” to recognise another also as “Chinese”, irrespective of his/her backgrounds, is their shared commonality in their Weltanschauung at that point in time, despite their differences. It is by sharing commonality that people make connections with each other and identify with each other. This is why Chinese have always identified with the land that is China, sought a united “China” and this is what it means to be “Chinese”.

    “Sung dynasty poetry is elite discourse.”

    Wow, thats a pretty Marxist interpretation of history.
    Actually, Sung poetry, plays and story telling were common entertainment and were popular with all social classes. They were recited at teahouses, licensed brothels and other entertainment venues irrespective of social classes, and also being venues travelling poets particularly enjoyed frequenting. Chinese historians know this from some surviving proprietors’ account books detailing the entertainers they hired, the entertainment they provided, their payments and notable poets who visited their establishments and of course from poems, in particular those describing especially delicious dishes or wine.

    For the locals, having a travelling poet visiting was akin to Europe’s travelling bards or troubadours, for they bring not only entertainment, but also news and descriptions of faraway places, so that they in essence became travelling cinemas, particularly as many of these poems were particularly descriptive.

    And should you have a chance to gain access the archives of the Imperial Palace Museums or the University of Beijing, you will find not only surviving reports from local officials to the palace about local sentiments, but also chits and “bills of lading” with annotations on local instabilities and their possible causes which are of interests to “shipping agents”.

    There are even preserved records on bamboo strips that dates back further than the Sung dynasty detailing pretty much similar things. It is only in modern times where there are more competing variety of entertainment and the resulting “dumbing down” that we see a decline in poetry as popular entertainment in both East and West, which in term made it appears “elitist”. So your claim that Sung poetry is elite discourse is perhaps a reflection of your own “dumbing down” and symptomatic of today’s social trend.

    If readers are interested about Tang and Sung dynasty poems, I would highly recommend “Anthology of Chinese Literature”, edited by Cyril Birch and “Poems of the Masters”, translated by Red Pine, which has poems in both Chinese (old style) and English translation and also brief explanatory notes.

    “No, it’s not. There is nothing wrong with living abroad, but the fact that many of China’s leaders and many Chinese patriots either have chosen to live abroad or carry permanent resident cards in foreign countries says a lot of confident they are in their country’s future. I am not the first one to have pointed this out.”

    Sorry, another dumb statement. And just because others have also pointed it out does not make it less dumb, but then I guess ignorance always seek each other out for company and support since ignorance never stands alone.

    As Buxi explained many times before, Sun Zhongshan/Yat Sen was a US citizen, but what is less well known is that many other Chinese from both N. America and SE Asia actually also returned to China to fight the Japanese and both their equipment, supplies and travelling expenses were often either paid out of their own pocket or by donations from Overseas Chinese communities. I have seen many photographs of these Overseas Chinese soldiers, both while they were in training or at the front lines and I believe some of these photos can also be found in the old Life Magazine photojournalism archive.

    Furthermore, while many Overseas Chinese would probably just ignore a war between the PRC and the ROC, they undoubtedly will participate if China were invaded, just as I believe China will also intervene if armed conflict was to break out between ROC and Japan, say over Diaoyutai.

    “Yup, just basic training, very unglamorous. All I am trying to say is that if you come from a small country, you are not inclined to outsource the army to the rural underclass, as in China or the US. All those Chinese hotheads who argue for war with Taiwan or Japan expect someone else to do the fighting for them.
    The bottom line is that Chinese nationalism is difficult to take seriously as long as many of its chief proponents are not prepared to serve in its armed forces and are not willing to live in China. You seem to be one of them.”

    Listen, matey, you know jack all about me or any other people here, so kindly refrain from presuming too much. Without sounding like a prick of a psuedo-Marxist snob such as yourself, I have never considered anybody part of the “rural underclass” whilst I performed my military duty, but unlike you I simply didn’t see any point engaging in a juvenile manhood waving contest, just to make oneself feel better. I mean seriously, some people did military service, others did not, so what!? Whats the big friggin deal about military service anyway?! Did it make your penis grow bigger or something??? And is that why your reasoning ability was correspondingly reduced???

  123. Marc Says:

    I agree with DKwan’s comment at #76. It’s stupid to force all individuals with Chinese bloodline to think, act, protest like the Chinese from China.

    Buxi, you clearly are under the influence of Beijing. No matter what Chinese government does, China is still your motherland. How could abandon your own mother? ‘Nough said!

  124. Marc Says:

    Buxi is a well-educated, intelligent scholar originally from China. While growing up in China, he was instilled all kinds of ism’s – communism, marxim, maoism (or mao’s thoughts), lenninism… After growing up and while still in China, Buxi realized that he had been lied to by all these ism’s. He refused to believe any of them. But there is only one problem that Buxi himself still doesn’t know yet. These ism’s are “not only the world outlook, but also the methodology upon which all thoughts and reasonings should be checked against.” Remember that, Buxi? (shi jie guang, meaning world outlook, and fan fa ruan, methodology). So even today while Buxi rejects all those ism’s, he can never get rid of the methodological frameworks that come with these ism’s. That probably explains why his take on Tibet has nothing to be with Tibetan’s religious values. It also explains his claim of foreign invasions over the years that have kept China poor. He probably also thinks the Tai Ping Tian Guo movement (Boxers Rebellion) was a just patriotic movement. No foreigners, children, women were butchered by Chinese Boxers. They were a bunch of patriotic Chinese farmers. Is that right, Buxi? Buxi is the worst kind of Chinese scholars to debate. He is polite, albeit wordy and meaningless in his arguements. If you are not careful, you would be fooled to believe he is the voice of reason.

    As for me, I am a Christian, left China in 1990. I went through all kinds of persecutions by the official government church agents while China. Note that I don’t support those idiotic FaLungG members. So please don’t confuse us with them. I am one of millions of Chinese house church Christians who happen to believe the Bible is the Word of God and that the propaganda from communist religion bureau should not replace the Bible. As of today, Chinese government has shut down house church Christian gatherings in Beijing and elsewhere. I have Christian friends who were killed in prison in the last 7 or 8 years. Their crime? They refused to join the official church which doesn’t even believe the Bible is the word of God and that communist leaders are sinless. I can understand their persecutions on Christians 30 years ago, but the fact that they still persecute them today is beyond comprehension. This is not a bad PR like they did with handling torch relays. They persecute Christians on purpose and with great tactics.

    Buxi, if you have a faith, you wouldn’t have supported or defended Beijing government as you did.

  125. Hemulen Says:

    @Oli

    I’m a bit tired right now and I will respond to your rant later. Just remember that you are the one who started to talk about manhood and penises, I didn’t.

  126. snow Says:

    Marc

    “As of today, Chinese government has shut down house church Christian gatherings in Beijing and elsewhere.”

    It so happened that I was doing a research on Chrisitanity in China a few years ago and interviewd Christians both from state church and house church. I can say this to you–your statement is pure lie!

  127. Eric Says:

    Follow up your very interesting discussion

  128. pug_ster Says:

    @Marc

    The problem with some of these house churches in China is that they use these gatherings as an excuse to start riots and overthrow governments.

  129. Buxi Says:

    @Marc,

    I went through all kinds of persecutions by the official government church agents while China. Note that I don’t support those idiotic FaLungG members. So please don’t confuse us with them.

    Sorry, do you really not see the hypocrisy in this sentence?

    As well as your evaluation of Buxi… it doesn’t sound like me. But I’ll lead the readers be the judge of that.

    Buxi, you clearly are under the influence of Beijing. No matter what Chinese government does, China is still your motherland. How could abandon your own mother? ‘Nough said!

    Well, I can easily imagine how to “abandon my own mother.” As I said before, many of my friends/colleagues have done precisely that, and I understand their reasons why. However, I personally choose not to. This is clearly and absolutely a choice.

    As far as whether this means I’m influenced by the Chinese government… only as much as you’re influenced by the American government, I guess. My relationship with China and the Chinese government is not nearly as complicated as the -isms you’ve quoted. I’ll repeat a simple quote, something great Americans would understand:

    My country; when right, keep it right; when wrong, put it right.

  130. snow Says:

    Marc

    The real situation of Christianity in China is far more complex than what you led people to believe: a partial truth is sometime worse than a lie.

    A pastor from the state church told me: it is true the church is under the supervision of the party and government. But it is also true they cannot force you to preach the Communist Manifesto in Sunday service, and “as long as you are not plotting to overthrow the government, you are allowed to do almost anything nowadays.”

    He thought that the “Three Selves Patriotic Christianity” was a workable solution; self-government, self-sufficiency, and self-development are good things. he believed that there’s nothing wrong with being patriotic as many Christians in other countries love their motherland.

    he also told me that there were three types of Christians. The first group belongs to the “Three Selves Patriotic Christian Movement,” which is recognized and supported by the government.The second group, the underground dissidents, mostly the “house church,” refuses to be associated with the Three Selves Patriotic Christian’s Movement. The government suppresses their activities whenever subversive political activity is suspecte (I suppose it may not be alwasy justified due to the bureaucratic inner function of the government machine). But they are able to have regular study meetings, get financial support from overseas Christian organizations, and have suvivied in a booming membership of millioms.

    The third group is also underground house churches, but not identified as political dissidents. They use Christianity as a means to control people’s minds and engage in all kinds of illegal activities such as swindling people out of their money, contraband, and even rape. They are powerful and in large numbers, especially in inland, remote, underdeveloped areas. They can be very powerful and manipulative.

    The mentor of this pastor, an old lady who first introduced him to Christianity
    belongs to an underground house church, but she always supports his work. he understood that she was one of those people who could not identify with the government-sanctioned church for the old wounds had hurt people like her too deeply. Every now and then they meet with each other on friendly terms..

    I won’t go further into this since this is not a thread on Christianity in China.

  131. admin Says:

    @snow

    Would you be willing to write a post on Christianity in China?

  132. MutantJedi Says:

    Marc,

    I would think that the church outside of China would be a bit concerned about home churches within China. If there is anything that an organized religion feels compelled to do it is to control the message. A great risk to the integrity of the message is a whole bunch of small churches lead by lay leaders. I wonder how many of these home churches teach a doctrine that would not be approved by the major denominations outside of China.

    Home churches, naturally, are a concern for a government that also likes to control the message. But, I am uncertain about the degree of repression the church is under these days. As you mention, you’ve been out of China since 1990 so is your information is coming from the same sources that view the potential hot beds of heresy, the house church, in a romantic light?

    What I do find interesting in your posts is your reaction to expressions of your cultural heritage in America. I can understand reacting against American stereotypes of Chinese culture but I don’t get a sense of you being interested in sharing any part of the culture from your region of China. Being Christian is not an anathema to being Chinese (culture sense). In the Chinese Christian church that I attended, we celebrated being Chinese. I, a guailo, even got to play the monk in the lion dance a couple of years – so much fun! And little kids look so cute in those Chinese costumes. I saw a few of them in Beijing and Hong Kong this last 春节. Why are you so hostile to these simple things?

  133. Daniel Says:

    Sounds like an interesting off-shoot mini-discussion. As I have not been to the Mainland, I will say that most of the information I have is by word of mouth, and it comes from several students, immigrants and relatives who have live and travel in China.
    Putting aside possible politics, I don’t quite sense much trouble with religion there, including Christianity. I personally know a missionary family in Kunming (one of the Indonesian Chinese I mentioned before) and I still contact once in a while. I also know a few Missionary Kids who grew up in China. Religion is a personal belief and unless there’s something not quite right, I don’t recalled much harrasment regarding thier activities in my conversations with them.

    The biggest complaint I heard was more societal rather than politics. They mentioned to me a few times about why isn’t the Christian Spirit penetrating deep into the society there in comparison with other countries, with South Korea being one of the most brought up countries they listed to compared. In a sense, I could understand why they appear to be frustrated having to grow up with many Christians, but that is in the States. It was a bit confusing because at the same time they complain I would hear countless stories of many many Chinese on the Mainland being “Saved” or dedicated to the Lord or being persecuted. Several speakers and videos were presented at a Church I attended of these house Churches but it seemed pretty ordinary for my perspective, or ordinary with the Denomination my Church was affiliated with.
    I seriously don’t know the truth without having to see it with my own eyes.

  134. BMY Says:

    @Marc,

    Re your #123,

    I think CCP’s education has deeply influenced your thinking and logic even you have stayed in the US for 18 years.

    You asked why “No matter what Chinese government does, China is still your motherland” I can clearly see you automatically equal “government”=”nation” . This has reminded me the CCP always says the party and nation together. “党和国家“

    Have you asked American people include yourself why ” No matter what Bush government dose, the USA is still your loved country”

    Do you still remember SunZhongShan was trying to overthrow the Chinese government while he loved the motherland.

    You bond the CCP and China nation too tightly together.

    Re your # 124 the house church story,

    I know there are many underground house churches are Roma Catholic churches. This caused by the Vantican anti commie stance. So it’s really a political issue.

    There are millions of Christians in China who attend the official churches , are you implying them reading communism in the church instead of the Bible? Have you heard a guy “Runner Fan” who made a name in the SiChuan earthquake, he belongs to a local church group. He talks about Christianity’s influence of his thinking and behave. He sounds he beleive Bible not communism. For me, his church group dose not seem to worship Marx, or Lenin or Mao but God.( I am not here to argue his behave had anything to do with Christianity.)

    Your story of someone be executed just because they refused to attend the official church is so cheap.

    Regarding your earlier argument #52, I am from a region where we do dragon dance but no lion dance. I don’t see lion dance or dragon dance as the symbol of Chinese culture, but I do enjoy watching them. You can like or dislike as your personal taste and your own choice. But to say them and Chinese costumes are a stupid ,backwards and political awareness crap just indicate yourself is not a open minded American you claim to be.

  135. snow Says:

    Admin,

    I’d be honored, but my information on the subject is already eight years old. What we really need here is something up-to-date. I shall try to find a better source for the blog.

  136. admin Says:

    @snow

    Could you please email me at webmaster@foolsmountain.com and we can discuss this further?

  137. perspectivehere Says:

    @Marc

    Christianity in China (like Christianity in America) is a very very complicated topic. I would welcome a discussion thread on it some other time and would like to hear your views.

    I just wanted to add a comment to the “3 groups of churches” comment by Snow:

    “The third group is also underground house churches, but not identified as political dissidents. They use Christianity as a means to control people’s minds and engage in all kinds of illegal activities such as swindling people out of their money, contraband, and even rape. They are powerful and in large numbers, especially in inland, remote, underdeveloped areas. They can be very powerful and manipulative.”

    The most well-known of these groups in the West is “Eastern Lightning” which is estimated to have anywhere from several hundred thousand to more than a million members.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Lightning

    American Christian writers have denounced this group as being unbiblical. See “Deceived by Lightning”.
    http://www.equip.org/site/c.muI1LaMNJrE/b.2548951/k.D417/httpwwwequiporgfreeJAL130htm.htm

    Yet the more China opens up religious freedoms, the more people will join the third group, which would surely be a bad thing, no? How are we (or the Chinese government) to distinguish between the second group and the third group?

    The American governmental authorities have recently tried to distinguish between the FLDS (which many Christians do not believe are Christian) and other legitimate Christian sects and found that….it couldn’t. They could not find a legitimate reason to shut them down (despite evidence of middle aged men having multiple underage brides) other than criminality which was difficult to find and prove.

    I find therefore that your description of the Chinese government’s persecution of the house churches overly one-sided.

    While I don’t doubt that this does happen still in some rural areas, I understand that the persecution is much less now than before, and my understanding is that the unofficial churches are mostly tolerated as long as there is no political dissent.

    Most startling is the first chapter of “Jesus in Beijing” where the author describes the shock in a group of visiting Western evangelicals when their host, an official at a Chinese governmental research institute, tells the group that the Chinese government actually likes Christianity because of its historical effect of creating a productive and positive populace. This is in line with the government’s thinking. http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Beijing-Christianity-Changing-Balance/dp/0895261286

    On the other hand, according to Paul Hattaway, estimates are that there are approximately 80 – 100 million Christians of all kinds in China. Hattaway suggests that it is due to persecutions that Christianity grows: “In many areas of the world, Christians hear stories about persecution in countries like China and consider it abnormal. Could it be that according to Scripture, the Chinese experience is “normal” and our Christianity is abnormal? The Chinese believers have much in common with the New Testament church….A major component in China’s revival has undoubtedly been the persecution, hardship and cruel martyrdom that followers of Christ have been called to endure for many centuries.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Chinas-Christian-Martyrs-Paul-Hattaway/dp/0825461278

    Blessings and Peace

  138. Buxi Says:

    @snow,

    I’d be really interested if in your discussion of Christianity, you could talk a little about Franklin Graham, the son of the evangelical. I have only a really basic understanding of what he stands for, and I’m very curious what sort of… meeting of the minds, I guess you could say… he’s been able to work out that allows him to work successfully with the Chinese government.

  139. perspectivehere Says:

    @Buxi

    On reflection, I think the topic of “what it means to be Chinese” has, since Qing times, been increasingly bound up with what it means to be a Chinese Christian.

    Is it possible to be both Chinese and Christian? This was the question that confronted the early Jesuit missionaries. Many of their Chinese converts to Christianity were government officials who were required to participate in State rituals in honor of the emperor. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Rites_controversy. Yet, if these rituals were interpreted as a form of idolatry (which on their face, appeared to be so), then these converts would be violating the precepts of their new faith. The Jesuits reasoned that these practices were secular, not religious. The Pope (under the influence of rival religious orders) ruled otherwise, and a papal decree of 1715 effectively ended the Christian mission in China for over a century. This position was reversed in 1939 (which was by then a moot point as the emperor was no longer on the throne and the rites were no longer practiced).

    Today, I think we see similar tensions. Many “westernized” Chinese over the past century and a half since the opening of the treaty ports became so through Christian missionary schools. So many Chinese Christians have had to struggle with the question of identity throughout the 20th century.

    You should be aware that there are many Chinese (and now many Western) Christians who believe that the best thing to happen to the Church in China was the expulsion of Western missionaries; only then could Christianity become rooted in the Chinese soil and develop a truly Chinese Christian Church.

    Note the renovations to St Ignatius Cathedral in Shanghai now use stain-glass windows with Chinese themes: http://www.companysj.com/v222/shanghaijournal.htm

    I want to mention a good blog that covers Catholicism in China written by Adam Minter:

    http://shanghaiscrap.com/?cat=17

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200707/chinese-bishop

    @Marc

    You’re mistaken. Taiping Tianguo is not known as the “Boxer” rebellion, it is the “Taiping Rebellion”. I’m sure this was just a slip of the finger and you knew that.

    The Taiping Rebellion is actually a good example of a Christian convert who had visions of his own divinity (like some other cult leaders in China), except that his campaign to bring about God’s heavenly kingdom in 19th century China led to over 20 million deaths.

    See review of God’s Chinese Son”
    http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9606/reviews/griffiths.html

    How does the Chinese government prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again?

  140. Buxi Says:

    @nanheyangrouchuan,

    For all of the author’s bluster about being “Chinese” despite being born and raised in the US, the closest he gets to living in China is living in Taiwan, a separate country

    I believe you’re confused. According to the author’s description of himself on MITBBS, he’s American-educated but mainland China-born, currently in graduate school (MBA?) in the US.

    But perhaps you’re talking about Wang Lihong, the singer (and actor who put in a great performance in “Lust Caution”)? He was New York-born and entirely US raised, and his primary exposure to “China”, before his professional success, was through Taiwan.

    And I’ll bet the guy still goes after American food quite often, likes his share of American TV shows and music and understands the nuances. What does that make him? American.

    If someone in China goes after American food, and likes American TV shows and music and understand the nuances… does that also makes him American? And what if someone in the US likes Chinese food, reads the Chinese classics, likes wuxia books, and listens to Chinese music… does that make him Chinese?

    That’s not a snide comeback. There are a lot of people with cultural exposure to both, compatible and comfortable in both cultures.

  141. Hemulen Says:

    @Oli

    The fact that the HGE had people of different ethnicity is largely irrelevant to the genesis and the development of the “idea” of a unified Germany in the minds of “Germans” down the centuries, be they Preussen, Sachsen, Schwaben or Hessen. Similarly, just as the “idea” of “China” has always endured in the minds of “Chinese”, whether they were Hunanese, Szechuanese, Mongolians, Koreans, Miaos, Qiangs, Hakka or Cantonese or of the Turkic peoples, or whether they were Tang chao ren or Qing chao ren.

    To return to my original post, I never denied that the idea of a unified Germany has had sway over the minds of many Germans historically. Similarly, there are many German-speaking peoples who were against the unification of Germany under Prussia and were OK with the exisiting order. There are also Mongols, Koreans and Turks who would like not to be part of China.

    I’m OK with the reunification of any country as long as it is voluntary and not carried out at gunpoint. The PRC government on the other hand is joining the ranks of countries who wish to carry out reunification even at the cost of war. Weimar Germany was not prepared to do that, but Nazi Germany was.

    So your claim that Sung poetry is elite discourse is perhaps a reflection of your own “dumbing down” and symptomatic of today’s social trend.

    I never said that Song poetry was not enjoyed by people in general. All I’m saying is that there are limits to what we know about popular feelings in Song China and poetry is not a good source. Neither are official archival documents.

    Sorry, another dumb statement. And just because others have also pointed it out does not make it less dumb, but then I guess ignorance always seek each other out for company and support since ignorance never stands alone.

    I don’t question your right to wave your flag and making full use of the liberties you enjoy in an open society. But when you demonstrate in front of the editorial office of Der Spiegel because you feel that they have been “anti-China”, many Europeans feel that you are a hypocrite. While you can wave your flag as much as you like back home, most of you would never lift a finger to give a foreigner the right to have a nationalistic protest march.

    Your government expels German journalists from China, while the German government allows Xinhua correspondents to roam Germany freely with Schengen visas. If a Chinese is threatened with expulsion from Germany, you could count on German civil rights groups for help. The Chinese students association at your university would never lift a finger for any German threatened of expulsion from China.

    That’s is why the Western press ignores you.

    As Buxi explained many times before, Sun Zhongshan/Yat Sen was a US citizen, but what is less well known is that many other Chinese from both N. America and SE Asia actually also returned to China to fight the Japanese and both their equipment, supplies and travelling expenses were often either paid out of their own pocket or by donations from Overseas Chinese communities.

    Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese patriot and a dissident who fled persecution in his native country. Many people have followed him and settled in the West as a result of persecution. Unlike the PRC, who even refuses to give ethnic Chinese refugees citizenship rights, most Western countries have asylum laws and accept refugees, because it is part of our tradition. That is OK with most of us. But we have little patience for your government fomenting pro-PRC patriotism in our countries and we are adamantly opposed to attempt by your government to control what can be said about China.

    As for the rest of your post, try to be civil.

  142. Daniel Says:

    It would be interesting to see how Christianity would look like if firmy planted in Chinese soil.
    By the way, this blog is nice that we can discuss freely and trust me, compared with many other blogs and forums, it is one of the most “mature” in a sense.

    Even though I’ve grown up in Christian environment, I’ve also been exposed and study a little bit about other religions/cultures (in some cases they are a inseperateble part of each other), just enough to give me a good generalization.
    I really get a strong intiution based on my experiences, observations and limited knowledge that if Christianity is strongly implanted in Chinese society, it’s going to be both very different and similar to other countries. Similar in that many people treat the Church as either a social outlet or charity organization. Superficially, I don’t see much difference between how Catholics or Buddhists behave in their interactions with others and personal lives.
    This is just my personal opinion but if Christianity does get implanted strongly in Chinese society, the ideals are going to be closer to Judaism than most Christian denominations. After the second even first generation of Christians, people will start questioning and investigating their own beliefs to a point where they want to understand the origins and reasoning behind their faith. This is going to be more of a case since quite a number of people are joining this religion and re-affirming their faith out of emotional sentiments.
    Despite what many others in the media have said, there is a lot of significant differences between Judaism and Christianity and you don’t have to be a member of the former to accept it’s very diverse, almost contradicting, ideals.
    Without going into much details that could offend others, there really is a lot about Christianity and Christian publicity in general that doesn’t quite make sense and seems to be missing something(s) to make it complete.

  143. Buxi Says:

    @Hemulen,

    Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese patriot and a dissident who fled persecution in his native country. Many people have followed him and settled in the West as a result of persecution.

    This isn’t true, at least not initially. Sun Zhongshan went overseas to study in Hawaii as a result of a wealthy family background (a xiao liuxuesheng). He also started his career overseas calling for reforms through the system, including repeatedly petitioning the Imperial Government in Beijing. He wasn’t “persecuted” until far later in his career.

    But when you demonstrate in front of the editorial office of Der Spiegel because you feel that they have been “anti-China”, many Europeans feel that you are a hypocrite.

    I believe what you’re saying is that we’re all hypocrites. Europeans are hypocrites because they care more about truth coming out of Xinhua than Der Spiegel, and Chinese are hypocrites because we care more about truth coming out of Der Spiegel than Xinhua.

    I’m weary about making this other debate about the media, which we’ve talked about at great length on this site.

    The PRC government on the other hand is joining the ranks of countries who wish to carry out reunification even at the cost of war.

    The comparison to Nazi Germany here is telling of your perspective. I see the PRC government as joining the ranks of previous Chinese governments (remembered fondly) willing to maintain reunification at great cost, including war.

  144. Hemulen Says:

    @Buxi

    Well, my point about Sun Yat-sen is that the liberties of the foreign countries enabled his patriotism. The Chinese government would never enable any patriotism other than Chinese, it is a one-way street.

    Europeans are hypocrites because they care more about truth coming out of Xinhua than Der Spiegel, and Chinese are hypocrites because we care more about truth coming out of Der Spiegel than Xinhua.

    Really? When was the last time you saw a picket outside a Xinhua office in Europe? Europeans care much more about media bias in their own countries than they care about foreign media, especially foreign media in dictatorships. The hypocrisy I talk about has to do with some overseas Chinese patriots holding their host countries to a higher standard than they hold their own government to. It’s OK for you to march in PRC sponsored protests on foreign soil, but you would never defend lift a finger to help a foreigner doing the same in your country. You may not see the hypocrisy, but other people, both Chinese and non-Chinese, do see it.

  145. Marc Says:

    Wow, my comments have generated a lot of responses. Please allow me to answer some of my critics.

    First off, watch this recent PBS Frontline documentary on churches in China. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZMwM1XPSAk

    The house church group that I am talking about is NOT a cult as Snow has alluded to. They are very similar to a non-denominational Community Church in America (a Christ-centered, Bible-believing church). The government-sponsored Three-Self Patriotic Movement group has been very successful in labeling all house churches as a cult. That of course is a pure lie. Snow, if you are not a Christian and from communist China, I don’t even want to talk to you about churches in China. You have no clue what you are talking about. All your information on churches in China is probably fed by the Three-Self agents. You probably still believe religion is the opium of the masses.

    >>@MutantJedi
    >>Why are you so hostile to these simple things?

    Well, if you were to be in my shoes, would you want your kids to be singled out in school so that political correctness is observed? I am not against celebrating Chinese heritage. We have tried to keep the best of both cultures. It’s a delicate balance between celebrating one’s cultural heritage and being singled out as different. Trust me. I have learned my lesson. My older kid was made fun of after some cultural awareness day at school. Of course, we have done our part to make sure she is proud of what she is in spite of some “innocent racist comments” (what an oxymoron) from other kids at school. So I am not hostile to sharing Chinese culture, but I am hostile to those “innocent” kids who would make hurtful remarks to our kids. Do you understand?

    As a Chinese Christian who went through persecutions in China, I don’t feel attached to the Chinese government at all. I do have a burden for Chinese people. Some of us do go back to China often to help follow Christians as well as the weak folks (orphans and children from poor regions). But be honest to yourself. Supporting Olympics and displaying nationalism on streets on other countries are orchestrated by the Chinese government. Why did those Chinese wave the Chinese flags instead of Beijing Olympic flags if it weren’t for nationalism? Have any other Olympic hosting city shown such an emotion with their country’s flag?

    Buxi, you sounded like a very nice person. Seek, you shall find. Knock, the door will be opened for you. Please watch the PSB documentary. You will get a more balanced of Chinese government. Maybe you will open your heart to a faith.

  146. Marc Says:

    I should correct myself if my comment on closing house churches in China was misunderstood. Of course, not all house churches were closed down at this point. But my reliable sources from China have reported that at least 3 house church gatherings in Beijing have been shut down by the government last month. Another reliable source e-mailed me that all church gatherings for foreigners in Beijing have been prohibited frrom now on till the end of the Olympics. Those of you foreigners in Beijing should be able to confirm my source.

    Again, if Chinese government allows religious freedom in China, they wouldn’t have such a bad PR rap at this time.

  147. Karma Says:

    Oli – thanks for you message #122.

    Many have presumed so much about Chinese nationalism and Chinese history…

    Many have also presumed about a “Taiwan” perspective vs. a “Chinese” perspective. To the extent that there is a “Taiwan” and “Chinese” perspective, I’d say both are still evolving. Further, I’d like to emphasize that the “Taiwan” perspective is not the DPP perspective.

    When DPP supporters focus on KMT atrocities and stress a Taiwanese identity, the stories are told from a politically motivated point of view. But this is just one of many Taiwanese perspectives. There are many Taiwanese (myself included) who feel that is political hogwash.

    There are many Taiwanese who feel we are legitimately Chinese and who wish to see a strong China. There are many Taiwanese who have not only social, cultural, and economic ties to the mainland, but also family ties as well.

    Taiwanese as a whole may not be ready for reunification with the mainland, but I am confident as time goes on, as China gets stronger, Taiwanese as a whole will be ready soon enough…

  148. Daniel Says:

    I had to re-read the comments posted because there were so many, and I do need to make some changes.
    Andyyjh is right in that my comments regarding the Diaspora would most likely be a “Nation within a state”. I typed Nation within a Nation because I got so used to that term. In some cases, it probably would work. I mentioned before that one might run into one of the ethnic-Chinese from Vietnam who will strongly identified with being from a specific group like the Hakkas, Teochiews or Sun-wui’s, etc.

    One might run into people that identify with both very strongly, operating within their specific group to the larger Vietnamese group and in some cases, a larger group. In the States, we have a lot of refugees from Vietnam who belong to the Vietnamese-Sino community. Depending on what occupation and where they settled, quite a few were like a middle-man, working within a Chinese group (mainly within the same-dialect speakers) to a larger Vietnamese population to a larger Chinese or non-Chinese population (pretty much every other Hau Ren, don’t be surprise if this Diaspora group is one of the most multi-lingual–not just dialects but different languages in general). Unless someone wants to study every individual or family within this group of people, I’m not sure if there is any proper term to describe it as a whole.

    My famly alone has memebers who can converse in English, French, Spanish, one of the many Phillipino dialects, Vietnamese, 5 different Chinese dialects, Japanese and whatever community they settled around the world. It’s sort of like it’s own group because I have heard out Cantonese has a subtle unique distinctiveness compared with those from HK, the mainland or others. It’s like a personal choice. I have two distant uncles who are brothers but one will remain closely with one ethnicity and the other vice versa, but it’s really not an issue to stress about. It’s going to be hard to define them without knowing them in person.

  149. Oli Says:

    @Hemulen

    “The PRC government on the other hand is joining the ranks of countries who wish to carry out reunification even at the cost of war. Weimar Germany was not prepared to do that, but Nazi Germany was.”

    Hmmm, last I knew the PRC government declared that it will only resort to arms should the ROC unilaterally declare independence rather than that it will wage war to achieve independence. A small but crucial distinction, don’t you think?

    “I never said that Song poetry was not enjoyed by people in general. All I’m saying is that there are limits to what we know about popular feelings in Song China and poetry is not a good source. Neither are official archival documents.”

    Again you conveniently dismissed the preserved documents and letters from ordinary people who were involved in transporting goods that I mentioned as well as a lot of others that are in the archives and are authenticated through carbon dating. You are requesting an absolute totality of information on what people think during the Sung Dynasty that is utterly unrealistic and totally at odds with historical and archaeological research methodologies.

    Such methodologies includes discovering multiple primary and secondary sources of information and evidence, cross-reference and cross-check such evidence so that they are verifiable and supportive of each other in order to build up a jigsaw puzzle-like picture, whereby the missing pieces can then be extrapolated. Consequently, researchers and historians who work on these archives and records of both imperial sources and those of ordinary people know pretty well exactly what people in the Sung dynasty think.

    Additionally, many of these poets were very much anti-establishment, free-spirited figures who sat the imperial exams, became government officials, but then hated the bureaucracies or the political intrigues and left the service. Many of these poets were consequently the dissidents and intellectual rebels of their days. As well as being patriots many were also highly critical of imperial policies and being widely travelled, were intimately aware of ordinary people’s moods and thoughts. I seriously suggest you read those books I mentioned.

    “Your government expels German journalists from China, while the German government allows Xinhua correspondents to roam Germany freely with Schengen visas. If a Chinese is threatened with expulsion from Germany, you could count on German civil rights groups for help. The Chinese students association at your university would never lift a finger for any German threatened of expulsion from China.”

    Again, you are making big assumptions about “my” government, but trust me that you will be mightily surprised if you only knew exactly who “my” government is. As for reporters, their accreditation and right to enter or to remain in any country has always been subjected to the laws and authority of their host country so that they too are not above the laws of that land. Consequently, China is not Europe and China has her own laws and policies and unlike reciprocal visa waiving agreements or ambassadorial appointments, journalists are subject to the same laws and authority as everybody else. Like businessmen, journalists too are there for their own selfish interests and they can either play by the rules of the land or they can leave. It is as simple as that.

    As for civil rights, my general opinion on many such organisations is Oh Pleeaassse, spare me their sanctimonious, holier-than-thou bollocksness. You seem to have absolutely no friggin idea what a big business many such NGOSs and charities are. So I suggest that you do a bit more research before embarrassing yourself further. Many such “reporters”, NGO organisations/workers and even high level business executives also routinely pass information to their own nations’ intelligence officers or are regularly asked to keep an eye out for anything “interesting”. I’ve also witness German policemen mete out extra-judicial punishment to extract information during “interviews” and I have seen soldiers from the French Foreign Legions inflicting violence on “arrested”/captured African rebels/freedom fighters. And if you want more examples of Western media and NGO hypocrisy, I suggest you google the story of the Chagos islanders. Oh and there is that little thing call rendition which you might even have heard of.

    “Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese patriot and a dissident who fled persecution in his native country. Many people have followed him and settled in the West as a result of persecution. “

    Actually, many of these soldiers were from long established overseas Chinese communities. Emigration from China to SE Asia occurred much, much earlier than just those that took place during the Qing dynasty. Some historians even speculated that it might have occurred as long ago as during the Tang dynasty, which is why only until very recently the Chinese people of SE Asia have also collectively referred to themselves as the Tang people.

    There are also surviving records of a Ming Emperor and officials deciding that Chinese subjects who emigrated to or permanently settled in SE Asia are to be subjected to the laws of those lands and are therefore not under Ming dynasty laws or protection. So consequently China’s policies of non-intervention have a very long tradition and stands in marked contrast to the bullying policies of subsequent European colonists. In this regard I suggest you also look up on former Malaysian PM Mahathir’s comments (google Mahathir and China) about having nothing militarily to fear from China, in contrast to European colonial adventurism or read ex-Singaporean PM Lee Kuan Yew’s memoirs.

    “Unlike the PRC, who even refuses to give ethnic Chinese refugees citizenship rights, most Western countries have asylum laws and accept refugees, because it is part of our tradition.”

    Firstly, the official declared policy is to refuse in order not to encourage asylum applications from other nations, particularly from N. Korea or the Central Asian ‘stans republics to preserve diplomatic relationship. Secondly and in reality exceptions are often made on such applications by Overseas Chinese and this has occurred to my knowledge four times since the end of WWII. This occurred twice with regards to anti-Chinese riots in Indonesia, whereby in the 1960’s (I believe) the Chinese governments sent ships to pick up many Indonesian Chinese and afforded them temporary refuge in China and again in the 1980’s when many Indonesians fled to China as well as neighbouring countries. In both cases Indonesian Chinese were also free to stay in China or move on.

    A third case was with regards to Vietnam when many Vietnamese Chinese refugees either crossed the border to China or took boats to Guangzhou, HK and elsewhere in SE Asia. The fourth time was when China actually militarily intervened to halt the persecution of a Overseas Chinese community. This resulted in the Sino-Burmese War of 1956 when the PRC briefly invaded N. Burma to halt Burma’s military government’s persecution of its Chinese community there.

    “But we have little patience for your government fomenting pro-PRC patriotism in our countries and we are adamantly opposed to attempt by your government to control what can be said about China.”

    Hmmm, first of all, the PRC government is not “my” government and while I am Chinese, I am also many other things as well. My support for China and some of the PRC government’s policies are not due to any PRC government “fomentation”, but rather that having studied them I understand its policies and their reasons, even though I vehemently disagree with many more. However, I also vehemently disagree with certain segments of Western society’s hypocrisy, lack of self-reflection, ignorance and blatant self-interest in vilifying China.

    Ultimately, through all your postings, I find your knowledge about China sorely deficient and believe that you need to do some serious soul-searching and ask yourself why is it exactly that you hate China or its government. Is it due to ignorance, your own national government’s political or media conditioning or whether it is because of some personal issue? And if it is the latter I suggest you ask yourself whether it is really justified or even relevant as China moves on.

  150. Oli Says:

    Sorry typo at my comment @149

    It should read:

    Hmmm, last I knew the PRC government declared that it will only resort to arms should the ROC unilaterally declare independence rather than that it will pro-actively wage war to achieve unification. A small but crucial distinction, don’t you think?

  151. Buxi Says:

    I wanted to return to the discussion with Hemulen above about the Jewish diaspora. There are clear differences between that and the Chinese diaspora, but as I said, I believe there are also similarities.

    You talk about a distinct Jewish religion (rather than ethnicity) as being the fundamental backbone, the raison d’etre for the existence of a unique Jewish community in Europe for more than a thousand years. I believe in the Chinese diaspora, a similar statement can be made about the importance of Chinese culture. Confucianism itself is perceived as either a religion or a philosophy.

    Historically, to most overseas Chinese, their loyalty has been to the clan or home region. Of course, there were some Ming loyalists who went to Japan and elsewhere, but most ordinary Chinese have never felt any attachment to a dynasty as such, the family and the home region mattered. Unlike Jewish communities, who have no particular regional origin in Palestine, most Chinese communities have strong ties to the ancestral region. Regardless of what government that happen to be in the capital, overseas Chinese could return to their home village and meet relatives who speak their home dialect.

    I believe this is only part of the picture. Certainly, many overseas Chinese maintained close ties with a specific region/village, with every birth or marriage carefully recorded in family records for generations after these residents left their ancestral homes. And in many overseas communities, associations based on regional/dialect ties were common.

    But alongside these associations, a more generic Chinese cultural heritage was also prevalent. I’m not an academic, but I’m not aware of Chaozhou or Hakka communities forming their own schools (except for language reasons); my perception is that they freely interacted in joint Chinese schools, where they received the same fundamental education from similar classics. That sort of region-free interaction remains the popular case today, I believe. Certainly in the United States today, Chinese schools are a dominant unifying factor in just about any Chinese community.

    In other words, even though overseas Chinese didn’t have shared loyalty for religious faith, in other ways the community’s shared loyalty for Chinese culture made it distinct even on foreign lands. It seems interesting, for example, that there isn’t the same type of insular, “overseas Chinese” communities in Korea or Japan, where for all intents and purposes until the 20th century, culture across all three was largely shared.

    This just occurred to me. My guess is that one reason for the existence of this unifying factor: the imperial examinations were open to all fluent in traditional culture. In that sense, you could say that for hundreds of years, Chinese citizenship has been defined by cultural fluency rather than birthplace or passport. As long as your children were taught with the Chinese curriculum, they had the prospect for tremendous social and political advancement “in the homeland”.

    So, perhaps this explains why the “cultural view” of being Chinese seems so intuitively sensible to many Chinese! And if we were in the Qing era, perhaps Da Shan would still qualify yet for the title of Zhuangyuan.

    And it is debatable why overseas Chinese should feel any loyalty the Chinese government as it exists today or what gives the PRC government the right to define Chineseness.

    I don’t think that’s debatable at all, because I fully agree with you on at least the first part of that statement. I don’t think overseas Chinese have to be loyal to the PRC government, unless they choose to perceive the PRC as the legitimate incarnation of China.

  152. Oli Says:

    @Hemulen

    “That’s is why the Western press ignores you.”

    Thats so funny, you seem to think that the Western press is in China or report on China out of some higher purpose or out of the goodness of their heart. I am not sure whether I should be happy for you or feel sorry for you for your naivety, but I guess it depends on your age.

    I have only this to say about your above comment – Journalism is a business, a very big business, so wake up and smell the roses already will ye!

  153. Buxi Says:

    This just occurred to me. My guess is that one reason for the existence of this unifying factor: the imperial examinations were open to all fluent in traditional culture. In that sense, you could say that for hundreds of years, Chinese citizenship has been defined by cultural fluency rather than birthplace or passport. As long as your children were taught with the Chinese curriculum, they had the prospect for tremendous social and political advancement “in the homeland”.

    To follow up on this point here… this also suggests that the cultural displacement that took part in the 20th century, especially with the cultural revolution, could mean serious consequences for the overseas community. If the overseas Chinese community can no longer maintain meaningful cultural ties with “China”, then the community will gradually disappear.

    Of course, on the optimistic side… technology is bringing us opportunities not available in years past. No longer are “overseas” Chinese truly overseas, not when China is an internet connection, a telephone set, a satellite dish, or a plane ticket away. As a personal example… I would love to send my children to Chinese-centric schools established in the West (similar to IB “International Schools” in China)… failing that, I expect to enroll my children in schools in China on at least a part time basis.

  154. Hemulen Says:

    @Oli

    Well, now you are at least trying to debate seriously.

    I knew the PRC government declared that it will only resort to arms should the ROC unilaterally declare independence rather than that it will pro-actively wage war to achieve unification.

    And? It is pretty clear who is threatening who and which government that does not respect the right of the people of Taiwan to determine their own fate.

    You are requesting an absolute totality of information on what people think during the Sung Dynasty that is utterly unrealistic and totally at odds with historical and archaeological research methodologies.

    I don’t. I just don’t agree with the idea that the study Song poetry or archival documents would lend support to the nationalist reading of Chinese history which you seem to espouse.

    Again, you are making big assumptions about “my” government, but trust me that you will be mightily surprised if you only knew exactly who “my” government is.

    Well good for you that you are not a citizen of the PRC. You have the luxury to defend the policies of a government which you are not forced to live under.

    As for reporters, their accreditation and right to enter or to remain in any country has always been subjected to the laws and authority of their host country so that they too are not above the laws of that land.

    You know as well as anyone that this is not a question of enforcing the law, but of power. The PRC government expels whoever they like, whether it is legal or not.

    why is it exactly that you hate China or its government.

    I don’t hate China, but I don’t like the PRC government.

  155. Daniel Says:

    It may sound a little ironic and silly for me to say this but after visiting severeal cities and small towns in the Mid-west, both Coasts and Texas in the States, it seems that there are two major institutions which appears to be more of a uniting factor among the Hua Ren communities here…The Church and the Restaurant.

    A lot of these places I’ve visited, these Chinese Churches seem to do a lot in linking people and have quite a lot of determination in preserving their heritage than a lot of organzations. I could also type endlessly at how many issues like dis-organization, personal dramas or other “problems” about the Chinese Christian community (at least the ones in North America), but I really give them a lot of credit for doing such activities. Even after the second generation, a lot of the kids and descendents of these Chinese Christians who leave the Church appear to have more affection and confidence towards their identity. At the very least, they know that no matter how different they are or what problems they face, they are not alone and can take on any challenge. Another interesting note to take is these kids are quite open minded but firm with their personal dignity.
    Overall speaking, I’m pretty sure there’s a good number of exceptions and examples countering what I just typed.

    The second one is the restaurant. Food is such a unifying factor with many people. Even when interacting with a different culture, food speaks more direct than other forms of communication. There’s a lot of diversity within Chinese Cuisines, but the memories associated with Chinese food, in it’s physical display of the Restaurant, helps serve as a constant reminder of that link. For those who haven’t worked in a restaurant or are not “restaurant kids”…the affect a Chinese restaurant in linking people does have it’s own unique qualities.

  156. nanheyangrouchuan Says:

    @ buxi:

    But perhaps you’re talking about Wang Lihong, the singer (and actor who put in a great performance in “Lust Caution”)? He was New York-born and entirely US raised, and his primary exposure to “China”, before his professional success, was through Taiwan.

    Yes, I did look up Wang Lihong and mistook him for the author.

    If someone in China goes after American food, and likes American TV shows and music and understand the nuances… does that also makes him American?

    No, China is where that person is born and raised and those factors will forever be the fundamental influence of that person’s viewpoint. They will always instinctively think and do things in a Chinese way and see things from a Chinese viewpoint.

    And what if someone in the US likes Chinese food, reads the Chinese classics, likes wuxia books, and listens to Chinese music… does that make him Chinese?

    Not any more than an American who is a lover of all things British and there are quite a few of those people in the US.

    That’s not a snide comeback. There are a lot of people with cultural exposure to both, compatible and comfortable in both cultures.

    But their basic mentality is formed in the culture they are raised in and even if they are expat kids their first and most important influence is from their parents’ native culture, which will exist at home even in a foreign land. And that forever is their root identity, no matter how much they try to deny it.

  157. Marc Says:

    Here is another blog about Christianity in China. This explains why Christian Chinese from Chain don’t support Chinese government.

    http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2008/06/video-jusus-in-china/

    Buxi, back to your discussion on Chinese diaspora vs. Jewish diaspora, here is a book written by a Jewish professor that may give you some new insights.

    Bridge Across Broken Time: Chinese and Jewish Cultural Memory (Hardcover)
    by Vera Schwarcz (Author)

    http://www.amazon.com/Bridge-Across-Broken-Time-Cultural/dp/0300066147/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215385593&sr=1-3

  158. Oli Says:

    @Hemulen

    LOL, how do you know that I am not in China right now or that I do not have more than one, two or even three or more nationalities? People now a days do fly around alot you know on board something we like to call ae-ro-pl-an-es?

    A very good friend of mine holds Czech, Irish and Australian nationalities and he speaks fluent German, his wife is Italian and you can just imagine their children’s identities. Ditto with many Overseas Chinese (OC) and yet they will also continue to support China or even its communist government should they see that a need arise. To many OC, so long as the CCP generally does right by its people and China, whether the government of China is CCP or KMT is really relative and irrelevant. To many ethnic overseas communities nowadays, whether they are Chinese or from other ethnicities, passport and citizenships, like Buxi said, are purely a matter of convenience.

    My reference to Sung Dynasty poetry was to firstly highlight that we actually do know alot about our past, provided people, irrespective of ethnicity, would just get of their fat arse and read more or visit a museum once in a while. Secondly, from Sung poetry and other records Chinese know pretty darn well the nationalist sentiments of those eras. And thirdly, patriotism comes in many forms and guises so that a PRC soldier or government officer are neither more nor less patriotic that the TAM demonstrators, Olympic Torch supporters, present day dissidents and many OC.

    So consequently, you can shove you personal issues with OC sentiments towards China and the PRC government up that part of you where the sun don’t shine. I am tired of addressing your prejudiced ignorance, in which you seem perfectly happy to wallow in and may you never be disappointed for that is the day you’ll realise just how unnecessarily bitter you have been.

  159. Karma Says:

    patriotism comes in many forms and guises so that a PRC soldier or government officer are neither more nor less patriotic that the TAM demonstrators, Olympic Torch supporters, present day dissidents and many OC.

    You sure nailed that one. I love China. I will support the PRC to the extent it is doing the Chinese people right. I will support the KMT to the extent it is doing the Chinese people right.

  160. Oli Says:

    @Karma

    Provided we don’t get more people like Chen Siu-bian, I believe that reunification will be a much more gradual process with gradually increasing economic, social and even political ties. And just to be cloyingly poetic about it, more like two trees growing back into one, for that is the Chinese way and preference. However, countries like Japan would probably feel extremely nervous about it for it would then mean that China would exert even greater control over the arterial shipping lanes that control much its flow of oil.

  161. Oli Says:

    @Marc

    If what you say is true then you have my sympathies, however have you ever considered the possibility that many of these house churches were shut down simply because the neighbors were complaining about them to the Gong An? Not everything that happens in China is a government conspiracy and I happen to know that in many neighborhoods there are still old die-hard communists who rejects such happy-clappy :) house churches or any religious activities for that matter.

    Without intending to sound rude, but you born-again Christians can be pretty darn overbearingly pushy sometimes, not to mention sanctimonious and militant. I often get the impression that its as if once you’ve declared your love for the Almighty and baptised you become zealots. It is as though you have something to prove or to demonstrate both to the big guy upstairs and to your fellow born again Christians that you are now fully committed for self-reassurance and affirmation. So you go on a self-appointed “holy mission” to convince and to convert all a sundry about “the message” and “GOD”.

    Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe many people just do not want all this Judaeo-Christian BS guilt trip thing lay on them? I mean seriously nobody likes it when some fire spitting firebrand tell them or their children either do this or do that, or else they will burn in hell!!! You guys may see it as the best thing since slice bread, but there are many both within and outside of China who just see you guys as being very, very annoying. But then of course, you guys will see it proudly as your very own personal cross to bear, just like the Big Guy’s little boy. Seriously though you guys are just a glutton for punishment aren’t you and if that’s the case may I politely suggest some therapeutic sadomasochism? You might even learn to enjoy that too, just like many priests and preachers already do too.

  162. Hemulen Says:

    @Oli

    OK, you just crossed a line there with your uncalled for insults, and I don’t think I’d like to continue the discussion with you. Obviously my calling you on your opportunistic hypocrisy has struck a raw nerve. This blog is not a good advertisement for a more tolerant Chinese patriotism, a patriotism that should be no cause of concern for those of us who really like many things Chinese, but are not of Chinese origin and do not carry a library of passports with us. It may never have occurred to you that my harsh words against extreme expressions of Chinese nationalism, could just have been directed at extreme nationalism anywhere, and that my criticism is motivated by concern for China.

  163. Oli Says:

    @Hemulen

    The road to ruin are paved with good intentions, and maybe countries like China, Thailand and the many African, S. American and Middle Eastern nations have had just about enough of Western “good intentions”, so thank you very much, now shoo and go mind your own business rather than meddle in other people’s.

    As for “opportunistic hypocrisy” and the supposedly library full of passports, sorry if that was true then it would be by the serendipity of birth rather than by choice, but you are obviously too myopic to see that. As for choices, many of us do choose to support China as and when we see the need and the hypocrisy lie more in your own sanctimonious preaching that Chinese people shouldn’t be too nationalistic. What a load of overripe BS. Last time I checked China has never initiated war because of popular nationalism.

    And should you fear Chinese patriotism, then perhaps a more apt question is why is it that you fear it so and whether you are not projecting your own fear and experience onto a culture that, despite its problems, are actually a lot more mature and wiser than many supposedly “sophisticated” Western societies? Because of our culture, many Chinese know that there is nothing to fear, but fear itself and that is why China and its people have endured and persevered when so many other civilisations crumbled.

    And as for your concern for China, thank you, appreciated, but no patronising please. The Chinese people and its government know quite well what they are doing and where it is that they want to go even if they have to place certain priorities over others and that is their choices to make. So stuff it.

  164. Buxi Says:

    I’ll step in quickly as a referee here. Oli, you know I appreciate your thoughts and we largely agree on the important issues, but let’s keep our language respectful. These are all difficult topics, and no one is here because they *have* to be… they’re only here because they want to be. I’d rather have Hemulen here with what you consider patronizing arguments so that we can mull them over.

    I know we can have a debate with Hemulen without telling him to stuff anything anywhere else.

  165. Oli Says:

    Yeah, just my lovely and charmingly acerbic personality shining through thats all.

  166. BMY Says:

    It seems there are always misunderstanding or mis concept on people from both sides regarding a “nation” and “it’s government”

    very often , if someone loves China then labeled as “loves Chinese government/CCP” while the person just loves “China” and dose not love “CCP” . he might support some of CCP’s policies while against other policies at same time. unfortunately, I am one of these guys.

    very often , if someone criticize Chinese government then labeled as “China hater”. I can see some of the guys here don’t like CCP at all but I don’t see them “China hater”. the real “China haters” would not be bothering on this blog normally.

    we always get confused ,don’t we?

  167. BMY Says:

    @Marc, your #145

    “Well, if you were to be in my shoes, would you want your kids to be singled out in school so that political correctness is observed? …… My older kid was made fun of after some cultural awareness day at school. Of course, we have done our part to make sure she is proud of what she is in spite of some “innocent racist comments” (what an oxymoron) from other kids at school. So I am not hostile to sharing Chinese culture, but I am hostile to those “innocent” kids who would make hurtful remarks to our kids. Do you understand?”

    I think you mistakenly assumed what happened to your kids were unique and caused by “some cultural awareness day at school”. I would suggest people like you and me ,who happen to have Chinese faces, have to live up with it ,like it or not,deny it or not.

    As a father of two, I fully understand your feeling. But I don’t think if we don’t wear Chinese customs or don’t dance a dragon would simply avoid the hurtful remarks. There is just no place in the world could live and avoid that.

    Let me tell you my story few weeks ago.

    I was on a train to the city with my kids(2 and 5). There was a anglo boy about 7-8 years old sitting in front of us with his parents. He turned around and look at everywhere in the carriage and also stared at us(for interesting I guess) when we talked. So my kids both stared at him ,of course. Then that kid spoke to my kids loudly”Don’t stare at me, your f**king Chinese.” His parents didn’t say a word. we were not wearing a “stupid old Chinese style clothe.”

    My big one asked me”what did he say?”
    I replied” I don’t know. Don’t worry about what he says.”

    there are always bully kids and ignorant people out there. you got no way to avoid them in life and I think you tried the wrong methods to avoid them. Even you are a pure white, are you able to ensure your kids not to be made fun of by other innocent kids at school?

    It’s life, mate. kids would learn it

  168. MutantJedi Says:

    Thanks BMY – I had missed Marc’s comment in 145 in with the flurry of Oli/Hemulen exchange.

    Marc,
    Actually, I do understand, a bit. I say a bit because my kids haven’t been subjected to the sort of racist abuse as BMY’s kids or your own. My kids are half Chinese. Which, I imagine, has made an odd sight over the last 16+ years – what is a white guy doing with a couple of Chinese kids? However, thankfully, not once has anybody made a derogatory remark about my kids in my presence. (I just asked my oldest (17) about this question – it’s never come up before between us. He says that only people he knows says anything about his Chinese-ness but then everybody teases everybody – so not a big deal, he says.)

  169. BMY Says:

    Buxi,

    a ideal came up my mind when I sit in a Chinese Anglican church to see what they were doing just for interesting if I could catch up with some faith. few little Chinese kids were taught about what happened few thousands of years ago to the ancestors of jews in present day middle east while these kids know little about what happened to their own ancestors at the same time. (not intend to offend any religion. parents have every right to put kids what to learn )

    I also always wandering what kept Jewish identity for more than a thousand years of with out a Jewish nation. Many other ancient people simply disappeared by that.

    My simple understanding is they have two things kept them survive.

    First one is a book and the second one is Synagogues .

    Why don’t Chinese people have something similar to carry on generation by generation overseas?

    There is a book, just a single book needed , record the ancient Chinese history+Confucianism+Daoism, whatever the ancient Chinese isms scholars agree to put it on. of course should have some thing similair from other ethnic groups as well.

    Then there are shrines to worship ancestors,the ancient wise(not Mao,sorry). something similar has been done in the history:四书五经and宗庙。I think one book is easier to carry and one kind of shrine to remember all instead of different clan’s own shrines are easier to maintain and pass on.

    Buxi the wise :) (I borrow CaoCao/MaBaole’s word. I really think you are much wiser than me) and other wise on the blog, do you think my idea is doable? It shouldn’t be that hard to put few books together into one. Anyone rich here can help to print the book?

    Then we go to the shrines every Sunday morning to worship and discuss the book generation after generations like others do.

  170. snow Says:

    Marc

    for your comment #145

    I can hardly believe that you were educated in the West, for your posts impressed me as lacking a basic respect and tolerance to other people’s rights for different opinions. You have such a habit to label people whose views you dislike as isms- follower upon speculation or simply refuse to talk to the people whose background differs from yours. Shouldn’t we the mainland Chinese coming to the West have learned to get rid of or at least have exercised certain self-restraint on this CCP attitude long time ago (even the CCP itself has become a bit more open and less rigid)? I’ve seen Christians with a big heart and generous world views. I’ve also seen narrow-minded, rigid Christians who can only see things confined within doctrines. But it is the narrow-minded and rigid plus a fanatic passion and a religious self-righteousness that often appears most troubling and makes people uncomfortable.

    I am yet to see if the PBS piece falls into the typical of Western bias in reporting on Christianity in China. For decades the western media informed the world that there was no freedom of religion in China; that all house churches were brutally suppressed, and that only the house church was truly Christian while the state church was nothing but a government manipulated organ. I am not a Christian, but when I tried to meet people to rediscover China eight years ago I found all these, as many other things reported in the West, were shockingly untrue. Even by then (2000) there was already a generally peaceful co-existence of house church and state church, and the local Three Self committee had maintained working relationship with both.

    I didn’t say all house churches were cult churches. I mentioned three groups of Christians. The cult like criminal ones belonged to the third group which differred from other house churches, namely the second group, mostly dissidents. Read my post again.

    The pastor I talked with was a former “re-educated youth” from a “black” family background working in a former labor camp for nine years. He went to Nanjing divinity school (surely the Three-Self and government supported) in the early1980s and upon graduation became a teacher and vice president to a local divinity school, which has produced many graduates working in churches all over China now. He had invited theologians from overseas and various scholars to give lectures on psychology, arts, environmental issues in an effort to enable the students to have a comprehensive structure of knowledge, not confined to theology, to raise their consciousness of the issues and problems in society in China and the world, and to be in a better position to preach the Gospel with a well-informed worldview and perspective. He is against communism, but this does not mean that he cannot work with the Ministry of Religious Affairs to do as much as he can to help spreading the Gospel, he told me. Well, whose “agent” would you say about him?

    He also has this to say (I quote his own words):

    “The ideas of benevolence, harmony, reconciliation, and Golden Means in Chinese ancient philosophy always strike me as in perfect accord with Christian ideas of love, peace, tolerance, and unity. This is the essence of both great cultures. We Chinese have a special way, cultivated by our traditions, to approach the spirit of Jesus Christ and the Gospel.”

    You said you were a persecuted “house church” Christian from China. This pastor here is also a Chinese Christian unjustly punished in the past but still living in China and with a state church background. Knowing what he has achieved and reading his words above in comparison with your open despise for things Chinese (even an innocent shua shi zi wu giving great enjoyment to common people cannot escape your abhorrence), as well as with your narrow-mindedness revealed in your posts, I cannot help being tempted to raise the question as who is a better and truer Christian.

  171. andy Says:

    @ Hemulan and Buxi
    re: 144

    I want to add to hemulan here: in the Uk and USA, media analysis groups are focused on their own domestic media almost 100%. Medialens in the UK and F.A.I.R. in the USA, backed by the work of Chomsky/Hermann, focus on domestic outlets and specifically on ‘liberal’ or ‘intelligent’ media, ignoring extremist tabloids. They are more likely to be criticising the BBC or CNN than Xinhua and their work is built around the Chomsky/Hermann western propaganda model from the book Manufacturing Consent.

    Ideas here that ‘the west’ is overtly critical of China over itself is just repeating the ill-informed opinions of fellow nationalists. Also, the famous examples taken up recently like CNN are examples that media commentators back home also regard as unreliable.

    Pressure groups have regarded CNN as completely untrustworthy ever since the creation of ‘embedded’ journalists for the Iraq invasion.

  172. perspectivehere Says:

    @Snow / @Marc

    If you don’t mind, I would like to respond to Snow’s challenge to Marc, with a piece of scripture. The source is Paul’s Letter to the Romans 12:14.

    A bit of background: Paul had been a devout Jewish leader who persecuted Christians through arrest and torture (believing they were heretics from the Jewish faith), but after a life-changing encounter with the divine, when he went blind while journeying on the road to Damascus, followed by a miraculous recovery (an event dramatically recounted in the book of Acts), he came to faith in Jesus Christ, and went on to became the most important Christian missionary of the first century, spreading the faith to the far reaches of the Roman empire, and the author of the most important works of the New Testament, other than the Gospels.

    Paul was imprisoned and tortured, and suffered from the persecutions of certain militant members of the Jewish leadership (the Taliban of its time) and the Romans.

    He had direct experience of persecution and torture, both from the giving end and the receiving end.

    He knew what it was like to feel the power of self-righteousness as he inflicted punishment on people whose beliefs were an abomination and betrayal of his beliefs.

    He also knew how it felt to be jailed and tortured, merely for his conviction to spread his religious message.

    Paul derived wisdom from this experience, and inspired by the Divine, he wrote:

    “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

    Paul teaches believers that they should respond to persecution in a way that goes against their typical human nature. Paul encourages them to do so, to keep their faith, to return evil with love, and leave settling of any scores for God’s justice.

    Not all believers have the strength or courage or the grace to respond in this way.

    The link below has a reflection on the difficulty of applying this message (I do not know the poster or endorse his website, but the reflection seemed sincere and apt.)

    http://home.earthlink.net/~covenantcomputing/sealed/articles/051002Bless_those_who_persecute_you.htm

    With that as a background, I would like to say to Snow that I believe you are very perceptive of the essential message of Christianity, in your comparison of how two believers “walk the talk”. You seem to be a truth-seeker. Kudos to you, and may you continue to seek the ultimate truth.

    But I think you threw Marc a challenge to which it might be awkward for him to respond without causing rancor.

    At the same time, perhaps Marc should be forgiven for his negativity towards China. Marc obviously had a bad experience when he was there, and no amount of talk will change this until he finds it in his heart to forgive.

    Christians believe that the miraculous transformative power of Jesus will, in time and with grace, heal all wounds.

  173. perspectivehere Says:

    @Marc @Snow @Buxi @pug_ster

    Have any of you read this:

    http://www.amazon.com/American-Born-Chinese-Gene-Luen/dp/1596431520

    @Marc – it’s okay. The writer is a Christian:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/05/09/CM5P10823R.DTL&type=books

    I mention this work because, in comic-book novel form, it presents the feelings of discomfort and rejection that the protagonist, a teenage American Born Chinese, has towards his Chineseness. This book has been well-received and won numerous awards.

    I highly recommend it for helping both Chinese-Americans and Chinese from elsewhere to understand the character, depth and intensity of the disparagement and rejection that many Chinese in America can feel towards their ethnic background (and by extension, towards themselves).

    There are many many negative portrayals and stereotypes of Chinese and Chinese culture both subtle and explicit in America which creates a very negative psychological environment in which to live and grow up.

    Frankly, for all members of minority groups, it is difficult, but the Chinese have had particular difficulties given the U.S.’s anti-Communist stance since the 1940′s as well.

    Also, it is a very visible minority group, but one without much political or cultural clout.

    I would hope that the pro-Chinese commentators here come to understand the unique struggles and difficulties that Chinese in America had to go through and the compromises with their culture in order to survive, psychologically and physically.

  174. perspectivehere Says:

    Some more interesting reads on Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese:

    http://www.readaboutcomics.com/2006/08/28/american-born-chinese/

    http://www.firstsecondbooks.com/authors/geneYangBlogMain.html

    http://comicfoundry.com/?p=1530

    From an Interview with Gene Yang:

    “Do you think having this book and writing out your experiences will affect the way you raise your son — or at least make you more cognizant of experiences and environment as he grows?

    GY: I think so. I went to UC Berkeley. And at Berkeley, there’s a really huge emphasis on cultural identity, so I’ve been thinking about these types of issues since graduating from there. Or even while I was a student there. And as a result I’ve really thought about how I want my own kid to grow up and what experiences I want him to have. I think it’s really important for people, especially in the modern world, to have minority experience and a majority experience. I think having those two experience gives them 1 fuller picture of what people go through. I think even apart from the book that’s something I wanted for my kid. I want him to grow up in a place where there’s signifcant fusion American population. And eventually, experience what it’s like to be in the minority.

    How close was the story to your own experiences?

    GY: I took intimates from m own life and mixed them with fiction. It’s not all from my life. Some of it is from friends and stories that I hear from peers — from other Asian Americans….

    Some of the racist that comes out of the character Timmy’s mouth actually comes from a group of students from junior high that we nicknamed the Stoners — the bad kids. And whenever we’d pass these Stoners in the hall they’d always yell these crude and racist things at us. I think that really affected me when I was young and I really wanted a character that embodied that.”

    For some Chinese in America, this is what it means to be Chinese….

  175. Buxi Says:

    @perspectivehere,

    I have Gene Yang’s book in my bathroom. :) Great reading material, loved it. I’d highly recommend it to everyone. Makes this Cal Bear proud… although I was too busy in the engineering buildings to feel any sort of “emphasis on cultural identity”.

    @BMY,

    Buxi the wise :) (I borrow CaoCao/MaBaole’s word. I really think you are much wiser than me) and other wise on the blog, do you think my idea is doable? It shouldn’t be that hard to put few books together into one. Anyone rich here can help to print the book?

    Wow, you think big! I love it. I’m just trying to write a blog here, and you’ve already moved on to writing a Chinese testament to be passed down to all future generations of overseas Chinese… :)

    I think you’re right about the unifying factor for the Jewish community. There’s not one book for them; they actually have a collection of texts called the Talmud, which is a collection of various arguments… not so different from the Chinese four books/five classics, which is why I think the overseas Chinese community existed for so long. This makes me think that the Chinese government’s new “Confucius Institute” is a great idea for more reasons than one. Not only is it a great way to reach out to the world, it’s an even better way to reach out to the Chinese overseas.

    As far as writing a book… if that existed, I would absolutely buy it for my children. But I really think the next generation is going to be okay. How many Chinese channels are you able to get for your kids in Australia? Here in North America, we have Dish Network, which is now bringing us 20+ mainland Chinese TV networks: CCTV4/9, Phoenix, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Hunan, Xiamen, Zhejiang, Beijing networks are all available here… And of course, we have the Internet.

    I only wish there was a children channel. The only kids channel is Taiwan’s YoYo TV… I don’t have a problem that it’s from Taiwan, but the programming is horrible. And when my kids grow up, they’ll have channel V.

  176. Daniel Says:

    I agree that media and literature would be very helpful in opening up more awareness and interests in maintaining those ties.
    Unless you are really isolated or not in touch with reality, I have to confirm that there really is a lot of negative, simple-minded images portray at the Chinese both subltle and explicit. It’s not like there isn’t any positive, oh there is a lot. It’s just overwhelming for those not-so-nice generalizations, especially for those who called it or try to make this place (the States) their home. People always try to push it off as if it wasn’t an issue, always trying to say insensitive remarks such as “why can’t you have a sense of humor”? and such. Well, if it’s not funny then it’s not funny, and it hurts.
    I understand the backbone of how people can make fun of themselves, it’s quite heart-warming if done right, but it really is uncomfortable when others who are outside your circle try to do it. Sort of like, between siblings they can joke off together about their mom but if non-relatives do it, it’s really bad.

    From my personal life and others I have come in contact, the media from overseas did sort of have a impact on our thinking. My American-born Chinese friends and I quite enjoyed the entertainment from Asia and if you think just a little deeper, the images the non-Chinese media outlets portray of us is a bit “below” in nature. There is some good shows, but Chinese history/culture and the people has so much to be confined in a few scenes.

    Which reminds me that I have a hard time believing such a book(s) containing all the wisdom and experiences the Ancients in China went through is going to be made. I mean, it’s worth a try but there’s a lot. In comparison, with a lot of Jewish people, they have their literature but it requires a lot of reading between the lines, analysis and day-to-day activities to understand a part. Some people call their religion a “work-in-progress” because historically, they go through a lot of changes. Here’s an example of the famous “The Lord is my Shepherd” but what orthodox Judaism views it. Supposedly, each word, letter and the place even size of the letters has a significant meaning to it.

    http://www.aish.com/spirituality/growth/The_Lord_is_My_Shepherd.asp

    However, back to the media, I was in Las Vegas last month and stayed at the Paris hotel. I was surprised when I turn on the TV to see nearly 10 Chinese language channels and only 2 Spanish, the rest in English, and maybe one in another European language. Which reminds me another thing. Gambling seems very prevalent among the Hua Ren communities. Is it true that casinos are not allowed on the Mainland? Any form of gambling?

  177. Oli Says:

    @ Buxi + BMY + Others

    I apologize for my language, sometimes the acerbic part of my personality comes through, especially when I get really annoyed. Hmmm, maybe I ought to have some kids of my own, that seems to do the trick for many here :)

    As for what BMY said about a book that can be passed on from generation to generation, actually such a book do exists and there is one for every Chinese family in accordance with their family surnames. Such books are known as genealogy book or (Ju Pu) and usually has a clan or generation poem from which each character in that poem is used as each successive generation’s middle name, so that if two people with the same surname meet, they will know their generation status by referring to their middle names and know whether to refer to each other as either uncle or newphew (yeah very patriarchal). Such poems function a bit like a “mission statement” and typically invokes the clan’s duty to family and nation and aspirations.

    Sometimes there are also offshoots of the surnames so that different offshoots will have different generation poems in the book as well as listing where the offshoot finally settled, ie Suzhou Li family or Shandong Li family. These generation poems are usually at the front of the book and each male member who leaves the ancestral village or town to seek their fortune are supposed to take a copy, with a master tome residing at the ancestral hall. Where he then settles or start a family, he is expected to make entries of his children’s names and their achievements and his children after him and so on and so forth.

    And whenever he has a chance he or his children are expected to send or take a copy back to the original ancestral hall so that it can be updated by the master tome and his line also added to it, which in effect can also function like a phonebook so that others from the village can look you or your children up if they are in the area and needed your help (whether you want to or not, its a duty). And often if families, for whatever reasons had to flee their homes, this book was often one of the first thing to be rescued because it lists where one can get help.

    Unfortunately, through the hundreds of years of turmoil, although this tradition is in danger of disappearing in the densely populated urban centres, one can still find such records in ancient, closely knit villages, museum archives and records and ironically among the lines of the first generations of Overseas Chinese emigrants. And should you visit SE Asian Chinese communities and their universities (ie the University of Singapore or HK) and the older Chinatowns such as San Francisco or NY. The clan associations there will usually have such records and should be happy to provide you with a copy should you share the same surname. Resources can also be found online by googling Chinese surnames + genealogy.

    However, the picture is sometimes muddled, because many Manchus and other ethnic groups also adopted Han Chinese surnames, but OC with such background will usually also have such genealogy books with annotations of their original Manchurian or Mongolian surnames. Another intersting point is also that many Han Chinese also became bannermen during the Qing dynasty, so that they may also have an honorary Manchu name or title.

    And if anywhere in the past one or more their family’s members were government officials or even royalty, whether under the Qing, Yuan or other dynasties, the family is entitled to decorate their deceased members’ tombs’ entrances or pillars with either round balls (for commoners), two lions (for Imperial officers) or dragons (four claws) (for royal family-five clawed dragons are only for emperors). Consequently, should you visit Chinese cemeteries, especially those in SE Asia, you’ll see many such tombs with such ornaments around the individual tombs. Its also considered very bad luck for the family and the deceased to misuse such status for it would be akin to impersonating ranks and consequently the deceased member would be judged very harshly by the judge of the underworld who is supposed to determine your rewards or punishments.

  178. pug_ster Says:

    @perspectivehere

    Hmmm, interesting book, maybe I will get the book once I will get the Chance. From various times in my life I have been around with Asians, and other times without. As a side effect of the US’ policy towards China, there is such racism toward the Chinese. The sad part of it is that there are many Chinese people are ashamed to be Chinese and chose to assimilate to the American society will face that kind of Racism anyways. It does not go away whether you try to act, live, work, marry, like an American, but you will never be a true American unless the country accept you as one.

  179. Daniel Says:

    There are ways to deal with bigotry. It’s not perfect, but at least in American society, public institutional racism is being done away with…according to some interpretation, other people might have different ideas about it.
    Even if let’s say, Mainland China changes. It becomes very free, very open, very wealthy, very strong, etc. There’s still going to be people out there who will hate something about the Chinese. What I mean by hate, isn’t the criticisms about politics or even cultural matters. I mean real Hatred, the type that is borderline with wanting to step on you and isolate your existence for just being. Even though it’s the 21st century, where I grew up in, a small city of about 150,000 people in Missouri, some people (some that are well-educated and prominent status) there still have issues with Black Americans, more than all the other minorities. Think about how long have they been here.
    It goes for just about anyone, they will dislike one for any reason or no reason at all.

    American society isn’t really that one-sided. While there’s diversity of peoples, there’s also diversity of opinions. Some people know that politics or media has it’s dark sides, well many people do know. One method of dealing with such issues, is just think of yourself and others in an individualstic type of manner. Why should the opinions of others regarding myself matter to me, especially since they are not my friends, family or boss. It’s not easy, but generally speaking, dealing with people isn’t that easy to begin with.

    I typed all that down because I notice some people seem to want to argue grealy over details of different issues, when one has to see it as a whole. Like for an example, some people might see how we define being Chinese as racist, when it does not have to be that way, yet just by emphasizing on some details they can make it appear to be that way.

  180. Buxi Says:

    @Oli,

    Thanks, appreciate your as always very informative and detailed post. In the modern era, it’s interesting to see how much we have lost from our traditions. Something to think about.

    As far as racism in the United States… I personally am fortunate enough to not have experienced much, fi any at all, having lived in wealthier, more liberal areas that celebrate diversity. I feel completely comfortable in American society, and I think that’s increasingly true for more and more Chinese today, especially in areas where East Asians are becoming a significant majority/plurality. I think the West has moved on light-years past where it was 80 years ago.

    But I can’t help think of the southeast Asian example. Could we see it repeat in North America and Europe? Those in the Chinese community will always, always look and act differently. If those in the overseas Chinese community begin to do very well economically, and at the same time China becomes a dominant superpower internationally… will that lead to tensions? I don’t have an answer, just a question on my mind.

    @Daniel,

    You’re right about churches and restaurants being the most obvious face of many Chinese communities in the US. I know many mainland Chinese who join a church within days of arrival, but in almost all of these cases… it’s not because they were seeking spiritual meaning, but because they were seeking a Chinese-speaking community. And there’s unfortunately just no other alternative in many Western communities.

    If you look deeper though, other shared cultural elements are in just about every Chinese community in the United States: weekly Chinese schools, Chinese-language newspapers, Chinese television. These are still important support-beams for the community.

  181. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – It is strange to note that the equivalent institutions in the expat community in China are international schools, expat rugby teams, and expat pubs! As for racism against Chinese folk in the States, a very good friend of mine is a man of Chinese descent who grew up in Greenville, Mississippi. I only asked him said it was always there in the South, and he caught his fair share of abuse, and was definitely aware of the KKK prescence in the community, although he never had to put up with burning crosses in the way that his father had. Simple resentment of acheivement may be enough to cause racist feeling, but often there are historical and cultural factors which act as the main catalyst. At any rate, I doubt that the kind of cultural and political antagonisms behind the despicable violence against the Chinese in Indonesia and Vietnam exist or ever will exist in Europe, Australia, and North America, but this does not mean we should not guard against them.

  182. Ken Says:

    @Marc and others

    I am a Malaysian-born Chinese Christian living in the States. My brother and his family have been living/working in China for 10+ years. I understand where Marc came from. The battles between state church and house church are deeply rooted and hard to overgeneralize. We are more sympathetic toward the house church Christians simply because they are the ones who have been persecuted, but some state church pastors are also quite sympathetic toward their brethren in the house churches (according to my brother). Some state church pastors are probably “church agents” as Marc has claimed. From what we can tell, the persecution isn’t carried out by “communist government” per se. Rather, it’s done by follow Christians in the state church. It looks like two groups of Christians at one point couldn’t reach a theological understanding. One group went over to the government and used the police power to persecute the other group. To me, it sounds like America where some Christians love to get government involved to impose their doctrines on others.

    Marc, If I were you, I would not want to make persecutions a big deal at this time. You know the Big Brother may be watching. You don’t want to bring unnecessary trouble to your own brethren who are in still over there.

  183. MutantJedi Says:

    Speaking of Christianity in China, I just read this article: Bible to be available free during Games .

  184. Re-educated Says:

    Outsiders have always tried to preach their beliefs to China.

    First it was the Buddhist monks from India, followed by the Jesuits from Europe.

    Now the current rage is human rights and democracy activists!

  185. downunder Says:

    Re – 145

    Here is a good read about the Christian churches in China “Not Exactly Jesus in China” http://shanghaiscrap.com/?p=850

    “Supporting Olympics and displaying nationalism on streets on other countries are orchestrated by the Chinese government. Why did those Chinese wave the Chinese flags instead of Beijing Olympic flags if it weren’t for nationalism? Have any other Olympic hosting city shown such an emotion with their country’s flag?”

    What utterly crap.

    Just let me tell you about my experience of the Olympic games in Sydney during 2000.

    For the whole year leading up to the games, the whole city and country was in some sort of euphoria.
    The city was awashed with the Australian flags. Little kids got brain washed in school come home with names of Australian team members rolling out like a toilet roll, they count how many medal the country is going to win, they learned the national anthem, they were bus to the torch relays and olympic venues, they proudly waved the national flag. During the olympics, crimes in the city was down, even the thugs and criminals felt like proud Australians.

    You know .. I know your god is great but for the non believers, the Olympics is even greater.

  186. downunder Says:

    @Oli, re #161,

    You took the words right out of my mouth … and with alot more eloquent.

  187. BMY Says:

    @downunder

    “Supporting Olympics and displaying nationalism on streets on other countries are orchestrated by the Chinese government. Why did those Chinese wave the Chinese flags instead of Beijing Olympic flags if it weren’t for nationalism? Have any other Olympic hosting city shown such an emotion with their country’s flag?”

    apart from what you are saying, people forgot what happened few days ago in the streets supposed to be pure Olympic before the Chinese came out in force to wave flags with emotion. Someone on this thread is still asking “why Chinese flag not Olympic flag”

    Do I beleive people’s memory been that bad? no.

    Now we came back to the arguments we had few months ago. That’s one of the reasons where this blog came from I think.

  188. BMY Says:

    @Oli,

    Thanks for your very informative #177 about “Zu Pu” and “Jia Pu”. I would read more about.

  189. Marc Says:

    @Ken #182

    >>From what we can tell, the persecution isn’t carried out by “communist government” per se. Rather, it’s >>done by follow Christians in the state church.

    I think you meant to say “fellow Christians.” You hit the nail on the head with this information. Evidently you understand the situation about house church and Three-Self Patriotic Movement church (or government church) in China. I apologize for jumping into the discussions on this thread out of nowhere and was harsh with some commentors here. However, the reason that I brought up house church vs. Three-Self church initially has a lot to do with nationalism. You see, Three-Self church was started by some nationalistic Chinese Christians in the early 1900′s (way before communist took over power in China). Hence they called themselves Three-Self (meaning self-governing, self teaching, self supporting). They hated Western Christians in China then. They teamed up with communist government later in the 1950′s to start persecuting other Chinese Christians who didn’t see things their way. That’s when house church Christians started to emerge. Anyway, the whole conflict started out with nationalism. I honestly see the same reason with the disagreement between the pro-China crowd and any other Chinese who aren’t pro-China. The most outrageous comment on this thread has to be by Snow when he used innuendos by quoting some cult groups in China and call them “house church.” That kind of innuendos should get anyone angry.

    Several other discussions regarding Chinese and Chinese culture in America are excellent. In case you still don’t understandn why I am so “hostile to Chinese culture” as someone alluded to, please rest assured that my feeling is of hostility. I just don’t want my kids to feel singled and hurt. Gene Yang’s comic stories have made some excellent points.

    I have been reading a lot of blogs on China, Olympics, pro-China, anti-China lately. This one is by far the best. I enjoy and appreciate all the intelligent conversations.

  190. Marc Says:

    Oops, sorry, I made a mistake about Snow. It was actually “perspectivehere” at #137 who listed cult groups in China as house church.

  191. Buxi Says:

    @Marc,

    Thank you for your compliments about the blog.

    I just don’t want my kids to feel singled and hurt. Gene Yang’s comic stories have made some excellent points.

    I think the greatest gift you can give your kids is pride and confidence in their traditional culture. They will easily pick up on your discomfort if you feel any at all, but they won’t understand it. Instead, they’ll just assume there’s something naturally inferior about Chinese culture. Don’t make them learn it all in college, like Gene Yang and many others have had to; I honestly believe they’ll regret it.

    Being singled out and hurt… well, I guess if you live in a truly racist or homogeneous area of the US, I have no good solutions for you… except, move to California. :) Asian/Chinese cultures co-exist in great comfort with “American” culture out here.

    Are people out there familiar with the “salad bowl” multicultural analogy? I really do believe this is increasingly replacing the traditional “melting pot” description used in the United States, and California is the perfect example. Basically, people co-exist, live/work happily alongside those with vastly different cultures, but there’s no assumption that they will all eventually “integrate”.. just like different vegetables in a salad.

  192. perspectivehere Says:

    @Marc #189 #190

    You wrote,

    “The most outrageous comment on this thread has to be by Snow when he used innuendos by quoting some cult groups in China and call them “house church.” That kind of innuendos should get anyone angry.”

    “Oops, sorry, I made a mistake about Snow. It was actually “perspectivehere” at #137 who listed cult groups in China as house church.”

    With all due respect, I think you misunderstood the point of my comment. If you re-read my comment carefully, you will see that my comment followed upon Snow’s comment (#130) that there are 3 types of Christians in China: Three-Self, house church (dissident) and house church (non-dissident and bogus / swindlers / perhaps criminal).

    I then illustrated Snow’s taxonomy by offering Eastern Lightning as a well-known example (so well-known that even U.S. Christian groups write about them) of the third group. If you read the link I posted, you will see that U.S. Christian groups identify Eastern Lightning as a significant problem precisely because they lure unsuspecting people in by looking for all intents and purposes like other house churches, and it is only after people have joined that they learn about the dark side of these groups.

    Your comment appears to make it sound as though I’m trying to imply that all house churches are cult groups, and that I’m making some kind of innuendo about house churches. That is unjustified.

    What I was also trying to point out is the difficulty for both insiders and outsiders to identify when something is a legitimate house church (which apparently is left alone for the most part) and the cults/swindlers, which the authorities have a perfectly legitimate reason to crack down on.

    It’s not unlike the difficulties Christians in America have about whether Mormons are Christians or not. And more recently, the FLDS in Texas presented the authorities with difficult questions of wanting to suppress certain undesirable behavior (sex between middle aged men and teenagers) while not running afoul of religious freedom laws and due process.

    For many years, the so-called “Moonies” (followers of Rev. Moon of Korea) were seen by many to be a cult; however, they seem to have been redeemed somewhat in recent years, primarily because the politics of Rev. Moon fits in with the right-wing leadership in Washington.

    The problem of cults:

    I have many Christian friends who attend Evangelical or mainstream churches today who tell me that they grew up in certain splinter groups that they now would think are cults.

    From the first century on, there have been sects (like the Gnostics and the Marcionites) that have claimed the mantle of Christian, and yet were not recognized as such by the orthodox church.

    (See Henry Chadwick, The Early Church for a good introduction to the early history of Christianity).

    The problem of heretical sects for the orthodox becomes an even more perplexing one for the State – how does one regulate religious affairs and disputes between different sects? What happens when sectarian divisions flare up and lead to social and political instability or violence?

    Under the Romans, it was easy — all believers in Jesus of whatever kind were persecuted, tortured and thrown to the lions as common criminals.
    (Many Christians believe that that the church was built on the blood of these martyrs. )

    Later on the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 312. From then on, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire. Christians have generally viewed this as a “victory”, because persecutions of Christians stopped, but the darker side of this elevation in status was a brutal suppression of non-orthodox groups by the State. The next 1,400 years of European history was dominated by troubled Church-State relations, as every European State had a dominant State religion (always a form of Christianity) that persecuted all
    other forms, leading to violence and wars carried out in the name of religion. It was the seeking of religious freedom from persecution by the Anglican Church that led the Puritans (another Protestant Christian sect) to immigrate to America.

    In order to avoid the instability and violence they experienced in Europe, many of the American colonies, such as Roger Wiliams’ Rhode Island (and later the U.S. Constitution) included provisions banning the establishment of a State religion in their constitutions and allowing for religious freedom.

    These freedoms led to an explosion of new religions in U.S. history, but also allowed the formation of cults. Cults are incredibly difficult to define, but people know them when they see them. Most of the time, the worst things that cults do are to their own members, like the Jonestown massacre or the Branch Davidians. Is the FLDS a cult? Depends who you ask.

    As I pointed out, in China the Taiping Rebellion was an incredibly destructive version of “cult gone bad”.

    Today there are many cults in China which Christians there are worried about.
    See for example http://www.dongteam.org/journal/cult_influence/

    The question I have for Marc is, how should the Chinese State react to these cults? How do they distinguish between the legit house churches and the cults? Assuming government officials don’t know much about Christianity anyway, how do they handle an accusation from one group about another group?

    Do you not think that, in their attempt to clamp down on the “cult” type groups, they may clamp down on the “non-cult” house church groups as well?

    Should they be condemned or applauded for clamping down on the third group?

    Let’s be fair now. Chinese government officials and police are only human.

  193. corbett Says:

    I have dark hair and dark eyes, therefore I must be Chinese.

  194. FOARP Says:

    @Corbett – Your first name isn’t Ronnie is it? To be fair, most Chinese also add “and reads and writes Chinese”, actually, that’s not all that great either.

  195. perspectivehere Says:

    @Buxi

    This is a hat trick comment, touching on Chinese-ness, democracy, and your beloved Cal.

    Yale Law Professor Amy Chua has added to the criticism of simple-minded democratization and free-market advocates.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Chua

    The daughter of Filipino-Chinese parents, she was a corporate lawyer on Wall Street before turning to academic law. She published a well-regarded analysis of rapid democratization and free markets leading to economic dominance by ethnic minorities, “World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability”

    http://www.amazon.com/World-Fire-Exporting-Democracy-Instability/dp/0385721862/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid

    Here are some reviews of her extraordinarily original work:

    http://dir.salon.com/story/books/review/2003/01/13/democracy/index.html

    http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people4/Chua/chua-con0.html

    She actually uses her own family’s experience as Chinese minorities in the Philippines to make her points in her book, that transitioning to free-market democracy before a society is ready (i.e., before robust institutions exist for protection of rights and the rule of law, before education is widely available, etc.), often (not always) results in certain minority groups amassing disproportionate economic wealth, with deleterious effects on the overall development of the society and sometimes leading to ethnic violence and pogroms.

    What it means to be Chinese in Philippines and Indonesia is to be an economically wealthy but viewed with suspicion and occasionally despised minority. In times of social or economic disorder they become targets of violence and kidnapping. They were known as the “Jews of the Orient”. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1514916.stm

    Oh, and her father was a professor at Berkeley.

    Are you familiar with her work?

  196. perspectivehere Says:

    @pug_ster #178

    You wrote:

    “From various times in my life I have been around with Asians, and other times without. As a side effect of the US’ policy towards China, there is such racism toward the Chinese. The sad part of it is that there are many Chinese people are ashamed to be Chinese and chose to assimilate to the American society will face that kind of Racism anyways. It does not go away whether you try to act, live, work, marry, like an American, but you will never be a true American unless the country accept you as one.”

    ******
    I’ve been thinking about your comment and what I can say to help you have a deeper understanding and appreciation of that beloved country of mine, the United States of America.

    Then I came across this article, written by a law professor about 19th century Supreme Court Justice Marshall Harlan and his decisions in cases involving Chinese immigrants.

    http://academic.udayton.edu/Race/02rights/immigr10.htm

    Harlan is known as a hero for his forward-thinking views on racial equality as expressed in his dissent in Plessy v Ferguson, which established “separate but equal” as law of the U.S. in 1896. He wrote this:

    “The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth and in power. So, I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time if it remains true to its great heritage and holds fast to the principles of constitutional liberty. But in view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Marshall_Harlan#Plessy_v._Ferguson_.281896.29

    Yet, the same man who could write that paragraph also wrote:

    “There is a race so different from our own that we do not permit those belonging to it to become citizens of the United States. Persons belonging to it are, with few exceptions, absolutely excluded from our country. I allude to the Chinese race. But by the statute in question, a Chinaman can ride in the same passenger coach with white citizens of the United States, while citizens of the black race [cannot].”

    In United States v. Wong Kim Ark, he wrote:

    “For the most persuasive reasons we have refused citizenship to Chinese subjects; and yet, as to their offspring, who are just as obnoxious, and to whom the same reasons for exclusion apply with equal force, we are told that we must accept them as fellow-citizens, and that, too, because of the mere accident of birth. There certainly should be some honor and dignity in American citizenship that would be sacred from the foul and corrupting taint of a debasing alienage. Are Chinese children born in this country to share with the descendants of the patriots of the American Revolution the exalted qualification of being eligible to the Presidency of the nation, conferred by the Constitution in recognition of the importance and dignity of citizenship by birth? If so, then verily there has been a most degenerate departure from the patriotic ideals of our forefathers; and surely in that case American citizenship is not worth having.”

    and

    “the presence within our territory of large numbers of Chinese laborers, of a distinct race and religion, remaining strangers in the land, residing apart by themselves, tenaciously adhering to the customs and usages of their own country, unfamiliar with our institutions, and apparently incapable of assimilating with our people.”

    He also wrote (in preparing a draft paper for his son) the following:

    “[W]e are not bound, upon any broad principle of humanity, to harm our own country in order to benefit the Chinese who may arrive here…. Now, if by introduction of Chinese labor we [jeopardize] our own laborers, why not restrict immigration of Chinese. The Chinese are of a different race, as distinct from ours as ours is from the negro…. [S]uppose there was a tide of immigration … of uneducated African savages–would we not restrict their coming? Would we desist because they are human beings & upon the idea that they have a right to better their condition? … [Chinese] will not assimilate to our people. If they come, we must admit them to citizenship, then to suffrage–what would become of the country in such a contingency…. Under the ten year statute [i.e., the first Chinese Exclusion Act] we have an opportunity to test the question whether it is safe to let down the bars and permit unrestricted immigration–The Chinese here will, in that time, show of what stuff they are made. Our policy is to keep this country, distinctively, under American influence. Only Americans, or those who become such by long stay here, understand American institutions.”

    In Chae Chan Ping v. United States, the Court upheld a ban on Chinese immigration….The Chinese, the Court explained, “remained strangers in the land, residing apart by themselves, and adhering to the customs and usages of their own country. It seemed impossible for them to assimilate with our people, or to make any changes in their habits or modes of living.”
    *******
    The point of making these quotes is to show that, in its history and even up to today, there are deep-seated prejudices towards Chinese that are hard to get rid of. There are honorable people, even Supreme Court Justices, who can hold the view that all are equal before the law, and yet be blind to how their prejudices affect the way they think. They may honestly believe they are fair, and just, but they are blind.

    This is not only true of Americans, of course. However, it is kind of annoying when Americans are ignorant of, forget or whitewash their own history.

    However, real, effective and continuing change has been part of American history as well, and the changes that took place in America thanks to the struggles of African Americans have brought inumerable benefits to Chinese Americans. Their sacrifices in blood won freedom from legal inequality won freedom for you and me. The political environment in the U.S. today wants to keep that hidden from you, but you should never forget it. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_(1955–1968)

    The fact that you and many other Asians could immigrate to the U.S. is probably due to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

    “The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 may prove to be the most consequential of the Great Society civil rights initiatives. The Act removed a reference for whites which had been a central feature of American immigration and nationality law since 1790; the resulting diversification of the immigrant stream will make America a “majority minority” nation within a few decades. Many commentators contend that the diversification that resulted from race-neutral immigration policy was unanticipated, undesired or both, from the perspective of the Congress that passed the Act….[By] drawing on legislative history as well as interviews with key legislators such as Gerald R. Ford, cabinet members including Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, and other participants in the development of the Act [we] conclude…that it is more likely that Congress, largely the same one that passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, rejected the idea of America as a white nation. Congress actually intended to eliminate racial discrimination, and welcomed the diversification that it knew would result.”

    http://legalhistoryblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/three-from-chin-on-us-immigration.html

    I repeat it again: “Congress, largely the same one that passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, rejected the idea of America as a white nation. Congress actually intended to eliminate racial discrimination, and welcomed the diversification that it knew would result.”

    It is ironic, that at the same time as the Cultural Revolution was beginning in China, a far-reaching cultural revolution took place in the U.S. regarding equality between the races. The “race” issues you see today in the U.S., the split between republicans and democrats on race – this battles stem from the splits in American society that took place during the Civil Rights era.

    pug_ster – This comment was meant to give you some insight that American views towards Chinese is not only an outgrowth of U.S. policy towards China.

    It is also intended to inspire you to appreciate the U.S. Constitution and to take ownership of it as your own. No matter what other Americans may tell you, or how you feel about where you live, or what you do for a living or how people of your race are portrayed in the media, you can claim the Constitution as your own, and that makes you an American.

    America is not for white people only. When you say, “It does not go away whether you try to act, live, work, marry, like an American, but you will never be a true American unless the country accept you as one.”

    F*ck those people. You are an American and you don’t need to give a damn whether they accept you or not. Turn the tables on them….you are an American and you don’t accept their racist views, and if they don’t like it, they should leave. Like the U.S. Congress of 1965, the U.S. is not meant to be a white nation.

    The U.S. Constitution is a dreamwork in progress. This is the beauty of America, the challenge to live up to its promise.

    Fight for your rights. pug_ster — you are an American! Don’t let the bastards take that away from you, whatever your background or how different you might look or talk from people around you. You are just as American as they are.

    Support legal rights of Asians through this organization: https://www.aaldef.org/

    And please don’t look unkindly upon those Chinese who have assimilated. As the Court cases I mentioned show, part of the justification for treating Chinese unequally is because of the perception that they would not assimilate. The Chinese immigrants before you suffered a great deal, and assimilation was their means for survival. Animosity between assimilated and unassimilated Chinese is just divide and conquer.

  197. Buxi Says:

    @perspectivehere,

    I meant to respond to your earlier comments about Amy Chua. (I had no idea she was a law professor at Yale! Impressive.)

    I’ve actually read… er.. skimmed her book. I own it, but lost it while moving. But absolutely, the message of that book was very, very interesting and compelling. It was definitely one of the first books that made me wonder, from the bottom of my heart, whether democracy was really “universal” in its advantages. She makes a very compelling case that in the wrong condition, it’s not only inefficient, it’s actually dangerous.

    I really appreciate that kind of perspective. There are a lot of people in America who take “American values” as a matter of faith, and no longer with any sort of skepticism. I think those with a more worldly experience should try to challenge that faith… I don’t mean necessarily rejecting the faith, but really thinking about possible counter-arguments for the idea that “democracy” solves the world’s problems.

    Your impassioned argument for making the Constitution “all” Americans (regardless of skin color) is really impressive, thanks. I think the United States is definitely a unique social experiment in world history… no country quite like it has existed before. I believe it still faces many challenges ahead… but certainly, Americans should confront these challenges head-on as you said.

  198. Karma Says:

    @perspectivehere

    The Chinese immigrants before you suffered a great deal, and assimilation was their means for survival. Animosity between assimilated and unassimilated Chinese is just divide and conquer.

    Nice thought – and true enough. But there are really at least two waves of Chinese immigrants – one in the 1800′s (which suffered through a lot and, as you say, had to assimilate to survive) – and one more recent starting with the 70′s from Taiwan and Hong Kong and later also from the Mainland.

    The earlier generation obviously had to assimilate to survive. Many of the more recent however are the more privileged and snobby type who choose not to be Chinese because it seems to be the expedient thing to do.

    I think its this second group that Buxi (I know, I am putting words in Buxi’s mouth) meant to address when he said:

    The sad part of it is that there are many Chinese people are ashamed to be Chinese and chose to assimilate to the American society will face that kind of Racism anyways.

    P.S. PBS recently had a nice series on the Chinese American Experience (see
    http://www.pbs.org/becomingamerican/#)

  199. Karma Says:

    @Buxi

    Amy Chua. (I had no idea she was a law professor at Yale! Impressive.)

    Yeh – she actually worked in a big law firm for many years before turning academic. Shows that even the most heartless of lawyers (ie in big law firms) still has hope! ;-)

  200. perspectivehere Says:

    @Karma

    “Yeh – she actually worked in a big law firm for many years before turning academic. Shows that even the most heartless of lawyers (ie in big law firms) still has hope!”

    I know you’re just being facetious, but for the benefit of everyone else, there are all types at NY big firms. She worked at Cleary, which has a reputation for diversity and attracting mavericks and individualist types. “The firm prides itself on its quirkiness” says this review:

    http://www.lawcrossing.com/article/index.php?id=169

    “Very unique culture–eclectic and incredibly intelligent and academic”

    Vault Guide to the Top New York Law Firms pp. 57-58
    http://books.google.com/books?id=tySfUkGLzPUC&pg=PA58&lpg=PA58&dq=cleary+gottlieb+culture&source=web&ots=mRbQDIj_XJ&sig=vWfGhlQCQyKo19SlfY12zdvklGI&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result#PPA58,M1

    Disclosure: I don’t work at Cleary but I have friends there.

  201. MutantJedi Says:

    perspectivehere,
    Your comments on being American are well said. It’s a strong balance to things easily criticized. There is good reason to be proud to be American.

  202. Karma Says:

    @perspectivehere

    Are you a lawyer? For others interested about law firms – many of us lawyers are obsessed about “prestige” of our law firm. One of the most popular are the vault rankings.

    Here are this year’s vault rankings: http://www.vault.com/nr/lawrankings.jsp?law2008=2&ch_id=242&top100=1

  203. perspectivehere Says:

    @Karma

    How did you guess?

    @Buxi

    Changing gears, I’d like to throw out a new stream of discussion: Being Chinese usually means you have some experience with TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine.

    Whether it is reflected in thinking that certain foods or drinks have various properties of heatiness or coldness (not temperature, but more like a medieval concept of humors), to using techniques like acupuncture, massage, reflexology or herbal medicine to stay healthy, or relying upon Chinese exercise techniques like Taijichuan to build up Qi, being Chinese means knowing something about the traditional arts of health management through unique Chinese ways. This education occurs as a form of cultural assimilation over the years, as Chinese language and culture is replete with terminology and expressions and practices that flow from chinese medical concepts.

    Conflicts with the modern world may arise, however, with those who believe that TCM has no scientific basis, thus relegating TCM to the level of quackery. In fact, even in China, I believe there are both proponents and opponents of TCM.

    Wherever the truth may lie, I think the only way to judge the efficacy of TCM is through direct personal experience.

    On my part, having grown up with a Western scientific model in academic education, but also having been blessed with a mom who made delicious Chinese soup with various medicinal herbs, I’ve always had an affinity for TCM. When I got sick she would make me bitter brews which would be awful to drink but would help me get better. These methods existed side-by-side with trips to the Western doctor. It just seems natural to me to rely on both methods – I’m comfortable with it, and it’s a form of ‘hedging your bets’ by relying on more than one solution.

    Later in life I lived in Taiwan and learned from a Taijichuan teacher to avoid icy cold drinks and to drink hot water even in the summer. Drinking baikaishui is one of those “really odd things” about Chinese immigrants from the older generation (the ones that could not speak English) that I laughed at when I was younger but learned to appreciate when I got older.

    These days I rely on acupuncture and traditional Chinese massage and reflexology plus Chinese herbal medicine to regulate my metabolism and overall health. I avoid western medicines as much as possible (although I do believe in them, I also am concerned about side effects).

    I wonder what is the experience and views of others?

  204. jsb Says:

    Is or is not the root of Chinese-ness mainland China? I suspect much of this discussion is very theoretical, i.e. that few of you have spent a considerable length of time living in the PRC. I seriously doubt that overseas-born and raised ethnic Chinese would be so enthusiastic about being ‘chinese’ if they had spent a few years dealing with the realities of Shanghai, let alone other, less developed areas of the country.

  205. Daniel Says:

    The root of Chinese-ness will always be the family. Which is also the root of many Diaspora groups.

    As some have mention, the ties between the many Hua Ren will be stronger with their regional homelands, or more particularly the ancesotrial villages. However, even within that circle, lies the familiar relations that should outweigh whatever links one has to other groups or sub-groups. That memory of memory of all whatever cultural practices such as language, literature or family businesses/heirlooms serve as constant reminders of the origin. Even among some adopted children (some) where their families wish to give their kids exposure and knowledge about their background will have some close feelings and thoughts towards this topic.

    On the topic of TCM, I have a short story to tell. I had a car accident about 6 years ago, one which required me to be hospitalized. When I went back home, one of my mom’s friends from Hong Kong sent some TCM Herbs for me to boil and drink. Even though she was a licensed Dietrician (I believe) who study and practiced in the States for a while before moving, she said how the herbs had some chemical properties which could reach places in the body which modern medicine hasn’t quite reach as yet. Overall, the TCM process is a slow one, and she mentioned how several people she knew who had accidents like mine who developed some problems a decade or two later because some Doctors will overlooked those parts that should have been taken care of.

    I’m still trying to remember all the details, but I’m pretty sure that there are plenty of readers here who have had similar accidents or experiences regarding Medicine in general (maybe some of you work) because I really don’t understand or know how to explain. There’s a growing number of people who do treat TCM in a serious matter, such as with skeptism, consider some areas as pseudo-beliefs (magical thinking) while some are seen as placebos, yet much studies are being emphasize regarding the herbs. Some things are a little bit common sense such as the food therapy. I ‘ve read somewhere that TCM had two different branches (like there was another set of therapies and knowledge) in the past, but one sort of went away because the physicians kept it within themselves and very few students could learn it. Mostly close relatives like sons or nephews.

    Which reminds me about this “Chinese” attitude of keeping things to themselves. Even though there’s a lot to study about “all things Chinese” I think there was more than recorded or currrently remember mainly because a lot of people kept that knowledge, cultural relics and craftsmenship to themselves and the students to carry on weren’t reliable. My opinion.

  206. Daniel Says:

    I should re-phrase a bit about my experience with modern medicine and TCM. Some things Modern medicine isn’t confident enough regarding those herbs to consider applying yet, as my mom’s friend probably would have stated as. It might be like one or two compounds in those herbs that are effective, but the thing about TCM is that you have to take it as a whole. The pharmaceutical companies might want to isolate it and turn it into a pill or liquid form but I think there are studies being pursued regarding it.

  207. Buxi Says:

    Boy, I’d love to do an extended topic on TCM in general. It’s a heated topic in China… many are arguing exactly what perspectivehere was talking about, whether scientic method should be used to evaluate TCM. There’s another side of the story there, with numerous Western research universities doing a lot of work examining the effects of TCM. (For example, acupuncture on cancer… I know that type of work was being done at UCSF.)

    If you’ve thought about it perspectivehere, and if you have Western resources to link to… maybe we should put it into a blog post and start a new thread on it.

    @jsb,

    I seriously doubt that overseas-born and raised ethnic Chinese would be so enthusiastic about being ‘chinese’ if they had spent a few years dealing with the realities of Shanghai, let alone other, less developed areas of the country.

    The fact that you “can’t imgaine” is only a description of the limitation of your own imaginaion and knowledge, not a descripion of what we actually do/feel.

    The posters here run a wide range. I was born and spent much of my childhood in China; I have since studied, worked, and currently own a home in China. Other posters didn’t leave China until after university. Other posters here are currently in China. And then other posters are on the way back to China, permanently.

    My attachment and loyalty to being Chinese isn’t “bought” by comfort; if that was the case, I’d happily settle into my sailboat and have a cocktail, and stop blogging. I’ve seen China far poorer, far worse than it is today.. and I didn’t love it any less then.

  208. pug_ster Says:

    @perspectivehere 196

    Thank you for the lengthy response as my experiences of racism pales compared to the generations before me. What you said reminds me of the movie War where Chang said to Rogue about Chang being married to an American “Those that can adapt will survive.” Perhaps that is what these Chinese had to do before me. You’re probably right that I should not hold my grudge towards the Chinese people whom I think has ‘blindly’ assimilated.

    On the other hand, I think of people like Gary Locke who did exact thing as he assimilated and has gotten as far as being a Governor of Oregon. This guy was a rising star to the Democratic party until he gave the Democratic response to GWB’s 2003 State of the Union’s Address. Even this guy is as American Pie as he can get and still wasn’t able to hit the glass ceiling. I doubt that things would ever improve until US stops viewing China as a competitor but as a partner.

  209. pug_ster Says:

    Oh, I made a mistake, Gary Locke was the Governor of Washington State and not Oregon.

  210. Chops Says:

    The Iron Hammer: Lang Ping

    “There aren’t many safe predictions going into an Olympic Games, but here’s one: The U.S. women’s volleyball team should be the most popular Americans in Beijing.

    This has little to do with the team’s prospects. It has everything to do with its coach, Beijing native “Jenny” Lang Ping, an icon in Chinese culture for leading China to an unexpected gold medal at the 1984 games in Los Angeles.

    Lang Ping holds such an exalted position that her name is in Chinese history books. Her image has been on a postage stamp. Her wedding was on live TV.”

    http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/jul/08/us-womens-volleyball-coach-an-icon-back-in/?printer=1/

  211. Opersai Says:

    I’m a big believer the western medicine is for quick fix, traditional Chinese medicine is for a better long term heal. I had witnessed many personal experience of situation when the western medicine is powerless, and traditional Chinese medicine works. Although, I, myself, is too young to have any serious illness to have benefited from the traditional Chinese medicine greatly where western medicine doesn’t work.

    My mother had been in an car accident couple years ago. Since then, she was greatly bothered by a immense back pain, which her family doctor told her to either endure, or take pain killer. Of course, taking pain killer had too many side effect, enduring the pain effected her life too much. This was healed by a few months of message, acupuncture + herbal medicine by an experienced Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. Another case, my mother also has kidney stone, which her family doctor, again, told her either to have an operation take out the stone now, or wait until the stone grow too large to ignore and have an operation. Neither were pretty choices and have serious side effects. She recently tried a food therapy, apple juice+Oliver oil, and that had helped her to flush out some stones out of her body.

    My uncle, about 7 years back, had a small, but potentially cancerous lump on his keen. I could not remember very clearly the reasons why he could not go to surgery, but he got ride of the lump by practicing Qi.

    I believe both western and traditional Chinese medicine have it’s strength and shortcomings. Western medicine acts very quickly and effectively against urgent and emergent situations, but most times have serious side effect – it’s like Chinese saying: taking apart the eastern wall to repair the western wall (拆了东墙补西墙). The traditional Chinese medicine, on the other hand, offers a holistic healing, but it’s often very slow to show effect. Also, it needs a lot of experience from a good doctor to prescript the right kind and amount of medicine for each unique case. I think traditional Chinese medicine is especially not suited for pill sold over counter.

  212. cici Says:

    what does it mean when a person gives you something red because i saw on my sister street that a whole line of chinese people with different items that were red waiting outside of a house to go inside and all people were dressed really nice.

  213. Jerry Says:

    I’m new to this blog and I know these entries are from July. I am a Russian American Jew (secular) living in Taipei City. I retired from Microsoft 2 years ago. I noted several items in the comments.

    #2. Yes, Daniel, many Jews do identify very strongly with their culture, tradition and heritage. Our culture is over 4,000 years. Jews in Russia and elsewhere went through many pogroms during our many 100’s of years in Russia. Jews had been persecuted long before that.

    I do note similarities in the Chinese and Jewish cultures. Our culture is over 4,000 years. The Chinese culture is around 5,000 years, from what I know.

    The American culture (whatever that is?) seems to be a great eraser and homogenizer. I see awareness of our heritage and history slipping away; I am concerned. I think that is why Elie Wiesel is so fixed on the Holocaust. He does not want to lose our Jewish “touchstones” and the Holocaust is a huge “touchstone”. My Chinese and Cambodian friends are also very concerned with the Western effect on their children and often lovingly refer to their children as “bananas”.

    #28. Buxi, regarding my concern about holding on to our heritage, please see #2 above.

    #69. “Many Chinese believe China’s policy towards ethnic Chinese should mirror that of Israel with Jews.” Buxi, this is not a bad idea. I myself have never been to Israel, so I can’t directly comment on the effects. But my Israeli friends have told me about problems with the later waves of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Besides the usual divisions within the religion (from ultra-orthodox to humanistic/secular), classism is now breaking out between various migrant groups. This is troubling to me. I hear that they have similar problems in Hong Kong between the Chinese, especially with the newer migrants from dà lù (mainland).

    I am not familiar with the “Chinese diaspora”.

    #94. Buxi, anti-semitism and anti-Judaism date back to over 2,000 years ago. It has been traced back as far as Alexandria and the Greeks.

    #195. ROFL. Perspectivehere, I kept reading this and saying to myself, “This sounds like us Jews.” Then I saw the BBC article, “Jews of the Orient”. I just chuckled to myself.

    I knew about the problems that the Chinese had in Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. I was not aware of the issues in the Philippines. Makes sense to me, though.

    Here in Taiwan, I have been told that they really admire Jews. Supposedly, we all are “Einsteins” and wealthy. That’s a kick. Reverse racism! Wow, it is about time that we get the flip-side of all the many years of persecutions. At long last, an upside. I have experienced it several times here. Then, when I tell them I retired from Microsoft, their jaws drop and eyes widen. Too much! ::LOL::

    I grew up in Portland, Oregon. Jews were not let into country clubs in the area (hardly an Oregon phenomena). In 1912, they built their own, the Tualatin Country Club.

    #196. I agree with perspectivehere. Pugster, you are an American citizen. I could not have written it any better.

    “F*ck those people. You are an American and you don’t need to give a damn whether they accept you or not. Turn the tables on them….you are an American and you don’t accept their racist views, and if they don’t like it, they should leave. Like the U.S. Congress of 1965, the U.S. is not meant to be a white nation.

    The U.S. Constitution is a dreamwork in progress. This is the beauty of America, the challenge to live up to its promise.

    Fight for your rights. pug_ster — you are an American! Don’t let the bastards take that away from you, whatever your background or how different you might look or talk from people around you. You are just as American as they are.”

    And it is good that you have organizations like the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. We have B’nai B’rith International. Again don’t give in to the bastards who wish to denigrate and humiliate you. And I know it can hurt, bad. My Jewish father has always told me, “Jerry, it does not matter how many times you get knocked down by life. It only matters how many times you get back up!” It is those racists who want to humiliate and denigrate you who are the weak ones, the cowards, low life, and the ones with real inferiority problems.

    Thank you, perspectivehere, for your discussion on Justice Harlan. I was aware of Plessy v Ferguson. I was unaware of his racist BS about the Chinese. I have been very aware of general prejudice directed towards Chinese and other Asian people. I was not aware of Harlan’s writings about Chinese people.

    I remember the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights Act and the race riots of the 60’s. Jews were in the forefront of the Civil Rights movement and died in the South when they stood up for African Americans. African Americans were treated abysmally, persecuted, enslaved, and deprived of medical care and good housing. The after-effects of Katrina still point out the mistreatment of African Americans.

    “And please don’t look unkindly upon those Chinese who have assimilated.” I agree. Many Jews converted to Christianity to save their own and their families’ lives in Europe. I remember Madeleine Albright’s shock and speechlessness when she discovered that she was from a Jewish family that had converted to Catholicism. Her parents were escaping persecution.

    Sorry for not addressing the other Jewish issues. Maybe we can in the future if you so wish.

    Mazel tov!

  214. whocares Says:

    First of all, I was born and raised in Taiwan.

    When I was in the school, the text book taught me that I am a Chinese and my country, China, is super huge (but I can travel to nowhere in “my country”).

    When the more and more history was uncovered with the island’s increasing political freedom, I was then taught that I am a Taiwanese, and we have nothing to do with main land.

    Now I am going to finish my PhD and try DAMN HARD to find a job in the DAMN FINANCIAL CRISIS. Thanks to the internet, I can check opportunities all around the world. You know what? I DO NOT care how people call me or identify me. I will go to any country as long as they offer a CHANCE for people with skills like me TO TRY and TO DEVELOP.

    But let’s face the truth, the best place is NOT likely to be MAIN LAND CHINA, TAIWAN, KOREA or JAPAN in the short term.

    I myself even don’t care whether I am a taiwanese, chinese, indian, american, brazilian, french or whatever, simply because I DO NOT feel proud or shame for any identity. I DO NOT care what kind of passport I have because I will like it if it makes me travel freely around the globe and will dislike it if it cannot.

    So, YES, I am ready to switch my ROC (Taiwan) passport to any others as long as my request can be fulfilled.

    So, as someone born in Taiwan, I don’t see any problem with my identity, because I have NEVER care.

    PS: I like globalization, because it push people to face real issues rather than some never-ending quarrels.

  215. Hongkonger Says:

    Li Jia Xing says: “I asked an African living in China what his reply is when asked if he was African, replies, “I am a black-Chinese.” ”

    Canadian born Li added, “I once spoke no Chinese, couldn’t read Chinese, but now I do and I’ve
    since stopped floundering over my identity, my nationality. I know I am a Chinese.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu8tpaeIncM&feature=related

  216. Zuraffo Says:

    There is a very simple answer to this question:

    If one wants to lay claim to being a Chinese, he or she must understand and be able to relate to the following phrase:

    普天之下,莫非王土;率土之滨,莫非王臣

  217. Opersai Says:

    http://baike.baidu.com/view/9440.htm

    This is really an old thread, but I just happen to have read something quiet interesting (in Chinese unfortunately). The link is definition of 中华民族 (how to translate this? Chinese?) from Baidu Baiku (Chinese version of Wikipedia).

    Somethings I want to highlight that could help to understand what it means being Chinese. (I’ll try to summary the idea, perhaps someone with better English can do a accurate translation. but please pardon my inappropriate use of “ethnic” here)

    I’d like to explain the difference between “华夏族”(HuaXia ethnic), “汉族” (Han ethnic), “中华民族” (ZhongHua ethnic), which are identity that can be used for Han people at some point. First, Chinese doesn’t equal Han, but include other 55 ethnics as well, this we know. However, Han ethnic was not really a singular ethnic either. Before Han Dynasty, many different tribes interact, battle and gradually merge, and they call themselves “华夏族” or “诸夏” (where “诸” means every; every Xia ethnics). “诸”(every) here shows this identity is a commonly recognized name for several tribes, with different bloodlines. After Qin unified each small kingdoms, at Han Dynasty, gradually the identity “华夏族” was substitute with “汉族” (Han ethnic). However, not only Han lived on the land, there were other ethnics too. So around “魏、晋” Dynasty, the identity “中华” came about were used as a common identify for all people including ethnics other than Han, who were the majority. Of course, “中华民族” (ZhongHua ethnic) we use today has changed and expanded it’s meaning to clearly include more ethnic.

    2. To explain the difference of “华夏族”(HuaXia ethnic), “汉族” (Han ethnic), and “中华民族” (ZhongHua ethnic) shows Han or Chinese was ever a singular ethnic or tribe. This article also mentions the establishment of the identify Han does not stress on bloodline, but rather on culture commonality. The identity “华夏族” came about because the tribes recognize commonality between their culture. Than the this identity evolved into “汉族” (Han ethnic), and then into “中华民族” (ZhongHua ethnic). Each time to include more people, more people. The definition of Chinese definitely shouldn’t be limited to bloodline.

    中华民族的概念从提出到不断的引申和发展,在现在文辞用语中已不再是单一的中国各民族的代称,而是一个与中国的国家、民族、地域、历史紧密相连的整体的代称。

    Could someone translate this last sentence, I find it hard to express the meaning in it.

  218. Allen Says:

    @Operasai #217,

    I don’t think there is ever a time too late for a comment – esp. when you have something to say, as you do!

    You wrote:

    The identity “华夏族” came about because the tribes recognize commonality between their culture. Than the this identity evolved into “汉族” (Han ethnic), and then into “中华民族” (ZhongHua ethnic). Each time to include more people, more people. The definition of Chinese definitely shouldn’t be limited to bloodline.

    That’s fair enough – but by defining Chineseness on culture rather than ethnicity, one might ask what is Chinese culture? Is it Han language? Is it Confucianism? Is it a dynamic still-to-be-determined cultural melting pot of all peoples within the boundary of the PRC?

    P.S. I understand the answer to this question is related to the translation you requested…

    Allen

  219. Wukailong Says:

    @opersai: That’s a very interesting text. Thanks for sharing!

    Just a thought: obviously there haven’t been a concept of the “Han people” for millennia, but different groups have mixed and been referred to in various ways. How does the modern concept of ethnic group, which obviously is a concept that originated in the Western world (and seemed to culminate in the 19th and early 20th century) change the understanding of concepts like “中华民族”? It’s the same with the minority peoples and the current categorization into 55 of them, something that might be practical but arbitrary in some ways (i.e. the 高山族 on Taiwan which are several according to another definition).

  220. Opersai Says:

    @Allen,

    That’s fair enough – but by defining Chineseness on culture rather than ethnicity, one might ask what is Chinese culture? Is it Han language? Is it Confucianism? Is it a dynamic still-to-be-determined cultural melting pot of all peoples within the boundary of the PRC?

    Thanks for the response. You are right, Chineseness can not be only defined by culture. I think I did not formulate my idea very clearly. I meant, look at how Han ethnic came about, it’s not just stress on bloodline, which is how some ethnics are define. But also notice, the identity evolves, from “华夏族” to “汉族” to “中华儿女” to “中华民族”, the definition for each phase of those identity also evolves. When they defined themselves as “华夏族”, the tribes still had idea that they were different bloodline sharing similar culture, no, maybe better translate as customs (礼仪). Then, because Qin unified the small kingdoms, the emperor also unified currency, language etc (Han character writing had many different versions in each kingdoms back then), this set ground for a tighter core for a common culture, and as time pass to Han Dynasty, the identify evolves into “汉族” with a stronger shared culture and awareness of one unified country – 汉朝 (Han Dynasty), as opposed to nomadic tribes in the north. Then, as there were also other ethnics with different culture, customs that also lives under same ruling, the identity evolves to expand and include more people, and so the idea of “中华儿女” was vaguely established, here “中华儿女” is not same as ZhongHua ethnic ( “中华民族”), it means sons and daughters of ZhongHua (“中华”). The definition of this identity is changed again, though, the definition was vague and hazy, but it start to expand the definition beyond bloodline, beyond culture.

    Also, here is the problem of translation and the fact, as Wukailong mentions, the concept of ethnic did not exist before it introduced by the west. Though, from “华夏族” to “汉族” to “中华民族”, we all used 族, which now we carelessly translate to ethnic, but they had different meaning and definition. (Though, myself don’t really have very good grasp of the differences ^ ^;;)

    So, to conclude myself a little, our ethnic came about by interact, merging, and its definition also evolves. The identity for us was, is and will, not be same, set and unchanged. Definition of Chineseness is not limited to bloodline, culture, or land, but in the same time, these elements can not be all absent. Personally, I think being Chineseness is a self identification, and recognition from surrounding. Say, for some CBC, they don’t feel they are Chinese or live like one. What’s Chinese of them except perhaps some bloodline?

  221. Dan Says:

    Wow, I haven’t been here for a while but interesting inqueries.

    I think it is true that in the end, it all depends on what you want to call yourself and what context. For this website for example, it’s probably more appropriate to speak about Chinese in terms of issues affecting the Mainland, those who are citizens or residents, any relations to that place.
    Since I stop reading this site, I read a lot in the local libraries, universities and email people who are knowledgble regarding aspects of Chinese culture, history, the people, etc.

    All I can say at this point is it’s a huge work in progress, and it will take a long time to discuss in through-ou details. A lot can be said of Ancient times, and personally, for sake of many conveniences I consider whatever happened or was implemented-created before the Republican era to be from the “Chinese civilization” and after that time period, part of “China” or to be more specific, ROC, PRC, etc. Although I understand that one event follows another or is based on something before but like I said, for sake of conveniences and depends on the topic.

    For those in the diaspora, it’s somewhat different. Yeah for some, other than their physical features and connections, there’s little in distinguishing them and others of different background. However, sometimes it’s how others identify you, but that’s like a whole other story to dwell into. It is possible to say you are a member of this group or that tribe without having to go deep into political terms. Many other groups of people have comparable issues as well, some that are much more complex than what is chinese.

    On the other hand, they can call themselves whatever they want, and again, depending on the context, many people won’t denied their right to self-identify themselves. Plus, if this helps, for the many people out there who have little or no interests + knowledge in the subjects associated with this topic, the word Chinese to them can bring up a thousand images, some unrealistic, some justified, some contradicting, etc. So, in essence…it’s not necessary to go far with thinking how others will think about what you are.

    Interesting story I witness was at a resturant in the states where a HK woman was working and some young man was conversing with her. She ended up a little annoyed because the man was saying how “Oh but I studied Taoism, I studied such and such, this is what you believe, this is what you do, this is what you are,etc.” She basically said no many times politely until he got his order and left. This is a mild case, but there’s lots more out there, some even more entertaining others not so innocent.

  222. NL Says:

    Well, in danger of being swamped by the literature that has amassed in reply, thus making my response worthless (as I have not even attempted to read one reply myself), I think it’s pretty obvious what you are. You are a modern human. You have identified the largely arbitrary and superficial idea of ‘identity’ and nationality that ought to be realised en masse, but as of yet, hasn’t.

    Thanks to globalization, a shrinking of the world, and now the defunct views that racial solidarity is a worthwhile value, who are we? The sooner we realise that we are pretty much the same, and significantly (if we exclude race) distinguished by language alone-perhaps with a few social traditions thrown in, (which can be found within a single country anyway, not least of all China, thus they cannot determine ‘who you are’)- then the sooner the planet can become a utopian paradise…In my most idealistic dreams of course. In reality we will continue to search for our unique identity (paradoxically shared, of course, with millions of others), and attempt to distinguish ourselves through artificial conflict based on little more than the imaginary borders we happen to have been born within.

    Your own ambivalence is testament to the futile search for identity we 21st century humans still mindlessly, and hopelessly, engage in. If we need to sit down, and think long and hard about our differences, then they are certainly not significant enough for us to make definitive categorisations with; that is, declare ourselves this abstract concept or that, by reference to, lo and behold, some long redundant historical memories, whose burdens we artificially splice upon ourselves in a further absurd effort to discover an identity. I am 20 years old, I am not 100, 200, 500 years old etc.

    Everywhere in this world the question of identity is beginning to emerge, and everywhere, no answer can be found, why? Because we are asking an utterly meaningless question.

  223. Allen Says:

    @NL,

    Yes – I commend the kinship you feel with all of humanity – not just your ethnicity (or religious kindred).

    But we each do have different cultures and it is inevitable we feel greater affinity to one group than another.

    That aside – have you traveled the world recently? Have you noticed that most of the people of the world lead lives that are drastically differently from we in the West? In fact, have you noticed there is a great divide between haves and have nots in the world?

    Have you looked to history to see how those inequities have arisen and current politics to see how they are being perpetrated?

    It’s great to feel kinship with the rest of the world. In a way, I also do wish we abolish nationhood and have a world gov’t. I wish we could have ever lasting peace. I wish we can all have equal access to opportunities and decent living.

    I identify with John Lennon’s song:

    Imagine there’s no Heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say that I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one

    However, until the great inequity between peoples of the world has been eliminated, that yogaesque kind of kinship you feel is a mirage, not real … and perhaps even deceitful…

  224. China Business Blog Says:

    This a very controversial subject, but very interesting since we all have different opinions about this topic. So, here’s what I think. I hope that I don’t hurt someone else’s feelings by doing so.

    I’m also Chinese, but I was born and raise in the Netherlands. So, I actually feel entirely Dutch, but am still proud of the fact that I’m also Chinese. I don’t think it’s a matter of what kind of passport you have but you are what or who you feel you are. Of course, you can’t completely deny the fact that you are Chinese when you don’t want to be called a Chinese because you still have Chinese features, but it’s still understandable if that person doesn’t want to be referred to as “Chinese” but rather be called a (nationality) person instead. I’m not saying this all because I feel this way myself, but I can understand that there are certain people that do feel this way. I think this could have something to do with the fact that sometimes we do get discriminated by the persons of the country we live in (not China). It makes us want to be the same as everyone else, therefore denying who you really are.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion on this matter, Buxi!

  225. raventhorn4000 Says:

    I have thought of this subject of “being Chinese” for a long time. Having grown up in China until 12, and then grown up some more in US since 12, I have been searching for the meaning of “being Chinese” for myself for over 2 decades.

    When I see another Chinese person, I often asked myself, what is it that is similar between me and another Chinese?

    It is not my language. I know simplified Chinese, while other Chinese know traditional Chinese. I know Mandarin, and Shanghai dialect, but others know other Chinese dialects.

    It is not the food. China has many regional food that some other Chinese might find too bland or too strange. My wife loves chicken feet, I can’t stand to eat it. I love jellyfish, my wife doesn’t like it.

    I looked for the thing “Chinese” all share.

    It is perhaps our shared history, which define our identity. Along with that, it is also the way a Chinese person behaves and upholds as moral priorities.

    Yes, perhaps it is the bloodline that binds all Chinese loosely in a “racial” context, but it is more than mere genetics.

    It is the stories we share and pass down generation after generation, of men like Confucius, Lao Tzu, Mencius, some of whom we have described as “divine”.

    China, is the ONLY ancient civilization that still exists. Unlike Egypt, Babylon, Persia, China survived countless civil wars, external conquests, to remain a single relatively unified nation.

    But from that, we must also ask, what part of “ancient China” has survived?

    From dynasty to dynasty, we Chinese have changed our writing, our speech, our food, our clothing, our poetry, and even our sense of beauty. In other words, we Chinese have changed ourselves generation after generation, sometimes accepting and adapting to outside influences from the Mongolians and the Manchurians.

    Yet, deep down, we remained “Chinese”.

    So what is this “being Chinese” that we have become?

    Perhaps it is the “Dao” of being Chinese, or the “Righteousness” by Confucian doctrines.

    It is the way we value education for our children, the way we respect our ancestors and our elders, the way we view the world in what we think ought to be orderly and stable? Or the way we save money? Or the way we conduct business? Or even the subtle corruptions and nepotisms? Or the proverbs that we teach our children?

    Sometimes, I like to call these collectively as “Chinese pragmatism”, the closest thing that my Western friends can understand it. It is a way of thinking that perhaps only Chinese can understand.

    It is not a race thing, it is a cultural thing. Once you truly understand the “Chinese pragmatism”, you become a Chinese in your mindset.

  226. bob Says:

    What does it mean to be Chinese?
    I suppose it depends on what generation and where you grew up–my comments are generalizations that would vary. The basics are frugality, aspiration to achieve high goals (better to be a doctor, lawyer, financier over liberal artist), fillial piety–respect for your elders, Confucian beliefs and the accumulation of wealth — for starters. We’re sort of Jewish in some ways. Younger generations are naturally more Westernized, and the facscination with wealth may be exacerbated. This may be an unintended result of the extreme lengths Chinese parents go to push their children to excel, combined with the severe lack of material wealth in the last several centuries.

    Chinese that grew up in the West tend to have adopted Christian beliefs, whereas I believe in China, due to the cultural revolution, I am unaware of broad religious affiliations. Fillial pity, or uncontested respect for elders is a chief characteristic unlike any other western culture. I am not sure what the Japanese take on this is, but I believe it’s common in most Asian cultures. In China, I think this practice is congruent with the one-party rule, so it fits very nicely. However, I personally believe that this practice is subject to abuse, whereby a certain lawlessness can prevail when situations seem to be getting out of control and absolute power is threatened (“I’m the boss, so shut up [even if you are right]! Period!). Also, this may lead to a greater degree of corruption, as we see in China today, but we’ll need an empirical study to confirm that.

    Rambling on here… Because there is a central tendency toward business acumen and achievement, combined with the symbolic nature of Chinese ideograms, I think it’s difficult for Chinese to be right-brained, where westerners seem more left brained. We’d rather talk about making money or other facts and figures, than to create idle chatter about the latest TV characters and shows. I find it difficult to walk into a college town pub and engage in the shananigan type banter of frat boys. I want to try and do this to blend in the crowd but to do so by watching more sports and sit-coms on TV would impede my study time. I am conflicted by this, because for some strange reason, I want to be like a white person. Maybe it’s status symbolism.

    A few other points. As with many other nations, we are certainly proud of our heritage, so perhaps this is not a distinction. Also, I must say that I think Asians and perhaps Chinese, can create bitter conflicts amongst themselves and with others, all the way down to the family unit. Just look at the many film productions that are tragedies. Additionally, the Chinese of today remain vocally bitter at the Japanese for WWII atrocities. Finally, in general, Chinese and other Asians are less outwardly trusting–they need to get to know you before we take the next step. Westerners tend to be more trusting at the onset of a relationship.

    Well, that’s all folks! Have a happy and wonderful time resolving your identity!! :)

  227. Shane9219 Says:

    @bob

    Every culture has its strong sides as well as weak sides. Corruption exists in everywhere and every culture. You probably know the situation on corruption within Italian society with its ancient Roman culture, and corruption situation within India society. There is just not a great deal of media interest in it, that’s it.

    Generally speaking, the longer a civilization, the complex its society and culture are, so does the appearance of corruption under modern sense. Under newer culture setting, like US, it has a newer political foundation and may make a point to prevent things learned from lessons of older civilizations. This was also true in Chinese history when one dynasty emerged over an earlier one.

    In the West, the evolution of human relations was gradually made into contractually based. In a sense, it brought self-interest under a clear acknowledgment, so that such self-interest is no longer regarded as corruption anymore as it is written in some kind of contract. However, contractual based relations could be fundamentally unstable and inflexible, as we saw throughout western history. Contracts among various kind of entities could be easily torn up and rewritten as people please. Contractual-based modern marriage of man and woman is another good example.

    Under traditional Chinese culture, there is rule of law administrated by an emperor court, but Confucianism also tried to guide Chinese society using order (li 理) and rites (li 禮) . That could make a society more stable and elastic. However, it brought out so called ‘exception-ism”, which is to say matters are handled differently depending on nature of the parties. Thus, clan-ism or nepotism are wide spread among Asian cultures, and often accepted by “reasonable” people. However, this tradition is facing more and more attack in modern civil societies.

    [As a side note, when a Chinese dynasty failed, ancient scholars always pointed to a break-down of order (li 理) and rites (li 禮), and the need for a new emperor to establish his rule based on well established order (li 理) and rites (li 禮)]

    Regarding forming a common Chinese identity, it is an crucial task forced upon yet much delayed by foreign powers. It is still a challenging task ahead. As you know, people in modern China have been burden by social turmoils, foreign invasions and civil wars.

  228. Jonathan Says:

    this is part of it:::

    http://zookel.blogspot.com

  229. Joseph Reilly Says:

    The opinions and convictions shown in the above discussion are illuminating and interesting. I, personally,
    tend to agree with the idea that you are who and what you think you are. Thus, I am of Amerind, French and
    Irish ancestry. But, as to what I am, as opposed to who my antecedents were, I’m an American.
    I believe everyone has the right and the need to define [him,her]self. You can call yourself American, French,
    or Slobbovian.This is as it should be.
    The problem with Chinese identity,in my opinion, is that many Chinese, even in the modern world, see the
    rest of the world as “NonChinese” or “Other”. This is not the recognition of differences in language and
    culture which divide all of us, to some extent. It is a conviction that Chinese are not of the same stuff that
    Germans or Canadians are of.
    Thus, even though the Chinese will never admit it and they lie to themselves quite admirably, the Chinese
    are a profoundly racist society and one can only hope that,as Chinese have more and more contact with the world, they will come to see the error of this perception.

  230. wuming Says:

    @Joseph Reilly

    “The Chinese are a profoundly racist society and one can only hope that,as Chinese have more and more contact with the world, they will come to see the error of this perception.”

    Before you make such grand statement about a people, please be kind enough to show some evidence. In my opinion, you are burdened with the responsibility to demonstrate:

    1. Chinese race (a very very shaking category here already) is deeply racist in a way that other racial groups are not
    2. Point one is true in a statistical way.

    Chinese may well be bluntly ethnocentric, but the racial conception is actually imported (probably from the west) therefore can hardly be profound.

  231. Joshua Says:

    I hope others don’t take my message the wrong way but I want to voice an opinion of mine.

    After reading all these comments along with other information I’ve obtained plus experiences with people, the word Chinese is still very fluid and the terminology will differ in Asia and outside of Asia. Also, for the people who identified themselves as Chinese (by citizenship, heritage or whatever factors) this term differs among themselves just as much as others outside such ideas see it.

    Without adding on, let me say that in a sense, being Chinese is almost like another “world” in itself, as others have mentioned. On one hand, the Abrahamic religions aren’t integral in this world, yet at the same time it is in many ways, but only on “their terms” unlike many places. The language isn’t based on a Latin script, nor is it Semitic or Indo-European yet it’s still pretty big. Along with a lot of different factors involved, whether people like it or not, it will be hard to not see the world as “Chinese” and “non-Chinese”.

    However, it’s not an excuse to be mean to others but as it is with many societies around the world, knowledge of how big this world is will have to be filter in with them in the picture rather than how most people tend to teach it. With a large population and unique history/cultural belief(s) (I must stress the plurarity because “Chinese-ness” is very very diverse in reality)…even if many Chinese break out of this “ancient” trend of ethnocentricism and realized they are just one piece of the puzzle, they have to contend with the reality of how big this “puzzle piece” is and the shape of it is going to be one of a kind.

    I remember watching a video about James Fallows talking about his experiences, a funny note he mentioned was when he converse with the local Chinese about the negative images of Americans, they responded casually saying yeah they know but they hate people in Shanghai more. It’s sort of a interesting take but reflective of that insular feeling people often get living in most big countries.

    On a personal note…continuing with the last comments, it’s true to some extent that there are elements of racism among Chinese society (though in several ways it’s more like xenophobia or ethnocentricism…sometimes it doesn’t have to be that extreme but I’m not sure what the proper term is). There are bad apples in that society just as there are with others. However, as a minority myself in another country, based on what I’ve learned about this term, my observations and experiences, what racism is in theory and reality;this term pre-dominantly deals with shallow-physical features rather than the complex demographic “criteria” many ethnic groups have. A lot of these related issues at times can not be based on looks alone. The “Chinese look” isn’t easy to define.

    Also, since it’s partially complex than the racism I’ve witnessed and learn (which is really degrading for those who know what I’m talking about) , I wouldn’t throw around this term too much. In a way, it abuses it because different forms of bigotry requires different tactics to deal with. We can link and find similarities between prejudice towards Racial groups, Women, Sexual Orientation, Religion or Foreign, but they all have their own terminology and in many profound ways can not be lump all together. However, sometimes you have to call it as it is.

    That’s my opinion, as far as I’m aware and concerned.

  232. pug_ster Says:

    You know, I’ve had an a sort of an disagreement with a term ‘Saving Face’ to an owner of a blog site, who is an American who is living in China. The disagreement got sort of heated and in turn, banned me from posting from their site. He made comments like: “I’ve asked you before and I’ll ask you again, why do you play your 愤青 role from America? I don’t understand why such a nationalistic Chinese person chooses to live in the United States instead of China.” It reminds me when I first moved to a neighborhood that doesn’t have alot of Chinese living there and some people living in my neighborhood would made these sort of racist comments at me.

    I think in the end, he doesn’t understand how it feels like an Chinese living America is. America was supposed to be a place where you can express your opinion without being suppressed even when your views are not popular, and this person did just that. I’ve said in comment #178 that unless America respects you as who you are, then I don’t consider myself a true blooded American.

  233. TonyP4 Says:

    Here is my e-mail from my friend Bai Ding with the title Hand shakes with the mid Westerners.

    Bai Ding has over 30 years in US and spent one day in Indiana and felt the discrimination against Chinese.

    ——————–

    I have been staying out in Indiana’s Bloomington for a few days. I
    just became a grandpa to a really cute little boy from my daughter.

    It is clear that this area is different from New York City. Indiana
    is very white. Between Indianapolis and Bloomington, there is a
    Martinsville which is a Klu Klux Klan stronghold.

    The people are not as sophisticated as those from the East or West
    coast. Their accent is obscure. In fact the Mid Western people are
    quite obscure to the Chinese, and vice versa Since my kids are there
    and we have been visiting them for many years, some of my experiences
    were not so pleasant.

    Some guy refused to serve my car and I rounded
    up driving with only three cylinders running. One time the waiters at
    the Denny’s Diner refused to serve us without us showing them our
    passports.

    And one time, my wife was searched at the airport and the
    TSA said, “We have to be careful because of people like you.”, etc.
    That time I raised hell at the airport and scared the hell out of my
    wife. The TSA could have just done their job (searching my wife)
    without making these remarks. Why they had to say something like
    that? But each time, someone (who’s also white), calmed me down and I
    rounded up shaking hands with the idiots. Who has the time to tangle
    with these nonsenses? I don’t.

    I began to learn about these people. Today I walked by a fire trucks
    with four firemen asking for donations. I looked at the sign and it
    was for Muscular Dystrophy. They looked at me and didn’t know what to
    say to a gray hair Chinaman. Not sure if I understand English. They
    just smiled and said, “Howdy!”. I said to them, “So this is for
    muscular dystrophy? A good cause!” and I pronounced the medical term
    perfectly. Then I dropped $5 in the can. It was early in the
    morning, they have just started the day and here I was. It must be my
    American accent and low key mannerism made them delighted. They
    jumped.

    One guy said, “That’s right, you got it perfectly right. You
    know your stuff buddy! Thank you buddy!”. Then I started talking to
    them about Jerry Lewis’ kids (The late comedian used to have this
    annual drive) and then the Indiana Colts. After all, I am a football
    fan. I even helped them soliciting donations as more people passed
    by. Later, I was rewarded a large pop (or soda) and a lot of
    handshakes.

    Prejudice and ignorance go hand in hand. I began to understand their
    mentality. They stare at you because they don’t see that many of you
    around. But if you talk and manner their way, they will love you.
    The truth is, these are very polite, kind and easy going people. They
    always greet you with a smile and say “hello”, “how are you” and
    “thank you”. And they are always ready to assist you if you ask. So
    many are very generous to my children especially in the school. And
    once they get to know you, there is no more barrier. So I think it
    all comes down to knowing each other. Knowing people is always the
    key to any relationship. It is only human to stare. It is also only
    human to shake hands, even with Mid Westerners.

    Just a day’s experience of my life.

  234. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi Ding Bai,

    Wow! Just one day, you learn about the rest of US outside your NYC village. Welcome to America finally!

    Prejudice and ignorance come hand-in-hand as you are a living proof. I do not blame the old generation in an isolated part of US as their image of a Chinaman is some one with a pigtail working in railroad, laundry, and Chinese restaurants that serve cat meat.

    Denny’s had a poor reputation and they suffered from a lawsuit and lost for the same reason. They never learn and I skip going to Denny’s for life even for the free breakfast! If you do not mind,

    I had a Chinese professor at U. Mass. at Amhert wrote in the college newspaper 35 years ago, “If you do not believe a Chinese can teach in college, please come to room 1234 in Engineering Building.”

    I have my share of discrimination experience:

    * When I was in beautiful Calgary 25 years ago with my American co-worker in a country fair (Stampede Festival), every one starred at us like we’re UFOs.

    * After I got the highest award in my department, some managers treated me very rudely and said a lot racially discriminated language behind my back – and the message came back to me (intentionally?). My work place was a phone company with a lot of uneducated Irish playing politics all day long.

    * I never play my Chinese card except once. When I got a bad table in a Vegas show due to no tips to lead me to my table, They’re scared to hell when I shouted for seeing their supervisor and they gave me the best table. I could have too many drinks and scared my wife too.

  235. Shane9219 Says:

    AsiaTimes: China’s birthday movie has many seeing red

    “The current stir is over whether ethnic Chinese actors and actresses holding foreign passports should be allowed to appear in a film marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

    The movie, Jianguo Daye (Lofty Ambitions of Founding a Republic), is about preparations to found the PRC in 1949. After Japan’s surrender in 1945 at the end of World War II, a civil war broke out on mainland China between troops controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the ruling Kuomintang (KMT).

    In three years, communist troops had swept into control of most areas of the mainland. In 1949, the CCP moved its headquarters to Beijing in preparation for the founding of a new republic to replace the KMT’s Republic of China (ROC), which fled to the island of Taiwan. The new movie tries to recreate this historic event.

    The 30 million yuan (US$4.39 million) movie is produced by the state-owned China Film Group and directed by its chairman and chief executive, Han Sanping. It is scheduled for release on September 17, two weeks ahead of the 60th birthday of the PRC on October 1.

    It is expected to be a big hit. As China grows stronger, patriotic and nationalistic sentiments are on the rise, and the film will tap into this. Given the movie’s likely popularity, just about every Chinese actor – from superstar to starlet – wanted a role.

    According to Jianguo Daye’s official website, over 170 Chinese actors and actresses, including many superstars, have been signed up. An envious Hong Kong film director said, “It would be a director’s lifetime dream to direct a film starring just a few of these stars. But Jianguo Daye has them all.”

    Many of the major roles are key historical figures, such as Mao and Zhou Enlai, the first premier of the PRC, and the stars are clamoring to be a part of this action. These include kung fu superstars Jackie Chan and Jet Li, one of the best-known Chinese actresses, Zhang Ziyi, Hong Kong actor, comedian, screenwriter and film director Stephen Chow and another Hong Kong celebrity, actor and producer Andy Lau. Directors John Woo, Feng Xiaogang and Chen Kaige are also willing to play cameo parts, even if only for a few seconds.

    The fuss began after the producer publicized the cast of Jainguo Daye, with bloggers claiming that more than 20 of the actors were not Chinese nationals but foreign passport holders. This immediately provoked uproar among China’s netizens,

    “It is a new march into China by the allied forces of a foreign power to celebrate the birthday of our republic,” one wrote on Mop.com, an entertainment website, alluding to the invasion of China by the Eight-Power Allied Forces in 1900. ”

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/KH26Ad01.html

  236. MG Says:

    Born in China and living abroad for many years, I have asked myself many times what does it means to be Chinese? I feel there are nationality Chinese, emotionally Chinese, ethnically Chinese and ethnically Chinese. Some people can be all. Some can be some of them. Although patriotism is important for keeping identity and benefits of country, I don’t think being Chinese should be that an important identity for everyone. You don’t have to be Chinese because you want to be a Chinese. Everyone can choose they way the prefer to live and think and you know how Chinese you are.

  237. Lobsang Says:

    I would like to thank the bloger………giving people chance to share their thoughts.
    I am from Tibet, was born in Tibet and I know mostlly both good and bad about Chinese and its governemnt. I would say Chinese people are trusted and hardworking people. meanwhile they are tiny bit better or educated than Tibetans. But I woud like to say each and every Chinese and Tibetans to excel their study and fight for DEMOCRACY. Tibet and China be the best friend and best neighbor country.

  238. Otto Kerner Says:

    From your lips to 天’s ear, Lobsang. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Chinese — certainly not their government — are very interested in being “just friends” with Tibet, or any kind of neighboring country. A Tibet Info Net report on the recent high-level CCP meeting on Tibet policy and the choice of Padma Choling the new nominal governor of Tibet is entitled “More of the Same”.

  239. r v Says:

    Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. (those crazy democratic people).
    Beware of strangers coming to be your “best friends.”
    Beware of human beings with too much “interests” in others and too much time on their hands.

    Much ado about nothing,
    To convert all thy woes into hey nony nony…

  240. Lobsang Says:

    Hello Otto Kerner, I highlly appreciate for ypur point of view. Pretty much true but more than that I can say things will change in China & its government within 10 to 15 years.

  241. jenny Says:

    Thx for your nice writing, Buxi.
    Talking about being Chinese, its quite confusing with the terms of Huaren and Huaqiao.
    Actually, Im writing thesis about Overseas Chinese Policy
    does the policy include both Huaren and Huaqiao?
    It would be really nice of you if you can help me with some journals or articles related to this issue.
    Thx a lot, Buxi!

    best,
    Jenny

  242. Jen Says:

    As all Chinese people know, all Asians are merely subsets of the Great Chinese Race :)

  243. Yi Pusan Says:

    Well, according to the ethnic definition a PRC citizen of Korean ancestry (Chosun chuk) is still “Korean”, and a Man person is still really “Manchu”.

    Persons who choose to become citizens of the USA swear loyalty to the US COnstitution and promise to bear arms certain Americans of Chinese descent, including some well known media personalities, deny the fact that they are American and pretend to still be CHinese, even going so far as to promote anti- American themes, refering to Americans as “foreigners”, etc. SUch behavior harms the image of the vast majority of loyal, law abiding Americans of Chinese ancestry.
    BTW, Sun Yat-sen, born a subject of the Manchu Empire, also became a US citizen, although there are questions as to whether or not he lied about his birthplace in Hawaii. Nevertheless, he was a US citizen when he engaged in activities against a foreign government (the Great Ching Empire). He is now considered the “father” of the ROC, but the ROC has not provided any evidence of ROC citizenship.

  244. HKer Says:

    Yo, This ain’t no Chinglish,
    It is ebonic with an Asian twist

    MC Jin : Learn Chinese:

    http://new.ca.music.yahoo.com/videos/jin/learn-chinese–2159063;_ylt=AuJ0vHpfzsKAn2BTI7YLAnrX6yUv

    Freestyle Rap King based in Hong Kong

    http://www.scmp.com/portal/site/SCMP/menuitem.06f0b401397a029733492d9253a0a0a0/?vgnextoid=e7c53cf586251110VgnVCM100000360a0a0aRCRD&s=Archive

    http://www.soompi.com/news/top_ten_greatest_asian_american_rappers_of_all_time

  245. HKer Says:

    Someone asked why are Overseas Chinese such patriots?
    Here, take a look at Indonesian Chinese in HK and their great
    love for homeland China.

    http://programme.rthk.hk/rthk/tv/programme.php?name=tv/hkstories8e&d=2010-06-23&p=4848&e=109788&m=episode

  246. Al Says:

    @Hemulen
    “I’m OK with the reunification of any country as long as it is voluntary and not carried out at gunpoint.”

    The North fought to keep the South in the Union during the civil war, so you’re against that? thus against slave emancipation?

  247. Al Says:

    @Yi Pusan

    Can you prove George Washington was a US Citizen?

  248. mike Says:

    Hehe, funny post. I use this expression “I’m so Chinese/You’re so Chinese” whenever one of my foreigner friends demonstrates a counterintuitive ‘Chinese’ learned behaviour. It’s not really an insult and not really a compliment. Chinese people have their own quirks, and they have almost nothing to do Chinese history. Living in Shanghai, I see zero traces of Ancient Chinese ‘customs’

    Eg. If I spit on the street, or cleared my throat loudly, either I or my friends would laugh and say “ah, I’m so Chinese, etc” To be Chinese it seems, means to disregard those around you and do something uncouth/dirty.

  249. HongKonger Says:

    “I use this expression “I’m so Chinese/You’re so Chinese”
    Good buffering method. I sometimes use the same expression, even adding “And proud of.” to it:-)
    This is merely a negative reference: “To be Chinese it seems, means to disregard those around you and do something uncouth/dirty.” which I agree, but only in regard to the “redneck” segment of society.
    “Chinese people have their own quirks”
    I am undecided whether Chinese who don’t practice “Going Dutch” / fighting to pay restaurant bills is a positive or negative quirk for example.
    Positive references are just as relevant :e.g. To be Chinese is to be modest, hospitable, hardworking, generous, frugal, etc.

  250. joanna rippel Says:

    Well , I think somebody is Chinese , Romanian , German , Japanese by the blood and by the race . You can be Chinese with American citizenship and then you are an American Citizen . Citizenship should not be confused with the race or the blood . I am born in Romania and by race and blood I am Romanian . Now I am leaving in Denmark and I have Danish Citizenship . I am a Danish Citizen , but I will never be a Dane .

    The race it’s all that matters , not the country where you were born in .

  251. Kim Chen Says:

    I pretty much agree with these definitions. I think it is important to understand that there are 3 different groups you can identify with when you mean that you are Chinese. I am half Chinese. My father is from China. My mother is from Jamaica. I think I’ve had Chinese culture embedded into my upbringing here in America. I’m not fluent in Chinese but I do understand a lot. I get told that I am not Chinese because I do not look Chinese. I ,obviously, do not think Chinese culture is the only thing that has affected me because I was born and raised in America and my mother is Jamaican but I do think has played an important part. I do think it is important to remember however how big of an impact the society where you were raised plays on you. I do think that should affect to some extent what you mean by Chinese.

  252. UFQ Says:

    ” The race it’s all that matters , not the country where you were born in .”

    Well said, joanna rippel ,

    But, it SEEMS that this is NOT something that is easily understood by non Asian Americans !

  253. Ace Says:

    We can determine whether or not we are Chinese by using the definitions written on this blog by the writer. However, the main issue should be focused on human identity.

    How we identify ourselves is a common problem in the society we live in today. To classify whether oneself is of Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, Black, and Indian decent is not only politically incorrect but also morally and ethically.

    On the contrary, labeling yourself of a certain race is a problem. The classifications are non broad enough which does cause major problems in identifying ourselves.

    We live in a diverse society today and multiculturalism does exist and cannot be avoided. A person that says that he/she is Chinese, we cannot doubt that person’s feeling as that’s how he/she feels about him/herself.

    On the other hand, an Asian person should not be referred to as Chinese evenough his/her parents are. He/she is an American as he/she was born and raised in the USA. True identity comes from within the politically defined boundaries of the border of the sovereign state. Classifications must be broaden to include, American, Canadian, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, English, German, French, Mexican, Spanish, Brazilian, Indian and etc.

    My parents are Chinese but I’m not; eventhough I am Asian. I consider myself a true Canadian and that is my true identity.

  254. Rhan Says:

    Ace

    Don’t you think identity, race and citizenship are mutually exclusive?

  255. Lords Of Knowledge Says:

    OK here is a question. What exactly is an American? Hmm let’s see let me think about it ahh. Crap what exactly is an American? Do we really have an identity either? I mean if you want to be technical we are neither Asian, Hispanic, Black nor Caucasian or anything in between really. So what does that makes us then? If you are comparing this to our bloodline, well that is a problem. Maybe this is in part we Americans are so instant on calling ourselves that even though it doesn’t really mean anything. I am not talking in the political since but from a ethnic, cultural point of view. My family alone may as well be a whole new race lol.

    At least Chinese have an identity and are Chinese first. I on the other hand am not sure what I am. In retrospect If anything the only true Americas are native Americans. So if anyone has the right to call themselves that it is natives no? If I was born on mars but my family was born in China does that make me a Chinese Martian lol. When someone asks me where I am from I with all seriousness say planet earth. We are all human beings at our core. Giving ourselves titles bases on what land we occupy, what religion we practice or what ethnicity we represent, is pointless really in the end. I would be interested in hearing someone else’s take on this? We can just as easily say what does it mean to be Caucasian? What does it mean to be human? Food for thought!! ^_^

  256. Allen Says:

    @Lords of Knowledge #255,

    I like it! :-)

  257. TranceV Says:

    One night, while in dreamtime (that means while asleep), my spirit guide asked me a question, “Now do you know what it means to be Chinese?” I said no, but now I do. It has nothing to do with legalities of passports, etc. My answer is from the spiritual point of view. To be Chinese is to know the Great Way, to understand the immense spiritual and mystical treasures that Chinese mystics and sages have left behind, like the Immortals. Other than India, Chinese spiritual and mystical knowledge are second to none. Unfortunately, you know what happened to all the books.

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