(Letter) The Chinese essay BBC was dared to publish (contrasting argumentation styles)
One of the reader comments on the original post says:
This is a very “Chinese” essay: it uses Chinese thinking, it uses a Chinese style and it gives a lovely Chinese response to the west! This was good, hard work! For the Chinese people, this essay is worth 90 points. For western people, this essay is worth 10 points! This is like playing music to a cow! A genuine westerner is neither willing nor able to understand nor does he have any intention of comprehending this essay!
How should the western media deal with China in the reforms?
by Mr. Li. September 2, 2008.
I graduated from university in 1990, and I was part of the generation that went through the 1989 student movement. As a person who received a complete secondary and higher education in the 1980’s after the Cultural revolution ended, I was a totally pro-western young student who was also thoroughly patriotic. I actively participated in the entire process of the student movement. translated essay or the original >
Chinese readers: I’m very curious to hear what FM’s Chinese readers think about this essay. It would help foreigners like me if some of the Chinese readers here could explain what parts of his argument/style are “Chinese,” and how are they Chinese? What aspects are supposedly hard for Westerners to understand? Can you explain them to us? (The more detail the better.)
Non-Chinese readers: I’d also like the non-Chinese readers to be honest about how this essay comes across, what you think the strong points are, and what you think the weak points are.
If we can do this without yelling at each other, I think we might actually learn something — not just about our differing opinions, but also our differing communication and argumentation styles.
PLEASE NOTE: I’m not posting this so we can debate who’s media is more biased. I’m posting this (1) for some Chinese feedback of these particular arguments, (2) to examine differences in the way arguments are made and differences in what is considered a “strong argument,” and (3) perhaps uncover some popular Mainlander expectations regarding how Western media ought to behave. (I myself recently ran into some assumed-but-unspoken expectations regarding my own writing, and I suspect this is an angle worth pursuing.)
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