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I’m Swiss. I live here now, but I’m actually a Swiss… nationally.

It’s been kinda difficult to be British in Beijing lately- first there was the spectacular Youku implosion of a video of drunken/stoned/retarded/possibly-all-three Briton attempting to rape a Chinese woman in Xidan.  Now we’re even more in hock with the CCP because David Cameron met up with His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

With panther-like reactions, the Global Times churned out an op-ed that lambasted the UK and Norway for their arrogance (yes, that’s Chinese men calling other countries arrogant, just in case you didn’t get it first time around.  Incredible I know).  Like a lot of Chinese tub thumping, the actual content is questionable, and the article is one of those paper-rattling nationalist things that Chinese people like so much.

The speculation is probably correct. In both cases China’s core interests have been offended. Proper countermeasures are necessary for a big country. If China takes no action, it would be tantamount to tolerating a vicious provocation. This indifference would be despised at home and in the world.

Er.  No.  Just at home, as it happens.  No one else cares.  Ok, so the anonymous author doesn’t really point out why China has the right not to be offended.  Lots of countries and lots of governments are attacked by media outlets everyday.  China’s just going to have to grow up and learn to take it’s knocks like everyone else.

Since its reform, China has accepted some political concepts of the West, but that is not the same as unconditionally following orders from the West. Studying the West has to take place under the condition of resisting its pressure, otherwise, it is to accept being conquered by the West.

As I commented on the story itself, China didn’t really “reform and open up”, the government just stopped interfering with people’s lives so much after Mao died.  A classic CCP maneovre of waiting and seeing and then taking credit for what happens next.  As far as anyone knows, the political system that China did take from the west was one of the worst political ideologies created that China’s inept leaders of the time thought they needed in a deperate bid to modernise the country.  Almost every country that embraced communism (and most have subsequently discarded it) ain’t exactly the type of place that you’d want to retire in.  With the exception of Cuba, but they’ve actually got a decent health system.

The UK and Norway are developed countries with relatively small populations. China is aware of their political advantages. However, governing a country of 1.3 billion people is beyond their imagination. It is naïve and arrogant to try and teach China what to do. 

It was only a matter of time before one of the Holy Trinity of Chinese excuses was trotted out.  Chinese people are immensely proud of their immense population, and their apparent inability to manage it properly.  Corruption running rampant?  Well, China has a large population.  Poison in your milk?  Well, China is a developing country, you know. 1.3billion people isn’t beyond our imagination, it’s just that the systems that the corrupt morons that run China can’t scale up beyond the neighbourhoods of the politicians that dream them up over a baijiu soaked dinner.

 They must pay the due price for their arrogance. This is also how China can build its authority in the international arena. China doesn’t need to make a big fuss because of the Dalai or a dissident, but it has many options to make the UK and Norway regret their decision. 

The way to build authority in an international arena is to stop personalising every little slight and stop making overblown puff pieces about how sensitive you all are and how we should treat you all with respect.  If Chinese politicians actually just stopped brown-nosing the CCP machine for just five minutes, and started doing things for the good of the people, rather than saying that they’re doing stuff for the good of the people, we might be able to make some progress.

Spending thousands of RMB on banners saying that Chinese people are 文明 doesn’t actually do anything to change people’s minds.  Becoming civilised and not acting like a dick in public is not something that people can osmotically achieve simply by being bombarded with thinly veiled propaganda day and night.

Oh, and by the way, outside of Bond villians, no one “must pay the price” for shit these days.

China-UK cooperation will have to be slowed down. Free trade agreement talks between China and Norway have also been upset. The ensuing loss is a small one for China. 

Free trade won’t be upset, the sky will not fall, and the worst that would happen is that China goes a sulks in the corner for a while.  No one likes a cry baby and you have to stop playing the victim.

It’s not easy to have Chinese society’s sympathy on China’s sovereignty issues. The West has presented various honors to Chinese dissidents, and Chinese people won’t be fooled into believing it is a simple coincidence.

Shockingly, what happens in “the West” is that people that try and change things actually get recognised for trying to change things.  We don’t give out random gongs to people just because we want their job when they retire (with the obviously exception of the British Civil Service, naturally).  To get a pat on the back, you need to do something other than get fat and smoke cigarettes and retire to go die of cancer, it’s just doesn’t work like that.  The Chinese government has to stop looking at everything as though governance is one long gaokao.  There are certain things that you can’t be taught, and as long as current status quo exists, it never will be.

Things to Do Back Home When…You’re Dead

February 2, 2012 Leave a comment

So we’re almost at the end of my bi-yearly visit to the good old U, of…er…K.  When I was a China newbie there were lots of “you’ve been in China too long when…” lists floating around, so here’s my amusingly compliled counter-culture shock list:

 

A two hour train ride isn’t really something you consider “long distance”

 
You count money twice when you withdraw from the ATM
 
You use “ATM” instead of “cash point” or “cash machine”
 
All dealings with the bank must be done in person – telephone or Internet banking is completely untrustworthy.  
 
Three beers a night is “relaxing” and you’re still good to drive
 
TV is really, really good.
 
Privacy is a long forgotten concept.  
 
Everyone is fat.  Like, really fat.  Really huge-ass-don’t-think-about-buying-that-burger-fat.  You fear that women could crush you with their enormous thighs.  
 
There are less advertisements on TV.  
 
Newspapers have informed, well written op-ed pieces.  In fact, reading the newspaper is an absolute pleasure.
 
The China Daily is a shocking 20rmb (yes, I did find a copy in the Manchester train station WHSmiths)
 
Thrift stores aren’t thrifty enough.
 
Facebook is completely unnavigable.  What the hell happened to that thing?
 
No one seems to believe that you are who you say you are or how old you are.  
 
There’s information on food.  Calories and stuff.  
 
Who’s been sticking these nasty photos on cigarette packets? 
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