Apparently, at some Chinese schools, they give all of the students an English name. Kind of like how American schools give you a Spanish name for Spanish class. His name was Adolf. I asked him if he knew any other famous Adolf's. Of course, he did.
I asked him about why the Chinese cheer so fervently against the Americans, even when they're not playing the Chinese. He said it was because Americans were friends with the Japanese. To play devil's advocate, I told him that the Americans fought the Japanese in WW2, significantly helping China, and dropped nukes on the Japanese. He told me it wasn't enough, the US should've eliminated Japan from the map.
I don't think my sample size is representative but I think it's a warning of how strong nationalism can be. In the US, we have relatively free flows of information and we still have a dangerous nationalist movement. I imagine it's much stronger in China where the government actively encourages it.
I spent some time teaching English at a Chinese university and this just brought me back.
You see you can't just make up new words in Chinese like you can in Latin based languages. In English I could type "menseratanos" here and even though you have never seen it you can (at least try) to pronounce it based on the individual letters. But Chinese doesn't work this way since you can't make up a new Chinese sign and just expect people to know what it represents.
So to create names Chinese people combine existing words and end up with names native Americans used to have: "Grey wind", "Yellow sun", "Good Fortune" etc... Of course these all have more meaning to them in Chinese but you get the point. And therefor it is common to let Chinese people pick their own name for English class and... it is absolutely hilarious. Since they usually have as little exposure to the Western world as someone in the West has to the Chinese you will be left with a class named, and these are all real examples from my classes:
- Beyonce (for a boy).
- Vladimir Putin (would refuse to be called Vladimir or Putin).
- Fog (as in tiny water droplets)
- Adolf Hitler
- Justin Bieber
- Michael Jackson
- Morning (the time of day)
The Adolf Hitler kid I actually told to change it. When asked why he picked it he said: "he is great king". (after asking: he meant 'conqueror').
All in all living in China for a while is a fantastic experience.
I actually debated it with other English teachers and some also had Adolf Hitler in their classes. So they might just be trolling their teacher, but many sincerely don't have the same ideas as Western people. They know Hitler because it is mentioned in History classes during WW2. But they definitely don't see him as the apex figure of all evil like people in the West.
The soviets were involved in fueling both the CPC and KMT, actually, in the early days anyways. The KMT even got lots of help from Germany before they made an alliance with Japan.
While China would definitely be different, it’s not clear it would have been better.
Unfortunately, that's the kind of things you can hear anywhere in the world.
> I imagine it's much stronger in China where the government actively encourages it.
I wonder... I have a colleague of mine who grew up in a communism country. According to him, most people back then didn't really buy into government propaganda, which contrasts with modern democracies which rely on more subtle propaganda (Chomsky's "media control").
I really have no idea, it could well be that Chinese are on average less nationalist/warmonging than Americans for instance.
Less warmongering on average, but get them on the topic of Japan and things change. Vastly more nationalistic on average, and with a much larger population that is way more homogeneous in their politics and nationalism than you've ever seen anywhere in the US. Source: seven years in China.
Well yeah. China PR wants to pack Hong Kong with han people. This is no secret. They did the same with Tibet as well.
The trains running on time is a myth - because the time they arrive is defined as "on time" all while denying reality.
That tells you enough people vote with their feets, wallet and voice.
A large portion (if not a majority?) of those 140 million travelers go through organized tour groups, where they jump from attraction to attraction, staying half an hour or so to take pictures before rushing back to the bus to head to the next stop.
This French photographer was allowed to join such a group and it's fascinating:
Choice quotes from the photographer (translated):
"Costs are cut on everything. For 10 days, we ate Chinese food for lunch and dinner. Before I started this project, I thought that tourists always ate Chinese food because they weren't curious. But cheap backroom cafeterias are imposed on them, where the meal (often inedible) costs 5 euros per person. We only took 10 minutes to eat, and I'd always be the last to finish. After Paris, we were supposed to sleep in the "French village" of Dijon [original is in quote because Dijon is a large city]. But the hotel was situated along the highway, at Sauvigny-sous-Bois [about an hour away from Dijon]. That night, with Lan, we decided to take two people to Relais Fleuri, a nice restaurant next to the hotel, without the guide, so they could discover French gastronomy. When we got back, the guide was really upset. The next day, I got an email from the agency saying that if it happened again, I'd be kicked out from the group."
"The majority of guides are not there to teach. When Chinese tourists go back home, they haven't learned much; in fact, stereotypes tend to be reinforced [...] a few of them complained about the [Chinese meals], and that they wouldn't visit markets, for instance, but those criticisms were very limited. It's a shame, because the only contact they have with French people is at the register, when they buy something."
"I was shocked by how resigned people were. You're not supposed to disagree with anything. The guide was considered like a boss whose orders had to be followed, and who should never be contradicted. Ours was 34 years old, and went into tourism for money. But he didn't know anything about Europe, and spent the whole time telling cliché anecdotes about cities. He even got monument names wrong! His only goal was to sell additional options, such as gondola rides, to get a bonus."
I had an Indian coworker once who freaked out at the airport because the cab driver was black. This was his first trip ever out of his small town in India (late 90s). He was carrying a bit of cash and was worried he was going to have his throat slit. By the time I worked out the reasons for the panic attack, he had already cheesed of the cab guy. When there is a culture clash, these kind of misunderstandings can happen so easily and spiral out of control fast.
The regimented guided tours isn't a bad thing as a first step. I have a lot of Chinese friends who are way past that "first contact" phase who are well traveled and know much more about the world than I do. It just takes time.
"For many, it was the first time they traveled abroad, and the last time they would travel to Europe. This trip was a little bit like a trophy."
I'm not sure how much these trips cost compared to the average Chinese salary, but it would make sense - I know that many Americans have been to Europe once - as a graduation gift, or honeymoon, for instance - and could not justify a trip like that with any sort of regularity (combine high prices and few vacation days; and then when you start having to include kids etc., forget about it). More "regular" vacations for the Americans that can afford it would be other places in the US, or perhaps resorts in Mexico/Canada/etc (the Chinese equivalent would be countries in southeast Asia that are cheaper - both in airfare and local expenditures - than Europe).
Sure, all of my SF coworkers go to Iceland and Japan and Patagonia for vacation, but this is a very small, privileged portion of the population we're talking about - not at all representative of the broader US population.
This report  is quite telling: in 2016, 80 million Americans traveled abroad - 45 million of which went to North America, and only 13 million went to Europe.
I believe it's not a matter of "voting with your feet" so much as "if you don't have a good standing with the government, you aren't getting out in the first place". Anyway, even if you got out and couldn't get back in, the government would probably send people to "escort you back home".
In [the link that GuiA gives below](http://www.slate.fr/grand-format/touristes-chinois-europe-je...), the last slide tells of how the tourists have to surrender their passports; I wonder if the high number of tourists is because going through a tourist agency (all of which are state approved) is the easiest way to get an exit visa. I wouldn't be surprised if the agencies were held accountable for any bad behaviour or runaway attempts.
> À leur arrivée en Europe, les touristes donnent leurs passeports au guide, on leur dit que c'est plus sûr. Ils les récupèrent au moment de partir mais doivent les rendre au guide une fois en Chine pour dix jours à deux semaines afin de vérifier qu'ils sont bien rentrés. Il y a même un code de bonne conduite et les touristes sont encouragés à dénoncer les autres touristes qui se sont mal comportés en Europe.
> On their arrival in Europe, the tourists give their passports to the tour guide — they're told it's safer that way. They get them back the moment they leave, but must give them to the guide again for 10–14 days once landed in China so it can be verified that they did indeed return from their trip. There's even a code of good conduct and the tourists are encouraged to denounce other tourists who behaved badly in Europe.
It's also worth noting that China doesn't recognise dual citizenship, and that Hong Kong citizens (not sure about Macau and Taiwan, but I wouldn't be surprised if this applied to them too) are considered mainland citizens once in the mainland. So I, for example, wouldn't be able to appeal to the Canadian embassy if anything happened.
Given that, even if someone stayed abroad long enough to gain a second citizenship, they'd have to give up their Chinese citizenship in order to avoid risking being "escorted home".
Sometimes even that isn’t enough:
That said, I have come to empathize with the disadvantaged side. When you have the information about the Tiananmen massacre, oppression in Urumqi, and everything else available through non-state-controlled sources; you see your home headed to join that system (a completely another country compared to 150 years ago); and you are facing a formidable entity well-versed in informational warfare and with extensive control over media—even if I condemn particular actions, I would find it hard to judge you for attempting to employ any means you find available, including one-sided reporting.
I do still get depressed every time I see attempts to fight bias with more bias.
You still haven't explained what 'truth' is missing from the english language news coverage. Pontificating about the "corruption of HK youth" and cherry picking isolated cases of violence sounds more like partisan hatcheting than actual news or analysis.
> there's truth in both sides
Most likely, but the truth rarely exists at the median of both 'sides', or even anywhere close to it. Enlightened Centrism(tm) is dangerously myopic.
Are there any econometrics published from before the protests started that would indicate an economic cause? I haven't seen any but I also haven't looked hard enough to reject the premise.
The 3 narratives I see are
1. the organizers are sell-outs to the US and the followers are just stupid. Western imperialists want to split China again.
2. the protestors are rioters, violent mobs, essentially a zombie horde not a movement with demands that can be met.
3. the stated reasons for the protests aren't the real reason. the real cause is economic. (subtext: freedoms and democracy is intrinsically a Western thing and Chinese people asking for it are denying they're Chinese)
1.b The protesters' demands are all about changing the behavior of the local government. They have no reason to split from China unless the mainland government intervenes to prevent that change. As a bonus, consider that the current Hong Kong government is only in power due to the election system with functional constituencies put in place by the British to secure their grip on the city. In a way, China simply replaced Britain as the colonial power rather than freeing Hong Kong from colonialism. (On the other hand, this argument can backfire since Hong Kong would be even worse off if all former British institutions were replaced by their mainland equivalents.)
2. If all protesters were violent rioters, they'd have conquered Hong Kong by now. But the majority are peaceful and have even less power to stop the rioters than the police; whose indiscriminate use of tear gas and rubber bullets has hurt people who were either participating peacefully or just happened to be in the area. That's why they want an independent investigation of the police.
3. The economic situation may make them more likely to protest, but what they choose to protest is still something they care about.
Consider the protests that erupted at Nanjing School of Applied Technology in April , at Beijing Normal University's Zhuhai branch in June  or in Wuhan's Xinzhou district also in June . Were those all for economic reasons? Also ask whether they were aware of these or any other protests.
(I'm linking to Epoch Times articles, but in each case you can find raw footage on YouTube searching for "南应", "北师珠", "武汉阳逻")
Finally, you should know that there just as you are here asking for help arguing with your Chinese friends, so are Chinese people asking on Zhihu for help arguing with their Western friends.
Well the more the merrier. So long as the discussion is in the basis of sound arguments and not who can spam/upvote more, adding more people will only increase the quality.
In fact I wouldn't even call what I am doing arguing, as I haven't actually offered any position of my own on the protest and therefore have nothing to defend (yet). I guess you could call what I'm doing "hypothesis testing the Chinese state media narratives" (aka "calling bullshit").
Thanks for the links and ideas.
It is definitely a problem in Hong Kong and the rise of real estates prices definitely factors into that but isn't it partly also the Chinese government's fault which has increased immigration from mainland China to Hong Kong resulting in much higher real estates prices since the supply is constrained due to the small area Hong Kong occupies?
However, a lot of people protesting are also professionals who are making a decent living and are not only doing it for economic reasons
I legit don't know. I tried to find out just now and ended up on this wikipedia article.
This data set has a lot of N/A in it. I end up relying on the CIA estimate for basically all of them because no other column has data. Just for the sake of fair (albeit unscientific comparison) I'm picking out the stats from random first-world countries as I scroll through the list. I am using the second list titled "Population living below national poverty line"
Hong Kong: 19.9%
Taking the data at face value, HK does seem to be above average in poverty, but likely within a standard deviation. HK is also unique in this list because its a de facto city-state. Perhaps when we break those other countries down per city we get similar results?
I'm not satisfied with the poverty line explanation. The protestors don't look to be poor people and we don't see such a degree of protest in other places with similar amounts of poverty.
They are in the same position,
- Colonized by a European country and then returned to China,
- Under one country, two systems
- Speak Cantonese
but Macau’s GDP per person is almost double that of Hong Kong.
There are no protests in Macau.
If the answer is GDP growth rates, Macau has an insane boom-bust cycle with -20% growth in 2015. Why wasn't there civil unrest there in 2015?
If the answer is a more complicated combination of indicators and trends, you're going to have to spell it.
- GDP: Hong Kong 341.4 billion USD, Macau 50.36 billion USD
- Population: Hong Kong 7,392,000, Macau 622,567
The economical decreasing, which was assumed to be one of the reasons of the protests, seems actually caused by the attitude. Namely if a person always wants to find a way to be against his manager (politically), is he capable of developing his own benefit in a company (economically)? I doubt.
I have to say, this is a smart move of anti-mainland (or anti-CCP) people to leverage these brainwashed young puppets and lead the movement. But it is meanwhile not so smart that everyone who can read Chinese knows who's really leading it. To be honest, this movement is really nothing to mainland if you understood the history in the past 70 years how the country was managed to develop.
And yes, looking into the media in both sides would be a good thing to mitigate the bias.
Besides, "the truth and the whole truth" is a joke, don't be depressed :-)
The situation is so much more complicated than just an ill-conceived bill. It doesn't help things when media (or other people) try to simplify things and frame it as something as clear cut as David vs Goliath.
Because of both the bill and the initial response to the protests, the protesters are now asking for the government (governor?) to step down. I can't say I disagree.
Although the bill has not been formally withdrawn, on 9 July, Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam said she has stopped the amendment process and reiterated there is 'no plan' to restart this process in the Legislative Council, stating: "the bill is dead".