21 April 2008

Chinese Olympic Demands

A Facebook group, Chinese United Against Western Media Bias!!!, has made the following demands of the Western media:
Our Demands:
1) We demand fair representation!
2) We demand a stop to slander, insults, and racism!
3) We demand a peaceful, non-politicized Olympics!
4) We demand that our respective nations embrace China as a friend and NOT as an enemy!
In response, I issue the following demands of the Chinese government. In order for me to even consider supporting the Beijing Olympic games, these must be met.
1) I demand that the Chinese government allow for the free flow of information to all their people, and that their people be given the right to self-expression.
2) I demand that the Chinese government stop slandering the Tibetan exiles. The Dalai Lama is a respected religious and political figure and should be treated as such.
3) I demand a peaceful dialog between the Chinese government and their opponents.
4) I demand that the Chinese government embrace its citizens as human beings, not enemies.

As for the members of this group, I make the following requests from them.
1) I respect your desire for fair representation, but know that China is guilty of human rights abuses and persecution. I ask that you open yourself up to hear all sides of the story.
2) If you have been offended by comments, I apologize, but please realize that opposing the Chinese government does not qualify as racism unless it is based solely on the fact that they are Chinese.
Reporting the misdeeds of the Chinese government does not qualify slander unless the stories are untrue.
3) Please note that while the Olympics are supposed to be non-political, the politicization of the games is inevitable.
4) Please realize that you cannot demand a country to be a friend. Remember the maxim, "What's the best way to turn an enemy into something else? Treat him as a friend."

Those who agree with me on the subject of the games, I ask that you keep the following in mind:
1) We should not demonize the Chinese people for the actions of their government. They are not inherently bad. No person, no group, no government is beyond redemption.
2) We should refrain from ad hominem attacks. Stick to the issues at hand.
3) We should hope that there is a peaceful resolution. Personally, I would like to watch the games and I hope that a path is found so that everybody can be happy.
4) We should remember that China is an ally. And while we may not like some of their practices, we are dependent on them. The Chinese government has been very helpful in working with North Korea and many of our manufactured goods are Chinese-made.

Finally, to everyone, we must remember that we are all human, that we all make mistakes, that we can all forgive and be forgiven, that we can all hold things in common. If we forget these, than there is no hope.

Rock on.


DJ Ninjitsu Master J said...

1. I have nothing to add. You did plenty well.

2. This is a reminder: teach me to blog.

Anonymous said...

Some of your criticisms of the Olympics are valid, I won't deny that. There are better reforms that the CCP could implement(reducing CO2 emissions for one) and they could have more dialogue with the Dalai Lama on Tibet. But what the heck, every country could use reforms to some extent. I don't see Britain giving independence to Northern Ireland, Wales, or Scotland and I certainly don't see France giving independence to the Basque Separatists in the South. I just find it amusing that as soon as Beijing gets the Olympics, everyone acts like China's suddenly the only country that treats its minorities badly. Turkey's a secular liberal democracy and even now, they don't recognize how they've treated Armenians in the past.

Your other two demands, however, are a bit trickier. I don't believe their treatment of their citizens is like treating that of an enemy. Countless Chinese officials(and even Singaporean and KMT officials from Taiwan) have said in the past in response to Western criticisms that Chinese culture is not the same as Western culture and that collectivism, feeding people, and ensuring social order are much more important than individual civil liberties, hedonism, and generally allowing people to behave almost any way they want.

Although, keep in mind that the CCP itself hasn't entirely lived up to its collectivist claims. There are hundreds or thousands of people that have been displaced by the Olympics and they have yet to be recompensated. But overall, when you put aside the fact that it's the CCP saying it, the notions of collectivism, traditionalism, and social order are cultural values that are cherished in China moreso than most other ideas(even if the CCP hasn't enforced it consistently).

Former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said it best.

"As an East Asian looking at America, I find attractive and unattractive features. I like, for example, the free, easy and open relations between people regardless of social status, ethnicity or religion. And the things that I have always admired about America, as against the communist system, I still do: a certain openness in argument about what is good or bad for society; the accountability of public officials; none of the secrecy and terror that's part and parcel of communist government.

But as a total system, I find parts of it totally unacceptable: guns, drugs, violent crime, vagrancy, unbecoming behavior in public -- in sum the breakdown of civil society. The expansion of the right of the individual to behave or misbehave as he pleases has come at the expense of orderly society. In the East the main object is to have a well-ordered society so that everybody can have maximum enjoyment of his freedoms. This freedom can only exist in an ordered state and not in a natural state of contention and anarchy."

You're a smart guy, Drew, and I respect your opinions. But that doesn't mean I would like to see all of your ideas implemented in China. Environment, more dialogue with Tibet, and better treatment of the Chinese people? Yes, I wouldn't mind that.

But pluralism, excess individualism, "human" rights, and a breakdown of social order just for the sake of "freedom?" I won't ever claim to speak for all of China or even most Chinese people in general, but I certainly can speak for the East Asian traditionalists when I say that we'll gladly pass on those things.