Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Greetings! Wandering China notice


Greetings readers,

A spot of travelling around has come up and posts might be intermittent for the month of June. Wandering China will be back  to regular updates come early July! In the meantime, some food for thought. Times are a’changin indeed. A century odd ago the political cartoon below presented an unbearable reality  under imperialism for the Chinese.

Source – Wikipedia Commons

Fast forward to 2008 (see the portrait Beijing 2008 below – click here for a high-res version) and here’s a revisit with an overseas Chinese perspective. Tianjin-born Canadian migrant Lui Liu’s intepretation of modern China’s relationship with other powers is worth a study. Taking a close look, the portrait leaves clues the rules of the game have changed. The players are in a game of Mahjong, and that says a lot.

Provocative artwork ‘Beijing 2008’ by Canadian-Chinese artist Lui Liu back in 2008

– – –

Comments/interpretation below taken from social media: (Conrad Alvin Lim’s Facebook page) below –

Right in front, the Asian lady with a tattoo on her back is China.

On the left, the lady full of concentration is Japan.

Dressed at the top looking sideways is USA.

Lying rather seductively is Russia.

The little girl standing by the side is Taiwan.

China “tripled” the Dong tiles (East Winds, this is a double up). This means that China has arisen with the circumstances (the winds); maybe that is the display of the “East Wind” missiles she possesses now. It looks like China is doing ok, but there is no clue about the other cards (tiles). Meanwhile she is up to no good under the table.

USA, appearing confident, is looking at Taiwan with an expression; perhaps to read from the look of Taiwan or to send some message.

Russia may appear indifferent but it is far from that. One leg is on USA and one hand is passing card(s) to China. They are some discreet exchanges going on.

Japan has all eyes on the cards, unaware of what others are doing.

Taiwan wears a red abdominal vest, maybe implying she is the last successor of the Chinese culture. She holds a tray of fruits in one hand and a fruit knife in the other, looking quietly at China with resentment. But she has no option. She is not in the game (a little girl too young to play the game?).

Dark clouds hang over the river outside the window implying tension over the straits separating Main Land China and Taiwan.

The portrait on the wall is interesting, mustache of Sun Yet Sun, the bare head of Chiang Kai Set, the face of Mao Tze Tong…

How the 4 ladies are dressed is also very interesting.

China bares her top, with panties and a skirt.

USA is almost fully dressed but bares her bottom.

Russia is left with only panties.

Japan naked.

These perhaps reflect the status of each nation;

The attire of USA appears to be most complete, probably because she is still the most powerful. Others are short of something here and there. Though USA is most presentable, she has nevertheless exposed her bottom (line). China and Russia look naked but keep their private parts are covered.

We assume this is a stripping game where the loser removes a piece of clothing.

In this game, if China loses, she will be like Russia today… (broken up).

If USA loses, she will also be like Russia…

If Russia loses again, then she has nothing left…

And Japan is already left with nothing….

Russia may appear to have drawn an extra tile (by the rule of the game, she cannot complete the game i.e. cannot win) and is hanging on for nothing … BUT she is actually exchanging tiles with China…

The other person hanging on is Japan since she has no more “chips”. She is out of the game if she loses.

In conclusion:

USA is pretending. She looks most glorious but faces great dangers. If she loses this game, she loses her dominating position.

Russia has a leg each on a boat, most sly … Her situation is a little like China after liberation (when the communist took over China), sometimes with the USSR and sometimes with USA. Due to her lack of self sufficiency, she has to yo-yo between two parties for survival and room of development.

China has many tiles but they are not in view. Does that imply China keeps her strengths under wrap? And she is exchanging tiles with Russia under the table.

USA can only guess from the expression of Taiwan what may be happening between China and Russia.

Japan looks ignorant as she continues to focus on her cards.

China’s hand (of tiles) is most unpredictable.

Poor Japan … there are so many things happening around her. She has no chance of a win and she is out the moment she loses.

Taiwan keeps watch as a bystander. She sees all that transpired in the game and she understands. But she is not qualified to, nor capable of participating in the game. She has no right to speak. She is full of grievances and is utterly helpless. She can only be the maid, offering fruits to the winner(s).

The winner should be a pick between China or USA , there is little doubt about this. Then again if you notice, they are playing Chinese Mahjong, not Western Poker.

Playing with the rules of a Chinese game, what are the odds for USA?

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Media, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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