From Tokyo-based online current affairs magazine ‘The Diplomat’: Under its China Power: A New World Order section, it poses the question ‘Does China Have a Soul? Here are two interesting comments from readers of the article.
Henry003 February 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm
The western press has been predicting the demise of PRC since the founding of PRC but it never materialized. For the simple fact that for most Chinese live are getting better with every day and only small segment of population known known as dissident would like to follow the west. The majority of the people couldn’t care less. I can never understand why people still beating the dead horse over and over again
Spartan February 5, 2012 at 10:11 am
Whenever someone says that China has a 4000 year history I cringe because the Communist Party did a pretty good job at destroying the previous zeitgeist. Sometimes when taking a taxi in DongBei I’ll run into a driver who wants to talk down to me as the “young American” and tell me that his country has a 4000 year history. Unfortunately, China in many respects resembles a narcissist who was beaten as a child and has to talk itself up to maintain a working degree of self esteem.
While I agree the search for a unifying spirit holds water as the author makes a salient point –
This question must sound embarrassingly racist or, given China’s economic trajectory, increasingly irrelevant. But it’s also China’s most important question because the flip side of this question is: Does China have a future?
I must add that pro-China commentators can tend to harp on the continuity of the Chinese civilisation while the dichotomy also sees the cultural revolution as evidence of its current ‘hypocrisy’ of having Confucius Institutes as a public diplomacy and internal social glue to extend/maintain China’s cultural capital.
Sometimes polarity means neglecting to see the forest for the trees.
The geo-political and territorial institution that is China has never been singular, nor smooth.
Chinese-ness on the other hand, as an identity has not only survived, but seems to have been reinforced (through assimilation or otherwise) all this time.
Witness the dynastic and political strife the China has had to bear to get to where it is today. China was divided for long periods of its history, with different regions being ruled by different groups and for a third of recorded history, by foreign rulers. For about another third of it, it was arguable if there a any single dynasty ruling a unified China.
Perhaps tongue-in-cheek, my take on the argument that China does not have a soul will hold water, the day the Chinese stop using chopsticks.
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Does China Have a Soul?
By Jiang Xueqin
Source – The Diplomat, published Feb 5, 2012
The New York Review of Books blog has posted an Ian Johnson interview with Zhang Ping (who writes under the name Chang Ping), one of China’s most daring writers whom the Communist Party previously hounded out of reporting from China.
The piece is worth reading for both the interviewee and the interviewer.
Inspired by Liu Binyan to become a journalist, Chang Ping has a career that shares many similarities with that of his role model. But there’s one major difference. Liu, with his journalistic exposes of the inept Communist Party political, economic, social, and moral management of China, inspired a generation of disaffected youth to carry the intellectual flame. Read the rest of this entry »