Babbling Piece On China Blatantly Ignores Harsh Reality

I thought I had seen some bad babbling pieces in the Daily Dead Fish Wrapper, but the one I read today takes the cake. Frank Fromhertz writes about how we can supposedly learn from China and how we should hold a "universal view".

Like a big but distant river, China had enchanted my
imagination for decades. Finally, at age 50, I was heading
there. But what would I learn?

China is so different from what I had imagined. Paradox, not
enchantment, describes it. During my first foray in 2004 and
since then I've seen intense contrasts. They would
affect you deeply if you saw them.

China is changing at warp speed, but that is not the whole
story. I had to learn to look beyond the blunt contrasts
that first strike the eye in order to observe something more
subtle, hopeful and universal. In this land of great change
there is a current of continuity. History is being destroyed
and yet, perhaps, it is being saved. Modern yet ancient,
reckless yet philosophical, materialistic yet poetic, China
-- a genius of paradox -- has etched its way into my psyche.
I have been taught what we share in common.

I landed in Beijing, just in time for the 2004 Lunar New
Year, Chun Jie (Spring Festival). Huanying Nin! (Welcome!) I
took a train to Qingdao on the coast, to spend the festival
period with friends. Much joy, families gathering, so many
delightful customs, but one rite took special hold of my
attention. In the country that invented gunpowder, people
buy up as many fireworks as they can afford, and then, when
the new moon begins, they light the fuses. As custom has it,
bad spirits flee. No wonder: They could not survive.

Qingdao, like almost every city and village in China, became
a mass illumination of street corner fireworks. Things got
loud, then louder, car alarms adding to the din. Two weeks
later quiet returned, mercifully, when at last the full moon
rose. I returned to Beijing.

As he continues to babble throughout the article Fromhertz glosses over the harsh realities of living in China.

A cold wind marked that first winter. Sandstorms, from
desertification, blew into the city. The political
atmosphere seemed subdued. I imagined hearing echoes from
Tiananmen Square.

I wonder if he hears the echoes of the shots the soldiers fired into the corwds of unarmed students, all because thy dard to demonstrate for democracy?

In a nation experiencing rapid transformation, great
disparities, dislocation and one-party rule, social unrest
could be expected to erupt, especially among peasants and
the urban poor. Protests, plenty of them, were put down.
Order and harmony were high on the agenda of the party. So
was economic growth.

Put down? Try brutally put down. Order and harmony are only on the surface, and at the cost of many lives.

As would be expected from a liberal like this, he gets in his shots at President Bush.

When I could speak enough Chinese to carry on a basic
conversation, groups gathered round, asking about Meiguo
(America). Frequently they asked about our current
president. Why had he started the war in Iraq? I told them
that I wished he had decided to come to China to learn their
language. Mandarin is so hard, I claimed, it would have
consumed the energies of both Bush and Cheney, leaving them
no time to invade Iraq.

They laughed, and then corrected my Chinese.

At one point, he even gets in a little truth.

Water, shui, tells a story of grave trouble. Unlike the dry
north, where a serious shortage plagues the land, the
southeast region has plenty, as in Nanjing. But it is
filthy, polluted like a nightmare, and all the canals pour
ill-health into the Yangtze. The same is happening to the
Pearl River in Guangzhou. Throughout China urbanization is
taking a great toll.

Though millions of people during the past 30 years have been
brought out of poverty, the wealth-poverty gap is
nonetheless profound. It remains to be seen whether China
will find its way into sustainability and a semblance of
social equity.

But I thought communism was supposed to make everyone equal? Does he mean to say that even in a communist country, there is still no equality?

In the grand finale, he attempts to make sense of all the babbling.

Look again at water. Shui tells a story of potential union.
Though the water of China is disturbed today, other levels
of meaning offer hope for the good Earth -- the one planet
we share.

China offers a profound sense of history and an imaginative
universe of language. When traveling together down the Chang
Jiang in April 2004, a new friend from Fujian gave me my
Chinese name, Da Jiang, which means "big river." I
had grown up loving rivers in Oregon, so the name felt
right. Yet gradually I began to think more about da jiang as
a global metaphor. The language evokes this kind of
reflection. It is to a universal identity that we are being

Visit China and you may be humbled and taught a new --
perhaps an ancient -- worldview. This could be good for us
Americans, since at times we mistakenly think we are
exceptional. People in China, through keenly evocative
language and the riches of their cultures, invite us into a
deeper awareness of the big river, the stream of life we
share in common.

No, Mr. Fromhertz, we are indeed exceptional. The United States is indeed an exceptional country that has brought much good to the world. There is a reason we are the one remaining superpower, and it is because our system of government is exceptional. It is the self hating people like you that bring us down.

The reason I have such a problem with this babbling article is that I know firsthand the truth of China. Not only do I have friends that have lived there and do live there now (both American and Chinese minorities), but I have been there myself recently and know what life is really like there.

The Chinese government is one of the most corrupt, power hungery and cowardly governments on the face of the earth. They have no concern whatsoever for the well-being of the Chinese (and minority) people. Their primary concern is that they look good to the outside world. They are cowards because they don't have the courage to stand up and admit that they have screwed up. Their political and business systems are so corrupt that they have no ethics at all. They make a show of punishment when they look bad, but that's all it is - a show. A good example was a recent case where the head of the State Food and Drug Administration was executed for taking bribes. They only did that because all of the recalls that were happening for products made in China made them look bad. Back in July, a report came out that said that China was now the world's leading producer of greenhouse gases. So what did their representative come out and say? "No, it's not true, we're doing a lot to fight this, but leave us alone."

The government is very brutal when it comes to any expression of religion. Over the past six monts or so, countless Chinese nationals have been arrested or disappeared. On top of that, many Americans, some who have lived in China for years, are being kicked out of China. All of this has been in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They are in the middle of an operation called "Typhoon No. 5". It is said to be an iron hand action that will surpass all previous actions in its severity.

Their hypocirisy continues this week, even. A couple of weeks ago, they were saying that religious services would play an important part during the Beijing Olympics.

BEIJING, Oct 17 (Reuters) - China will offer religious
services for foreigners arriving for the 2008 Olympic Games and
religion will play a positive role in the country's future, its
top religious affairs official said on Wednesday.

Ye Xiaowen, director-general of the State Administration
for Religious Affairs, also urged the Vatican to move ahead to
establish diplomatic ties with the world's most populous

However, that is apparently just lip service, because now they are banning Bibles from the Olympics.

Beijing, Nov 2, 2007 / 02:18 pm (CNA).-
Organizes of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing have published a list of
“prohibited objects” in the Olympic village where athletes will stay.
To the surprise of many, Bibles are among the objects that will not be

According to the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, organizers
have cited “security reasons” and have prohibited athletes from bearing
any kind of religious symbol at Olympic facilities.

Other objects on the list include video cameras and cups.

The Spanish daily La Razon said the rule was one of a number of
“signs of censure and intolerance” towards religious objects,
particularly those used by Christians in China. Currently in China
five bishops and fifteen priests are in prison for opposing the
official Church.

So I would say that Mr. Fromhertz needs to pay a little more attention to the truth about China before babbling on about his "universal view", because for many, the view is very unpleasant.


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