17 votes

Why Do Chinese People Like Their Government?

26 comments

  1. [5]
    est
    (edited )
    Link
    Chinese here. I don't like the govn't. But I know why some people do. AMA To get started, the media tries to paint China as one entity, through the decades, but in fact it's not. Many of China's...

    Chinese here. I don't like the govn't. But I know why some people do. AMA

    To get started, the media tries to paint China as one entity, through the decades, but in fact it's not. Many of China's wrong doing were eased by "iterations of leadership". Mao killed tens of millions? Sure the pragmatic Deng corrected that. Deng ordered tanks to execute students on the square? Sure Jiang alleviate that. Much corruption under Jiang? Sure Xi tried to fix it.

    The world view of most Chinese people are divided so please don't ever take China as a whole. Many expats I knew describe China as a very diverse country.

    Another reason contributes to China's nationalism is sometimes called "unity" by the Chinese. But somehow in some fucked up interpretation, unity were used as an excuse for pardon government's wrong doings.

    This I strongly disagree. As Mao once said, struggle can forge unity, and compromise make unity disappear.

    16 votes
    1. [2]
      bbvnvlt
      Link Parent
      You're right that China gets described comparably to a Star Wars or Star Trek alien world: alien but homogenous, as if something so large could be so devoid of variation. That being said, it does...

      To get started, the media tries to paint China as one entity, through the decades, but in fact it's not.

      You're right that China gets described comparably to a Star Wars or Star Trek alien world: alien but homogenous, as if something so large could be so devoid of variation.

      That being said, it does seem that the Chines government (this one and previous ones) is actively trying to make this more true, relocating Han Chinese to regions peopled by minorities, for instance, and in the current oppressive treatment, 're-education' and persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Is it correct to see uniformization of culture and practices as an active policy goal?

      AMA

      Off-topic but out of curiosity, how would you characterize the dominant framework of thought in China at the moment (comparable to defining the one for Europe as 'enlightenment ideology' or something)? I recently did a MOOC on ancient Chinese Thought (Confucius, Laozi, Mozi, Mencius, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, Han Feizi) and I'm super curious to know which thinkers (of those, or other/later ones) are quoted/used currently, and how. I'm assuming Chinese leaders and thinkers do not go around quoting mostly Jefferson, Mill, Kant, MLK, etc., such as those here in the West do.

      5 votes
      1. est
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        The inside view is bit different, for 50s 60s, the "relocating" is more about deploy legions to the north western inhabitable zone, to ready the fight against the mighty USSR while trying to...

        relocating Han Chinese to regions peopled by minorities

        The inside view is bit different, for 50s 60s, the "relocating" is more about deploy legions to the north western inhabitable zone, to ready the fight against the mighty USSR while trying to sustain themselves. Millions of Han literally sacrificed their family and career to build defence infrastructure in and out of Xinjiang. And other millions of Han scholars, engineers, defence industries were retreated from industrialised coastal cities to hinterlands like deep in the mountain provinces. This "great immigration" affected tens of millions of families and at least two generations of Chinese.

        After Deng's reform in the 80s, the Han population in XJ has been declining (insert data here), partly because XJ is really economically backward borderland shit place, partly because Han were subjective to infamous One-Child policy Deng introduced, Some Han women were forced to sterilize (like how Muslims were forced to today, shocking?). Islamic culture tend to have higher birth rate, so minority population were growing at a higher rate.

        Is it correct to see uniformization of culture and practices as an active policy goal?

        Mostly yeah. However I do think the govn't are trying to erase the islamic culture from the indigenous culture, and yes the indigenous culture is whitelisted and approved by a committee first. On a broader way I think cultural projects led by govn't often fail (like how the Confucius Institute failed in multiple western countries). The govn't didn't preserve or unify Han culture either. They way they put people into camps will create more extremists. and worries lots of people.

        dominant framework of thought in China at the moment

        IMHO There is no dominant thought, it more people are acting they had a framework. And domestic or western media portraits the thought to be aligned to some known "schools" or people

        Admittedly in some way they do seem like Confucian or Neo-Confucian or Communism or something, but in my opinion, today's China it's more about pragmatism, just try everything and see which one sticks on the wall.

        The jarring truth is most Chinese don't read, and don't think, most of them just repeat what the media told them to.

        which thinkers (of those, or other/later ones) are quoted/used currently

        Surprisingly, Luxun and Mao are quoted the most, at least for political discussions. There are a lot of Zizek fans as well. This is my own observation so YMMV.

        5 votes
    2. Litmus2336
      Link Parent
      It's interesting, not only did US cold war (and pre-WW2) propaganda try to make Chinese people out as an evil monoculture, but also many of Mao's reforms sought to eliminate perceived divisions...

      It's interesting, not only did US cold war (and pre-WW2) propaganda try to make Chinese people out as an evil monoculture, but also many of Mao's reforms sought to eliminate perceived divisions among different Chinese ethnic groups.

      1 vote
    3. ubergeek
      Link Parent
      Yeah, agree with you here. To pretend everyone in china thinks exactly alike is just like pretending everyone in the US does. It's just not possible with a nation spanning such immense amount of land.

      Yeah, agree with you here. To pretend everyone in china thinks exactly alike is just like pretending everyone in the US does.

      It's just not possible with a nation spanning such immense amount of land.

      1 vote
  2. [20]
    ubergeek
    Link
    I think a much more simple answer is: same reason Americans think their nation is as pure as the driven snow, even though it has done pretty much the same as the Chinese government has.

    I think a much more simple answer is: same reason Americans think their nation is as pure as the driven snow, even though it has done pretty much the same as the Chinese government has.

    11 votes
    1. [4]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      Why must it always be Americans, possibly the worst example of a democratic liberal nation? Is Germany harvesting organs from live dissidents to fuel an overly efficient transplant system? Is...

      Why must it always be Americans, possibly the worst example of a democratic liberal nation?

      Is Germany harvesting organs from live dissidents to fuel an overly efficient transplant system? Is Norway maintaining re-education camps for religious minorities? Has Canada instituted a dystopian social credit system?

      It's absolutely ludicrous that we look at these authoritarian nightmares and automatically search out the worst case scenario in the Western World. It's not okay just because America keeps flirting with authoritarianism itself.

      It’s the rare person who can truly separate, at both an intellectual and an emotional level, criticism of his or her country from criticism of his or her country’s government — especially if that government is not, at present, terribly embattled and is delivering basic public goods in a reasonably competent manner.

      This quote effectively sums up the point, and clearly the authors thinking is somewhat similar to yours. Irregardless our goal should not be "well people are dumb, so its okay".

      23 votes
      1. alexandria
        Link Parent
        Because it's the best analogy available and an accurate answer to the question. The reason why Chinese people believe in their government is the same reason why Americans believe in their...

        Why must it always be Americans, possibly the worst example of a democratic liberal nation?

        Because it's the best analogy available and an accurate answer to the question. The reason why Chinese people believe in their government is the same reason why Americans believe in their government.

        It's absolutely ludicrous that we look at these authoritarian nightmares and automatically search out the worst case scenario in the Western World.

        Why is that ludicrous, when it's an appropriate answer to the question in the title?

        Irregardless our goal should not be "well people are dumb, so its okay".

        I don't see where anyone is saying that, in fact, the post you're responding to implicitly states that it is not ok.

        12 votes
      2. patience_limited
        Link Parent
        Possibly because the U.S. still maintains military hegemony in Asia, and both poses and amplifies direct strategic threats to Chinese power? [I don't think the general populace here is very...

        Possibly because the U.S. still maintains military hegemony in Asia, and both poses and amplifies direct strategic threats to Chinese power? [I don't think the general populace here is very knowledgeable about this, nor do they think about it much beyond "America First!" jingoism.]

        4 votes
      3. xster
        Link Parent
        I assume because it's a bit reductive and not a very meaningful comparison. Norway has about 1/4 the population of Beijing. I'm sure you can find a couple of neighbourhoods in beijing in which the...

        I assume because it's a bit reductive and not a very meaningful comparison. Norway has about 1/4 the population of Beijing. I'm sure you can find a couple of neighbourhoods in beijing in which the go-to corporate media framing of dystopian China doesn't apply.

        As a Canadian, I can say that Canada never did and never will have the same role as China does in the world https://www.visualcapitalist.com/2000-years-economic-history-one-chart/.

        2 votes
    2. [7]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I'm wondering if any American consistently thinks that way? Even highly patriotic Americans will often at the same time believe that nearly all politicians are corrupt and the country is going to...

      I'm wondering if any American consistently thinks that way? Even highly patriotic Americans will often at the same time believe that nearly all politicians are corrupt and the country is going to hell. It's an odd combination between tribalism and cynicism.

      I expect many Chinese have complicated feelings as well?

      9 votes
      1. [5]
        Loire
        Link Parent
        They may, or they may not. The virulent conspiracism in American political thinking is fairly unique to America. You don't have such a significant streak of cyniscism running through Swedish or...

        They may, or they may not. The virulent conspiracism in American political thinking is fairly unique to America.

        You don't have such a significant streak of cyniscism running through Swedish or German, or Canadians. The biggest mistake you can make is assuming everyone thinks like you, we are all produxts of our culture and history.

        2 votes
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          I agree that we're making broad generalizations here, often about places we've never been to, and we should be doubtful that they're accurate. But I'm not so sure about uniqueness. My reading of...

          I agree that we're making broad generalizations here, often about places we've never been to, and we should be doubtful that they're accurate.

          But I'm not so sure about uniqueness. My reading of the news is that conspiracy theories are common in many parts of the world, and distrustful, reactionary movements are apparently on the rise in many places? High trust in government seems limited to the few countries that actually have good government. Some of the time anyway. (How did Rob Ford get elected?)

          4 votes
        2. [3]
          Elronnd
          Link Parent
          That is simply not true. I live in canada. I know people who live in germany and korea. Plenty of people in all parts of the world are incredibly cynical about their government.

          That is simply not true. I live in canada. I know people who live in germany and korea. Plenty of people in all parts of the world are incredibly cynical about their government.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Loire
            Link Parent
            "Plenty" of people? Or is it endemic like it is in America? There are all types of people everywhere. Whether it's cultural is a different story. As a Canadian from what may have been the most...

            "Plenty" of people? Or is it endemic like it is in America?

            There are all types of people everywhere. Whether it's cultural is a different story. As a Canadian from what may have been the most "American" province, now living in Texas I guarantee you that it's not anywhere near to the same level.

            1. Elronnd
              Link Parent
              I used to live in the usa. However, I never lived anywhere near texas; I always lived in liberal, urban, metropolitan areas. It may be a regional thing, then. All I can say is I noticed not much...

              I used to live in the usa. However, I never lived anywhere near texas; I always lived in liberal, urban, metropolitan areas. It may be a regional thing, then. All I can say is I noticed not much difference between my experience of people's cynicism of government in the us and in other countries.

              (I will also mention, most people know their own governments are better than the us's, not that that stops them from being cynical about their own.)

              1 vote
      2. ubergeek
        Link Parent
        Most Americans think their nation is going to hell in a handbasket when "their team" isn't in power. The US is almost always in an internal struggle of rural vs urban areas, due to the immense...

        Most Americans think their nation is going to hell in a handbasket when "their team" isn't in power. The US is almost always in an internal struggle of rural vs urban areas, due to the immense amount of land it occupies.

        1 vote
    3. [2]
      Diff
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I get what you're saying and I agree but as corrupt as it is, the US government hasn't gotten to the point of chatting up Google about suppressing searches for "human rights" yet. People do tend...

      I get what you're saying and I agree but as corrupt as it is, the US government hasn't gotten to the point of chatting up Google about suppressing searches for "human rights" yet.

      People do tend to make exceptions for "us" vs "them" governments but once you pass a certain point I'd like to think anyone would start to view their government as "them." Probably both governments have crossed that line in some ways.

      8 votes
      1. ubergeek
        Link Parent
        Not online, but we sure do like arresting people for demonstrating, and using chemical weapons on said demonstrators. And we have a president right now trying to silence the media.

        Not online, but we sure do like arresting people for demonstrating, and using chemical weapons on said demonstrators.

        And we have a president right now trying to silence the media.

        8 votes
    4. [6]
      Spel
      Link Parent
      Why do you think that that's a simpler/more likely answer?

      Why do you think that that's a simpler/more likely answer?

      1 vote
      1. [5]
        ubergeek
        Link Parent
        People tend to almost always side with their "tribe" and view it through "rose colored glasses".

        People tend to almost always side with their "tribe" and view it through "rose colored glasses".

        1. [4]
          Spel
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          What in the analysis in the article do you believe is wrong and why?

          What in the analysis in the article do you believe is wrong and why?

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            ubergeek
            Link Parent
            Not wrong per se, but a very lengthy and round about way of putting it, but also giving the impression its isolated to China. Most every nation's citizens for better or worse see themselves as the...

            Not wrong per se, but a very lengthy and round about way of putting it, but also giving the impression its isolated to China.

            Most every nation's citizens for better or worse see themselves as the "good guy" and other nations are allies at best but a second place in purity, and "bad guys" at worst.

            1. [2]
              Spel
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              But if rose-tinted glasses “because it’s yours” was sufficient to be the explanation for why peoples are content with their political system, you’d expect people everywhere to be generally...

              But if rose-tinted glasses “because it’s yours” was sufficient to be the explanation for why peoples are content with their political system, you’d expect people everywhere to be generally satisfied with their governments - which certainly isn’t the case. That to me seems to make it a fundamentally unsatisfying explanation.

              2 votes
              1. ubergeek
                Link Parent
                Most every country's citizens are rather content with their government, even when committing atrocities in their name. Not too many in Nazi Germany was opposed to that government. Not many in...

                Most every country's citizens are rather content with their government, even when committing atrocities in their name.

                Not too many in Nazi Germany was opposed to that government. Not many in England were opposed to their imperialism. I think France may be the only exception to this "rule", as they seem to have a revolution every 50 years or so :P

                2 votes
  3. patience_limited
    Link
    It's not an article that considers, except obliquely, what living at the material limits of your environment makes necessary. One thing that distinguishes the rise of liberal philosophies was the...

    It's not an article that considers, except obliquely, what living at the material limits of your environment makes necessary.

    One thing that distinguishes the rise of liberal philosophies was the Black Plague - it left much of Western Europe so depopulated that there was land to produce relative agricultural surpluses for hundreds of years. China, with rare exceptions over the past millennium, has barely been able to grow enough calories to keep everyone fed.

    It's not certain [PDF warning] that China would have been able to complete its agrarian/industrial transition without the One Child Policy, perhaps the most illiberal of the Communist Party's undertakings.

    At the same time, the results of that policy have interesting implications for the future. Though the pre-demographic transition populace (including China's leaders) may have traumatic memories, the current generation does live in a state of prosperity and order. They, like U.S. millennials, may come to resent the dual economic burdens of aging parents and a hefty military, as well as the environmental degradation and lack of freedoms.

    8 votes