Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Whose assault?

"In an essay published this week in a Communist Party policy magazine, President Hu Jintao said the West is trying to dominate China by spreading its culture and ideology."

Nah, the West isn't trying to spread its culture. You just destroyed your own (see: Cultural Revolution 1966-1976) and left a massive vacuum. Are you concerned that materialistic folks are now buying Western pop culture as the thing?

"President Hu Jintao has said that China must strengthen its cultural production to defend against the West’s assault on the country’s culture and ideology" FYI strengthening culture is probably not best served by increasing Communist propaganda. How about supporting traditional cultural enterprises?

"international hostile forces are intensifying the strategic plot of westernizing and dividing China." Well, they're not the ones who demolish ancient temples and raze traditional architecture, replace them with shopping malls, and lay down ugly tarmac and 8-lane highways in the middle of cities where generations of families once lived. Greedy developers and complicit CCP officials are really the ones responsible for confusing "modernization" and "Westernization" -- anyone else is just following their lead. (Sometimes I wonder if "modernization" is even the goal, or if infrastructure is just a byproduct of self-enrichment). The authorities are the ones who adopt sh-t city planning that's good for cars and not people, just like -- oh wait for it -- the Americans did in the mid-20th century. So watch where you're pointing your fingers.

By the way, people from the West are also not the ones who forced the country to adopt Soviet-style (i.e. alien) economic planning (which utterly failed, by the way), or who divided the country into "black" and "red" classes and pitted them against each other.

It's the people in power and the rich who are taking the worst aspects of "Western" culture, such as unbridled capitalistic greed -- laughing all the way to the bank as they douse the country with it -- while ignoring important features of Western life such as freedom of speech, checks and balances, and the consent of the governed and public participation.

Let's close on this note: "In his essay, Mr. Hu did not address the widespread assertion by Chinese artists and intellectuals that state censorship is what prevents artists and their works from reaching their full potential. Last week, Han Han, a novelist and China’s most popular blogger, discussed the issue in an online essay called 'On Freedom.' 'The restriction on cultural activities makes it impossible for China to influence literature and cinema on a global basis or for us culturati to raise our heads up proud,' Han Han wrote."

Ironic that for Chinese culture to flourish, the state should take up some "Western" features. Oh wait ... maybe that means that those features are less "Western" and more global than you want to admit. Just some food for thought.

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