Today, we can see how Americans see China and think how we should see China. All Roads to China put up an interesting chart from China Daily that inspires this post. View whole post here. I have pasted the chart below. Also, view the other Gallup results where the data came from here
Older Americans are distinctly more negative on China than younger Americans as younger Americans are less familiar with Tiananmen and the cultural revolution which have overly colored the vision of the older generation.
A dozen years ago, when Zhu Rongji visited the U.S. a reporter showed Zhu Rongji the picture of the guy in front of the tank and asked him to comment. Zhu Rongji took out a picture of a US Army officer holding a pistol to the head of a captured north Vietnamese. Zhu Rongji asked, “What is the difference between these two pictures?” The reporter did not know. Zhu Rongji said, “The tank stopped.”
Ah, we all have trouble seeing China or our own country correctly. China is a place with culture like France and victim mentality like Germany post World War I. France punished Germany after World War I and even occupied part of Germany to make their point. The unfairness and desperation forced on Germany led to the election of Hitler.
China is not Sparta or Germany. It is Athens or nothing at all. It is a place of poets and dancing and not martial arts. Go to Korea for martial arts. However, China feels wronged and wants recognition for their achievements and culture just like France does even today. That makes it hard to relate to China
We do well to understand China and appreciate all that is good here. There is much that we can learn. If we look at China with dark eyes, we may yet achieve a self fulfilling prophecy, for China may become as wonderful as we care to see or as horrible as labels we choose to put on her.
We do well to see the brighter side and draw out all the good that lies here.