Apology to Fountainhall

Anything and everything about gay life anywhere in the world, especially Asia, other than Thailand.
firecat69
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#1 Apology to Fountainhall

Postby firecat69 » Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:10 pm

Here is a really interesting article that talks about Chinese students attending world wide Universities with US being the largest %.

I must admit that reading the article brings up feelings that I have had traveling the world the the last 50 years . It is too easy for US citizens to fall into the Moral Superiority Trap . Amazingly when traveling I was very aware of this trap and always tried to remember all the mistakes the US had made in the world as well . However it is much easier to forget these when arguing on a Board such as this . There is an excuse for a great majority of US Citizens who have never left the USA except possibly a vacation trip to Canada or Mexico but there really is no excuse for me not remembering all the mistakes the US has made when arguing on this Board. I have travelled the World and seen the accomplishments and failures of many countries. I have also seen unbelievable changes in Countries

It does not mean I like Communist Governments but it should mean that I look at them in context of what they have accomplished in a country such as China . I should be able to remember what the world thought of the US in 1860 when slavery created the wealth of many US Citizens.

I probably won't be on this earth long enough to see China and its Communist Government in a favorable light, but I should be able to look at their accomplishments in a favorable light while still criticizing what I see as affronts to human rights.

My one visit to China was shortly after Tiananmen Square Massacre and I have allowed it to color how I feel about China for the last 30+ years . I don't have a burning desire to return since I have seen all the fabulous Historical Sights of China and would be returning to see their new trains and skyscrapers . But maybe it would be important for me to see whether I saw smiles on the faces of many Chinese which might help wash away some of my prejudice toward the Communist Government.

Food for Thought.

https://supchina.com/2018/01/18/caught- ... ir-hearts/

fountainhall
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#2 Re: Apology to Fountainhall

Postby fountainhall » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:00 pm

Let me start by saying it takes a big heart to make the post above as firecat69 has done. As far as I am concerned it was not necessary as our views have been virtually part of the cut and thrust of any debate, although in the case of China both sides have been clearly far apart.

It is, as firecat69 states, very easy when writing quick posts on any message Board to confine oneself to one’s long-held feelings. I know I have been guilty of that – and more than once. Like firecat69, over my life and career I have travelled extensively – 8 million kms and counting. Where I think we differ in our perspectives is that I moved away from Britain 4 decades ago next March. Over that time, even with visits back at least once a year I have lost much of my affinity to my homeland, its customs and traditions. So the reality in which I was brought up has changed very significantly as I have spent more than half of my existence in Asia.

Because of the nature of my career and all the travel, especially within Asia, I have met a huge number of people in its different countries. I believe my views regarding those countries have been fashioned much more by these individuals, in meetings and discussions with them over lunch and dinner rather than by specific political and social systems.

I have already written about my first visit to China. Guangzhou in 1980, five years after the end of the Cultural Revolution, the last of Mao’s mad campaigns which had ravaged the country, and the first genuine peace the country had enjoyed for almost 150 years, was a generally pitiful place. The poorly dressed local people kept well out of their way of gweilo – “foreign devils”.

Then I remember a series of conversations I had with an 18-year old when I was working on a project in Beijing in the spring of 1997. For three weeks I was based at the original Hilton out on one of the Ring roads. In the evenings, I would either grab a cab or walk to the Sanlitun area where many privately-run small cafes, restaurants and live-music clubs had recently opened up. I was most often at one tiny restaurant where this smiling and eager young waiter was working to contribute to his education funds. He had an excellent command of English and over several dinners I was very happy to chat with him. He told me his hope was to go to an American University. But the first time be mentioned this, he added, “I like America and want so much to study there. But can you tell me: why is it that Americans hate us Chinese so much?”

I don’t like the idea of communism. On the other hand, as far as China is concerned, I don’t regard its development in the last few decades as communist. It is very far from the communism of Mao or Stalin, in both of whom fear of their colleagues and absolute power led to megalomania and tens of millions of deaths. Socialist, definitely, and run by a small clique. And yes there is corruption and there are restrictions and major trade issues. I abhor its actions in Tibet and with the 9 million or so Uyghur peoples in the North West, just as I do its position on Taiwan – even though in terms of international law I accept that Taiwan is indeed part of China. Unless, that is, you go back to pre-colonial times and agree that it belongs to the indigenous Taiwanese. But that would open a monster can of international worms, not least in the USA!

But as firecat69 has recalled his own country’s historical shortcomings, those of my country have contributed mightily to these Chinese actions. For the disaster of the Opium Wars which led to the rape of the Chinese coastline throughout the 19th century, countless millions of opium-related deaths and the meaningless destruction of one of its great cultural treasures, Beijing’s Summer Palace, have ingrained in the psyche of all Chinese people a fierce determination that the country’s borders are inviolate and will never again be breached.

But I always come back to one crucial question as regards China that is certainly worthy of debate. What is the alternative? In Thailand there has been a fragile democracy interspersed between military coups for about 85 years. Thailand therefore has some democratic institutions, even though much more needs to be done, especially as regards the law, corruption and governments willingly giving up power when defeated in elections. Nearly 40 parties have registered for the next General Election whenever that may held. That is one party per 1.725 million of the population.

Transpose that on to a country the size of China. If China was suddenly to open itself up to democratic elections – remembering that in its 2,000 year Imperial history and thereafter during the warlord, Japanese invasion and Communist party eras – it has known nothing, absolutely nothing, other than utterly rigid centralised control – you would end up with nearly 800 parties. I can see no way you end up with a workable government. At least not yet!

I believe each country has a right to determine its own future, within certain limits particularly those bound by international treaties. Looking back, I detest colonialism and Empires. They were a grab for trade, loot and power. The British were no angels but the actions of the Dutch and the Belgians over their subjugated peoples arguably made them look so. The attempts by successive American and British governments (sometimes joined by others) to carve out new countries and then to prop up murdering dictatorships is a stain on both nations who had argued they carried on their shoulders the moral leadership of the world. Had the CIA along with its British allies not overthrown the elected government of Mosaddegh in Iran in favour of propping up the Shah, would there be an Iran crisis today? I suspect not. But then, who knows? Nobody! It is impossible for us to estimate the result of the undercurrents of historical forces.


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