Interesting debate regarding Tian An Men

Asiawind is one of my favourite forum. Recently, a discussion on the topic "China just can’t win the West" caught my attention. Here’s part of the discussion:
Author: coyote
Date:   03-18-08 08:29
Kobo. China is still paying the price for Tiananmen square massacre. Whatever one’s opinion re. that event, the fact remains, it has become a permanent fixture in the consciousness of the world as least for our generation. No, China just can’t win, as you said, because we, collectively, as the Chinese nation, are still paying for the kids and men and women the government mowed down. It is unfortunate but it is also an undeniable fact.
Author: mr. liao
Date:   03-18-08 08:45
It would be simplistic to blame the Tiananmen incident for China’s woes; it implies that the blame is entirely China’s. One would have to think in terms of realpolitik in order to understand China’s problems. Simple selfishness (competing interests) is the best paradigm to explain the world’s negative reaction towards China – and anyone who might upset the status quo. It the argument with the greatest explanatory power. Competing arguments have little or no weight. China must be prepared to p!ss off just about every nation on earth to succeed, and I think it is a price worth paying.
Author: platypus
Date:   03-18-08 08:51
Do you seriously think that if Tiananmen never happened, then China would be given a free pass on Tibet, or Taiwan for that matter? Or, LOL, even Hong Kong for that matter?
Our generation of Chinese won’t ever be forgiven for Tiananamen. But did any foreigners ever care about Kent State? Vietnam killed hundreds of thousands more, but the US was forgiven in no time. The US left Vietnam in, what, 1975 or something like that? Did the world ever give the US any griefs over Vietnam ever after that?
Iraq killed hundreds of thousands more. But if the next US president ends the war, the world will forgive and forget the US in no time again.
China can’t win. But the US can. And the difference is a lot more than Tiananmen.
Author: mr. liao
Date:   03-18-08 08:57
It is for the reasons you highlighted above – the prevailing hypocrisy of the conventions underlying the present moral order, that force each and every Chinese must strive harder, higher, to outcompete everyone. The price of China’s defeat in this regard is also her demise. China has no choice but to reshape the world, so that its operations are conducive to her interests. China must play a proactive role in upturning the world order, in reordering the rules of the game. It is folly to imagine that China can survive intact by any other way. China is a stakeholder in the world, and as a stakeholder, she has the right to change what does not work for her.
Author: platypus
Date:   03-18-08 09:37
But I’m raising a bigger question, and a fair one. Why is the "world" fixated on Tiananmen, and not much bigger loss-of-life events like Vietnam, or Iraq, or Chile 1973, and so on?
Part of the answer, is that the "world" and "world opinion" we refer to, are really the media which is dominated by western and western-educated people.
And part of it is simply double standards.
And this all goes very directly to Liao’s point. This is why China must try harder. We have to score 90 points just to earn the same acclaim as someone else scoring 70 points.
But, in the long run, to really correct the problem, China itself has to become part of the referee, part of the jury, so that our 90 points really means 90 points, and not 70 points.
Author: platypus
Date:   03-18-08 09:51
"And the first step towards achieving that is by growing a free and vibrant press right in China."
Oh sure, and never mind that that freedom can frequently be abused, sometimes with deadly results. But hey, free press works in Saskatchewan, so it got to work in Guangzhou or Xinjiang too.
It was free, vibrant "underground" broadcasts that turned the Chen SB shooting from fiction into virtual reality, making his re-election possible. Sure we can try that in China, but if the result is China in 8 pieces, who’s going to put it back together again? Can we count on the same people who advocated free vibrant press in the first place? LOL. (You can consider that scolding, or light-hearted jabs……)
Author: platypus
Date:   03-18-08 10:10
"If China can’t go there (free press) at this point, then there is no possibility of it contending for a place at the "referee" table now, is there."
That’s just an assumption, an assumption based on the idea that the current westen system is the only legitimate one, the very idea that needs repudiation.
Singapore is not free vibrant press at all, but it has a lot of legitimacy. China is 250X Singapore. As it gains power, it should be possible for it to build its own value system, and make it an alternative standard in the world.
Author: mr. liao
Date:   03-18-08 10:23
China could use advice from Singapore on how to create an orderly society. And China will adapt this advice to accomodate her own realities – and she is a far more complex entity. The bottomline is that the success of many of the institutions that undergird the Western way of life has been overstated. When expedient, the West has been known to repudiate the economic and moral logic underlying the advice it frequently lavishes on Asians (witness the bail-out of the brokerage house Bear Stearns).
As for China reshaping the world order, this is not as far removed from reality as you think it is. First, China would have to believe in her own capabilities in this regard, and attain to a sense of entitlement, which she rightly deserves, as a 20% stake-holder in the fate of humanity. :o)

About kchew

an occasional culturalist
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