It’s about time Xinhua sent some reporters to Indian reservations in New Mexico:
Since the phrase “interference in our internal affairs” isn’t quite a specific part of the American vocabulary, perhaps we in North America could benefit from greater attention among Chinese to societal “contradictions” in the United States. From a diplomatic standpoint, welcoming, regularizing, and calling attention to such attention could give us more of that scarce credibility when it came time to criticize China on the Tibet issue. You might argue this is just part of the “Obama principle,” admitting some (domestic) shortcomings in order to get more of what you want (abroad).
In a recent conversation with Avery Booker at Jing Daily, I speculated that this might be a hidden “emerging trend” in US-China relations: the reciprocation from the East of the missionary impulse, the desire among young Chinese elites to see poverty, political inequality, and urban decay in the United States. It does make me wonder if any American administration could read up on their Sun Tzu and surprise China by making visas suddenly incredibly easy to get, and give Chinese students some big scholarships if only those students would commit to a year, or two or three, engaged in service projects in blighted places like Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, or East Cleveland, or Detroit, or Indian reservations in southwest South Dakota. Put a Confucius Institute in every ghetto; send master’s students from 民族大学 to the res!
Hey Chinese coming to Vancouver for the Olympics! Let’s meet up and do some conspiring.
The “issue” is not about finding “contradictions” in China and the developing world at large, it is rather the age-old (at least a couple of centuries old) phenomenon of the west’s fascination of things “exotic”. One is often told that the best China scholars are in the US, perhaps true. Sure the non-western world is very exotic and fascinating to the western eyes. But the western world can be equally exotic and fascinating too to the rest of us. I am hoping it will be China’s (and India’s and Brazi’s) turn to study the west carefully (not just with the intention to learn from it, not that I am saying the west doesn’t have offer a lot for the rest of us to learn, it sure does) and to look at western societies and their important issues under the magnifying glass. The west knows a lot about the rest of the world while the rest of the world doesn’t know enough about the west. It is about time this trend is reversed, for the good of all of us.
Juche, your point is well made. I am hoping at some point in the next five years to return to Xiaomei Chen’s _Occidentalism_ which gets at the notion of exoticization of the West by Chinese intellectuals…
I suppose the point you’re pushing toward, which I would be quick to make as well, is that Western readers/audience/intellectuals/FOX News viewers need to be receptive to wisdom that comes from abroad. In other words, finding a kind of Chinese de Toqueville wandering through Arizona, notebook in hand.
Thanks for mentioning this. Very interesting trend indeed. Well, two can play this game!
In China’s annual report on the US’s human rights shortcomings, they often criticize American problems in the ghettos and with minorities. I agree that that trend may continue and deepen.
By the way, if you’re interested in how an American nationalist (愤青) might react to such criticism, say this Tianya post (hehe….):