Friday, September 17, 2010

The Role of Face in Chinese Patriotism

All of us in the west were complicit in taking Chinese territory and running the treaty ports under English or French law, while Chinese were treated with contempt. The International Settlement in Shanghai was a combination of the America and British concessions, run by the British.

When you see the effort put into the Olympics or the Shibohui (The world expo in Shanghai) you can see the pride in Chinese grow as they brush away the sordid past. Chinese use the words mei mianzi to describe the loss of face (which is the worst thing that can happen in many Asian cultures). When you see Chinese with strong pride in their country, you have to understand they have a right to that patriotism, after all the country's gone through. This is not an endorsement of any government or political party, but simply an explanation  of why feeling proud of being Chinese is an important step for a people who spent the early part of the 20th century treated as lesser beings by westerners and Japanese.

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