What do you want from us?

This is a hilarious summary of the confused minds of the Western world…, so confused that even the Chinese people get confused (from China Herald).

What do you want from us?

When we were called “sick man of Asia”, we were called peril.
When we billed to be the next superpower, we’re called the threat.

When we closed our doors, you smuggled drugs to open markets.
when we embrace free trade, you blame us for taking away your jobs.

when we’re falling apart, you marched in your troops and wanted your fair share.
when we’re putting the broken pieces together, “Free Tibet” you screamed! “it was invasion.”

So we tried communism, you hated us for being communist.
So we embraced capitalism, you hate us for being capitalist,

Then we have a billion people, you said we’re destroying the planet.
Then we limit our numbers, you said it was human rights abuses.

When we were poor, you think we’re dogs,
When we loan you cash, you blamed us for your debts.

When we build our industries, you called us polluters.
When we sell you goods, you blamed us for global warming,
When we buy oil, you called that exploitation and genocide.

When we were lost in chaos and rampage, you wanted rule s of laws for us.
When we uphold law and order against violence, you called that violation of human rights.

When we were silent, you said you want us to have free speech.
When we were silent no more, you say we were brainwashed.

Why do you hate us so much? We asked. “No”. You answered, “we don’t hate you”.
We don’t hate you either Bud, do you understand us?? “of course we do”, you said, “We have CNN, BBC, and CBC”.

But why, we still feel, your western people are not happy with us.

What do you really want from us??

My friend, What do you really want from us??

10 thoughts on “What do you want from us?

  1. Nothing like being put in a no-win situation. Thanks for publishing this, Helen. It stings to see us through the eyes of others.

  2. This is a wonderful piece. It really sends a message that all Americans should think about, long and hard.

  3. Have I mentioned before hypocrisy makes me ill. I’d be so much happier if my country would clean it’s own house before setting up the critique.

    As long as so many are dependent on China (and we are), I’m afraid you can’t win with us, but I think that’s where much of the problem is, too.

  4. There are a lot of excellent points in that article about China’s development and her increasing role in the world and the world’s response to this, and the irony in those points is loud and clear. However, there’s a part in there where the point-counterpoint structure becomes a trick that ultimately fails to cover up what China is currently actually criticized for–notice it doesn’t say anywhere “when we tried democracy…” or “when we tried autonomy for Tibet…” Those are the issues at hand, and none of the rest addresses them.

    However, my main point is that the whole idea of “we” and “you” is wrong. The situation in Tibet and the other human rights issues are not the Chinese people’s fault. People are not morally responsible for everything their country does–for things that their government does, or even for things that a large number of their compatriots do. They’re only responsible for what they themselves do. Therefore Chinese people should not feel personally attacked when someone speaks about Tibet, unless they themselves support the official Chinese policy there, and similarly–I disagree with Stephanie here–Americans or other Westerners do not as individuals lose the right to have an opinion about China just because our own countries are far from perfect. (In fact, the people who are concerned about Tibet might well be the same ones who are concerned about Iraq and America’s role there.) Talking about hypocrisy in these cases seems to assume collective guilt, which is not a concept with a particularly pretty track record. If I suggest Chinese people shouldn’t drive cars while I drive everywhere, that’s hypocrisy; if I say China should move toward a more democratic government and should change its repressive policy toward Tibet, it’s not, I think, even if my own government does things that I also disagree with.

    To see the dangers of this “you have no right to criticize” argument, look at Mugabe: he eliminated any semblance of freedom of press or assembly, gave the land taken from white farmers to his own cronies, did nothing to help the poor but caused a previously prosperous economy to collapse, creating famine and massive migration to neighboring countries, and then started murdering political opponents and destroying the houses of people who voted against him to displace them. If anyone from a Western country, indeed any white person, pointed any of this out, he screamed about the old colonial powers and how they had no right to criticize anyone. If any of his African neighbors criticized him, he claimed they were beholden to the old colonial powers. Surely these are not valid moral arguments.

  5. I completely agree with Anikó.

    I have to add, though, that I think the position of some Western leaders IS hypocritical, because they are responsible for human rights abuses and global warming as well. I’d also like to suggest that one reason they can get away with the hypocrisy more easily is simple racism. The ‘yellow peril’ label alluded to early in the piece was a shameful characterization of China in the 19th and early 20th Century, but the racism behind it hasn’t disappeared.

  6. I found out many American friends think they are the only correct, knowledgeable humnan right inteprete for UN HUmany right “clause”. Granted China has many issues, but are we really know the details? Many people barely know where China is but as long as you use Human right as a Motiviator, they agree with you on anything negative about China.