Does China Have a “Victim Mindset”?

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Some interesting points from commenter Munir Ming:

Most Chinese, please note here I’m not saying all Chinese, want to hold a successful Olympics. They both personally and collectively think this is a huge opportunity to show the world that China has finally recovered from some two hundred years of national humiliation. You may criticize this victim mindset, but this is just the reality of today’s China. ….That’s why the Olympics are so important to them. Hosting a successful Olympics will help them finally turn a page in their mind, gain self-confidence and thus pave the way for a long-delayed intellectual reconciliation between China and the West. Both economically and politically, no one knows where the most populous country in the world will eventually land. But one thing is for sure: helping the Chinese overcome their victim mindset and gain self-confidence is surely going to help them evolve in the right direction. Everyone knows the world needs a politically stable and economically prosperous China, which recognizes fair play on the world stage and honors human rights at home. Trust me, this is a China all of us want. In a bigger picture, how the West reacts to China hosting the Olympics also have an impact on how the Chinese think they can achieve a peaceful rise and gradually fit back into the international community.

I think that’s spot on and is exactly why anyone who cares about China and its relations with the rest of the world probably thinks it would be a good thing if the Olympics were to go ahead successfully and allow China’s to dispense with that “victim mindset.” But it is exactly the fierceness of the Chinese reaction to the criticism that has taken people outside China aback and made them wonder whether the country really is ready to “fit back in the international community,” honor fair play, human rights etc And ignoring idiotic, deliberately provocative insults (think: goons and thugs) is definitely one step in the right direction.
No one on France demonstrated outside KFC or whatever when the U.S. Congress did the Freedom Fries thing and commentators on TV in American were joking about “cheese eating surrender monkeys,” which is pretty damn offensive, especially if you happen to like cheese.

But, as Munir Ming (great handle: are you Malaysian?) continues (I have cut a good deal; you can see the entire comment on the Poetry and Prosaic Advice post below), that enormous weight of Chinese expectations about the Games and what they symbolize for China makes this the worst possible time to try and exert pressure by embarrassing Beijing ahead of the Games.

…those concerns about China’s human rights are legitimate and justified, but this is not the right time to over blow it into serious confrontation. …… to highlight these problems in the run up to the Olympics is inappropriate. It’s like on your daughter’s graduation ceremony, one of your friends tries to point out the fact that she is actually three months pregnant and doesn’t know who is the baby’s father.

Great analogy! Unfortunately though, there are a whole bunch of people who are absolutely determined to use this moment to bring their concerns about Tibet, Darfur, human rights etc etc to the attention of the world. They see this as their only opportunity to exert pressure on Beijing and not only will laugh and point and catcall at your daughter, they’ll claim to have impregnated her themselves if it gets people to take notice.

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