A reaction to ideological pressure

By Liu Shinan (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-04-02 20:40

In the angry protests sweeping across cyberspace against certain Western media outlets' distortion of the facts in the Lhasa riots, Chinese netizens repeatedly posted a slogan that had been forgotten in China for nearly 30 years: "Down with imperialism!"

The reappearance of the ideological slogan merits some thought.

Ever since China began the drive to reform and open up, the country had shelved ideological disputes with Western countries. And in the past three decades, the public seemed to have forgotten the old political slogan. All they cared about was the country's economic development. They were more interested in whether their home appliances were up-to-date than in the question of whether socialism or capitalism was more ideologically correct.

After working hard for 30 years, the Chinese people have succeeded in turning their national economy into the fourth largest in the world. Despite all the grievances and complaints they had against the emergence of social injustice, widening rich-poor disparity, polluted environment and low government efficiency, the Chinese people treasured their greatly improved livelihood, whether they were ethic Han in an eastern coastal province, or a Mongolian of the northern grasslands, or a Tibetan on the western plateau.

They hoped their living standards could further improve as China's economy continued to grow. They did not want the progress to be interrupted. They wanted the country to remain stable. And in the process of globalization, the Chinese people thought they could get along very well with the international community even though most had different social systems.

However, they now find that they had been too naive to think that way. Some people in the West seem not too pleased with anything to do with the People's Republic of China. They always try to find fault with goods from China; they raise various issues to boycott the Beijing Olympic Games; they ignore the facts to denounce the Chinese government's move to stop violence in Lhasa.

They forget that the former Tibetan local government, as represented by the Dalai clique, was an extremely cruel regime that would gouge the eyes out of slaves, or skin them to make human-skin handicrafts. Yet the Western politicians regard the Dalai Lama and his followers as fighters for democracy.

They forget that the rioters in Lhasa beat and killed innocent people, set fire to houses, looted shops, and that unarmed policemen tried to stop the violence. But some Western politicians insist that the Chinese government had used armed forces to suppress "peaceful protesters".

Why was this denial of facts? Why the barefaced lies? Chinese people do not understand why some Western politicians are always so hard on China. The Chinese people are puzzled and angered.

A Western columnist (and a former politician) provides an answer. In an issue of The Sunday Times, Michael Portillo wrote an article titled "Tibet: the West can use the Olympics as a weapon against Beijing." The article parallels China with Nazi Germany at the time of the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936 and takes delight in talking about a boycott of the Beijing Games.

Is not this the best proof of Western ideological discrimination against the Chinese nation?

The reappearance of the slogan "Down with imperialism" may not be the main concern of most Chinese people today, but it is a reaction to Western ideological pressure that has never waned.

E-mail: liushinan@chinadaily.com.cn

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