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The hurt feelings of the Chinese

One of the circumlocutions that one hears regularly in China is that some event or other has “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”

It implies that somehow the Chinese nation is unified in its outlook and reaction, and prone to the same emotional reaction. We all know that this is a generalization. As time passes, Chinese are ever-more diverse in their opinions, and free to speak them.

So the circumlocution is used by anyone – often, but not always, within the government – to suggest that a preferred point of view has massive support.

This comes to mind with a story in the China Daily this morning about London Metropolitan University apparently apologizing for bestowing an honorary doctorate on the Dalai Lama in May for his role in “promoting peace globally.”

“Angered and offended by the move, Chinese students and Internet users at home and abroad called for a boycott the university, saying its conferment of honors on the Dalai Lama had hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” the China Daily story said.

Hmm. I would guess most Chinese didn’t even know about this. I sure didn’t and it’s my job to read the papers. I guess people can have their feelings hurt without even knowing what caused them to be hurt.

In fact, a quick search through Nexis with the phrase “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people” came up with 88 hits over the past three months. That’s a lot of hurt feelings. Granted, the trouble-plagued Olympic torch relay gave Chinese much to be angry about. But it seems to me that there are hurt feelings over something or other just about every week.

April 13 – A Xinhua commentary calling U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “disgusting figure” said she had conflated the Tibet issue with the Olympics and “seriously hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”

April 15 – After the U.S. House passed a resolution on Tibet, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said: "We demand those few senators respect the facts, abandon prejudice and immediately stop wrongful remarks and deeds that hurt the feelings of Chinese people and harm China-US relations."

April 16 – Chinese embassy spokesman Tian Yuzhen in Ottawa warned MPs to “refrain from doing things that hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and undermine bilateral relations.”

April 20 or so – The French retailer issues a statement denying it had links to Tibetan separatists and saying it would “never do anything to hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”

April 25 – President Hu Jintao told French envoys that disruptions in the torch relay “are not what we want to see, and have hurt the feelings of the Chinese people."

April 25 – NPC Chairman Wu Bangguo tells visiting French envoys that events during the torch relay “has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and is something we do not wish to see.”

May 24 – Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang lambasted a trip to Britain by the Dalai Lama and said it “not only interferes in China's internal affairs but also seriously hurts the feelings of the Chinese people.”

June 4 – Actress Sharon Stone, who defended the Dalai Lama while at the Cannes film festival, was disinvited to the Shanghai film festival. A spokeswoman said “she hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” 

It’s time to give this cliché a rest. Otherwise, my feelings will be hurt.


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I am not saying the Brits today are responsible for what the Brits 150 years ago did, not at all. You are not responsible and I am not asking you to feel guilty about it. However, whatever you call it, "act of vandalism" or "act of barbarism", anybody trying to justify it is just downright despicable.


@Pfeffer - Let me be quite blunt about this: I feel no responsibility whatsoever for the burning of the Yuanmingyuan, no British person I have ever met does.

So you can go on all you like about 'remembering national shame' and 'imperialists', do as you like - it won't change the mind of one British person.

Now, I think the burning of the Yuanmingyuan was an act of vandalism, an level-headed appreciation of the event reflects that.



So let me get this straight. When you cite an Asia Times article written by an Indian, it is fair journalism, while when I do the same, it is biased. I wonder why a reputed Chinese publication hires those biased lying Indians to write for it. I say we shutdown Asia Times for hurting the feelings of the Chinese people!

Passing a law threatening to invade Taiwan, and pointing missiles at it to influence its legislative process is just China being a nice neighbor. (bully? no way!)

Btw, I am not sure whether you know this. There is a long history of the CCP interfering in domestic Indian politics though financially supporting some of the communist parties. (Of course I blame those Indian communist party leaders more than I blame China. Some of them even supported China during the India-China war in 1962). Can you please ask the CCP to stop bribing Indian communist party politicians, before you ask me to stop criticizing China.

Time for me to go get a life. It was fun debating you.



That piece from Atimes was written by an Indian and I doubt how impartial and truthful it is. Indian media have been alleging that China has had numerous incursions
into Indian territories. Just a FYI, almost all the Indian writers writing from Atimes, with the exception of one are pretty biased/hostile when it comes to China. You really have to take what the Indian media churn out with regard to China with a grain of salt. Of course that is my personal opinion.

Democracy is not everything. If India loves democracy, that's great. Don't force it upon other countries, understood. Not that the Chinese don't want democracy, but it is up to the Chinese themselves not outsiders like you to decide when and how democracy should happen.

I have never claimed that most of East Asia was part of China. Mongolia was, so was much of the Russian Far East. The point is (1) China does not have border disputes with Mongolia or Russia (2) Historically China did own these territories and if they were any disputes they did not come out of thin air.

Mainland China is not threatening Taiwan with "thousands of missiles", check your facts. Even according to the ROC government there are only several hundred missiles targeting Taiwan. And what is the big deal? The US does not target China and Russia? India does not have missiles targeting Pakistan?

Again the point is both China and India could be bullies to certain countries/peoples etc, that's why we are in the same boat and you are in no position to lecture the Chinese.

Just because I am defensive it doesn't mean I speak for the Chinese government or the Chinese nation. Nobody speaks for the entire Chinese nation. And because of preachy, nagging foreigners like you many people are naturally defensive. Some of the Indians I know got very defensive when I reputed them.

And before you lecture the Chinese again, think about how much you really know about the ground reality in China. Reading several articles from the western and Indian media and perhaps a few books on China doesn't do it.



You wrote:
"Since we are in the same boat, who are you to lecture me?"

I am not the Indian govt and I don't speak for the Indian govt. On the other hand I have only heard you defend whatever China does, as if you ARE the Chinese nation.



You wrote:
"When did the Chinese claim suzerainty over Bhutan?"

Please take a look at this:

Now take a look at this from AsiaTimes:


"In recent months, Bhutan's relations with it powerful neighbors have had a twist. Chinese forces are alleged to have intruded several times into Bhutanese territory at the tri-junction with India. Over the past six months, the Chinese have increasingly made inroads in the strategically important area. The incursions into Bhutan are precariously close to India's "chicken's neck" - the vulnerable Siliguri Corridor which links the northeast passage. "

So somehow, China sends troops into Bhutan and India is the bully? The reason Bhutan signed the treaty with India is the fear of China invading. India does not oppose democracy in Bhutan, and feels free to vote against India in the UN (in spite of massive Indian aid). Tell me exactly how India forces Bhutan?

Mongolia has a democracy (however imperfect). If it were part of the Chinese empire, it would be under CCP rule. If I were Mongolian, I know what I would prefer. According to you most of east asia was part of China, so of course it has only lost territory. Who cares if the Mongolians or Tibetans or Taiwanese agree with you. According to you the CCP speaks for all chinese, right?

Taiwan is threatened by thousands of Chinese missiles, and India is the bully? Why am I even arguing with you?

There are many things that India does I don't agree with. One of them is India's relations with Burma. Just because China has strong relations with Burma's despicable regime doesn't mean that India should compete with China over influence in Burma.



If India were that great, why would there be "unequal treaties" forced upon Bhutan in the first place?? I think you are well capable of comprehending what the article says, such as the following:

"Long looked on by its smaller neighbors as a big brother or a bully, India appears to be moving toward an image makeover"

" Bhutan will not only remove an irritant in its relations with that country but it also could remove the sting from criticism of India's "hegemonistic ambitions" in the region. "

"Under the 1949 treaty, India has a significant role in Bhutan's external relations. Article 2 requires Bhutan "to be guided by the advice of India" in the conduct of its external relations, and Article 6 allows Bhutan to import "arms, ammunition, machines, warlike material or stores" for its "strength and welfare" but with India's "assistance and approval". It is believed that the new treaty will allow Bhutan to pursue a more independent foreign policy."

Guided by the advice of India?? If this is not a perfect example of a bully, what is? No matter what you say about countries like North Korea and Myanmar (which India is actively courting), China has not sought to guide their foreign policies and finalized such kind of imperialistic BS with unequal treaties.

When did the Chinese claim suzerainty over Bhutan?

Seriously, MT, stick to something you know if you don't want to make a fool out of yourself. Chinese empire building? Since the 18th century China has lost, not gained territories and a big chunk of which was lost to the Russians. Much of today's Russian Far East (maritime provinces) were Chinese territory annexed by Russia. China does not claim them today, contrary to what you believe. Outer Mongolia broke away from China on Chiang Kai-shek's watch and since becoming a stooge of the Soviets they have lost a lot of their Mongolian characteristics. Now they use Cyrillic characters instead of their indigenous Mongolian characters, which are used by the Mongolians in China. As to Taiwan, it is part of China according to both the PRC and the ROC government in Beijing and Taipei, it is an unfinished business lingering from the Chinese civil war.

Sure many countries, including your own are very wary of China. It is simply natural because it is (1) big and (2) raising. India is not well-loved by its neighbors either. The Chinese don't care much about India at all, but ask a Pakistani, a Nepalese, a Bangladeshi and a Lankan and see how they "love" India.

Since we are in the same boat, who are you to lecture me?


"Those do not learn from the past would be condemned by the future" I beleive it was a very famous statement from historian from the West, not from the East. Learning from the past is not easy because everyone has his/her own versions of history. Unless we are all true to ourself and find a commond ground for commond interests, work out differences, there would be and will be another war, and we all condemned by the future.

Tim J

For a very thoughtful discussion on the phrase "hurting the feelings of the Chinese people," may I suggest you look at the Fool's Mountain blog posting on Chinese exceptionalism. Try this link: http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/07/20/chinese-exceptionalism-%E4%B9%89%E7%90%86%E5%92%8C%E4%BA%BA%E6%83%85/


Every one: I think that average citizens of a nation expression of caring about other people probably genuine. Be serious and be honest to ourselves, for the people in power, all these talks and official statements about nations recorgizations of each others, who supports whom, who assisted whom during psat wars, they based on very carefully calculations to obtain the very best national interests, in the present and future, pure and simple. I think we should stop these garbage discussions, and start finding commond ground to advance common interests instead of doing something stupid and harming each others and carry everyone else into sewage.



So a treaty is being reworked because Bhutan is unhappy with it. I didn't see anything about India forcing anything on Bhutan or to support your original statement that: "You would think Bhutan is part of India!"

From the article you mentioned:

"Relations between India and Bhutan have been warm. Bhutan is easily India's closest friend in the neighborhood. India is Bhutan's largest donor, accounting for almost 80% of its foreign assistance, and its largest trade partner. It has contributed generously to infrastructural development in Bhutan. Besides, India provides military training to the Bhutanese forces and maintains a permanent military training presence in Bhutan.

Whether in the United Nations or in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Bhutan has stood by India. It has endorsed New Delhi's position on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South Asia, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the 1998 nuclear tests at Pokhran, and so on. And it has acted to address India's security concerns."

Now, if India wasn't around Bhutan would already have been a province of China, just like Tibet. I am not sure whether you are aware that China had claimed suzerainty over Bhutan before.

It is quite reasonable for China's neighbors to be afraid of Chinese empire building. If it were not for the Soviets Mongolia would have been under CCP rule. China even claims parts of Russian Siberia to itself. Too bad Tibet didn't have such strong supporters. Btw, which country is aiming missiles at Taiwan, and threatening war?


My previous suggested Africa solution is a genuine workable solution. Be serious, if it works, I should get a Nobel Peace Prize, and an equivalent of two million US dollars prize money.


For those people care so much about the suffering in Africa: Intead of offering all these lip services, the western powers can and should by-pass the UN, and just send a multi-national coalition force into Africa similar to what the US did to Iraq. I am sure no nations including China would challenge the all mighty western super power millitary forces. I don't think China would value getting the national resources of Africa to start a war with the west which, I am certain, has the moral highground and support of world opinion. China would only say a few words like "The West is hurting the feeling of the people of Africa" and would not even stupid enough to offer her standard dumb line of "hurt the feeling of Chinese people".
The west is de facto controlling the IOC. IOC can cancel or postpone the Beijing Olympic by issuing one sentence official statement overnight.
"Sending troop to Africa" even simpler by sending an official letter to China and the africa dictators in secret. The dictators might not even put up a symbolic one-hour resistance and just surrender by reading the ultimatum. No need to assemble any troop. As for China, she might just do a few lines of face-saving sentences, and that would stop all the suffering and blood shed. Hollywood, the press, the west, and the world would be very happy, and then IOC can restart the Beijing Olympic and everyone in the universe is happy.


Hi every one, especially those Dragon Killers: Lets face it. Those "bad guys" in Beijing know what they are doing. We have to understand those guys are not stupid, nor as bad as Hitler(as some comparing Beijing Olympic to Berlin's). In order to catch up (probably never) the West's present living standard for the Chinese, authoritarian government, not western democractic system, seems to be the fastest way to achieve that legitimate goal. The Chinese people seems to supporting that as long as the CCP can keep improve the economy. For the West to force China to 100% copy the western political system by using human rights or other issues (rightly or wrongly) will be futile, and would be perceived as the West's conspiracy to stop China' renaissance(per Mr. Lee, past PM of Singapore, "Rise" is very scarely for the West which has "ruled" the world for the last few years) because of the past experience with the West and Japan. This view is the prevailing serious opinion of numerous books and studies by the West's top academic experts(panda huggers?), policy makers and people with power. There are for sure some minority politicians want to suppress China for their national interests. The influence (good or bad?) of China is being felt in the world, and Western power will not rule supreme like used to for the past few hundred years. With global warming and other world problems which are far more important and urgent than China "Threat".
I am sure there are some unconscious and natural reaction and bias against China's CCP for being a "new kid" on the "block" challenging the West's more than a few hundred year's supremacy, but I am very sure that one day in the future, China will be a more acceptable member to the West, but will never be a 100% like Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. It will only happen when the people of China wants, not because the U.S. or the West pressure or do an "Iraq" on China.



Is that what you came up with after I pointed out how shameless you have been defending the torching of Yuanmingyuan? Lame.

I don't expect anybody to listen to me (run, FOARP, run!), but I am confident I would do better than a pathetic British apologist. To this day you have not condemned the British for torching Yuanmingyuan. All you have been doing is coming up with excuses. You are so pathetic.


Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.



PT_Cruiser, Would some Indian sources make you happy? How about Wikipedia? What source would you recommend? Btw, what exactly do you dispute in the above link?



Talking about shooting yourself in the foot. You really need to get your history from somewhere other than the Library of Congress.



Talking about shooting yourself in the foot. Here is something about Bhutan from the Library of Congress.


You really need to get your history from somewhere other than the CCP propaganda machine.



Seriously, why do you expect anyone to listen to you?



Let's call a spade a spade. I don't get it why it is so hard for you to comdemn what the British (certainly not bastards to you as you probably approve of what they did. Too bad they didn't colonize China the same way they did to India) did, savaging burning down the Yuanmingyuan. All you have been doing is trying to excuse and justify what they did. Your logic has been, just because some Chinese killed Chinese and burnt down some palaces in the past, for the British to do the same, what's the big deal?

That's just utterly disgusting.

I don't know about you British, but the Chinese do resent foreign perpertrators more than their own ones. You have a problem with it? Good that you have left. Not that "Nothing that has happened in China that was done by Chinese angers you, only the incidents which involve foreigners", not at all. It is just your shameless and pathetic way to just to justify what the British did. Yeah, you easily brushed it off as if it was nothing.

That is utterly disgusting and that, is why I have a problem with you.


If you really believe that "there is plenty of blame to go around", then what are these self-righteous, self-perceived morally superior foreigners lecturing the Chinese for? Do they even understand what "hypocrisy" means?

I wonder how willingly the people of Sikkim were to join India. The referendom could have been rigged. One can get an idea of how "wonderful" India is by looking at how India has been treating Bhutan. You would think Bhutan is part of India!



So I guess we can agree that killings by neither foreigners nor locals are acceptable.

I don't believe in enslaving the future to the past. If you look at the thread above, I think the pro-China crowd brought up history to start with, and I was just pointing out that there is plenty of blame to go around.

If we look at the present, I really don't care whether Tibet is a part of China (we could have endless arguments over history). What I care about the condition of Tibetans -- the lack of freedom of speech and religion, and the lack of a say in choosing their rulers. (I believe authoritarian rule by another ethnic group is quite a bit worse than authoritarian rule by people from your own ethnic group. The social controls which moderate behavior of the rulers are weaker when dealing with another ethnic group.)

Also, please don't compare Sikkim with Tibet. Sikkim joined India after the people approved it by a referendum. The people of Sikkim have the right to print their newspapers, practice their religion and elect their rulers.



It is sort of pointless to dwell on history. Besides this generation of Britons have nothing to do with colonialism. If you really believe in personal responsibility, how can you hold someone responsible for what their ancestors did.

Funny thing is, at least in my part of the country people have a much more positive view of Britain than the US, in spite of the US help with the independence movement and the the help fighting a couple of near famines after independence. Probably something to do with communist rule.


I should mention here that MT's attitude entails a high level of forgiveness and forbearance. Britain colonised India for more than two hundred years, and inflicted such infamous events as the Amritsar massacre on the Indian people, but I have never felt any animosity from the Indians I have come into contact with.


@Pfeffer - The salient facts being the killings of the prisoners, obviously.

Again, I am not trying to make excuses, I am pointing out that your little tirade here seems out of place, excessive, misdirected, and frankly bizarre. The Yuanmingyuan was burned in the century before last, only ten years after similar destruction had been wrought in Nanjing by the Taiping rebels - but this does not anger you. Nothing that has happened in China that was done by Chinese angers you, only the incidents which involve foreigners.


Now you are twisting what I said. It was never my intention to say it is OK for your own people/country/government to kill your people but it is not OK for foreigners to do the same. I am saying just because your own people/country/government has killed your people it doesn't mean it is OK for foreigners to come in to kill your people. Why is it so hard for you to understand? Once again, just because Indians have killed Indians it doesn't mean foreigners should come to India to kill Indians. Got it?

The problem here is not the Chinese "ignoring their own faults", it is hypocritical foreigners who have done the same standing on a moral high horse lecturing the Chinese. That's called hypocrisy. That is disgusting and pathetic.

Your analogy does not work. Tibet was incorporated into China back in the Qing dynasty and remained officially part of the Republic of China before 1949. The time Tibet has been part of China is longer than the time that Sikkim has been part of India.


I am not cursing, to me the British couple of centuries ago were just as bad as the Nazis, they were bastards. What do you call a bunch of savages invading, killing, rampaging and enslaving half of the world? Maybe you guys call them "gents" in Britain. But again I never understand the Brits.

What "salient facts"? You tell me. The fact is the British came all the way to China, went to war with China over some trade disputes? They killed, looted and burned. What more excuse do you have for these bastards?


@Pfeffer - Curse all you like if it makes you feel better, but it is not going to convince anyone. As for what your attitudes are towards people from outside China, people will read what you have written and draw their own conclusions. The murders are recorded in all major histories of the events, see The Rise of Modern China, Immanual Hsu, 1985, pg. 215 for an example.

My objection is with the way the CCP uses the burning of the Yuanmingyuan as an example of how a 'strong socialist motherland' (i.e., their rule) is necessary even today to protect China against such events. As such they distort the historical record by leaving out salient facts. Take the Taiping rebels for example: Nowadays they are celebrated as early revolutionaries in China, but people leave out the atrocities they engaged in, including the thousands of people they massacred in Nanjing - why? Because otherwise the government would not be able to use them for propaganda purposes.



About your analogy. In this case your neighbor has imprisoned a kid from the neighborhood. Then the matter becomes the community's business, won't you agree?



My point about national identity in the above post applied here as well. Many Tibetans do welcome foreign criticism of conditions in Tibet. Too bad some Chinese resent it.

I am fine with leaving history alone and discussing the present if everybody agrees to do it. What is annoying is the constant harping about how foreigners did this and that to China centuries ago, while ignoring China's own faults.

If you think that I am not critical of India you are sadly mistaken (and I see nothing wrong with foreigners including you being critical either).

Btw, the Indian govt supports the Chinese position in Tibet, and I strongly disagree with the position of the Indian govt. (Note, that the govt didn't allow any protests during the Olympic run by using draconian security measures. It also discourages any political activity by the Tibetans). The Indian govt mostly sucks up to the Chinese govt because it needs Chinese acquiescence if it ever needs a permanent seat at the security council or for the US-India nuclear deal to go through. At least in this case realpolitik works in the CCP's favor.



1. I will never understand the logic of being killed by your own people is somehow okay while being killed by a foreigner is despicable.

2. For you it seems like the Chinese national identity is above all else. Many Tibetans I am sure would consider a someone from Beijing as much of an outsider as someone from London. I am sure there are a lot of other Chinese nationals with similar view (China being a large country). Of course this more true about India I think. India is such a multicultural place (different languages, religions, customs etc.) that for many people being Indian is just one of the many identities.


Your frame of argument seems to build upon the evils of China and the ensuing reactions the Chinese react to the attacks both in the diplomatic circles and the blogosphere. Let’s focus in the blog. I have noticed that anytime any ones ventured into counter arguing the on-going fad of attacking China will certainly be labeled as being brainwashed, immature, CCP supporters, harboring a bitterness about the past,...but if one takes a step back and reflects on the arguments present by the attacking side, one can’t help but concludes that the attackers are here to demonize, to shame and to question the nationhood of the entire people-the Han, the Mongol, the Manchurian and all others that are collectively called Chinese. (Interestingly enough, no one suggested that the Han may not be one ‘pure’ race when the ongoing theme is ‘attack China’, then Mr. Tim Johnson,pray be to his wisdom, presented the achievements of ancient China, there suddenly rose the questions of the ‘purity’ of Han people. One blogger even questioned the existence of the Han) I have read blogs both here and elsewhere, when the unrest in Tibet was at its height, the pro-Tibet team quickly built a platform with the efficiency of a political machine that lays on the Han all the evils and vileness they can muster and on they go trying to convince the world and neutral observers that Han Chinese is demon personified. Some bloggers even went so far as to suggest that the Han is the personification of the evil race of Mordor as depicted in J.R.R. Tokians’ The Lord of the Rings!
It is upon this fallacy that I question you, the seemingly embodiment of the ‘bright, shining knight, defenders of righteousness’ never-do-wrong group of people. If you can name me one country throughout history that never mistreats, never invades and never occupies one another, then I will gladly follow you along and sing your praise to high heaven.

I admit it is sad to see the disenfranchisement of the Tibetan people suffer in their land. But it doesn’t add to their relief when overzealous outsiders like you to bombard, to lecture, and to accuse the Chinese of wrong doings when your own countries are not necessarily the angelic model! Isn’t it more real if the dialogues are built on the reality of Geo-politics like why it is advantageous to India to support the Tibetan cause (a fragmented China is good for Indian, right)? Instead, most of you jump on the high horse of moral superiority and start spewing out horse S___ with a sense of moral indignant and looking down on Chinese as people? Have you read any Chinese bloggers lecture others (in your case, Indian) how to behave in other people countries? When one’s own home is in disarray, one shouldn’t take on the problems of others.

About the silliness of harping on some thing that took place 150+ years ago, isn’t the conflict b/w Tibet and China took place even longer than that? So why is it not silly to bring it up?

Anyway, it’s been fun and as 'Sparkle' noted, this is way out of topic and so I shall leave it here as my 2 cents.

Oh, BTW, hypocrisy is when one’s own front yard is full of litters but the home owner has the gall to walk over to his neighbor and demands that his neighbor should trim his over-grown lawn in the back yard because it is the laws set forth in the home owner association.
How about that?



No you can't because everyone knows what happened. The so-called "murder" and "torture" of some British, other than obviously some British sources, where can I find them recorded? Any Chinese sources?

You said you were not trying to justify this heinous crime committed by the British and French bastards? Only a fool would believe that the British and the French bastards (sorry, nothing personal, they were what they were) looted and the burnt Yuanmingyuan to the ground to avenge the alleged murder of some British (what were these British doing in China by the way?). What will you say next? The British went to war with China because somehow China did something wrong first? If this is not "bandit logic", I don't know what is. And even if you believe the British bastards did that because of the alleged murders of some British, let me ask you, what business did the friggin' (excuse my French, I don't think Tim will allow anything more explicit, but you know what I wanted to say) British troops have in China? Why were they in China in the first place??

Just because some palaces were torched by some Chinese in China it does not make it right for the British to torch it. Just because you people burnt the White House (the Americans sort of deserved it though as they initiated the 1812 war) it does not mean it is OK for anybody else to burn it.

To be sure, today's British are not bastards at all but those couple of centuries ago clearly were, in my book. I actually like Rowan Atkinson a lot.


Just because Indians have killed Indians it is OK for foreigners to go to India to kill Indians? I don't know about you Indians, but the Chinese seem to resent foreign oppressors more than their own ones and I understand where they come from.


I still insist that people stay on Topic. We can kindly ask Mr Johnson to start another blog post so people can discuss the whole thing on YuanMingYuan, WWII, Tibet Taiwan and so and so...


@Daniel - I am not trying to justify it, I am just pointing out the silliness of still harping on about the Yuanmingyuan when almost 150 years have passed, and when it is hardly the only instance of a Chinese palace having been burned.



China wasn't one empire from the beginning of time. How do you think the various Chinese emperors built their empires? By fighting and killing thousands of people from other ethnicities who were less powerful than them, the most recent example being Tibet. The British were doing the very same thing a century and a half ago in China (because they were more powerful).

It is very amusing to watch the hypocrisy of complaining about what happened 150 years ago while ignoring the very same thing your own people did less than 50 years ago.


"...rather than an act of war with many similar examples in Chinese history - such as burning of the imperial palace during Zhu Di's rebellion. I guess Zhu Di (afterwards the Yongle Emperor) is also..."
Wow! FOARP, I haven't read this kind of logic present with so much righteousness and total disregard of "Reasons". The question from Pfeffer was about why and what were the British and other western powers of the 19th cen. doing in China to create all those animosities?
But you just jumped in and mixed all things together as if every body has the rights to do havoc in China because "those Chings kill themselves, too" and therefore, anybody can.
I suppose that (if you are a man and married)if you beat up your wife and therefore your neighbors can just go into your house and beat to crap every one in your households, too?


@Pfeffer - Shall I call the burning of the Yuanmingyuan 'alleged'? What I am objecting to is the way in which the burning is presented as an act of simple mindless violence, rather than an act of war with many similar examples in Chinese history - such as burning of the imperial palace during Zhu Di's rebellion. I guess Zhu Di (afterwards the Yongle Emperor) is also one of those 'bastards'.

I'm sure you also know that in the estimates of most historians (such as SCM Paine for example) put the numbers of people killed in all foreign wars fought in China between 1815 and 1895 as not exceeding ten thousand, but the numbers of those killed in internal conflicts (such as the Taiping rebellion) as exceeding ten million at least. None of this is intended to justify the burning of the Yuanmingyuan, or the launching of the Opium Wars, just to provide some perspective.

@LZ - You're a real sweet-heart. I'm sure you know that it was a prince of the hated Qing dynasty, not the people, who ordered the killings. Few outside the palace either knew or cared that the prisoners were there.



Calling those British and French bastards who invaded China, killed Chinese and burnt Yuanmingyuan is actually an understatement. Certainly not all British and French were "bastards", that never was my intention. Just like those Japanese who massacred 300,000 Chinese in Nanking were bastards, but not all Japanese.

And I suggest you stick to what you know, my Indian friend.


You got some nerves to suggest that the alleged " murder by torture of prisoners of war, as well as two British diplomats and a journalist" justified looting and burning downing Yuanmingyuan. By the way, prisoners of war you say? Why the hell was the British bastards at war with China? What the hell were they doing in China?

In Chinglish, they call it "bandit logic". Since you appear well versed in Chinese, you know what I am talking about. Shamelessness knows no bounds.


F U FOARP. If there were no opium war would people hate the British "diplomats" and "journalists" so much that they are killed? You got the nerve to talk back about Yuanmingyuan, you bastard.


@Pfeffer - I'm sure you know the Yuanmingyuan was burned in retaliation for the murder by torture of prisoners of war, as well as two British diplomats and a journalist.


About time, Tim.

I was about to send Mexican journalist in here.


Tim J

Okay, tone it down, guys. I want my daughters to be able to read this blog and some of this language is growing unacceptable.



I didn't hear you call Han Chinese bastards. They destroyed down thousands of Tibetan monasteries during the 1960s. You are so eager to excuse their crimes.



Why was Yuanmingyuan burnt to the ground? What, are you trying to excuse those bastards??

Yeah, those British and French were bastards. No question about that. Rot in hell, bastards!


Yuanmingyuan was torched by the British and French bastards in 1860, 40 years before the Boxers.


"Killing Millions of its Own People": The tragic mistake was done by CCP, or in a sense it is self-inflicted by the Chinese people. The CCP will have to answer primarily to the Chinese people, and I am sure that if the CCP continues its rule, it would eventually acknowledge its terrible mistakes. The American and the West cannot use China's self-inflected tragedies on her own people to justify their present Irag mistake, and the harm to the Iragi people.
I wonder why there were no Western or Hollywood calls for boycotts then during Great Leap Forward or Cultural Revolution in China, only when China becomes a "threat" in military and economically to the West.


Lets get the historical fact: Before WWII, China was ruled by KMT which was supported by the US during WWII, and were allies in common interest against the Japanes Empire. After WWII for whatever reasons, a civil war broke out between KMT and CCP. During the civil war, the US supported and armed KMT for a misjudgement (phobia of communitism expansion of an united front USSR and Red China, and forgot national interest would alway be secondary to ideology in any country) that would shape the history between the US and China for rest of 20th century). KTM retreated to Taiwan with US naval bases in Taiwan shortly afterward the late 50's artilary and air war, and US only recognized KMT government, not China for the fear of communism expansion, i.e. an US enemy. It was only natural for China to consider US as enemy because it supplied arms to KMT during the civil war, and still recognize KMT and the legitimate government of China. If the US stayed neutral during China's civil war, the histry would very different. The Korean and Vietnam war were started by North Korean and North Vietnamese to realize the dream of uniting their country. They, including CCP, were all nationalists first and communists second. The US again thought of communism expansion and the CCP misjudged US, the enemy, might invade(it turned out that CCP's fear was not unfounded after all because General McArthur suggested to "Nuke" and invade China during Korean War. A US Joint Chief Staff(?) also recommended to use nuclear weapond against China if China invaded Taiwan)
If a country considered another country enemy, it will become an enemy. The chance of wars will ncrease. Would the tragic histry repeat itself if West and China not careful?
YuanMingYuang happened because the Chinese Boxer Rebellion attacked West Diplomatic missions. But there were reasons for the attacks, one of which were the Western powers led by the British Empire, invaded China,(remember Opium War?)


The American people are certainly the most generous in the world, but it probably would not be an accurate decription of the US government. But there is a Chinese (cantones) saying:"Nice" guy does bad things, or person with good intention does things with terrible results just as bad as criminals. Democratic countries did, does and will do things as bad as dictators if not worse because bad judgement, miscommunitions with opposition nations, mis-guided "national interest", or simply bad judgement and decisions. For the US, certainly the Korian and vietnam war are "bad", and looks like Irag war are not "good war". All mistakes tragically are "paid" for by tens of thousand American lives and millions lives of other countries, and terrible waste of mega fortunes.
Mistakes made by demoratic governments are just as possible as authoratarian governments, but the chance may be less, and a lot less than a dictator.


To all those turn ugly on the "moral high ground" and the "righteous" West: If you cannot win a rational debates based on facts and correct logics using foul languages a clear acknowlegement of lose in debate. Expletives cannot win debates.
The Chinese government should not and need not respond everytime to any government, NGO or anyone criticism China. "hurting the feeling" is just a stupid word used in international communications. "Against our national interest" would be a better word. China should just carry out policies that suit the best if her national interest. " Moral high ground" and others are secondary. Go for both if can be done with extra price, abd the price is acceptable.

The No. 1 and only principle of decisions and policies for being a national leader would be good for the best of one's national interest. For the pure fact of the US assistance during WWII, the Chinese people and the governments should, are certainly grateful. But saying it is 100% coming out of national "kindness" would be a fantasy. FDR certainly is much better national leader that G.W. Bush. The fact that the US entered the WWII after 4 years of war before Pearl Harbour probably for two reasons(or at least 2): 1. The US could not tolerate Japanese Empire's expansion in China. It was very obvious against US national interests.
2. FDR probably would like to weaken the Japanese as long as possible by supplying material and "volunteers" to assist China before declaring war on Japan. We all know that US was forced into war with Japan after Pearl Habour.

France can certainly start a trade war on China any time she wants (tomorrow?). EU US, and any country can do it. The West with US, EU and the rest of world can certainly "united", gang up and unilaterally declare trade war on China, but no one so far has done it. It is an indication of "against the national interest" of trade war initiating country or against both party countries or the world.
Through negotiations, "threaten" and different trade actions, boycotts, WTO ruling, and "pressures" hopefully would come to solutions acceptable to both sides. Trade wars probably are the last preferable settlement. The outcomes of trade wars would never be good for any natons involed.


Something I didn't know until recently. The idea of a meritocratic permanent civil service came from China. Other countries copied it to varying degrees over time.



@Pfeffer - as one of 'those bastards', it is always surprising to see the burning of the Yuanmingyuan as an especially barberous crime without any mention of why it was done.


@Netizen - 'Anti-China' is simply the newest of the grab-bag of phrases used by commentators to imply that those who criticise China do so with the intention of causing harm.

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"China Rises" is written by Tom Lasseter, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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