PERSONAL NOTE: I decided to share my book with my friends and students in mainland China because the book is not available in mainland China. So enjoy each chapter and share it with your friends. Steve, usa, November 30, 2018 Stephenehling@hotmail.com blog – https://getting2knowyou-china.com
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As a “guest” in China, nothing could deter me from watching CCTV News (it was changed from China Central Television to CGTN or China Global Television Network in early 2017), or reading China Daily or People’s Daily, English edition, to understand the information put out by the Chinese government, or simply more “bullshit” in the eyes of many Chinese students. Sadly, to me, that might explain why most students are indifferent to and know very little of what is happening inside modern China, at times unable to engage in any intelligent conversations with me, privately, on the current economic, political or social issues confronting China today.
Many Chinese college students could recite Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech. They know the American Dream at their fingertips. But I wonder how many could share their understanding of President Xi’s China Dream? “Too sensitive for us students to be actively involved in the affairs of the nation,” many students would echo this sentiment and thinking. Students’ business should be about education. Leave the politics and the economy to the government. This is China. But they are glued, many seriously addicted, to their computers and cell-phones to pursue their own individualistic interests—like most of the youth in the modern world.
With the Internet in China, I was privileged to access some of the top ten newspapers in the world, which would include The Economist, The Guardian, The New York Times (now banned in China), Time magazine and BBC World News. I have to assume because of many years of communication between England and China, both The Economist (originally British) and BBC World News have incredible access to and outstanding reporting on many aspects of the Chinese nation and people with integrity and objectivity by the best international journalists today. I am addicted to their good writing, like opium to some people. Whether in China or back home in USA, I must watch CGTN news and read both The Economist and BBC World News and China Daily and People’s Daily. This has become a part of my intellectual diet. And at home in America, I must watch CGTN news each night before I go to bed. Of course back home in America, I always watch daily TV news and coverage from DW.com (Germany), RT.com (Russia), NHK.com (Japan), besides the 3 major news network in America (ABC, CBS and NBC). And now with Jack Ma running the show, SCMP (the South China Morning Post) in Hong Kong is one of the best sources of reporting about mainland China…he wants his newly acquired newspapers to tell it like it is. About China and the world. In an ironic way, both the mass media in Taiwan and Hong Kong have the freedom to say what they want to say, write, show and publish, without fear of censor or reprisal from the government in mainland China.
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Above all, I trust PBS TV station the most. The Public Broadcasting Service is an independently operated non-profit organization and “is the most prominent provider of government-funded educational television programming to public television stations in the United States.” It is also the “most-trusted national institution in the
United States”. It is a commercial-free station and therefore it is able to show everything from A to Z, inclusive and comprehensible, to meet the needs of the vast, attentive, and supportive audiences, here in USA and in Canada, just across the border from us. News and documentaries about China—historical and contemporary—continue to fascinate and educate me about China. And a lot about the British royal family!
China continues to inspire and enthrall me, first as an authentic Chinese myself, but now as a citizen of the world. I have decided, after having been granted a ten-year Chinese tourist multi-entry visa (2016-2026), to live some months in mainland China, and other months in America. Seattle is directly across the Pacific Ocean to Beijing. That would be ideal for me. I will return to China again and again, to learn, study, observe and digest about life and events in China because the world is hungry for news and personal enlightenment on this once mysterious country. A country that continues to baffle and mystify many curious on-lookers and by-standers, new and old China-watchers, and especially about the much anticipated active role of China in the family of nations. President Trump is willingly abandoning the world stage to allow China the opportunity to rise to the top! Living part time in China and part time in USA would allow me access to watch the ups and downs in their relationship, like any typical couple in this stressful modern world. China prefers to talk about peaceful negotiations while the West, which includes USA, England, France and Germany, prefer to drop bombs, as if this is the only viable way to solve international tensions or internal unrest in many countries of the world today. To fully understand China’s stance vis-à-vis the rest of the world, one has to understand China’s faithful adherence to the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, essentially one of non-interference in the internal affairs of all other nations in the world.
Japan is now also shouting loudly for military upgrade—memory of Japan’s atrocities in the 1940s is still very much alive in the minds of many people in the world—and involvement in the affairs of the world much to the dismay of neighboring Asian countries. The world wants to know what China is doing to calm the rising fears of many industrialized nations vis-à-vis the untested, undisciplined, and youthful leader of North Korea, China’s immediate neighbor, or the unbridled expansion of China’s economic and military power. Exploiting or developing the small islands in the South China Seas is not necessarily the right strategic move—in the eyes of the world—by China. China, because of its non-interference foreign policies, does not want to mess
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with the affairs of other nations—like the belligerent North Korea, and so they desire for others to leave them alone to pursue the betterment of its own people, and the achievement of economic prosperity inside China first, and later around the world. This is China.
Many contemporary Americans like many of my Taiwanese friends are equally ignorant of what is happening inside the walls of modern China. In fact during one summer break in USA, my Taiwanese friends had scolded and admonished me for being “why are you so stupid to teach in China. It is a bad country. You should stop going there”. And my simple from-my-heart response to some of them: “Say nothing to me about China until you have the chance, like me, to live and work in China.” Sadly, many have not lived or worked in or visited mainland China. They are as ignorant as many of my American friends. Still, they continue to spread the gospel of “evil communists”, blissfully unaware modern China looks like and behaves like another America, not the China of Chairman Mao. Modern China is technologically and economically progressive and aggressive, now predicted to overtake USA as the new superpower within the next decade, if not sooner. China has become more capitalistic than America, according to some world economists, despite China’s claim to pursue “socialism with Chinese characteristics” in a new era with President Xi on the “Chinese throne”. Will the world kowtow to President Xi like what the rulers did to China’s powerful ancient emperors?
Remember it is not too long ago everything was MADE IN JAPAN, replaced in the 90s with MADE IN CHINA? Once it was THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING. Then THE JAPANESE ARE COMING. Now it is THE CHINESE ARE COMING. President Bill Clinton fought tirelessly for the inclusion of China in the World Trade Organization since the 1990s because, in his thinking, China “was one of the fastest growing markets for US goods and services”. China joined the World Trade Organization December 11, 2001…and no matter what one thinks of the ups and downs of the Chinese stock market, China will continue to assert its influence around the world in the decades to come. Recently, Ben Bernanke, once a two-term powerful Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, is quoted as saying the Chinese economy has nothing to do with the China’s stock market or vice versa—the truth is less than 10 percent of Chinese are long-term stock investors. This is China.
This is an exciting time to be alive. To watch world history in the making. The world outside looks very different when you live and work in China. Zhong Guo or the Middle Kingdom is once again at the center of the world stage, demanding no less but our admiration, appreciation and envy as it continues to spread its economic and cultural dominance and influence around the globe, partially reflected in the new 2013
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Belt and Road Initiative by President Xi Jinping, a win-win economic strategy for everyone in the world. This is China, the new China of President Xi.
And I am proud to be a Chinese. Because my ancestors came from China.