Recently I noticed that my growing disgust at the political system here in China is starting to affect my enthusiam for studying the language. I like to watch news and current affairs programs, read newspaper and articles on the internet. Unfortunately no-one escapes this terrible oppressive mind control system of the ruling regime here in China. What they call “news” here is nothing else than a propaganda outlet for the communist party. Since the outbreak of the unrest in the Arab world the stranglehold on the internet and the media in general has become even worse.
There are also aspects in the Chinese society that I don’t like. Where I live I see so many examples of selfishness, egoism and a general lack of consideration for others. Countless examples of heroism and sacrifice for others on TV are nothing else than propaganda in my view.
I guess it is easier to learn a language when you truly love a country and its people.
very interesting information about China for me. I agree, it would have a negative effect for me if I would learn a language and don’t like its native speakers.
Maybe you should learn with resources from Taiwan.
Unfortunately you don’t like China!
I have always thought that is was important to like some aspect of the culture of a language in order to really want to learn that language. With Chinese, there is a lot to choose from and a lot to like. I do not live in China and I am not Chinese. It is entirely up to the Chinese to choose how they organize their society, and of course it is up to others to like or not, to live there or not.
I find Chinese history and literature fascinating, and enjoy the food. I find Chinese people friendly and easy to talk to. I very much enjoy visiting China and have done so off and on for over 40 years, under different political and social climates, and have always enjoyed the experience.
Chinese people have certain national characteristics and prejudices, which can be annoying to some, but that is probably true of most national groups. The political system in China is not one that I would want for my own country, but they have different issues, and it is up to them to decide their own affairs.
I am not against discussing politics or religion, as I have said before. However, I would prefer not to see this forum become a place where members simply condemn specific countries, religions or people. We can still discuss the values or principles of different systems or ideologies, with criticizing a specific country and people in this way. I think that
of stereotypical comments like " selfishness, egoism and a general lack of consideration for others" are quite subjective, and I am sure the same kind of behaviour can be found in other societies.
I find that it is easy to develop a negative attitude towards any group based on generalities or a recent negative experience, and then the next person we meet from that group completely erases these negative stereotypes.
I meant “without criticizing a specific country and people in this way.”
Every country has good and bad people. Every countries’ people include egoists. Every countries’ media picks and chooses stories according to an agenda. Perhaps if you look objectively into how Germany resembles China, you would not feel such dislike for China.
Not only in the Chinese society, but also in other country’s, there so many examples. But there are also good examples. Don’t feel paranoid too much. It is necessary not to decide to say, “For example…, that is why I don’t like this country.”
Does Germany indeed somehow resemble China (I know little of the second).
Sorry I wrote my comment without reading others’ comments. While writing mine, they have already written them.
I don’t find it necessary to like the country because, chances are, I like the people. Or at least some of them.
I’m no wild fan of the Chinese government or modern culture either, but I have some Chinese friends who are great and interesting to talk to. I’m sure that if I learned Chinese, I’d meet even more people that I like.
I hope that makes sense.
I think that to love or not a country and its language is the choice of learners. Because any country has fine things (history, culture and etc., modern habit) worthy of respect and interest. There may be are negative points, but why focus of them?
I know that my initial comment may sound as a generalized statement even though it is not intended to be one. The sentiment I described is one that has been developing over a longer time and I am sure that if I were only visiting as opposed to living here I would think differently. It is easy to be forgiving if one does not have to live here and endure the censorship regime here.
@Hape, you see that’s the problem. Many sites outside China with interesting content are blocked, including Steve’s blog, YouTube etc. The only way to acces them is through a VPN which is painfully slow and sometimes does not work at all.
@Steve, you referred to Chinese literature. What kind of books did you read in Chinese? I assume you meant paper books. How fast could/can you read Chinese literature? I am asking because I still find it too tough to read anything beyond newspaper articles because of the obvious difficulty the Chinese character pose.
When you talk about any national group and say that they are selfish or whatever, that is a generalization. I can assure that I know Chinese people who are very selfish, and others who are selfless and generous. I think the same can be said of Canadians and Germans.
There are aspects of how China is run that I don’t like, but I don’t live there. We had a discussion a while ago about home schooling, which is illegal in Germany. I find it amazing that people in Germany can be fined and even sent to jail for home schooling their children. You defended that policy. I am not German, not for me to decide.
I have read novels of the thirties, Lao She, Lu Xun, and others. I have books of short stories. I read these after about 6 months of studying Chinese. If I were not doing so much Russian and other languages, I would now read these online, probably bring them into LingQ and have an even easier time. I would also look for audio books of these novels.
I might add that when I hear recent immigrants from China to Canada talking about bringing Chinese values into Canada, or any other immigrant group wanting to promote their values in Canada, under the slogan of multiculturalism, I am strongly opposed. Because there we are talking about my own country, and there I have a voice.
"I might add that when I hear recent immigrants from China to Canada talking about bringing Chinese values into Canada, or any other immigrant group wanting to promote their values in Canada, under the slogan of multiculturalism, I am strongly opposed. Because there we are talking about my own country, and there I have a voice. "
- Imagine if a westerner were to go to China to promote his values- Both other westerners and the Chinese and everybody would find that extremely arrogant and laughable- why should it be different the other way round?
" There are aspects of how China is run that I don’t like, but I don’t live there. We had a discussion a while ago about home schooling, which is illegal in Germany. I find it amazing that people in Germany can be fined and even sent to jail for home schooling their children. You defended that policy. I am not German, not for me to decide. "
- Interesting, but I think it’s useful - usually homeschooling results, even in the off chance you do get a semi decent education, will leave you socially stunted. Here in Ukraine it’s legal (I’ve checked just now) but it’s almost unheard of.
I agree with Steve that, ultimately, it’s up to the Chinese to decide what sort of government and society they want to have. China has been around for a long time, and I don’t have much knowledge of Chinese history and culture, so I’m not inclined to start telling Chinese people what they should or shouldn’t do. Personally, I have no doubt that a free press is preferable to a censored press, but ultimately it’s up to the Chinese people to push for that if it is something that they want.
But, as a foreign resident in China, it would be difficult to not develop opinions about the society you’re living in. If your values are deeply at odds with something in your host society, there would be an inevitable amount of discomfort and stress resulting from that. I’ve been interested in moving to China in the past, but have been put off by the censorship and authoritarian government there – not my cup of tea.
A lot of people go through a phase where they start to dislike the society they’re living in. I went through that in Japan, but I kept living here, and I made it through that phase and became very fond of the country again. I suppose it’s best to leave before you get to that phase, or to stick it out and hope that you can overcome it. If you stayed another couple years in China you might learn to accept/overcome the things you don’t like and develop a more positive outlook on the people and culture there. Then again, maybe not:-)
With respect to language learning, I’ve no doubt that a positive attitude towards the people who speak that language is very beneficial. I’m not entirely sure that it’s necessary though, if you have some sort of other powerful motivator.
I was very careful with my wording, I said “I see” a lot of egoism here and that is a fact. I have been witnessing so many car accidents here (don’t get me started on the traffic here) and most people tend to just rush by. In one case my taxi driver just drove on even though it happened in front of his very eyes. I could give you many more of these examples.
I also have good Chinese friends here, all of them are lovely people and the above observations don’t affect my relationship with these people at all.
Being abroad teaches you a lot about your country of origin. When I was in Germany I thought our political system is outdated and messy, now I have really come to value it. We often don’t appreciate certain benefits until we find ourselves deprived of them.
Friedemann, I am sure you have good Chinese friends, and on your better days find a lot to like in China and your Chinese experience, otherwise your Chinese would not be as good, and it is good, despite your constant self-flagellation.
Yuriy, given that home education is unheard of in the Ukraine, based on what do you draw the conclusion that "- usually homeschooling results, even in the off chance you do get a semi decent education, will leave you socially stunted. "
In Canada there are about 1% of kids that are homeschooled, more out west here than in Eastern Canada. In the US the numbers are much higher. The homeschoolers come under the Provincial Minister of Education in Canada, and they do better on average than kids at regular school and have a range of social activities with their peers and with kids of other ages.
None of what you say seems to be true here, so I am curious to know what you base your comments on.