SHANGHAI, China – Last week, while serious citizens in the United States were watching the Democratic National Convention unfold, I was in Shenzhen. But I was able to catch up with a few convention speeches on my iPad. The last thing I expected, however, was for the DNC to be a topic of water cooler conversation in China.
I had barely sat down with my Chinese girlfriend at a Starbucks in busy downtown Shenzhen before she asked me about Michele Obama.
The Chinese woman, who saw the First Lady’s speech on the Internet, summarized its essence as putting “family” and “faith” foremost in life. My friend can’t imagine any political leader in her country uttering such sentiments. Ordinary Chinese would be at a loss if asked what “faith” he or she professes, she added. If anything, life’s priorities in China are to work hard and earn money.
Of course, I replied that Americans, too, believe in working hard and making money, because after all that’s what pays the bills and we all need to live. Putting “family” and “faith” first is an aspirational goal. Some Americans actually do put these ideals first; others don’t.
The difference might be the American conviction that it’s important to spell out and remind one another that we are held together by common values. The values conversation gets amplified during a presidential election year.
The so-called American Dream is a grand myth. But the myth lives on in the United States, because it’s ingrained in the national ethos. Former Democratic leader Robert Strauss expressed it humorously by saying that the perfect presidential candidate is a man who was born in a log cabin that he built himself.
My Chinese friend looked puzzled when I started talking about the American Dream. I had to explain that, of course, the American Dream isn’t necessarily about becoming the President of the United States, or becoming the richest man in the country. The dream is to ensuring equal opportunity, so that everyone has a chance to succeed.
My question to her was: What’s the Chinese Dream?
Journalist James Fallows popped that question in the Atlantic Monthly a few years ago. He further articulated it in his latest book "China Airborne" and in a special report in the magazine.
It’s a great question, and it sticks in my mind.
A few months ago, a friend living in Beijing reminded me, “Junko, there is even a TV show in China called ‘Chinese Dream.’ It’s very popular. Of course, China has a Chinese Dream!”
I don't share your view that this is obvious at all!
@Bert22306, in simple terms, both the extreme left and the extreme right have a materialistic interpretation of human development. The extreme left use this to come to the conclusion that individual ownership should give way to common ownership, whereas the extreme right use this to come to the conclusion that common ownership should give way to individual ownership. It's a subtle point but a valid one nonetheless.
I repeat what I said above: political views go full circle and that is why it's surprisingly easy sometimes for people on the extreme left to switch to the extreme right, and vice-versa. The fact that both extremes start from the same philosophical point (a materialistic interpretation of human development) means they have a lot of common, yet they arrive to opposite conclusions! I believe this is the point Junko was trying to make at the end, although the use of "republican party" touched few nerves (understandably). AFAIC, political parties are broad churches with a spectrum of views and mixture of influences. It's hence hard to categorise them...
amercians need to understand, 70 years ago when japanese blowed pearl harbor, it's not because of one evil japanese emperor, or a handful of japanese top officials, it's because the general japanese public are evil.
they are like snakes, bite you while you are sleeping.
that's also how Eisenhower justified the 2 A-bomb for the japanese publics...
just a reminder...
Try keeping your political view out of the "News & Analysis" section of EETimes. It should NOT be here. If you feel that you must "share" your opinion, it should be in an EE Life blog or similar.
That last sentence was JUNK[O]! Trust me, that's the nicest thing I could say about it.
It would be nice if UBM management would tell you the same thing, but based on other information I've read on the site - I doubt it.
Indeed. From a Chinese lady:
"In my country, I can go virtually wherever and whenever I want without worrying for my own safety. In yours, you have a list of districts to avoid during daytime and it gets longer at night. Free country you said?"
Chinese culture has always been humble and peaceful. Chinese dream should be a return of that. Look at "Voyages of Zheng He" from 1405 to 1433. What Chinese huge fleet did when they arrived at Africa.
Being as aggressive as US is not what many Chinese expect if not all.
Marxism anticipated technological and economic progress to the point where the state would largely 'wither away' from irrelevance, along with the necessity for wage slavery. The USSR was '1984', while authentic Marxism will be more like the Federation. May humanity 'live long and prosper.'
To target the Marxism point more precisely:
Marxism is all about the Party, or the Government, deciding how wealth should be distributed. Marxism is about central planning of the economy, and the planners making the moral decisions concerning distribution of wealth. As opposed to any concept of "natural market forces."
How does this sound remotely Republican to anyone? It is the antithesis of Republican thinking.
The fact that Chinese individuals cannot live by this Marxist ideal is simply another example of how Marxism doesn't work IN PRACTICE. However, wealthy people who are so inclined and can afford to, or the very poor who would benefit from it, do keep that Marxist rhetoric alive.
There are plenty of similarities between Marxist thought and the Democratic Party platform from the more left-leaning elements, those now in the administration.