Who is right? Who is wrong?

Who is Right,Who is Wrong?

I am a Chinese student studying journalism in the United States. The two countries differ significantly in many ways, including political system, education system, religious believes an more. These result in different thinking styles, the way people do things, which we call “culture” overall.

Being bred and grown in China, Chinese people have the culture planted in their blood vessels. However, people within a group think very differently too. It all depends on the specific environment in which we have grown up and our different personalities.

Working at Radio Free Asia made me think more about the culture differences. When I was using social media renren.com(like the Face Book in America) to connect with young people in China, I encountered things that were not pleasant, as expected.

I look at people’s web pages to decide whom I was going to ask for interview. I tried to look for people with different views. A person’s profile attracted my attention. He used the communist flag, red background with the hammer and sickle, as his personal picture. Since he was so outspoken of his position, I thought it would be great to get his point of view which may stand for a group’s.

I sent a message to this person named “Progressive Club,” and asked if he was willing to be interviewed. He replied later, cursing me, using bad words, calling me “the traitor of China with the American imperialists.  ” I posted his reply on my page, and wrote, “I don’t have to reply, but I want everyone to see it.” Later on in the afternoon, a friend online sent me a link, saying, “Woo, you are famous.” I did not expect anything good. As expected, the Progressive Club posted a long essay on a website called “(fight) the western slaves.”  He said a lot of bad things about Radio Free Asia, and about me as well. I have to say, most of the things he said were not true. I was not surprised that someone would do that, but I think it’s good for me to take this chance to explain who I am, what I am doing and why I am doing this.
my response won a lot of support and respect, even though some people were still against me. The ideology differences are caused mainly by these aspects:

First of all, the differences between Chinese and America political system. Robert Reich, a  Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley commented on his post, China: Capitalism Doesn’t Require Democracy “The communist party is the only party there is. China doesn’t have freedom of speech or freedom of the press. It doesn’t tolerate dissent. Authorities can arrest and imprison people who threaten stability, as the party defines it. Any group that dares to protest is treated brutally. There are no civil liberties, no labor unions, no centers of political power outside the communist party….. China is a capitalist economy with an authoritarian government.”

Secondly, the differences of the education in the two countries. Affected by their political system, to some degrees, education is designed to serve the country’s political ideology. Since the Chinese government does not value freedom of speech, people’s religious believes (all Party members must acclaim to be atheists), they try hard to kill critical thinking skills students can develop in schools. Traditionally, teachers’ roles were to teach, and students were to learn – no criticism involved. Students who criticize will not be accepted culturally, under most circumstances. Further more, the country emphasizes the studying of science more than liberal arts – they want people with abilities to promote economic development rather than political reform — which make sense in this situation.

Fortunately, an increase number of Chinese people start to criticize the society, the education system, the traditional thinking patterns and the way people have always been conducting without thinking. Some may go extreme, which is not a good thing, while some still sticking to another extreme – every thing the government does must be right, and whoever criticizes are against the country.

The Student Code of China listed this as the number one doctrine: Love the country, love the people and love the Communist Party (translated). Through school education, many people were made believe that if you do not agree with the government, you do not love China. However, the fact has proved otherwise. Some times love comes from criticism. A spoiled child will not do much good for the world.

In America, the situation is totally different. The text books by no means can say, if you love America, you love the Republicans/Democrats/ U.S Federal Government. I know it sounds like a joke, but the comparison makes people know the situation in China.

The first day I worked for RFA, I watched the video instruction of using social media. The speaker has warned the audience that personal attack was not a surprise. I was prepared. It was somewhat disturbing though. Actually, this is quite normal for journalism. Whenever I read news on line, people attack journalists and each other. In china, because of the Great Fire Wall, many information is blocked, as Ma Jian wrote in his/her article, China’s Internet Dictatorship, “Eleven years after its initial connection to the World Wide Web (WWW), China’s access to the Internet is still guarded by firewalls, embedded in its proxy servers, which have proven to be more practical and impenetrable than the Berlin Wall.” But overall, the Internet is a good thing. Now Chinese citizens are closer to the truth than ever. It brings the world together, and may finally overturn the dictatorship, gain freedom of speech, of religious beliefs, like what just happened in Libya.


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