It was not the first time I heard about this opinion. Last month, Mark Kitto, an English who once fought on the frontline of free speech and political freedom in China for more than ten years, wrote an article titled you’ll never be Chinese, before he left/ fled out of the country:
“A China that leads the world will not offer the chance to be Chinese, because it is impossible to become Chinese. Nor is the Chinese Communist Party entirely averse to condoning slavery.”
Kitto then carries on explaining the anti-foreign-government sentiment cultivated by the communist government, the corruption in its own legal system, the booming nationalism and hyper-egoism that prevents a foreign people to really have a life and career in the country.
As a Chinese expert, Kitto has some great insights into the Chinese society. But I would suggest that there are ways by which you, my reader, wherever you are from, can be a Chinese.
Apart from wearing fake glasses and drinking boiled water, you need some basic lessons in life. The most important one is to feel insecure, always.
To be a Chinese you had to learn to feel insecure before you started to feel anything at all.
The hospital in which you were born just gave dozens of people HIV because the facilities were never properly disinfected.
The kindergarten you went to just had a scandal of a care-worker abusing a toddler. You better watch out after school because ax-wielding men were killing school kids.
Going back home safely but you might still be fed by melamine-tainted milk that would guarantee you some kidney stone. What is even better? No body would pay your medical bill, because you were not yet employed.
So you needed to get employed before you could develop a kidney stone. To get employed, you need to get a degree, to get a degree, you need to go to a college.
For the coming ten years you decided to let the notorious college entrance exam ruin your life. To compete with 10 million others for limited position in 39 top universities in the country, you gave up a social life, you gave up entertaining, you even gave up sleeping.
But you were perseverant and hardworking. When your competitors were busy jumping out of their building, being arrested for cheating, or being sent to mental facilities, you survived and entered a top university.
Canned in one room with five to six others, you enjoyed the “collective life” highly valued in Chinese society. At the same time you were still worried about your kidney stone because most graduates would not find a job. Even if they did, the 300-500 USD monthly salary could hardly support your living.
So you went back to your parents, dig from their savings for the rainy days. You were worried, you prayed to the good heaven that they would not fall ill, because there was no effective pension scheme and more likely, you would have to support both of them, because you were the only child.
But that does not matter, they will die very soon. You think. Your life was the key. So you spend every penny of their money to secure an apartment 20 miles away from your work place.
Then you would spend the rest of your life paying mortgage, your medical bills, your parents medical bills, and when you have a baby, you have to pay its medical bill, because it might have just got two extra of boobs from some hormone-tainted milk. Or it could die from fake vaccines.
Only after you have learned to feel insecure, can you be a Chinese.
Then you will be able to sit calmly watch a women stepping on a kitty under her heels while having your breakfast because you have seen people being trampled to death.
You can quickly scan a headline saying that 47 people have just been killed by a collapsed bridge, and move on smoothly to celebrity news, because things like that happen all the time and they interest you no more than the topless photo of Kate Middleton.
You care little about politics because there is nothing for you to care about. And if you ask too many questions or speak too loud, you will be locked up.
That’s how to be a Chinese.
- “You’ll never be Chinese” by Mark Kitto (chinadailymail.com)
- Foreigners in China Must Learn the Rules of the Road (businessweek.com)
- China: For Many Expats, It’s Not Worth It (businessweek.com)
- Why Mark Kitto is leaving China (ampontan.wordpress.com)
- How to be a Chinese (rvampie.com)