"Grandma in China Fighting Property Developers Reportedly Buried Alive"; "North Korea Wants to Nuke US, So Why is China Lending a Hand?" To say that China is a misunderstood country would be a bit of an understatement. Media outlets in countries around the world paint a picture of "the Wild East" that is often misinformed or just plain inaccurate. Many of these misconceptions could be cleared up simply by living or working for an extended period of time in China itself. Since this isn’t possible for most people, I’ve put together a list of some of the more common mistakes that I feel the Western media makes about China and its people.
1) There is no Christianity in China
It’s true that Christianity in China is a sort of "modified" Christianity. However, many people in the West don’t think that Christianity exists at all here. Others believe that, if it does, its followers are a persecuted minority who are shunned by their fellow citizens. While this may have been true at one point in history, the facts are that Christianity in China is growing faster than at any other point in the country’s history. Mike Falkenstine, author of The Chinese Puzzle, is an expert in this area and points out that Chinese universities are increasingly adding Christian studies to their curriculum, while Bibles are handed out with government approval.
There are limits, however, to how much the population is taught. Church services taught in Chinese are open to everyone, but those taught in English are restricted to people owning foreign passports. This is because services performed for the Chinese leave out the whole Jesus thing, instead focusing on the less controversial "Love thy neighbor as thyself" idea. So while Christianity is still inhibited here, there are plenty of practicing Christians who are proud of their faith.
2) China’s government acts as a single, non-debated entity
While it’s true that China is communist and, therefore, effectively a one party government, there are actually quite a few provincial and city-level political bodies that have a limited measure of governing power. These local politicians, like those in the West, are in a constant competition with each other to satisfy the residents of their respective districts, leading to the slow but steady bettering of the common civilian’s life. Even members of the Communist party don’t always agree with each other, especially on the issue of how much personal freedom should be allowed. There is certainly a lot of room for improvement, and there will always be controversy as long as China continues to do things such as restrict internet freedom, but the Western media certainly exaggerates in many instances.
3) All Chinese women are oppressed
This is one misconception I admit I struggled with when first moving here. My image of the quiet, obedient Chinese housewife was one that had been implanted in me from movies and books from an early age. Moving to Shanghai, however, quickly corrected that image! While China is unquestionably male dominated (as are most other countries and cultures) and there are still many places here, especially in the countryside, where women are seen as second class citizens, China is on its way towards recognizing females as equals. Shanghainese women, especially, are certainly not wallflowers. I’ve witnessed plenty of times when Shanghainese women have the men running around like scared children (a funny, but also kind of scary scene).
There’s even a town in Yunnan Province that’s entirely female dominated – the men, if they displease the women, run the risk of being kicked out of their homes without a cent to their names. So while gender rights have a long way to go here, China's women are not quite the docile creatures the Western media makes them out to be.
4) China’s government is the same as it was 50 years ago
When Deng Xiaoping reformed the Communist regime 30 years ago, there was a huge change in both policy and attitude in China. As the years have progressed, China has not only accepted but actively embraced both foreign and local entrepreneurs. Capitalism, while not the governmental basis of China, has come to play a major role in the country and its development. The current president continues to uphold this trend, making China a vastly different country – both politically and economically – than it was 50 years ago.
5) China is still living in the dark ages
While many residents still living in China's rural areas are very poor and without basic necessities, there is an increasing number flocking to the cities, where wages are higher and quality of life is better. While many people still farm, it’s much more likely now that their children or grandchildren are getting proper schooling, which will allow them to become professionals in the big cities. It’s estimated that by the year 2050, 50% of Chinese residents will live in major metropolitan areas.
Just take a look around you – see all those construction sites and scaffolding? That’s just one visible sign of this country’s huge and rapid growth. As the cities continue booming, and the children of farmers send home more and more money, this developing nation will certainly lose it’s "dark ages" reputation sooner rather than later.
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How can you say that there is Christianity for the Chinese when they leave out the whole "Jesus thing". All this article shows is that you have no idea what you are writing about. It is like teaching Buddhism but leaving out the whole Buddha thing.
Oct 28, 2017 12:48 Report Abuse
Every single one of these so-called misconceptions are absolutely true. The author comes off as completely clueless. Let's go through them to find out why. 1. No Christianity in China. If they leave out the whole "Jesus thing" then how can that possibly be called Christianity seeing as how it is based on and takes its very name from Jesus Christ? You really didn't think this one through did you? 2. Yes China acts like a single entity...the big guy at the top runs the show and everything is rubber stamped on its way down. "Limited governing power" is really no real governing power at all is it? You must have really have to stretch for this one, didn't you? 3. China is still very much a man's place...as even you admitted. Shanghai is a special case as it is quite Westernized in many regards. It certainly can't be used as any measuring stick for the rest of China. 4. No it's still pretty much the same. Just because capitalism is no longer seen as bad and just because there is a lot of flashy tech here...doesn't mean the same old attitudes mostly prevail. There is still limited upward mobility, still limited political freedom, still limited movement...I could go on but I think you get the point. 5. Yes it is still living in the Dark Ages. It may be moving (as you claim) toward a more enlightened era but it hasn't got there yet. And just because 50% or more of China's population will be living in a city means nothing in terms of improving civilization. That is absolutely irrelevant
Nov 06, 2017 20:45 Report Abuse
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