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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Today I visited Baigonguan and Zhazidong Prisons located in the Gele Mountain in Chongqing, where the Kuomingtang imprisoned, tortured, and massacred the Communists during WWII. On October 1, 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was established, Chongqing was still not liberated and was under the control of the Kuomingtang. Just days before the liberation of the city on November 30, 1949, the Kuomintang massacred the political prisoners held in these prisons. Included in these unfortunate souls was the youngest martyr of new China, Song Zhengzhong. He was put in prison with his parents when he was only 8 months old, and was killed with daggers along with his family 8 years later. Due to malnutrition in prison, he grew up with a large head and a small body, earning him the nickname “Little Radish Head.” His story filled me with incredible sadness, yet at the same time I felt great admiration and respect for those who sacrificed their lives for us, for China. I felt great love for my nation.

Now, I’m going to do something I don’t often do. In fact, the last time I did it was about a year ago, during the Beijing Olympics. I’m going to go on a socio-political rant. Yes, I said that I love China. I was born here, I spent part of my childhood here, and I find its history, its culture, its peoples, its natural wonders, its changes and transformations beautiful. I know that it’s easy to hate on China and blame China for a lot of the world’s problems nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, I, too, find that there are a lot of flaws with this country and it has made a lot of mistakes, both in the past and present. Mao’s foolish movements and policies, the Tiananmen Square incident, the lack of environmental awareness, censorship of the media, government corruption, the poverty gap… the list goes on. What I have a problem with is that a lot of the criticisms of China from the western media are blind condemnations without much, if any, real understanding of the history and the cultural context of this vast nation. I know that China apears in western media quite often, most of the time in a negative light, and I know a lot of people who say that they don’t like China, that they hate China. To them I ask: but do you even know the real China? Do you know its history and its traditions, do you know what kind of lives people lead here, do you know what it’s like on the other side of your highbrow western newspaper headlines? I’m not saying that my views are completely objective, but after all, I did grow up on both sides of the lens. I admit, China has a lot to learn from the west, but if you stop the lashing out for a moment and really take the time to see the truth, you will realize that perhaps the west also has a lot to learn from China. I’m not asking for much; all I ask for is that people don’t be so quick to issue judgment – without understanding.

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Perhaps you will never understand the pride that we feel, but please don’t ridicule us for your lack of understanding.

♥ China

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