Chinawatch: Understand this country and you lose the fear
Many Australians believe that China is a threat to our way of life. Once you have lived here you find this to be most unlikely.
In this China Watch article I hope to describe the Chinese people’s love of community, friends and especially family. In so doing, I will give three reasons to dispel the fears of those Australians.
Family is most important to the Chinese people. I never understood the Cantonese insult “Puc Gai”, roughly translated as “fall down in the street” or “die in the street”, until I attended my father in law’s passing and the following funeral.
Once diagnosed as terminally ill, he was returned home and for two weeks and we watched him slowly wind down and finally pass at home in the living room surrounded by family and friends. He was then dressed in robes and for three days we attended with prayers and song in his home. As he was 89 years old at his passing, the songs were of a happy nature to celebrate such a full life. On the last night, most of his village were there drinking tea and discussing his memories. I, his eldest son and his son’s friends slept in the lounge room that night to keep him company before his funeral.
This was a very honorable death for such a man and it became clear to me that dying in the street or away from home was a great tragedy for a Chinese person. Family is first for most Chinese and to disgrace yourself or to be convicted of a crime not related to helping your family reflects on, not just your immediate parents but to the ancestors that came before them.
Every day when I return home from work I see grandmothers and grandfathers in charge of the new born and small children whilst the mothers and fathers are at work. These grandparents do a great job in raising the children and it is rare to see a Chinese child throw a tantrum. I believe this is because these grandparents did their apprenticeship in child raising, watching their parents raise their children.
Family brings strength to China and although we should never confuse state with people, the leaders of China have family that they must respect and appease. Causing young men and women to die in the street is not a road to this respect.
Next to family in importance are Chinese classmates. In school, students are educated to live a harmonious lifestyle as all Chinese are asked to live in society. In a recent class I mentioned to some of my students that USA troops were being placed in Australia and asked for their opinion on this. One student, Ginger wrote this letter to me after the class.
“My name is Ginger. I am a 13 year old female grade four middle school student from Zhongshan Guangdong China.
World peace is today the most precious wealth. A great saying from the hall of the people I have always remembered in heart is, ‘Peace and harmony are what the people of the world yearn for!” Isn’t this true? In my school my classmates get along, we don’t want disputes or fights because the final result of fighting is not happiness and friendships and our education will suffer.
No one loves war! Of course, China also doesn’t like war. We never forget that war brought us harm. What we hate most is war! For the sake of peace and freedom we have paid a lot of blood. These costs should not be met again for the sake of war. It is impossible for China to make war against Australia!
Maybe Australians still don’t believe this because you don’t understand the Chinese. Once Australians truly understand China I believe this rumor would collapse of itself.
Finally community ranks in importance. I live in the Special Economic region of Zhongshan which in 2012; foreign investment included 225 projects totaling ¥74 billion. The Zhongshan government has set up an overseas industrial park and will attend the next ASEAN summit so more foreign companies have exposure to Zhongshan focusing on lighting, hardware, IT, equipment manufacture, ship building and medicine.
Zhongshan was the first economic zone to invite migrant workers to join the CCCP. A major leap forward in Chinese politics as it gives this lowest echelon of worker a voice amongst what is typically recognized as being the totalitarian regime of the Chinese government. Who knows, if we continue our work in a positive manner one day expat foreigners will be ask to join as members of this government body.
Last April 13th, promoted in social media, Zhuyuen primary school students performed a concert raising ¥500,000 in charity for a cancer sufferer and the son of a migrant worker. This very poor family had already spent ¥100,000. Zhongshan is a community as is the rest of China. Foreign Expats and Chinese work with the Zhongshan Volunteer Association for the Disabled and a recent dinner raised ¥88,000 enough to support 35 families of Disabled people for a year.
In China the age pension has just been introduced for the first time in it’s 5000 year history, sure, as a the small amount of ¥600 /month but with a population of 1.3 billion even that amount has to be costly on a whole.
All of this goes towards creating a harmonious society where all can live in peace both locally and internationally. As Ginger said in her letter once you understand Chinese people better you will be free from the fear you have of China. I have lived here now for nearly six years and have come to find the people and the members of the government I have met to be only interested in living in peace.
Only working together we can gain wealth, a harmonious lifestyle and happiness. China seems to be doing all it can to achieve this. I would like to see Australia and the USA do more in the achievement of this goal.
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