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If We're Going to Learn About China,
Let's First Meet Some Real People


There is no question that China is in the news today, incessantly, it seems. Every day, each portion of the Western media contains reports about something to do with China - the economy, the currency, relations with the US, trade figures, pollution, progress.

But in the Western media, almost exclusively in the US and Canada (with a bit from the UK), we seem to have instinctively negative reporting. Some of that can be discounted as emanating from the Right-Wing US media (and most of the US media is strongly Right-Wing, reflecting the makeup of the country as a whole).

But much of the reporting (and the comments posted by readers) is simply uninformed, possibly made with good intentions, believing their comments or opinions or observations to be accurate and true. Unfortunately, most often they are not true, but consist of misstatements or fabrications repeated from elsewhere, remnant imaginings from the Cold War era, misguided opinions based on questionable 'facts', and sometimes, sadly, reflecting simple bigotry and racism. To say nothing of the many published articles that are deliberately factually wrong.

It is said that if you repeat a lie five times, most people will believe it. I agree with that statement, and write this in hope that some truths will be strong enough to counter many of those repeated lies.

This section has been created, not for the bigots or racists, and not for the incurably Right-Wing extremists who need an enemy to make their lives whole. Instead, this section is for thinking people whose minds are still open and who will welcome the truth if they can recognise it as such.

Is is so easy for us to demonise a people we don't know, to criticse things we don't understand, to condemn practices or traditions that are different from our own. It is easy for us to mock unfamiliar customs, to believe that our way of doing things - whether government, childcare, saving and spending, marriages and funerals, or even parking cars - is the best way and the only 'right' way.

In this section, I want to present some facts. Facts related to real people and real lives, to try to show the Chinese people not as presented in the Western media, but as they really are. It is my belief and my hope that if we can know these people as they are, much of the suspicion and hostility will disappear. And even more, perhaps we will be less ready to believe the rubbish that is so often reported in the papers.

To begin, it seems to me that many of us have no true picture of China or its people, but only conceptions consisting of scattered fragments of information gleaned from a wide variety of sources, information which may have been accurate at one time but perhaps is now long out of date.

So we will begin by trying to dispel a few of these notions.

  • People

  • We imagine Chinese people are like this:
  • People

  • But They are really like this:
  • Couples

  • We imagine Chinese Couples are like this:
  • Couples

  • But They are really like this:
  • Cities

  • We imagine Chinese cities are like this:
  • Cities

  • But They are really like this:
  • Factories

  • We imagine Chinese factories are like this:
  • Factories

  • But They are really like this:
  • Railway Stations

  • We imagine China's railway stations are like this:
  • Railway Stations

  • But They are really like this:
  • Automobiles

  • We imagine China's Automobiles are like this:
  • Automobiles

  • But They are really like this:
  • City Trains

  • We imagine China's city trains are like this:
  • City Trains

  • But They are really like this:
  • China's Taxis

  • We imagine China's taxis are like this:
  • China's Taxis

  • But They are really like this:


    Having taken a brief look at the way things in China are now, or how they have changed, let's turn to the people. I want to introduce you to some real, normal, everyday variety Chinese people - those who go about their lives and daily activities just as you do.

    There has been no favorable selection here. I've included some of the poor, but none of the rich. These are just plain folks. I have two pages of photos for you to see. You don't have to look at all of them, but try to examine at least the first bit.

    And then I want to ask a favor of you. After you've seen those photos, and read the comments under them, I would like you to come back here and ask yourself a question. Do these people really seem to you to be the product of some brutal, god-forsaken commie dictatorship, to be living in a place with no rights, no 'freedoms', no hope?

    Do they seem to be stifled, unhappy, miserable, the product of enforced 'slave labor', living their lives under oppression and fear? Or do they seem to be normal people, just like you? You don't have to tell me the answer, but maybe the next time you read some really bigoted nonsense in your newspaper you will think twice about believing everything you read. That will be enough.

    Here are the links to the two pages of Real People:

    For Page One, Click here
    For Page Two, Click here