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August 04, 2008

Comments

Kevin Donovan

The article you reference was really great and got me wondering if we can really understand each other better through tech: http://blurringborders.com/2008/07/26/is-discussion-possible/

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One of the points that you might want to consider is whether Westerners might be looking at this from the wrong perspective. It is easy for Westerners to assume that they have the "right" perspective, and that the students in China are viewing matters in the wrong way and that they are nationalistic and full of hatred.

But what if this assumption is wrong? What if the West is viewing China with hatred and contempt (and thus China's responses only seems like hatred and nationalism)? What if the students in China are the only ones who understand the Tiananmen Square protests in historical context? Those protests are protests of patriotism, and they are but a blip in a long tradition of anti-government protests in China, dating back to the 19th century, motivated by student disgust with the systematic problems of government. The West treats them as though those are protests about democracy only -- they are -- but they are also protests against a weak China that cannot allow its people's voices to be heard. The West's limited understanding of what Tiananmen really meant (and means) is problematic.

The students in China are very aware of the limitations of their own perspective, and they try hard to understand the West. Because they live surrounded by censorship, they question every assumption and challenge every opinion until they have viewed the issue from all perspectives.

In the West, in contrast, perspective is limited. The belief that the West is always right means that Westerners rarely have to question the assumptions that underlie their opinions and beliefs. The most effective form of propaganda is that which does not present itself as such. Much of the West labors under the illusion that they see the whole truth, rather than a slice of it, and that distorted through a sinophobic lens.

One thing that would help everyone, the West and the Chinese alike, is a willingness to empathize with the perspectives of the other side. In this endeavor, the Chinese are ahead. The West may want to try a little more empathy and really listen to what the people of China, especially these angry students, are saying. Dismissing their views outright, as is the West's wont, betrays both the West's own ideals and the promises of a democratic world.

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Of cource the gyms here refer to the ones with bad air circulation. These gyms are filled with waste gases breathes out by people and toxins excreted from the bodies of others. The waste gases and toxins are easily taken in by our bodies when we are doing exercise. If so, going to the gym only means destroying our health.

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One of the points that you might want to consider is whether Westerners might be looking at this from the wrong perspective.

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