Welcome to China

Wow, there are less than 10 days left before the Olympics starts in my home country! I am getting excited, and plan to watch it on TV here. I think I will take one or two days off just to see the opening and closing ceremonies.

I have been living outside of China pretty much since summer of 1995. I’ve also made trips to Europe and Mexico, and will definitely go back to Europe in the future. I’ve been back to China a few times during this time and will visit more often, for both personal and hopefully, business reasons.

My view toward China and the United States has changed quite a bit over the years. This sounds like a cliche but it is true: there is a lot of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and conjecture on both sides of the Pacific. Pundits and mainstream media on both sides are not helping things.

Jeremy Zawodny, a smart and nice guy from his web appearance, since I’ve never met him in person, asked a question a little over a year ago: Should I go to China? Below is my response:

Oh yeah, I think you definitely should go without any hesitation whatsoever.

Yes, censorship, along with many many other issues (poverty, income inequality, environmental problems, heavy-handed government measures, to name just a few), is a problem that needs to be addressed. But at the same time, I think most Americans would be surprised at the energy, diversity of ideas, and personal freedom that average people enjoy that was not imaginable even 10 years ago.

Mainstream media in the US gives grossly misleading reports about the rest of the world. China, with all its problems and challenges, is definitely moving to the right direction, in my humble opinion. Go and see for yourself and make your own judgment, and let’s be friends with understanding and mutual respect.

Yes, democracy, freedom, non-censorship, and all that will come, but only on China’s own terms. And yes, Yahoo, MSN, Google, should be engaged in China, for the good of everybody involved.

This is from a freedom and democracy loving Chinese living in Chicago area. Draw whatever conclusion as you like. After all, you asked for it 🙂 And, if you have time, swing by my village in Shandong province, not too far from where Confucius was born and grown up, I will have my 97 year old grandma fix you some nice pork dish and noodles 🙂

Unfortunately, my grandma wouldn’t be able to greet anybody now, she died in May. She was born around 1909, 2 years before the Qing dynasty collapsed and the first republic was established in 1911. In her life time, she experienced many wars and turmoil: the first world war; resistance against Japanese invasion; the second world war; the civil war; the establishment of the People’s Republic; the many disastrous social engineering experiments conducted by Mao, chief among them is the Cultural Revolution; and the opening up since 1978 with general stability, with the 1989 crackdown as a glaring exception. In a way, her life experience symbolizes the Chinese experience in the last century or so: war and turmoil, with the exception of the last 30 years or so, which happens to be the time when China started opening up.

Anyway, I cannot speak for anybody else, but just like the comments I left on Jeremy’s blog, I’d like to extend my personal welcome to all athletes, spectators, and tourists: welcome to my country. Let’s hope this event will bring everybody closer with better understanding!

Here is a nicely done music video from the Beijing Olympic Committee: Welcome to Beijing!


2 responses to “Welcome to China”

  1. Haidong, which channel are you going to watch? Too bad CCTV 4 is not allowed to broadcast the Olympics, and my 小耳朵 is useless.

  2. Good question Xujun. I assumed that NBC will broadcast live of the opening and closing ceremonies, I better check on that one.

    We have basic cable, so I think I will watch it on NBC and CNBC. I believe NBC will have nightly highlights from 8 to 11? commercials and all, but I am afraid I don’t have other choices. I don’t even have CCTV 4.

    I don’t even have a 小耳朵. The wife has suggested that we probably can watch it live on the web. If you find better ways/sources of watching the game, let me know!

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