Toughts, news and small talk mainly concerning China from a berlin perspective

3/22/2005

Zedong's children seek their fortune


I'm sometimes puzzled how western journalists who seem to feel the urgent need to write something about china still mix up the easiest things; names are the most common example. Is it so hard to notice that Chinese put the family name first, like everybody knows it from Mao Zedong? Will Hutton of The Guardian Unlimited has a problem with history in his article "Mao's children seek their fortune":


After the sack of Nanjing in 1841, then imperial capital of China, the British secured what the Chinese still call the unequal treaty; Britain won control of Hong Kong and the right to trade freely in opium; the Chinese got nothing. And it was at Nanjing in 1937 that the Chinese were again and more bloodily humiliated by foreigners. The Japanese murdered an estimated 300,000 civilians and soldiers in an atrocity whose calculated, indifferent cruelty rivalled a Nazi death camp, but to which the world has been curiously indifferent.

Unfortunately capital of China in 1841 was Beijing and that already for some time. If the most simple historical facts aren't accurate I wonder how far I can trust his analyses (article is about the challenges Chinese economy is facing)?


Footnote:

Mentioning the Nanjing-Massacre and the Nazis leads me to the history of John Rabe (aka "the good man of Nanjing") a Nazi who along with some twenty other foreigners rescued many Chinese when the Japanese attacked Nanjing in 1937. He is an example of how paradox and absurd history and humans can be sometimes. Been committed to an inhuman and criminal regime on the one side and opposing inhuman and criminal acts on the other side doesn't go along with normal black and white schemata of good and evil. Perhaps he is an example of how patriotism can make people blind towards their own nations crimes.

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