Thoughts on China

An example of traditional Chinese architecture.

An example of traditional Chinese architecture.

China is a country I honestly have a mixed opinion of. There’s things about China I like, and parts I don’t like. A little like Japan, except more problems.

What I seem to like

China has a rich culture, and there’s nothing I can’t like about it’s aesthetic appeal, which fills itself with grandeur.

Lions at a Chinese New Year celebration

It was through China (along with the Korean peninsula) that Buddhism and other Indian ideas came to Japan, mainly through Chinese translations of Buddhist texts. Thus, in a way, creating Japanese Buddhism as we know it.

The land of China is a beautiful one as well, almost as though its man-made beauty is deliberately complimentary of its natural beauty. That beauty seeps into their art and their collection of mythological monsters. Also the cuisine is good, a culinary extension of that beauty.

Also, in ancient China, much like Japan, war has never looked so good.

What I don’t like

On the other hand…

…this.

China’s economy may have free markets these days, but the Communist party still runs a dictatorship that puts away anyone of their citizens who criticizes them, bans any TV show it feels like, and has control over what people see on the Internet. Through 1966-1976, under Mao Zedong’s direction, China set out to enforce communism upon the land and its people, and pretty much purged capitalism and old traditions, cultures, and religion, effectively betraying their own culture, even the Mandate of Heaven. The Mandate of Heaven was a Chinese traditional concept in which rulership is legitimized by conduct, and if a ruler become unjust and despotic, you can overthrow him. With that gone, the right of tyrannicide had been lost.

Qin Shi Huang, a tyrant of the Orient.

Another problem I have with China is its general preference for social order/harmony over individual rights and freedom. I’m sure it all started with the First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who unified China under his rule. Sure, he did a lot, creating the Terracota Army and the Great Wall of China, but it was at the expense of a lot of people’s lives. And he ordered the burning of many books criticizing his rule. That should merit his status as a tyrant enough. But it’s in part because of what he’s done that China seems to value such collectivity. Kinda sad, though, that a nice country starts out under tyranny.

To conclude…

I like China as a land, a culture of beauty, and the place that brought Buddhism to Japan, but not as a nation. I like China is a land of beauty, not as a nation of collective oppression.

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