This article forms part of a series of articles and responses originating with (2019-20) Comment Editor Charlie Titmuss’ article “Companies in China”.
It was a great experience that my previous article was published on Felix without any discrimination, so I would like to express my gratefulness to Felix at the beginning of this second response. In addition, I will also apologise for my emotional language in the previous paragraph if that negatively affected any of you reading the article. I hope it was not an insult to anyone, and as Mr. Titmuss “respectfully” pointed out in his response, I was in overwhelming rage.
Last week when I was first replied by Mr. Henry Alman who is the Felix editor, I started to understand how press in the UK works. I appreciate that it provides a platform where students can express their genuine opinion. However, it is quite different from press in China as I feel there is no censorship at all. Therefore, I wrote down some of my opinions from a Chinese perspective and sent to Mr. Alman in one of the email, and the contents were as follows:
Felix should take some responsibility to check whether the content published is objective, truthful, and respectful to the communities involved
If someone wants to use the British way to judge other countries, not only China, it is much more appropriate to consult that community if that is acceptable
The request about an apology made by Felix was never mentioned again as I respect that Felix takes an absolutely neutral and objective position, and I would like to thank Mr. Alman for spending his time letting me know about Felix’s position. However, I insist that Mr. Titmuss should apologise for this.
This article aims to respond to Mr. Titmuss’s second article, which responded to my first article. As this starts to become a debate, I would like to first briefly summarise some key points what Mr. Titmuss argued in his second article to help both the audience and myself to understand what is going on.
My previous article is an “insult to logic” because I relied on overwhelming personal outrage
Mr. Titmuss made “reasonable points” in his second article
I cited “Youtube” and that can be ignored as it is not a reliable source
The Chinese government is oppressive as it does following things: - So-called “re-education camps” - Suspected selling organs from executed political prisoners - Great Firewall on the internet - Preventing people in China exercising freedom of speech - China attempts to extend censorship to other countries
I was acting on behalf of the Chinese government and aimed to please Beijing
To the first point, it is up to your audiences to judge if I was logical or not, but I believe that rage does not necessarily make someone irrational, so let see what “reasonable points” Mr. Titmuss have. Oh wait, as this is a response to my first article, did he argue back? I will list some of my arguments below:
The exercise of freedom of speech carries special duties and responsibilities for the rights or reputation of others and the protection of national security
I respect any rational and peaceful attempts made by Hong Kong people for calling for what they want, but what is happening in Hong Kong is neither rational nor peaceful
China is not oppressive as pictured by western media
Misunderstandings of westerners about China
It would be wrong, disrespectful and irresponsible if someone wants to judge China without truly knowing about China
Differences between Chinese and Western values must be recognised
Some recommendations to help readers learn about China
Above: a protest in Hong Kong at a more peaceful time, as opposed to the violent protests occurring at time of publication
It seems that Mr. Titmuss only replied the third and the seventh point, so I will start my arguments address these two.
The so-called “re-education camps,” or what ever you call it, has nothing to do with diminishing the position of minorities in Xinjiang province. Xinjiang province is located near Afghanistan, and has long been influenced by extremist Muslims and terrorism. These facilities aim to provide professional training to those who have been influenced by terrorism but haven’t reached the level of committing crimes so that these people can go back to the society, work, and earn their lives. As there is potential of terrorist activities, safety insurances in these facilities are necessary. I watched BBC’s report on these facilities on Youtube, yes, Youtube again, and many things that the journalist found astonishing are actually quite common in China such as uniforms, 10 people sharing a room (actually some Chinese universities still have facilities of similar level). If this practice is inhumane, well, probably we should learn from the UK, sending fighters to bomb the terrorists when they have activities, kill them all and possibly some civilians?
I don’t know how there could be such a ridiculous rumour about Chinese government selling organs from executed prisoners. If we use logic (which I am probably lacking according to Mr. Titmuss), the Chinese government is oppressive and has absolute control on everything, why would it care about the few organs from an executed prisoner? There are loads of ways that the government can make money, much more than selling organs, so why would Chinese government do that? Besides, Mr. Titmuss used the word “suspected.” If anyone an accuse others just because they are suspected of doing something, oh well, I don’t know what I should say. Oh wait, the UK actually did this right? The UK and the US suspected Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and bombed it completely. Did they find anything? What was that substance displayed in UNSC? Are you sure it is biochemical weapons rather than some washing powder? I was very curious about this rumour so I did some research, and what I found is that executed prisoners was a major source of organs few decades ago because by that time organ donation was extremely rare among the public be the demand was high. However, by law (this law has expired), the use of prisoners’ organs must meet the following requirements first (there is no official translation so I translated it):
No one claims the corpse
The family refuses to claim the corpse
The executed prisoner agrees to donate if either 1 or 2 is met
The executed prisoner and his/her family agree to donate
However, there were problems indeed. Corruption was a huge problem back in time and this was indeed a source of making good amount of money for some corrupted officials, but the evilness of some corrupted should not be the only information used to judge China as a whole. Now the selling of organs has become a crime and is subject to serious prosecution. No country is perfect, including China, but we are willing to resolve the problems and change practices when the situation allows.
The Great Firewall is what we Chinese call a double blade. I would say it causes problem on Chinese people sometimes. I took the IB during high school and I had to write loads of papers in English. It was quite a pain as some contents cannot be accessed from China. However, I firmly believe that the benefits brought by the wall outweighs. Outside this firewall, what I saw are medias such as the Big Bad China, or sorry, the British Broadcasting Corporation, spreading distorted facts about China. What’s more, corporations such as Facebook encourage the terrorism, hate, and separatism in China. The firewall ensures that most information we get are positive, and prevents terrorism. All Chinese people therefore have common cause, which is making China prosperous.
The firewall creates feasibility for censorship, and again, its benefits outweigh the cost. As mentioned above, inappropriate content containing separatism, terrorism, hate are automatically filtered. If not, the police can find the person and prevent any potential adverse consequences. Mr. Titmuss may argue that the CCP tries to brainwash Chinese people. Well, I think this is not a serious problem as we are brainwashed to believe that we can make our homeland better by working hard and uniting together as a country. It is better than being brainwashed by western medias to believe China is bad and we should launch a revolution to take over CCP.
About the freedom of speech, I have cited the ICCPR twice in this and the previous article. In China, behaviours like Mr. Titmuss have, spreading rumours without evidence on organ selling, will be questioned by the police and punished. Criticising the government with facts will not be punished in any ways. I wrote an article criticising the inefficiency of the urban management and law enforcement department in the city where I went to high school. I posted it on WeChat which is a Chinese version Facebook and nothing happened to me. So here I will just reemphasise to Mr. Titmuss that it is not a problem to criticise China on what you believed it has done. Show me evidence.
China has no interest to implant its influence in any other countries. About foreign companies, I had discussed it in the previous article and Mr. Titmuss made no response. About foreign governments, if they don’t know, do not want to know, or choose what they report about Hong Kong, we want them to keep mouths shut. If wearing masks in demonstration (banned in the UK) and committing vandalism is pro-democratic movements, there is certainly some problem with the legal system. It is disgusting that the UK when it colonised Hong Kong, shot locals when they launched any movement, arrest hundreds of them and beat some to death in custody, and now criticising China and the Hong Kong police officers for using arms without killing anyone while facing the brutal rioters. I suppose Mr. Titmuss has never heard of this, just as I would never heard what happened in 4th of June, 1989. Sadly Mr. Titmuss made a wrong assumption. I know about that, I know there were people killed, but they were rioters even worse than what we see in Hong Kong today. Soldiers beaten to death on street, and the rioters burned their corpses and hanged them on street lamps. You will not know about it because BBC doesn’t want to tell you.
By writing these articles, I am not on behalf of the government, but of myself only. I mentioned the difference in values between the west and China, and being loyal to the country has been a virtue for thousands of years in China. I wrote the articles to defend the reputation of China, but that has nothing to do with pleasing Beijing. That is my responsibility, even if the government does not issue that morality guideline. In addition, I want to have another message spread, which is try to learn about China from a different perspective. I have come to London for more than a month but I don’t criticise the UK because I know I don’t know enough about it. I will not easily criticise British politics until I completely understand British ways of doing things (which probably I will never achieve). I suppose Mr. Titmuss has never stayed in China for more than one month, and has never conducted any research on how Chinese people feel about the government. I recommended two sources to help you readers learn about China, including Mr. Titmuss, but he declined the Youtube one and I suppose he has never read On China. However, he does not stop publishing biased, irresponsible, insulting, and humiliating contents. That demonstrates his arrogance.
Shortly I will conclude this article that is probably “lack of logic” and “aims to please Beijing.” It will take another thousand of words if I refute Mr. Titmuss point by point. However, the most important message that I want you readers to know is starting to learn about China from another perspective. There are many Chinese students at Imperial, and they will tell you about a China that you will never know from the medias. If you don’t want to learn about China, that’s also great, but please do not criticise China unless you have substantial evidence (do not trust the media). Lastly, Mr. Titmuss, shame on you for living in a country that has England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland as constituents but being a supporter for separatism.