过去因为参加一个关于中国的集体博客之故，我被列入了一个关于“中国视点”的海外学人邮件组。最近大家在讨论，如何系统地反击海外媒体中对于中国的污蔑，甚至说要像犹太人那样，成立一个反辱华的组织。我建议不要这样，因为一个组织，如果定位是“what we are against", 而非"what we are about"， 是很难有多大成效的。
You are absolutely right in saying that there is a lot of competition going on between the two countries. And I probably need to take a step back by saying that there is indeed a lot of bias in the US media.
But compared to the injustices that happen in China, this is nothing to worry about. China's biggest enemy is herself.
You think that US media shows the worst in China, but I see even worse things in the Chinese blogsphere. Who in a good conscience would think that US media bias is a big issue when back home in China, there are systematic biases against people from other provinces in Beijing and Shanghai, or when people feel it is fine to discriminate against those without "City citizenship"？
I am sure that the US wants to have an upper hand in its competition with China, but we should not deny that it is doing a fairly good job treating its own citizens, not without some struggles that had led to the status today. What is China doing? Bringing billions of dollars of orders every time a leader visits a foreign country, while relying on donations for people needing urgent help back home? What do all such image-building and face-saving amount to when little is done to curb social injustices within, when most resort to "it will take generations" as an excuse for inaction? The world will never respect a country that doesn't treat its own citizens right, no matter how hard you fight with their smearing and bias.
Why don't we all do a soul searching ourselves? Why do we live and work in the US? Are we learning anything? What are we doing with what we have learned? Just participating in the American discourse about what media says, and why it is right and wrong?
At the end of Qing Dynasty, Wei Yuan wrote that he was interested in "师夷之长技以制夷" (Learning from the strengths of foreign powers so that we can win in competitions against them). I find that to be a more humble and practical approach for responsible citizens, though I'd caution about the winning part. Maybe we can just live with each other without winning or losing. I just hope that we all learn the strengths and advantages of Americans and share these with Chinese so that China can emerge as a better (not just "stronger") country. By learning from its western peers in science and technology China has emerged as an economic power. Now the focus should move to those "softer" issues, which in the cold war years we simply dismissed as ideological differences, things like justice, education, citizenship, community involvement etc. China is still lacking in many of such areas.
When I say "what is good" about American education, I am not saying on the level of how good Harvard is. I am seeing the underlying strength of America in its educational system, though it is also riddled with problems which Americans are debating and deliberating all the time. We all have something to learn from each other, don't we? While America is figuring us out, the things we are doing right, why don't we try to learn from them?
These may not interest you, but I am immensely interested in sharing how an average elementary school in the US cultivate responsible citizenship, how an average college in America encourages its graduates to go out and change the world, how Obama is allocating resources for community colleges when in China the resources are allocated mainly for the Chinese Harvards and Yales, and how the Internet can be used by the government for better government communication, while it is so restricted in China that its biggest growth is in entertainment. Building inner strength and equipping people with the right tools and resources will lift up a nation.
If Obama is saying America needs to have a sense of crisis in education, and folks like Bob Compton kept sounding the wake-up call for America with documentaries such as 2 Million Minutes, why do we think we should be complacent and say China is fine and harmonious (by the way it is it is as harmonious as a volcano) that those who say bad things about us need to be removed, hushed, or confronted?
Thanks for all your feedback. I believe we all want to see China as a better country, but we differ in our perception of how China is doing, and the approaches we take to contribute our share in China's development and a better relationship between the two countries. I just wish you the best of luck with your future effort!