Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Chinese poem on Western bias: "What do you really want from us?"

A poem originally written in Chinese and called "What do you really want from us" has recently been making the rounds on the internet, both in Chinese and in its English translation, and it has caused much debate. Although its autorship has not been confirmed, it is rumoured to have been written by a retired Chinese professor of physics in an American university.

The poem is directed at Westerners and complains about the double standards they employ when they view China. Although I don't think all the points raised in the poem make sense, I feel at least some of them really hit home. It certainly gives voice to the general feeling among many Chinese that Westerners are basically biased towards them and unwilling to accept China becoming a great power which is able to compete with them on its own terms. Here is the poem itself, in both English and Chinese:

The Poem (in English)

What Do You Really Want from Us?

When we were the Sick Man of Asia, we were called The Yellow Peril.
When we are billed to be the next Superpower, we are called The Threat.

When we closed our doors, you smuggled drugs to open markets.
When we embrace Free Trade, You blame us for taking away your jobs.

When we were falling apart, You marched in your troops and wanted your fair share.
When we tried to put the broken pieces back together again, Free Tibet you screamed, It Was an Invasion!

When tried Communism, you hated us for being Communist.
When we embrace Capitalism, you hate us for being Capitalist.

When we have a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet.
When we tried limiting our numbers, you said we abused human rights.

When we were poor, you thought we were dogs.
When we loan you cash, you blame us for your national debts.

When we build our industries, you call us Polluters.
When we you goods, you blame us for global warming.

When we buy oil, you call it exploitation and genocide.
When you go to war for oil, you call it liberation.

When we were lost in chaos and rampage, you demanded rules of law.
When we uphold law and order against violence, you call it violating human rights.

When we were silent, you said you wanted us to have free speech.
When we are silent no more, you say we are brainwashed-xenophobes.

“Why do you hate us so much”we asked.
“No,” you answered, “we don't hate you.”

We don't hate you either, But, do you understand us?
“Of course we do, ”you said, “We have AFP, CNN and BBC's.”

What do you really want from us?
Think hard first, then answer. Because you only get so many chances.

Enough is Enough, Enough Hypocrisy for This One World.
We want One World, One Dream, and Peace on Earth.

This Big Blue Earth is Big Enough for all of Us.

The Poem (in Chinese)







  我们要整合破碎的山河,你说我们“入侵”…… 叫喊“给西藏自由”。


















  “当然了解”,你说。“我们消息多的是,有 AFP、CNN、还有BBC……”


  回答之前,请仔细的想一想…… 因为你的机会不是无限的。



  这个宽广、辽阔的蓝地球, 容得下你们,容得下我们。


Lariko Melnik said...

What are the multiple question marks in the 5th and 6th lines near the end? I think maybe it's a mistake in the transcription.

Ji Xiang said...

I have got rid of them now.

FOARP said...

Yawn. This was a product of the 2008 anti-CNN campaign, and wasn't any good then either. Likewise, my colleagues at Foxconn were passing around that German/Chinese comparison sheet back in early 2006.

Ji Xiang said...

Ok FOARP, so what? I never claimed I was the first person to report either on this poem or on the German/Chinese comparison sheet.

It is just that both of them only came to my attention recently, and I am sure many other people have still never seen them.

Rain_Drops said...

I feel sad and angry every time I read about the opium wars :)

Anonymous said...

Actually, I domt know if China has been badly criticized for the one child policy,only for forced sterilization.

I personally think the one child policy is great, at least it was...

Sorry to say this, but poor people should not have more than one kid if that kid is going to be poorer because there are five mouthes to feed.

Ji Xiang said...

China has been badly criticized for the one-child policy itself, not just for extreme cases of forced abortion or sterilization which usually take place in remote areas.

I favour some sort of policy to discourage people from having lots of children, but local officials who implement it in brutal ways need to be reigned in.