5 Things the Foreign Media Gets Wrong About China

5 Things the Foreign Media Gets Wrong About China
Repost Oct 28, 2017 By Andrea Scarlatelli , eChinacities.com

"Grandma in China Fighting Property Developers Reportedly Buried Alive"; "North Korea Wants to Nuke US, So Why is China Lending a Hand?" To say that China is a misunderstood country would be a bit of an understatement. Media outlets in countries around the world paint a picture of "the Wild East" that is often misinformed or just plain inaccurate. Many of these misconceptions could be cleared up simply by living or working for an extended period of time in China itself. Since this isn’t possible for most people, I’ve put together a list of some of the more common mistakes that I feel the Western media makes about China and its people.

What does the foreign media get wrong about china
Photo: Ralphrepo

1) There is no Christianity in China
It’s true that Christianity in China is a sort of "modified" Christianity. However, many people in the West don’t think that Christianity exists at all here. Others believe that, if it does, its followers are a persecuted minority who are shunned by their fellow citizens. While this may have been true at one point in history, the facts are that Christianity in China is growing faster than at any other point in the country’s history. Mike Falkenstine, author of The Chinese Puzzle, is an expert in this area and points out that Chinese universities are increasingly adding Christian studies to their curriculum, while Bibles are handed out with government approval.

There are limits, however, to how much the population is taught. Church services taught in Chinese are open to everyone, but those taught in English are restricted to people owning foreign passports. This is because services performed for the Chinese leave out the whole Jesus thing, instead focusing on the less controversial "Love thy neighbor as thyself" idea. So while Christianity is still inhibited here, there are plenty of practicing Christians who are proud of their faith.

2) China’s government acts as a single, non-debated entity
While it’s true that China is communist and, therefore, effectively a one party government, there are actually quite a few provincial and city-level political bodies that have a limited measure of governing power. These local politicians, like those in the West, are in a constant competition with each other to satisfy the residents of their respective districts, leading to the slow but steady bettering of the common civilian’s life. Even members of the Communist party don’t always agree with each other, especially on the issue of how much personal freedom should be allowed. There is certainly a lot of room for improvement, and there will always be controversy as long as China continues to do things such as restrict internet freedom, but the Western media certainly exaggerates in many instances.

3) All Chinese women are oppressed
This is one misconception I admit I struggled with when first moving here. My image of the quiet, obedient Chinese housewife was one that had been implanted in me from movies and books from an early age. Moving to Shanghai, however, quickly corrected that image! While China is unquestionably male dominated (as are most other countries and cultures) and there are still many places here, especially in the countryside, where women are seen as second class citizens, China is on its way towards recognizing females as equals. Shanghainese women, especially, are certainly not wallflowers. I’ve witnessed plenty of times when Shanghainese women have the men running around like scared children (a funny, but also kind of scary scene).

There’s even a town in Yunnan Province that’s entirely female dominated – the men, if they displease the women, run the risk of being kicked out of their homes without a cent to their names. So while gender rights have a long way to go here, China's women are not quite the docile creatures the Western media makes them out to be.

4) China’s government is the same as it was 50 years ago
When Deng Xiaoping reformed the Communist regime 30 years ago, there was a huge change in both policy and attitude in China. As the years have progressed, China has not only accepted but actively embraced both foreign and local entrepreneurs. Capitalism, while not the governmental basis of China, has come to play a major role in the country and its development. The current president continues to uphold this trend, making China a vastly different country – both politically and economically – than it was 50 years ago.

5) China is still living in the dark ages
While many residents still living in China's rural areas are very poor and without basic necessities, there is an increasing number flocking to the cities, where wages are higher and quality of life is better. While many people still farm, it’s much more likely now that their children or grandchildren are getting proper schooling, which will allow them to become professionals in the big cities. It’s estimated that by the year 2050, 50% of Chinese residents will live in major metropolitan areas.

Just take a look around you – see all those construction sites and scaffolding? That’s just one visible sign of this country’s huge and rapid growth. As the cities continue booming, and the children of farmers send home more and more money, this developing nation will certainly lose it’s "dark ages" reputation sooner rather than later.

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Keywords: China rules China etiquette

15 Comments

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1

Dracon44
comment|74493|1672656

Every single one of these so-called misconceptions are absolutely true. The author comes off as completely clueless. Let's go through them to find out why. 1. No Christianity in China. If they leave out the whole "Jesus thing" then how can that possibly be called Christianity seeing as how it is based on and takes its very name from Jesus Christ? You really didn't think this one through did you? 2. Yes China acts like a single entity...the big guy at the top runs the show and everything is rubber stamped on its way down. "Limited governing power" is really no real governing power at all is it? You must have really have to stretch for this one, didn't you? 3. China is still very much a man's place...as even you admitted. Shanghai is a special case as it is quite Westernized in many regards. It certainly can't be used as any measuring stick for the rest of China. 4. No it's still pretty much the same. Just because capitalism is no longer seen as bad and just because there is a lot of flashy tech here...doesn't mean the same old attitudes mostly prevail. There is still limited upward mobility, still limited political freedom, still limited movement...I could go on but I think you get the point. 5. Yes it is still living in the Dark Ages. It may be moving (as you claim) toward a more enlightened era but it hasn't got there yet. And just because 50% or more of China's population will be living in a city means nothing in terms of improving civilization. That is absolutely irrelevant

Nov 06, 2017 20:45 Report Abuse

2

Elizabeth_Bass
comment|74456|1698742

Really?

Oct 30, 2017 10:38 Report Abuse

3

alexglez
comment|74455|300364

commenting to get my 2 points

Oct 30, 2017 10:06 Report Abuse

4

donnie3857
comment|74454|91621

This guy was born yesterday, so give him a break. A few things are true though.

Oct 29, 2017 19:37 Report Abuse

5

mike168229
comment|74453|89706

Exactly which Western Media outlets do you get your information from? Fox News? Go stick your head back up the local party reps arse you lickspittle.

Oct 29, 2017 08:59 Report Abuse

6

Englteachted
comment|74452|263127

Propaganda BS.

Oct 28, 2017 22:59 Report Abuse

7

tomcatflyer
comment|74450|60242

How can you say that there is Christianity for the Chinese when they leave out the whole "Jesus thing". All this article shows is that you have no idea what you are writing about. It is like teaching Buddhism but leaving out the whole Buddha thing.

Oct 28, 2017 12:48 Report Abuse

8

Michael Baron
comment|21733|67341

Actually I wrote an article about the foreign media being unfair to China a while ago: (The article title is Get the Message Right and it was published by Beijing Review)
So I fully agree- Westerners fail to see the Chinese prospective and are highly subjective when it comes to appreciating life and events that take place in another culture!

Nov 13, 2011 06:08 Report Abuse

9

Dan Smith
comment|20708|21191

here is a nice steaming cup of shut the hell up....

no 9/11?

you blame the USA?

you have been drinking something or smoking something that is not even

related to common sense.

America got itself into bed with the internationalists and fiat money crowd.

China has the good sense to avoid these leeches.

But, to blame America for getting itself attacked on 9/11 when many of us

lost friends and associates to an Islamic idiot- that tears it.

Oct 17, 2011 17:02 Report Abuse

10

barry
comment|20662|19948

Your right, most people don't really understand that China has changed in the last 50 years or much about the country or people for that matter.
I think China should make themselves known to the outside world and bring down the Great Firewall of China. How is anyone able to get to know China if they stop people from talking about China. Good or Bad, it should be discussed. I love this country, people and culture and I am not even Chinese but that is why I stay.

Oct 15, 2011 22:54 Report Abuse

11

ton
comment|20626|58386

I'd like to see an article about how much Chinese media misunderstands the west. Cause it's a hell of a lot worse.

Oct 14, 2011 20:44 Report Abuse

12

Earthworm
comment|17018|54306

Well done Cyberia... you just totally missed the point! 恭喜您!

Jun 15, 2011 17:39 Report Abuse

13

Just J
comment|20618|63387

Wow, as a fellow New Yorker, you really don't sound like you are from New York... Maybe you should try visiting there some time, or visit some of the countryside of New York. There is much more to the USA than "crime ridden streets" in the big cities... Just something that Chinese media gets wrong about the USA. Of course, neither America nor China are perfect, so we just have to live with being where we are in the world, and make the best of it by being a good representative of our respective countries.

Oct 14, 2011 16:59 Report Abuse

14

xerxes
comment|17255|54806

i saw it in nantong jiangsu at 8 pm, when an old woman grocerer dropped or hit some fruit basket and the basket fall down, her husband picked up a stone and throw at her as i witness with my eyes.. luckily i was nearly missed with the stone. i watched this until the fight ended. but that man did beat his old wife on the road at night. it was really harsh i still for sorry for the old lady.
another one the same city but a different place. i was eating dinner in a resturanut suddenly me and my friend heard loud noise near the shop. the husband near the shop beat her wife on the foot path. but the woman also return many punches and kicks even some stones as well. but woman got some bruises on her face, little bit blood as well........

i am the eye witness of this and it happened in 2009 summers or after that as far as i can remember them.

Jun 22, 2011 08:53 Report Abuse

15

BaoanGuy
comment|21495|66588

Chinese women take pride in being feminine. What a relief.

Nov 05, 2011 20:57 Report Abuse