The China Blind Spot
How people in the West think of and talk to China has a major blind spot
Whenever there is a discussion on China, my instincts are to be suspicious of them; a testament to my Western education. But lately, I have been thinking of how it is more than just that. The backlash entertainers and athletes face at home for “giving in” to China makes one wonder what this is really all about.
Let us take the most recent John Cena apology for calling Taiwan a country. Let us remove all emotions from this and look at it this way: While very few countries have full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, in many ways it is treated like a full country. It is not a country, but it’s also not “not a country”. It is understandable to mistakenly call it one. What do you do when you’re in someone’s home and you unintentionally offend a cultural norm for them? You quickly apologize and fix it.
It’s really not that complicated. “Oh, no shoes in the house? I’m so sorry, let me remove mine real quick!” How hard is that?
Unless, you feel that you have a right over the house. Maybe you bought the furniture. Or built the second floor? Now it feels like the host should be so grateful to you that your minor mistakes should be overlooked. They don’t mean anything to you, after all. It’s not like you’re purposely trying to dirty the house. You’re just not thinking about whatever “thing” they’re into.
Back to China and Taiwan. There is the usual old world history filled with wars and conquests. Then came colonization and the trading of countries like Pokemon cards. It is no wonder some think they are the arbiters of what is a country and what is not.
China and Taiwan can figure it out. If the US government chooses to take a position and recognize Taiwan to agitate China or any other reason they have, then that is an entirely different story. I think those making the “Taiwan Is A Country” battlefield cry are unable to see that it isn’t China being belligerent and trying to humiliate Western companies and celebrities. But you’re making it personal when it’s not even about you.
Maybe just apologize and not get involved in other people’s business, until you really are ready to interfere.
It’s called respect.