They argued that it is only natural for one to be loyal to the family, even if the family is not perfect. Furthermore, just as its members’ interests are closely tied to the family flourishing, one’s own fate will be definitely affected by the nation’s development. This kind of loyalty to one’s country constitutes what Fong (2004) refers to as ‘filial nationalism’ found among Chinese young people. – Fengshu Liu
Chinese Student Activism
The highly educated youth of China display a strong form of nationalism which will hinder the integration of the Asian region in 2014. The nearly 24 million students currently in higher education programs in China and the many more recently educated graduates are the future leaders of China and the world economy as China continues its astronomic economic rise. Also, while on your Term in Asia, you will spend a lot of time living along side Chinese students,. Thus, the importance to understand and respect their cultural, social, and political beliefs will be evident at every moment. The students you will live with will shape the direction of the region over the next century, and their nationalist views matter.
First of all, you must understand that the educated of China often protest in defense of their national pride. In 2008, they staged many actions against the “global separatists” of the West who criticized China for their human rights offences. More recently, nationalist protests against Japan have increased as relations worsen. For example, in Sichuan province, an estimated 35,000 people took part in a protest that saw demonstrators march to a Japanese department store to show their pride in China. The Chinese protests are full of college students, while the anti-China, nationalist protests in Japan contain a much older, middle-aged demographic. Others have called the Chinese student protesters ‘Netizens’ for their active use of the internet to spread their pride in China. The Chinese students’ apolitical but highly nationalistic pride in their education and the opportunities their country can now offer them stems from successful, government policies undertaken by the CCP after the 1989 protests to reform the education system. Their apolitical stance on government should be taken with a grain of salt, as the students interviewed might have been worried of what might happen if they are caught on record saying they participate in illegal political discussions. In contrast, citizens in the rural areas and country actively protest against the CCP over issues such as land and environmental degradation. Also, the clear lack of higher education institutions in the west may be another cause of the protests and they did not have time to instill the nationalism that comes with higher education. In conclusion, compared to 1989, it now seems unlikely for change of the authoritarian style of government to a liberal democracy to originate in the college students of China.
What to expect
For 2014, you should remember that the Chinese are overwhelmingly apolitical regarding their own government process, so it is unlikely one will get into a heated debate over the organization of the Communist Party, or just the general political process of China. In no case should you criticize China’s history, culture or the country itself as may incite nationalist insecurities that may escalate to yelling on their part. You should be respectful and acknowledge that you are a guest in their country.
Anti-Japanese demonstrations in Nanjing
Author of the film: 乌拉跨氪
For More Information About this Topic
About the Author: Erik Olson ’16 is an undergraduate student at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN pursuing his B.A. in Political Science and Economics.