Sources

How "Chinese Style" Became A Symbol Of Everything That's Wrong With China

XINHUA, CHINA NEWS, CAIXIN BLOG, UDN NEWS (China)

Worldcrunch

BEIJING - The Chinese government likes to boast of its superiority to the West, thanks to its socialist economy “with Chinese characteristics.” For years, it was virtually impossible to publicly say something out of step with this idealized view of the nation.

But now, in what is perhaps a sign of both a new openness and deep-seated dissatisfaction in China, people have started referring to anything that is bad, uncivilized or immoral as being "Chinese style," according to a Xinhua news report quoted by UDN news.

Is it a welcome bit of self-mockery or an alarm bell? The report asked.

Here is a list of practices “with Chinese characteristics,” as one blogger quipped:

- Chinese-style road crossing: Whether the light is red or green, as long as a handful of people are gathered together, they’ll cross the road.

- Chinese-style school pick-up: Go to any primary or even secondary school when school breaks and witness the chaos created by the quantity of parents waiting at the gate. Listen to the noise generated by the crowd as well as the variety of bicycles, motorbikes and tricycles used by the parents. Even the busiest bazaar can’t beat it.

- Chinese-style tricks for curbing traffic jams: Limiting the time period and the areas in which one is allowed to travel by car. Limiting the amount of cars sold. Limiting car use depending on whether one’s number plate is odd or even. Auctioning license plate numbers.

- Chinese-style blind dates: The girls show up with their mothers. The mother’s job is to make detailed inquiries into whether or not the candidate for marriage has some real savings in his bank account, a car, a house..

- Chinese-style gift-giving: A peculiar “collective movement” one week before the Chinese New Year or during major events such as the Moon Festival or the Boat festival. People are so busy delivering presents to their relatives, and of course also to government officials, that the roads are chock-a-block.

- Chinese-style food safety: Melamine-enriched infant milk. Poisonous rice. Clenbuterol-fed pork. Dyed buns. Recycled cooking oil that comes the gutter… This is all to blame on the economy, of course.

- Chinese-style politico: The “three-must-haves” for any public official: a mistress, secret bank account, and getaway mansion. The more of each of these items, the better.

The term “Chinese style” became popular about eight years ago thanks to a television series called “Chinese Style Divorce” which depicted how couples were entangled in three kinds of betrayals: mental betrayal, physical betrayal or mental/physical betrayal, the United Daily reported.

“All these bad habits reflect the special sociological transformation China is undergoing,” pointed out Xinhua News.

However, Xia Xueluan, professor of sociology at Peking University believes that “The fact that Chinese-style phenomena are amplified in the Internet sphere is a good thing. This has the effect of alerting the authorities as well as the public. This self-examination by ridiculing ourselves embodies our awakening cultural consciousness.”

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Society

What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel

-Essay-

BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.


Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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