William Shakespeare is the world’s greatest playwright ever, and that he is for sure, but surprisingly there are certain interest groups who loathe the Bard:
Some, though not all, Jews hate him for the Jewish money-lender character Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice”
Some feminists, though not all, hate him for his misogynist portrayal in “The Taming of the Shrew”
and some ultra-democrats hate his portrait of the ambitious backstabber Brutus in “Julius Caesar”.
Yet all of those characters, though somewhat exaggerated as are all figures in theater, are essentially true to life, and reflect an unpleasant aspect of social reality of their times.
Yang Rui used the word “shrew” to describe the anti-Cihna reporter Melissa Chan and not “bitch” as reported, and it is true that her reporting fixated on and became hysterical about abuses in China, which in most cases are no different and often of lesser degree than similar problems in Western countries or other developing economies. Balance was not her act.
Yang Rui criticized some Jews not all, and do not some Jews support the bombing of civilians in Gaza? Are Jews above criticism? And on what grounds – that they were chosen by their God? If so, God has chosen to treat quite badly at times, which presents a major ethical questions about the Jewish God. No, the fact is Jews are not better than the rest of us and not above criticism.
Yang Rui is harsh on anti-China elements, who do in fact act in a conspiratorial manner, just as the Senators who assassinated the populist Caesar in the name of democracy, but in reality did it for their own self-interest and privileges – which is the real reason why the Roman Republic failed.
As in the case of Shakespeare, the critics are not putting a few objectionable characterizations in the context of a larger body of writing and analysis. Yang Rui is among the best interviewers in Asia, and certainly not a tenth as biased as the popular Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly in the USA.
The foreign critics of Yang Rui use far more abusive and obscene language than he ever does to denounce Yang Rui and not just him.
The four-letter word is standard parlance among the Twitteratti.
Most of this critics are – and this is my opinion, if I am free to say it - self-centered yuppies who came to exploit China and follow lifestyle choices inappropriate to Chinese morals, and by that I mean taking lots of drugs, encouraging drug use among Chinese friends, promoting dissent with no well-founded philosophy or legal grounds as foreigners, and often engage in promiscuity with locals without consideration of sexual transmitted diseases.
Many are the children of wealthy parents, or they would not be able to afford the bohemian joy ride in an increasingly expensive Beijing.
Thus, it turns out that Yang Rui, like Shakespeare, has captured an unpleasant part of the social reality and describes it appropriately – because there is no nice and proper way to describe foreign trash, of which too much has flooded into China.
Since some of this foreign trash behaves not like professional journalists but like tawdry yellow-journalism sensationalists, their credentials and writings need to be reviewed and if found lacking in reason and fact, and suffering from racist attitudes against Chinese people, their visas should be revoked and entry into China denied forever.
Given its century of sheer abuse from the Western powers and Japan, China has every right to demand respect from foreign guests, especially professional journalists.
Of course, we (I am one of the professional journalists) have our differences in viewpoint, interest and ideology, but our conduct in China should reflect a basic understanding of the terrible ill-treatment that the Chinese people suffered from our own countries’ demands and interventions.
The foreign bloggers complain about the anti-foreign backlash in Beijing as equivalent to the Boxer Rebellion. I have news for your wilting flowers – you have seen nothing yet.
I have put up with a few waves of anti-Japanese sentiment and even riots in China, and while I oppose such nationalistic activity because I am personally threatened by it, it is important also to realize the context and background of the memories that trigger the anti-foreign feelings and which side, in fact, has been the greater offender.
Countries like China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and most of Africa and Latin America have been the victims of Western colonialism. Citizens from powerful countries, even if we as individuals are not powerful ourselves, need to remember the historical inequality of the relationship and the countless crimes that were committed to benefit the our homelands at the expense of other peoples.
Though I am from the Vietnam War generation, which saw the terrible crimes against the Southeast Asian people, I expect no less respect to be shown by the younger generation of Americans, Europeans and Japanese who come to China.
The narcissicism of the Facebook generation is simply no excuse for feigned ignorance and nonchalant arrogance, as shown in the feigned outrage against Yang Rui. Grow up, kids, and admit you say far worse things about Chinese and other people of color.
While white young adults should learn a modicum of humility in the “real world”, I am equally disgusted by young Asian-Americans who pathetically act like a bunch of bananas, aping their white classmates. You not only fail as journalists, you fail as humans for your racial self-hatred.
The last thing that needs to be pointed out is the gutlessness of the younger reporters, who like Melissa Chan take only cheap shots at Chinese society at the behest of their editorial masters, and never dare really confront the powers that be on issues that count. Without the NED and its corps of paid propagandistic NGOs, you would be nowhere and have nothing to report.
Yes, continue believing that China is the bad guy and the Western corporations and bankers are not here to exploit the Chinese people.
Yes, continue your self-deception that the Chinese are the aggressors and not the Western oil companies that control the oil reserves of the South China Sea and Andaman Sea.
Continue believing in the myths they fed you at the Ivy League.
And then go home, and see what a crap place it’s become for the majority of American, European and Japanese citizens – and try to blame that on the Chinese, you pack of whingers.
For me, Yang Rui has been a professional peer and a challenger across the interview table, and he has fired many a shot at me and we have often been at great odds.
But after the vile abuse he has endured in reaction to some frank statements he made on his personal blog, which do reflect some of the unpleasant realities of contemporary society – and the contempt shown toward HIS freedom of expression – I now see him as both a friend and an important and incisive voice in the international dialogue.
When the rest of you grow up, you might understand what I am saying.
By Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor at The Japan Times Weekly and Pacific News Service