After spending a certain amount of time in China – a month, maybe more – a deeper and more nuanced understanding of this complex country of 1.4 billion is practically guaranteed.
But not everyone shares the same viewpoints. There are bulls and there are bears. There are tigers, flies, chickens – even pandas.
So which one are you? Take our exciting CDS quiz to find out!
1) A micro-blogger posts a video of President Xi Jinping rescuing a cat from a tree. How do you respond?
A) Oh, I love cats
B) This whole thing is obviously a set-up; Xi Jinping couldn’t climb a tree unless somebody was holding his fat ass up
C) Has anyone even spoken to this cat? No doubt the feline was “taken to tea” afterward to stop the truth coming out
D) Ever since an accident sustained during the Cultural Revolution, Xi hasn’t been able to lift his feet over a 45-degree angle – how could he possibly climb a tree?
E) Ginger cats were traditionally only owned by imperial family members, or highest-ranking eunuchs in Chinese history. By allowing this footage to be released, Xi is overtly making his own claim to a ‘Heavenly Mandate.’ Either that, or he’s signaling someone’s got his balls in a clamp
F) This is the clearest sign yet of the coming collapse of the Communist Party
2) A new report comes out in Xinhua showing that 15.7 percent of parents have to pay a bribe to get their offspring into a good school. You think:
A) Sad, but isn’t it really rather like us paying to send children to private schools?
B) More like 15 percent of them don’t have to pay a bribe
C) Oh, I’ve heard about children from some families having to sell vital organs just to pay the cafeteria bills
D) Everybody knows that most of Xi’s “Crimson Clique” date back to the Beijing Number Three Middle School’s Class of 1973
E) It’s a pattern that dates back to the Song Dynasty. Rural parents were expected to sell a share of their child’s future – articulated as “one fourth of their field’s leavings” – to wealthy landlords in order to ensure they could take the keju examinations
F) This, surely, foretells the coming collapse of the Communist Party
3) Beijing announces an ambitious plan to cut smog in half by 2020. What’s your first thought?
A) It’s great they’re so committed to the environment – I wish our government was!
B) So… they want to dial it down from ‘Lethal’ to merely ‘Noxious,’ right?
C) This will just mean more Hebei peasants dying of cancer as they push factories out. Meanwhile, who’s being paid to produce clean-air filters? Exactly
D) This is an obvious move by the embattled Shanghai Faction to limit the tax base of Xi’s Beijing-based coalition, and thus undermine any political reform
E) I can’t help but recall the notorious coal fires of AD994 Kaifeng
F) This is a ruling party that won’t go out with a bang, so much as a hacking cough – probably within the next six months
4) A peasant in Shandong has built the world’s largest house made entirely of toothpicks, pictures of which have been printed in the Daily Mail, Mail Online and Mail on Sunday. You share the link, commenting…
A) The sheer artistry. Amazing
B) No doubt some developer will be quick to bulldoze it and build a luxury mall on top
C) Most people don’t know that 85 percent of toothpicks are manufactured at a former nuclear site in Xinjiang – that man’s life expectancy can probably be measured in half years
D) Well, Shandong province, of course, was run by 86-year-old Fan Dongsheng, a former Hu Jintao appointee who just happened to “die of cancer” last year – sometime after Xi’s anti-corruption campaign got underway. Make of that what you will
E) The ‘ju-bi-cao’ was a traditional form of peasant artisanship during the Warring States Period – honed from toenail clippings and hardened buffalo dung, it was practically the only form of treating tartar for the rural populations. That is, until the practice was abolished by the Nationalist government in the 1930s as “gross”
F) A rare glimpse of artisanal hope, in the face of the coming collapse of the Communist Party
5) Gordon Chang publishes his new 64-page e-book, ‘Fallen Dragon: Why China Has Already Collapsed – And No-one’s Noticed.’
A) Who’s Gordon Chang? Sorry
B) Oh, for fuck’s sake…
C) Heh, I mentioned this on my blog. Most people don’t even realize that Guangxi and Shaanxi are already in a state of open war
D) Anyone know who Gordo’s agent is? I’d like a piece of that
E) But can we really say there has ever been such a thing as “China?”
F) This is a sign of the coming collapse of my third marriage
Which are you?
Mostly As After retiring from a government-funded job in the US, you began teaching at a Chinese university. Arriving with an expression of bemused wonder, nine months later you’re still marveling how life is an adventure. People show proper respect for age and experience here. China Daily has asked you to write an opinion piece and your students are lovely. (Unfortunately, their life choices will ultimately disappoint you.)
Mostly Bs You’ve undergone the traditional ‘Seven Stages of China’ – Wonder, Excitement, Confusion, Disappointment, Bargaining, Begging and Despair (followed by smoldering rage) – and have now settled into a life just as mundane and frustrating as the one you left. There’s still hope, though: you might find work as a ‘consultant’
Mostly Cs: Christ, C, what are you still doing here? You’ve had three separate businesses, two stolen by a Chinese partner; both ex-wives. Now you’re fretting about decisions. Maybe the shy 19-year-old you brutally dumped last semester was actually the One. So why can’t you get your eyes off that sweaty MILF who’s into similar folk-rock as you? Oh, it’s easy for others to laugh. They’ve never known what it’s like to be sensitive and pushing 40
Mostly Ds After being granted full admin privileges on Davidicke.com/forum/china, you now have a complete grasp of the nuts and bolts of China’s political system – so God help those who opposed you before
Mostly Es You’ve read every book, studied every dialect, footnoted every article. But you’ve never actually spent much time on the mainland, other than the usual academic trips and “exchanges.” Sure, your late Tang ‘Confucian erotica’ collection is second to none. But oddly, it’s one of the few things you don’t like to talk about