Saturday, April 19, 2008

What It Gives with One Hand It Takes with Another

A news story today about how "China tries to limit Internet vitriol toward the West" describes an interesting switcheroo for the nation known for using screening and surveillance technologies to persecute anti-nationalist dissident groups who question the authoritarian state structure, promote outlawed religious groups that challenge the government, or protest the ethnic hegemony of the Han Chinese over minority groups in the country. Although Beijing has been known to foment resentment against the West through nationalist bloggers and websites in the past, now they are apparently trying to tamp down xenophobia that may spoil visitors' impressions who travel to China for the upcoming Olympic games.

At the same time thousands of Chinese-Americans here at home lined Sunset Boulevard to call for dismissal of a CNN commentator who described Chinese citizens as "goons and thugs" who promoted an economy that only made "junk." In this case, however, it seems that the protests are making a statement against nativism and nationalism and an argument for mutually tolerant cosmopolitanism and globalism.

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