Encounters With A German
(ChinaRen BBS) The Brainwashed Germans and the Demonized China. April 1, 2008.
There were three people in the office, but one of them was away on business. That left me with K, who sits across me. Recently, K has not been very busy.
[Before the Lhasa riots]
On March 11, another office colleague showed me a copy of the Franfurter Allgemeine story about the new Terminal 3 at the Beijing International Airport. In Germany, a report laced with jealousy is already considered neutral. I was satisfied. So I checked up on more photos of T3 on the Internet and I was moved by what I saw. At the time, it was the lunch break and so I asked K to come over and look.
She glanced at T3 and she said, "Is this really huge?"
I said: "Very huge. It is the biggest in the world."
She said: "You cannot help it. You have too many people. You have the most number of people in the world."
She asked: "How many airports are there in Beijing?"
I said: "One airport for civilian transportation. There are airports for other purposes."
She said: "You only have one airport for so many people. You look at Stuttgart. It has so few people, but it also has one airport!" She looked very stern and contemptuous.
She looked at the photos and she said, "This airport looks so icily cold. It is all made of steel and iron."
I began to show her certain decorative features with unique Chinese characteristics inside the terminal.
She said: "These look alright. But they are purely decorative. They will be removed as soon as the terminal is operational?"
I suppressed my anger and said, "They will always be there."
At that time, I was very unhappy. I was trying to share my joy with someone, who turned out to be picking a fight. She sensed my unhappiness and said: "Very nice, very nice." Then she saw another office colleague coming in and she told him about this funny thing that she had just learned: "There will definitely be more reports from China about this. In the future, besides the Forbidden City in China, there is also the airport terminal building. Ha ha."
[After the Lhasa riots on March 14]
Day 1, March 26.
After the Lhasa riot, no office colleague spoke to me about this incident between March 14 and 25. I really did not want to talk to them either. It was a losing proposition using their mother tongue to discuss an incident that involved such complicated histories, ethnic issues and politics.
After almost two weeks of bombardment by the German media, I was getting very emotionally distraught. On the evening of March 25, I heard that Spiegel was spreading more rumors in their new issue. So I bought a copy of Spiegel at noon to retain as evidence. When I came in to the office and put the magazine on my desk, K asked; "You bought Spiegel?"
I said: "Yes."
She said: "Why did you buy it? Because the subject is Tibet?"
I said: "No."
She said: "Because the essays are well-written?"
I said: "No."
She asked: "Then why?"
I could no longer control myself as my hands were trembling: "Because I have never seen such a big lie."
Although she did not understand fully what I meant, she glared at me and she said angrily: "What do you mean?"
I said: "Everything that you read and watch all day on television, magzines and newspapers are all lies.
She was ready to blow her top and she told me solemnly: "You have no right to say that our media are lying! I have never been to Tibet, but from our media reports, I can see that this situation in Tibet is very, very, very serious! We cannot go to Tibet to look for ourselves. We do not know what happened. But I am willing to believe what is said by our television. I also think that your media are lying and what you see is not real! If you want to criticize German media, you better go home and criticise your own Chinese media first!"
I turned to the Spiegel report and I pointed at it and said: "This photo shows our policemen rescuing an injured Han person. But the caption said that the police are arresting a Tibetan. This is a lie."
She was not looking at what I pointed out to her, for she continued to stare at her own computer screen. She said, "I don't know what they are doing. But your policemen have arrested many Tibetans. They have opened fire and killed people. But your television channels are telling lies. What right do you have to say that the German media are lying?"
I don't remember what I said, but I did not say much. I stomped out and went downstairs to call my parents. I was trembling and crying. Recently, we have been stuck with this matter and I cannot calm myself down to discuss this matter.
I went back to the office after a long while. She did not continue the discussion with me. The day was over.
Day 2, March 27.
K brought in a cake that she baked herself. It was her birthday two days ago. In the afternoon, the other office colleagues came over to share the cake. Two male colleagues brought up the Tibet issue. The first question was posed with a heavy Schwaben accent and I could not make it out completely. So I told him: "If you want to discuss the Tibet issue, then we must clarify just who was attacking whom on that day."
He said, "No, no. I am not asking about who is right or wrong. Do you feel that Tibet is very peaceful?"
I said: "Tibet is not very peaceful right now. But you don't know what really happened there, because the German media are all lying."
I glanced at K on the other side. Her face darkened and she kept typing madly into her computer.
I wasted no words and I retrieved the fake photos from the western media that I kept on my computer. I explained the photos one at a time to my colleagues, who did not say much. A male colleague D said: "If this is as you said, their lives are better now than before. So why did they rise up?"
I said: "Those people who want independence and who instigated the riot do not live in Tibet. They are with the exiled government. Tibet under the rule of the lamas was a society built upon slavery in which the people do not even have personal freedom. On the birthday of the Dalai Lama, two sets of human skins were required as birthday present!"
I can tell from their expressions that my words did not sink in because there was such a vast gap between what I was saying and what they know. They might be thinking that my command of the German language was too poor and I was expressing myself incorrectly.
I continued: "You say that the Tibetan people are leading terrible lives. But do you know that minority groups such as the Tibetans can attend university for free while Han people have to pay tuition. Each time that they take an exam, they get bonus points added. They even don't pay taxes!
They said immediately: "Then why aren't the media being allowed in? Why is Tibet being sealed off? If what you say is true, the media should be permitted to enter."
I said: "First, this is for the sake of everybody's safety. That place is very unsafe at the moment. Next, the western media are only too willing to distort the facts. Without even being in Tibet, they have already made up all these rumors with fake photos. Yesterday, the first group of reporters went to Tibet. But there were no German reporters."
K finally joined in the conversation because she was too angry: "Why aren't the German media being allowed in? How come the whole world can go but not the Germany media?"
Colleague D corrected her: "It does not mean that everybody else can do. Just the reporters from a few countries."
I said; "Right. Americans, British, Russian, Japanese, Korean, etc. The reason why the German media are not allowed in is because they lied too hard this time!"
K said: "You said that the Indian media lied too. How come they can go?"
I said: "The Indian media are not included in this group of reporters."
K was clearly very angry.
After a while, everybody went back to work. K began her two-day project to educate me.
She looked seriously at her computer screen for a while and then she asked me: "Do you know Spanish?"
I said: "No, I don't."
She said: "Even this Spanish website is saying that the Chinese government is suppressing and killing peaceful demonstrators, etc."
I said: "I know. The western media are all lying."
She said: "But why is the whole world saying that and only China does not say so! Don't you feel that your government is lying to you? It is obvious that your government is the liar! Why else would all the countries condemn China?!"
I said: "Right. All the countries are saying that China is bad, but none of them can produce any evidence to support their version. Only the Chinese government has produced the evidence. We have the video images. Those people were not demonstrating peacefully. They were murdering people. None of those video images were shown in the western media, which used those fake photos to smear China."
She said: "You are showing the fake video images fabricated by the Chinese government!"
I don't know what to say to a person like that.
I said: "China is developing rapidly now and the western nations are scared and uneasy. Therefore, everybody is against China. I have been in Germany for two years, and I have not read a single piece of good news about China. China is always wrong in everything that it does. Do you feel that such a grand country can do nothing right?"
She said: "We have not said that China is bad. For example, you told me the other day about the new airport terminal. Didn't I learn something?
Ï said; "But Germany did not give any praise, and it was not happy."
She said immediately: "That is because you have so many poor people but you still want to spend so much money to build a new airport." Seconds ago, she thought that it was a good thing but now she has shown her true colors.
I said: "Why do you think that we used the poor people's money to build this airport? We built this airport for the Olympics and the people of the world."
She said: "When you have so many poor people, you should not have tried to host the Olympics."
I really don't know what more to say.
I said: "On the contrary, our media would never smear any other country in this manner. Do you know why so many Chinese students are willing to come to study in Germany? That is because ... " (I wanted to say that we liked Germany because the Germany that we saw on Chinese television is beautiful and developed, and that is why we want to come here to learn.)
But she interrupted me with an arrogant look in her eyes: "Because our education level is well-developed and our tuition fees are cheap. It is very simple."
I was offended by this rude interruption, but I continued to finish what I wanted to say. Then I added: "But once we arrive here, we found out that the German media never reports any good news from China. To a certain extent, we overseas students are disappointed in Germany."
She said: "We did not only say that China is bad. We also said that China is good."
I said: "Good. Let me ask you, what good things are there in China?"
She thought about it and said, "The Chinese economy is developing."
I said: "You don't need the German media to tell you that because the whole world knows that. So what good things have you heard about our government?"
She thought about it and could not come up with anything. But she immediately came up a victorious look and said to me: "Can you tell me what good policies the Mexican government has?"
I said: "I don't know."
She was delighted. She said: "You see, you don't know either."
I said: "I don't know because I don't care. I don't know if they have done something good, but I don't know if they have done anything bad either. But when it comes to a country that I care about (such as Germany), I would know their good as well as bad points. We learn about something from both sides. This is something that we were taught since middle school."
For a couple of seconds, she could not respond.
Then she began.
She said: "Pollution is so bad in China. The government has done nothing whatsoever."
I said: "How do you know that the government has done nothing? The Chinese government is telling the supermarkets not to use free plastic bags and it is about to be implemented immediately. Did you know that? As far as I know, the only country in Europe which can do that is Germany. I don't know about other cities, but Beijing has reduced public transportation costs in order to make its citizens use their private vehicles less often. It costs only 2 RMB (0.2 Euros) to ride the subway, and 0.04 RMB (0.04 Euros) to ride public buses. The Germany people don't know any of this. They only know to condemn."
I said: "China is in the process of development and there are many problems. We need to solve them step by step, and we are actually solving them. China is very big, and it is not as simple as you think."
She said: "Anyway, your government only oppresses its people, who have no freedom. You look at the riots in Paris last time. All the reporters went there to cover. Paris was not sealed off."
I said: "Tibet is our internal affair. It is a place inside our country. We have the freedom to handle it our way."
She said: "Nobody knows what happened there. Anyway, we will only believe our own media. Your government is destroying Tibetan culture. They don't have their own culture anymore."
I said: "How do you know that our government is destroying their culture? Tibetans can attend classes in their own language. Is this a destruction of their culture?"
I asked her: "Do you know that the Chinese people live happy lives? I want to know what Germans think. I don't mean anything else."
She thought about it and said, "I think that they are basically happy. For me, I know that if I can have bear only one child, then I don't know how I can live happily!"
I pretended that I was convinced: "Hmm, right. You are right. You just spoke about the environmental pollution problem in China. Most of the world is talking about the problems of energy sources and their lack, etc."
She said, "Right, such as oil."
I said: "Yes. You know. China has population planning policies over the past thirty years that ended up with 400 million few people being born! This is the ideal and most effective way of managing environmental pollution and conserving energy resources! When we have environmental pollution and too many people, you condemn us. When we have fewer children in order to reduce consumption and pollution, you accuse us of having no human rights. I want to ask you just what do you want us to do!"
She said with special pain: "Don't even mention human rights, because this topic is too grim." She implied that the human rights in China are dreadful to the point where the Chinese people would rather be dead than alive.
I said: "I don't want to talk about human rights either. I just wanted to follow up on the previous question. If our government is as much of a demon as you said, then how can the people be having happy lives?"
I don't remember how she responded, but she was always elusive. In each bit of our conversation, there was no way for me to win because she was always changing the subject.
Then I said, "We live in Germany but we actually don't have any freedom of speech. Recently, Germany has blocked many of our discussion forums. We cannot communicate directly with the Chinese people over the Internet."
She was infuriated and she said: "Impossible! Absolutely impossible. Germany cannot possibly be blocking your web pages."
I said calmly, "But it is true."
She said: "Which web page are you visiting?"
I said: "A general variety website, just like Yahoo. The name is sina."
She said: "Impossible. There is no way that Germany would do that."
I said: "But that is a fact."
She said: "You show me right now!"
I showed it to her.
She said: "Impossible. It is only not allowed from inside the company."
I said: "Not at home either."
She said: "Your Internet connection at home is defective."
I said: "You cannot get on in Stuttgart, not in Nurnburg, not in Hamburg, not in Berlin."
She said: "The website must be down."
I said: "They can visit it from China, United States, United Kingdom and France."
She said: "Impossible. Absolutely impossible."
I don't know what else I can say.
I said: "I don't particularly care about the Internet censorship. I can understand this. I want to say that you must not just condemn China for blocking certain web pages. Every country will do so whenever necessary."
She said: "We did not block your web pages. When it comes to blocking web pages, nobody in the world goes as far as China. You people cannot visit anything."
Then she looked especially pleased and said especially confidently and mysteriously to me: "Can you people visit Google?"
I had nothing left to say ...
After some bickering, it was almost time to quit work. She asked me to go over and she pointed to her computer screen: "You see. I found you a piece of good news from China."
I looked at the page, which was on Die Zeit a month ago. Those were photos from the Chinese Lunar Year of the Rat celebrations. Photos only, no text.
I was astonished. After she stopped arguing with me, she had to go and find a piece of non-negative news about China in order to show that I was wrong. So I told her: "This is not good news. This is at most neutral."
She said: "I thought that these photos are pretty. This is a good piece of news."
Then she left work.
Later I took a detailed look. Underneath a photo of fireworks going off, the caption was: "Fireworks. Not allowed everywhere in China."
According to our logic, it was for our safety. According to their logic, it was because there are no human rights in China ...
I was vexed for the rest of the night.
What was the point for the Germans to have brains when they are filled with this kind of nonsense
I did not want to talk about this affair with them any more. Of course, I never wanted to talk to them in the first place.
Day 3, March 28.
I got to work. K glared at me, but she did not say anything.
After half an hour, she asked me to go over and look at the web page on her computer monitor.
It was today's latest news from N-TV in Germany. There were photos and captions. The photos featured Nepali policemen and the captions noted that they were Nepali. She said proudly: "Do you think that these photos are misused as well?"
I said: "I don't, because the captions say that it is happening in Nepal. It is not in China."
But she felt proud because she felt that she has proven to me that the German media also used real photos and not only faked photos.
I don't understand this kind of logic -- because they sometimes use real photos, you cannot blame them for using faked photos at other times?
I said: "It is useless to have real photos now, because everybody already ..." She interrupted me and said, "But it is a good thing all the same because we are using real photos."
I was beginning to get a headache.
Next she explained to me how bad and awful things are in China. I can't remember what she said. Her final conclusion: "These are different cultures. Nothing can be done."
I said: "That is right. Different cultures, different ideologies. But the so-called cultures are different because they are different. This is not about right versus wrong. Nevertheless you kept talking about right versus wrong."
I don't know how she came back to Tibet as she said: "Anyway, our feeling is that the Buddhist religion is sacrosanct. Their believers are very peaceful and they perform good deeds. Anyway, we cannot believe that they will use violence to hurt other people."
Frankly speaking, I am tired. Throughout the whole day, she tried her best to convince me that the Chinese government is totalitarian, violent, bloodsoaked and cruel. She told me what an awful country China was. She said China steals intellectual rights, it pirates Germany motor vehicles and it steals technology. She thought that the story about <the yellow spies> in Spiegel was accurate.
As time came to leave work, K got excited again. She told me, "Our newspapers have just said that our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister will not be attending your Olympics. Have you read that?"
I said: "I just saw that."
She could not conceal her inner delight as she said: "What about it? What do the Chinese people think? Ha ha. What about your news? Has the news gone out yet?"
I took a quick peek on the Internet and I said: "Not yet."
She said: "I am especially interested to see how your media describe this affair. Ha ha."
Then she went through criticizing various cultures. She said that she once read a book about Japan and thought that the Japanese were really peculiar people -- why does a person have to bring presents to his colleagues after going away on vacation?
... The last few days made me keenly aware of the following things:
1. The propaganda in the western media has achieved their goals -- the German people believe. Not only do they believe, but they believe it firmly to the point whether all dissident voices are regarded as lies.
2. The marketing effort by the Dalai Lama over the years has been successful beyond expectations. Every German that I come across treats him as a "great spiritual leader." Everything that he says is true and everything that he does is correct.
3. Chinese students in Germany are unpopular. My colleagues indirectly reveal those feelings. They even tell me directly: "We are really worried about what happens if one day you learn what we know."
4. It is a mistake for China to even exist. The faults of China can be stacked from the ground to the heavens. Furthermore, under the leadership of this demon government, things are getting worse and worse.
5. Bloodshed and massacres occur everywhere in China. When a Chinese citizen says the wrong thing, he will be arrested immediately and subjected to extreme torture in jail.
6. China does not have the right to host the Olympics. Anyone who attends the Olympics is supportive of genocide to a certain extent.
I am actually very, very tired. But I feel that I am actually getting something out of this. That is, I will never discuss Tibet or China with any German. Their brains have been baptised by a lifetime of western voices and are no longer capable of being receptive. Please do not try to convince them or discuss the facts with them, because you are going to die from frustration.
Their mindset is this brute-force logic: Anything good about China must have been fabricated by the Chinese government; visual images favorable to China were staged by the Chinese government; any photo favorable to China was the result of PhotoShop work.
Their mindset contains an absolute position: China is hopeless with no redeemable value. All the opposing voices against China are right, and they will support those voices.
The arrogance of the Germans astonished me time and again. I am only twenty years old and I can see the shadow of the German people from sixty years ago. They are the descendants of the Nazis. Nazi blood will flow through their bodies forever. What they regard as their correct insistence looks rigid to others, even very terrifying.
So I feel that it is a long and endless struggle with them. This struggle cannot be resolved through any debate or discussion of facts. This can only be done through the construction of the motherland. When the motherland is strong, even stronger, they will shut their mouths! Each one of us Chinese overseas students is working hard and enduring the suffering. Several decades into the future, will China collapse like the Germans hope? Or will China be so strong that they will collapse?