Diaosi, goddesses and rise of China

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-1-11 0:18:01

Chinese recycling tycoon Chen Guangbiao's high-profile attempt to buy the New York Times has drawn mockery both in China and abroad.

Some have compared the prestigious newspaper to a goddess and ridiculed Chen. A man who lives off "collecting waste iron and bronze" trying to touch their goddess? No way!

The metaphor well describes the West's image of itself. The West has led modern civilization for hundreds of years. It is no surprise that it looks down on the rest of the world.

In some Western people's eyes, Chinese people were diaosi (underachievers from the bottom of the social class) when they were poor, and are nouveau riche when they become wealthy. They have nothing to do with the noble class born with a silver spoon in their mouth. The rise of China is but a homely drama for them.

There are two kinds of diaosi in China. In front of a "goddess," one kind of diaosi are hopeless admirers on all fours; the other kind of diaosi just do not like the goddess in any way, so they try every means to look for freckles in the goddess' face to prove that she is "ugly indeed."

This kind of diaosi mentality actually exists with many Chinese people. As a result, we often lack confidence and the ability to make independent judgments.

Although China has a history of 5,000 years, as a modern country it is actually less than a century old. The rapid growth in the past three decades has been a pursuit of the Western way of modernization, and China has not overtaken their forerunners.

Looking at world history, there are stories of diaosi successfully overthrowing existing noblemen. The US' GDP surpassed that of Britain as early as the end of the 19th century. At that time, the Europeans still believed Americans were merely some errand boys with no taste.

But after World War II, the US' economy, military and political values grew, joining the club as a "goddess."

History teaches us that a successful rise often starts from mimicking, but true success needs an eventual catching up and surpassing. If China only follows in the footsteps of the West, it will always be a diaosi. Even when it becomes economically rich, spiritually it will still be kneeling down. That is why China has to explore a socialist path with Chinese characteristics.

The West will be reluctant to accept China's change of status, but China's rise is inevitable.

Unlike the successful purchase of Volvo by Chinese company Geely, Chen's show may seem like a joke, but it has deeper meaning.

The attempt has touched a sensitive nerve among some Western people. What if it were a serious Chinese businessman who offered to purchase the New York Times?

Posted in: Editorial

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