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Eulogy for China

Jonathan Ryan Tung

China is dying. There are many people who would disagree with this but they only say this because of ignorance. They do not see the bigger picture. They will point out to her recent meteoric rise in world power and influence; the fear the name 'China' strikes in the hearts of Western powers who once occupied her soil. In short, they will proclaim that she is more alive now than ever. They use 'China' to refer to China as the country, her borders, her international influence and sovereign power. But China is not simply the country. China is the history, the language, the culture. China is a paradigm. I agree, the country is alive and prospering. But as she does so, she abandons her past. And there is nothing anyone can do to stop this. To understand her death, we must look to China's history. Like so many countries, China was unified under the tyrrany. Before the first emperor, there was no China, only warring states. No one can say for sure who would have continued and survived the giant conflict, but we are quite certain of one thing: it is unlikely that all of the states would have survived. In war, there are victors and there are losers. To the victor go the spoils of war. When King Qin declared himself Emperor of China and instituted Legalism and Confucianism, China was born. Confucius is widely regarded as the father of Chinese philosophy. His teachings have influenced the development of political theory and ethics throughout Chinese history. Confucianism alongside legalism dominated Chinese thought and the lives of Chinese citizens for two thousand years. It imposed order violently on those who would oppose it. No one was permitted to create or to think. Sedition is the child of intellect. Nothing happened. Nothing changed. Practiced Confucianism is family sanctioned legalism. It made mindless drones out of men. But although Confucianism has ruined many Chinese lives, its rigid dogma has ensured the life of China. Until now. In the past, Confucianism and its practice kept the collective mindset of the population under virtual power of thumbscrew. It was brilliant. From womb to tomb people could not think creatively or break the shackles of trained compliance even if they wanted

to. The population was bred to hear and obey. Fear controlled the actions and thoughts of every citizen and they would spread that fear, like a disease, to the next generation, who in turn would infect the next. Things are different now. While economists fearfully point out China's influence as a country the reality is that China is racing toward its own death, with each informed citizen struggling to outdo his neighbor. Now it is material goods. As conditions improve, it will become ideas. With each new computer and each new phone that enters the country, ideas will spread and disrupt that cherished order so painstaikingly woven over generations. It will slowly kill the China that I speak of. And since progress is inevitable, China will die. The Han people will continue for a little while longer but China is coming to an end. Why? To be Chinese is more than to be Han. To be Chinese is to be inextricably part of the culturethe culture of oppression, the culture of xenophobia and borderline fascist ideals, the culture of rationalized superiority. These are the children of Confucianism. In other words, to be Chinese is to be Confucian. And Confucianism is crumbling down. The very spine of Chinese culture is crumbling and death is sure to follow. The Chinese children today? They may be Han, and they may even be citizens of China. But they are not Chinese. To be Chinese is to live a sub-human potential, a subhuman existence. We are often reminded of that pithy Darwinian phrase, "Adapt or die." In the midtwentieth century, China bowed to the Western paradigm during the opium wars. This was the first crippling blow to Chinese pride and culture. Then it suffered occupation by the Japanese. China's Century of Humiliation marked the beginning of the end from which she would never fully recover. The writing was on the wall for the Chinese paradigm. So people who point to China's influence today would do well to remember that China as the country prospers only after having adopted Western ideals of industry, private ownership, liberty. All countries that seek to survive willnot mustadopt these principles. Whether or not anyone likes it, capitalism is the ultimate human paradigm. This is why I say that China is dying. Though the borders may continue to hold and China's influence will surely expand, China as a concept flickers in the wind. The China that I know is drawing its final breath. And it is with bittersweet feelings that I bid China, Adieu. Goodbye, China. Your great experiment in human subjugation and intellectual oppression is now coming to a close. Your own citizens have turned against you. They no longer wish to be Chinese. May your rancorous genesis and history remind your citizens of how much they suffered to finally break free and live.