Occidentalism
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Social engineering in China

February 26th, 2007 . by Matt

The government of China has decided that the Chinese people are too rude, and are socially engineering for better manners lest China lose face at the 2008 Olympics.

The manners of people in Beijing have improved following a campaign to end anti-social behaviour ahead of next year’s Olympics, researchers have said.

A People’s University of China study found rates of spitting, queue-jumping and littering had all fallen since the end of 2005, Xinhua news agency said.

But the study’s author said Beijing still had plenty of room for improvement ahead of the Olympics.

The city has already sent letters on etiquette to four million residents.

The authorities have also held campaigns encouraging people to smile and wait in line.

These efforts will continue right up to August 2008 when one-and-a-half million visitors are expected to attend the Olympic Games.

‘A lot to do’

The study said a “civic index” measuring good behaviour had improved by 3.85 points and now stood at 69.06. The authorities have set a target of 72-78 points to be reached by the games.

“The government and citizens still have a lot of things to do to improve their public behaviour,” Xinhua quoted Professor Sha Lianxiang, who headed the study, as saying.

A campaign against queue-jumping was launched on 11 February in the city, under the slogan: “It’s civilised to queue, it’s glorious to be polite.”

Thousands of volunteers went out on the streets to try to persuade people to wait in line in order to present a better image to visitors.

Hundreds of people gave clenched fist salutes to pledge their allegiance to the campaign.

I didn’t even know you could measure things like this with a points system.


19 Responses to “Social engineering in China”

  1. comment number 1 by: hls

    It is not easy, if not impossible, to correct “attitude” in a mere year or so of time period. They have tried 4,000 years in vain so far.

  2. comment number 2 by: kjeff

    hls,

    Not easy, yes. Impossible, no. Ever slowed when you saw a police car on your rear-view mirror? Same thing here I think. Add a litle stick like they do in Singapore, a couple of hundreds everytime they spit or litter… will work magic…

    They have tried 4,000 years in vain so far.

    I wonder where the Chinese in Singapore come from…

  3. comment number 3 by: hls

    kjeff,

    The Chinese in Singapore abandoned their mother country because they were unfit there…

  4. comment number 4 by: kjeff

    hls,
    I guess you’re an expert in both social engineering and Singapore history…

  5. comment number 5 by: BananaBoi

    It is not easy, if not impossible, to correct “attitude” in a mere year or so of time period. They have tried 4,000 years in vain so far.

    Dear hls,

    The only thing I find in vain so far is your circular reasoning. Please be more precise. Thank you!

  6. comment number 6 by: hls

    kjeff and bananaboi,

    I am not saying that Chinese are intrinsically alein to moral or etiquette. If I did, I would be a racist and genetic determinist, which I am not, hopefully. And I apologize if I were too sarcastic about them.
    What is the difference between the Chinese in Singapore and the Chinese in the mainland China? The former has a social system based on the democratic decision-making and their constituency are allowed to act according to their own will and moral, well, with a bit of coercion. While the other group of Chinese on the mainland are reigned by the absolute king, the Communist party, and they are somehow deprived of their own individual will. (I firmly believe that the Communist party of China is the latest incarnation of the traditional dynasty.) The dynasty system presupposes “clever king (Communist party)” and “moronic followers(Chinese citizens at large)”. The communist party may succeed in curbing their citizens to spit or break ques while the Olympic games are held, however, it is more likely that people would resume their bad attitude once the “force” and “fear” are gone after the games.
    Morality is nurtured where there is free will. If you are always forced to do something commanded by the communist party, then you can never develop your own judgment. When even the religions are under the strict control of the communist party, how can you expect them to be autonomous as human? Of course the Party never wants the poeple to be autonomous, though.

  7. comment number 7 by: Phil2Musashi

    Actually, the Chinese communist party has a long history of mobilizing the people to do thier bidding with VERY lasting results.

    Art is a fine example. Art was the new religion after the cultural revolution, and today there are probably more proffessionally trained artists in China than all of the rest of the world combined.

    For all those that resent and fear their government, their are at least as many who remember the horrid standard of living before the party came into power.

    As far as being autonomous human beings, China, unlike say Japan or Korea, is big on the “cult of the individual”; that is, Chinese in China embrace talented individuals that stand out amongst the crowd. So much so, that a person is often allowed to not have to adhere to rules (or even basic logic) based on their ecentric personality.

    Of course, that is as long as they don’t criticize the government! lol!

    I am not pro-communist China; that party has inflicted to much pain and suffering on my friends and family to condone their behavior.

    I just want to complicate any one-sided opinion some of the reader’s of “hls” comment may have had.

    Peace.

  8. comment number 8 by: Toshiharu Honda

    hls blames the communist party for every evil deed in China. But they should at least get
    the credit for preventing the population
    explosion with the one-child policy. Without
    the mandate, the half of the world population
    would have been Chinese. No democratic country
    could achieve this feat.

  9. comment number 9 by: Matt

    hls blames the communist party for every evil deed in China. But they should at least get
    the credit for preventing the population
    explosion with the one-child policy. Without
    the mandate, the half of the world population
    would have been Chinese. No democratic country
    could achieve this feat.

    Ah, Toshiharu, thats historical myopia. It was the communist party led by Mao Zedong that was encouraging people to have as many babies as possible. The one child policy was an attempt to correct their mistake.

  10. comment number 10 by: Ocebey

    Matt
    Well lets at least give them credit for succeding at correcting their mistake.
    For exemple india which is closing china in term of population (not that it’s a fault or anything) doesn’t seem able althought a perfectly fine democraty to stop this incredible population increase trend.

  11. comment number 11 by: jion999

    Matt
    “It was the communist party led by Mao Zedong that was encouraging people to have as many babies as possible. The one child policy was an attempt to correct their mistake. ”
    Mao Zedong made a lot of mistakes. But it was not mistake in those days to encourage people to have as many babies as possible because he killed so many people during “The Great Leap” and “The cultural Revolution”. How many people were killed or starved to death? 30 million or more?
    Anyway, he needed more laborer forces.
    Toshiharu Honda
    “Without the mandate, the half of the world population would have been Chinese.”
    Before such kind situation, China would have had a civil war, which Chinese communists are afraid of most.

  12. comment number 12 by: jion999

    Ocebey

    “Well lets at least give them credit for succeding at correcting their mistake.”

    It is possible for Chinese communists to have such kind of policy because there is no idea of democracy or freedom in that country. That is the only reason why.
    Anyway, it is not working good right now.
    It is easy for rich people to have many babies if they pay money. In China, the gap between rich and poor is so big that one child policy has become another class discrimination.

  13. comment number 13 by: kjeff

    What is the difference between the Chinese in Singapore and the Chinese in the mainland China? The former has a social system based on the democratic decision-making and their constituency are allowed to act according to their own will and moral, well, with a bit of coercion. While the other group of Chinese on the mainland are reigned by the absolute king, the Communist party, and they are somehow deprived of their own individual will. (I firmly believe that the Communist party of China is the latest incarnation of the traditional dynasty.) The dynasty system presupposes “clever king (Communist party)” and “moronic followers(Chinese citizens at large)”.

    I don’t know how your arguments above are relevant, but as far as I know autocracy is still the best form of government. Anyhow, I wouldn’t exactly called Singapore democratic, no expert, but I think the same party PAP has had the control for over four decades.
    .

    Morality is nurtured where there is free will. If you are always forced to do something commanded by the communist party, then you can never develop your own judgment. When even the religions are under the strict control of the communist party, how can you expect them to be autonomous as human? Of course the Party never wants the poeple to be autonomous, though

    First, morality limits free-will. So your notion here is obviously false.
    Second, “being forced” to do something is not inherently bad, unless you’re forced to do do soething ‘bad’.

  14. comment number 14 by: crypticlife

    Whether it works or not, it’s great that they’re trying it.

  15. comment number 15 by: klobaltelekomm

    To hls,

    Singapore appears to be a democracy, but not quite. Basically, what often happens in Singapore is that opposition parties and political organizations are sued by the regime-in-power for so-called “libel,” among other things.

    South China Morning Post: Singapore’s political restraints shorted-sighted (posted by AsiaMedia)

    And as kjeff had said, the PAP has controlled and ruled Singapore ever since Singapore came into existence.

    And I honestly think it’s not cool how you said Chinese people “have tried 4000 years in vain so far.” What about Chinese in Taiwan, Malaysia, and just about everywhere else? I, for one, certainly don’t go around littering and cutting lines.

  16. comment number 16 by: klobaltelekomm

    I forgot this one important thing:

    Basically, what often happens in Singapore is that opposition parties and political organizations are sued AND THEN SUBSEQUENTLY BANKRUPTED by the regime-in-power for so-called “libel,” among other things.

  17. comment number 17 by: hls

    And I honestly think it’s not cool how you said Chinese people “have tried 4000 years in vain so far.” What about Chinese in Taiwan, Malaysia, and just about everywhere else? I, for one, certainly don’t go around littering and cutting lines.

    klobaltelekomm,

    Please read my argument at 6 in this thread. My sarcasm meant to the mainland China and not to the Chinese people at large. Again, I am not a genetic determinist.

  18. comment number 18 by: BananaBoi

    Dear hls,

    I seriously do not understand why you brought up the Singaporean Chinese and their government into this debate, because I cannot see the relevance, as far as I can see I would classify your posts as off-topic and side tracking from the main discussion

    The previous poster Klobaltelekomm has already shown you the current Singaporean government is not as democratic as it appears to be. If you are not a genetic determinist then dont post crap like this.

    It is not easy, if not impossible, to correct “attitude” in a mere year or so of time period. They have tried 4,000 years in vain so far.

  19. comment number 19 by: JonJon

    hls is a little jerkoff who needs to have his own little superiority complex to compensate for his failure in life.

    Singapore is not a democracy.