If culture may be defined as the body of customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular group or nation, then does S Tsow’s statement, “No one will deny that China has a great culture that is admirable in many ways” ring true?
Who could argue against Chinese cuisine? Only the bears, pangolins, camels, snakes and literally every endangered creature on the planet, if they could be heard in their cries for help. But, as is culturally mandated in China, no one will turn their ears to listen.
Then of course, let’s not forget the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, whose unfathomable brutality was such that to this day historians struggle to make sense of everything that occurred during the period. A mere 50 years ago, during what should have marked the culmination of all of the so-called Chinese contributions to humankind, 2 million were murdered for such crimes as knowing how to play the piano or being a university professor.
Today being a religious person is to be deserving of torture in China, as is being a member of an ethnic minority, or expressing contrary thoughts.
China wiped out one of the world’s greatest spiritual philosophies, Tibetan Buddhism, from the sovereign nation of Tibet in a single generation. Nothing produced by the Han Chinese in 5,000 years, including the teachings of Lao Tzu or Confucius, could remotely compare to the wisdom China destroyed in Tibet. Yet they remain proud of their culture and show not the least remorse.
I could go on since the list is endless, but the point is self-evident and clear. A few pretty leftover clay pots, paintings and recipes do not a true culture make. If there is any doubt on this point, just ask the millions of Uighurs languishing in China’s cultural adjustment centres.