Patrick Khaw former Journalist in Asia and Australia (1975-2000)
I was born in Singapore right in the middle of the Malayan Emergency, when the Malayan Communist Party staged a guerilla war to try to win independence from the British.
As such, although I was a fifth-generation Chinese born in Singapore, I was taught to hate Communists and China. As a former British colony, we looked up to the UK and also the US who were among the victorious allies in WW2.
When I became a journalist, I had access to many publications from around the world and most of them promoted the view of China as an evil empire.
I also learned that most publications, including the one I worked for, had a built-in bias.
It was only when I went to university, at the ripe age of 28, that I was exposed to a broader range of views on China and many other things besides. I was lucky to have lecturers who were happy to lend me books to expand my knowledge and understanding of the world at large.
I learned that the Singapore government that outwardly criticised China was engaged in trade with it.
And the more I read, about Chinese history andao'da'li politics, the more I realised I had been fed many lies about China.
I look at the events in Washington DC on Jan 6 and wonder how the US can criticise and condemn China and its rulers.
In the past 20 years, I have visited China often. I am struck by the drive and industry of the Chinese people. And their friendliness, and their clean and safe cities.
I support China’s efforts to expand trade and create prosperity for its citizens. When it does wrong, I will criticise it too. But I am no longer going to be fooled by bias and propaganda promoted to put China in a poor light.
Thanks, Patrick. I was anti-communist for many years, as almost all our information came from the West (I used to read Time and Newsweek magazines religiously as a student, then graduated to the Economist etc).
But I refer the Global Times nowadays. It doesn’t hide the fact that it’s affiliated to to CCP, and so we don’t expect it to say anything bad about China; but apart from that, I find the content to be factual, and the tone irenic. Another source i’ve come to love is ThinkChina (affiliated to Lianhe Zhaobao). I’ve also found CGTN and CCTV 4 to be reliable sources of information, but I wish there are more which are reasonably available (in English — I read Chinese, but significantly less proficiently than English, a sorry indicator of the education I went through!)
I wish I can have more access to unbiased and non-polemical sources of information — but when you find that even the BBC and the Economist have no clue about China (and also Singapore, and presumably the rest of the non-Western world as a whole), what can you do?
You’re welcome, TC. We read the same publications.
All publications have bias; it’s up to the reader to find out what they are and to allow for it. And then to look for sources with a different point of view.
One of my history lecturers taught me to read about the author first, read the introduction and conclusion before deciding if a source was worth delving into.
Take care and stay safe.
Pai How Nee
Thks for sharing, Patrick. Agree & support your opinion - “support China’s efforts to expand trade and create prosperity for its citizens. When it does wrong, criticise it too. But no longer going to be fooled by bias and propaganda promoted to put China in a poor light.”
Thank you. I am no fan of the China but they have done a good job for a quarter of mankind. And if China’s people are content, how they choose to be governed in no one’s business but theirs.
Take care and stay safe.
Hu Shi Xiong
I was 30 before I realised its all nonsense
Any country will have both sides including the good and the bad, China is no exception. Good Luck.
When China does something that merits criticism, I’m right up there. And while it is a far from perfect country, it has done much good for its citizens. That’s my measure of good governance.
“When China does something that merits criticism,”—how do you know if China does something that merits criticism within China?
“ But it is not my government. “—so maybe you would not put much weight on how good its governance is?
I have several friends from the PRC, both personal and professional (from my days as a journalist).
My point of view does not matter as much as how the Chinese people feel or at least tell me they feel.
At this point, I see more dissatisfaction by American citizens than Chinese citizens.
I had the opportunity to migrate to the US (my parents are American) but I did not. If I were younger (I am a pensioner), I would certainly consider China.
If you are unhappy and are able to leave, you should. I was unhappy in Singapore, I had options and I left. :)
Anthony Pun Advocacy/Commentator Public Policies & Geopolitics
Many thanks to Mr Patrick Khaw,for a simple and powerful answer. Your thoughts and view of the current world around you and China, is not different from most of the 50 million overseas Chinese living outside China.
I particularly find resonance in your experience growing up the British Empire learning about the West and virtually no information from China. My maternal great grand mother is an Anak Peranakan (a descendant from Malacca). In terms of allegiance to China, our family had one serving the PLA (died in Yunnan) and another serving the KMT and was relocated in Quemoy Isl. than Taiwan. Some close relatives were detained under the British Emergency law without trial. These relatives were primary educated in Chinese and they know more about China politics than those educated in English. I didn’t believe that these two who served in China were politically minded, except they saw a chance to fight for a down trodden China then, against Japan.
The post WW2 overseas Chinese in the British colonies were mainly English educated because of economic neccessity. There was a magazine before Time in Singapore/Malaysia, it was the “Free World Magazine” produced by the Americans and it glorify war.
Like your experience, most overseas Chinese learned about China from Western writers and journalist who were non-geopolitically biased. As China opened up, more overseas Chinese were able to return to the source of their roots to expand their knowledge of Chinese history and culture. I used to buy Asia Pac books written in English & in comic form, to read all about Chinese history, language and culture (Singapore publisher). Of course, the “China Reconstruct” magazine of the 1960s is not sophisticated enough to attract great following compared to her modern TV cable network CGTN.
Overseas Chinese have empathy with the Chinese people of PRC, Taiwan, HK, Macau. A cosy feeling about people who have the same language and cultural background;
Yong Jian-Yi lives in Singapore
What you probably meant is why we don’t oppose the China. It is probably true that many of us think they have a competent government.
Unlike many Western country who automatically assumes that the China. We have a good idea that it is fake. It may not have been true 10 years ago, but the trust that we have for the American and British media is eroded.
There is a very dangerous movement arising in the Anglo American part of the world, to control the rise of China by spreading lies. Such lies affect everyone who looks Chinese.
Xihang Yang knows Dutch
Not really oversea born, but grow up there in very early young age. So CCP propaganda never effect me in a way since I do not know how to read Chinese and before the internet news report that from China are rare.
Irony it was western liberal education that make me support China. The Dutch never brainwash there people to hate they only hate the German during the football math.
They always support free tinking, but they do not know that they them self are being brainwash lately. Like in recent time they become toxic for having free thought. Like what happen with Dutch hollyday that have black face issue. Like both side become toxic. Or one time I comment how on earth was the passenger not inform that they was flying above a war zone. I receive a lot of hate comment simple for that they even accuse me for supporting Putin for that.
In fact, this is only the choice of some overseas-born Chinese.
When the blood motherland still exists, with such a huge population and not much development level behind the world, you may not be able to cut off the cultural attraction it brings to you.
This cultural attraction may be active or passive, and it may become an impulse to convert in a specific period. I don't think this is a bad thing for an individual, because it adds an anchor point to the individual's psychology to some extent. Even though the blood country in one's mind may be different from reality, it does not affect the positive effect on one's psychology.
Therefore, I believe that this is only a normal social and psychological reaction of the overseas-born Chinese group, which belongs to a natural part of human nature.
Chloe Van der Leyen
I wonder to what level the attraction is merely passive.
I don’t live in Australia, but I’ve read reports that the majority of Chinese language mass media in Australia are owned by PRC connected companies. This is then utilized for propaganda purposes to make Chinese speakers in Australia more sympathetic to China. I am not saying it is necessarily nefarious, since I haven’t read or listened to it myself. But it seems like an argument towards the active influence theory. Recently a book has been published on this topic: Silent Invasion: China's Influence in Australia, Clive Hamilton
我不住在澳大利亚，但我看到报道说，澳大利亚的大多数中文大众媒体都是由与中国有联系的公司所拥有。而后，这些媒体被用于宣传目的，使在澳大利亚的中文使用者更加同情中国。我并不是说这一定是邪恶的，因为我自己从来没有读过或听过。但这似乎是对“积极影响理论”的不同论点。最近出版了一本关于这个主题的书：《无声的入侵：中国在澳大利亚的影响力》，克莱夫 · 汉密尔顿。
Personally, I tend to regard this view as a kind of hypocrisy in the decline of western centralism. Because with the improvement of any region or country, they will naturally tend to publicize their ideas positively, just like Hollywood movies and western modern history publications.
Why is the same thing, only a slight attempt by China, said to be an invasion? China's behavior did not invade a certain country, but shaken the foundation of Western centralism. This is an irreversible world trend. Even if China doesn't do this, India will do it soon. Even if India doesn't do it, the rising African continent will do it in the future.
Chloe Van der Leyen
There is certainly a lot of truth in that. According to the author, this is part of PRC’s grand strategy to draw Australia under its sphere of influence.
Of course, other big players like the US are just as guilty.
I think it is very obvious to buy off the elites of western countries. After China's reform and opening up, the act of letting western countries enter the Chinese market itself is to buy off western countries. This is also the most effective strategic defense China has carried out for decades. Of course, this requires very careful operation, because recklessness will only make a few people sell the whole country completely.
Only when some entrepreneurs who control western countries have vital interests in China, can we have the opportunity to negotiate with western countries. Because there will be enough contradictions in western countries first, so that they can think carefully before making a final decision.
At the same time, however, the western countries' buying of China is very hasty and lack of strategy, and they spend too much money and energy on a few separatists and unpopular people.
Calvin Liao Overseas Chinese
Pretty simple, some feel a connection with the country their parents, grandparents, or ancestors are from.
The thousands of years old history, culture, heritage, and the progress China has made make you proud to be Chinese.
China is often painted as some kind of cross between Hitler and Satan in the western media. Those who actually have spent some time in China know what’s true and what’s misinformation. And some consider the truth something worth supporting.
You pick up more history and you tend to see why China was so weak in the past. The world paints the picture that China as being the worst. The Americans supplying the raw materials to the Japanese so they could wage war in Asia since 1913 is just something the American government do not want others to remember. Only when pearl Harbor was bombed did the Americans decide that the Nazi's and the Japanese government were evil. Before that, they were supplying the Nazi's and the Russians with military equipment. They were sitting on the sideline waiting for everyone to kill off one another so that they could take over everything. That they did, as everyone else had to spend money and time to rebuild their own country after the war. The sanctions to China since the end of WW2 did in fact play a role in hindering China but obviously no one will want to remind you of that.
The government is paranoid about China getting thrown back into chaos, poverty, and humiliation by foreign forces. When you are developing at such a fast pace, control is everything. When your car is driving at a speed of 30 kilometers per hour, you can afford to relax, look around a bit, hang an arm out of the window. When you’re going at 200 kilometers an hour you need both hands on the wheel and your full attention.
Jenson Liu Teacher at New South Wales Department of Education and Communities (2012-present)
Perhaps not at first, but as these overseas Chinese people grow older and more mature, having more access to information and seeing the hypocrisy of their governments and media, they begin to see China in a new light.
After experiencing discrimination, despite being born in that particular overseas country, they begin to see themselves from a more cultural perspective.
I’m not saying that this IS completely the case with all overseas Chinese, but in recent years, support of China against all the injustice flung at it from anti-China forces is on the rise. I hope that more people, not JUST the overseas Chinese can see things in a more rational way and not spout biased nonsense that the media feeds.
Allen Allington 26 countries, 1500 days in Asia. Lives in China part time
Some people on Quora and on other social media seem to think China is a bad place, the Chinese people oppressed and their country terrible. Nothing could be further from the truth.
China is a wonderful country, its culture is very friend and family centered, its people are kind, generous and friendly and the government isn’t much different than every other government.
I hope you get a chance to visit China sometime soon :-)
I am a Singaporean Chinese born and raised in Singapore. My first visit to China was in 1989 to Chengdu then to Lhasa. The airport in Chengdu is right in the middle of farms. There were many riding bicycles in their Mao jackets, hardly any cars except for taxis and utility vehicles. Visited Chengdu again in 2011, the transformation is truly astounding, the modern airport can put many airports in developed countries to shame, a eight lane highway to the city with mega malls and fancy hotels lining the roads. There are private cars aplenty, not just local made cars but lots of Mercedes Benzes, Audis and BMWs. Imagine just 22 years, the transformation is truly breathtaking.
The experience in Chengdu at that time was just a secondary city, the changes in the primary cities like Beijing and Shanghai is even greater, very much greater. China really took capitalism to the next level. Infrastructures are amazing.
These are never highlighted in western media because they are really afraid to let the world know that the CCP practicing Socialism with Chinese features can transform a poor country in 40 short years. This is something that even the west find it hard to achieve. The west is truly afraid for their people to see their failure.
I think blood is thicker than water!! At least in the South East Asia region, a lot of my Chinese friends would consider a Chinese that does not support China as 'Banana'. That is to say, yellow outside, white inside.
As least, Malaysians and Singaporeans would term themselves as 'Chinese’ on the their identity cards. In public, they would class themselves as (depends on their dialects) TangRen(Tang people), HuaRen(China people) or commonly (ZhungKwok Ren) Edit: Middle Kingdom people.
Dispense of the local politics requiring them to identify their ethnicities, there is a lot of links to their culture. Vast amount of traditional Chinese cultures of various dialects are preserved with the earlier migrants during the last few centuries such ancestors worships, temples of deities, cultures of Buddhists worships and they even incorporate local believes into a version of deities called 土地公… a sort of the 'Lord of the localities’, worship sites usually around a big ancient tree.
So with these rich cultural histories, even the China Chinese are seeking clarity of their Chineseness, through ASEAN Chinese, lost during the Cultural Revolution where anything ‘old’ were destroyed. This revival definitely influenced the recent behaviour of the overseas Chinese and incorporate their loyalty to China. Needless to say overseas Chinese also have their ancestry ground in China so the natural instinct for them to gravitate towards their ethnic origins are strong.
Case in point,
“Paula Williams Madison is an African-American woman who grew up Harlem, New York City, and later when she retired, she found her Chinese grandfather’s family in Shenzhen, China in 2012”
From the US to China: how an African-American woman can also be a Chinese Hakka
举个例子,“保拉 · 威廉姆斯 · 麦迪逊是一名非裔美国女性，在纽约哈莱姆区长大，后来退休，她于2012年在中国深圳找到了她中国祖父的家人”
Indeed a strange question: WHY NOT??
Aside from overseas born Chinese, any national can support China or whatever country they see fit to support.
I support China on most recent issues because I can distinguish facts from lies. I know that false accusations such as ‘genocide’, ‘concentration camps’ and ‘forced labour’ are aggressive propaganda fabricated by some Western Media and politicians, with aim to smear China and to halt it’s rapid global rise.
If there is another Cultural Revolution in China again, I certainly won’t be supporting that!!
I'm an overseas Chinese; have travelled to China several times and have seen how fast it continues to develop and better the lives of its people. Its encouraging that hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty and have the opportunity to improve their lives.
China has its flaws but it's in a much better state than where it was 50 years ago and that's something to be proud about.
My old man was born in China. I feel proud that China is now strong and it's citizens living reasonable good lifestyle.
It's because of the western leaders and media which unjustly bash up China, causing even the overseas Chinese to become nationalists and rise up to defend her. Thank you that I now love my parents ‘ motherland.
Even here the people in China cannot freely get access except by the tool by which they can get around the Great Firewall.
Get a VPN . The Chinese are too smart compared to you. Why worry about their when they are free to speak to each other within China on Wechat. The western world only wants to interfere in others internal affairs. They don't need Facebook or Google.
Rendall Koh 3rd Generation ethnic Chinese in Singapore
China have never been a country that is associated with the term ‘ Good Impression’. However, in the last 10–20 years, we have seen a major transformation.
They have developed business hub in various cities, Poverty rate has decrease. They started to also invest in other country.
When we look at the media, its always USA that is trying to bring down China for no reason. And if we look at war, USA has engaging in war resulting in deaths and refugees. China has always been minding their business.
Then when you compare the HK Riot and BLM movement. Apparently, more violence was used by the police/military during BLM movement as compare to HK.
For many centuries, the global leaders have been traditionally Europeans and American, the sad history have also reminded us that Chinese ethnics are seen as inferior subjects during those colonial periods. So why do we need to look up at others when Chinese can lead the world. We may not be China citizen, but because of our ethnic, naturally, I will feel closer to Chinese ethnic or Chinese citizen.
Lol cuz the country I was born in hate chinese ethnicity so badly. They murder, r*pe , ban our culture, language , names etc etc. I don't feel like I belong in this country. Thats why the only way I could escape is to support china no matter what. Idc if they r communist or whatsoever, Cuz its the only country that probably would accept me without seing me differently. :))
*Just my personal opinion*
Genetic and culture , chinese blood flows in my vein,I am a 5th gen in Indonesia but I love China , maybe because my parents teach me to love China since I was a child. But the biggest factor is because I always be seen as Chinese in Indonesia and received many discrimination in the past. It is getting better now but structural discriminatiion still exist and many Indonesian people see me as foreigner.
Dave C.J. Kim part Chinese-American
Not just folks of Chinese heritage. More and more East and Southeast Asian folks here in the West are becoming more and more aware that when Wh*te motherf*ckers say or publish anything on Chinese issues, 9/10 it’s not actual criticism of Chian;s policies. Instead it’s mostly thinely-veiled racist bullsh*t hiding behind “I’m against the China so it’s fine that 99.99% of what I say are completely based on my own prejudice and racism against Asian people and not actual criticism of the China’s policies”.
Because China is not the bad country the United States is trying to make them out to be ! In fact China is exactly the complete opposite of what the us news media is saying and some of the country as well ! And most good Americans will also support China as well as love the country itself !!! So that is why American born Chinese still support China because it is also their country of origin, even know they were born in America they are still Chinese !!!!!
When you see the changes that China undergoes, you'd be damn foolish not to be proud of that land we used to call home. I am a 90s baby and I am freaking proud! ps: I go back whenever I can! and once covid subsides, I might go back for a long while.
Because it takes maybe a few hours to renounce your nationality, but it takes YOUR LIFE to change your race.
That’s the brutal truth.
No matter how anti-China you adopt, when Chinese are thrown into internment camp, like Internment of Japanese Americans - Wikipedia
, it doesn’t matter what you think.
Your look does.
So does your race.
Ralph Zhang Math Teacher (2006-present)
Because I used to live in China and I know the real China and Chinese. I just can’t bear those lies and liars.
Jesuan Wu lives in Panama City, Panama (2018-present)
Why wouldn’t they?
Being born overseas doesn’t automatically cut the cultural and family ties with the country of origin of your family.
Because I'm so friggin’ proud of Chinese culture 😎😎😎
Kumar Cheganathan works at Hewlett-Packard Singapore
Chinese are the most United race in the world.
Cze Low MD at Surgery Center
Because they are Chinese in their blood, mind and appearance.
Jiahong Chen ICT Man, Malaysianized Cantonese residing in Canton China
Well, two ways to talk about this.
As you may know, the racism has always been a major issue in the US and a lot of White-ruled countries. The racism is not just on Chinese, but also Africans, Latins, Indians, etc..
Luckily Asians have strong/successful countries to back up the race, but Japan cannot resist the US that much, while China can.
That’s why the overseas born Chinese support China, because some traditional problem in the White-ruled societies.