Moments of Silence to Remember in China
Did you fill up with pride when seeing the shots of Sichuan’s minutes of silence from all over China? From the mountaintops of Lhasa to the rolling hills of inner Mongolia, the scenes inspire great pride in China.
Moments of Silence in China
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, in honor of those who are suffering or have left this earth because of the recent earthquake (and dozens of rather strong aftershocks) in Sichuan province, the Chinese government implemented a three day period of mourning, with three minutes of silence (interrupted only by blow horns, air raid sirens, car horns, and any other horn within reach) each day.
Showing the cut scenes from all across China was moving and a tribute to all of those hurt by the earthquake.
It seems the non-Chinese media has it pretty much wrong when they focus on the handful of people who are complaining about corruption and shoddy construction, or about a government that is using this tragedy to strengthen and consolidate its power.
Paul has it right when he states that the foreign media and twitterati has shed this event in the wrong light – for the vast majority of Chinese people, this is a tragedy that has helped pull a nation together, not apart, and a period of government imposed mourning is more a sign of respect for those harmed by the earthquake than a power play.
One of the commentators (Edwin Heng) at that post hit it right on the head when he said this:
And in the past, as even now, in Chinese tradition, abstaining from entertainment in the period of mourning is considered only right and proper. To do so otherwise would be deemed as severely disrespectful to the dead. Frankly, the Chinese public sees this ban as part of tradition, and it represents the highest mark of respect that a nation could accord its dead. To have it otherwise would be frankly most wrong in Chinese culture.
So, indeed, please do understand Chinese traditions and culture before being cynical.
Is This Chinese Nationalism or His Gentle-Hearted Brother?
This doesn’t seem to be an event that has fanned the flames of nationalism or a state expanding its power like America post 9/11 as Will suggested and John seems to have implied (the nationalism bit). Those flames were already burning bright when the earthquake ripped through the hearts of people in China and around the world.
Instead this event has brought out the good hearted brother of nationalism, patriotism.
After all, what’s a better way to show your love for China?
Putting up an I LOVE CHINA next to your name… or donating time, clothes, and money to helping those who lost everything they owned, friends, and family?
If you haven’t yet, click here to see how you can help earthquake victims in Sichuan.