Thursday, April 23, 2009

China’s Policy of Dishonesty

Honesty is a problem for China. Maybe not everyone who is in charge of running and representing the country is dishonest…but I’m starting to wonder.

Let’s take a look at the stats:

• A Chinese girl soccer team from Daping Junior High that won an International tournament in Turkey last week, gets most of their players from a junior national team and don’t actually attend the Jr. High they were representing. Official regulations require all the players to be enrolled full time in the school they play for. The other teams they beat from Brazil, Sweden, Italy, France and Germany might not like the odds being loaded either.

• While the dispute of ‘08 Gold medal-winning girls for the Chinese gymnastic Olympic team were eventually “cleared” of being old enough, bone x-rays performed this March indicate some of them, and in fact 20% of the 15,000 Chinese athletes had lied about their ages.

Yi Jianlian who plays for the NBA’s New Jersey Net’s also allegedly lied about his age so he could qualify for the junior tournaments.

• The China Sports Ministry reported last year that, at least 36 Chinese professional basket ball league players may have altered their birthdates.

It’s not just ages and sports that China can’t be truthful about.

• 9-year-old Lin Miaoke wowed the audience by singing the Chinese national anthem for the beginning of the ’08 Olympics hosted in Beijing. It was later revealed the real voice belong to 7-year-old Yan Peiyi, another little girl- who the Chinese officials decided was not cute enough to represent the country.

• The fireworks at the Opening Ceremonies hosted in Beijing were also faked. They scam was so elaborate that the 55 second sequence took a year of planning and preparing by inserting computer graphics into the stadium coverage. They simulated smog at night and shook the camera during “filming” the fireworks for the giant stadium screens and for televised viewers, to give the impression it was filmed from a helicopter. The real firework display was done outside the stadium coverage, to help perpetuate the belief that it was the same display being watching inside.

• Corruption in Major Chinese Universities and Colleges just between 2004 and 266 involve millions of yen for bribes in student enrollment, teacher appointment, equipment purchases, infrastructural construction and scientific training.

• Making the grade and general tuition isn’t enough for students at Universities either. Many are also expected to pay additional outrageous sums of money on the side or risk losing their spot and their education.

• Prostitution has become an increasing way to “bribe” officials by businessmen and criminals.

Chinese officials “justify” all of their decisions one way or another. But the biggest question about a history of dishonesty is…can ANYTHING they say or do be trusted? Without trust there is no basis for foreign policy. And that should be a major concern for a country that exports billions of dollars worth of goods to other continents every year.

They’ve also recently developed a bad rap with the lead paint dangers found in everything from toys and makeup to pottery imported from China in the past few years.

China is an amazing and awe inspiring country. They have lent so many contributions to the human species living experience. But their obsessive need to depict a “perfect” image of their country and people is far more damaging and in most cases a blatant obstruction of justice.

Is China even capable of playing fair? Or are they so used to bending, changing and ignoring rules and thinking they are above fundamental things like that they don’t even know how to keep a moral compass anymore?

Suspicion and distrust are a part of their culture. They are noted for being particularly cold to strangers and those they don’t have an established relationship with. Cheating and engaging in self-serving behaviors and choices make for a climate racked with doubt that anyone else would be honest. They are not a welcoming culture to anything new nor anything that is not of their own creation or their own idea.

It would seem that China has a policy of sincerely believing they are allowed to play with loaded dice and a virtually nonexistent set of rules, while the rest of the world must toe the line. Their line.

“Saving Face” is a major issue for the Chinese. To most other cultures it would appear for them to shoot past obsession and deep into fanaticism. A person must preserve a perceived “reputation” at all costs. Even if that reputation is only a front created by skillful lying and a history of deceit. A person who “loses face” feels they are no longer worthy to live in the world. It is a very extreme concept and one that leaves a person constantly on the edge of potential ruin. It seems the concept of forgiveness, (even or especially of oneself) is not really given much though.

And mercy? Don’t cross your fingers. Given the plethora of people who inhabit China and the way their government has treated visitors, citizens and their own offspring (particularly their daughters), clearly they view life as “expendable”. Some of the stories are beyond shocking.

There is also a code that demands any “favor” done someone be repaid, if not immediately then at a later date.

Every country has some issues with dishonesty within their own geographical boundaries. But not every country has developed a reputation for being completely without remorse for cheating, being cold and calculating with every transaction amongst allies, enemies and their own people alike, and demanding allowance for their own selfishness with every interaction.

For a culture that is historically capable of producing intelligent and educated people and innovative products, they are very much in danger of being known as country with a big brain and no conscience.

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