Via 鲍昆 an interview with Lydia Liu1 Liu’s work has to to with the difficulties of cultural contact and translation in the 19th century, so it is nice to see a fairly mass-market magazine interviewing here about intercultural contact in this second age of globalization. Liu throws cold water on the idea that the “foreigner problem” (i.e. the fact that foreign media often publish things about China that sound like they did not come from Xinhua) is caused by foreigners having not been to China and not knowing Chinese. Liu doubts that a trip to China will make foreigners see the danger of “hurting the feelings of the Chinese people” 伤害中国人民感情 the way ‘China’ does.
I suspect as a scholar she found it rather difficult to fit her ideas into the interview, but I did find it odd that when she was asked how China could respond to accounts in Western media she suggesting taking a page from the Jews.
Apparently since WWII the Jews have set up a lot of non-government organizations aimed at combating antisemitism in the media. As the West has long had a problem with racism, people are particularly sensitive to being accused of it. If China could establish groups to push the idea that criticism of China is a fault on par with racism things would be better. i.e. China needs to translate its grievances into terms that make sense in the West.
I find this a bit questionable as practical advice, since it is not mere kvetching that has made even a hint of antisemitism unacceptable in polite society in the West, but rather the legacy of certain historical events. “China” may try to convince people that asking about the age of Chinese gymnasts is the equivalent of the Holocaust, but I doubt they will have much luck with that. I also think it would like to see more on why she thinks understanding 理解 is impossible between Jews2 and Gentiles (and, one assumes, between Chinese and non-Chinese.) Still, I think Liu is trying to bridge the gap in understanding between China and the West,3 so the interview makes a nice follow-up to Charles post below.
刘禾：我们可以学习犹太人。犹太人从二战以来得到了很多教训，在全世界各地设 立了很多民间的监督站，监督针对犹太人的各种种族主义的言论和媒体报道。只要发现某媒体对犹太人进行直接或暗含的攻击，他们都有办法让对方负责任。几年 前，英国有个非常重要的报纸的主编最后就是因为这个在各种压力下被解职了。西方因为历史上种族歧视问题很严重，所以最怕被别人说种族歧视。