CCTV interviewed Chinese on streets: “What is patriotism?”

Alia | October 8th, 2013 - 3:09 am

“What is patriotism? What kind of behaviors do you consider to be patriotic?” These are the questions that many Chinese were asked by China Central Television (CCTV) during this past National Day holidays. In the current China where the word “patriotism” has more negative connotation than positive, some of the “unexpected” answers unsurprisingly went viral.

2The latest viral response is from a college student in Beijing. When asked about what came to his mind after hearing the word “patriot,” the student in the picture answered: “Patriot reminds me of missiles.”

The response, while completely off the point, perfectly illustrates the absurdity of asking such questions in today’s China, especially among the younger generations. Yes, many Chinese are still hardcore patriots, or even nationalists as described in many western media, when it comes to Japan, islands/rocks in the ocean, Taiwan and Tibet. But most of them, when asked about being a patriot on an abstract level, would give very mixed answers.

“I don’t know what a patriot is, but do know what a patriot is not. A patriot wouldn’t love the Party or its officials, wouldn’t stay indifferent to his/her country being exploited by evil powers, wouldn’t scream “Diaoyu Islands belong to China” and smash Japanese-brand cars…A patriot wouldn’t tolerate smog-filled air and heavily-polluted environments. A patriot wouldn’t drain his/her country’s resources for immigrant funds.” One netizen 高毅316 commented.

Another netizen万马齐喑一惊雷 commented: “Being a patriot doesn’t mean we should stay loyal to the ruling government unconditionally. Who’d love a regime that allows wide-spread pollution, inequality and corruption? To advocate democracy is to be patriotic.”

The Chinese are probably the only people in the current world (besides the North Koreans) who receive systematic patriotism education since day one of formal schooling. But when out of school and faced with polluted air and water, tainted foods and power abuse from corrupt officials on a daily basis, most Chinese find it hard to put patriotism into action.

“Patriotism is when I can afford a Japanese car but bought a JAC, a Chinese brand, in the end.” This is how a guy from Nanjing showed his love for his country. But being a patriot, or simply labeling oneself so, isn’t as easy for most others.

任志强, real estate tycoon in China, thus answered when interviewed by CCTV: “To be a patriot is to criticize the government’s every single mistake so that the country’s people can live better lives. The more unforgiving the criticism, the more patriotic.” But guess what, CCTV didn’t broadcast the response.

At the end of the day, sarcasm is probably the best way to show love for the country in China. Like one netizen 蓝色天空的幸福生活 jokingly said: “To be a patriot is to immigrate to reduce the country’s burden.”

Related posts:

Qaddafi of Libya, the new mix & match fashion icon in the eyes of Chinese netizens
Marrying a foreign woman to win honor for my country - rich man in Beijing
London Olympics, Apple and Weibo lottery scams
Airpocalypse in China: Beijing is not the worst
Jackie Chan’s insensitive rants anger netizens in China…again
Chinese netizens on PM Li Keqiang’s visit to Britain: “History repeats itself.”

10 Responses to “CCTV interviewed Chinese on streets: “What is patriotism?””

  1. [...] Jungen und Alten (oder Konservativen und Liberalen) vorstellen. Offbeat China hat einige Kommentare online übersetzt [en] und die Diskussion geht dort weiter, die Frage erörternd was denn nun Patriotismus für die [...]

  2. [...] huge gap in response between young and old (or conservative versus liberal). Offbeat China has translated some comments online and the discussion continues there, begging the question of just what is [...]

  3. [...] huge gap in response between young and old (or conservative versus liberal). Offbeat China has translated some comments online and the discussion continues there, begging the question of just what is [...]

  4. [...] CCTV interviewed Chinese on streets: “What is patriotism?” [...]

  5. X Y says:

    “The Chinese are probably the only people in the current world (besides the North Koreans) who receive systematic patriotism education since day one of formal schooling.”

    BULLSHIT. growing up in the US, every classroom from elementary school to middle school recites the “pledge of allegiance”. we learn about and worship the “founding fathers” and the pilgrims, even though they were slaveowners and perpetrators of genocide.

    • Andrew K. says:

      “growing up in the US, every classroom from elementary school to middle school recites the “pledge of allegiance”. we learn about and worship the “founding fathers” and the pilgrims, even though they were slaveowners and perpetrators of genocide.”

      Learning history from a particular bias or perspective is not even remotely a “systematic patriotism education” program.

      As for “worship the founding fathers,” I’d be shocked if you could name more than 5. Former presidents don’t count.

  6. Someone thinks this story is hao-tastic…

    This story was submitted to Hao Hao Report – a collection of China’s best stories and blog posts. If you like this story, be sure to go vote for it….

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply