Chinese Nationalism

In China, nationalism is a deep rooted feeling for many citizens. The Cultural Revolution brought this feeling to a peak when Chairman Mao, brought the Cultural Revolution into full force during the 1960’s. The Revolution made the idea of “out with the old, in with the new” front and center in the Chinese mindset.  With this, a Nationalistic attitude took over the minds of the Chinese even more. Of course, we know that the Cultural Revolution was over 50 years ago but what about today? Does this sense of Nationalistic attitude still hold up? Well, in 2016 stemming from the controversial South China Sea island dispute, Chinese citizens began to protest U.S. imports such as McDonald’s and KFC restaurants. The People’s Daily reported that people protested these restaurants, blocking the doors, and holding up signs with slogans such as “Get out of China, KFC and McDonald’s” and “What you eat is KFC. What is lost is the face of our ancestors”. Philippine products were also protested, such as mangoes. Angry boy cotters commented “We only eat organic locally grown mangoes”. This might confuse an outsider but the interesting fact about the mangoes relation to China is that back when Mao was in power he was given mangoes by a Pakistani official and the mangoes were then sent to student workers. Over time the mango became a symbol of General Mao and his power. Propaganda at the time celebrated this trend and gave the mango its own identity. A 1968 photo from the China Institute Gallery in New York, shows two pictures of Mao and two mangoes being paraded.  We see then how a Chinese person who is angry, not just over their islands ownership being re-arranged, but imported products taking over in their own country would be inclined to hold on to and embrace a nationalistic era of their country’s past. In America and more locally, Minnesota we have a much different melting pot. We could imagine a group of people protesting a Somali restaurant because of a recent terrorist attack in Mogadishu in the same way, Americans not wanting something they associated with terrorism in their backyard. Both China and the US have their similarities when it comes to love for their country. However, in certain situations it seems to me that it steps too far.

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