Ben Xu, Lecturer at the Department in English at St. Mary’s College of California
1, In China, for a long time there was no distinction between anger and hatred, therefore many Chinese people easily remember vengeance and they often consider holding on to vengeance as something worth bragging. Class struggle is a kind of hatred and it is often understood as justified “loyal hatred”. “Firmly remember class hatred” is considered to be politically conscious. But actually this kind of enlightenment is just an abstract concept. There is actually no specific object for the hater to hate (if he sees a neighbor who is considered a “rightist” he is not going to beat him for no reason). Class struggle is an ideology, and it is not just an emotion studied in the discipline of psychology.
2, Before, in every political campaign there were always “meetings for fights” and “meetings for criticism” that many people just follow blindly. Nowadays though this kind of political struggles have stopped, but this habitual way of venting anger has been continuing. For every news events, the emotionally charged “agitated anger” online always outvoice rational analysis. This is reckless and irresponsible “agitated anger”. People vent all kinds of curse words.
3, Anger expressed in a group is different from anger expressed by individuals. Anger expressed by individuals is generally sincere; while anger exhibited in a group is different. For those individuals who are not necessary really angry, if they are in a group they could pretend to be very angry, especially if there are chances to show their “extreme anger”. It is common that some individuals realize their personal interests in an angry group.
4, It is very common in China to demonstrate people’s legitimacy through venting anger, instead of reasoning. In news reports and political slogan there is always the words of “angrily lament” or “loudly command”. It is as if people get more legitimate if they could “angrily lament”, get upset and fight. The popular book Unhappy China is a book full of anger and lack of rationality.
5, A society with a “big fire” must be an unreasonable society. A society that is unreasonable also nurtures people with “big fire”. If there are more people in a society who are unreasonable and have “big fire”, the society will be less healthy. More than 2000 years ago Socrates had said that there is correlation between a healthy soul and a healthy state. This saying still stands today.
Yang Xuedong: Director of Translation of Central Documentation Department in the Party’s Central Compilation & Translation Bureau
1, The construction of China’s international discursive power needs to consider changes in international society. We can’t just pay attention to Western society, especially not just consider the approval and acknowledgement of the United States. We also need to holistically consider the points of focus of different interest groups in the international society. Through proposing constructively, we need to actively respond to key concerns in the international society and play an active role in creating international consensus.
2, Secondly, we need to deal with the relationship between state-led discourse and discourse in the society. The construction of China’s international discourse is explicitly led by the State, which is helpful for increasing the coherence of the discursive construction and it is also helpful to have a positive effect in a short amount of time, therefore raises attention from the international society. However, there are also obvious shortcoming for state-led discourse. First is that it does not correspond to international customs. Second is that the way of expression is too formatic and it is difficult to fully reflect China’s changes and dynamics in Chinese society since the reform and open up. To better the situation, on one hand we need to improve the construction system of nation-led discursive power, and absorb nutrition from vivid life in society. We need to shorten the gap between the state and the society and eliminate contradiction between the two. On the other hand, we also need to try to create more platforms and mechanisms through bilateral and multilateral international relations to strengthen China’s discursive power.
3,Third, we need to highlight the experience of China’s development. We particularly need to have a systematic summary of the governing experience and make it “universal”. The great achievement China has made in the past few years proves that our reform fits the rules of economic development. Many of our experiences could be universalized and could be referenced by other countries.
4, During the process of summarizing China’s development experience, we must avoid extremes - categorizing “Chinese characteristics” as the “Chinese exceptionalism”, which could shackle our thoughts and actions and alienate or even contrast the international society. Only do we systematically summarize China’s development experience, make it more abstract, theorize it, can we be more convincing in the international society, can we upgrade to rational thinking and dialogue from just presenting individual examples.
5, We need to take advantage of multilateral mechanisms. Multilateral diplomatic events should not only rely to existing international organizations, we also need to continuously create new communication platforms and international organizations. On this point, most countries actually are on the same level. China should fully take advantage of its elevated economic status to strengthen its connection with each country. We have lots of room to grow.
5, We need to pay attention to the textual support in international discursive power. Increasing discursive power is a kind of cultural development and we need to strengthen the translation and broadcast of Chinese cultural products. On one hand there is a lack of systematic planning of translation. There is imbalance of content and languages. There is a lack of attention on other developing countries. The second is that important official documents are main texts for China’s international discursive power, but there is no scaled effect of some documents, which constraints the upgrading of China’s international image as a transparent country. And it is not helpful for the international society to fully understand China’s system, policies and governing model.
6, In the process of constructing international discursive power we need to be careful of two wrong trends: one is to think, plan and judge international publicity with the mindset of “domestic propaganda”. The ruling Party has accumulated rich experience of internal propaganda and has mastered a large number of channels and mechanisms. It is easy to start a campaign and create a coherent scenario within China. But when it is for international publicity, we must be careful not to overstress coherence, formality and one-direction. We need to increase our awareness of the recipients and interaction. The second is the mindset to pursue political performance. Discursive development is different from economic development. It needs funding, as well as time. We can’t be impatient and have “leap forward” or “image projects”, which might seem magnificent in form, but actually is not cost-effective, or they could even seriously damage China’s international image. Therefore we need to seriously study the rules and follow them during the construction of international discursive power. We need to learn our lessons and other people’s experiences, and explore suitable ways for China to increase its international status.