Canada faces confusions in dealing with China – the second largest global economy. While China’s rising economic power holds its appeal to a foreign country seeking GDP growth, it is a country with different political and legal values. With its authoritarian government, the human rights abuse and political censorship, the rise of China seems to be a threat to the Western democratic system.
With relationship between Canada and China being a close and complicated dance, I’ve been genuinely puzzled by how to relate to China as a Chinese Canadian. The confusions have become more prominent as I become increasingly identified with the Canadian values. Having lived half of my life between the two countries, I’ve developed love and hate emotions towards China, the country where I was born and grew up in, but the country I deserted after the students’ democratic movement in 1989.
It was the warm feelings towards my hometown and the pure human love in the old times that have made me captivated about China. Despite living in poor economic conditions back then, help and assistance were abundant whenever a friend needed help or in crisis. I had been surrounded by people who loved and cared about me all the way through my childhood and youth, from the schools I attended as a rebellious teen to the workplace where I started my early career. Even in the messy and over-populated courtyard where I spent my naïve childhood, there was plenty of love, care and sweet neighbourhood atmosphere.
However, the compassions towards fellow human beings seemed to gradually fade away as China transformed into a modern metropolis. Decades of economic boom in China has not only brought financial prosperity but also twisted social values. As wealth is made and fortunes are built, materialism grows and money becomes the dominant force in the society. Lacking a moral compass, the nation has turned into a callous society with individuals lacking sympathy and emotions towards others.
A few months ago, a woman in Henan was crushed over by a SUV and instantly killed, after she was knocked down by a taxi while crossing a busy street. She was desperately seeking assistance as she lied on the middle of the road, struggling for survival. Apparently, had anybody offered her a helping hand -- simply by calling the police or halting the traffic, she would have made it.
That incident has deeply rattled my soul. I was grappled with the disturbing scene as I tried to explore my assumed life path in China -- had I not uprooted from it and left. I could have well been one of the heartless onlookers, whose empathy for others was taken away by indifference and whose self interest triumphed over moral obligations. Or worse yet, I could have been that woman lying on the cold concrete ground, spending her last few minutes in this cruel world desperately seeking the rescue that will never come.
If the memories of my childhood love and care is all what I value for my hometown, it has been depleted by this incident and many others in similar nature. Avoiding witnessing the painful changes and trying to keep my sweet memories of my early life in China intact may be part of my reasons of not coming back to China for a decade. Amid an intense nostalgia feelings, the clash of social values has only fueled my confusions towards China as I embrace my identity as a Chinese Canadian.
我们鼓励所有读者在我们的文章和博客上分享意见。We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. Visit the FAQ page for more information.