Hello everyone, friends, how are you !!! 🙂 Today I greet you because Lele is a little ill again Everything is fine with the pregnancy, but she still has a little anemia and there are days when she notices it more So, let’s let him get some rest! 🙂 And while I am going to tell you this scroll of how my point of view about China has changed throughout all these years Well, I’ve said all these years, but it’s really only since 2011, which isn’t that long either Sometimes we are a little exaggerated with these things! 😉 There’s a lady here … cleaning the clothes Yes. 🙂 And he says: “What are you saying? I don’t understand anything! What roll is he dropping ?! XD Well, as you know, I came here to do the field work of my sociology thesis And as I mentioned on other occasions, I spent the first 2 years in Wuhan, which is where I met Lele, and today it is a super famous city for everything is all the coronavirus, But then it was not a very popular destination among Westerners who came to China In fact, many times the Wuhanese were surprised to see me there They asked me: “But why did you choose this city ?!” O_o! Mainly, because it was not as developed a place as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc But I chose Wuhan for precisely that! Because I wanted to understand the processes of economic development and modernization in China But when I came to this country, I was carrying a lot of luggage produced in the west in my MENTAL SUITCASE I in Spain had already read a few sociological works on the modernization processes in China, And I think I specialized a bit in the sociology of religion and its implications for economic development And, of course, I also came up with a lot of prejudice about China’s culture, society, and politics, among others And I say all this because I think it is very important to realize how these mental schemas interfere with our way of seeing and understanding reality I am going to give you a more neutral example, because if we go directly to political issues this will heat up too quickly! XD And for you to see, when I arrive (but still today is a debate that is still quite alive), There was much discussion about how Confucianism was replacing Marxism in China And there were a lot of people who were writing things about how Confucianism had a lot to do with the economic development of this country And, in part, I was also tasked with that mission! I had to investigate Confucian capitalism So what happened? That I, from the moment I arrived in China, was looking for proofs and evidences that confirmed this thesis In other words: what I was doing was staying only with those aspects of reality that fit with the mental scheme that I had brought from Spain And what happened? That in those first 2 years that I was in Wuhan, that I met many students to then interview them, do surveys and others, In the end I realized that this story had nowhere to catch it! And not because it was false from top to bottom! Because there were certain issues that could be defended! But rather because it was too BUDDY a SIMPLIFICATION of reality For example, I paid a lot of attention to the symbols used by Chinese companies and tried to detect Confucian features, but in most small and medium-sized companies I came across symbols of popular religion, Buddhism, Taoism, And very little thing that was clearly the heritage of Confucianism! So, I was wondering: How can you defend the notion of Confucian capitalism against this reality? And that’s how I started to get a little bit more interested in another research thread, which is: How was this notion of Confucian capitalism built? And I think that, to a large extent, this has been the result of taking certain theories about modernization that have been VERY popular in the West and project them onto China Because, within these debates, there are quite a few people who are convinced that: If in the West capitalism developed supported above all by a great religion that was Protestantism, in China the same must happen with its majority “creed”, which would be Confucianism And what happens? That China is a SO MUCH more complex country than that, partly because it has a VERY LONG and VERY DIFFERENT history than that of Western countries And this is something that some university students in Wuhan were already warning me about, with expressions that we, the Westerners, sometimes get a little bored with, such as: “It is that the Chinese have 5,000 years of history!” And it is that these expressions sometimes work as a somewhat INDIRECT way of telling us: “Hey! Put the brakes on and read a little bit more about us, before coming to tell us what we are like and how we should be.” But of course! I became aware of all these things after a LONG time in this country, And after learning to listen to people! Because, as I said before, maybe I was doing interviews with students, workers, businessman But he was listening to what I wanted !!! Regarding political ideas, when I arrived in China I had the conviction that most of the people here lived oppressed and exploited
I paid a lot of attention, for example, to the level of competition among the students, that I still think it is a VERY serious problem within the country But of course! Then you study history and realize that this is a characteristic of the educational and political system that comes from MANY centuries ago, And of which, in fact, MANY Chinese are proud! Because, in fact, here many people are convinced by the idea that you have to compete so that the most suitable are those who occupy positions of responsibility When I started to get a little confident with Chinese students and interview them, who did them in English because I didn’t speak Mandarin then, They told me things that fit very well with that discourse of oppression that I brought from the West They told me about spending years and interns years in schools, seeing VERY little of their parents, of a number of hours of study a day and a week that for me was somewhat surreal, that they wouldn’t let them have a boyfriend or girlfriend, Anyway … It was a very hard life and I sometimes felt sorry for them !!! And I sometimes took it for granted that this was part of a Chinese government’s MACHIAVILIC plan to better exploit citizens! But the reality is that many of these students I interviewed, partly because they already spoke some English, Then they went to the United States and stayed there! What’s more, I met them and thanks to the fact that I started offering Spanish classes, and many of them signed up because they knew that in the areas of the United States they were going to, this language was also spoken But what was the Chinese government getting out of that talent drain ?! And then, inquiring into reality, and above all, as I said before, REALLY listening to people, you realize how complex this situation is In China, the pressure for us to study and work hard not only comes from the government, but also from the teachers, the family and ourselves For example, I often asked students directly like this: “Why do you study so hard ?!” And most of them answered me: “Because we are a lot of people!” Yes! 🙂 And I, as a sociologist from the West, did not like that answer too much, because I was expecting other types of clues! But for students that was their reality! Their reality was a level of competition whose causes were perhaps irrelevant to many! And most of them (I also saw that in the survey results) were willing to compete to improve their quality of life From an “objective” point of view, it was clear that his main problem was how to access a better standard of living, which is a problem that we can find in a LOT of countries What’s more, I would say it is THE PROBLEM IN CAPITAL LETTERS! And the truth is that MANY of the “problems of China”, about which I had read MANY times in the Western media, they were IRRELEVANT to them And although in the interviews we talk about everything, we talk about authoritarianism, democracy, labor exploitation, etc All this they saw with some distance, partly because they were university students (although many of them came from humble families), and partly because China was and continues to be a country that economically continues to offer many opportunities to improve your quality of life, and this is IMPORTANT to keep people happy When I interviewed my students they told me a thousand hardships, but they always had the conviction that their life was going to be better than that of their parents And I, for example, did not have much hope of it! 🙂 In fact, when I came to China in 2011, many people here already knew how strong the economic crisis had hit Spain And a few said to you: “Oops, you have a lot of unemployment there! How do you manage to live?” And of course! It is that job prospects are a FUNDAMENTAL question to talk about the welfare of a society !!! Anyway, that does not mean that I “turned into reality” the things that the Chinese told me To me, the level of corruption was so scandalous that you could see in many places I’m talking about before the anti-corruption campaigns came, which we’ll talk about a little later, But people didn’t complain about it that much, either, and it was a matter that could be talked about openly! I gave a lot of trouble with this topic during those 2 years in Wuhan, I talked about it many times with Lele, with my students, partly because in Spain we were living directly the SO DISASTER results of corruption, And I could see very closely how public money was used for things that had no justification I participated in a few fancy lunches and dinners that said, “But what is this ?!” O_o!
But that was minutiae compared to that classroom piece of I don’t know how many plants in college, That it had to be shot down a few years later because it was a mess! However, regarding certain aspects of the political system, such as democratic participation, I continued to maintain a posture of moral superiority, which is what we can find in many western media I, for example, asked these students what it was like to become a member of the CCP, I tried to get them to go see what the courses were like, They always said yes to everything, although in the end I could never go. XD And he bugged them a lot in terms of political affairs, he put them many times on the ropes! Among my students were many defenders of the CCP and the Chinese government, although this is something that many people from outside find it difficult to believe But I think they often cut themselves off when arguing with me, or didn’t do it so aggressively, not because they didn’t feel capable of beating me in a debate, but out of respect Because in China, many times, although it can be discussed perfectly, people do not like to do it because they do not generate bad vibes We have already told you many times that it is NOT a culture so given to direct confrontation, We can also find this in other neighboring countries with very different political systems And besides, I was older than them, and their TEACHER, with whom they owed me respect, just as they owe it to their parents, their superiors and other authorities That you are against authoritarianism? Well good for you! But if you want to change it, it cannot be done only attacking the political sphere, apart from this there are another series of areas that are interconnected, and which we also have to deal with And all this obviously depends on the will of the majority, If the majority do not have too much interest in changing it, well what are we going to do! And if you as a Westerner go in that combative plan all the time, in many areas of China you will end up dusty In fact, that is exactly what happened to me at the end of the second year, which I also spent without ever leaving China In the summer of 2013 Javi was UNBEATABLE He was complaining about everything! The truth is, I was pretty tired of him And when we were in Spain, he often told ugly things about China Clear! But at the same time, although I didn’t really know why, I wasn’t very aware of it, I REALLY MISS OF LIVING IN THIS COUNTRY And besides, I hope that no one is offended by this, I realized that in China I could enjoy a good future And some of you will say: “Ahhh … there is already a grateful stomach!” But of course, having good living conditions is also a fundamental right! And I had already been offered 2 doctoral scholarships to continue researching, one for Taiwan and one for mainland China, I knew I could find a good job, they had already offered me And in the end, if another country offers you the possibility of enjoying these SO basic rights We are not talking about getting rich or anything like that !!! To what extent can you maintain that immigrant position with a moral superiority complex ?! I believe that any REALLY democratic country has the OBLIGATION to guarantee the right to work and access to a decent life Or what happens, that we vote against those interests? Well, we went back to China in September 2013, and we went to a northeast province, Jilin, which is VERY far from Wuhan And when I arrived, I had to deal with other types of people, They were no longer young students, who respected me, who said yes to everything, and who told me what I wanted to hear, which is a risk that we face in many sociological investigations, I went on to deal with PhD students and professors and researchers, some of them nationally respected! At first I maintained a certain “rebellious” attitude towards certain habits related to authoritarianism For example, I was very struck by the way some students practically praised their teachers, and they dedicated a level of respect that seemed a little absurd to me And then, once after a meal we had, that we drank a little bit, I told him I said to them: “Why are you always behind them, saying yes to everything, etc.?” And of course, for them that not only implied questioning a power relationship, it also involved questioning a LONG tradition of relations with educational authorities They thought: “But if this professor has published a number of books and articles in prominent media! How can we not respect him ?!” And besides, I ignored the competition relationships, the competition that was there! Because many students were willing to help teachers in any way as long as they then return the favor by collaborating in an investigation or in the writing of an article And then, although some may find it hard to believe, I had a LOT of discussions with a PhD student who was a CCP DEFENDER FOR ULTRANCE What’s going on? That this boy was already at my level! And it didn’t have to please the western investigator !!!
So, for example, he bothered a bit to investigate the political history of Spain He asked me: “And how was the transition in Spain?” Knowing that it was a process carried out mainly from top to bottom! And he asked me rather uncomfortable things for any Spaniard, such as: “Who was Franco’s heir?” “What function did it fulfill?” “How do you see it today?” And sometimes I also wondered: “When did you have the first constitution in Spain?” In 1812 “wow! Well, it took you ENOUGH to get our batteries on! huh? ;)” “And we in China had it 100 years later. So: why are you in such a hurry with us ?!” When I was very dignified with political systems, They also used to raise the issue of imperialism, which sometimes we have a little parked in the western countries And they came to tell me that in the West sometimes we FILL our MOUTH with democracy, But then many of these democracies are part of an empire that does not hesitate to bombard certain countries to control their resources And of course! My country not long ago participated in one of those invasions! So, with this experience, I totally lowered my smoke And I realized how MUCH it bored and SCORED many Chinese people with that roll of political and moral superiority Incidentally, neither these colleagues nor my Chinese professors EVER interfered with the content of my thesis In fact, the director of my thesis continued to be the director I had in Spain, and the most that my “tutor” in China did was recommend me some bibliography, Take me to a factory where I was doing a round of interviews, and little else Well, we also went to a few lunches and dinners (of which I have commented before) with quite luxury But what happened? That the following year, when anti-corruption campaigns were launched, this rennet “habit” was ended And in the universities, this new environment was immediately noticed, that you had to be VERY careful about what you did with public money What’s more, in Chángchūn, the city we lived in, there was talk of entire areas of restaurants that ran out of business And then we have also seen the effects of this fight against corruption in other areas, in the way officials treat you, in the way companies work Yes, that in the Western media there has been a lot of insistence that behind all this there was a fight between the top leaders, but there is a fight or not, the advantages from the taxpayer’s point of view we have seen CLEARLY And in the end it makes a lot of sense, because what does it matter if your political system is this or that, if in the end it is rotten with corruption At the same time, when I arrived in China, and for all that stuff that Confucianism was replacing Marxism, I was very afraid that here we would also see all these privatization processes that we have seen in many western countries But this has not been the case, and in addition, during these years we have seen a great effort to, for example, strengthen public health On the other hand, it means a lot to me to have seen how living conditions in developing China have improved, In the town of Lele, for example! Because the first time I went there, I hallucinated a little with the poverty that existed in some areas And, furthermore, this is a part of the Chinese reality that we show in MANY of our videos Take a look at how that bottom roof is, for example! So, every year I visited the town of Lele, I was seeing the improvements that there were, for example, in the working conditions, in the infrastructure, in the services, in the attitude of the people, also …! And I have been able to see these great changes in a very short period! In 2015 Lele and I got married, I got my doctorate, we returned to Spain to spend a year, it didn’t go well financially And then I had to go back here, to work as an IMMIGRANT, because the “expat” is a term that I don’t like at all, personally That time I came as a Spanish teacher, we spent the first year in Chéngdū, and it was also when we started the channel! But, in addition, I was also translating some academic works from Chinese to Spanish, and I learned things that I had no idea about! Because that’s another one! In the West we are not bothering to translate and read many Chinese intellectuals! And this is a VERY SERIOUS mistake from the point of view of our own interests Because if we are really going to insist on seeing China as an enemy, we must know the enemy well! And what many mass media are doing with this country is just the CONTRARY And, from my point of view, the proof of this has come with the coronavirus crisis When the virus arrived, many in the West were CONVINCED that this was the case in authoritarian and developing countries Many were rubbing their hands with “the imminent fall of the Chinese government” XD And in the end, that hope has become his worst nightmare Let’s not fool ourselves! What is DEFEATING us in the West is just that complex of moral superiority, which has given me so many problems in this country I honestly believe that this is one of the few moments in history when the Western countries are facing an “enemy” of which it knows SO SO little And, in part, the problem is that we have become used to being served all kinds of false news and topical stories about China, AND WE EAT THEM WITH POTATOES !!!
And with that we are not saying that you can only trust our channel. Not at all!!! In fact, this format has many limitations in order to really learn from a SO big and SO complex country like this one I recommend that you go to the BOOKS, which are the best medicine for these times! And the more you read about China, the more books will be translated, the more will be discussed about it inside and outside this country, and the more we will learn from each other! That is all from us! If you found this video interesting, you can like it, subscribe, or help us with www.patreon.com/jabiertzo where we also post content Thank you very much for your attention and until next time! 🙂 🙂 🙂 See you later! 🙂 🙂 🙂