|Anglo-centric view of British mission to China|
|Le Emperor of Vietnam before Chinese officials|
Of course, not everyone went along with this way of thinking. The Vietnamese in particular were well known for referring to their ruler as “king” when dealing with the Chinese but using the title of “emperor” among themselves. They were ruled by the Vietnamese Emperor and everyone knew it but, for the sake of peace and stability, they would pay court to the Emperor of China since that was what was required to keep the Chinese happy. The Europeans were a more mixed bag. Some went along with this local custom, while others refused, first by insisting on meeting the Emperor face-to-face as any ambassador would do with a European monarch and then refusing to get down on both knees and bow down in front of him. They did not show such obeisance to their own monarchs, much less a foreign one. This, of course, inevitably led to problems.
|Barbarians on the rampage|
|The despicable talking shop of the world|
After all, the People’s Bandit Republic of Chinese Sweatshops has certainly not embraced the liberalism and human rights called for by the United Nations. It deals with countries that the UN says are to be shunned, it has engaged in currency manipulation to give its own economy an advantage and has even begun trying to establish a “World Bank” of its own. In effect, they have adopted the forms but not the substance of these new internationalist organizations. They use them to their own advantage but never adhere to anything they say which would, in their view, be detrimental to the current Chinese ruling class and political system. It may be that the Sino-centric mentality does survive in Peking and I would say it proves that the mentality was not all that bad in the first place. Obviously, if you are not Chinese, you are not going to agree with it but if you are Chinese, it has helped them remain more independent than other countries that no longer feel that they are anything unique or special.
|Emperor Tongzhi of the Great Qing Empire|
|As absurd as giant portraits of Karl Marx?|
You will notice that he said, “the world” and not simply that China or that, “the Chinese have stood up”. The pertinent point is that the Chinese do not view themselves as no different from any other people, they do not view themselves as replaceable or interchangeable in the way that western Europeans seem to. They do not ‘go along to get along’ but, on the contrary, insist that others ‘go along’ with their point of view in order to ‘get along’ with them. The most obvious example of this is their insistence on being recognized as the one and only legitimate government of China and refusal to maintain formal relations with anyone who continues to maintain formal relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan.
|Once a sacred ritual, now empty play acting|