The Republican period (1912-1949) saw China broken into several factions, each run by a warlord who fought the others for control. The central government had very little control and for the most part, wars for reunification were fruitless. The Japanese saw the perfect opportunity to attack and took it. If China had presented a strong united front against the common enemy then it wouldn’t have suffered nearly as badly. Instead, Mao’s communists hid in the mountains for most of the war and let government forces do most of the fighting. The Japanese, facing weakened and technologically backward resistance had a relatively easy time fighting the numerically superior Chinese military.
And then of course, the communists defeat the exhausted and depleted military of the Republic of China and take over the mainland, leading to a reign of terror in which many estimates say 60,000,000+ Chinese people met untimely ends through starvation or execution in the name of a “people’s revolution”. Whose fault is that? The Chinese people. Evil has free reign when good people do nothing and the majority of the people refused to stand against the tyranny and madness of Mao Zedong, who should be remembered for all time as the greatest monster ever produced by humanity.
So, in the latest shake up to China’s views of foreign powers, scholars recently concluded that Westerners never referred to Chinese people as the “Sick Men of Asia”, a moniker that has been used by propagandists and nationalists to show the boorish view foreigners hold of Chinese people. It was instead used to describe the Qing rulers and not the common people. However, the victim mentality is so ingrained into modern Chinese culture that even when faced with careful research and consideration by scholars and experts, many Chinese netizens refused to believe it.
Some of the more brainless comments posted were:
“The writer of this article and those who support him should be called Chinese traitors! Complete nonsense, confusing black with white, blaspheming our countrymen! Have you ever thought of [China's] history of humiliation [at the hands of foreign powers]? You so-called scholars! Shame on you!”
“Another Shi Ping [a Chinese scholar who changed his nationality to Japanese], why don’t these f*cking Chinese traitors just die out?”
“This column is intentionally inverting black and white [distorting the truth, inverting right and wrong, misrepresenting the facts].”
“Yet another traitor appears.”
As you can see, among the uneducated, brainwashed and ultra-nationalists, being reasonable is apparently a form of treason. They don’t seem to be aware of the fact that numerous countries have been referred to as “Sick Man of ____”. The Ottoman Empire held this moniker in Europe for many years before World War I and most recently the term was used to describe the Philippines slow economic growth several years ago.
However, not all of the comments were so insane. Thankfully, there were some clear heads that prevailed. One of the best comments was:
“Chinese always have this victim mentality, which is the mentality of the weak, blaming everyone and everything but oneself, pathetic behavior. The line in that Hong Kong movie has it right: “A man needs to be strong himself”.”
In the end, no one will give China the respect it deserves until it fully matures as a modern culture. That of course means that the society will have to develop in a way that allows it to mesh with the rest of the world. This however seems doubtful as China’s culture is and always has been highly insular. You are either Chinese or you are an outsider and there’s nothing you can do to change that. In addition, the government will have to learn to play by the rules but this doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon. One only needs to look at the situation in the South China Sea. Diverting attention from the country’s failures by blaming others is counterproductive and childish but it’s a tried and true strategy that has served the CCP well so it’s doubtful they’ll change anytime soon.