China is the most populous nation in the entire world, and its leaders are known for censorship of media, and for running a tight ship in general. For this reason, it is probably somewhat unsurprising that people have all sorts of crazy ideas about the Chinese people and their ways. Some of these are more innocent than others, but some have led people to believe derogatory things about the Chinese that are simply untrue, or at least untrue in most cases. Below we explore some of the strange things people think about the Chinese, and the truth hidden in the rumors.
10. The Great Wall of China Can Be Seen From Space
Can you see it? No, because it’s impossible. One of the most pervasive Chinese myths is that of the Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure that can be seen from space. The thing is, the Great Wall of China has never been visible from space; in fact, one of China’s own astronauts discovered that this oft-repeated “truth” wasn’t the least bit true. Now, some may think that China would cover something like this up for the sake of saving face, but that is quite the opposite of how they reacted. Instead, they have talked of changing the school textbooks that repeated the myth, and essentially blamed the myth on them allowing it to be printed regularly in books.
9. The Internet Is 100% Censored
Everyone knows at this point that China censors the Internet. But people are often under a mistaken impression as to how China goes about this censorship. While there is fair amount of censorship, it is mainly concerned with preventing people from criticizing the Party too much, causing unrest, or starting a physical protest. The censorship is not nearly as heavy-handed as many people tend to think. It is also important to note that China does not have nearly as much control as some think they do; users constantly come up with new coded language to stay ahead of the censors, and some believe that as more of China’s enormous population goes online, it will be even harder for them to contain. To paraphrase former President Bill Clinton, it is similar in effect to trying to nail Jell-o to a wall. It is important to note, however, that China will crack down hard on anyone trying to use the Internet to organize a protest.
8. Chinese Computer Geeks Are The Best At Hacking
Many people, especially in the USA, are worried about Chinese hackers, who seem to have taken quite an interest in American computer networks recently. However, it is important to keep in mind who these Chinese are. Some assume that it is the Chinese government, but we don’t really have evidence for this, or any evidence that the Chinese are hostile to the USA at all.
But more to the point, one man conducted a survey and concluded that the problem wasn’t that the Chinese hackers were particularly great at hacking, but that American companies’ computer security was abysmal. He argues that the Chinese may be capable of even more sophisticated hacking, but that if they are we have not seen it yet, because it has not been necessary. Essentially, we are making it way too easy to be hacked.
7. Women Are Lower Than Dirt There
Many people are under the impression that women are entirely second-class citizens in China. Now, while China may not give women their full due, they are actually much more progressive in that regard than many other countries. While China does have a sex trafficking problem, the government is taking very serious steps to deal with it. Women also aren’t doing well in the public arena when it comes to jobs; however, again the government is trying to deal with the issue. Further, their own Constitution is supportive of giving women more and better opportunities.
While Chinese women are behind men when it comes to education, in the past decade Chinese women have jumped up about six years in average amount of education. Women also appear to be doing better when it comes to higher education than men. The problem remains, but things are much better than many might think.
6. The One-Child Policy Applies To Everybody
While the One Child policy definitely still exists, and is meant to control population, there is much more to it than many think. The main confusion among many is the idea that the policy applies to everyone in China. This could not be further from the truth. You see, there are actually many exemptions for the law, some of which include minorities, couples who were only children, and many others. What this means is that the amount of people who actually have to follow the policy is only about 35%, not even close to half of the eligible population. Also, the policy is enforced through taxation for extra children so, if you have enough money, you can choose to go ahead and have more kids and simply pay for it.
5. All Babies That Violate The One-Child Policy Are Killed
Many people are under the impression that the Chinese kill babies as a matter of policy. The truth is China has a problem, but a slightly different one. Boys are considered more desirable so, with the One Child policy, people will sometimes give up little girls for trafficking, or find some other way to get rid of them. This demographic shift has left the genders quite lopsided in the country.
Perhaps surprising to some, gender-selective abortions aren’t allowed and, as a general rule, the Chinese people do not approve of people harming their babies or selling them to traffickers if they didn’t get the gender they wanted. When the bodies of around twenty babies showed up in China, clearly having been abandoned, the Chinese people disapproved of it just as strongly as anyone else would.
4. They Don’t Care About Anybody’s Copyright
China is known around the world for ripping off other people’s ideas and producing cheap knockoffs, blatantly ignoring the copyright clearly set in place by the idea’s originator. The truth, however, is that much of this is due to the misunderstanding by western companies of how the Chinese copyright system works. The Chinese actually have a very comprehensive set of copyright laws that has been praised internationally. So the question is, why do the Chinese appear to rip off so many technologies, characters, and media? Well, it turns out that the way copyright law works in China, you don’t actually need to register your product to have a trademark. However, if you don’t register it, it is nearly impossible for any action to be taken against the company that is stealing your idea. This has caused many western businesses to misunderstand and not actually register their copyright in China, which makes it really difficult for them to avoid their ideas being stolen.
3. Chinese People Eat Babies
A story went around awhile back that a Chinese performance artist had eaten a baby, all with pictures allegedly showing the act. This story became so pervasive that people started the hysteria train and didn’t get off at the next station. The next thing you know, people were claiming that Chinese people like to eat babies all the time. Actually, Snopes explored the rumor, and believe that the entire stunt was faked using a duck carcass with the head of a doll attached. Obviously, China does not support the eating of babies, and cannibalism is just as frowned upon there as it is pretty much everywhere else.
2. China Is A Communist Nightmare
Many people are either under the impression that Communism has a stranglehold on China, or that China is on the brink of collapse due to its Communist policies. The truth, as is often the case, is somewhere closer to the middle. To begin with, China is actually doing fairly well economically, despite the troubles that have hit the entire global economy, and they have managed to do it while still being a Communist country. However, China is also well known for taking influence from other countries, and has become more capitalist in recent years. This may be due in part to many influential leaders in China studying at famous western universities like Harvard.
1. They’re Ready For War With The USA
This is probably the most common and dangerous misconception of all. Many seem to be under the impression that China is preparing for war, or possibly actively looking for one. This really could not be further from the truth. While it is known that China is as prepared as any large nation to protect their own national interests if necessary, and would respond in kind if attacked, there is much more to it than that. The truth is that China has absolutely no interest in war with anyone, no matter how small. Right now China is developing their country and going through growing pains, and war is the last thing on their minds and the last thing they need. Especially when it comes to situations like North Korea, China would prefer all hostilities be avoided completely if possible.