Top 10 Ridiculous Myths About The Chinese


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.

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  1. China is a Communist/Capitalist Oligarchy, trying to defend the 1 child rule is absurb, especially by saying “well only 35% of the people can’t have a second child), are you freaking kidding me! That does not make China ok. Also, in #7 you say TWICE China is taking steps to deal with it so its still a problem.. acknowledging that it is REAL and not a myth… at the same time not even listing the steps because it is utter BS.

    China would be a terrible place to live, my cousin has been there and said he had to throw his feces off the top of a roof because they didnt have a toilet, that is not a hyperbole.

    • China actually has the highest female labor participation rate in major Asian economies. China also has most self-made female billionaires in the world. Well, maybe you will say this is simply because China is the most populated. Anyway, women are doing very well in today’s business world in China. I don’t know why people has this misconception that women are treated like dirt. Perhaps the preference for boys is persistent, especially in rural areas. However, in cities women are doing very well, comparing to their male counterparts.

      The one-child policy is really not that strict. I have several cousins (I myself is in Taiwan), and all except one have two kids. The only one that has one kid chose not to have more.

      As of toilets… Yes. They can be very bad, if you live in an ordinary farmer’s house.

  2. While some of these will, inevitably, be disputed. I found the factual ones to be very interesting. No. 10 particularly.

    Good list.

  3. i guess a lot of this negative/false impressions on China is due to the media portrayal of China. Considering China is probably the only country in the foreseeable future that has any chance of challenging America’s position in the world, just like Russia a few decades ago.

    Also another one is the misconception that all China’s media are state owned/controlled. No doubt there are controls, but no where near as serious as it is made out to be. On the flip side that media in “western” countries have no control/influence from their respective governments.

    • I say the next big economy to watch for is India, followed by China, Russia, Brazil and then maybe South Africa and Turkey.

  4. Writer is an idiot. China is not a communist country at all. Also, they really do not care about anyone’s copyright. Plenty of Chinese stuff is stolen too. ANyone who says otherwise is obviously a propaganda organ for the Chinese government

  5. I hate to burst your bubble, but they eat babies ALL THE TIME. You can find babies at any outdoor market, often in little cages so customers can pick out the “cutest ones”. Many, many shops have glazed, BBQ babies hanging up in the windows to entice passers-by. Even their McDonalds feature McBaby Burgers (but to be fair, they are offered only sporadically, akin to the McRIb here). While they are not a particular favorite of mine, I have to say that after a few beers, spicy baby-arms-on-a-stick are not half bad!

        • PTbelt Tactics on

          Mr. Myers’ motivation is that he is a Chinese sympathizer. The Chinese only care about growth or at least maintaining the image of growth. China frequently ignores copyright infringement case in point, the CEO is almost an identical copy of BMW’s X5 model. The problem is the corruption, China my have awesome copyright laws but the people who enforce them from police to judges all have a price. China’s economy is in worse shape than our’s, because they out right lie about their GDP and inflate it by counting building projects they haven’t and won’t be able to sell. Not to mention they are still a distant 2nd to the US in manufacturing when we count in value. You need proof scientists realized Chinese officials were intentionally inflating the capture fisheries statistics. You believe the one child policy is not real or only affects 35%? Ask China’s “leftover men” if they think that’s a ridiculous myths. The Department of Defense band the use of thumb drive because Chinese software contained in these Chinese made items where a threat to government computer systems. We all knew they didn’t eat Babies.