Patriotism among Chinese Students

The recent turmoil caused by Tibet-independence activists trying to disrupt the smooth procession of Olympic torch relay has aroused world-wide attention to China. As a protest to the above action, hundreds of thousands of students abroad initiated demonstrations to protect the torch and to go against their independence activities, from which, Chinese students’ patriotism has been revealed to the utter most form.

The history of patriotism among Chinese students could date back to as early as one thousand years ago, during which, the occurrence of the May 4th Movement might be cited as a good instance for students to show their affection for China. In the wake of the movement, ignited by the demonstration led by Chinese students in Beijing, they won mass workers support, boycotted Japanese goods, stimulated an intellectual revolution, and enhanced the subsequent creation of the Chinese Communist Party. In different ages, the causes and manifestations of patriotism may vary greatly from each other. Nevertheless, patriotism can never be wrongly associated with anything extreme like narrow minded nationalism, or violent movements.

Therefore before advocating patriotism among Chinese students, a clear definition should be given and certain features should be clarified. According to what standard Chinese textbooks teach school children, patriotism “is a kind of deep affection for one’s own country that is cultivated during a course of history that dates back thousands of years”. Distinct from nationalism, such affection for one’s own country does not presuppose exclusive or hostile feelings towards other countries or cultures. It by no means equates to violent protests or anything going towards extremity, like the event that during the recent Asian Cup soccer games, some Chinese soccer fans hurled insults at Japanese fans out of nationalistic sentiments that some called “patriotic zeal” and some other events as happened in earlier times and which even deteriorated and exited bad influence on diplomatic relations.

By contrast, good evidence of patriotism can be seen when NATO forces bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade—a strike that most Chinese still consider a deliberate action. The attack inflamed Chinese so much that a throng of 3,000 students tore up the streets of Beijing and papered campus walls with anti-U.S posters to show that China would not let other countries push it around. Similarly patriotism was demonstrated through the parade by the Chinese students who study in London to go against the independence of Tibet from China and to support China as the host of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games after demonstrators in London grapping the Olympic torch and trying to snuff out its flame.

Although it is taken for granted that the people of a sovereign state should love their country, there is a proper way to behave if they are to truly show their love for China and bring it glory and honor. In current China, however, patriotism constitutes the broadest-based appeal to unite the Chinese people for concerted efforts towards bringing about a well-off society. As the host of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China needs to present to the whole world a peaceful, hospitable and harmonious country, rather than a barbarian and violent one.

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4 Thoughts on “Patriotism among Chinese Students”

  1. I am Chinese and agree 100 per cent with this. Thank you.

  2. I support them.

  3. I support them too but don’t want this to stop the 2008 Olympics.

  4. Unfortunately, I feel that people should only love their country if their country is a place to be proud of.

    China is currently not a place to be proud of. Chinese students should use their energy to protest about the problems with their own country – to make it a place to be proud of, rather than waste time declaring how wonderful they feel it is.

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