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美国网友提问道:关于中国,我们美国人很无知吗?为何美国人不能理解中国?

美国长期从事中国事务观察的彼得·沃克感叹,美国太不了解中国,“直到最近,美国人对了解中国仍缺少兴趣”。沃克先生提出一个值得重视的问题。国与国交往跟人与人交往同理,相互了解可以减少和消除误解,去除误解,才能对对方的行为做出恰当的判断,从而做出得当的回应。美国一些人把中国看作“战略竞争者”,甚至是“敌人”,有多方面的原因。从历史和文化的角度看,对中国缺乏了解,判断失当,无疑是因素之一。在美版知乎Quora上,美国网友提问道:关于中国,我们美国人很无知吗?为何美国人不能理解中国?这个问题引起各国专家和网友的围观,我们来看看他们的观点。

美国网友:我们西方人对中国很无知吗?为何美国人不能理解中国?

问题:普通美国人是怎样看待今日之中国的?

美国网友:我们西方人对中国很无知吗?为何美国人不能理解中国?

美国网友约瑟夫•莱明的回答

Unfortunately, today ordinary Americans know nothing about the real China. They don’t know that the American media show the people a fictional China. The fundamental problem is that ordinary Americans have never been to China or seen China with their own eyes. How can they understand China when their only source of information about China is the western media that cater to the government’s propaganda?

很不幸,今天普通美国人对真正的中国一无所知,他们不知道美国媒体向民众展示着一个虚构的中国。根本问题是,普通美国人从未去过中国,也从未亲眼见过中国,当他们唯一关于中国的信息来源是迎合政府宣传的西方媒体时,他们怎么可能理解中国?

I visited China in 2015 and 2018. I lived in China when I was a child and have some beautiful and vivid memories of China. I tend to think that China is the birthplace of everything, and their people are full of creativity, which is true, but in the United States, when you mention “China”, many people will have empty brains or just come up with some biased views.

我曾于2015年和2018年访问中国,我小时候住在中国,对中国有一些美好而鲜活的记忆。我倾向于认为中国是一切事物的发源地,他们的人民充满创造性这是真的,但在美国当你提到“中国”时,很多人都会大脑空空或者干脆冒出一些偏见看法。

China’s rich history is absolutely amazing in world history. It was not until modern times that the Opium War really killed China’s pride as a civilized and powerful nation.

中国丰富的历史在世界历史上是绝对令人惊叹的,直到近代,鸦片战争才真正扼杀了中国作为一个文明和强势民族的自豪感。

At the social level, China has been making progress. They are open-minded and do not adhere to political correctness as Europe and Americans. They may not be as obsessed with using social media as Americans, but they are really good at learning new things and innovating, as evidenced by the prosperous we media market.

在社会层面,中国是一直进步的。他们思维开放,又不像欧洲和美国人那样执着于政治正确,他们可能不像美国人那样痴迷于使用社交媒体,但他们真的擅长学习新事物并进行创新,繁荣的自媒体市场就是证据。

In terms of technology popularization, China is also making progress, but it needs to be viewed separately from urban and rural areas. In areas with a high degree of urbanization in China, science and technology are developing rapidly, almost no less than developed cities in Europe and America. Many world-class science and technology companies have set their headquarters in metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

在技术普及方面,中国也在进步,但需要城乡分开来看。在中国城市化程度较高的地区,科技飞速发展,几乎不输欧美发达城市,诸多世界一流的科技公司纷纷将总部设置在北京、上海、深圳等大都市。

Broader rural areas have also improved, although I remember the last time I went to the countryside was a few years ago. Surprisingly, the modern technology now equipped with farmhouses has narrowed the gap between urban and rural areas to a certain extent. For example, the TV channel receiver at home, or the latest consumer electronics products, and even agricultural equipment have been involved in the Internet of things.

更广阔的农村地区也有了改善,虽然我记得上一次去农村还是在几年前,令人惊讶的是,农舍现在配备的现代技术,在一定程度上缩小了城乡差距,比如家里的电视频道接收器,或者最新的消费电子产品,甚至于农用设备都介入了物联网。

Economically, China has also performed well. Although it is not as luxurious as the most powerful country in the world, it is far ahead of the vast number of developing countries. China’s wages are lower than most developed countries, but China’s living standards have improved a lot compared with decades ago.

在经济上,中国也表现优异,虽不像世界上最强大的国家那样奢华,但相比之于广大的发展中国家,也是遥遥领先了。中国的工资比大多数发达国家都低,但与几十年前相比,中国的生活水平确实提升了一大截。

Back to the field of consumer electronics, China is one of Apple’s largest profit areas. Apple’s sales in Greater China in a quarter reached US $14.76 billion, or about 96 billion yuan. China has a huge middle-class group to support a large light luxury market.

回到消费电子领域,中国是苹果最大的利润区之一,苹果公司一个季度在大中华区的销售额,达到了147.6亿美元,约合人民币960亿元,中国有庞大的中产阶级群体支撑起了一大片轻奢市场。

My view is that China is not a country full of dilapidated slums like India and Brazil. China has recovered quite well under the governance of the Communist Party. China is not a single nation but with a large population. China’s history always fascinates me. How can they exist as a civilization for a long time and be at the top of the world for a long time?

我的观点是,中国不是一个像印度和巴西那样充斥着破败贫民窟的国家,中国在共产党的治理之下恢复得相当好,中国不是一个单一的民族,人口众多,中国的历史总是让我着迷,他们如何能够作为一种文明长期存在,并且长期处于世界之巅的?

In addition, I think I need to clarify the rumors widely circulated in the United States:

此外,我认为我需要澄清在美国广为流传的谣言:

• not all Chinese people eat dog meat, and the people who eat dog meat account for less than 0.1% of the national population. In China, even if you eat dog meat, it is also a breeding meat dog rather than a pet dog. Here, you have the freedom to choose whether to eat or not.

•并非所有中国人都吃狗肉,而且吃狗肉的人只占全国人群的不到一百分之零点一,在中国,就算吃狗肉,也是养殖的肉狗而不是宠物狗,在这里,你有选择吃与不吃的自由。

• according to my experience, I never need to wear a gas mask in China, and the area I visited is not so polluted, and China’s air quality is improving significantly.

•根据我的经验,我在中国从来不需要戴防毒面具,而且我访问的地区没有那么严重的污染,中国的空气质量水平正在显著提升。


美国网友:我们西方人对中国很无知吗?为何美国人不能理解中国?

美国网友约翰•凯特的回答

The answer depends largely on the race and social class of Americans.

答案在很大程度上取决于美国人的种族和社会阶层。

First of all, you should know that in the United States, Chinese Americans are on average richer than most other groups, so your view of Chinese people often reflects your own social class more. As a person who grew up in a mixed social class environment, I think I have a unique view on this point.

首先你要知道,在美国,华裔美国人平均来说比大多数其他群体都要富裕,所以你对中国人的看法往往更多地反映了你自己的社会阶层。作为一个在混合的社会阶层环境中长大的人,我觉得我对这一点有独特的看法。

Among educated, upper middle class and wealthy Americans, the Chinese are often admired.

在受过教育的、中上阶层和富有的美国人中,中国人往往受到钦佩。

My mother has close contacts with Chinese and Japanese in business relations. She often compares the Chinese people’s emphasis on culture, professional ethics and technical education with the “fat and lazy” American culture.

我的母亲在商业关系中与中国人和日本人来往密切,她经常将中国人对文化、职业道德和对技术教育的重视与“肥胖、懒惰”的美国文化进行比较。

Her view of the Chinese people is as good as her own parents. They work very hard and raise seven children on a meager budget. After thousands of hardships, they all go to college and stand out. Compared with ordinary blue-collar and white-collar workers or Hispanic Americans, she prefers to be with Chinese Americans. After all, the latter doesn’t pay much attention to education and is generally lazy.

她对中国人的看法和她自己的父母一样好,他们工作非常努力,用微薄的预算养育了7个孩子,历经千辛万苦,他们都上了大学,然后出人头地。与普通蓝领白领或拉美裔美国人相比,她更喜欢与华裔美国人在一起,毕竟后者不太重视教育,而且普遍懒惰。

Blue collar people have different views on the Chinese people, and are generally more paranoid. In this humble small city on the east coast where I grew up, almost all the working class think the Chinese are “snobbish” and “cheap”. Part of the reason is traditional American racism, but there are other factors at work.

蓝领阶层的人对中国人的看法不同,而且普遍更偏执。在我成长的这个简陋的东海岸小城市,几乎所有的工人阶级都认为中国人“势利”和“廉价”。其中一部分原因是美国传统的种族主义,但也有其他因素在起作用。

The city has a large number of Lao and Cambodian immigrants, who tend to be poorer and pay less attention to education. I have noticed that racism is often a link between two different groups in the working class around the world. White and Hispanic working classes will unite by belittling “lazy” blacks, or blacks and Hispanics will become inseparable because of white “ignorance” and “stupidity”. Most of the time, this kind of racism is relatively harmless.

这座城市有大量老挝和柬埔寨移民,他们往往更穷,对教育的重视程度也更低。我注意到,在世界各地的工人阶级中,种族主义往往是两个不同群体之间的纽带。白人和西班牙裔工人阶级将因贬低“懒惰”的黑人而团结在一起,或者黑人和西班牙裔人会因为白人的“无知”和“愚蠢”而结下不解之缘,大多数时候,这种种族主义相对无害。

“Envy the rich and ridicule the poor” is a common psychological phenomenon in the world. In this case, there has been a lot of Anti China sentiment in the Lao / Cambodian community. They and their white / Hispanic neighbors are much poorer than the Chinese. Therefore, the two groups are linked due to common jealousy and prejudice. Therefore, usually the two are incompatible, but when facing the Chinese, they often change their position.

“恨人有,笑人无”是世界普遍的心理现象,在这种情况下,老挝/柬埔寨社区已经存在大量反华情绪,他们和他们的白人/西班牙裔邻居都比中国人穷得多,故而这两个群体因共同的嫉妒和偏见而联系在一起。因此,平时二者水火不容,但当面对中国人时,他们往往会改变立场。

It is also worth mentioning that many of our views on China are determined by the views of Chinese Americans. Some aspects of Chinese society and culture are often belittled by Chinese Americans, so other Americans will be happy to accept these views, because it will make Americans feel better about their country. If China wants to change its negative impression in the United States, the first problem to be solved is to stop some Chinese Americans from spreading negative information.

还值得一提的是,我们对中国的许多看法都是由华裔美国人的看法所决定的。中国社会和文化的某些方面经常被华裔美国人所贬低,所以其他美国人也会乐于接受这些观点,因为这会让美国人对自己的国家感觉更好,如果中国想要改变自己在美国的负面印象,首先要解决的问题是,让一部分华裔停止散布负面信息。


美国网友:我们西方人对中国很无知吗?为何美国人不能理解中国?

美国专家托马斯•帕肯的回答

First of all, most Americans only know a little about other countries, and even have little opinion of neighboring countries such as Canada and Cuba. Many Americans have never really thought about China. Once mentioned, they may confuse China with Japan or other Asian countries.

首先,大多数美国人对其他国家都只是略知一二,乃至于对加拿大和古巴等邻国几乎都没有什么看法。很多美国人从来没有真正想过中国,一旦提及,他们可能会把中国与日本或其他亚洲国家混淆。

Most Americans far from coastal cities have little contact with the Chinese. They may only have a vague stereotype of China, which comes from ancient martial arts films or Chinese themed restaurants.

大多数远离沿海大城市的美国人与中国人几乎没有接触,他们可能只对中国有一种模糊的刻板印象,这种印象来自古老的武术电影或中国主题餐厅。

For those Americans who know more about China and global affairs, China’s rapid rise as a global power is often discussed in the news. Americans can see narratives about China’s economic rise, the relaxation of the one-child policy, China’s growth in energy demand (affecting U.S. energy prices) or China’s urban air pollution, but that’s all, and often biased.

对于那些比较了解中国和全球事务的美国人来说,中国作为一个全球大国的迅速崛起经常在新闻中讨论。美国人可以看到关于中国在经济崛起、独生子女政策放松、中国对能源需求增长(影响美国能源价格)或中国城市空气污染的叙事,但也仅此而已,而且往往带有一定偏见。

Some Americans, especially the elderly, are cautious and distrustful of China. Until recently, some Americans believed that Communist China was the natural enemy of the American people and a threat to the strategic interests of the United States in East Asia. Many elderly Americans who grew up before Nixon’s visit to China during the cold war, especially during the Korean War in which McKinsey’s doctrine prevailed, may still have this feeling.

一些美国人,尤其是老年人,对中国持谨慎和不信任态度。直到最近,一些美国人还认为共产主义中国是美国人民的天敌,是对美国在东亚战略利益的威胁,许多在冷战期间,特别是在麦肯锡主义盛行的朝鲜战争期间,尼克松访华之前长大的老年美国人,可能仍有这种感觉。

However, the vast majority of Americans who are really interested in China like China, Chinese culture and history very much, and can be inspired by the long history of China us friendship dating back to the end of the Qing Dynasty.

然而,在真正对中国感兴趣的美国人中,绝大多数人都非常喜欢中国、中国文化和历史,并且可以从追溯到清朝末年的中美友谊的悠久历史中得到启发。

China and the United States had a beautiful honeymoon. The United States was the first western country to return Manchu Qing reparations, which were eventually used to establish Tsinghua University; During the democratic revolution, the United States sheltered Sun Yat Sen; The United States sympathized with the plight of Chinese farmers in the 1930s, largely because of the books of the best-selling author Pearl Buck; Due to Japan’s aggression against China, the United States stopped selling raw materials to Japan in 1940; Before the great famine in Africa in the 1980s, there was an American saying “think of all the hungry people in China” to warn children who refused to eat.

中美曾有美好的蜜月期。美国是第一个退还满清赔款的西方国家,这些赔款最终被用来创建清华大学;民主主义革命期间,美国庇护了孙中山;美国非常同情30年代中国农民的困境,这在很大程度上是因为畅销作家赛珍珠的书籍;由于日本对中国的侵略,美国在1940年停止向日本出售原材料;在80年代非洲发生大饥荒之前,美国有句俗语“想想中国所有挨饿的人”,以此来告诫拒绝吃饭的孩子。

Today, many Americans believe that China is the only and most important trading partner of the United States and a country with which the United States must cooperate effectively to ensure peace and stability in Asia.

今天,许多美国人认为中国是美国唯一最重要的贸易伙伴,也是美国必须与之有效合作以确保亚洲和平与稳定的国家。


美国网友:我们西方人对中国很无知吗?为何美国人不能理解中国?

美国专家金凯姆的回答

First of all, here are a few things that ordinary Americans should know about China:

首先,以下是普通美国人应该了解的关于中国的几件事:

• China has no ambition to dominate the world. In fact, China has never invaded any western countries, and in the past 42 years, China has never launched a war, which makes it the only world power with uninterrupted peace for such a long time.

• 中国没有称霸全球的野心。事实上,中国从未入侵过任何西方国家,而且在过去42年中,中国从未发起过一场战争,这使它成为有史以来唯一一个拥有如此长时间不间断和平的世界大国。

• in 2013, China overtook the United States to become the world’s largest trading country. It is the largest trading partner of more than 140 countries in the world.

• 2013年,中国超过美国成为世界上最大的贸易国,他是世界一百四十多个国家最大的贸易伙伴。

• China has legitimate and reasonable territorial claims in the South China Sea. Protecting territorial rights and integrity is China’s right, not expansionism.

• 中国在南海存在合法合理的领土主张,保护领土权利和完整是中国的权利不是扩张主义。

• China’s “the Belt and Road” initiative (BRI) is a large-scale infrastructure project aimed at uniting the world economy. At present, more than 140 of the 195 countries have signed bri agreements, and half of them are implementing bri projects.

• 中国的“一带一路”倡议(BRI)是一个旨在联合世界经济的大规模基础设施项目,目前,195个国家中已有140多个国家签署了BRI协议,其中整整一半的国家正在实施BRI项目。

• China is the actual leader of RCEP (regional comprehensive economic partnership). RCEP is the largest free trade group in the world, accounting for one third of the world’s GDP and one third of the world’s population.

• 中国是RCEP(区域全面经济伙伴关系)的实际领导者,RCEP是世界上最大的自由贸易集团,占世界GDP的三分之一和世界人口的三分之一。

• China is helping the global South vaccinate their populations, although the United States has abandoned them by hoarding vaccines.

• 中国正在帮助全球南方为他们的人口接种疫苗,尽管美国已经通过囤积疫苗抛弃了他们。

Finally, China is rapidly expanding its offshore RMB market and was included in the international monetary fund special drawing right (SDR) in October 2016. Finally, China is rapidly expanding its offshore RMB market. After being included in the IMF special drawing right (SDR) basket (as well as the US dollar, euro, Japanese Yen and Sterling) in October 2016, it has almost ensured its status as one of the world’s reserve currencies in the future. After the basket (as well as the dollar, euro, yen and Sterling), it almost ensured its position as one of the world’s reserve currencies in the future.

最后,中国正在迅速扩大离岸人民币市场,在2016年10月被纳入国际货币基金组织特别提款权(SDR)篮子(以及美元、欧元、日元和英镑)后,它几乎确保了自己作为未来世界储备货币之一的地位。

If China’s global commitments (ensuring geopolitical stability in Asia and elsewhere, protecting free trade and promoting climate change initiatives) match China’s economic strength, China will become a respected world leader in my eyes as an American. Anyway, for future generations, I hope to see our two countries become closer rather than more hostile in the coming decades, which requires meaningful dialogue and practical concessions on both sides of the Pacific.

如果中国的全球承诺(确保亚洲及其他地区的地缘政治稳定、保护自由贸易、推动气候变化倡议)与中国的经济实力相匹配,中国将成为作为美国人在我眼中值得尊敬的世界领导者。不管怎样,为了子孙后代,我希望看到我们两国在未来几十年里变得更加紧密,而不是更加敌对,这需要太平洋两岸进行有意义的对话并做出实际让步。

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