Impressions From My First Trip to China




Readers of my posts might think I am quite pro-China and/or anti American. I can assure you that this is not the case. Coming from the very normal and western thinking country of New Zealand, I grew up and actually continued to live much of my adult life in a pro-USA mindset. You know the sort of stuff…. I had a good collection of John Wayne videos back then, couldn’t resist getting teary eyed during the final episode of M*A*S*H, and enthusiastically watched all the required TV shows from “Get Smart” in the late 60s to “Friends” even today.

Critically, I hardly ever missed the evening “news” on TV in order to stay informed and always looked forward to my walk on Saturday mornings to collect the extra thick weekend newspaper to enjoy over many hours with a coffee or two. All pretty normal stuff really. I was a great consumer of western media content.

When I decided to visit China in 2011, my mind was already filled with preconceived – mostly negative – ideas about what I would find there. After all, my childhood memories of such Chinese styled baddies as “Ming the Merciless”, “Dr Yes” and “The Claw” were still safely imbedded into my adult consciousness.



Asians on western TV were often shown in negative, even violent roles. Stereotypical attributes included long finger nails, sometimes laced with poison, bald headed, poor command of english and just generally unpleasant people all round. So decades later, when stepping out of my Beijing hotel and taking to the streets for real, my mind was already full of conflicting thoughts.

I knew “Ming the Merciless” wasn’t actually real, but funnily enough, the thought of him and others like him still occupied some part of my mind obviously. What about all the red army troops and communist security cameras and government spies that would be watching me. What would happen if they “got me”? What if I did something wrong but didn’t know it? Would I be arrested? Could I be trapped in China forever? Who could help me?

After the first day exploring China on foot all of these silly thoughts – imparted into my thinking since childhood and regularly supplimented even as an adult – just evaporated. Watching the people, walking around both back streets and busy malls and generally just chilling out, I quickly realized that China and its people are just like everyone else.

Travelling around various cities large and small, mostly away from tourist areas, I never once felt unsafe or had any feeling that I was being spied on or controlled in any way. In fact, I felt quite “free” at all times and little observations confirmed this impression. Eg: I saw one shop owner had cut a nice neat hole in a road side pedestrian barrier and made steps and red carpet up to the entrance to their shop. I thought that was quite funny. Not perhaps technically within the law, but I thought it showed initiative and good business sense. And probably not a big safety hazard.

I’m fairly sure if a shop keeper did this in my country, they would be required to take it all down, pay for repairs and might well be prosecuted. In other words, a NZ shop keeper would be less “free” to use their initiative in a fairly harmless, but technically illegal way.

After a day or two, I felt confident enough to challenge another of the commonly spread, and false western stereotypes about China – that you can’t go near or photograph any official or military type building without getting into trouble.

I was walking one day and came across what looked like an official building of some sort – firmly guarded, prominent signs, security cameras and large Chinese flags. Putting on my best “innocent tourist” face I started to walk towards the big glass doors at the front of the building. When my direction became clear, a nearby guard silently and slowly stood up and gave a little head shake from side to side.

I got the message. That was a no-go area and so I just carried on my walk feeling very brave – lol. The guard sat back down and we both went on our ways. And that was it.

I had clearly showed an intention to venture towards a restricted area. But guess what? There weren’t deafening sirens wailing, SWAT teams never descended from the sky, I wasn’t warned off with gunfire or arrested and thrown in a concentration camp….

In fact, nothing happened at all, and at no time did I feel like it was going to. There was a simple communication between myself and the guard and that was it. No fuss, no bother.

Years later, when I lived in and visited many other parts of asia, I realized that the security cameras and guards and fences that I saw in China, around schools and many other public or official buildings, are completely normal for asian countries generally.

Western media often shows security guards and CCTV cameras in China, as if these are unusual or excessive or threatening. They aren’t. Unlike western countries, security guards and cameras are commonplace throughout much of Asia, as are large portraits of politicians, which we never see in the west. Asia is a different culture and different things apply.

Of course, if you don’t venture out into the world to see things for yourself, you would never know that the relentlessly negative western media narratives about China, (and probably Iran, but I’m yet to visit there) amongst other nations, are frequently false.

This is deliberate.

I didn’t fully realize this until recent years. I also now realize that there is a flip side to this western media bias. That is, not only are “difficult” nations endlessly negatively stereotyped in western media, but the flip side is that “us”, in other words, the western people doing the negative stereotyping, ignore the most serious failings of our own systems and culture.

The whitewashing of the failings of our own culture and the demonizing of others is all around us every day. The minds of western societies are captured. This is probably true in every nation, including China, but a simple and impartial analysis of the tragic events of the last 50 years shows a clear picture of where most of the global trauma originates from. It is NOT from China. Nor Russia or Iran.

The global trauma and suffering these past decades has mostly originated from the United States. So I don’t consider myself pro-China nor anti- American. I am simply creating and following my own personal thoughts and observations, free from western media influence – which is so damaging to independent thought.

I can’t stress enough the negative effects of the western media. At the very least, vastly different sources of information should be referred to suppliment western media influences. Consulting western and non western media as well as private western media organizations you will quickly realize how biased and controlled and totally partial our western media is.

More westerners are realizing these mind controlled realities but sadly they are still in a small minority. But at least, I can now count myself amongst them.

If only one person benefits from my observations and that motivates them to follow their own path of awakening, then that will be a tiny help in averting more death and suffering to innocent people around the world.

Thanks for listening and “bon voyage”!

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"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." Goethe

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