China’s Gen Z overconfident and thinks West is ‘evil’, top academic says, cautioning against nationalism among the young

beijingwalker

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China’s Gen Z overconfident and thinks West is ‘evil’, top academic says, cautioning against nationalism among the young
  • Students have ‘make-believe mindset, thinking it’s very easy for China to achieve its foreign policy goals’, Yan Xuetong of Tsinghua University tells conference
  • Lecturers should help them recognise diversity and strengthen critical thinking, he says, cautioning against nationalism driven by key opinion leaders

Published: 10:30pm, 14 Jan, 2022

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Post-millennial students’ growing nationalism has distorted their perspective, a Chinese academic has argued. Photo: AFP


China’s Generation Z is displaying a high level of overconfidence in the country’s power and hostility towards Westerners, a prominent Chinese academic on US affairs has warned.

“Post-millennial students usually have a strong sense of superiority and confidence, and they tend to look at other countries from a condescending perspective,” Yan Xuetong, director of Tsinghua University’s international studies institute, said at a conference in Beijing last Saturday.

“[They] look at international affairs with a make-believe mindset, thinking it’s very easy for China to achieve its foreign policy goals. They think only China is just and innocent, while other countries, especially Western countries, are evil and thus have natural hatred towards Westerners.”

He added that students tended to divide the world into China and the rest, viewing all other countries as the same.

Published by his university’s website on Monday, Yan’s remarks were made at a conference it hosted about political science and international relations education, attended by more than 100 professors and researchers from dozens of universities and institutes.

The warning from Yan – one of China’s leading experts on American affairs – came amid intensifying political headwinds from the US and its allies and rising nationalism in China.

He said heightened nationalism among people born after 2000 was driven mainly by key opinion leaders on the internet, with students being heavily influenced by conspiracy theories and economic determinism.

Yan suggested that his fellow lecturers on international affairs should try to focus on hard facts so that students did not develop overconfidence in the country.

“[We should] help students recognise the diversity of the world and rid them of the assumption that the world is just divided into China and the outside,” he said. “[We should] strengthen the students’ logical and critical thinking to lower the influence of key opinion leaders.”

Chinese internet regulators are strict on content related to China, but have generally turned a blind eye to conspiracy theories and fake news about foreign governments and societies.

Conspiracy theories, especially those related to the United States, had a massive audience online in China, not least among Generation Z, said Wei Xing, a Shanghai-based journalist and founder of China Fact Check, which focuses on fake international news on Chinese-language sites.

“They tend to understand many issues through the lens of these conspiracy theories,” he said. “Fact-checking doesn’t work very well with them – it’s like you can’t wake a person who pretends to be asleep.


“These theories win good traffic, and are highly deceptive and difficult to debunk with fact-checking, and thus deemed safer to spread.”

Nationalism has also grown against the backdrop of the state’s considerable efforts to warn the country of espionage and infiltration, especially from Western nations.

A high level of scepticism towards the West is shared by Chinese leaders. In one speech in 2014, President Xi Jinping told the country’s security officials that the West, led by the US, was “intensifying their efforts to Westernise and split China” after seeing the balance of power shifting in China’s favour.

Public perceptions of China in developed economies have plunged to new lows in the past two years. A Pew Research Centre survey from March found that 89 per cent of American adults considered China a “competitor or enemy” of the United States.

Meanwhile, opinion polls also suggest a high level of distrust of the US among Chinese, especially among the young. In a survey published in November by the Carter Centre’s US-China Perception Monitor, 62 per cent of Chinese held unfavourable views of the US, rising to 63 per cent among those aged 16 to 24.

In the same poll, 78 per cent of respondents said they believed China was viewed favourably internationally, with 84 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds expressing that view.

 

beijingwalker

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Western and Chinese propaganda should be balanced a bit to achieve a more objective public view.
 

RogerRanger

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The people who rule the English hegemony at the moment are evil, the Chinese people are correct about that. So the Chinese are correct.
 

Ryder

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The people who rule the English hegemony at the moment are evil, the Chinese people are correct about that. So the Chinese are correct.

China has not forgotten the century of humilation.

They will do whatever they can to prevent that while taking the fight to the enemies with whatever means.
 

Jackdaws

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Well, it certainly does explain the make believe world some online posters reside in.
 

beijingwalker

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Well, it certainly does explain the make believe world some online posters reside in.
LOl, we believe we are still a developing country, unless some neighbor in the south, believing they are a superpower since 2012.
 

RogerRanger

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China has not forgotten the century of humilation.

They will do whatever they can to prevent that while taking the fight to the enemies with whatever means.
Yes thanks for bringing that up. The Opium wars were in 1839 and Chinese didn't get a nationalist government until their current ruling class look power. In that time they lose tens of millions of people, their entire ruling class was killed and raped by foreigners. So I understand the Chinese feelings on the subject. I hope such a fate doesn't before the English civilization over the next 100 years, though the mass rape of English girls and children by Muslims supported by the criminal class in Britain is a start.
 

Jackdaws

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Yes thanks for bringing that up. The Opium wars were in 1839 and Chinese didn't get a nationalist government until their current ruling class look power. In that time they lose tens of millions of people, their entire ruling class was killed and raped by foreigners. So I understand the Chinese feelings on the subject. I hope such a fate doesn't before the English civilization over the next 100 years, though the mass rape of English girls and children by Muslims supported by the criminal class in Britain is a start.
I think it is unfair to put the blame on Muslims for that. It's the doing of one particular national origin people who happen to be Muslims.
 

RogerRanger

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I think it is unfair to put the blame on Muslims for that. It's the doing of one particular national origin people who happen to be Muslims.
The evidence in the UK is that it is Muslim gangs doing it and the British state/Muslim communities in Britain are covering it up and not punishing the men involved. However the same is happening with the English communities with our pedophile problem too. Its all part of the same class of people. However the Muslims get more attention because they are foreigners and people don't like Islam. So I agree its unfair to blame Muslims or Islam for it, its a wider problem of abuse of children and teenagers which is enabled and supported by the criminal class which rules Britain at the moment.

Also I am not meaning to offend anyone and I am glad your brought up the aspect of my comment which you felt was unfair.
 

Kaptaan

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Dare I say people of Indian sub-continent origin? Or is that wide arching term only to be used when a postive is being talked about?

China’s Generation Z is displaying a high level of overconfidence in the country’s power and hostility towards Westerners, a prominent Chinese academic on US affairs has warned.
From what I have observed of Chinese students in UK they tend to be afflicted with low confidence and come across as very meek. Quite opposite of what this professor is claming. furthermore they lap everything western like a alcohol sups his drink.

Or maybe this is a cohort that is not representative sample of Chinese in general?
 

Jackdaws

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Dare I say people of Indian sub-continent origin? Or is that wide arching term only to be used when a postive is being talked about?


From what I have observed of Chinese students in UK they tend to be afflicted with low confidence and come across as very meek. Quite opposite of what this professor is claming. furthermore they lap everything western like a alcohol sups his drink.

Or maybe this is a cohort that is not representative sample of Chinese in general?
I said national origin, not region but if you have the stats to show that the numbers are evenly divided between various nations in the Indian subcontinent, then sure - extend it to the full region.
 

beijingwalker

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Dare I say people of Indian sub-continent origin? Or is that wide arching term only to be used when a postive is being talked about?


From what I have observed of Chinese students in UK they tend to be afflicted with low confidence and come across as very meek. Quite opposite of what this professor is claming. furthermore they lap everything western like a alcohol sups his drink.

Or maybe this is a cohort that is not representative sample of Chinese in general?
Culturally Chinese people are very low key, tend not to speak up their mind directly, but deep inside are very determined for the goals and strong opinionated, as for everything western, in China we don't associate modernity with the west, young people live the same modern life in China, but they don't associate this style of life with any specific country or culture.
 
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