By Guoqi Xu
Chinese-American kin are usually considered during the prism of strength competition and civilization conflict. yet China and America’s shared background is way greater than a catalog of conflicts. Using tradition instead of politics or economics as a reference element, Xu Guoqi highlights major but missed cultural exchanges within which China and the United States have contributed to every other’s nationwide improvement, development the basis of what Zhou Enlai referred to as a courting of “equality and mutual benefit.”
Xu starts with the tale of Anson Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln’s ambassador to China, and the a hundred and twenty chinese language scholars he performed an important position in bringing to the USA, inaugurating a application of chinese language overseas learn that maintains this present day. Such academic crosscurrents moved either methods, as is obvious in Xu’s profile of the notable Ge Kunhua, the chinese language poet who helped spearhead chinese educating in Boston within the 1870s. Xu examines the contributions of 2 American students to chinese language political and academic reform within the 20th century: the legislation professor Frank Goodnow, who took half in making the Yuan Shikai government’s structure; and the thinker John Dewey, who helped advertise chinese language modernization as a vacationing pupil at Peking collage and in different places. Xu additionally exhibits that it used to be americans who first brought to China the trendy Olympic circulate, and that China has used activities ever for the reason that to exhibit its upward thrust as an international energy. those wonderful shared traditions among international locations, Xu argues, give you the top roadmap for the way forward for Sino-American relations.
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Extra info for Chinese and Americans: A Shared History
S. consuls in China on June 5, 1864, Burlingame instructed them to pursue cooperation among Western powers and with Chinese officials. They should recognize China’s legitimate interests and enforce treaty stipulations. “You will perceive that we are making an effort to substitute fair diplomatic action in China for force,” Burlingame told them. 35 Perhaps another aspect of Burlingame’s charm for Chinese officials was his Chinese name, Pu Anchen. ” In China at the time, people could get into trouble simply because of the characters used in their names.
First of all, Burlingame had never even considered the possibility that he might become Lincoln’s top diplomat in China. He knew little about China and had shown no interest in the country previously. ” 13 At that time Burlingame was forty-one years old. Second, China and the United States were not important to, or even interested in, each other. China had no foreign policy and would refuse to even send resident ministers abroad until the 1870s. It showed no diplomatic interest in the United States when Burlingame arrived.
Chinese studies of the West have serious limitations and shortcomings as well. Although the Chinese regime nowadays invokes traditional culture to boost its soft power legitimacy and redress the ideological vacuum, most Chinese know too little about their own history and traditional cultures to either draw spiritual sustenance or make critical judgments based on them, never mind turn them into soft power. China’s enemy in the end is not the United States, but itself. Many Chinese have been quick to assume that America as the sole superpower has prevented their country from receiving well-deserved respect in the family of nations.
Chinese and Americans: A Shared History by Guoqi Xu