Monday, September 8, 2008

Diverse, But Not Really

This is a quick and easy run-down of China's "multiculturalism".

From The Vancouver Sun:

Clad in brightly-coloured costumes, 56 children paraded through the Bird's Nest at last month's Olympic Opening ceremonies.

Each child represented one of China's 56 ethnic groups. All smiles, they carried the Chinese flag to a group of soldiers who hoisted it up the mast.

The symbolism was evident to anyone watching -- the state protecting the culture of each child.

When the ceremonies were over, the hoax was revealed. The children were part of an acting troupe and all were Han Chinese, the group makes up about 92 per cent of the population.

Yes, the children represented a scandal that caught headlines. But the symbolism may be the bigger deception.

Read On
One of the things I like about living in Xi'an is the "culture." To my foreign eyes, walking down a random street in Xi'an can be quite the experience.

From the old Muslim men in white kufi skull hats to the Buddhist monks that I occasionally see on my walks to work while passing the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, there is a lot of diversity within Xi'an (or at least there appears to be on the surface).

But at other times I'm forced to remember that I'm smack dab in the middle of a country where, forty years ago, the Chairman of the country tried to completely wipe out China's ancient culture and history. Unfortunately, the cultural revolution was wildly successful and it seems to me that China still feels its after affects to this day.

Indeed, China can be a very contradictory place. Maybe the word fascinating is better though. I find this dichotomy incredibly interesting.

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