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  • bjbjLULU JEFFREY BROWN: Next tonight, the debate in China over the growing influence

  • of Western culture. It comes as China's vice president kicks off a trip to the United States

  • this week, one designed in part to head off mounting tensions between the two countries.

  • Kathleen McLaughlin is a Beijing correspondent for our partner GlobalPost. She has this report.

  • KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN, GlobalPost: From clothes to coffee, to food and movies, Western culture

  • is big and getting bigger in China. KFC is the country's most popular restaurant chain.

  • A Buick is the top-selling car. At a public square in Beijing, 35-year-old Hou Xiazhou

  • and friends show off moves they learned from watching their American idols on the Internet.

  • HOU XIAZHOU, skateboarder (through translator): The West influences us a great deal. For example,

  • those of us who skateboard now are all learning from the West, from America. We watch how

  • their professional skateboarders practice, and imitate their methods. The way they dress

  • influences how we dress. We imitate how they skateboard. Watching them inspires us to think

  • about how skateboarding should be. KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN: Western culture swept into China

  • when the country opened to foreign trade 30 years ago. Western brands and ideas have exploded

  • in the past decade, as economic boom expanded the country's middle class. Now the government

  • is pushing back. President Hu Jintao says China's culture is being infiltrated by hostile

  • Western forces. And the government has set new limits on Chinese mass media. First, they

  • issued edicts that killed some racy and wildly popular TV shows and pushed others out of

  • prime time. Xu Fan is a professor at the Communications University of China, the country's top training

  • ground for budding TV journalists and hosts. XU FAN, professor, Communications University

  • of China: The rules are meant to restrict two types of programs. The first is crime

  • programs that show audiences how crimes are committed, how to steal and rob, criminal

  • techniques and scenes of the crime. This is what ordinary people like to watch. But these

  • types of programs are against law and order. Second are dramas with contents of immortality,

  • moral and ethical betrayals. KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN: What's allowed and what is not is murky. Take

  • "China's Got Talent." In one episode, a poor man who sells duck necks for a living dresses

  • up like a suicidal pig to try to earn money for a karaoke parlor for his wife. In the

  • end, the man's wife comes on stage to for the judges and wins both their tears and approval.

  • Regulators deem this show has a social value. But they threatened to cancel China's hugely

  • popular version of The Bachelor, If You Are the One. In one famous episode, the bachelor

  • asks one of the female contestants to ride on his bicycle. She replied, "I would rather

  • cry in the back of a BMW." To stay on the air, producers eradicated content with a negative

  • social impact, brought on older contestants, and added a professor from a Communist Party

  • school as the third host. Xu Fan says producers are finding it difficult to figure out what

  • might offend regulators. XU FAN (through translator): There are good intentions behind the regulations.

  • But then the rules become very complicated. And people down the line still have to carry

  • them out. KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN: But many of China's culture consumers disagree with the

  • government's very premise. Wang Tingting, who works for an insurance company in Beijing,

  • is certain that Western culture isn't taking over China. WANG TINGTING, office worker (through

  • translator): I feel both cultures are very good. They should be mutually beneficial,

  • and not replacing each other. KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN: Chinese culture often takes Western influences

  • and makes them its own. Walk into KFC, for example, you will find an egg tart, rice porridge,

  • and a menu almost unrecognizable to someone in the States. That fusion has happened on

  • the Internet, too, which, with more than 500 million users, is even more popular than television.

  • Kaiser Kuo is an American who has lived in Beijing for 16 years. He's a spokesman for

  • Baidu, China's top Internet site, and a well-known local rock musician. KAISER KUO, Baidu: A

  • lot of the memes that have become popular in China are kind of indecipherable to Western

  • audiences. And, of course, that's because they're sort of irreducibly Chinese. So I

  • think the idea that Chinese culture is in some way becoming Westernized is a little

  • misguided. I think that these are -- there isn't a strict, you know, sort of dichotomy

  • between Western and Chinese culture. KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN: The government, however, has also

  • begun Internet crackdowns in the name of fighting off Western culture. They started by forcing

  • people who use Chinese versions of Twitter to register under their own names. But these

  • restrictions could stifle the very creativity the country needs to develop. KAISER KUO:

  • In recent years, we ve seen the Internet really blossom into -- well, it's fully -- it's the

  • crucible contemporary culture in China. KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN: That contemporary culture may

  • be precisely what the government is worried about. Over the next two years, China will

  • change power at the very top and get a new president. The last thing it wants during

  • this rare and secretive transition is the kind of freewheeling discussion that's now

  • happening online with its Internet users. While many topics like China's power transition

  • are being banned on social media, posts about pollution, corruption and government negligence

  • spread like wildfire. Last summer, many Weibo users criticized the government after a notorious

  • high-speed train crash that killed nearly 50 people. Before censors deleted it, one

  • offending post read -- quote -- "China, please slow down your breakneck pace. Wait for your

  • people. Wait for your soul. Wait for your morals. Wait for your conscience." Recently,

  • China's netizens attacked Beijing's government for withholding the truth about air pollution.

  • They reposted and discussed at length the U.S. Embassy's independent air data. In the

  • end, Beijing's government caved and started publishing more pollution stats on its own

  • website. Jeremy Goldkorn, longtime China media watcher and founder of the online magazine

  • "Danwei," says the government clampdown likely has more to do with posts like that than with

  • Western culture itself. JEREMY GOLDKORN, "Danwei": I think the real concern is a loss of control.

  • And presenting this as a pushback against Western culture is a way of talking about

  • control that doesn't have to use those words. KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN: The government may find

  • it hard to take back control. Doudou Song works for a Japanese car company. Her favorite

  • TV programs, the social issues talk show "Day Day Up" and "Happy Camp," a variety show,

  • were removed from prime time. She now mostly watches TV clips online instead. DOUDOU SONG,

  • office worker (through translator): Every day, especially now that I'm working, when

  • I drag my tired body and mind home, I really want to have a moment of relaxation. I want

  • to laugh out loud. But I can't be as easily satisfied as before, so I feel a bit disappointed.

  • KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN: She misses her shows. Doudou was even more offended by how the rules

  • were rolled out, with no public input. DOUDOU SONG (through translator): I feel perhaps

  • they have good intentions, but their methods are very undemocratic. They're too forceful.

  • It feels like a monopoly. KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN: This generation of Chinese wants a voice.

  • Freedom is what Hou, the skater, talks about when asked what he likes about Western culture.

  • HOU XIAZHOU (through translator): It attracts and interests me a great deal. I think it's

  • very free. And that really attracts me. Their thoughts are very open-minded and positive.

  • KATHLEEN MCLAUGHLIN: The government may find it very difficult to change his mind. gd#Z

  • gd#Z :p#Z urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags City urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags

  • country-region urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags place JEFFREY BROWN: Next tonight, the debate

  • in China over the growing influence of Western culture Normal Microsoft Office Word JEFFREY

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中国の若者が西洋文化に魅力を感じる理由 (Why China's Youth Find Western Culture Attractive)

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    Hhart Budha に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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