The Soft Power of Parody – Joel Martinsen

Joel Martinsen writes that Ta Kung Pao, a Beijing-funded newspaper in Hong Kong, ran an article that looked at how ‘academic egao’ “harms China’s desire to influence international affairs through soft power.” The author, “suggests that historical revisionism and opportunistic repudiation of traditional Chinese culture is an unwelcome trend that may have serious ramifications on the international stage.”:

Not long ago, a professor with a Chinese department published a book that called Confucius an idealistic “stray dog” who is unable to find a spiritual home in the modern world. Prior to this, the emblem of the Chinese people for millennia, the dragon, was called an “evil totem” and an “ugly totem” by scholars, who said that the appearance of the dragon was so fearsome and overbearing that it affected China’s international image and ought to be torn down and replaced. There were other scholars who called Tang Seng hypocritical, Zhuge Liang a traitor, Yue Fei a treacherous official, Qin Kuai an honest official, Liu Bei unrighteous, and Guan Yu a lecher. Anyone or anything in Chinese that was good, wise, industrious, or kind was toppled. Beauty was made ugly and red was called black, and their language made full use of insults and attacks. Their actions far exceeded anything in the Cultural Revolution….[Full Text]

[Image of Master sage Confucius, via Danwei]

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