Bring a Knife to A Fistfight (Or How You Lose to a One Armed Man in a Boxing Match)

Even for a great site like Peking Duck, today was an unusually fruitful day, with a number of solid posts, including this one on the "soft power" battle between the US and China. That post is inspired by a Financial Times article on China's growing "soft power" (definitely read the article if you haven't yet and then you'll have the added bonus of understanding the title of this entry). With the nightmare of the US' war in Iraq and the hatred for President Monkey Brain Bush, I figured that China could surpass the US in favorable ratings. The FT quotes a European survey of 12 countries that still has the US ahead of China 48% to 45% favorable. Having observed opinions of China here in the US, it seems that people are at one end or the other of extreme positions. There is the dreamlike favorable opinion that China is a mystical great place or the still in a dream businessman's opinion that still views China as one big $. Then there are those who still consider China to be "Red China" or who are so concerned about globalization and the loss of jobs or human rights or whatever, but who basically just hate China. Yeah, I saw the "China Haters" post and I don't think the author of that is one of them, but there is definitely a segment of the US population that does hate China.

I think that 90% of those who travel to China and are exposed to what China is today come away with a favorable opinion of the country. They see the changes and while things aren't perfect, there is definitely an effort to make things better. And China doesn't even get full credit for its spread of culture. At the Oscars one of the movies garnering the most nominees is "The Departed," a remake of a Chinese movie from just a few years ago, something that many Americans don't even know. China's doing a lot in Africa and obviously not all of it is just based on charity (like any country). But they have done a lot of good in Africa and they are one of the only countries that is doing anything to help Africa (while admittedly also helping some pretty bad governments).

Leading up to 2008 and definitely during the Olympics, it will be Bejing's (and China as a whole) time to shine. I think that the 2008 Olympics will be amazing and will impress audiences all over the world. I hope that the rest of the world can see both the good and bad of China and will come away agreeing that the good definitely outweighs the bad nowadays.

Sorry for this post, this is why you don't blog when you should be sleeping, I haven't put my thoughts together completely and as professionally as usual, but wanted to get this out there and hopefully some others can help out.

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