Ocean, Stratocaster, and Alien all make good points. Chinese people generally turn a blind eye to each other's bad behaviour unless, in some rare instances, a brave soul starts doing something about it, at which point many other people may join in, especially if there's a good public beating to be done. The flipside of this is: they will not help someone they do not know unless someone else has already started helping. Nobody wants to be the first. They aren't alone in this, as the article points out.
In January, my parents were first at the scene of an ebike accident (hit and run). A girl was lying in the road with a broken leg. My
Mother comforted her while my Dad redirected traffic around her. They got someone to call for an ambulance, and waited til it arrived, all without knowing any Chinese. They have a very strong sense of right and wrong. They would never think twice about helping someone in need. The Cultural revolution is definitely part of it, but it's not the whole story.
If I, A foreigner... saw that women being hit by the taxi. The least I would do would be to stand in front of her and make yourself visible to other cars and block the woman from being hit further until emergency services arrive.
It goes down to the smallest details about the Chinese here that links to the ignorance in important situations, they will just push in line because other people don't exist, they'll spit right at your foot because they don't give a f about if they get spit on you or not, they'll stare at you because in their minds, they're wondering whether you're a spy or not but don't care that it makes people uncomfortable. when I went to Taiwan, everyone lines up even for the Escalator. Nobody spits and people glance but they don't stare. Taiwan is what China should be. I know theres less people there but if China really tried, they should tackle these small issues in peoples behavior, tell them its f888ing wrong.
Come on guys this is yunnan, damn farmland, i lived in beijing no one stares at you except wild nongs from provinces like yunnan
@Mark: OK, but don't overstate the case - generalizations often do that.
@Ocean: I think what you say is a useful generalization, although it's important to try to understand why this is the case.
@Hammer: China isn't the worst case, and I think it's a mistake to see 'left behind' as only a national, governmental and cultural issue when what happens on a global scale is a matter of leaving whole countries, even continents, behind by global power centralized in western economies, financial institutions and the governments who defend them, with their agents located among social elites in areas where most of the people are 'left behind'. You can't make a pizza one slice at a time.
Right, everybody, I'm drifting rapidly away from the topic - mm, generalizing, perhaps.
China is still a developing country with developed country accoutrements. The culture and behavior of the people is still far behind - and that will take quite some time to catch up.
Taiwan is essentially a developed country, but still has very serious issues with governmental and corporate corruption. The USA is an advanced developed country - also with pervasive ingrained governmental and corporate corruption issues - if anyone has any doubt about that - ask any Native American.
On that note - China, as a continuously developing nation - is more intimately familiar with the infrastructure and growth issues of developing nations - which surround the "one belt, one road" countries. Although China stands to benefit tremendously - there's no doubt infrastructure development in developing nations is critical to helping develop those sovereign economies.
People gotta live and eat before they can pay attention to more culturally civilized issues such as courtesy, fine arts, and human rights.
The USA is the wealthiest country in the world - yet an entire city (Flint, Michigan) suffered from toxic drinking water for decades, from criminal government neglect (yet nobody is to blame).
As Alien noted - there's good and less good everywhere - but step by step, as long as we continue to progress forwards - life continuously improves for all - and we'll have more money and resources to allocate to cultural civility and social responsibilities. Teaching compassion and responsibility, amongst other human qualities, begins at home and with each of us individually.
@Michael: 'still far behind' - in what sense? I'd prefer to say, 'perhaps haven't kept up with rapid changes'. I have a strong feeling that if a person were hit by a car in a small village, he/she would be helped by local people. So: catching up with whom?
'Life continuously improves for all' - tell it to the refugees. I agree that, barring global catastrophe, there will be 'more money and resources to allocate', but I can't see how you figure 'we' will have them, or who might be trusted to do the allocation. The recent trend is obviously concentration of wealth, at an increasing rate, which makes the idea of the going-'forward' which we all experience a linear definition of Progress that has no necessary connection with the advance of anything that might be called 'civilization' (in a moral sense, at least). And it's not a matter of seeing the glass half full or half empty - it's a matter of understanding that glasses break, and also that people have a tendency to throw them when they're empty. At which point the cops, local or global, are called in, and ideas about 'progress' go all to hell.
The world has a lot of bad cultural habits, as well as antiquated ideas,
to get over - perhaps we haven't kept up with the rapid changes anywhere.
@Michael Flint, Michigan is not too far from my hometown. It has NOT suffered from toxic water for "decades". In April of 2014 the city switched from using water from Lake Huron to water from the Flint River. The river water was corrosive to the lead pipes thus becoming highly toxic to use. The investigation is ongoing. Criminal charges have been filed against State employees. The public has been pressuring government officials for accountability. Public outcry, action and a demand for governmental accountability - something strictly forbidden here in the PRC.
Public outcry, forbidden, goes on in China - note massive number of incidents annually - and the state, careful not to publicize them, knows that glasses can break and be thrown, and is not too stupid to pay attention - yeah, many would like it all more open, but it's not as if one were living in an (impossible) totalitarian society.
Ask all the jailed beaten up human rights lawyers who are forced to publicly confess their crime against society about their feelings on the state.
@Alex: That's lousy but does not amount to 'totalitarianism' - could be argued that before 1979 or so you could make sensible use of the term, but I think we all know that many things have changed and are in the process of changing. I too dislike control freakism, prisons, forced confessions and belittling of the idea of 'human rights'.