More understanding and less conflict


Zuliang Chen


Dear Editor,

Nineteen years ago I arrived in Australia as a PhD student at the University of New South Wales after completing my undergraduate studies from Xiamen University in the Peoples Republic of China. After completing my PhD I continued in my professional career in this beautiful, friendly and multicultural country. Later I became an Australian citizen with a Chinese background. During this time I have worked and lived in many different cities from around Australia. Recently I have noticed western media have become concerned with the Beijing Olympic Games, the associated torch relay and the Tibetan issue. I have become very upset and concerned with the negative media attention. I just want to say that the decision to award the 2008 Olympic Games to China has given the Chinese government and people a good opportunity to highlight the new openness and reforms that are occurring in China at this time.

The Olympics is an event that unites the world under the banner of one world and one dream as proposed by the Chinese people.

The Chinese people have only good wishes for the success of the event and all participants. However, it is hard to understand why some of the western media are opposed to the good wishes of the Chinese people. The western media seems to be using the Olympics to highlight a political issue that is not directly related to the Olympics. For example, the recent Darfur issue has now been replaced with the Tibetan issue.

This issue promotes conflict between Western and Chinese people and consequently does not benefit western – eastern relations. I think we need a peaceful world, where each individualfs life is better.

Since I have lived in China for 30 years and Australia for 20 years I am proud to be both Chinese and Australian. I think that this recent conflict will be lessened by greater understanding between people form both countries and I think relationships will become more positive.

Firstly, I think that the reason that this issue is being spotlighted is that western and eastern cultures have different views on human rights and democracy.

Secondly, China has only embraced openness in the last 30 years and it would seem valid to give China more time on the road to full openness. I trust that China will become an internationally responsible country and will aid many countries throughout the world. I have personally experienced the ongoing reforms that China has implemented in the last 30 years. Four months ago I returned to my former Xiamen University to attend the ceremony for 30 year anniversary celebration the reopening of the University in 1978. I saw that Xiamen University had undergone huge changes in this time which surprised me. For example, in 1978 the total number of students was only 3,358 compared to 36,410 today. Thirty years ago, research funding was only 84,000 RMB and now research funding is 260 Million RMB. In addition the university staff and student talked freely about human rights and this also had free coverage in the university media. This indicates that given the opportunity China is capable of making huge progress within limited timeframes.

Finally, it is my suggestion that western media must put greater effort into understanding Chinese culture and visit China, even Tibet, to contact real people and government officers to increase cultural exchanges which I believe would reduce misleading, biased or sensational reporting of events now occurring in China. If western media do this then they will improve their reputation in China and will also earn respect in their own countries . I think that greater understanding will make the world a more harmonious place. As an Australian of Chinese heritage, I love Australian and I also love China. I hope western and eastern countries can move forward with more understanding and less conflict. Of course, media plays an important function in communicating and leading people towards this goal.



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