With the U.S obsessed with identitarian proctology, the U.K fighting off a looming political splintering and Australia treating us like Alcatraz Island, perhaps there really is nothing to stop domination by China. So here are eight tips for making nice with the boys in Beijing.
1. Don’t mention Taiwan
Imagine if Rob Muldoon had got the hump after his 1984 election defeat, got together a lifetime supply of scotch and all the young Nats whose fathers owned yachts and sailed to Stewart Island to set up his own independent nation state. Wouldn’t we feel a burning sense of national shame and yearn for the reunification of our glorious motherland?
No, we wouldn’t. But then we aren’t Chinese.
Top U.S military figures predict China will try to invade what they consider a ‘rogue province’ sometime in the next six years. Until then they are notoriously touchy about any meddling in what they consider an internal Chinese matter. Seemingly innocuous comments like ‘I have never been to China but I have been to Taiwan’ may get your wonton soup poured in your lap.
2. Don’t mention the Uyghurs
Not mentioning the Uyghurs is exactly what the CCP wants. They want them to cease to exist as a people and become assimilated into the Chinese mainstream. In other nations, this is achieved through schooling and the forced singing of terrible national anthems at public events. In China, it’s being achieved through forced sterilizations and infanticide. But hey it’s much more important we vent our human rights outrage over BLM or the right of trans-gender people to take a dump in the bathroom of their choice.
3. Ban Winnie the Pooh
Political satire is a grand part of our Anglo-Saxon tradition. The right to cut our leaders down to size with a badly drawn cartoon or a filthy limerick. This is not so in China. Xi Jinping’s startling resemblance to a certain honey-loving bear must never be remarked upon let alone memed and posted on Facebook. So you might want to replace your four-year-old daughter’s ‘Tigger and Pooh’ t-shirt with ‘The CCP is Right for Me’ baby jumpsuit, official merchandise of the Chinese Communist Party.
4. Communism is alive and well and wearing Versace jeans.
Bread queues and Ladas gave Soviet-style communism a bad rep. So the Chinese threw out the state control of distribution bit, allowing market signals to decide production levels but kept the authoritarian control. And voila, the largest and quickest rise in living standards anywhere ever. It’s almost like this capitalism thing actually works. Calling attention to this or passing comments like ‘I wonder if Karl Marx would have had a Louis Vuitton handbag’ might get you a hundred Chinese burns.
5. Bribery makes the world go round.
This collision between communism and capitalism has produced a system where the worst aspect of both – corruption – thrives. Get used to taking an envelope stuffed with payola when you go and see anyone in power: police, local government officials, that guy who empties your recycling bin. And don’t just throw it on the desk like you’re paying off the mafia. The Chinese are a subtle people. Get used to saying ‘look, something just fell out of my pocket. I’ll leave the room for a minute and see if I can find it when I come back.’
6. Learn a new social dynamic
Chinese culture is hierarchical but riven with complications and intricacies that can blindside your average Kiwi. Take who pays for dinner. It may be the oldest person in the room. It may be the wealthiest person in the room. It may be the person born in the year of the albatross. It may be the person whose great-great grandfather was the last Qing emperor’s personal arse-wiper. And if they all got together beforehand and decided to screw you over, it may be you.
7. Eat up your chicken arseholes and be thankful
Owing to a history of devastating famines, the Chinese palate has adapted to handle almost any animal part. I once spent an evening in a Shanghai cocktail bar eating what I thought were wafer-thin discs of dried squid with, in hindsight, a rather suspicious hole in the middle. It wasn’t until a helpful waitress provided a translation that I realized I’d been chowing down on chicken ring-pieces. So be careful out there. Dogs, cats and gerbils are all fair game to these people.
On the plus side, with all those abandoned pets the S.P.C.A will now be able to open a profitable restaurant chain.
8. Now, how to Kow-tow
If you really want to impress your Chinese overlord, pull out a kow-tow. It’s easy. Drop to the floor like someone just kicked you in the nuts. Then spread out your hands and wave them around like you’ve lost a contact lens. By now they’ll either be overcome with joy at your show of deep respect or overcome with laughter at your pathetic attempt at ingratiation. Either way it will go down well.
Sorry to break off like this but there was a knock at the door. It just occurred to me that I’m using a Huawei modem. Y’know the one with the secret microchip that collects all our data and sends it to CCP headquarters. Probably shouldn’t have made that Winnie the Pooh crack at the Prez. I may have a few years in a Xinjiang prison cell to regret it. Do you think Chinese water torture is really a thing?
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