Franka Lu is a Chinese journalist and entrepreneur. She works in China and Germany. In this TIME ONLINE series she reports critically on life, culture and everyday life in China. To protect her professional and private environment, she writes under a pseudonym.
Recently, a young Chinese man on a bulletin board on the Internet explained, "My dad is not my dad anymore!"
The young man demanded that his father, a loyal fan of US basketball team Houston Rockets, renounce the team. It was about a tweet from Daryl Morey, the club's general manager, Oct. 2: " Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong." The democracy movement in Hong Kong, with which Morey declared its solidarity, is presented by the Chinese government as an attempt to split China. The anger in the Chinese-speaking world was great. Many called for a boycott of the US Basketball League NBA. But for the father of the young man, the manager's tweet had nothing to do with the crew. In his anger, the young patriot made on Oedipus.
In recent months, the angry nationalism of a new generation of Chinese has amazed the entire world. Their rejection of the Hong Kong democracy movement was not only passionate and patriotic, but also aggressive and global. In Canada, Ferraris adorned with the Chinese flag roamed the streets, while the Hong Kong people were labeled as "bad guys". In Australia, overseas Chinese and journalists were threatened because of their sympathy for the democracy movement, a girl from Hong Kong, the "HK stay strong!" exclaimed, in chorus, he heard "Fuck your mother" . In many cities, including in Paris, there were assaults on journalists and pro-Hong Kong protesters.
And at a time when Chinese students are paying $ 10 billion to finance Western universities, especially in English-speaking countries, and have long-term impact on their host countries. For years, major international corporations that have unknowingly challenged Chinese territorial claims or raised human rights issues have had to apologize to the "Chinese people." Most of their "mistakes" and faux pas were discovered and revolted by patriotic young Chinese with good command of English.
The official Chinese media have welcomed this new generation of patriots. CGCN, an official English-language television channel China, has spoken of the rise of the "Chinese Generation Z". Zak Dychtwald, whose book Young China: How a New Chinese Generation Changes Its Country and the Whole World is published in German in April, was quoted as saying: "Basically, they want to modernize without going to Westerners. Millionaire history that is unparalleled in the world, and they are aware of this uniqueness and they are proud of it. "
While the younger generation in the West are criticizing politics and taking part in Fridays for Future protests for the future of humanity, their Chinese counterparts are practicing nationalism and are proud to be loyal to a one-party system. In a series of video interviews disseminated by a right-wing populist British website, the reporter asks a group of Chinese students in Australia if they believe the Chinese government is doing anything wrong. Everyone answers without hesitation: "No, nothing at all." Many of these mainland Chinese do not know the five demands of the Hong Kong democracy movement to their government and are not interested in them. They are convinced that the Hong Kong people demand independence, although most democracy activists want Hong Kong to remain part of China.
Anyone trying to find consistency in the minds of Chinese Z-patriots will inevitably be disappointed. Many of them would like to study and work in Western countries or are already working, but believe Western democracies have no chance against the Chinese one-party system. They are respected by rulers like Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, although the latter two are now counterparties. The Z-Patriots claim that there is more freedom in China than in the West, and at the same time say that too much freedom is not good - as you can see in the West. The slightest appearance of anti-Chinese racism drives them to frenzy, but they still believe that blacks are intellectually inferior and Western political correctness obscures the truth. It is a hotpot of attitudes, values and behavior that must seem strange and confusing to people in the West.
Are China's Z Patriots the Result of Brainwashing? The answer is yes, too. But not only. Sure, they've been wrapped in a carefully woven network of propaganda and censorship, under the watchful eye of a watchful apparatus. But also the cultural and social heritage play a role. In this network, the young Chinese are looking for their place. At some point they will be allowed to join the network themselves.