Northern Hakka Gongfu (Email 29.4.2017)

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Email from WL – 24.4.2017

Dear Adrian,
The body conditioning clips led to footage on the 8 Step Praying Mantis, which is a northern style, but the form looked something like a version of Hakka mantis. I’ll try to find the clips and send the links to you.
Kind regards,
Waiman

Email to WL – 29.4.2017:

Thanks Waiman! There’s probably alot of this type of stuff on Youku – I will check when I get the time. Of course, the other issue is that of ‘limited’ transmissions to the West – and some Westerners assuming that their incomplete knowledge is in fact ‘complete’. This is why the Western imagination has been fired by certain lineages of Hakka Southern Praying Mantis, simply because these are the styles that taught Westerners when teaching outsiders was frowned upon. Consequently, the broader reality of Hakka martial arts particularly, (and Chinese martial arts generally), was obscured (and continues to be ‘hidden’ in many ways from the Western view), leaving Western magazines and journals to print authoritative stories about this or that style being the ‘legitimate’ or the ‘superior’ version, and all others being ‘inferior’, or ‘made-up’. Of course, from the early 1950’s to the early 1980’s, the Western debate on Chinese martial arts evolved around the US colony of Taiwan, and the British colony of Hong Kong – a narrative that excluded Mainland China (with Eurocentric racist tales of deficiency and degeneration) and ignored one fifth of humanity. In reality, the Qing forces (aided and abetted by the Western Church and colonial powers) during the middle 19th century, destroyed much of the Northern Hakka martial culture in Guangdong province – and Chiang Kai-Shek’s invading forces of Taiwan in the late 1940’s, massacred tens of thousand the of resisting Hakka people and their Northern martial arts on the island (not to forget the indigenous Taiwanese victims).
Once, I sat with Master Chan’s widow, and she said that our Hakka ‘Banana Village’ in Sai Kung had been established for 9 generations – with Master Chan being the 10th generation. We think that our Hakka Chan clan migrated Southward with the retreating Ming Dynasty as it started to lose ground to the invading Jurchen (i.e. ‘Manchurians’), before settling on a remote coastal area a long way from Beijing. Whereas other Hakka started to grow sustainable forests for charcoal production in the area, the Chan clan took-up banana growing. These changes signified a shift from rice production to other forms of livelihood – and this is when the distinct ‘Iron Ox Cultivates Land’ came into being as an activity separate from everyday farming in the paddy fields (but premised upon it), as a distinctive aspect of Hakka gongfu practice. In the old days, working in the fields was so arduous that extra body-conditioning was not required for martial arts training. The agricultural effort produced a strong and yet relaxed body, with a mind that was both calm and alert. There was also the principle at work of being one with the ox (showing kindness to animals), and oneness with nature (the Daoist element of Hakka living). Incidently, there are rumours that Mao Zedong was a Hakka – and I once read a text he wrote calling upon peasant people not to ‘kill’ their oxen for the rich people to consume as ‘meat’. He said the ox was far more important to ordinary people as a living tractor that cultivated the land to grow rice and consequently feed millions. Although many Hakka people eat meat, I have always been aware of a kindness to animals that runs through the centre of the Hakka culture. On the other hand, many Hakka are devout Buddhists and do not eat meat. Master Xu’s Hakka Triple Unity Boxing has movements that are exactly the same as our ‘Ch’an Dao’ style and I note that parts of his system originated in Shandong province. When I wrote my Hakka martial arts article, I had communicated with a number of Mainland Hakka gongfu masters who all told me the same story – namely that their arts originated in Northern China. This is exactly what Master Chan had told me, and it seems to be a Western myth encouraged by ignorance of the subject matter, that suggests that Hakka martial arts originated in the South.
All Best Wishes
Adrian

Post-Modern Hakka (Letter 21.6.2016)

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Letter (email) to WL 21.6.2016

I suppose that ‘change’ has always been a part of the formulation of Hakka identity, with various stages of cultural adaptation being chosen (by habit) as being representative of Hakka culture.  I suspect that this is why Hakka people have often been very revolutionary or innovative, and at the fore-front of many historical events (including China’s Revolutions) of the last 500 years or so.  In the post-modern world, Hakka culture is changing again (as is all culture).  However, of course, distinct ‘Hakka’ cultural traits (developed in the distant past), will survive and bubble to the surface of multicultural societies, and probably ‘strengthen’ rather than ‘weaken’ Hakka identity, although changes will occur without question.  I find it interesting how traditionally minded Hakka people (as well as Chinese people in general), come to terms with modernity and post-modernity.  This is to say, how an inherently ‘conservative’ and ‘insular’ culture comes to terms with the requirement to be both permanently ‘liberal’ and ‘open’.  Of course, as it is happening all around us, we know that it is inevitable.  Interestingly, when we visited the ancestral village in 1999 (Sai Kung), its traditional life was more or less over, or at least beating a hasty retreat!  Many of the houses on the sides of the hill had been abandoned and the six people still left had moved into a ‘modern’ house on the top of the hill, which was of contemporary design with running water and an indoor toilet (which the villagers were very proud of).  The Head of the Clan was then an old woman of 80 years old.  the modern house had shrines at floor level for the god of the earth, and the Chan Name Temple was kept pristinely ‘clean’, but all else was slowly falling apart, or being consumed by vegetation, etc.  I noticed then that even the traditional Hakka clothing was nolonger worn, and the language spoken was a mixture of Hakka and Cantonese (with the occasional English word).  Those who have left this village have spread all-over the world and changed in the new environments they have encountered, and yet there is something distinctly ‘Hakka’ that holds it all together!

Hakka DNA – Part I

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(The following is a research email I wrote to a very dear friend – and fellow Hakka researcher – WL- on the 28.4.2016.  One lineage of Hakka women now living in the UK – but who are originally from Sai Kung in the New Territories area of Hong Kong, share what Oxford Ancestors define as ‘Chie’ maternal [mitochondrial) DNA that is found in Siberia amongst the Evenki people toda.).  ACW 28.4.2016

Email Extract 1.

When I get time, I intend to examine the academic definition of ‘Han’ DNA in both its ‘Southern’ and ‘Northern’ designations, as I suspect that both are geographically derived, and do not, in and of themselves, represent ‘singular’ DNA-types.  I know that Southern Han is an admixture of a number of DNA lines – some deriving from South-east Asia – as well as ‘Han’ (Tang?), and I suspect that considering the genetic diversity associated with the Euro-Asian Steppe, I suspect that the Northern Han is also diverse.  However, in all this ‘difference’, there must be some type of genetic ‘commonality’ that Chinese science uses to ‘define’ Chinese-ness – although of course, this is the over-lay of science upon the practice of culture.  In the UK, for instance, there is a common European designation (amongst others) but this is common throughout the many cultures of Europe – and in and of itself, tells us nothing about the culture of the different European peoples.  Although genetic designations routinely change in emphasis and refinement (due to improved scientific understanding), from what I remember the European DNA-marker is R1A1 – but around 70% of Indian men also share this exact marker (so in and of itself, it tells us nothing about culture, language and religion)!  Again, culture cannot necessarily be derived from DNA – but I notice that assessment of teeth gives clues of geographical origination.  Many early Christian monastics in the UK, for instance, came from France, (I think traces of ‘lead’ can be discerned in the teeth enamel).  What seems to be the case in China, is that the Chinese culture has become associated with certain genetic-markers – as if ‘genes’ define ‘culture’ – rather than the peculiarities and necessities of the outer environment (i.e. that which drives adaptation and evolution through natural selection).  Just pondering from the hip, so to speak, it would seem that ‘Han’ is a cultural definition used within Chinese science to denote otherwise diverse genetic-markers, giving the (unintended) impression (to those ‘looking in’ at progressive Chinese science) that Chinese DNA is of a single type, and is ‘pure’, etc.  Of course, I am hesitant to state this fully, just in case there is information I do not yet know or understand – but it certainly looks this way to me at the moment.  If correct, this would mean that there is not actually a ‘Han’ DNA (just as there is not an ‘English’ DNA), but rather two, broad Chinese cultural designations (North and South) that are in-effect ‘catch-alls’ for two extensive (and diverse) geo-cultural-DNA areas.  This would logically mean that ‘Northern Han’ and ‘Southern Han’ (both associated with Hakka DNA identity) could mean virtually anything!  I suspect (but cannot yet prove) that there ‘IS’ European (i.e. ‘Caucasian’) DNA within the ‘Northern Han’ designation, but that it is a small and probably insignificant amount when compared to all the other DNA lineages present.  However, again I am of the (as of yet unverified) opinion that a ‘high’ percentage of this small amount of European DNA probably occurs in an unusually ‘high’ amount amongst Hakka populations.  This is all speculation on my part, and more research is required.

(This edited extract is from a research email regarding Hakka Chinese DNA research in the UK to ‘DS’ – written on the 8.3.2009).  ACW 28.4.2016

Email Extract 2.

My daughters, (their mother) and about 30 female relatives from China, have the mDNA of Haplogroup C. This is rare in China, about 2%, so is not the norm for Chinese women. Both the Chan and Yin clan females have this marker.  Interestingly, a direct match for these women has been found amongst the Evenki nomads of Siberia, who look very Chinese, but speak a Siberian, Russian like language. This does fit with the Hakka stories of northern origination, and subsequent migration southward. My daughters have exactly the same mDNA as certain lineages of Evenki women living today.

Interestingly, Haplogroup C is also one of the main groupings of Native American women – across tribes, but mainly in the Sioux, Apache and Blackfoot tribes. As there has always been a link between the East, and the Native Americans.  My male line is E3B – which is around 4% of the UK, and bout 2% around the world, with a large percentage in East Africa. My haplogroup corresponds to Japan, and the Qiang of China, particularly the Pume subgroup.  This is the Wyles side. Brian Sykes of Oxford University (who did the analysis), thinks this group arrived about 4000 years ago in Britain, but research is ongoing.

 

 

Qingming (清明) Festival – Sutton – (2016)

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Taiwan is Part of China Despite Hong Kong Opposition ‘Brain-washing’ Slander

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Taiwan is Part of China Despite Hong Kong Opposition ‘Brain-washing’ Slander

Original Chinese Language Article By: www.199.com

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

The mainland Government of China issued an educational document in 2006 (to the former British colony) entitled ‘Hong Kong Basic Law Elementary Student Textbook’. Seven years later in 2013 this text became the centre of a political dispute in the area. This text contains the following two declarations of China’s political position with regard to the issue of Taiwan and the governance of Hong Kong:

‘Taiwan is a sacred part our country’s territory.’

‘The governance of Hong Kong should encourage its people to be patriotic toward China.’

Certain opposition leaders in Hong Kong claimed that a deliberate misreading and misinterpretation of the ‘Basic Law’ was published in this academic ‘Textbook’ with the purpose of ‘brainwashing’ the minds of young people in Hong Kong as they pass through the education system. The Honorary Chairman of the Basic Law Advisory Joint Committee – Huang Furong (黄富荣) – strongly attacked these critics accusing them of ‘never having actually read the entire text’ of the Basic Law.

Life in Hong Kong is quite different from that in the mainland of China, and it is to be expected that sometimes misunderstandings might occur that lead to friction. However, any issues that might arise can be resolved if proper understanding is applied to the situation. In this instance it seems that opposition politicians in Hong Kong are attempting to court publicity by mistakenly attacking the purpose and function of the Hong Kong National Education System.

It will be an interesting experiencing for mainland Chinese people to observe how the Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government of Hong Kong reacts to this challenge of deliberate exaggeration and misrepresentation.

Of course, it is beyond dispute that Hong Kong people are ‘Chinese’ people. Hong Kong is today Chinese territory, and Hong Kong people are citizens of China. This is an established fact whether certain people accept it or not. Incredible as it sounds there are some who would like to blur this issue with illogical statements and unreasonable analysis, claiming that outsiders who lack the relevant experience cannot properly understand the Hong Kong people. Although we allow for this reality in China, and acknowledge that Hong Kong has a specific history and regional culture, the false idea that ‘Chinese’ people are ‘not Chinese’ is not to be entertained, considered or accepted as valid in any way. Such an unfounded allegation is the product of deliberately misleading the Chinese people and obscuring the facts that constitute their true history. Furthermore, such action is considered by the mainland of China to be the product of ‘extreme’ political intrigue and ‘interference’ in the natural order of China’s internal affairs. When language is used in this manner it is premised upon ignorance and not upon sound knowledge, this is why it cannot be accepted as correct.

‘Taiwan is a sacred part our country’s territory’ – this statement is the opinion of all Chinese people without exception. As Hong Kong is part of China, and given that all Hong Kong people are Chinese citizens, it is only fitting that the Hong Kong educational system conveys only authentic Chinese political, historical and cultural information. This policy is logical, reasonable and beyond reproach. If there is a very small minority of Hong Kong people who protest about this because they do not understand the profound truth such a position entails, then the noise they make must be considered akin to that of a three-year old naughty child throwing a tantrum.

Bearing all this in-mind it is obvious that the ‘Textbook’ is a legitimate document that does not need changing in any way because it is accurate. What is in question is the motivation behind those in Hong Kong whose attitudes do not represent the Chinese people and which create division and resentment. The government of China, however, understands that all the Chinese people must be treated with consideration, and any grievances reconciled appropriately. It is also true that the vast majority of Hong Kong people love and respect the mainland of China, and it is these very same people that have responded to the dissenters with politeness and consideration. In fact so civilised has been their response that the minority of trouble-makers have been made to feel ashameed for their outrageous behaviour.

Hong Kong is a ‘pluralistic’ society and as time has gone on there has been a mutual exchange of understanding between it and mainland China. However, understanding cuts both ways and it must be understood in Hong Kong that political extremists must not be allowed to dominate the political centre-ground of the island. It is the vast majority of loyal Chinese citizens in Hong Kong that are directing the political centre-ground and not one or two of the ideologically disaffected that exist on the periphery. The mainstream represent the loyal centre-ground of Hong Kong and that is as it should be.

In China the media has quite rightly portrayed Hong Kong as cosmopolitan, open, vibrant, internationally popular, modern, and fashionable, as well as a credit to the Chinese people, but just recently that image has been tarnished by endless news footage featuring one protest after another. Although we understand that this is a minority of the people in Hong Kong, nevertheless, this non-representative minority is creating a bad impression and making it seem that everyone on the island feels this way. The outside world is watching with incredulity as Hong Kong’s continuous demonstrations generate the false impression that it’s developed society is falling apart and turning the island into a failed ‘third world’ State. From a strictly Chinese perspective, these protests make it seem that the Hong Kong people are arrogant and have no thought for other Chinese people in the world. We sincerely hope that the mainstream people of Hong Kong can exercise influence over this small but disruptive group of malcontents and stop the damage they are doing.

It is obvious that Hong Kong should also learn from the mainland of China as interaction is not a one-way street. After decades of British imperialist domination on the island, it is only to be expected that there has been extensive cultural damage enforced upon the Chinese people by these foreign interlopers. This was reality was planned for when Hong Kong returned to the loving embrace of the Motherland in 1997. As this is the case, the mainland Chinese Government has always made allowances for the people of Hong Kong, and will continue to do so. If anyone thinks that the culture and thought of Hong Kong would stay frozen in time from July 1st, 1997, they will be painfully disappointed. As soon as Hong Kong was reunited with China the repairing of damage proceeded without hindrance.

As Hong Kong has many unique cultural features, the mainland Government of China decided that a ‘one country two systems’ approach was better for preserving and maintaining the ‘specialness’ of Hong Kong. Within China many people were sceptical about this approach and feared that it would encourage ‘separatism’. However, this policy is correct and effective as the majority of the Hong Kong people live quite happily within this system whilst remaining fully loyal to China. It is suggested that the loyal Hong Kong majority reach-out and assist the discontented minority and help them adjust to the new conditions and live in harmony with the norms of a tolerant mainstream Chinese society.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Source Article:

http://www.l99.com/EditText_view.action?textId=947872&cf=true

香港反对派竟污蔑“台湾是中国领土”是洗脑

香港,台湾,洗脑,领土

“台湾是我国神圣领土”哪错了

在香港已经出版7年的《香港基本法小学生读本》近日招来争议。书中有“台湾是我国神圣领土”,“管理香港的人须爱国爱港”等字句,一些反对者宣称这都不是基本法内容,放到《读本》中是一种“洗脑”。基本法推介联席会议名誉主席黄富荣怒斥这些人“全都没有看过”基本法。

香港社会不同于内地,会发生这样我们极不熟悉的摩擦。我们能够分辨出这是那些反对者在故意找香港国民教育的茬,特区政府及香港社会将如何对待这些明显夸张的指责,我们会带着好奇旁观。

但这些人的态度触及到内地人的感情,作为媒体,我们认为有必要在这里说几句。

香港是中国领土,香港公民同时是中国人,不管有些人承不承认,他们都是。一些人想模糊这个问题,在香港的现实下可以理解。但如果有人要刻意表现他们“不是中国人”,或者要极力颠覆中国人之间的政治常识,他们大概总能出语惊人,但他们的政治档次一定会处在边缘位置上。

“台湾是我国神圣领土”,这句话有着传达给每一名中国人的特权,作为香港国民教育的一项内容,它的正当性不容置辩。少数香港人反对它只能被当成三岁顽童的一声抗议。

《读本》未必没有值得进一步完善的地方,但来自反国民教育组织的说辞,引起更多反感也在情理之中。政府与任何人打交道都需耐心,但对于其他爱国爱港的人来说,他们没理由对那些反对者那么客气,他们有权蔑视后者,让后者知耻。

香港是多元社会,随着接触的增多,内地人对“多元”有了更多认识。但即使这样,欣赏香港出现极端主义言论的内地人也很少。我们相信,无论什么社会里,讲大局识大体都是主流社会的选择,偏执不应处于一个社会的中心。

香港给内地的主要印象是社会发达、开放,充满时尚、流行的元素。但最近一个时期,“政治化”成为从香港传来的新信息,那里不断有游行、抗议,还有一些人莫名其妙针对内地民众的声讨。香港似在流露出一些“第三世界”的现象,社会深处泛起一些敏感和自卑。我们很愿意保持为香港骄傲的感觉,不希望香港成为低档、劣质政治现象的滋生地。

香港一定会受到内地的一些影响,就像它在港英时期受到英国的影响一样,它回归祖国后不可能在思想上毫无痕迹。这用不着“洗脑”,这个过程将自然发生。如果有谁希望香港的思想面貌完全冻结在1997年7月1日以前,那他一定会失望、痛苦。

香港保持一国两制下的独特性是内地大多数人的希望,这里没人愿意香港“内地化”,因此对香港很多现象,内地人的第一反应蛮谨慎的。希望香港各派力量都珍惜内地社会对香港的善意甚至爱港情怀,这对香港长期繁荣只会有益无害

The Missing Chinese – My Conversation with Milan Svanderlik 29.3.15

Milan Svanderlik - Artist

Milan Svanderlik – Artist

The term ‘outsiders’ often has negative connotations: these are the people who are regarded as ‘them’ in contrast to ‘us’, the arrivals from distant provinces or foreign lands, those not quite belonging, those not exactly fitting in, those not conforming.

Artist: Milan Svanderlik

(http://www.outsidersinlondon.org/Outsiders_in_London/Welcome.html)

The ‘Outsiders in London – Are You One, Too!’ is an exhibition of photographic portraits of fourty different Britons (from various and diverse ethnic backgrounds), who, for one reason or another – be it for political, cultural, social, immigration, asylum, racial, ethnic, sexuality, gender, disability, religious, or economic reasons, etc. – consider themselves to be ‘outsiders’ living in London. The artist – Milan Svanderlik – a photographer of some considerable note – interviewed many individuals about their lives, or read significant amounts of written biographies from hundreds of voluntary contributors (apparently shifting out a number of fraudulent participants in the process), before choosing the fourty life stories that he thought best represented the concept he wanted to convey. During my conversation with the artist (on a wet Sunday afternoon in The Gallery in the Crypt of St Martin in the Field, London), he was adamant that this concept of actual or perceived alienation had a life of its own, and that his work was simply served as a conduit of expression. This self-facing and humble attitude, of course, typical of an artist of Milan Svanderlik’s obvious standing and ability, downplays the extent of the research he had to undertake, and the effort and work he had to exert to create such as work of expressive, philosophical, visual and expressive art. These are the names and categories that emerged:

Political – Secular Anarchist – Haldun Musazlioglu

Maverick – Andrew Maisel

Muslim and Gay – Naseer Muhammad

Divorced Woman – Giulia Gentile

Illegal Immigrant – Christine De Oliveira

Political Asylum – Pedro Gonzales

Racial Discrimination – Benedict Ighotu Agbaimoni

Transsexual – Margaret Dawn Pepper

Cross-Dresser ( Transvestite ) – Raphael / Rachel Spicer

Challenging Cultural and Social Norms ( Treatment of Widows ) – Chinwe Azubuike

Living with Deafness – Paul Cripps

Single and Childless Woman, by Choice – Katarína Homolová

Civil & Human Rights Campaigner – Peter Tatchell

Muslims in Britain ( ‘Clash of Civilisations ?’ ) – Harun Rashid Khan

Anti-Zionist Jewish Woman Artist – Anouche Sherman

A Duality of Gender – Pippa Holmes

Living with Serious Illness – Carole Pyke

Historically Vilified Ethnic Group – Roma ( Gypsies ) – Stan ( Stanislaw ) Kierpacz

Personal Presentation and Appearance – Vladmir Damianos

Living with Serious Disability – Henry Fraser

Challenging Social and Political Commentator – Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Living with Dementia – Christine Fagg

Criminalised Peaceful Political Protester – Trenton Oldfield

Anti-Zionist Rabbi (Neturei Karta) – Rabbi Ahron Leib Cohen

Controversial Art Critic and Writer – Brian Sewell

Happy Asexual Woman – Melanie Sawyer

Honour-Based Abuse/Forced Marriage (Karma Nirvana) – Jasvinder Sanghera CBE

Vilified Nationality (Romanians) – Anda Anastasescu

The Dissidence of Old Age – Margaret Owen OBE

Homelessness – Henry Stevenson

Poverty – Dean Steers

Working Tirelessly to Transform a Problem Estate – Julie Louise Fawcett MBE

Respected Insider but an Outsider Too – Lord Herman Ouseley

Inadequate English – Ranjeet Kaur Bhachu

Managing Bi-polar Disorder – Alec Scott Rook

Campaigning for the De-Criminalisation of Drugs – Dr Eliot Ross Albers

An Outsider in Her Own Family – Sonita Turner

Working Class Origins and Social Mobility – Lainy Malkani

Ex-Offender Striving to Make a New Life – Dennis Rose

A Soldier’s Struggle to Return to Civilian Life – Gary Areef Barnes

The Unknown Outsider – Borislav ( Bobo ) Marković

This is a breath-taking array of concerning the analysis of ‘difference’. It is interesting to see the apparent inclusiveness represented by the demographic sample chosen by the artist, and contingent upon those who chose to come forward. One conclusion is that ‘alienation’ is in no way limited to issues of race, ethnicity, or religion, but permeates all social groups from lords to workers, from religionists to secularists, and from asexuality to different expressions of sexuality, and that the subject is probably so diverse that 400, 4000, or even 40,000 people could be chosen to express its presence within British society. The fact that being an ‘outsider’ cuts-through virtually the entirety of British society suggests that there is a historical force at work, which is expressed through the minutiae of individual life experiences. As my family is Anglo-Chinese – with historical links to the UK and China (via Hong Kong) – I was curious why, out of fourty exhibits of individuals that covered many cultural and ethnic backgrounds, (such as Western European, Eastern Europe, Indian subcontinent, Africa, African-Caribbean, and Middle Eastern), and different religions (such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism), and secular atheism, as well as criticism (either directly or implied) of both capitalism and communism, there was not one single representative of the sizable and historically significant Chinese community which has lived in the UK and contributed to its economic and cultural development, in one form or another, for probably over one hundred years or more. To be fair to Milan Svanderlik, he made it clear to me that he could only work with the people who approached him, and that he does not, as a general rule, actively approach specific individuals or groups to participate in his art projects – which remain essentially ‘self-selecting’. He also made the point that he does not necessarily consider ‘ethnicity’, in and of itself, grounds for a person (or by implication a group of people), to be considered an ‘outsider’. In other words, how one looks is not necessarily grounds for social exclusion. I found this explanation something of a philosophical contradiction to the premise of the entire exhibition – as racism is a major component (albeit not the only constituent) of why many people feel alienated.

Where are the missing Chinese people of the UK? Well, there are hundreds of thousands British born Chinese people living in the UK whose parents or grandparents cane from the British colony of Hong Kong. This number is augmented by probably a million ore mainland Chinese students who attend British universities – and others who are employed in UK business. During WWI, thousands of Chinese men were conscripted into the British Army to work as unarmed labourers on the frontline in France. Despite taking all the same risks as the armed soldiers, they were paid less and used essentially as pack-animals – carrying food, ammunition, and desperately needed equipment to the frontline, and carrying the bodies of the dead and wounded to the rear areas for burial or to receive medical attention. Many of these men settled in and around Liverpool after the war – but the rightwing British press (led by the Daily Mail ad Daily Telegraph), demanded that they be rejected from the UK as their presence was culturally polluting. As a result, the British Army was sent into their living areas and they were rounded-up at bayonet point and put on ships back to China. This process took just two weeks to expel 20,000 Chinese people from the British shores. Astonishingly, this process occurred again (although on a smaller scale) in London in 1946 – where thousands of Chinese men, (some of whom had married English women), were arrested by the police on their way to work, and deported back to Hong Kong or China – never to be heard of again. Their descendents still live in the UK today – but have never forgotten what happened to their family members. Since these dark times, the British Chinese community has grown from strength to strength, but due to the despicable historical treatment it has received from the British authorities, it has tended to keep itself away from official contact as a policy of self-preservation. Perhaps this explains why individuals from the British Chinese community – made to feel as eternal ‘outsiders’ – did not come forward to participate in this gathering of important stories.

 

 

Chinese Soldiers in British Uniforms

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During WW!, 140,000 Chinese men volunteered for poorly paid, and arduous duty in British Army Labour Battalions.  They were responsible for logistic supplies from the rear area in France, all the way up to the frontline – but were not allowed to be armed to defend themselves incase of emergency.  Thousands died through enemy action – but their sacrifice goes unnoticed even today in the UK.  How were they rewarded?  Around 20,000 Chinese wounded were allowed to come to the Liverpool area of Britain to receive medical care and to heal from wounds.  However, following the British victory in WWI, a wave of racist nationalism swept the land and prompted by the notoriously rightwing Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph newspapers (amongst others), the British government ordered the British Army to round-up the Chinese men at gun-point, and deport them on ships back to China.  This process took just two weeks to achieve and the population of Chinese people in the UK fell to around 300.  A similar round-up and deportation happened to the Chinese just following WWII in 1946 – and the Chinese presence did not pickup until the mid-1950’s when the then UK government invited Hong Kong Chinese people to settle in Britain.

China’s Struggle for the Hong Kong People

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(This letter appeared in the New Worker – the newspaper of the New Communist Party of Britain [NCPB] No. 1796, dated the 24.10.14 – Pages 8-9)

The international news is filtered through to us in the West, and presented in a manner that reflects the current viewpoint of the bourgeois governments and their rightwing media supporters.  Many placards in the recent Hong Kong demonstrations read things like ‘Down with Capitalism’, and ‘More Power to Hong Kong’, etc – very different to what much of the Western press was reporting.  The irony is that the treaty that applies to Hong Kong is regulated by the Privy Council and not Beijing.  This body threatens China with economic sanctions should it be decided that China has deviated from the 1997 agreement – which is nothing more than a ‘new’ unequal treaty.  The only way for Hong Kong to have more devolved power (within Communist China) at this current time, is through the breaking of this new unequal treaty.  The USA (and its Western allies) view China (and its developing Chinese economic power) as a threat to their hegemony, and as a consequence, the Western media is default set on demeaning and misrepresenting everything China does and achieves.  This seems to be the same old Eurocentric imperialism at work attempting to dominate everything (and everyone) it encounters.  In Hong Kong now, (as the New Worker has been reporting), ordinary citizens are tearing down the barricades and asking the protestors to go home because their point has been made.  Many in Hong Kong have been disappointed and alarmed by the misrepresentation emerging through the Western media.

Eurocentricism in the Contemporary British Left

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In fact, the concept of Eurocentricism itself ought to be split into two distinct types. One may be designated as epistemic, i.e. a Eurocentric perspective that results from insurmountable epistemological limitations such as those that faced a nineteenth century observer without any direct experience of non-European societies. The other is supremacist, a type of Eurocentricism that is but a specific brand of ethnocentricism rooted in the global supremacy achieved by Western Europe starting from the nineteenth century.

(Marxism, Orientalism, Cosmopolitanism: By Gilbert Archer Pages 82-83)

When Karl Marx broke with the Western narrative of historical idealism, he permanently severed any essentialist and culturalist notions of viewing the perceived ‘other’ in a racially motivated and detrimental manner. This was at the time when bourgeois science was busying itself with the distortion of Darwin’s theory of evolution, giving the false impression that fair-skinned Europeans were the highest level of biological development on the planet, and that all other people, with their distinctive physical features and skin tones, were inherently inferior and represented a more primitive type of human being. Although Darwin disagreed with this notion of racism, it was a number of his followers who changed his science to reflect the bourgeois attitudes of the time. Above can be seen the effects of this misrepresentation with the European male striding purposely out of a primitive past and into an advanced future, with the other races symbolic of a more primitive past. Britain, as an island nation, had successfully transitioned into the industrial age, and was pursuing a ruthless policy of imperialist conquest and colonial domination around the world. This excursion into foreign parts was led by the Judeo-Christian church, the military and commercial interests, which were responsible for encountering, thoroughly exploiting, and then destroying native people and their cultures. The Christian church believed that Jesus was ‘white’ and that god was an ‘Englishman’; the military was armed with the best weaponry modern industry could provide, and the merchants were equipped with pure greed. This heady mix of old religion, modern military force, and advanced socio-economic conditions, led to the unbridled and rampant pursuance of the most despicable human traits related to human ignorance and greed, which resulted not only in the immense enriching of Europe, but also in the death of millions of indigenous people and the impoverishment of their homelands.

The British bourgeoisie perpetuated the myth that their dominance around the globe (and within the UK), emanated from a god who must be ‘white’ because he had blessed this small country with success and dominance. The reality that this fairy-tale had no basis in material fact was completely ignored. Britain became dominant due to its industrial development, and nothing else. The British working class had a stark choice; conform to bourgeois oppression and work for a pittance, or die of starvation. Impoverished working class men joined the British military to earn enough money to feed their families, and it is these men – the victims of the bourgeois – who became the unwitting agents of a brutal racism and exploitation through their use of arms. British working class men fought the indigenous people of the world, so that the bourgeois, the church and the merchants could walk in and reap all the benefits whilst making none of the effort, or taking any of the risks. The workers died whilst the priests and merchants got fat at the expense of their sacrifice. Oppressed workers killed native people, and were killed by native people in self-defense, whilst the bourgeois looked on and waited for the new ground to be conquered and cleared of resistance. The native people who managed to survive this vicious introduction into the capitalist system had no choice but to conform to their own demeaning through radicalisation. The pre-industrial level of socio-economic conditions encountered in these indigenous societies, was automatically reduced to the level of religious and biological myth. Europeans were superior because a white Christian god had created a physical universe that placed them at the apex of civilised development, and all other people at a subordinate level. It was god’s plan that the superior dominate the inferior at every level of life, and this ethos fuelled the colonial experiment, with its conversation, cultural destruction, murder, massacre, rape, and pillage, etc.

This ‘supremacist’ aspect of Eurocentricism is an ever present danger, not only in the rightwing – its natural home – but also in the leftwing of the British political system. Within the left it is a variant of the vicious bourgeois mentality that justified imperialism, (and that continues to fuel the far-right), but which is usually camouflaged and well hidden behind a thin veil of supposed Marxist rhetoric. This is an example of the penetration of the left by bourgeois thought – the very antithesis to point and purpose of philosophical Marxism. The presence of these vicious bourgeois attitudes within the left represents a serious failing to interpret and implement the correct meaning of Marx into the progressive movement of politics. It also demonstrates how the bourgeois rightwing has successfully penetrated the left, and has worked to bring it down from within. The message is clear; those human beings who happen to be of non-European descent, are viewed as ‘inferior’, but instead of admitting the real reason for this, the tenuous caveat is added that they are ‘inferior’ because of their ideology or mode of thought. The physicality of racism is transformed on the left of British politics into the ethereal ‘spirit’ of racism, whereby the perceived product of the human brain is judged as being of value, or indeed of no value at all. This value judgement is then used to physically exclude those who think the ‘wrong way’ from the respect and appreciation offered to those who possess ‘right thought’, all of whom happen to be of European descent. A clear example of the continuation of a racial paradigm on the British left, (disguised as ideological necessity), concerns the issue of how modern Russia is intellectually treated in political analysis, when compared to and with modern China. Modern Russia is of course, since the collapse and abolition of the Soviet Union in 1991, a rampant, free-market, capitalist system (with oligarchy tendencies), enwrapped in a bourgeois democratic framework. The British left, by and large, treats the subject of modern, capitalist Russia, with what can only be described as an attitude motivated by an enhanced sense of sentimentalism and nostalgia – both prominent bourgeois tendencies. Modern Russia is the antithesis of the Soviet Union and yet it receives in Western European narrative, a prestige not extended to any other non-Socialist or non-Communist regime. This may be juxtaposed with modern China, which since 1949 has been a Communist state. The People’s Republic of China has survived every single ideological attack aimed at it from the bourgeois, capitalist West, led by the USA. In 1989, when the USSR was falling apart physically and ideologically, Communist China stood alone. In 1956, China disagreed with Khrushchev’s so-called ‘Secret Speech’ condemning Stalin, (who had died in 1953), and instead confirmed its ideological adherence to the Marx-Lenin-Stalin line, which the Communist Party of China interpreted as the ‘correct’ path to follow. The USSR, after 1956, was viewed in China as betraying the 1917 Revolution (and the 27 million Soviets that died during WWII); a Chinese opinion that appears to have been vindicated by the collapse of the USSR just 33 years later. China now faces a USA that has tried (but failed) to bring it down with military force and ‘favoured nation’ trading. China also faces a Western Communist movement that takes a thoroughly bourgeois attitude towards both its people and its Communist regime. China is demeaned time and again in the Western leftist press, and yet it continues in its growth and development of Marxist thought. European leftists appear to be embroiled in a historical view of the perceived other, which racialises and demeans, as a method to gain oppressive control over others. This ignorant and non-Marxist attitude harks straight back to the days of the Opium Wars of the 1800’s, that Marx wrote about in his June 1853 article for the New York Tribune. Marx states:

Whether the ‘contact of extremes’ be such a universal principle or not, a striking illustration of it may be seen in the effect the Chinese revolution seems likely to exercise upon the civilised world. It may seem a very strange, and a very paradoxical assertion that the next uprising of the people of Europe, and their next movement for republican freedom and economy of government, may depend more probably on what is now passing in the Celestial Empire, – the very opposite of Europe, – than on any other political cause that now exists, – more even than on the menaces of Russia and the consequent likelihood of a general European war.

(Revolution in China and in Europe)

Marx goes on to say that it was the presence of the English cannon in China that ushered in the collapse of the old (and ancient) imperial system in the name of the importation of opium for (British) profit. This colonial presence initiated a historical process that eventually led directly to the Communist Revolution. These historical forces continue today as China continues the dialectical process of developing and advancing Marxist thought that can assist the development of humanity. China is a Communist regime, regardless of any and all criticism it may receive from a political left that exists within (and through) a bourgeois, liberal democratic, capitalist system. It is this bourgeois system that criticises China, using the European left as a mouthpiece.

People’s China Leads the World in the Development of Wisdom Studies

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(This article appeared in the New Worker – the newspaper of the New Communist Party of Britain [NCPB], no. 1779, dated 13.6.14, Pages 6-7)

In the 21st century, with the ever deepening process of globalisation and the development of information technology, human society is facing new and challenging problems. Due to the unprecedented complexity of these problems, a superior (and outstanding) wisdom is required. However, as the development of information is at its height, knowledge can be retrieved at anytime. The rapid development of science and technology has led to unprecedented material growth, and this inturn has led to an accelerated rate of development of education in modern society. There is now an urgent need to develop the subject of Wisdom Studies so that society can benefit fully from its presence.  

(Zhangjiagang Wisdom Studies Declaration – 2013)

The human brain, through its capacity to think, analyse, assess, and logically organise, has given birth to two great outpourings of the intellect, namely religion and secular science. The former is represented by a mixture of imagination and environmental observation, whilst the latter abandons a priori the requirement for imagination, and strictly limits itself purely to the observation of natural processes. Although now perceived as two very different entities, which of course they are, religion and science have shared, to a lesser or greater degree, the capacity to generate ‘wisdom’. The concept of generating wise thoughts is signified by the ability to produce optimum psychological functioning that simultaneously combines the observation of the environment, with specific inner cognitive processes. In the case of religion, the various phases of environmental change, such as the passing of the seasons, weather conditions, natural catastrophes, the cycle of life, and conflict, etc, are used to reinforce the inner generation of religiously significant imagery. Whereas in the case of modern science, the environment is not just passively observed by a human mind standing in awe of its presence, but is dynamically ‘measured’ and ‘understood’ by a mind that actively seeks to reduce and remove imagination from the empirical process of information gathering. Both religious systems and modern science signify the development of the human mind (and its capacity to be ‘wise’) at various stages of its cognitive evolution, but it is interesting to note that ‘wisdom’ as a distinct capacity, appears to have been a prominent biological and physical attribute of humanity generated through the constant environmental pressures with regards for the need to survive as a species.

When wisdom is interpreted in this manner, it becomes a perennial capacity that has accompanied human evolutionary development, but the origin of which most likely lies in humanity’s pre-human ancestry. As soon as a functioning brain is aware of the environment, (and its place within it), perception is transformed from subject-object dichotomy to a subject-object-other perspective. In other words, from a strictly two dimensional, instinctively governed existence, to a three dimensional awareness that is able to ‘think’ beyond, round, and through its otherwise powerful instinctive programming. This is wisdom as self-awareness. As a capacity of thought generation and thought organisation, wisdom has had the task of formulating contingent responses to inner and outer stimuli, that is information derived from the experience of psycho-emotional and psycho-physical states of being. Wisdom answers the question as to ‘what does this sensory information mean’? This is a continuous path of human evolution that has no end, as it is an unfolding process of the continuous refinement of the observation and understanding of inner and outer processes. From this process has emerged the modern science that has benefitted the planet, albeit in an asymmetric manner due to the difference in socio-economic development around the globe. The wisdom manifest by those who live in economic poverty is of a more organic nature than those who exist in economically advanced societies, and whose wisdom is routinely augmented by technological assistance. In a poor country, the apex of wisdom may manifest as the ability to grow crops effectively and make obsolete machinery function despite a lack of spare parts or replacements, etc, whereas in a rich country, advanced wisdom builds space-rockets and devises ever more effective medicines, etc.

Wisdom is a human-wide phenomenon that is not linked to any one culture, ethnic group, or society, and it is clear from the observation that many great civilisations, such as the Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Inca, Mayan, North American Indian, Celtic, and Modern European, amongst many others, have produced cultures and architectural constructs that contain an obviously advanced quota of developmental ‘wisdom’. This is why it is significant that on the 10th of December 2013, a group of eminent Chinese academics issued the Zhangjiagang Wisdom Studies Declaration, which simultaneously recognises the importance of the study (and development) of the theory of wisdom research, and the founding of the International Wisdom Society (IWS). This is an important recognition that will see the subject of wisdom studies advance and gain a greater depth of understanding. In recent years, knowledgeable people, both inside China and abroad, have started paying attention to this issue, and have begun to promote awareness of the emerging academic discipline of Wisdom Studies. In the United States, first there was the famous Psychologist Robert J. Steinberg who led a group of scholars in a spontaneous research programme in Wisdom Studies. Following this, there was the development of Wisdom Studies carried out at the University of Chicago. In Europe there is the ‘Berlin Wisdom Paradigm’ which has a group of Wisdom Study researchers. In China during the last 50 years of the 20th century there was the famous educator Luo Jia Lun who considered the relation between wisdom, learning, and knowledge. He produced a penetrating analysis of the three inter-related subjects.

The famous scientist named Qian Xue Sen, (as far back as the mid-1990’s), proposed a ‘Great Compendium of Wisdom Studies’ school of thought. In the 21st century, the famous educator Gu Ming Yuan, the President of the Chinese Association of Education, developed the academic subject of Wisdom Studies. Within China there has been the development of the Chinese Wisdom Project Research Council, together with the emergence of the International Chinese Wisdom Society in Hong Kong, as well as the Zhangjiagang City Wisdom Studies Project, and other similar academic institutes. As a consequence there have been a number of important academic conferences held, and many pioneering papers published on the subjects of wisdom, learning, and knowledge, which has led to the development of a practical curriculum designed specifically for Wisdom Studies. The academic brothers Zhang Qing Lin and Zhang Qing Song are credited with designing and implementing the first ‘Learning Wisdom in College’ courses, which have achieved many important results.

However, whether in China or the United States of America and despite the fact that leaders in both countries clearly advocate the development of wise thinking amongst the people, it has to be acknowledged that Wisdom Studies (and the ability to ‘think’ wisely) is an acquired skill, and that there must be appropriate planning if it is to be made socially acceptable and relevant to the masses. In this regard, Wisdom Studies remains in its initial stage of development. However, the fact that there are now ‘Wisdom Cities’, ‘Wisdom Tourism’, and ‘Wisdom Study Schools’ serves to illustrate the success of the project, and the willingness of people to embrace wisdom. In fact intelligence is the facility people use when choosing their words and actions – and it can be said that Wisdom Studies encourages the development of a clearer (and superior) thinking process. Wise thinking can be used to tackle the most difficult of problems with an innovation that is capable of producing new inventions. Amongst the workers, the use of wise thought is the foundation of the generation of all productive forces.

For further information regarding the International Wisdom Society:

 

RHACS – International Wisdom Society

http://wenshuchan-online.weebly.com/international-wisdom-society.html

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