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From Guilt to Sickness, Part II: The Bite of a Dog into a Stone


Continued from “From Guilt to Sickness, Part I: Looking for Plague in All the Right Places”

Today we will commemorate the seventieth anniversary of a biological weapons attack on Chongshan, a village near the city of Yiwu. I am not as rested as I would like to be, since I know this will be a long day of carrying heavy equipment.

The night before, my roommate, Professor J., excitedly showed me video clips of what he called the real “qi gong.” Nobody was “qi gonging” anybody in the face or head, so I quickly lost interest. Since the Professor is a Maoist, I asked him about the Great Famine and the millions of Chinese who died as a result of Mao’s policies. He admitted that mistakes were made and that many people died, but he said a lot of what I had read or heard was hyperbole or anti-Mao, anti-China propaganda. He assured me that the numbers must be a lot lower than tens of millions. He also acknowledged the stupidity of the Cultural Revolution and the serious social problems China still faces. As a professor of sociology who makes about 7000 RMB/$1100 USD per month, it is his job to analyze ongoing social problems in China. He said he harbored neither hate nor love for the United States, but he loathed US interference in Chinese affairs. For him, China must solve its own problems and is perfectly capable of doing so without American meddling. He put it quite simply: China doesn’t want to be pushed around or bullied by the US.

I find this a strange song to sing in the company of the Japanese. But the lyrics would make great motivational posters.

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