Posted by Alice Xin Liu on Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 8:00 PM
Sociologist Zhou Xiaozheng
Well-known sociologist and professor Zhou Xiaozheng (周孝正) is a regular commenter on CCTV talk shows and the director of the Law of Sociology department at Renmin University.
What seems to be a lesson given by Zhou has recently been circulating BBS forums and portals on Sina, Netease, Tengxun, Mop, as well as individual and personal blogs.
Zhou's lesson takes its starting point from the current conflict in the Gaza strip. Netizens and bloggers have written in response, some in anger. One sample comes from a Baidu space blog with the name "Green Lake Weekly" (翠湖周刊):
Others have reacted less strongly. In the end, what the article does show is that timeless notion of Sino-Semite friendliness, conjured through perceived shared goals such as attentiveness to education and fiscal ambition.
Israel is definitely a good countryby Zhou Xiaozheng
Students, today I would like to adjust the original class schedule to talk about my views on the conflict happening between Israel and Palestine. My first viewpoint is this: do not make judgments under conditions where information is not very accurate yet. Second, my own experience and knowledge tells me that Israel is a good country: this is what my lesson will be about today.
I was once looking through photos posted onto [Chinese SNS website] Xiaonei.net, and one photo made me think deeply. The caption for this photo was “Hero,” and the photo showed an unarmed Palestinian youth standing in front of a long line of Israeli tanks. He forced the tanks to stop.
Students, this Palestinian youth is indeed a “Hero,” fighting fully equipped tanks with his body of blood and flesh. But students, have you thought about this? In a situation of hostility how many countries’ tanks would stop? The Japanese tanks that invaded China didn’t stop, the Russian tanks that invaded Georgia didn’t stop, but the tanks of Israel did. I personally believe that these soldiers, as well as others in their ethnic group, are the real and undeniable heroes.
One year I went to do research in Fujian, and a high official at the Fujian provincial government told me this story:
A few years ago, a terrorist bombing happened on a bus in Jerusalem, and about ten people were killed, including two Chinese. These two Chinese people were from Fujian province and they had gone to Jerusalem to work. The Israeli government immediately got in touch with their Chinese counterparts to discuss compensation. But the Chinese consulate said that the two had arrived in Israel illegally, and that they did not want to help.
Later, the Israeli government convened a special meeting and decided that the government was responsible towards the people who'd died innocently on Israel's soil. As to whether they got there illegally, that is a different matter. After the meeting they decided that the two dead Chinese would be treated as if they were Israeli citizens.
The parents of the deceased would receive 1,100 US Dollars per month until their death; offspring of the deceased who were not yet adults would be given 1,100 US Dollars per month until they reached adulthood; those who had wives would be given 1,700 US Dollars until their death. The families asked for a one-off payment, and the Israeli government agreed. The final figure of compensation was 700,000 US Dollars for each of their families. All related investigation costs were covered by the government.
The news spread, and in Fujian province a crazy movement to go work in Israel began. The official from the Fujian provincial government said they simply couldn’t stop it. The Israeli government treats illegal workers like so: if you are not spotted, you can continue to work; if you are spotted, the government will pay for your ticket to return home; if you die, they will compensate you as if you are a Israeli citizen.
In 2001, an accident involving Israeli tourists occurred at the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang, Yunnan province. The Chinese search was not effective, so the Israeli government sent a special plane with professional rescue equipment and a rescue team, and gave Chinese people high wages to carry out searches along the bank. They wanted to see the tourists whether alive or dead. They carried on for over a month.
Anyone who understands a little about the Israeli people will not feel any malice towards them. Chinese people like to talk about the many toils and troubles in our modern history. Much of this is our own fault. But for Jews their troubles are almost all due to external reasons. They have suffered continuously over thousands of years, and all purely because of faith.
During turbulent years of war and long periods of drifting, this hungry and suffering group, who have been through killing and bullying, still kept up their faith against adversity and worked energetically and developed tenaciously. They didn’t falter, but as if, by miracle, made huge achievements in the fields of science and technology, military, education, modern agriculture, attracting worldwide attention.
A nation of only around 10 million people saw a set of great people emerge: Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Heinrich Heine, Rafael, Charlies Chaplin, John D. Rockefeller, Aleksandr Zinovyev, George Soros… This ethnic group and these great people have made outstanding contributions to civilization.
Ordinary people only know that Jews are good at business, but not necessarily that Jews also place emphasis on education. They see education as a lifetime mission, and wisdom has a higher place than money. One investigation showed that on average the Israelis read and kept the most books. Jews also place emphasis on children's education, and learning tools and materials. The lesson models that they have developed has been used by many other countries. The more that a country believes in its future, the more it places emphasis on its children’s education. A country which has been in warfare since its establishment, which has been besieged from all sides, but still placing such importance on education – this is a country which deserves our deep respect.
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