Foreign affairs

Israel: a country which deserves our deep respect

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):

The so-called 'Professor' from Renmin University published an article entitled "Israel is definitely a good country" (以色列绝对是个好国家), which was recommended by It was viewed over 200,000 times and received over three thousand comments. I want to say that around one hundred of these replies were made by me, expressing my opinions of protest and anger.

The so-called 'Professor's' basis for saying that Israel is a good country is — two illegal Chinese immigrants were killed in a terrorist bombing in Israel, and the Israeli government gave their families the same compensation as they would to their own citizens - 700,000 US Dollars. This caused a wave of people going to work in Israel. In their own interests, Chinese person will give up anything... This kind of slave mentality is rarely seen in the history of human civilization.

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 country

by 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], 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.

Students, no matter what you say, I solidly believe that a country which treats citizens who have died from its own country and from other countries like so is a good country.

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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There are currently 21 Comments for Israel: a country which deserves our deep respect.

Comments on Israel: a country which deserves our deep respect

It's the poverty of nationalism in a nutshell. Categorising countries (as opposed to particular regimes) as good or bad is a child's game for starters, then identifying the Israeli state with a crude stereotype of all Jews - and this man is a professor at a top university? Pathetic.

I think he meant Israel's recent action is to be respected because yadayadayadayadayadayada...

simply saying one country is good or bad isn't very professor-ish.

I am Chinese, educated, lived & worked for many years in the West. Jews are alright, but Israel is totally evil & deserves to be wiped out from the map of this world. The Israeli authority & all those hawkish Zionists should be hunted down, just like the Nazis who persecuted them before, prosecuted as war criminals & hanged sky high. Israel, since they are so much loved/owed (emotinal guilt/debt) by the whitemen, especially Americans & other Anglo Saxon people, should be created within American or British soils, not anywhere in the land of Arabia. Israel is definitely not a friend of the Third World, let alone China, a champion of Third world causes. She is an unabashed imperial lanckey of the West. Chinese who sympathise with an evil aggressor are simply a betrayal of the priciples on which the PRC is founded & based! That Remin U's professor should be sent back for reeducation.

The fact of the matter is that the Communist Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square DID NOT STOP - this is fact!

I'm just amazed that Freud, Chaplin, etc all came from a nation that didn't even exist at the time they were born. This professor is an intellectual heavyweight.

"XXX is a good country: this is what my lesson will be about today."

Ah, I get it. It is a lesson of Brainwashology.

Who is this clown? And what circus is Renmin Uni to host his show?

His heart's in the right place.

I don't think any intelligent person, who takes the ethical implications of his work seriously, would make a speech like this one.
One could easily take his logic and condemn the entire Chinese population as worthless and unworthy of respect. I'm glad other professors have more wisdom than Zhou Xiaozheng.

However, I still don't know what Chinese officials say in Chinese media about the Gaza-conflict...

"The Law of Sociology department at Renmin University" ??

Are you sure he is not with the department of China of History? Or maybe of Material of Physics?

John D. Rockefeller was a Baptist.

fact of the matter is, China doesn't care mideast affairs as long as our energy delivery is safe, Israel/Jews/Hamas/America/Whatever are not our business.

and words don't change a thing, so this professor and netizens can bullshit however they want, after all mideast will always be mideast, I don't see peace there anytime soon.

Zhou Xiaozhang is full of sh*t. He failed to see what is happening in the Middle East/Gaza crisis.

I think this professor has not understood the difference between Israel and jews.
What has to do Sigmud Freud or EInstein with ISrael?

And by the way, Rafael was Jewish?

Ms Liu's reference to Chinese and Jewish "fiscal ambition" is somewhat clumsy at best, but I think I know what she means...
Zhou's article is also clumsy, his reference to Heine and co being Israeli displays his ignorance... I agree with those who object to his singling out of "good" countries.

Its not about correct definitions about "good" or "bad" countries or nations.

In a "good" country, tanks actually stop, and the government cares about the people living in the country.


Chinese state media, like most major Western media, typically whitewashes Palestinian/Arab/Islamist deep aggression to place the blame for Palestinian suffering on Israel. As an "enemy" of the oil-dealing states, a friend of America, and (to anti-guilty-feeling Europeans) the home of the refugees from Europe's violent expulsion of its Jews, Israel has some politically vulnerabilities. On a more human level the Chinese people typically respect the familial and educational aspirations and achievements of the Jews. The professor is pointing out the Chinese might also respect Israel's political values (and their positive reflection of Jewish values), despite state media's suggestions.

Is this guy fucking for real? A professor?! Give me a break. Do I need to tell him that none of the people that he mentioned was Israeli?

And what exactly is his point? My goodness, is he really a professor? He is ruining a lot of kids' lives.

Israel is not evil but it has not treated Chinese laborers and immigrants very well. link, link

It never ceases to amaze me, ignorant people in teaching positions inadvertedly leads to ignorant students.

That guy should be fired, if in fact he is a teacher.

A factual disaster.

He's definitely all about the 700 grand. Thats unfortunate.

Einstein was almost Israels first prime minister, you clearly have no idea what your talking about to say hes unrelated to Israel.

I believe that, while the article was poorly written, the professor is on to something. Israel is not a tyrannical state. It is on the offensive only to defend itself. While that may sound crazy, specially with what happened in gaza, history has shown us how unreliable putting trust in the Palestinian leaders can be. The Oslo accords, the Intifada, and both Hamas and Fatah are all evidence that unless the Palestinians find a new form of leadership, they are not the be trusted on Israeli land. The world's job is to police Israel, not lead it to destruction. Promoting hatred and racism towards the state will only drive the Israelis to become extremists, like the current leaders of the Palestinian people.
Therefore i believe that supporting both the Palestinians and the Israelis is the key to peace.

I am embracing the mood of this article. It does not mean I am encouraging Chinese people to come to Israel illegally, though I like this article and I know that Chinese people are very hardworking and most of they nice too.
Not stereotyping, but Asians and Jews have something in common: love of education and family values.

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