Week 7

This week in class we learned about the end of the Qing dynasty. On Wednesday I had exploration pack two which talked about how Europeans saw the Chinese during World War One and how much different they were from the Westerners. The Chinese were hard-working, and a quote from Strangers on the Western Front “Many Westerners were surprised at the laborers’ cheerfulness. As matter of fact, given the hostile environment and heavy workloads, the Chinese seemed to enjoy themselves most of time as long as they were not under bad commanding officers. The Chinese laborers by nature were cheerful folks. One observer pointed out that they “do smile most of the time.” 15 Another commented that “the most common remark” he heard from Westerners was “the Chinese are always smiling.” The westerners were very impressed with the Chinese spirit because no matter what they did they were always cheerful. Many Chinese men were homesick, and it was reflected in songs and references to Confucian ideas and historical stories. Food was the main thing they missed the most, such as their home cuisines. General W.R. Ludlow noted in his diary that when he inspected the Chinese labor camps, he “never saw cleaner Cook Houses or Kitchens, and the way they cook the rice, which they principally live on, is excellent.” The Chinese’s passion for food during wartime in Europe was the worst time because there were very bad food shortages in Britain and France.  

On Friday, I had exploration pack 3, which was about Taiwan, and it was a very interesting read, and the reading about A Patient Named Taiwan talks about what Taiwan needs to become a better place. The reading disregards any Taiwanese culture. For example, the lineage of the Taiwanese was only Chinese lineage, such as the Yellow Emperor, Duke Zhou, Confucius, Mencius, and so on. The diagnosis is what really sticks out for me because it was “A mentally retarded child of world culture” meaning that Taiwan does not even know what is going on and is a lost society that needs to be fixed. The so-called prescription for Taiwan is “ Normal school education: maximum dose; supplementary education: maximum dose; kindergarten: maximum dose; library: maximum dose; newspaper reading club: maximum dose.” Everything is a maxim dose because Chiang Wei – Shui thinks that is what Taiwan needs. It is assimilation that he wants. He wants to fix an entire culture because he thinks they are wrong. 

Chinese Laborers during WW1


South China Morning Post. “The Forgotten Army of the First World War: How Chinese Labourers Helped Shape Europe.” Accessed March 6, 2023. http://multimedia.scmp.com/ww1-china/.

14.1: “A Patient Named Taiwan.” In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third ed. Edited by Janet Chen et al. W. W. Norton & Company, 2014

Xu, Guoqi. Strangers on the Western Front: Chinese Workers in the Great War. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *