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November 22, 2004

Chinese Dreams, American Dreams


by Sascha Matuszak

"Flow like the blood of Abraham through the Jews and the Arabs,
Broken apart like a woman's heart abused in a marriage."

The world is upside down, taking a breath before the next episode. We have four more years of unbridled uncontested Imperial rule, self-righteous, self-confident and self-contained. Just like Wellstone going down above the boundary waters, Arafat's death comes at a time when a rebel is needed most.

Kerry's supporters wonder how it could have happened, with Bush's iniquities on display for all the world to see. Kerry should have visited the Wizard of Oz and picked up some courage, instead of dancing offbeat to his supporters' rhythm.

The Bush administration consolidates its power, purging dissent from every hall in Washington, while the armies of economic reform and democratic values await instructions as to where to strike next. The U.S. government is at war with the world, not just with "terror," and victory means a multipolar world with leashes leading from each pole into the hands of a cabal.

China Dreams

Here, China is locked in the grips of a capitalist Renaissance, with peasant families trading in their pipe tobacco for anodizing machines, the finishing blow on America's productive capacity. Meanwhile, Shanghai is flooded with mid-level overqualified Western professionals selling their skills to management training companies who in turn become an advertisement for their "mismanaged" Chinese clients.

Consulates and embassies have one foreigner for every five Chinese on their staff, forgetting that not everyone has lost their religion. And they wonder when a Chinese staff member uses the position to further Chinese aims. Consuls rotate to keep them on the upward path, so the official turns toward the businessman for knowledge, giving away their allegiance. In the end, this makes the embassies as useless and superfluous as our home government as a representative. How many Americans work in the Chinese embassy in Washington?

American, German, Italian, and French companies pour into Chengdu dreaming of real estate deals like Li Ka-Shing's recent RMB2.1 billion purchase of half of southern Chengdu. Suits drool into bowls of Sichuan pepper and cow stomach, adding another chunk of FDI to the mountain, making themselves and the Chinese rich, promising "trickle-down" to the people back home. Little do they know that the RMB2.1 billion deal between Li and the Chengdu government has little to do with real estate.

Businessmen leave their homes and families in the U.S. and return once a year to convert more to their cause: "Go to China and be rich, leave this sinking ship." It seems only the Christian missionary families remember where they come from, spreading the word of God through the halls of Chinese universities claiming Bush represents a Christian government that mirrors their own kindness and benevolent aims.

Aid groups send their emissaries into Tibet, sponsoring mountain girls all the way from their huts to the classrooms of Stanford. People fall in love with what can be done in China, things now deemed impossible in the Land of Cliché, where sponsoring a ghetto kid is old hat and uninteresting.

In China, where troops are called out to crush peasant resistance to big business trickery, Internet and media controls keep the populace foolish and the government resembles an imperial dynasty infatuated with power liberal Westerners see more chances to "make a difference." Because such things don't happen in our homeland anymore.

While Beijing trades billion-dollar oil deals for Security Council vetoes with Iran, Washington contemplates subjugating Islam down to a man. A Sino-U.S. trade war involving everything from beef to textiles, steel to TVs hides the fact that without Chinese loans off of the money paid by U.S. consumers for Chinese goods America wouldn't be able to finance wars in the Middle East. While we contemplate this stagnant, self-destructive future, China barrels forward.

American Dreams

In a complicated world with Americans traveling the earth eliciting both tears of gratitude and tears of hatred from destitute women, we were presented with a coward and a zealot to choose from. We now have the choice to survive these next four years and emerge as a nation, or to disintegrate into bands of nomadic philanthropists and venture capitalists, roaming the earth in search of a legacy.

"The spirit of my people is starving broken and sweaty,
Thinking about revolution, looking at my machete."

- Immortal Technique

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  • Sascha Matuszak is a freelance writer living in Chengdu.

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