"Hey, Are You Communist?"
For perhaps the longest time, everyone that I meet or talk to will either secretly think that China is Communist or will even ask me if I am Communist. Well, I think it's quite obvious. Of course I am!
I'm absolutely joking, but that is the type of thing that really annoys me. People will always assume things that aren't true or judge someone from things that they didn't do; stuff that other people of the same ethnicity did years ago.
One thing that I vividly remember is a time from when I was 9. From August of 2009 to December of 2009, my family lived in Hong Kong because of my dad's temporary job at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Since everyone in Hong Kong loves British people because they were a British colony, they have strong political and social views towards "mainland" Chinese. I just happened to become a target of those views. I attended Christian Alliance International School in Kowloon and I quickly became a target for bullies and other "proud" children in the school. I was mocked a decent amount and even pushed down the stairs once. The teachers tried their best to help me, but most of it was off campus as I found my own way home everyday. I had no friends at school, only a few from the church we attended in downtown. I'm sure that it's different there now, but the things I experienced there highlight one major problem that's still in the world today: judging without taking a “walk in someone else's shoes.”
China was once a very Communist country, but whether or not that it still is is still a debated topic to this day. There are a plethora of online forums and chat pages where you can find the topic discussed: "Is China Communist?"
Jonathan Aaron Alpart said in his response to the question "Is China a Communist Country" on quora.com that "To say China is a communist country either means you are out-of-date, misinformed, or trying to maintain justification for your right to govern China by the continuation of a political and historical narrative." Why is this so? Though most "uneducated" people view China as Communist, that is a complete assumption based on media. China now is mainly Capitalist with elements of Socialism and Communism here and there. China has a free market and in many ways, is much like the US. Most of the time, you are as free as you would be in the US, but if necessary, the state can still take actions against you in a Communist-like manner. Alpart continues in his response with "The Chinese Communist Party rules the country, yes, but its policies have been less and less communistic since 1978, when Deng Xiaoping took over after Mao's death and started liberalizing the economy as fast as he could starting by opening up several Special Economic Zones."
What are Special Economic Zones? They are any of several locations in which foreign and domestic trade and investment are conducted without the authorization of the Chinese central government in Beijing. Special economic zones are intended to function as zones of rapid economic growth by using tax and business incentives to attract foreign investment and technology. In these areas, local governments have been allowed to offer tax incentives to foreign investors and to develop their own infrastructure without the approval of the central government. All of this may come as quite a shock to many, but yes, China is most definitely not strictly Communist anymore. They have and will continue to slowly transform more and more into a Capitalist country.
China was one of the many ways that I went about to express that you can't judge a book by its cover. Not only does this happen in everyone's lives, but it also happens to countries and just about everything else out there. When I was younger, everyone else in China was constantly being judged by the world for what they were. People can be torn apart by such superstitions and everyone really needs to start seeing things from the perspectives of others. More information about cultures needs to be able to be transmitted efficiently across the world, whether it may be through government initiatives or local efforts. If we can achieve this, then I think that the world could become a much better place.
P.S. Contemporary Chinese society would probably make Mao red with anger (pun intended!)