I have always been partial to history. OK let’s not lie I love history and it was one of the few subjects I was good at in High School. Fortunately, a friend was nice enough to lend me a book she had to read in college called “Restless Empire: China and the world since 1750” . Restless Empire gives an overview of the history of China from 1750 to the Xi administration. If you are only going to read part of it I suggest the last two of the ten chapters. Those two chapters deal with recent history and give a good explanation for the current situation. Like anything that deals with recent history, it is getting dated quickly.
The book is worth reading in its entirety. It gives a good background to many of the issues in and around modern China. History is taken with a level of seriousness in parts of Asia not seen by the mainstream in the USA. Look at the justifications you hear “once upon a time X kingdom that use to be on Y land payed tribute to china, ergo its part of China or should listen to China”.
Oddly enough historic amnesia suddenly comes in about Chinese empires paying tribute to people to the north. Basically, a bunch of northerners on horses seemed to pose a problem. Interestingly I have not heard of any Mongolian politicians pointing out that the Chinese empire paid the Mongolians in silver to stop trying to lighting Beijing on fire. As a side note, the Great Wall did not work as well as you would think it would.
Meme Soft Power
As you can see from the video I decided to compare two leaders, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Now Putin has a longer time to get a reputation but it’s a better reputation. Most of the memes are based on just a few incidents. Most of the Putin memes are based on either Ukraine, or when shirtless FEMEN protesters rushed him. In addition, Putin’s masculinity and personality is another source of memes. Likewise most of Xi Jinping’s memes are about his banning of Winnie the Pooh for looking like him. Pun jokes using the leaders names are popular for both leaders. Language note: “Xi” is pronounced like “She”.