Lots of people have already commented on the Chinese professor video, which is getting a lot of play in the US. If you have not seen it, it is set in the year 2030, and shows a Chinese professor (an updated Fu Manchu) laughing at the Americans whose empire has fallen because (unlike China) they have allowed the government to interfere with the free market.
Fallows and others have pointed out how absurd the content is, and he suggests that we will see more like this. I suppose so, but I don’t predict ads claiming that Chinese Baozi are made with the blood of American babies till at least 2016. Actually some of these anti-China ads are coming out already.
What I find most interesting about the Chinese professor ad though is the iconography. There are lots of administrators in my school who would no doubt laugh till they choked at the idea that in 2030 an advanced country would still be delivering educational products through the appallingly old-fashioned method of putting tuition-generating units and an instructional employee in a room and having them talk.
Even more interesting are the Mao-period posters on the walls of the classroom. Are they predicting a resurgence of Maoism in China? Yes, the old guy gets some face time even now, but I have never seen anything like these in a Chinese lecture hall. Or maybe they wanted pictures that would say “”China” to an American audience. I presume the decision went something like this.
Pandas -Say China, but are too cute to be a threat.
Yao Ming -Says China, but can’t stay healthy. Sick Man of Asia is not what we need here.
Ichiro Suzuki- Says China to Americans, still healthy and still hitting well, but Seattle stank last season. No threat.
Great Wall. Possible, but not scary enough. Just sits there. Sure you can see it from space, but how many Americans go into space nowadays?
So Mao is pretty much all that is left. I could actually imagine a world where by 2030 Chinese nationalists were recycling Maoist imagery as sort of a we Chinese are bad-asses type of thing. (Maybe not the Mao as bald guy pics, but certainly some of the heroic poses from the C-R stuff. )