They Chose China

Ratings: 8.46/10 from 132 users.

They Chose ChinaOscar nominated filmmaker Shuibo Wang aims his camera at the astonishing story of 21 American POWs who, after the Korean War ended, chose to live in China instead of returning the USA.

Using rare archival footage, excerpts from American and Chinese TV programs, as well as period and contemporary interviews, They Chose China chronicles the fascinating history of this group of young Americans who were hailed in China as "peace fighters" and denounced in America as "turncoats" and "traitors."

U.S. media claimed that these young POW's had been "brainwashed" by the Chinese communists. The film shows conditions inside these Chinese camps, featuring never-before-seen footage, plus contemporary interviews with some of the camps' Chinese translators, instructors, lecturers, and officers.

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76 Comments / User Reviews

  1. LOL

    A movie entitled "They Chose China" made by a guy "who chose Canada" and his major achievement cited by Chinese media is an Oscar nomination for this movie in which he saying US threatened "his country" which the director abandoned with his own free will. Use footage from Chinese communist propaganda film without questioning and picture China as a paradise in early 1950s (BTW, at the same time, a man-made famine starved millions of Chinese to death and the director did not mention it but vaguely put the blame on Soviet Union). One fact is that there are 21 American choosing China but there were more than 14,000 Chinese choosing Taiwan after Korean War. Not sure if the director will consider these Chinese heroes. It is very easy to find Chinese patriots outside China who furiously defended their motherland's image and cannot wait to be naturalized at the same time.

    1. Shui-Bo Wang

      I’m the filmmaker of this film. Well, obviously you didn’t understand much about the film, there’re many layers and messages inside of the film which you have to use your brain to get them...

    2. Cs

      The famine your so quick to point has many aspects to it reparations to the ussr being one of them another is the killing of birds and the growing insect population. Yes it could of been avoided but that doesnt make china a hell scape like you imagine. You cant get over the fact americans were treated better in china then in the U.S. get over yourself.

  2. HistoryLover

    Why the 21 Americans chose China? After watching the video, you get an impression that the American media and politicians were primitive, one dimensional and extreme. All they knew to do was accusing others of being turncoats, traitors, weaklings, reds and commies. On the other hand, the Chinese were trying to understand the soldiers and treated them as young students to be equipped with logical thinking and scientific methods. Look how well Hawkins and Adams could articulate their points and offer insight in world events. Mike Wallace sounded like a simpleton who only knew to stick labels, while Hawkins accurately foretold the rise of China and the need for China-US cooperation. Hawkins had more foresight than most Americans back in 1957. It showed the effectiveness of the Chinese education system.

  3. adilrye

    This was a really great documentary. The narrator is dry, and initially this is why I avoided it after tuning in for a couple minutes. But stick with it, it's great.
    It touches on a lot of big themes but still remained a human story. That's what I really enjoyed about it, you have all these Cold War backdrops, the politics, the security fears, the culture clash and so on...(I also like how they said "converted to Communism"...made me chuckle) but with the human side to it all. Actual people who lived in what news headlines would point out as a peculiar circumstance of the Cold War.

  4. S de Vere

    They chose to stay in China because they co-operated with the Chinese/North Korean jailers and would have rightly faced military justice if they returned to the USA

  5. oQ

    An earlier form of Bradley Manning. Great doco!

  6. deliaruhe

    Too few Americans have passports, as they are not all that interested in visiting other cultures. They are therefore more vulnerable to the propaganda churned out by the American state. And the more the state's international influence decreases, the more propaganda it has to produce. So Chavez is a dictator and the Venezuelans, who are largely happy with him, are the victims of brainwashing. China is a commie police state, and all Chinese are at high risk of victimization by China's lack of human rights.

    But given the last five years of economic hardship, the last 12 years under the PATRIOT Act, a totally dysfunctional federal government, increasing episodes of gun violence, the surliness of their border police and Homeland Security types at airports the US looks a lot less attractive than the countries it loves to badmouth.

    It's been several years since I've been to China, but I would definitely go there again. Soldiers' attraction to it is understandable, as China has no interest in war. They're focused on making money, and seem to be enjoying that.

  7. cvryder2000

    I was a child when all this happened, but old enough to be aware of what was going on. I remember the uproar about the "turncoats" at the time, and I always wondered what happened to them. It was not a pleasant time in the good old USA, with McCarthy and his red-baiting buddies riding high, and it was particularly bad for minorities. I can about understand why these men made the decisions they did.

  8. bringmeredwine

    This subject sounded so interesting, but to my disappointment the narrator was as dry as toast, he had no expression while he droned on and on to old grainy footage. Yawn.

    I only lasted 5 minutes.

    1. janemas

      This was GREAT documentary. Don't get turned off by the voice.. not worth missing, besides you'll get over it. It's not that bad.

  9. Mom

    It is sad that we are so judgemental and condeming of peoples and cultures that we do not understand, instead of taking to trouble to learn more before we take sides and form opinions

    1. bringmeredwine

      You are so right. My Auntie travelled to China many times because she just loved the people, especially in the countryside. She would stay in tiny villages off the beaten track -not in slick hotels.

      She also was invited to speak at a university in China to a group of orthopedic surgeons. (she was a scientist, biologist and a zoologist; but wound up researching orthopedicts).

      She got to know the Chinese people from all walks of life.
      I'm so grateful to her for telling me so many wonderful stories of all her adventures.

      My dad had to travel all over the world too for his job, and so did I when I left home.

      You can never learn enough about other cultures. Just don't go where you are NOT welcome!

  10. Paul Samsom

    'They shouldn't have let any of those turncoats back into The United States.'
    This is a very stupid comment.

  11. Dvs138

    They shouldn't have let any of those turncoats back into The United States.

  12. Martin Screeton

    I really enjoyed the story since my dad was in the korean war and was wounded but not captured. It gave me a chance to see what he went through. Looking back on the history of the early 50's in America i can certainly see why some GI's chose to stay, particularly several black men from the south ... after all they were still being killed here for just being black in the south. I spent 3.5 years in Korea and so understand the hospitality of the asian culture, I was treated always as a family member by everybody I met ... even when I did not deserve it.

  13. KK

    Am an elected socialist for the socialist party here in brussels and allergic to redneck dumbness (socialists make porsches and bmw's lol) so don't go blab how i'm some right winged wanker. But still i'd like to make clear that this docu is staged crap. There's a lot of crap on this site lately btw. Hardly visit it anymore.

    1. Martin Screeton

      I think your attitude sucks, perhaps you have been riding around in too many BMW's to know what the common man feels, sees, or experiences. Since you think this site is a lot of crap, perhaps you should just find another site to visit.

  14. thenesteamonster

    chinese don't understand democracy or free market, they are thieves and counterfeiters, a society of kitsch

    1. cordor.mtl

      You know it's not chinese fault(atleast not the ppl). USSR used to give out low level technologies for "free", so chinese question why wouldn't you westerners do the same thing if you wants to be friend with us? Of cause, china government hide the fact from their citizens that USSR asked lot more than money in return. Usually land, sometimes diplomatic independency.

    2. demand_sider

      Yet, they are rising and we are collapsing.

  15. Woodat

    Very beautiful and very human story.

    1. Martin Screeton

      I totally agree :)

  16. jiangzi biao

    David Hawkins is quite intelligent and foreseeing. The elephant analogy is becoming true now after all.

  17. Gareth Hayes

    Good documentary, but don't be confused, the cultural revolution gutted most of the "friendliness" out of the Chinese. I don't think they would have just stood around and watched back then when someone gets stabbed, run over by a car, involved in an accident, etc, as they do today.

  18. RileyRampant

    believe the word 'turncoat' was used more than twice. it was as if every mid-century reporter/narrator/politician/what-have-you only had one concept amongst them to to fathom why a person might choose a different path.

    not indicative of a free-thinking people, was it? is it? we're different now on the accidentals, but still very conformist at bottom.

    we still don't look very deep, we are still disinclined to understand social ideas, much less those others who entertain ideas on the subject much different than our 'own'.

    like mr. ross' comment as to the remaining 'socialist' regimes devolving into oligarchies not much different from the west. convergent evolution.

  19. louise naylor

    This documentary truly changed my life. As a child of the Cold War, taught to fear communism - the truths undeniable in this priceless documentary should be seen by anyone fearing the inevitible rise of China in the world.

    No surprise to those who have already worked out that the best and worst of humanity is present in every race and culture - all the same I shall be posting this link 'till my little Western fingers hurt.

    It occurs to me watching this - that something went wrong with all ideologies in the 1960's - were there a lot of solar flares or something?

  20. Vlatko

    This is strange. The doc was removed (will be re-posted) although it is not copyrighted.

    FreeSpeechTV Channel on YouTube (independent television network) decided to remove it from their library. I don't know the reasons but it is suspicious.

    Anyways since it is originally NFB documentary, it'll be embedded from their official site.

    1. Warren Gates

      Pro-Communist videos are not allowed on YouTube I noticed. A perfectly balanced documentary about North Korea, just a regular capitalist British man touring North Korea, was partially deleted. The part that YouTube removed was quite positive for North Korea.

      The documentary was actually quite a bit Pro-West, but the mere ounce of sympathy it showed in one part caused its censorship. Sympathy causes "Vietnam Syndrome" in Americans.

  21. Mark Ross

    I don't believe that documentary information, whether of questionable content or not, should be considered as property to be used to gain wealth, or should be censored. My original comments (see below) on China in general prompted my Chinese wife to point out that it's not so clear cut as I imagine. So I want to add a few comments to balance out the record. However, I can't do this for a few days, and in the meantime the doc has been removed!
    But I have a copy here and will upload it to this site as soon as I can. I'm behind the Great Firewall of China, internet is not so open. Otherwise I can share it through Dropbox. Give me a few days. I have no idea who "owns" this documentary and why someone removed it, anyone got any idea of what happened? Incidentally, I'm not pro Chinese govt, Communism or any other form of Government, in my book, they are all corrupt and cater only to the wealthy few. China can not by any stretch of the imagination be considered as a "Communist" country, it's more like a capitalist country with leadership beyond the influence of the people, in that way it's indistinguishable to USA, and the UK, Australia etc. who only have the facade of democracy.

    1. ShadowMan

      ....You look like a wish man who has his eyes wide open and knows what the hell is going on in this terrible day-in-age! Well done sir, I also, am wondering why this doc has been removed, maybe the US gov told/forced him to remove it, it tells the truth and gives ideas to westerners that the west is the wrong, not the Chinese or the Russians as we have been fed BS over the years when all along the USA has been the evil empire! Could be this!

    2. slpsa

      I would not go that far with it man. I doubt that the US Government told them to take it down. He would not do that anyways. LOL. It was probably the owner of the doc, in which case, he would be obliged to do so out of respect.

  22. sylvia_nz

    It's instinctual to choose life when your survival is threatened. This subconscious decision will be consciously justified by whichever means possible.

    For those inspired by the Chinese Communism, just consider the question of why there are more Chinese immigrants all over the world than vice versa if their lives in China were as idyllic as portrayed.

    It was clever politics and effective advertising to treat well, "above the average Chinese", the POWs as Western mouthpieces.

    It's fascinating and cute though that most of the Chinese speaking POWs spoke Mandarin in quite a thick local accent. (I am from Taiwan, but grew up in NZ, and can speak the language). It's good to see the locals and the POWs forging genuine friendship.

    Communism can seem an attractive ideology to the naive. One vital flaw however is assuming equality = equal entitlement. Think about this for a moment. Forced equal resource allocation will lead to resentment and ultimately collapse of the system.

    The success of communism in China and almost no where else (except the desolated North Korea behind the iron curtain) I think resides in the stamina and adaptability of Chinese people. After some 5000 years of periodic power shifts in dozens of dynasties, civil wars, republics change-hands in quick successions has made the Chinese well adapted survivors to changing political arena wherever they are placed, and cultivated a people that tended to be inwardly cynical of any religion/political systems alike. Just look at how well capitalism has flourished in China!

    They (we) have got one thing right though -- education and financial independence is key to individual success.

    And for that, the Chinese shall rise.

    1. Gareth Hayes

      "The success of communism in China and almost no where else (except the desolated North Korea behind the iron curtain) I think resides in the stamina and adaptability of Chinese people."

      Except that China was never actually communist and today is more capitalist than every other country I've been to.

      "They (we) have got one thing right though -- education and financial independence is key to individual success."

      You haven't spent much time in "your" country have you... Lol.

    2. sylvia_nz

      That was my point exactly - China at this point although claims to be under communist ruling, is more capitalist in nature. It's the ease with political/economic hypocrisy that makes the Chinese so versatile.

      Born and raised to 14years in Taiwan with fluent Mandarin and proficient literacy levels in traditional Chinese; I am disappointed by your flippant assumption and ignorant remark about my heritage.

    3. Gareth Hayes

      I made my comments based ONLY on your comments regarding educational and financial independence, which is NOT present in China in any way shape or form, and if you lived there you would know that, which is why I said that you haven't spent long in "your" country. Now you that you mention you are from Taiwan it just re-enforces my point.

    4. demand_sider

      Capitalist outsourcers to China are the biggest hypocrites. They denigrate China's authoritarianism, but prefer it over democracy. Also, China's steel, mining, electronics assembly, vehicle manufacturing, telecommunications, banking, etc, are mostly state owned, just the way Wall Street like it.

    5. demand_sider

      Here's a small sample of the 116 state owned enterprises in China:

      20 China Power Investment Corporation
      21 China Three Gorges Corporation
      22 Shenhua Group Corporation Limited
      23 China Telecommunications Corporation
      24 China United Network Communications Group Co., Ltd.
      25 China Mobile Communications Corporation
      26 China Electronics Corporation
      27 China FAW Group Corporation
      28 Dongfeng Motor Corporation
      29 China First Heavy Industries
      30 China National Erzhong Group Co.
      31 Harbin Electric Corporation
      32 Dongfang Electric Corporation
      33 Anshan Iron and Steel Group Corporation
      34 Baosteel Group Corporation
      35 Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corporation

      Sure looks like government ownership of the means of production to me.

  23. Lampiao1936

    thats why I HATE western Media , I know the republicans dont gonna like this but REALY THIS ARE FACTS i know now where my love for Chine came from sjie sje njie China I love you , even I am South American
    Bye the Way Vietnam was a huge mistake too we know that now , before the western media declare it as a holy war

    1. Steven Van Westing

      So .... you are from South America, yet you adore China, and at the same time you feel like you're North American.

      So who does your allegiance lie with ???

      Please, give less mixed signals next time.

  24. Diane Jordan

    Thank you.What blew my mind was the Olympic games they had. The documentary should be shown in all schools, in the west.

  25. Diane Jordan

    Bought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. So good to watch. I was very impressed how the Chinese treated their prisoners, I never knew the Chinese treated them so well. I have always heard about Burma, Japan. Germany, Singapore that the prisoners were treated so bad. An enlightening documentary. Thank you.

  26. adilrye

    Quite interesting. Never knew this happened. And I never would have, unless for this remarkable site.

  27. Guest

    Very interesting.
    I wonder how many soldiers would quit a war and go back home in the middle of combat if they were allowed to.
    My guess is in the millions throughout the world, throughout history.

    1. Rudi Wallstab

      what a novel thought! This thought, until I read it, never even occurred to me! How wonderful for all humans that would be!

  28. tommy8moke

    Did anyone else notice the UFO at 2:40?

  29. Signature Mouthguard

    An interesting piece with great presentation of material.

  30. suirvale

    great advertisment for smokers,.,.,.good video,.

  31. delfonics.delfonics

    Beautiful thank you very much
    listen to voices of real people, sharing and caring for each other

  32. tariqxl

    The level of civilization in a society is measured by how they treat prisoners of war... by that same logic you can deduce how primitive mankind is by the fact that we still war with each other.

  33. Irishkev

    There was a group of American workers who opted to go and live in Russia , I think it was in the '30s . They wanted to play a part in the workers paradise . Unfortunately many were never heard of again and were feared to have ended up in the gulags . I read about it in Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago". Has anyone else heard this story ?

    1. dmxi

      i've read it 20 years ago & i still remember the coldness it conveyed!
      great book ,that makes you enjoy the snug little crackling fire of the stove....even if you haven't got one !

    2. dmxi

      had to search the cellar to find my copy of (german edition noble prize collection) alexander issajewitsch solschenizyn's 'a day in the life of ivan denissowitsch' (i freely translated the german title,dunno the english title) which i can highly recommend to get a 'gulagy' feel
      for russian history!i don't remember the american inmates though,have to go through it again.....

  34. gunk wretch

    kinda funny how the mother about 6 min who is talking about her son being brainwashed, actually sounds more brainwashed then the soldiers who stayed.. Her unnatural sounding choice of words definitely sounds like she was at least "coached" on what to say.

  35. Missy Ruth

    Wow - what an amazing piece of history. I had no idea this even happened. Beautifully done. I love this website!!

  36. Pysmythe

    This is an excellent documentary!
    When I was little, my great grandmother told me she felt her son, my great uncle, William Owen, who had fought and supposedly died in the Korean War, but who's body had never been found, might have decided to stay over there. It seems he had always been the restless type around home, and she just had this feeling about it. I doubt very much it's true that he did, but watching this one had kind of a personal side for me, given that family legend.

  37. bbga

    One of the best documentaries I've watched.

  38. misterwong

    We now have the benefit of hindsight regarding the Korean War,U.S. foreign policies,the Red Scare,and Macarthyism in the 50's.This was a very unusual story,and quite moving.It is also quite well produced and directed

  39. Matt van den Ham

    Amazing, powerful yet subtle wisdoms...very Chinese like. North America has much to learn from the Japanese and Chinese in terms of spirituality and acceptance of different races and cultures. I'm sure someone out there would like to say North Americans can teach the Asians this and that, but the North American cleverness is always going to loose to the deep wisdoms they have kept in their culture.

    Europeans are very much accustomed to smashing each others cultures in to bits, so there's very little opportunity for global growth or individual spiritual growth with this attitude/mind set. We need to embrace our interesting differences instead of fearing them!

    1. wald0

      "North America has much to learn from the Japanese and Chinese in terms of ... acceptance of different races and cultures."

      Really? Maybe you should read a little history concerning Japan and China's "acceptance of other cultures". In fact ask any Tibetan how accepting and spiritual the official Chinese government is, after all China invaded and still controls this peaceful and once sovereign country since 1950 with no provocation what so ever. Or just look at how they control internet access, media, etc. in order to keep other outside influences from thier citizens. Read into the Tiananmen square tragedy, if you are too young to remember it. One could hardly call this an accepting, or wise culture in my opinion.

      Only 1.6 % of the population in Japan are foreign nationals. According to a wikipedia article entitled Ethinic Issues in Japan and the calculations of R. J. Rummel, a total of 5.4 million Koreans were also conscripted into forced labor, and shipped throughout the Japanese Empire. Of these, 210,000 to 870,000 Koreans died during forced labor in places such as Manchuria and Sakhalin. The same article outlines on going ethnic issues in Japan concerning several other minorities such as Brazilians, Chinese, Ainu (indegenous peoples living mostly in Hokkaido), and Ryukyuan (Okinawans who have thier own langage and were taken over by Japan in 1609 and lost all atonomy in 1879). Yes the U.S has much to learn about accepting other cultures and much more but, we aren't going to learn it from these cultures obviously.

      Don't confuse the stereo typical picture of Asian wisdom and meditation with current reality on the ground in these countries, to do so paints a false picture of what it is really like there. Even when China and Japan where in there past they committed horrible acts of attrocitiy and war and were a closed culture which did not even allow foreign visitors in thier country for many years.

    2. Mikhail Bychkov

      Do not generalise. Governments are different from its people, the US government too has committed atrocities in Vietnam, Japan and Iraq, but that does not make all Americans evil. Also taking into account the fact that neither governments (Chinese and Japanese) were democratically elected during these atrocities, they were unaccountable to the people and therefore do not represent the people.

      Japan closed its doors to prevent ideologies that would lead to the overthrowing of the shogunate government, China did the same to prevent capitalism from reaching its shores and as the documentary clearly illustrate they do welcome those that share the same ideology irrespective of race.

      From personal experience and understanding of asian philosophy, multiculturalism is very much embedded in the Chinese/Japanese culture. Confucius and Genghis Khan both believed in, and the former actively advocated, the latter actively practised multiculturalism, and both has had significant influence on Chinese and Japanese cultures. It is nothing short of erroneous to say that there is nothing to be gained from studying these cultures; even great philosophers such as Voltaire and Leibniz have drawn much influence from Confucius, who are you to say that we cannot learn from them.

    3. wald0

      Now when did I say the Japanese or Chinese people were evil? I never said that nor do I believe it. I also never said America was innocent, in fact I admitted we had much to learn. I never said there was nothing to be gained from studying these cultures either, man you like to put words in peoples mouths.What I said was that we were not going to learn to be inclusive of other cultures, meaning other ideaologies basically not just race, from these cultures. In my opinon it was the statement which made these cultures out to be wholly inclusive and wise that generalized, not mine. Accepting other culture means accepting other ideaologies not simply excusing the color of their skin, don't be so intentionally thick please. I have nothing against these cultures in particular nor the people which live within them. However I am not going to pretend these cultures have been historically accepting toward other cultures/ideaologies, any one that studies history knows that isn't true- period. Just as i am not going to pretend my culture has been particularly accepting of other cultures, as everyone knows. In fact I can count on one hand the cultures that have been traditionally willing to accept and accomodate other cultures as thier equal, and none of these three (U.S., Japan, or china) are in the bunch. If you choose to see my comment or opinion as racist or arrogant, thats your choice- but don't put words in my mouth or express ideas that I detest as mine. Anyone that has taken the time to read my posts on this site sould be able to see very clearly that I am well aware of my countries short comings and faults and that I do not harbor any kind of prejudice against foreign cultures. Contrary to popular opinion every American is not lost in the haze of fox news propaganda,many of us are well informed, intelligent people capable of critical thought.

    4. Mikhail Bychkov

      Okay perhaps parts of my previous post were ambiguous and for that I apologise; though I did, it was never my intention to imply that you believed Chinese and Japanese were evil, I merely wished to illustrate that governments are different from its people, now looking back with hindsight, that analogy to Americans not being evil as a result of heinous acts conducted by the US government was quite poor.

      Now in order to accept the ideologies of another culture we must first accept them as a race, hence accepting one's appearance is a step towards accepting one's culture.

      I agree that the Chinese and Japanese cultures aren't wholly inclusive and completely wise, they're flawed just as much as any other cultures, Eastern philosophies nowadays have become somewhat overrate and given a lot more credit than it deserves, however I nonetheless believe we can learn to be more accepting/inclusive of others from them, because I do believe historically they have been more accepting. In China (the area as we know it today) there are some 50+ different indigenous ethnic groups each with its own culture, have gotten along fine for the past few thousand years, Manchu emperors during the Qing Dynasty would have Hans, Uyghurs, Mongolians and what not amongst his high ranking officials and vice versa.

      Another important element is religion, the most prominent religion in both countries is Zen Buddhism, which in my personal opinion (and I stress this is my personal opinion) Buddhism as a whole is generally a more accepting, science-friendly and to some extent a more modern religion. If memory serves me right there is not a single war waged in the name of Buddhism, whereas there has been plenty of wars fought (The Holy Crusades) and mass murders conducted (Spanish Inquisition) in the name of Christianity (no offense to Christians). Also in Feudal Japan homosexuality was openly accepted and practiced by the monks, which shock many Christian missionaries that visited. Now make of it what you will, but I believe this goes on to show that buddhism, and hence C+J cultures are historically more accepting of other cultures/sub-cultures/ideologies.

      I understand that you may not be convinced, we're all entitled to our own opinion, as the great philosopher Voltaire once said "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

      Just to clarify I never thought you were a racist, I merely thought that your opinion of C+J cultures and their attitude towards tolerance/acceptance is based on a wrong premise, id est the actions of their government as oppose to their people, and yes I do understand that most Americans have not been brainwashed by Fox and remain quite aware of current affairs.

    5. slpsa

      As I said, people are generally the same, the world over. What their Governments have done in the past and present never tell the true story of a people or a culture. The BS we are fed regularly on the MS news is not reality and most of us know it. The Us vs Them thing is old. Regular everyday people outnumber the different parts of the ruling class and Governments they affiliate with. Every man whom I have ever worked with in many different cultures all had the same problems. Wives, money, bosses, kids acting up, you name it. Most of them also gripe about the Government too, even in Communist countries and places like Iran. I have worked and traveled to many countries as I stated, my work is worldwide. We are the same and most of us as a planet, do not represent the Governments that rule us. Nor should we feel guilt for past transgressions by said Governments or rulers. China may not be perfect, but if I may be blunt, they have a low crime rate, unlike my own Country, where you do not go to certain areas of certain City's. In China, it seems the message is clear. The point is understood, you just do not go there unless you are willing to pay the ultimate price. Some people here wonder about how safe Chinese Streets are at night? In 3 City's I visited, I was taken out for dinner, filled with more alcohol than I needed, all three times, was shown about those places at 3 AM, most of it walking around drunk. All over the place. No muggings or gangs I saw, no robbery's murders, riots, break in's. We got offered rides about 10 times by strangers, meaning no harm, just being good Samaritans. Perhaps there are other places that are not as quiet or safe, but I did not see one. Even when changing flights or traveling by bus and train did I see anything out of the ordinary. We have more in common as cultures than differences. Our Governments just do not care. Greed and power win.

    6. Diane Jordan

      Thank you slpsa.

    7. adilrye


    8. phillip wong

      You think democracy could help China? Of course not. At the end of the day, population of 1.4 billion, putting food on the table is what matters.

    9. slpsa

      In that sir, you are 100 per cent correct. The average Chinese working man and families could care less about politics, foreign policy or BS, they could mostly care less what is going on outside their own villages, and small towns and city's, what goes on anywhere else is not important at all to most simple folk, you know, sort of like certain places anywhere in the world, it is not Country or culture specific really is it. The larger centers, they are connected and capitalist as any other Country are and maybe care about all things Government. All they care about is what Phil said out in the small places. Making sure they eat everyday. If the Government they have allows them to do so, then all is good for Joe average Chinese citizen. Life in some of the older and smaller villages has not changed that are in remote places seems to have not changed in a century or two. It is really that big, and diverse. I tell anyone, if you want a good holiday, and love history, the Country is the place for you. I would not steer ya wrong man.

    10. demand_sider

      It's important in the USA, also.

  40. RobinMoscow

    Good doco. True the Chinese have some real positives though I don't know how xenophobic they might be, or how safe late night streets may remain, when they become as multicultural as Oz, the US, NZ etc. For example there was a man called Rewi Alley, a NZer, who chose to live as a communist citizen in China but he was treated very suspiciously even though he committed himself to China and became a party member.

    It was good to see the paranoia and rigidity of the American interviewer and authorities but, to understand that properly we need to understand the absolute fear of what communism was doing in the Soviet Union. Lenin (Ulyanov) and Stalin did unspeakable things to their own people and the Allies knew about it before WW2. That all lead to Korea and Vietnam debacles and those who now live in South Korea are very grateful!

    Although the time in China, up to 1956-7, was relatively benign, Mao's cultural revolution was a repressive, regressive great leap backwards. For example the mass killing of sparrows and the absurd iron foundries capitulated the masses into great famine, pollution and poverty.

    Benign only to a point. Ignorance of the facts allows us to believe differently than we would if we knew enough.

    But the people featured are wonderful. They were heartwarming.

  41. Epicurus

    wow that was really good.

  42. Mark Ross

    Nice contrast from the propaganda we were fed about the perils of the Chinese back in Australia. I'm 58 y.o. and four years ago I made the decision to live in mainland China. Most noticeable difference for me is the low key, peaceful nature of the people, compared to the often angry and aggressive attitude of western countries citizens. Whilst I know there are many injustices and social issues here in China, I also know that it's no different in USA, Europe and Australia etc. Aside from individual greed of those who hold positions of power, the bulk of the people, given half a chance, prefer to live peacefully. I can walk through the streets late at night, alone, and have no fears of muggings, beatings, or harassment, I see pretty young girls (also see older men and women) returning home late at night, also with no fear for their safety. I have lived in several western countries, and know that its not safe on the streets even for a man walking alone late at night. I don't put this down to politics, but to the fact that China is for the Chinese, it's not a multicultural society. There is a real tangible sense of belonging here. But they also welcome strangers, unlike some Australians who think it's their duty to angrily tell Asians to "$#@% off back to China, you *&%#@% ^##%@&*" Despite the face that the Chinese person is probably a professor at the local university, and even was born in Australia. In this way, multi-cultural society is demonstrating that it's not working as well as the social engineering experts would like us to believe. Peaceful harmony in Australia (USA etc) is seldom seen, and is gradually disappearing. Personally, it seems to me that the best times for the average family were had in the 60's 70's when my Dad like his friends, could support the family on his wage, while Mum kept on top of the real important work of keeping the family together and nourished. This is not possible today, and we have lost quality because of it. So for now, I'm happily soaking up the rich culture of China, and trying to earn a living here. Sorry for long post.

    1. slpsa

      Funny how that works eh Mark? I too have traveled to China, and went many places. I see none of what we deal with here in North American city's there. Whatsoever. There is pollution run rampant, and social injustice, but for the most part, as you say, it is peaceful. You get a sense that most people just want to live and let live, helping a stranger in need is common place as well. Racism does exist, but it is between ethnic groups who have a political agenda, it is not directed towards say, white people. In fact it seems they love Canadians, the lady's especially! hehe...I do not support the Communist system nor its leaders, but much like Iran, the people are indeed, one sort of people, and the Governments, quite another. We are sucked into this Us vs Them mentality via the propaganda machine built to fool the weak minded on behalf of the War Mongers. Anyone who has traveled the world and is intelligent and educated see through the BS lies. Unfortunately, the real problem is: He who has the guns, also make the rules. In China as in Iran, the people at the top make the rules, and so do their foes on our side of the pond. The people are stuck in the middle. I have also been to Iran, it would surprise many un-informed people to know most Persian's are really not much different from us and that they are educated, connected and savvy. I met some really really top human beings during my visit there. Here is one example of what is wrong with this whole thing. I was on a job site, first day, it was prayer time right? So I assumed everyone was gonna get out their carpets and pray. I was going to disappear into the background while they did. Much to my amazement, only 2 men, out of 30 got on the ground and prayed. I am standing there, like WTF? Why are these guys not getting down? My facial expression must have belied my thoughts to the main guy I was training, the guy leans over and says whats up? { they speak English very well, all of them I met by the way} I said hey, why are those guys not praying?? I thought it was mandatory? He looks at me with a smirk and says " Does everyone in Canada pray? Is everyone religious there? Does everyone believe in books and fairy tales?" He laughs again and says "Haha, maybe we are just bad Muslims no? " I was stunned to say the least. It was that simple. That alone opened a door for me and turned a light on. He proceeded to tell me that do not believe everything the West says about Iran and its people. We are not the Government. In fact most young people hate their Government, the ones born after 1979 especially. These are middle class, educated men who work at highly skilled jobs in the mining sector. They are not dumb humans at all. People are people, the world over, same gripes, problems, stresses, complaints, money, the kids, the wife, the boss, blah blah blah. It is those politicians and rich bastards who want war and death/money who f--k it all up. People are people man.

    2. ShadowMan

      ....I live in Taiwan, I have lived in Indonesia too, like you said in the above post, ..."it is peaceful. You get a sense that most people just want to live and let live,..." That is so true, I'm married to a local and have one beautiful daughter, I'll NEVER go back to the West, (I'm from the UK) the people know how to behave and live, I'm so happy here, been in this country 12 years now, could easily do another 12 and more, in fact i will live here till i die! The west just hate! I got tired of that crap. I am at peace in this country, I regret one thing though, I regret not moving out here 30 years ago!

    3. slpsa

      I hear you. I like it here in Canada, it is home, but I do travel the world regularly, in places that are blown up to be our enemy's as well. I knew the first time I stepped foot in about 3 different countries that the western propaganda machine despises, that it was all lies and smoke n mirror's. People are people, we are not all that much different, we may look different, but we all share certain traits. Government's are one thing and differ accordingly, people are the same. Period. Anyone who has traveled understands this. That being said, there are certain countries that does not apply though. One place I have been that differs from all the rest is Pakistan. I cannot put my finger on why or what is up with that place, but I never felt welcome, I never felt safe, I never once went alone anywhere, and certainly not without a gun or two. The looks were not friendly, neither were my hosts. I expect there are a few others like that as well, I just have not been there. Yet.

    4. Diane Jordan

      Good to hear you are happy.