The phrase “Chinese dream,” boosted by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “grand external propaganda” and further amplified by China-friendly political parties in various countries, has gradually spread out and become accepted as a real thing among the international community.
The “Chinese dream” is a political platform and propaganda slogan of the CCP that has arisen in the footsteps of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for the purpose of implementing his personal will and consolidating his political power.
It came into existence less than 10 years ago. It employs nationalistic tools such as calling on Chinese to “restore the golden years of the Han and Tang dynasties.”
However, in essence, this means that the hegemony of the Han Chinese ethnicity and the assimilation of ethnic minorities within China’s borders, such as the Uighurs, Mongols and Tibetans, is speeding up, and that their distinctive cultures are disappearing.
At the same time, Xi and the CCP wantonly exert their power and control over all government departments, so that the “Chinese dream” casts its shadow over every aspect of governance, including the judiciary, party discipline, new energy resources, state-run enterprises, national defense and population policies.
On the foreign policy front, the CCP has launched the Belt and Road Initiative, by which it plunders neighboring and developing countries economically and fiscally in the name of infrastructure development.
In comparison, the American dream has never become a concrete way of ruling the US. Rather, it is an international phenomenon of human culture that has been built up over more than 100 years. Starting from the mid-19th century, through the development of the American West and the California Gold Rush, the American dream became a byword for adventure and opening new frontiers.
By the time of the post-World War II era, the US had become a melting pot of ethnicities from all over the world, and the American dream was built through the accumulated dreams of countless immigrants.
In the 1960s and 1970s, following US human rights leader Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech, the American dream came to further encompass the meanings of democracy, human rights and racial equality.
In the 1980s, Silicon Valley became the world’s leading engine of innovation, as countless inventors and entrepreneurs became rich through initial public offerings. Silicon Valley attracted talent from all corners of the world who demonstrated the existence of social mobility, while also making great achievements in film, music and other fields of popular culture.
Although the “Chinese dream” came into being as a supposed copy of the American dream, one word’s difference sets them a thousand miles apart. For all that, there might be many Chinese citizens who are dominated by the “Chinese dream,” but carry an unspoken “American dream” in their hearts.
Fan Shuo-ming is a senior administrative specialist at National Chengchi University.
Translated by Julian Clegg
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