The small group of Korean students, who attend Qushida University, play soccer in the parking lot outside my window.  Recently, they have picked up baseball, and I worry that this time the ball will go through my window instead of bouncing off.

Though I have never experienced it personally, the other foreign teachers have complained about the Koreans cat-calling, how they kick the ball at us as we pass through to return home.  They are rich, and they are rude.

When Allie’s student, Kathy, and I were walking through the game again one evening, she whispered in her sweet broken English, “Oh! Those are Koreans.”  Allie asked how she felt about them.  Kathy replied that she didn’t like them, that most Chinese students stay clear of them, and when prompted why, she replied not because they were rude, but “because of history.”

For a country that tried to rid itself of history and start fresh, China is astoundingly dependent on the past.  One student told me he thought that all Japanese people were in fact Chinese.  A long time ago a Chinese Emperor sent a boat-load of three thousand Chinese boys and girls to Japan.  From these children descend what are now the modern-day population.

Be it Japan, Taiwan or Tibet, China uses history to defend that they were all once and therefore remain still a part of the People’s Republic, and therefore do not deserve or need the title of independence.  This is the same country that for decades burned any remnant of culture that did not fit into the puzzle of communist revolution.  They destroyed their heritage to recreate themselves but in so doing stirred up the past into a confusing fury.

Today, though it is shattered, that history remains.  But it is contrived and twisted into National pride.  Any story that cannot be braided into the thread of this pride is left out so that the puzzle has gaping holes.  They fill these holes with materialism they call progress.

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