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It has been five long long months, and we are very likely to see it in the history books in 20 years. I had a casual conversation with a friend this afternoon. It was never our intention to talk about this generation and internationalism, but somehow our discussions on other topics which are not even a little bit relative to politics and ideology would always go to the analysis on the past generations, our generation, the next generation, and how international politics would turn to in the next 5-10 years. It is rather sad, but I could not deny her opinion that we, the generation of the 1980s and 1990s, might be the only generation that embraces globalization and internationalism in Mainland China, at least in the next 30 years.

Though the whole world turns from internationalism to nationalism, and some democratic countries elected, or almost elected, anti-democratic leaders, these countries would get through similar paths swinging between nationalism and internationalism as long as there is proper public education for all (I would define the ability of access information from multiple sides of the world as proper instead of being able to discourse with the opposite part, which I generally do in other situations), democratic leaderships, and relative peace. Looking back to the history of North America and Western Europe, public opinion has always been swinging from decades to decades since the end of World War II. (I would not get deep into European history since I share the belief with many philosophers that human cognition and civilization are still undergoing developments and progresses). And even though the younger generation are more extremely polarized, these democratic countries would adjust themselves due to electoral politics.

However, things are completely different in China, one of the global economical superpowers with an authoritarian government in which history, economical policies, foreign policies, and education are completely controlled by a small amount of people who stand ten feet taller. And the contents in the books, not only history but also science and philosophy, are deeply influenced by the CCP policies. The education my generation accepted was affected by the “open and reform” policy that was implanted since 1979, and what I learnt was that youths should open they doors, get out of our little comfort circle and learn from the foreign nationals. Therefore, that generation tends to open they minds to conflicts and varieties.

However, as we entered the information era, the Great Fire Wall built by the last government and the increasing tension between Mainland China and Hong Kong marks a symbol that this country starts to turn right. Perhaps the uprising consumerism and the possibility of well-informed people make the leadership nervous. But it might be otherwise that consumerism is a tool to restrain the thoughts of the citizens. This current generation grew up in a society that they do not aware the existence of the GFW, and they have large scale of animosity and arrogance to basically all the people who even have a little bit divergent with them such as whether to put sugar in Tofu. People see those arguments as jokes, but they are worrisome because an environment that one shall argue everything with people who has any nonuniformity even though they could agree to disagree is slowly built up in this superpower.


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