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A light show in Antwerp, Belgium, by Chinese artists depicting traditional forms (photo: dpa)

China as a cliché in the making of a modern nation

Westerners have long resorted to stereotypes when referring to China. It is seen as a treasure trove of ancient wisdom and stoicism, or a powerful force ready and waiting to ‘shake the world.’ These clichés colour many people’s understanding of the country. Foreign observers would do well to see Chinese society as a modern, dynamic nation, home to people who want the same things as their Western counterparts, writes GIS guest expert Vaughan Winterbottom.

CHINA is a modern, dynamic nation but one that is enveloped in cliche and stereotype. To understand how the West - to its detriment - perceives this country of some 1.4 billion people, it is important to recognise long-standing misco...

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 Vaughan Winterbottom
One reason for the persistence of these cliches is perhaps that the Chinese government actively embraces them. China’s ‘unstoppable’ rise to regional and global superpower is one key talking point for the country’s foreign policy
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