Xinjiang Secrets – what they know but don’t want you to know

This is literally insider’s news.

Wang Zhi An. An honest, hardnosed and reputed journalist cum TV host, his meteoric rise and his sudden downfall were both because of money. Like everyone, Wang started off as an obedient journalist who towed the Party line. Quite by accident, Wang took on the role of investigative journalist, interviewing controversial characters and became an overnight success. As his critical, analytical approach was new and refreshing, the audience loved it. His show drew hundreds of millions of viewers. In spite of the political risks, the authorities allowed his show to go on.

That was until he started asking hard questions about certain TCM practices and products. He crossed two OB markers. Firstly, he went against the Party’s push for “confidence in Chinese culture”. Secondly, he was undermining the big businesses playing on the people’s ignorance of TCM.

Fired from his job and cancelled on all social media platforms in China, Wang Zhi An fled to Japan where he started broadcasting from his own YouTube channel. In the video below, he reveals what he knows about Xinjiang (but was prevented from reporting). I hope the people who doubt the Western media’s reports on Xinjiang can take a look at this.

All cooking knives in Xinjiang owned by Uyghur people must be registered and chained to kitchen walls. Except for the poster boys and girls, it’s nearly impossible for the average Xinjiang resident to travel freely throughout China let alone go overseas. The attack on the police station was not really an anti-Han riot. The police chief was a Uyghur. They were fighting the administration.

Wang will analyse the evolution of Xinjiang’s racial tension in future videos. Can’t wait.

More Wushu Embarrassment

Under China’s current “confident” climate, traditional wushu is a “protected” artform. It doesn’t matter how unskilled you are. You’ll get all the publicity and exposure you want. Bragging is supported by the system. That’s why 鄭加寬 is such an influencer in China.

But when put to the test, these folks not only reveal that their skills are only good for performances, they also reveal their poor upbringing. After 鄭加寬 threw in the towel during his rematch with TKD/capoeira exponent Zhang Long, his sponsors and his teacher Ma Baoguo announced that they had nothing nothing to do with him.

The final scene shows wushu master Tian Ye telling Chinese youths not to be misled by foreign martial artforms like TKD. He challenged Zhang Long to a match and was swiftly knocked out. I’m not sure what excuse he gave.

The next video shows a very interesting match between former wushu exponent Tang Duo Ji and Taiji master Lei Lei. The latter needs no introduction. He was heavily promoted by CCTV in documentaries on Taiji, demonstrating consummate skills that wowed many Western audiences.

Tang did not get such good publicity, but he was also quite a prominent influencer who used to brag about how his creation, a boxing style called “gong quan” could defeat muay Thai and other foreign artforms.

However, Tang changed his mind after being soundly beaten by muay Thai and decided to focus on boxing. Lei Lei tried to paint Tang Duo Ji as a traitor and boasted that his Taiji skills would easily beat Tang in the boxing ring. Not only that, even though he was just a guest at the ring, he lectured the crew and acted like he was the organiser.

The results?

A man like Tang Duo Ji really deserves our respect. After being beaten by a stronger opponent, he abandoned his fake and showy past. He humbly trained in an artform that works. It doesn’t matter if that artform is foreign or Chinese. A Chinese person who excels in it is doing his people proud. So what if the system does not support him or give him publicity befitting a star? Tang Duo Ji had gone beyond that. Meanwhile, stars like the recalcitrant Lei Lei supported by the system, are still giving excuses for their failures and still attracting hordes of “patriotic” fans who believe in the self-glorifying fantasy projected on the silver screen.

Proverbs like 闭门造车,出门可辙 have encouraged insularity and complacency in China for thousands of years. I have no interest in martial arts, but in dramatic fashion, recent developments in this arena hold many important lessons for every single one of us.

Must Have Chinese Characteristics

Brutal, draconian zero-Covid measures are often contrasted against the seemingly laissez faire approach of governments in the West. These measures have somehow been identified as characteristically “Chinese” and more superior to the West early in this pandemic. Many people are still scratching their heads, wondering how some of the most prosperous and progressive cities in the world could descend into a dystopian nightmare with people starving, dying from neglect and suicide.

Actually, it’s not that difficult to understand. The mindset here is very similar to that seen in martial arts and the quitting from international university ranking. I don’t take such rankings seriously either, but there’s a difference between taking things with a pinch or salt and arrogantly denouncing it.

Even though it has been proven time and again that wushu, the way it is being practised today, is impractical in the competition arena, the authorities continue to proudly promote wushu as something superior. To stop mavericks like Xu Xiaodong from proving otherwise, they banned competitions between different martial artforms and scrubbed Chinese social media clean of all video footage that make them lose face.

Fighting Covid the way they are doing now is like insisting on using Taiji to fight MMA and hoping to win – by disallowing competition. They reject mRNA vaccines. They reject living with the virus. There is only one way – the one with Chinese characteristics.

The idiom 闭门造车 used in the video can be understood as shutting one’s doors to make a chariot at home and admiring it as the best in the world without seeing what others have achieved. Thinking Chinese people have been using the idiom to describe those claim superiority and give themselves the gold medal without a fair competition.

That however, is not the original moral of the 闭门造车(出门合辙) story. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The insular ancient Chinese people actually did not see 闭门造车 as a bad thing. 闭门造车,出门合辙 means that a chariot that was built indoors without any references from the outside can still run on its wheels. This piece of ancient “wisdom” supports the inward-looking, self-centered nature of the ancient Chinese.

Unfortunately, this belief has given generations of Chinese people the confidence to claim superiority without referencing the outside world. It pretty much explains the “pride” of the Chinese authorities with their 闭门造车,出门合辙 mentality in refusing to follow the “Western” strategy of living with the Covid.

Xu Xiaodong vs Ding Hao

Wang Ju (Wang Zhi An) was so popular because he dared to test the boundaries of China’s highly censored media and throw pointed questions at his guests. Below is an interview with Wing Chun fighter Ding Hao after he was beaten by Xu Xiaodong.

After Ding Hao’s interview, let’s take a look from Xu Xiaodong’s POV. He wore a mask at their first meeting because the video was uploaded on social media whose algorithm would automatically block the video if Xu Xiaodong’s “controversial” face was seen or his name was mentioned in any form.

It’s amazing how far Xu Xiaodong went to accommodate Ding Hao’s requests. It was Ding’s idea to fight on the floor and not in the padded ring. Ding insisted on not wearing gloves. Xu allowed that, but he wore gloves. The judges were all traditional martial artists and not MMA practitioners. In other words, Xu bent over backwards to get Ding to agree to the fight.

Crass and vulgar Xu Xiaodong could be more a gentleman than the seemingly cultured wushu masters. The latter half of the video is dripping with sarcasm.

Interestingly, the one who was completely obliterated by the authorities was not Xu Xiaodong, but the interviewer Wang Zhi An.

Patriotism As a Form of Business

Wu Jing strongly denies that he has been capitalising on nationalism and patriotism to sell his movies. He faced tough questioning from fired TV host Wang Ju (real name Wang Zhi An).

Wang Ju was once China’s most popular TV host for current affairs with hundreds of millions of fans. His popularity was only slightly behind Wu Jing. It shows that the Chinese audiences welcomed his tough questioning of newsmakers. Wang Ju was allowed to thrive purely because of his commercial value on national TV. But once they decided that he had crossed the line, they fired him.

Below is a “confession” video recounting the events that led to his firing and social media death sentence. He was too influential and his criticism of certain TCM companies, their products and their shady kickbacks sealed his fate.

Wang Ju being interviewed. He talked about his program and how it reflected the changing values in Chinese society.

Superiority Inferiority Complex

I understand what Lao Lei means by superiority/inferiority complex; the apparent paradox. But I don’t see it as SM.

The “patriots” are proud of Aileen Gu. The Chinese identity she assumed, albeit temporarily, had given the egos and flaccid self esteem of the 屁民 a huge boost. Meanwhile, she capitalised on their “patriotism” to earn millions.

Paradoxically, instead of questioning her patriotism, they should also feel proud that she clings to her American identity because if Aileen Gu gives up her American identity completely (屁民 or not), they would lose a reason to deride America and feel good about an American turning her back on her own country to represent China.

No Holds Barred

People deserve the government they get. Those who denounce or reject freedom and democracy and embrace profitable autocracy do not deserve our sympathy when the autocracy they embraced rears its ugly head.

Many of the well-off people in Shanghai are 海归 who had a taste of freedom and democracy overseas. Yet, for the sake of higher income, they have abandoned these ideals to 闷声发大财 in Shanghai. They thought they could live happily ever after, feeling a sense of superiority over others.

The same can happen in Singapore. When we keep surrendering our freedom and our rights and allow the government to get more and more autocratic, the day will come when wealth means nothing when you don’t even have the most basic freedom and human rights.