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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

British Sinologists

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


  4. PETER checks phone notifications.

  5. PETER (V.O.): Who are the most eminent British sinologists today?

  6. Pausing.

  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I don't know of any.

  8. Peter surfs the web.

  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): There aren't many who are still alive today. Some publish works on literary and artistic fronts.

  10. Pausing.

  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Are they famous and well respected?

  12. Pausing.

  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): If I didn't mine them, I didn't even know their existence. I haven't read any of their works and don't know if they're any good.

  14. Pausing.

  15. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Furthermore, there's a nationality or race angle ie British.

  16. Peter checks his phone again.

  17. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Ah, there's one answer...probably from a Briton.

  18. Act 2


  20. Peter studies the small prints on the phone screen.

  21. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): This Briton recommends no one, as he finds them inferior and anti-China.

  22. Reading.

  23. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Here's something that I don't know. He once read that there was even a French journalist-writer called Robert Guillain "who was appalled to see Chinese suddenly become efficient and effective. He had preferred it when they were lovable silly ineffective people."

  24. Reading.

  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He observes that critics of China "look just at failures caused by over-enthusiasm and bad weather during the Great Leap Forward. Never admit that it was a rare failure within a run of success."

  26. Reading.

  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He also observes that: "The data also shows that the extreme collectivism and equality of the Cultural Revolution were not economic failures. There was a slight decline in the Red Guard disorders of 1967 and 1968, and then a return to harmony with Maoist leftism in command. And the decline in 1976 was down to a tragic massive earthquake, which was no one's fault."

  28. Pondering.

  29. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I only know these matters vaguely.

  30. Reading.

  31. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He observes that the West bad-mouthed the works of all the Chinese leaders including Zhou Enlai, Deng before 1976 and also President Xi's father.

  32. Reading.

  33. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He observes that: "The West's 'China Experts' have been wonderfully successful in giving the impression that Mao's 27 calendar years were a disaster. That China was only rescued when it listened to Western advice and replaced socialism with capitalism."

  34. Thinking.

  35. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He opines that is double untruth. First, "Deng and his heirs never abandoned socialism." Second, "Mao made the key breakthrough into dynamic change of society that had been a classic Failed State."

  36. Reading.

  37. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He quotes Financial Times report on China's 70th Anniversary the following: "China's GDP growth rate averaged 8.1% between 1952 and 2018...some 770m people living in rural China have been raised from poverty since 1978 and life expectancy has risen from 35 in 1949 to 77 today. More than $2tn foreign direct investment entered the country over the past 40 years."

  38. Nodding.

  39. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He observes that China's young people have become excessively respectful of Western opinion.

  40. Pausing.

  41. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Quite true. Have I been brainwashed by the West all along too?

  42. Pausing.

  43. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Were the West see Chinese as a vast mass of human raw material that could be educated and molded to become their pets?

  44. Pausing.

  45. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And that the West can be conditionally nice to Chinese if they accept the West's values and their superiority?

  46. Peter takes a deep breathe.

  47. Act 3


  49. On the TV screen, an ANCHOR is talking to a JOURNALIST/COMMENTATOR in Hong Kong.

  50. PETER (V.O.): They interpret a lot of bad things when China is doing something to secure the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong.

  51. Pausing.

  52. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd):They report as if they're British sinologists. As they appear on TV all the time, that might make them famous.

  53. Pausing.

  54. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): While they must be liked by the audience by reporting an echoing what all like to hear, I don't respect them at all.

  55. Pausing.

  56. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): How can they put "controversial" or "very controversial" on matters that seek to maintain Hong Kong's stability and prosperity?

  57. Pausing.

  58. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): As to the answer request, the question poser just wants to appeal to authority ie since the persons are considered as the most eminent in the field, whatever they must be true.

  59. Thinking.

  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'): I won't facilitate such mindful laziness.

  61. Peter types on his phone the following: So, the most eminent British sinologists of today are those British TV anchors, journalists and commentators on China matters.

  62. FADE OUT.

  63. THE END

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