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Kung and Hitler
“There is a growing trend in the Chinese blogosphere to vocalize praises and expressions of support for Hitler,”Richard Komaiko wrote in the Asia Times. “A rumor is spreading virally throughout the Middle Kingdom that asserts that Austrian-born Hitler was raised by a family of Chinese expats living in Vienna. According to the rumors, a family named Zhang found young Adolf - born on April 20, 1889, when he fell on hard times as a young man in Vienna.”[Source: Richard Komaiko, Asia Times May 25, 2011]

“They took him in, sheltered him, fed him and paid for his tuition. As a result of this assistance, Hitler held eternal gratitude and admiration for the Chinese people. The rumor also asserts that Hitler secretly supported China in World War II, and that his ultimate ambition was to conquer the world in order to share power with China, with everything west of Pakistan to be administered by the Fuhrer, and everything east of Pakistan the province of the Chinese people.”

This rumor apparently resonates deeply with the Chinese Internet generation. On May 10, 2011, a user of Kaixin, the Chinese equivalent of Facebook, posted a version of the rumor on his wall. The post attracted an enormous following, with more than 170,000 views and 40,000 comments. Of the people who left comments, 38.8 percent believe that Hitler was raised by Chinese, 7.1 percent believe that Hitler supported China in World War II, 4.6 percent regard Hitler as a hero, and 9.1 percent hope that China will have a leader similar to Hitler.

As the rumor spreads throughout the Chinese social web, admiration for Hitler is growing stronger and stronger. Blog posts with titles like "Why I like Hitler" are popping up every day, and an increasingly greater share of young Chinese are choosing to express their nationalism by voicing support for Hitler.

The Facts on Hitler and China

The reality wrote Richard Komaiko in the Asia Times is: “Hitler’s years alone in Vienna are detailed in Chapter II of his memoirs, Mein Kampf. Nowhere in the chapter is there any mention of a Chinese family. The word "China" doesn't even appear in the text, nor do the words "Chinese", "Zhang" or "Cheung". There is absolutely no indication that Hitler had any meaningful contact with Chinese people in his youth. [Source: Richard Komaiko, Asia Times May 25, 2011]

Hitler did not admire Chinese people. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Hitler regarded Chinese as an inferior race. Many Chinese bloggers are quick to point out that Hitler once said, "The Chinese people are not the same as the Huns and Tartars, who dressed in leather, they are a special race; they are a civilized race."

This quotation only stands for the proposition that Hitler considered the Chinese to be higher on the racial totem pole than Mongolians, but it says nothing about where they rank overall. In fact, Hitler believed that Aryans were the only "culture-creating race", while the Chinese and Japanese were merely "culture-bearing". Hitler viewed the Chinese people as an inferior race, and actually blamed them for many of the world's problems. For more information, see The racial state: Germany, 1933-1945 by Michael Burleigh.

Hitler did not support China in World War II. China's principal support in World War II came from the United States. In 1941, the American Air Force created a special squadron called the Flying Tigers (fei hu) to fly covert missions over East Asia to defend the Republic of China against Japanese incursions. China did not receive any support from the Nazi regime. There is an extensive historical literature on this topic. For further information, see Hitler's Foreign Policy 1933-1939: The Road to World War II by Gerhard L Weinberg.

Hitler did not endeavor to share power with China. There is not the slightest shred of historical evidence to suggest that Hitler entertained any such notion. On the contrary, Hitler delivered China into the hands of its arch-nemesis, Japan. And even then, Hitler only reluctantly accepted the notion of Asian sovereignty over East Asia.

Why Are Chinese Netizens Embracing Hitler?

Richard Komaiko wrote in the Asia Times, “How did the Chinese Internet generation come to acquire this sense of sympathy for Hitler, and why are they so readily prepared to believe rumors that are so obviously false? In 2007, Chinese author Song Hongbing published a book called The Currency War. It was a hodge-podge of anti-Semitic conspiracies about how the Jews control the money supply and manipulate world events in order to grow their fortunes. When the global economy ground to a halt in 2008, The Currency War shot to the top of the Chinese best-seller list, and Chinese bookstores couldn't keep enough copies on the shelf. Aside from this incident, however, China is not often associated with anti-Semitism. [Source: Richard Komaiko, Asia Times May 25, 2011]

Indeed, according to several Beijing college students, the word "Hitler" does not evoke images of anti-Semitism or genocide, but rather, strong leadership and nationalism. They say that they admire Hitler for his ability to unify his country and restore it to a position of respect in the international arena. According to them, conditions in China today are similar to the conditions in Weimar Germany that brought Hitler to power: crippling inflation, wounded national pride and a perception of rivals around every corner. It may come as a surprise to many Westerners to learn that young Chinese actually feel stifled by a lack of economic opportunity.

Westerners often focus myopically on the growth rate of China's gross domestic product (GDP), which is roughly 9 percent per year. While this is an important indicator of prosperity, it must be considered in tandem with other important metrics, such as inflation and the increasing cost of residential real estate. China's consumer price index rose 5 percent in the first quarter of 2011. This means that the effective real growth rate in GDP was only 4 percent . On top of that, the cost of real estate in many cities is growing at 20 percent per year. Considering these numbers, put yourself in the shoes of the average recent college graduate in a city like Shanghai.

You make a decent income, but you can't afford to make a down payment on a piece of real estate, so you rent for a few years. But because the price of real estate is growing many times faster as the overall economy, the longer you wait, the less you can afford to buy. And in Chinese culture, if you can't afford a home, you can't start a family, and so forth.

Appreciating this economic angst brings us one step closer to comprehending the admiration that the Chinese Internet generation feels for Hitler: they crave a strong leader to lift them out of their economic woes. But aren't there other strong leaders in history to choose from? Why not choose a leader whose reputation is unsullied by the stains of aggression? At this point, nobody really knows. While it's not clear why they have chosen Hitler as their rallying cry, what is certain is that this affinity for Hitler will have a detrimental impact on China's ambition of foreign relations.

Repercussions of Chinese Netizens’ Embrace of Hitler and What Should Be Done About It

Richard Komaiko wrote in the Asia Times, “The most immediate impact of the Hitler phenomenon will be felt in Japan. For decades, the Chinese government has demanded that Tokyo revise its high school history curriculum in order to reflect the full horrors that the Japanese military visited upon Nanjing during World War II. This demand has been one of the largest and most persistent friction points in Sino-Japanese relations. If it turns out that China's own history curriculum lacks adequate coverage of the horrors that the German military inflicted upon European Jewry, the Chinese government will lose the moral high ground and appear completely disingenuous in its relations with Tokyo. [Source: Richard Komaiko, Asia Times May 25, 2011]

The Hitler phenomenon will also have a negative impact on China's relations with its continental neighbors. Countries like India and Vietnam are already concerned about Beijing's military buildup, which has seen double-digit increases for each of the past five years. When they discover that the most popular personality among young Chinese is a man best known for expansionism, their sense of suspicion will flare, and they will invest a greater share of societal resources in preparing for confrontation. This response may have a paradoxical effect of further stoking the flames of Chinese nationalism and increasing tensions around the borders.

The most consequential effect of the Hitler phenomenon, however, will undoubtedly be felt on China's relationship with Washington. The Chinese foreign policy establishment expends considerable resources in Washington to promote the idea of "China's peaceful rise", a form of exceptionalism which holds that China's rise to power will be free of armed conflict. Due to the overwhelming weight of historical authority against it, the peaceful rise theory has gained only limited traction inside the beltway. But when the engineers of America's foreign policy discover that young Chinese idolize the most famous aggressor in history, the peaceful rise theory will lose all credibility, and those who seek to paint China as a threat to American interests will be emboldened.

The resolution Immediate action must be taken to educate Chinese youth on the truth about World War II and show them how critically history has judged the rule of Hitler. As a first step, Kaixin should remove the inflammatory post and issue a public correction of facts. Just as Facebook ultimately realized that it had a public security duty to remove a page calling for the "third intifada", so too Kaixin must realize that as one of the largest media outlets in China, it cannot tolerate expressions of support for proponents of aggression.

Second, the Chinese Ministry of Education should conduct a thorough review of the history curriculum taught in Chinese high schools in order to make sure that its treatment of World War II is in line with international academic standards. Finally, relevant Jewish organizations, from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the United States Holocaust Museum, should engage with Chinese partners, such as the Shanghai Center for Jewish Studies and the Sino-Judaic Institute, to promote Holocaust education and awareness of modern genocide.

Top 10 Web Celebrities in China in 2009

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Internet star
The top web celebrities in 2009 according to to the People’s Daily Online were: 1.Wang Zifei-Chinese Obama girl: Whether you consider President Obama's visit to China to have been a diplomatic success or not, it did manage to turn one young Chinese woman into the country's version of the infamous 'Obama Girl.' Wang Zifei, an MBA student from Shanghai, happened to sit behind Obama during a town hall meeting, and being photographed removing her red coat was enough to catapult her into the media spotlight causing a huge stir in cyberspace. In the wake of the incident, her blog clocked more than 1.3 million hits as she broke her silence to reveal the innocence behind the move. Ironically, this incident turned out to be her self-speculation with the purpose to make a name for herself. She made it to the top of our list for 2009. [Source: People's Daily Online. December 24, 2009]

2.Ren Yueli-hand-to-mouth amateur singer with soothing voice: Ren Yueli, an ordinary-looking girl, earned her livelihood by singing in an underpass of Xidan area, Beijing; her beautiful voice enjoyed with great appreciation from passers-by. After a video of her singing was released online, millions of hits made her a sensation in cyberspace, with various Internet users moved by her melodious singing as well as her unyielding fortitude. Just as in an inspiring movie, Ren's fate changed as she was recognized for her singing and composing talents as well as her optimism, artlessness and indomitable spirit.

3.Zeng Yike-one of top10 Happy Girls of 2009:Happy Girls 2009, a Chinese version of “American Idol”, had passed its prime and strived to maintain its popularity until a contestant named Zeng Yike helped the show regain its popularity. Zeng's controversial singing stirred up widespread suspicion on the Internet questioning how her tremulous voice could qualify for the top 10. What's worse, her so-called 'original' composition was exposed as an act of plagiarism, which further fuelled criticism and sarcasm from netizens. Zeng's controversy brought home to people the reality of reality shows. Economic value is superior to musical talent.

4.Kang Xiaohan-candied hawthorn beauty: You probably wouldn't cast a second glance at the young girl on the street selling candied hawthorn (sugarcoated haws on a stick) if not for her youthful spirit and vivacious look. Kang, 19, earns her livelihood by selling tanghulu at the south gate of Xi'an Jiaotong University. She should have studied on the campus like her peers, but she had to take on the responsibility of being self-supporting. Her genuine smile and positive attitude won respect from her peers and fellow students.

5.Gong Mi-a Cecilia Cheung lookalike: Another contoversial contestant of Happy Girls 2009 was Gong Mi, who became a hit in various online forums for her resemblance to Hong Kong superstar Cecilia Cheung. Gong was frequently in the news, first due to her good look, then a rumor that it took plastic surgery to achieve her stunning beauty. The latest rumor was over claims her manager was actually Cheung's first agent. Gong withdrew from the Happy Girls contest due to illness, with her original goal for fame already achieved.

6.Kong Yansong-long-legged beauty: At 1.78 meters tall, Beijing Sport University student Kong Yansong is probably used to staring eyes looking admiringly at her super-long legs. But even this pretty student didn't realize how she would become an Internet sensation after photos started to circulate in cyberspace. She was selected by netizens as the winner of a beautiful legs competition, her biggest characteristic being her pair of extremely slender legs. Her photos have been widely circulated on the Internet with most people showing their appreciation for her stunning figure. Some, however, have questioned if her height, or the photos, are actually real.

7.Meng Kunyu-most handsome traffic cop in Beijing: For most a traffic police officer is not always the subject of their immediate love or admiration. But Meng Kunyu's accurate hand signals and patience while giving directions, earned him the title of “the most handsome traffic police officer in Beijing.” Meng Kunyu, who was born in the 1980s, is a traffic police officer from the Guanganmen Team of Xuanwu District Branch under the Traffic Administration Bureau of Beijing and became a hit after a group of admiring students made a video of him and uploaded it on to the web.

8.Jia Junpeng - virtual character in cyberspace: Everyone knows his name, but has no idea of his existence. Jia Junpeng is an Internet meme and popular catchphrase within China. The post with the title in Chinese reads: “Jia Junpeng, your mother is telling you to go home for your meal” appeared on the Chinese portal Baidu for the games forum. Amazingly, after only six hours, it attracted more than 400,000 viewers and 17,000 replies, most of which were posted by young people. This hot phenomenon soon circulated in cyberspace and the original sentence has millions of derivatives, such as “so and so, your mother is telling you to do this or that.” The Internet wonder is hugely popular and considered collective entertainment for netizens with its sense of humor as well as charm of language.

9.Gu Jiawen - bus beauty: It was a post on a local bulletin board that led to www stardom for one pretty young bus ticket seller. Gu Jiawen, 20, sells tickets aboard the No. 934 in Shanghai and lived in relative obscurity until a web posting highlighting her natural beauty was seen by hundreds. Now as well as dealing with selling tickets, calling out stops or asking people to yield seats for senior citizens, Gu also has to deal with the affections of those who have seen her on the Internet.

10.Lu Aiyan - impersonation talent: He is the little comical genius who impressed cyberspace with his numerous facial expressions and timely lip-synching to the music of the late Michael Jackson. Lu Aiyan and his aptly named 'Super imitation show' received more than 1.3 million hits in just three days, which made him the youngest web celebrity of 2009.

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shanghai student listening to Obama

I-Phone Girl Becomes Internet Superstar

“After a British iPhone 3G customer found pictures of a Foxconn Chinese factory worker giving the “V” sign on his phone, the “iPhone Girl” has become an Internet superstar. The story, and photos, has gone “viral” traveling across the globe seemingly instantaneously reminding us how small the world has become.” [Source: PCWorld, August 29, 2008]

“The story behind “iPhone Girl” is this: A British iPhone customer turned on his new iPhone only to discover a picture of a cute young Chinese factory “girl” assembling iPhones. In the photo she gives the victory (or maybe peace) sign. The iPhone owner reported his finding on MacRumors.com along with posting three pictures of the “girl” he found on his phone.”

“Then came the questions - and there were plenty. Some questioned the girl's age, and whether a harmless snapshot may be a small glimpse into child labor abuses. One person snapped up the Internet domain iPhonegirl.net and others have created Facebook and MySpace user accounts under the same name.”

“Meanwhile in China the story captured the attention of Internet users. Interested Chinese Internet users took it upon themselves to track the factory worker down to Shenzhen, China and the company Foxconn, a Taiwanese company that makes iPhones for Apple. There is now a Chinese-language iPhone Girl Web site.”

“Questions swirled on message boardss, would “iPhone Girl” would be fired for the photos” The Internet breathed a sigh of relief when representatives from Foxconn weighed in confirming that “iPhone Girl” was a worker at its plant and declared the photos were a “beautiful mistake.” In an interview with China Daily the company gave assurances she would not be fired.”

“According to a Washington Post report Foxconn says the young woman in the photo is a migrant worker from Hunan province and is overwhelmed by the media attention and wants to quit her job, go home, and remain anonymous.”

Money Behind Internet Celebrity

“’sister Furong,” “Sister Phoenix” and other ordinary people became Internet celebrities, “Jia Junpeng, your mother wants you to come home for dinner” became a hot Internet phrase ... but netizens may not be aware that these so-called Internet fad which seemed to reflect public opinion were actually the works of certain groups of professional Internet promoter! [Source: Southern Metropolis Daily, EastSouthWestNorth, April 18, 2010]

“Recently, an Internet promoter from Xiamen revealed the money chain behind these Internet celebrities.Inside a non-descript office building in Stage 2 of Software Park in Xiamen city, a certain technology engineering company's Chief Executive Officer He Fei and his Internet promotion team were planning a project.”

“Our goal is to find a unique product to build a hot topic, so that the company will gain a reputation in the B2C platform.” He Fei told our reporter with a smile: “This method costs a lot less than traditional advertising, but the results can be even better.”

“For example, doesn't the currently very hot Sister Phoenix want a cosmetic make-over? If a hospital hires her to make an advertisement for cosmetic make-over, the results would definitely be good. If a bridal salon hires her to make an advertisement, the results just may be astonishing.” In He Fei's view, the Internet promoters who spent so much time to cultivate Sister Phoenix into an Internet celebrity are now ready to “harvest.” “Now that Sister Phoenix has become an 'alternate star,' the Internet promoters behind her are now “star agents'.”

“Several years ago, He Fei represented the unsold sports shoes for an international brand. In order to get rid of this inventory as quickly as possible, they went to some famous forums and made posts to complain as consumers that the company was selling fake shoes without any air cushions inside. They demanded that the company compensate them 10 times their purchase price. Then a “webmaster” interceded in the name of “justice” and said that the shoes were genuine, based upon comparisons with photos taken at the specialty store for the international brand. However, the “consumers” refused to take his word. The story ended with a live “dissection” of a pair of shoes in front of the company representatives and the consumers that confirmed that the shoes were “authentic.”

“This 'Internet debate' drew a great deal of attention through postings and re-postings.” He Fei said proudly. “The final result was that more than 700 pairs of shoes were sold at the cost of just over 1,000 yuan in expenses.”

Sex and the Internet in China

The sex columnist Mu Zimei (Muzi mei) became a national celebrity after she began reporting intimate details about her sex life in her blog. By some counts her reports received 10 million hits a day. The site was particularly busy when she wrote about a parking lot encounter with a famous Chinese rock star and said it wasn’t very exciting.

Mu’s real name is Li Li. She began her career as a fashion writer for glossy magazines before becoming a sex columnist and writing about “real life” issues. Mu said she started having sex without knowing anything about birth control. By the age of 25, she said she had slept with about 70 men. She told the New York Times, “I think my private life is very interesting. I do not oppose love, but I oppose loyalty.” She told the Washington Post, “I want freedom. I don’t care about morality. I have the right to make love and the right to enjoy it.”

The blog launched the “Muzi Mei craze.” Mu gave advise on what music to play when making love, offered tips and how to have good sex in a car and described the benefits of oysters as an aphrodisiac. But revelations of things like having sex with two men at the same time proved to be a little bit too much for the straightlaced Communists. Authorities banned her book and shut down her website.

Pornography on the Internet in China

Pornographic web sites can be easily accessed by those with basic computer knowledge despite efforts by the government to block them. Telephone sex lines such as “Taste of the Apple” and “Wild Nights” can be accessed with cell or fixed line phones.

As of 2004, there were over 1,000 pornographic sites operating in China, with some service providers receiving as much as 40 percent of their income form such sites.

The Chinese government does its best to block pornographic web sites. In August 2004, it launched a multi-pronged attack against Internet porn that utilized sophisticated filters to block foreign as well as Chinese sites. Nearly 700 sites were shut down. One man was sentenced to 1½ years in prison for spreading pornography via the “Singing Phoenix Web” site which had over 200,000 visitors.

A new drive against online pornography was launched in April 2007. A Chinese official said the six month campaign would target cyber strip shows and sexually explicit images, stories and audio and video clips.

In 2008 the Chinese government shut down two dozen video entertainment websites in accordance with new rules because of concerns that videos containing state secrets, pornography and images that could damage China’s reputation could be released.

Fake Prostitute's Microblog

In September 2011, China National News reported: “China's popular microblog service provider Thursday permanently deleted the account of a self-proclaimed 'high-profile' female prostitute who was later discovered by police to be a 31-year-old man seeking online fame. Sina.com, the company that hosts the popular Weibo microblogging service, also suspended the accounts of six other users for two weeks for spreading rumours regarding the supposed prostitute, reported Xinhua. [Source: China National News, September 29, 2011]

Using the pseudonym 'Ruoxiaoan1', Lin posted 401 entries on his Weibo account starting from January, fabricating stories about working as a female prostitute in Hangzhou, the capital city of east China's Zhejiang province. On his microblog, Lin depicted himself as a 22-year-old woman who 'accidentally' lost her virginity and became a sex worker. His microblog account was followed by more than 250,000 users, including several prominent Chinese Internet celebrities. Some of his entries were reposted as many as 10,000 times.

Police said Lin took cues from foreign literature while writing his 'prostitute diary' in order to attract attention from netizens. Lin was fined 500 yuan ($78.5) in accordance with China's Internet regulations for disturbing public order. Lin apologized for his actions, police said.

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, The Guardian, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated March 2012

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