SHANGHAI-LEKSIKON
Types of Chinese

In 1928, Familie-Journalen printed this illustrated description of what it saw as the three most common types of Chinese people. The accompanying text says (from left to right):

The half-westernized Chinese from the ports of China. He has only been to school for a few years, calls himself student and thanks to the ancestral privilege literate people have always had in China he now claims a right to leadership of the country. It's this half-westernized Chinese who is behind all protests in China, but his misapprehensions of western democratic principles has caused him to spread turmoil wherever he goes and strikes at schools and universities have become a daily occurrence in China. He has learned English at one of the American missionary stations and thinks himself omniscient. In reality his learning is extremely limited.

The old, dignified Chinese who still cleaves to ancient traditions that claim that an imperial government in Beijing is the supreme form of government and all the country's ills have been caused by the republic. He is an incarnation of the ancient, dignified but hopelessly outdated Chinese culture and wisdom.

The fully westernized Chinese. He has studied in Europe or the states and has become so progressive that he's full of contempt for the old, Chinese civilization. But it has become apparent on numerous occasions that these westernized Chinese lack the energy and persistence to continue the what they started in the west. Their knowledge of modern science is very superficial and as a result they're simply blowing in the wind. According to most experts on China it will still take several generations before the Chinese have shaken off their sleep and until that happens the truly destitute China cannot do without the help of the white man.

Familie-Journalen no. 37, sept. 11 1928 p. 34.

It was apparently the magazine's view that the peasants and workers who made up the overwhelming majority of the Chinese population weren't typical of it. What the magazine did find typical about them was their supposed backwards nature and ignorance about the modern world that made them incapable of managing the country without the ”help” of ”the white man.”

Given that Familie-Journalen mostly reprinted material from Amalgamated Press, one of the world's largest publishing houses with publications across the British Empire, the article is most likely of English origin.


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It is a matter of fact that worst a Chinese can experience is “losing face”.