——奥斯卡·王尔德（OscarWilde）：《戏剧、散文：写作与诗歌》（Plays, Prose: Writings and Poems）
在人类经历了犹太人大屠杀的悲剧之后，我们都渴望群体和国家间的平等与尊严，但期间总是会有一些杂音。喜欢阅读的朋友们可能会注意到，美国著名的《华尔街日报》在2020年2月3日发表了一篇文章，题为《中国是真正的东亚病夫》（China is the real sick man of Asia），这对于不了解或者不关心中国历史的人们来说或许无足轻重，因为“病夫”（sickman）这个名称在欧美往往被作为对一个贫弱国家的政治性称呼，十分常见，但是，这对了解过近代中国历史，尤其是19世纪后半叶鸦片等毒品肆虐危害的中国人以及海外研究者来说，印象就很深刻了。在这里，或许值得来谈点历史，以及关于“病夫”的一些故事，因为这些故事，所关涉的并不仅仅只是中国、东亚，而是我们大家对尊严的认同，以及对美好生活和美好人性的期待。
在中国内地广受欢迎的台湾歌手周杰伦，在他2001年的歌曲《双截棍》，歌词里面提到“一根我不抽的烟，一放好多年，它一直在身边”，所唱出的或许就是鸦片带给我们的这种苦痛记忆，所以后面才有那么一句让人听了感觉酣畅淋漓的“东亚病夫的招牌，已被我一脚踢开！”而这种感受，在更老一辈的人们的记忆中，则可以回溯到20世纪70年代。在1972年，李小龙主演了日后风靡全球的香港著名电影《精武门》（Fist of Fury），在剧中，一脸愤怒的陈真，为了找出师父霍元甲被害的真相，扛着一块“东亚病夫”的招牌，来到日本武道馆，当着日本人的面将其一脚踢烂。不管是在欧美的留学生那里，还是在中国国内，这部老电影经常是高频播放的几部作品之一。身处现代世界的我们或许无法体会过去的屈辱与苦难，却依然能够通过这部电影去感受过去的那种体验，非常真实，也充满震撼。在这里，也推荐感兴趣的朋友们可以去看一看。
We don’t need “sick man” but great humanity
A world landscape without utopia not deserves our attention, for it leaves out the country that filled with humanity every second. Once the concept of humanity roots here, a greater nation will set sail.
— Oscar Wilde：Plays, Prose: Writings and Poems
After the catastrophe of the Holocaust of Jews, we all long for equality and dignity among groups and countries, but there are always some negative voices arising. People who enjoying reading might noticed that the famous Wall Street Journal published an article on February 3, 2020 named “China is the real sick man of Asia”. it is no big deal for those who don’t know about or care about China’s history because sick man is a common political name given by the west for weak countries. However, it leaves a deep impression for individuals who are aware of the modern history of china, especially for the Chinese plagued by drugs like opium in the second half of 19c and overseas researchers. Here, history and the stories about “sick man” are something we might want to talk about, for these stories are not only about China and the East Asia, but our consensus to dignity and our hope for a good life and humanity.
“Sick man of East Asia”: humiliation for all Chinese of the past
China once was called “sick man of East Asia”in its modern history, which is a fact without any argument. Indeed, this is the epitome of the whole East world during 18th and 19th centuries in the era of colonization. So is China, and so is India. Records we can reach show that the first person using “sick man” is Yan Fu, the former president of Imperial University of Peking (now Peking University). He published an article named Original Strength on the Direct Journal of Tianjin in 1895, the year of Sino Japanese War. The article mentioned：“ The governance of a nation is like the condition of a human. Man will rust if he rests,and be strong if he works. This is how the world goes. One can narrow the gap and gain strength by day-to-day efforts, even for the sick man. How come today’s China is sick still?” From then on, he realized the cumulative poverty and weakness of China and its citizens and brought by which the painful social memory.
Zhou Jielun, a Taiwan singer who is famous in the interior of China.He wrote in his song Nunchaku in 2001: “a cigarette that I never smoke has been put away for years. It sticks with me all the time.” What the lyrics expresses might be the painful memory brought by opium, therefore the lyrics after that goes “ The sign of sick man of East Asia has been kicked out by my feet!” this feeling of the older generation can be traced back to 20c70s. In 1972, Bruce Lee starred in the famous Hong Kong movie Fist of Fury which won the world’s attention later.In that movie, Chen Zhen carry a signboard written with “sick man of East Asia”with anger to the Japanese martial arts center in order to find out the truth of his master Huo Yuanjia’s death. In the face of those Japanese, he kicked the board into pieces. This old movie has been one of the hot hits among overseas students in the west and its homeland. Living in the modern world may prevent us from experiencing the humiliation and suffering in the past. But we feel the that through the movie, real and shocked. Here, I sincerely recommend you to watch it.
Equal friendship: current significance
Let’s go back to history. On January 9, 1853, when the Russian czar Nicholas I, who was in the limelight at that time, met with Mr. Seymour, the British minister in Petersburg, he used the term “sick man” to refer to Turkey in crisis. Nicholas I suggested that Russia and Britain should divide the Turkish Empire together, but at that time, Britain did not want to take advantage of people in danger and rejected this proposal. Today, Turkey also plays an important role in the Middle East affairs, which has greatly influenced the relevant decision-making of the European Union. It is no longer the “sick man” in the Czar’s words. In the mind of ordinary people in Europe and America, no one will think it is still the “sick man”. People share the same heart, the same mind, and the same humanity.
People always respect the past. What we should not forget is that it was from February 21 to 28, 1972 that President Nixon of the United States visited the other side of the ocean, China, a big oriental country that has not yet established diplomatic relations. This “week of changing the world”opened a new chapter in China-U.S. relations. Since then, a large number of Chinese people have also had the opportunity to travel to European and American countries. Some of them have settled down there, become participants in local development and promoters of China-US and China-EU friendship.
During this process, no matter what your political opinions are, no matter where you are, one thing is certain. That is, you don’t want to be “sick man of East Asia” anymore. Everyone want to live a healthy life and take positive actions. People also want the country in the past and now to be invincible and thriving, so as to provide us with the mutual respect and friendship we should expect. Only in this way can we eat out, shop and enjoy the beautiful scenery without being scolded, and labeled “XX and dogs are not allowed to enter”.
Share each other’s wonderful humanity
Like people from elsewhere, Chinese are no lack of wisdom and they confront their own problems directly. “ No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat, a cat that can catch rats is a good cat!” Mr. Deng Xiaoping once used his hometown’s easy-understanding metaphor to explain the importance of a good life, and to promote China’s reform and opening up. Everyone do business and make money together. The ordinary Chinese finally have the opportunity to see the world outside. In short, we are making a common effort to lead a better life.
Back in 1972, along with the ice-breaking of China-US relationship, Antonioni, a famous Italian director, was invited to China to film a documentary called China. Then the documentary caused different responses in China and the west, which reflected different attitudes of different countries towards culture and its presentation, as well as different views on equal status. Of course, these are all past events. After all, even he himself once responded: “what people see in this report is only the Chinese in my own eyes. I didn’t make a political film with educational significance… I’m an audience, a traveller with a notebook and my camera.” He doesn’t mean to touch the pain in the hearts of the Chinese people. But back to the present, what we need is a common expectation for a better human nature, rather than touching the “scars” of the past suffering memory and group dignity, which can be done, I think.
Human always needs to be tolerant! Every nation has its own moment of crisis, and they cope with the crisis respectively, every second of this is recorded by the world’s history. Like Wilde’s wish, we will living in “a country filled with humanity all the time” in the future.