Here, I’ve attempted to translate the reactions of a Chinese blogger to the film Blood Diamond. She runs the gamut of feeling: shock, sadness, horror, pain, grief, guilt and finally relief (of a sort) that whatever her problems, they pale in comparison to the misery and suffering of Africans. Sounds like White Guilt to me.
But what of the Chinese living in the countryside?
I’ve been thinking a lot (and writing a bit) about the role of Africa in the popular imagination of Western Europeans (similar, I would argue, to the role of the Black man in the popular imagination of Americans). Europe could never have considered itself "civilized" if there were not also people to call "savage." Whites could never have considered themselves "superior" if there were not also races that were intrinsically "inferior." Enter the African.
As more and more, China and Chinese people come into contact with Africa and Africans, I predict a similar dynamic will develop. You already see it in the contributions of the Chinese media, businessmen and some officials to the emerging discourse. Africa is "backwards" (落后）. Africa is "poor" (贫穷). Africans ascribe to quaint tribal traditions that we, the forward-looking Chinese, have long abandoned.
These characterizations come with an implicit pat on the back. China – still light years away from being "developed" if we apply Western standards – can consider itself "modern" because others are "backwards." Enter the African.