The portrait of China in most Americans’ eyes is composed of Chairman Mao’s picture, cheap and tawdry jewelry and the Great Wall. Nevertheless, just as Samuel Victor suggests in his article there are lots of “misplaced presumptions and oversimplified explanations” about today’s China. After reading Victor’s blog, I began to think about why people have presumptions and is there anyone or any kind of mechanism to influence or even enforce them to have presumptions without their realizing? If yes, then who or what push people to have presumptions?
In Victor’s article, he suggests that to some extent, media plays a crucial role in building up people’s presumptions. When he mentions this, it reminds me of the scene expressed in George Orwell’s novel 1984 that media such as magazines or newspapers are utilized as a tool by Big Brother to control citizen’s thoughts. However, it’s ironic that it’s also the media helps people dispel their misplaced presumption. For instance, as Evan Osnos’s book Age of ambition provides in-depth understanding of today’s China, which not only can guide readers away from presumptions but also offer a completely new perspective that challenges people’s existing knowledge of China.
When Victor points out that the book indicates “how Western media and politics frame our perception of China,” I thought about how we once discussed in class that there is a logic in human practice. Before we judge, we should try to think about why people do that. Therefore, why do people form oversimplified perceptions of China? In my view, such perceptions are related to the information that they obtain from the media. People utilize that information to build up an image of China regardless of what the reality of China is. When they read this book, which challenges their formal definition of China, how they overcome the gap between their perception and the reality is actually how they make meaning.