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  • Gordon Dumoulin

The necessity of a collective memory of China's past...

"๐˜ˆ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜Š๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ขโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต..."

๐—” ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐—ผ๐—ณ "๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ ๐—บ๐—ถ๐—น๐—น๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€" (๐Ÿญ๐Ÿต๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿณ) ๐˜„๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ฏ๐˜† ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—น ๐—–๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„

An interesting review by author Paul French of the book '400 million customers' by Carl Crow (1884-1945, US businessman in Shanghai, founder of the first Western advertising agency in Shanghai).

It is interesting to see the comparative circumstances which Carl Crow was experiencing by his thoughts, opinions and actions about China in the 1930's in relation to the current 2020's. With regard to the cultural and geopolitical sensitivities in which Crow was especially concerned and activated about, enhancing awareness for the Japanese aggression in the 1930's and strongly opposing the commonly used racist term "Chinaman" at the time.

Another comparative similarity between the 1930's and today is the volatility of realities and actualities about China expressed by China experts in books, op-eds and reports then and now.

Carl Crow's book was soon forgotten after the โ€œWar of Resistance against Japanese Aggressionโ€ (ๆŠ—ๆ—ฅๆˆ˜ไบ‰), better known in the West as the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937. Sometimes regarded as the beginning of WWII in the Asia-Pacific. Only when China opened up again in the 1970's, foreign businesses relearned the Chinese business culture and environment from scratch again, often with hard lessons. While many of those business culture lessons had already been written down by Crow 40 years before, though completely forgotten.

In the current 2020's, it is not much different with the short expiry dates of the overwhelming number of publications and opinions about China whether economically, socially or politically.

As Paul French mentioned in his review; โ€œwe need to work hard to keep a collective memory of China's past, something the foreign business, academic, and China-watching communities (in all their problematic forms) have not been especially good at.โ€

And not only about the past but also about a collective consideration of Chinaโ€™s present instead of often conveniently selected perspectives.

Read more about Paul Frenchโ€™s interesting review on Crowโ€™s book and also about Carl Crowโ€™s life in the China Project :

#china #china2023 #chinesesociety #chineseculture #chinesehistory #chinamarket #chinesemarket #chineseconsumers

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