My name is Delong Cui based on my Chinese name 催得龙。My parents moved from Beijing, China in 1988. A month before Tiananmen Square incident took place. I was born in the states far away from the poverty and unrest of my native motherland. For 21 years I grew up with little interest in my Chinese cultural heritage. But when I turned 21 I began to take my heritage more seriously. I rejected everything western/american in my education and searched for my Chinese roots.
Ancient China is one of the world's first civilizations. They were based on the culture of the Chinese around the Yang zi river. China was considered the richest and most advanced empire in the world for almost two thousand years before the modern era. People from all over the world came to trade with and learn from the Chinese.
The civilization of my people influenced the surrounding region especially the cultures of Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.
(Japanese katanas (swords) were introduced by the Chinese)
(The Chinese were the first ones who thought of using paper as money in 118BC, this idea was introduced to the Europeans in 1600s)
(The crossbow was invented in Qin Dynasty China and spread to Europe)
(Rice wine was first created in China and spread to Japan. Japanese sake is just copied from Chinese 黄酒 huang jiu)
(the gameboard of Go (weiqi 围棋）originated in China)
Another Chinese invention and pasttime
The full list of China's contributions to the world is quite long and beyond the scope of my post. It is not secret that in the modern era China has fallen behind the developed countries of Europe , North America, and Japan.
The formation of a republic, the adoption of Communism, and Deng's economic reforms all are China's recent efforts to catch up with the advanced countries. Currently China has made progress but not without obstacles. Rich countries like the U.S. and Japan are not used to a once poor country catching up with them in wealth and power. Although it avoids that term U.S. has partnered with China's neighbors to effectively contain China's rise. Most poignantly Japan has clung closer to the U.S. to counter its mortal enemy China.
Relations between China and Japan are particularly bad due to the legacy of Japan's atrocities in China during WW2. Unlike Hitler and the Nazis, Japan's crimes have received little attention and some japanese leaders deny they even happened. To the anger of China and Korea, japanese leaders honor the war criminals that perpetrated most of the crimes.
It is clear that if Japan does not fess up to its atrocities, there is no true peace in East Asia. However it also depends on what China and Korea want to do as well. It's important not to let memories of the past impede us from moving on into the future. Right now Japan is a dying country with an economy that has plateaued for 25 years. China and South Korea both have strong economies and can potentially surpass the japanese in the long run.
True peace in the East Asia will come from letting countries be what they are. From the point of view of Japan and America that means letting China peacefully achieve its rise. And from the point of view of China that means not blaming its problems on America or Japan. Everyone's life is their own business afterall.
I find myself to live in an exciting time. Where I can, from across the world, watch my people's glory, again to them reclaimed. For the love of all things East Asian and all things Human, I hope that it can be done peacefully.