Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Value of Life in China

As we returned from researching in a small village north of Changde, we came upon a small puppy lying in the street, it having just been hit by a car. Obviously suffering from fatal wounds, it nevertheless struggled with its front paws to crawl out of the way of traffic. I commanded the taxi driver to pull over, and jumped out and rushed back to the dying animal. I picked it up by the scruff of its neck, and gingerly carried it to the side of the road.

As I knelt down beside the whimpering puppy, my mind was filled with a similar experience I had a decade ago when I lived in the foothills of Utah Valley. One evening as we drove home from work, a young doe and her yearling fawn darted in front of my car as we navigated the icy road home. Unable to avoid hitting the fawn, I immediately jumped out to ascertain if it had been killed by the impact. I found it struggling on the side of the road, all four legs suffering from severe compound fractures.

My mind began to panic as I struggled to determine what was the best course of action. I had no weapon with which to dispatch the poor animal. Its obvious suffering prevented me from going home and returning, since that would have taken at least 15 minutes. Finally I decided that the best thing to do was to place my hands around its throat and calmly reassure it as it died from strangulation. It was the worst experience of my life.

Today I found myself again kneeling at the side of the road, again called upon to assist another animal in passing. As I calmly coaxed the puppy to die, I became aware of the crowd of people surrounding me. What was truly depressing to me was that they were not watching what I was doing, so much as marveling that I was doing it. The looks in their faces showed me that they simply didn't understand why I was helping this poor wounded animal die. Some giggled, some stood with hands over their mouths; all watched in rapt attention as this strange American knelt beside this puppy, gently stroking its ears and head as his other hand throttled its throat.

Life is cheap in China. This point has been borne to me again and again in my experiences doing research, especially in the countryside. There is little respect for the suffering of animals here. The general consensus seems to be that animal life is truly worthless. One need only to walk through the meat markets of any of China's many towns and villages to see how brutally that conception is carried out.

The Chinese witness the endless cycle of life and death daily. Although her largest cities now contain the supermarkets that we in the west find ubiquitous, most in China still eat food purchased "on the hoof" in the local markets. This daily barrage of death has a desensitizing effect on its witnesses. It diminishes the value of all life.

I remember reading the story a few years ago of a baby girl that was found dead in a city street in Hunan (Marie Claire, Spring 2001). At the time I thought the story just another case of China-bashing, that there was simply no way it could have happened. But as I have become more familiar with the attitudes of China regarding death and dying, I realize that the Marie Claire story was not only possible, but likely.

When we ponder the realities of the families involved in the abandonment issue in China, we must realize that the motives, emotions, and experiences that we imagine each birth family to have experienced is formulated by our own experiences in the West. These experiences, however, are not the Chinese experience. There is a large cultural divide separating us from the average Chinese, particularly those that watch the endless cycle of birth and death in China's countrysides.

After what seemed like an eternity, the strong puppy died. As I knelt there with this dead animal in my hands, I contemplated what I should do with it. To leave it there seemed strangely inappropriate. I searched around and found a small nylon bag, in which I placed the limp body. As I stood and turned to face the crowd gathered around me, I felt oddly out of place, like I had just performed an act wildly out of context. I carried the bag to a small trash pile by a tree, placed it gently on the ground, got back in my taxi and drove off, followed in my every move by a sea of faces who will never understand what occurred in front of their eyes.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Again, a thought-provoking post.

In consideration of life being cheap, I take comfort that my daughters' lives weren't considered expendable by the people who held their future in their hands. They were willed to live. Most likely, not with a hope, or even a dream, that they would someday have a family. Simply that they would live. That was a gift to their daughters, and to us.

Valerie in MD

Anonymous said...

My mother told me when she was a child in the country back inteh 50's things like that happened often. Peopel were poor and had little pity for animals. She said her momther's generation was careful not to get too attached to babies because so many died when they were little. She said they usually waited until they were past 2 years to try to be truely attached to the child. When you are poor and work hard just to eat life is precious and you cant fall apart at every single thing. You would lose your mind if you felt sadness at every death you encountered. My mom said they had to save their grief and pity for those close to them. Our generation is lucky we never had to save our pity.

Trixie said...

A very touching post. Please excuse my rambling as I post a few thoughts of my own.

The value of animal life is very much an aspect of a materialized, industrialize state. We have the leisure and the where-with-all to make an issue of this cause. My father told me when we were young and very poor as children that we could not have a pet. He is a retired solider and he could not stand the thought of taking an animal's life simply because we were to poor to seek professional care. Since we lived in rentals, he knew that the next landlord might require us to relinguish the pets and he did not want us to be subject to those conditions. He knew that we had no money for vet bills should something happen and that ultimately a cherished family pet would be put down because it was a decision between $50, $100, etc for medical care or shoes on his children's feet. Unlike so many people who adopt or purchase and then abandon or give up pets because they move, their landlord changes his/her policies, or they start a family, my father wanted us to know that once we are yoked to this burden, it is with us to the bitter end. My father did not want to be the one to tell us that our pet had been put down or given away because of our own poverty. He is a gentle man raised on a hard scrabble farm in the Dakotas who learned early on that animals were helpmates for most farmers and pets only for the wealthy. He saw dogs used in Vietnam and then destroyed by the military. He knew that draft horses were sent to the glue factory when there was no pasture available or breeding left to be done. Our circumstances have changed over the years but my parents now in their 60s still do not own pets. I own a cat and a dog and have grappled with the concept of "How much would I pay to save my pet?" It is a question that I cannot yet answer.

There is so much literature out there which deals with the evolution of our society's view on animal rights, animal care, and animal ownership. You offer wonderful insight into what that means in terms of the other fringe members of society: children, the elderly, the handicap and the infirm. Much of our society is far from the farm and those who remain have a much closer relationship to their animals. However one look at an inner city ghetto - be in immigrant or just low income - will show you that some people in this country are still poor enough to devalue the lives of animals. Dog fights, cock fights, chained and neglected pets, family pets that an elderly person can no longer afford... These neighborhoods are often not so far removed from the rural Chinese mentality. A decision between food for you or food for it. A decision between fixing a gaping wound or letting the animal fight through the condition. It is there in America - you just have to know where to look.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how "affluent" enough people have to be in order to truly value all life on this earth? And to also realize that every living thing must someday die,too--with dignity.

Nora said...

A very sad story. I think you are are so correct in saying, "there is a large cultural divide separating us from the average Chinese..." I don't like to think that I could be the same way if my cultural upbringing was as theirs was.

I was horrified at the Marie Claire story from 2001. I felt ill after seeing the photos. In thinking about this story I wonder if people didn't react out of fear? I believe that in China many people behave in certain ways due to fearing what the authorities might do to them. And they rightfully have this fear. The women who wanted to help in this story was arrested. She wasn't worried about the consequences of her actions. Others possibly knew that any interest in that child would only lead them into difficulties. They didn't want to risk that.

Anonymous said...

I have just a question about the Marie Claire article. The woman that took the photographs said that the police took her film...so from whom and where did these come? I'm not familiar with this magazine - it looks like a fashion magazine? After the initial shock of reading this, and I have little doubt that it occured I'm just curious as to how the photos and story came to be in this magazine.

Erin from California said...

These articles have really had my mind racing since I read them. I felt compelled to come back and re-read them. I have a daughter adopted from China and we are currently paper chasing for another liile girl. I have two biological children as well, so I feel I can see this from a lot of different angles. I truly believe culture has so much to do with this. I am grateful thst I can reasure my daughter that she was loved, as she was found on the steps of a bank in a very busy area. However we have friends who's daughter was found by chance after she had been abandoned in a forest area and had probably been there for days. What do they tell her? I think we will alsways find more questions than answers. I am just so grateful that I am able to have the luxury of being on this end of the debate. I can't judge these people, I have not walked in their shoes. The picture of that baby lying on the street will haunt me. I am grateful the adoption program is getting some of these babies to loving homes, I just wish more Chinese families felt they had more options in making choices. Choices in life are a priveledge we truly take for granted.

Peri said...

Very interesting food for thought. Thank you ... my head will be mulling this for awhile.

On one hand, like most people, I am an omnivore. I was raised in a farming area (where my family kept their own small flock of chickens), and my father was a hunter, so I certainly know where meat comes from. A certain level of respect was always given to the situation though, both on the farm and in the field.

Now hubby and I have a small flock of our own ... rescued/neglected/abused parrots that we've taken in and rehabilitated. (Heh, learn birds at a young age and it apparently sticks with you into adulthood.)

So our daughter from Yangjiang now sees the old farms and plays with the parrots. I don't think I really appreciated that enough, before this moment. Thank you.

Ira said...

I usually appreciate Brian's posts for their sensitivity and thoughtfulness, but I was stymied by "The Value of Life in China."

I didn't expect Brian to ever write a sweeping generalization such as "Life is cheap in China." I can fully appreciate his experiences there and his emotion over the animal-death incidents he experienced in China and the U.S. But in my opinion, it's troubling for him to draw any sort of conclusions about how 1-plus billion people view life, death, or any other complex concept.

My guess is that if he had been in the same situation in many places in the U.S. (my big-city neighborhod, for example), he'd encounter similar reactions from onlookers. Even I found it somewhat difficult to manage my emotions while reading his stories of assisted animal suicide. I, too, probably would have looked on similarly (horror, amazement, confusion, etc.) to how the Chinese reportedly did.

I'm also skeptical of any account in a fashion magazine like Marie Claire, let alone one about Chinese society. There may be some truth in that account, but I wouldn't consider it without realizing there are bigger societal issues at stake.

I also don't understand Brian's equation between buying meat "on the hoof," as they often do in China, and not valuing life. I'm not a vegetarian, but many animal-rights vegetarians will tell you that it's Americans and other meat-eating societies that don't value life because they're so removed from the slaughtering process. I'm not sure I fully agree with that assessment, either, but it goes to show there are complexities to these issues. I certainly wouldn't write off the Chinese comitment to life just because they buy meat in less sanitized butcher shops than we do.

The most useful part about Brian's post was his comments warning about how we in the U.S. view Chinese behavior through our Western lenses. I only wish he had taken his own words to heart when evaluating his experience with the puppy in China.

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, Americans in particular. Perhaps many Americans would stop to save a puppy, but it's also our tax dollars that have supported an economy built largely on death and destruction in the Third World through war, support of dictators, arms sales, etc. Maybe that's an overgeneralization, too, but my guess is that it's a far more accurate one than to say without qualification that "life is cheap in China."

For shame, Brian. Such writing is what international misunderstanding and, ultimately, wars are made of.

me said...

I hate this one :(

cluelesscarolinagirl said...

As an adopted child whose birth mother didn't "love me so much that she gave me up for a better life"--no--I was child of date rape whose mother searched for an abortionist, I will argue till I pass out against the sugar coated birth family fairy tales fed to adopted kids.

I'm not advocating the cold, brutal truth told to kids of course. I'm just arguing passionately against the rosey angel clouds red threat claptrap.

I seriously cannot remember a time where I believed the "better life" thing. Somewhere, in my deepest heart of heart, I knew differently.

Research-China.Org said...

A short response to Ira:

It is of course dangerous to make sweeping generalizations about anything, let alone an entire people. My experiences in China are just that: my experience. I would never presume to indicate that every Chinese would react in any given way.

When it comes to the taking of life, we all are to blame for our often indiscriminate waste of meat. A hundred years ago our culture here in the U.S. resulted in the slaughter of millions of Plains Bison, for nothing more than the fun to shoot these animals from passing trains.

I do believe, however, that as a society progresses it begins to view all life in higher esteem. In fact, I view that as an indicator that a society IS progressing. In this regard, China has lot's of room to improve. Two examples:

While exiting a railway station, with huge human foot traffic, I was stopped by the sight of two puppies hanging from some twine over a phone booth. They had been dead for several hours (they were cold and stiff). No one even batted an eye at them.

On my last trip I was sitting in a restaurant in the countryside when a car pulled up and the drive removed a injured wild deer from his back seat. This animal had both its front legs broken, yet the driver sat it down and for over an hour stood guard over it as he waited for some friends to come and enjoy this animal for lunch. No one in the restaurant paid any mind at this abuse of an injured animal. I have no problem with his eating it, but kill the animal for crying out loud!

No doubt there are many Chinese who would handle things otherwise, it is just that in my experience I have never met one.

jenn said...

I must say, I also found this post incrediably disappointing and terribly judgmental.

Of course things are different in China---its NOT the US. But that doesn't necessarily lead to the conclusion that everyone in China considers life is cheap, particularly when we are drawing that conclusion based on personal observation of treatment of animals. As suggested, it is hard to muster up feelings for animals when you are poor and hungry and cold and none of us can debate the existance of a huge mass of poor, cold, hungry people in China.

You say "The Chinese witness the endless cycle of life and death daily. Although her largest cities now contain the supermarkets that we in the west find ubiquitous, most in China still eat food purchased "on the hoof" in the local markets. This daily barrage of death has a desensitizing effect on its witnesses. It diminishes the value of all life. . . "

First, they sell meat in open markets in France & Spain too---boars & rabbits hang on hooks with blood dripping on to the floor, chickens are piled [complete with head and feet and feathers] in heaps. Does that mean that the French and the Spanish don't value life?

Second, why on earth is the killing of a chicken or fish in a market a "daily barrage of death" that purportedly results in a desensitized audience any more than all the violence on American TV, movies, video games etc? Do you really think that all the American violence against people doesn't affect the viewers?

When we buy a fish at our local asian market, my son watches them pull the fish from the tank and kill it. He has also watched chickens getting their throats cut in markets in China. In no way has this made him desensitized---if anything, he is more sensitive to the fact that a life ended for his dinner than any of his classmates who believe that chicken comes in mc nuggets and foam packs.

And like it or not, Ira is correct that you might see the exact same reaction to an injured animal in the street in a poorer neighborhood in the US. Empathy for animals is often a luxery that many can't afford.

I would add that many of us see the same sort of unfeeling reaction in the presence of a homeless person---what does that say about our society in the USA? In my community, I have watched people drive by or walk past a homeless person lying in the street and not bother to slow their cars or stop to see if the person was alright. I have experienced people complaining about a weekly breakfast for homeless people to their City officials because they didn't want those people in their neighborhood and thought social services should be "downtown" on skid row.

China undoubtedly has room to improve but we do as well and as far as treatment of life is concerned, I'm not sure we have much room for us to criticise. An observer of our society could easily and convincingly argue that we care more about animal welfare than we do the welfare of people.

klem said...

Brian, you wrote "I would never presume to indicate that every Chinese would react in any given way."

Yet in your blog article, you state "Life is cheap in China." Seems like a pretty sweeping indictment of the country. And you wonder why the CCAA is suspicious of you?

I also have to disagree with your comments about "on the hoof" meat. Ever seen the movie Rocky? He shadow boxes with slabs of meat. True, it is chopped up and wrapped into a tidy little package when it hits your grocery store, but all of our beef once was "on the hoof."

I generally enjoy reading your blogs and was very surprised to detect a sense of American cultural superiority in this one.

Research-China.Org said...

I definitely don't claim a cultural superiority, only a recognition that not all people think, feel and perceive things the same way that I do. I recognize that the Chinese culture is vastly different from mine -- it has experience occupation, starvation, and governmental pressures that I have never experienced or witnessed. This has resulted in a difference of perception of life. Is one better than another? Each has advantages. I admire the Chinese tradition of frugality -- little is wasted in China. The wanton waste of my own culture disgusts me. So, no, I do not claim that we are culturally superior.

Research-China.Org said...

I received the following response to my blog from Yuan Liu, a Chinese national now living in the U.S. His insight into China's treatment of animals bears forwarding, and I post it here with his permission:

I read your experience in Chengde - I was sent there (Weichang County) for re-education at the age of 15 during the Cultural Revolution for almost four years.

Your story first brought my memory back to when I was "labored" there. Chengde was the royal hunting resort for the Manchurian Qing Emperors and prohibited from any settlements for farming until the 1911 Republic Revolution and the farmers were all "newly" settled since then - they were either poorest peasants escaped from near by provinces or the low-level Manchu solders who lost their positions during the republic war. The area is very mountaining, beautiful and wild, and of course very poor - we lived on 8 fen/day income (say less than US $0.05 cent/day then) - talk about hungry! Starvation was not a daily experiment, but an every moment challenge for survival. We grabbed almost everything that is possible to put in our mouths - when millets/corns/beans were in shortage, when pigs and sheep were not yet raised big enough to be killed, the fruits were not ready, even the tree leaves were not available especially in the springs -- we tried to find anything, yes, ANYTHING - a mountain rat, fox, rabbits, birds, snakes, newly grown elm/willow-tree leaves and - you just name it - munched in our mouths without a second of thinking. Every able meal was treated as a ceremony with tears in eyes. There was almost NO pets then - they were all killed for human food (exception - my "dahei", a German shepherd who was my shepherd company and best friend - he could catch a lot of wild animals for our dinner table). We NEVER had any concept of "animal rights" when human survival was seriously questionable.

Back to your story and you memory: I asked myself - how come with the same story we bring back totally different memories?

Most Americans, and Westerners, do not have any idea of "starvation" - food problem here is always obesity after 1930's Great Depression. Americans do not understand when people were hungry (not just skip a meal for shaping body); people had no dignity for themselves; if people even don't have "survival rights", they do not have any idea, or desire to know, about "human rights"; and of course, "animal rights" is not a concept at all at that moment. I believe that "animal rights" are the extension of "human rights" - and human rights are not simply just the written codes in legal documents or political offers. Human rights must be a gained/learnt values and judgement by human being themselves through their own living experiments, and they may extend the rights to other "beings". In a country like China, people are still living in a very vivid memory of starvation (including myself who has lived in the US for 20 years), not granted with basic human rights to themselves under a certain totalitarian government. How can we expect them to "extend" their concepts of "rights" and "dignity" to animals? Theirs is a long way to go.

Anonymous said...

Your experience sounds dreadful. I would however offer that there is a huge difference between the way life is honored in developed and developing countries.

If you have spent time in any other developing nation in the world, you would understand that the human and animal life are treated very differently pretty much everywhere else outside of the West.

My family has traveled to many countries, including spending a great deal of time in China years before we adopted our daughter. I truly value the country and culture from which my daughter is from. I would never tell my daughter that the culture that gave her life is barbaric and "uncivilized." Rather, that it is vastly different and it is our jobs to not only know it well and respect it, but to seek to make change in our lives that would support change in theirs.

One thing you seem to support that is honorable is that it is time we supported our daughters' homeland beyond buying the kitch of Shamian Island (made by highly exploited workers less than 10 miles from where we rested our heads at the White Swan) and eating at Panda Express for Chinese New Year and really started understanding all of China in authentic terms.

If you also think that the way North Americans treat animals who are in our meat factories is any better than the way the Chinese treat their animals for sale in their markers, you have a lot of learning to do about your own country.

Ira said...

We must all be mindful of the experiences of victims of the Cultural Revolution, poverty, lack of freedoms in China, etc. Too many of us fall into a sort of relativism that brushes off or ignores horrors experienced by people like Yuan Liu. That attitude threatens to continue the cycle.

As Anonymous so aptly put it, honoring our children's heritage involves much more than buying kitch from Shamian Island. It also means we have to come to terms with the darker sides of that heritage. The exact nature of that darker side, however, is difficult if not impossible to pinpoint with 100 percent clarity.

Most of us know nothing about the precise circumstances that brought our daughters to their orphanages. We can only surmise from general trends, anecdotes, and research--but even that is ultimately unsatisfactory. Attributing the existence of orphans in China to the fact that "they don't care about girls" (a comment I've heard and bristled at) is just as ignorant as saying that "your birth parents loved you and cared a great deal for you, and that's why they let you go." I certainly want to encourage hope in my daughter that the truth is somewhere in the latter's neighborhood, but the real emphasis, I suspect, should be on where she is now, in the present, and where she hopes to go.

One attitude I would want to foster in our household is that China doesn't have a corner on the market of the dark side of heritage. Life may be cheap, but not only in China. It can be cheap everywhere, among poor and rich, the haves and the have-nots. Considering life as cheap is not something "they" do and "we" do not. We're all susceptible.

It's peculiar how most of the posts thus far have implied that life is cheap (understandably so) only among those who have little to provide themselves. To the contrary, the stereotype I've always heard is that kindness is found exclusively among the poor ("blessed are the meek"), because they're not invested in materialism, the rat race, etc. I find both stereotypes to be crude.

Life may be cheap in China, but it's also valued in many respects and countless circumstances. Life certainly was cheap in economically advanced Nazi Germany, but there were countless numbers of Germans who led their lives admirably if not heroically during their government's horror. Life is certainly cheap in the U.S. in many respects, but it's also valued in countless ways.

As Americans, in particular, we need to get off our high horses and realize that "sin" knows no boundaries. What is, is, and I don't have a problem in criticizing it for what it is--perhaps even going as far as understanding it in the context of poverty or whatever phenomenon might help explain it. It should never be excused, but it also shouldn't be condemned to the exclusion of our own culpability.

To summarize, I think it's highly offensive to title an essay "The Value of Life in China" and state that "Life is cheap in China." Those simplistic views don't enhance our understanding of our daughters' (indeed, all of our) rich and nuanced cultural heritages.

(I also find it ironic that I was more fired up to reply to Brian's post than I was with Henry Winkler's and Walter Scott's fiasco in Parade magazine. It's probably because I hold Brian to a much higher standard. :-))

Anonymous said...

I remember going to China for the first time in 1988. On the ride home from the airport, I saw a guy lying in the street with his bicycle right next to him. I'm guessing that he was hit by a car. He was surrounded by a crowd of people who were just staring at him. He was in an awkward position and looked as if he already started rigor mortis. I was only 19 years old at the time and this was an eye opener. No one tried to help him or move him. No one seemed like they were going to call anyone (maybe there was no one to call). This was in Shanghai.

Anonymous said...

I am impressed with your courage and honesty in trying to think through your experiences, Brian.

Rhiann said...

I just wanted to say thank you for ending the puppy's suffering. I think few would do what you did. It took compassion and courage.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Ira, and others for your comments. I am dismayed by the sweeping generalizations and the bold assertion that life is cheap in China. While Mr. Stuy is certainly entitled to write his views about what he sees, to extrapolate that being true in all of China is not what one expects from a 'researcher.'

Ditto the comments about 'meat on the hoof.' Mr. Stuy said, "This daily barrage of death has a desensitizing effect on its witnesses. It diminishes the value of all life." Huh? Well, here in the West, we are even further removed from the reality of where the meat came from, so perhaps we're even more desensitized.

This entire post was a strong disappointment

Anonymous said...

Life is cheap here as an American. If you did that same act here in the states, you'd get the same stares or worst, no one would even give you a moment's glance. We have roadkill littering our highways. Ones that barely resemble a life because so many didn't think it was worth their time to stop as you did.

Anonymous said...

empathy costs nothing to give to any form of life. It is only the people who can feel for noone but themselves that find it impossible to give that which costs nothing away. Rationalization on the other hand costs a person more than they could ever afford to pay. There is no excuse to abuse any form of life animal or human. Save excuses for the man to whom they must be given since he created all life forms and loves them all.
I do not "live" in a material world since that ties one to the earth and possessions that become more important in peoples eyes than what really is important. We do need homes and food to survive, but intelligence and compassion are the keys to a life well lived, not a Lexus, boat or large house. Poor people will always be with us; generally with the ideal in mind of helping them and not walking by them. When I was young, before the fifties, my grandparents told me that we were never poor because there were always people worse off than we were and we were meant to help others and not just ourselves. No matter what we had we could always share with those in greater need. That is how one got through the depression. We also loved and fed our pets even if that meant we were a bit hungrier for it. Hunger teaches one a valuable lesson not to take anything or anyone for granted, for we are not measured by our valuables accumulated in this life. We also learned to barter for our medical needs as well as those of our pets, and not to accept things so readily but to fight to survive. All of us, as well as our neighbors and pets were important to us more so because of our situations. Sad to say but life has become quite a bit cheaper everywhere as time moves on and things, convenience and wants become more important to people who think that collecting the most toys is the most important thing to do. Its the things that cost nothing, compassion, empathy, pride, humility, and love that most people find the most difficult of all to acquire. We can only hope and pray that someday this changes, but not in my lifetime I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

"Empathy costs nothing to give to any form of life"
Thank you for this important point made.
Don't criticize Brian when he was just writing about his strong emotions and what they compelled him to share. Yes, animals are abused in all countries. Some more than others and we can't deny that. Yes, some of us eat meat and so we are quick to lash out and call them hypocrites when they speak about animal rights. The main point of Brian's story is being missed. We are so quick to judge others.

Anonymous said...

Bah, life is cheap in China. Of cheap things it is the cheapest.

It is unfortunate that it is likely that Western culture will die and be replaced by the Chinese culture. But they clearly have the evolutionary advantage.

Western life is so precious that we do not even replace it. Chinese life is so cheap that it literally spills out across the world. That wasn't always the case, but that is how it will end. If you don't think so, just come to the bay area in California.