When the Chinese see Americans they see our weakness and frivolous habits — too often.
The Chinese hate “American Idol” and our blockbuster Hollywood products.
But the Chinese also crave those same Hollywood products so much that counterfeiters sell pirated DVDs on the streets of Beijing before most theaters in America get a shot at the newest Hollywood offering.
The government of China hates Western porn and all the time wasted by Chinese workers on the Internet. But China has the largest Internet readership of any country on earth — and they love their porn.
So there are many contradictions in China — especially contradictions between the ancient Chinese culture and the modern world.
So it should come as no surprise that a China New Year celebration featuring that most famous of China’s celebration products — fireworks — exploded upon merry makers in Beijing this week.
It seems the state run communists TV system, CCTV, invited all its Beijing employees to celebrate the end of the New Year with a feast followed by a fireworks display.
But CCTV had no permit to set off the fireworks and the police protested.
But CCTV is the state in many ways so the police were ignored — which is also an ancient Chinese tradition.
Well you can guess.
The fireworks set ablaze the building still under construction adjacent to the CCTV tower. That building burned and hundreds of firefighters were needed to bring the inferno under control.
CCTV offered aplogies and said it was ashamed to lose face. And tower.
Now party-goers tell us, their entire year will be “not lucky.”
So if you are off to China to do business this year: be careful. The cultural odds may be against you.
Note to Barack Obama: when your oath went badly on January 20, my Chinese grandmother said, “Not lucky. Four years not lucky.”
Fire damaged Mandarin Oriental hotel building, left, and the new China Central Television headquarters building, right, are seen in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009. An Olympic-style fireworks display put on by China’s state-run television broadcaster was the cause of a spectacular blaze that destroyed a luxury hotel that was part of the network’s landmark headquarters in Beijing, a fire department spokesman said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)