Please allow me to respond to your columnist Josh Hong's latest article titled Chinese racism - not quite in nutshell. For the sake of social peace, Hong's many serious but one-sided assertions must not go unchallenged intellectually.
First and foremost, let me state clearly that it is not my intention to suggest that individual Chinese or even some aspects of culture practised by Chinese are immune to criticisms, critical examination or rational discussion.
Indeed, if we really know the history of the Chinese civilisation, surely we would find that it has always been critically examined by the Chinese themselves. Orthodox Confucianism as a ruling ideology, for example, was publicly and severely critiqued at the turn of the late 19th and early 20th century by Chinese intellectuals and even ordinary people as a form of oppressive ideology against the democratic and scientific spirit.
As the result of those internal critiques, the practise of women foot-binding and the twin systems of polygamy and concubinage were abolished. Modern and scientific subjects have also long replaced pedantic and reactionary Confucianist learning in the educational system.
More importantly, since the early 20th century, the Chinese have been embracing modern ideas like capitalism, liberalism, socialism and nationalism just like many Japanese and Indians.
Indeed, if we go further back into Chinese history, we can also find that even in ancient times, the Chinese people were aware of their cultural inadequacy and were willing to import non-Chinese ideas like Buddhism from India, Christianity from the Levant region in the Middle East as well as Islam from Persia (now Iran) and Central Asia all to enrich the originally Confucian-Taoist core.
Today, the Chinese culture is a complex articulation of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism (from India), Western modernity and other elements derived from, for example, Islam and even Hinduism. For example, the popular Chinese deity Monkey King is in fact Hanuman in the great Hindu epic Ramayana.
As a matter of fact, the father of modern China, Dr Sun Yat Sen - respected by both the communists and nationalists - was an American-educated Christian.
So it is not accurate or correct for Hong to portray the Chinese culture as a static and monolithic culture of what he (and many Japanese ethnologists) call 'Han' and suggest that it is 'racist' by nature.
Hong also cites the notion of 'barbarism' in ancient Chinese culture to support his claim that it is uniquely 'racist' by nature. It is true that there was such notion of 'barbarism' expressed in terms like 'Yi', 'Di' and 'Man' but the concept of 'barbarism' is not uniquely or exclusively Chinese.
If Hong is familiar with Western history, surely he will find the notion of 'barbarism' in the ancient Greek-speaking city-states like Athens and Sparta as well as in both the Roman Republic and Empire.
The Hadrian Wall in Britain, for example - like the Great Wall of China - was constructed by the Roman Empire to ward off the Scottish 'barbarians' from the north. Many of the northern expeditions of the Roman Legion, meanwhile, were directed against the Germanic 'barbarians'.
To recall the universality of the ancient notion of 'barbarism' is not to endorse it today but only to illustrate the point that it is not uniquely or exclusively Chinese.
What about the imposition of the language of the 'Han' on 'non-Han' people in the history of Chinese civilisation? Again, it is not a uniquely or exclusively Chinese phenomenon.
The Greek language was imposed on non-Greek areas like conquered Persia and Egypt. The Arabic and Latin languages were imposed on non-Arabs and non-Romans after their land was conquered by Arab Muslim armies and the Roman Legions respectively.
When Malaya and Singapore were occupied by Japan's Imperial Army, all English or 'Anglo-Saxon' schools were abolished and replaced by Japanese ones. The original language of the Ainu - the indigenous inhabitants of Japan - was also suppressed in ancient times by people who called themselves Japanese.
Of course, this ancient practice of imposing a language on another by force is no longer acceptable besides being politically undesirable and culturally impossible.
I hope this simple discussion will help to interest Hong to read Chinese and world history more carefully and deeply so as not to create a dangerous stereotype of the Chinese among our non-Chinese friends, and relatives (for the many cases of interracial or inter-religious marriages which include myself).