A view on kungfu from Virtual China: how can we resist? Chinese netizens weigh in on photos from a recent performance of Shaolin monks in San Francisco on March 12. There are a few pictures from the performance plus a series of other stills from unknown sources. What are Chinese saying about the marketing of something seen as quintessentially “Chinese”? Commentators fall in several camps:
(the majority of comments) those who are proud of Chinese kungfu and enjoy the photos. “Chinese kungfu is number one in the world!” “Amazing!”
Quite a few ultra-nationalists who see Shaolin as yet another example of China’s superiority over Japan, the United States, or Taiwan. “So Chinese kungfu is real, let’s give those foreigners a scare.” “This’ll open the eyes of the Americans” [美国佬: term for “Americans,” sometimes used in a derogatory way].
Skeptics who doubt the authenticity of the photos. “It’s definitely fake–these are photos from the movies,” and “Are they really that good?”
A few who are dismayed at the commercialization abroad of the famed Shaolin martial arts. “This must have really shocked the Americans… [But] Shaolin’s roots are in China, so shouldn’t they first perform more widely here? …This seems a little like selling our national heritage for profit.”
A few who always seem to be represented in BBS comments, who use nearly any topic to talk about how Chinese society is going downhill. “I just wish we had a China where people were loyal to their own professions. Monks would be monks. Soldiers would be soldiers. But in today’s society…there’s too much change. It’s not like the old days.”