Hero (2002) is often praised for its beautiful cinematography by Western critics but rarely for its insightful, poetic story about the essence of selfless patriotism and national unity. After viewing it, it finally made sense to me why — the movie justifies the important role of strong figures in fostering unity among a people, something that the West has always been skeptical about as a result of their unique historical experiences.
To the Western fantards, the movie is an instant abomination for its “apologism” of tyrants, disregarding the fact that it is a foreign movie about a foreign culture with a foreign experience.
Of course, it is understandable why the West is dubious of strongmen. Since the French Revolution, Europe has struggled to either curtail its reliance on or outrightly reject strongmen. To the Westerners, nationalism spurred by authoritative figures inevitably results in the othering of outsiders. And, to them, such phenomenon doesn’t always end well. Holocaust, anyone?
At the same time, on the other side of the world, China was following a different path to development. Something else had a much bigger impact on the psyche of Chinese people. That’s been disunity by way of rebellion, separatism, and civil war. These things had an enormous effect on the psychology of the Chinese in the same way authoritarianism induced a lingering phobia to Westerners.
An example is the Taiping Rebellion, “a massive rebellion or civil war that was waged in China from 1850 to 1864 between the established Manchu-led Qing dynasty and the Hakka-led Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.” That war alone caused as many as 30,000,000 deaths. Thirty fucking million.
Aside from the Taiping rebellion, there were also massive uprisings over the past many centuries in China. Around ten times as many people have died from these uprisings, rebellions, separatism and infighting than all of Nazis ever killed.
So, if you think about how toxic it is to talk about Nazism in the West, you can start to understand how toxic it is to talk about rebellions, separatism and uprisings in China. Disunity inspires a very similar emotional response to the Chinese in the same way a rise of strong figures does in the West. It is disunity amongst Chinese people that has been responsible for far more deaths than anything else in Chinese history.
If Kollektivschuld (or collective guilt) continues to haunt the German people today due to their role in World War II, it is disunity that continues to influence and shape society and politics of modern China.
What irks me about Western fantards is their refusal to acknowledge that all experiences are valid. They continue to impose their own set of values, beliefs and standards on everyone without acknowledging the importance of social, cultural and historical contexts. These absolutists who are no different from extremists are the true scourge of this planet.
“I have just come to a realization!
This scroll by Broken Sword contains no secrets of his swordsmanship.
What this reveals is his highest ideal.
In the first state, man and sword become one and each other.
Here, even a blade of grass can be used as a lethal weapon.
In the next stage, the sword resides not in the hand but in the heart.
Even without a weapon, the warrior can slay his enemy from a hundred paces.
But the ultimate ideal is when the sword disappears altogether.
The warrior embraces all around him.
The desire to kill no longer exists.
Only peace remains.”
— King of Qin, Hero (2002)