Brainwashing in China: Is It Real?

An interesting little tidbit: The word brainwashing first originated in connection with brainwashing in China during the 1950’s Korean War as xǐnǎo, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

The dictionary describes brainwashing as “a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes, and to accept contrasting regimented ideas. Or persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship.”

The following list has been created by netizens in China and is being circulated online. We’ve translated some of the comments about it to give an insight into the discussion taking place on this subject over the Chinese Internet.

Are you brainwashed?

  1.  Do you hate the U.S.? Hate Japan? Hate Western developed countries? Think the U.S. is seeking supremacy?
  2.  Do you believe that China is the only just nation in the world? That China’s authorities are loyal to the Chinese public, and have been from the very beginning?
  3.  Do you believe that China is so powerful that its economy is about to overtake the U.K. and the U.S.? That China’s army is invincible?
  4.  Do you love a great person or a leader, and even make a fetish of him, although his autocracy and ignorance have made China’s citizens suffer terribly?
  5.  Do you believe that the central and corrupt local officials are antagonistic, and that many current social phenomena are not known by those at high level leaders, that the high level officials have been cheated by low level personnel?
  6.  Do you feel patriotic, but do not know the difference between your country and the government?
  7.  Do you think that students who study abroad should go back to China, otherwise, they are betraying China and the government?
  8.  Do you believe the so-called dialectics? Do you think that no thought or opinion should be extreme, and that people with such thoughts can’t tell right from wrong?
  9.  Do you imagine fighting against the U.S. and Japan in a battlefield, but when encountering stealing or someone bullying a girl, dodge such people?
  10. Do you think that just as a dog does not show aversion to its poor host family, neither should a Chinese person say China is bad — whoever says this is a traitor?

Comments from netizens:

Laifeng Ding:


Winter Time (Sui Han Shi Guang):

If a person has been brainwashed, can they realize it? How do you feel when reading this list? How many of the questions could you say yes to, and do you think it really means brainwashing by the CCP, or is it just true?

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