Awkward thing happened in China

AlexPLA

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I went to Xian this christmas and a chinese girl that I met on the internet showed me around for the days I was there.
Everything went ok and I did enjoy my time. However, in the last day there she asked me what do I think of the city, and my response was "I like the city. There's lots of beautiful temples, the food is good, and the people are nice. It's just too bad you are all communists".

That last sentence is where I fucked up. She then got a straight face and asked me "What's wrong with being a communist?" And I didn't know what to say. I was quiet for a few seconds and then I said that I'm joking and changed the subject.

Everything seemd to be fine after that, but I can't help but feel that I offended her. Do you think I was maybe too insensitive about it in a way?
I'm still in contact with her and I don't know if I should apologise or let it be.
 

tippy2k2

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There's two things you don't talk about when dealing with new people (and in most cases, people you've known forever as well); religion and politics

I don't know what country you're from but I'm sure you would find it in bad taste for her to start trashing your government and how your country is run. If you feel she's actually offended, it might be worth apologizing but if you think she's fine with it even with your social whoops, I'd let it go.
 

JoJo

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Hey, welcome to the Escapist AlexPLA! Stay out of the basement, always press any red buttons you see around the place and you should do just find around here :)

Hm, to be honest it's impossible to say whether she took it as a joke or not, but it's a good rule of thumb to be careful when joking about religion or politics, especially cross-culture. Different countries have differing senses of humour after-all, I don't know enough about Chinese culture to say if that's their sort of joke or not. If you're still in contact and she hasn't brought it up again, or seemed upset, then you're probably in the clear though, I say just learn from it and move on.
 

EeveeElectro

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Aug 3, 2008
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Christ, have you heard of tact?

The way she was brought up, it's unlikely she'll be able to understand any other way of life. Even if you disagree or dislike it, it's how they live their life and we have to deal with it.

Agreed with Tippy, if she seems offended and seems a bit short with you, offer an apology. Otherwise you should be okay, just be careful what you say in the future.
 

FalloutJack

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Nov 20, 2008
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I take the piss out of China quite alot. There are places that are dirty and nasty in comparison to my lifestyle. It's their fault we have stink bugs. There's all the business of LEAD to talk about. The list goes on. And personally, I don't really see much into communism either. However, it's not my place to state to someone's face that it's a bad thing in their own country. Rather, as a segway into conversation, it would be better if I asked about and discussed with legitimate interest the ups and downs of living in such a country. I like Japan. Japan is not a democracy. These things happen.
 

DudeistBelieve

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AlexPLA said:
I went to Xian this christmas and a chinese girl that I met on the internet showed me around for the days I was there.
Everything went ok and I did enjoy my time. However, in the last day there she asked me what do I think of the city, and my response was "I like the city. There's lots of beautiful temples, the food is good, and the people are nice. It's just too bad you are all communists".

That last sentence is where I fucked up. She then got a straight face and asked me "What's wrong with being a communist?" And I didn't know what to say. I was quiet for a few seconds and then I said that I'm joking and changed the subject.

Everything seemd to be fine after that, but I can't help but feel that I offended her. Do you think I was maybe too insensitive about it in a way?
I'm still in contact with her and I don't know if I should apologise or let it be.
You were. and Holy Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, you're lucky the secret police didn't take you away. Can you imagine if you had said something like that in Nazi Germany? Or the USSR?

Sides the problem isn't their economic system, the problem is their exploitative totalitarian government.
 

WoW Killer

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Funny thing is that the word "communism" means nothing like what either you or her mean by the word, and you probably have very different meanings yourselves. And yet, through this simple use of a political charged word, which neither of you have a solid understanding of, a rift was spawned. That's amazingly messed up.
 

NightmareWarden

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I would like to avoid insulting your notable actions by instead recommending a book: http://www.peterlegge.com/bookstore/the-power-of-tact
WoW Killer said:
Funny thing is that the word "communism" means nothing like what either you or her mean by the word, and you probably have very different meanings yourselves. And yet, through this simple use of a political charged word, which neither of you have a solid understanding of, a rift was spawned. That's amazingly messed up.
WoW Killer said this part better than I could have so I'll move on to a solution for your problem: Apologize to your friend/acquaintance for your lack of tact and consideration specifically. Read up a little bit on the basics of why whatever system you support is successful or favorable compared to communism. Look for the biggest (supposed) flaws in communism. Now that you have a basic idea of the topic, ask what your friend thinks of communism. Proceed to have a general conversation and try to avoid turning it into a debate. OH and remember the following: just because she lives in a communist country does not mean she is a communist.
 

AnarchistFish

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1. There's nothing with wrong being a communist

2. Lol at calling the Chinese communist. Possibly one of the most capitalist peoples on the planet, if we're gonna generalise populations. As a government it certainly is.


What you said might've been little offensive. Don't apologise though, unless she brings it up again herself.
 

Nouw

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Well seeing as how you were compelled enough to make a thread about it just send her an e-mail with an apology. I agree with the rest of the responses here, it was a bit tactless to throw such a loaded word into your response.
 

Griffolion

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AlexPLA said:
It sounds arrogant, even over text, so I can't begin to imagine what it may have sounded like IRL.

Not all people in China are necessarily communists, they simply live under a communist regime. Much in the same way many Germans between 1939 and 1945 were not necessarily Nazis (IE, holding Nazi views).

Even if she does hold communist views, the way in which you've stated as a fact that communism is "a shame" is likely to rile. I can't see how you're not blatantly seeing this. Imagine if she makes a couple of compliments about your country and then goes ahead and backhands you with an "It's a shame you're all capitalists" (assuming you're American, maybe not, insert national identifier that may perhaps be a source of pride for you there). It's just not something you'd say unless you can guarantee they'll take it jokingly, or understandingly in some way. Both ways require a closeness of friendship I'm not sure you have with this person. So yeah, massive faux pas.

Apologise for it, move on.
 

MeChaNiZ3D

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Aug 30, 2011
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It was a bit tactless of you, especially without a decent followup. Why throw that out there? I say apologise and move on. At best it solves the problem and at worst you look a bit sensitive and awkward and it still solves the problem. But don't say that to people you've only just met, come on.
 

Headsprouter

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That was a bit of a thoughtless way of phrasing it. Yes, I do think it was a bit insensitive. If you really were dead set on saying something similar I would suggest "The way of life just isn't for me." It's much more vague and if she did prod for more information you could have said that maybe you don't relate to the popular belief systems, perhaps justifying it with having been raised in a different culture. That way it seems more like an issue with you than an issue with her and the country as a whole. Humility helps.

And even then, I was born and raised in Ireland, and I have no ties to our most popular political beliefs, so to say "You are all communists." is a bit of a generalisation.

As for an apology, it depends on how she's behaving now. I'm not sure how you should go about it, though. China's not a place I know much about, and social convention isn't my forte either.
 

Souplex

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Jul 29, 2008
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China is far from Communist.
They're one of the most capitalistic nations on earth.
The main principle of Communism is businesses being owned by their workers.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Communist_Manifesto
 

SecondPrize

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The Chinese more closely fit the definition of Fascism now than they do Communism but even then, why don't you like Communism if you can't even explain it? There's plenty wrong with the system but hating words because you've been told to is pretty silly.
 

Thaluikhain

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Yeah...that sounds rather tactless.

"I like your nation of ___________, but it's too bad you are all _______________" is likely to offend people, whatever you put in the blanks.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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May 15, 2010
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Things not to do in social circumstances, especially first contact circumstances:

1. When meeting someone for the first time its bad taste to insult their culture in any form, even if it was a joke or just using "j/k" as an excuse for poor tact.

2. Avoid religion and politics for a few months (in the case of a radically different country's politics and take on religion probably avoid it forever)

Those two things should save you in the future. Also welcome to the Escapist, and I'll second Jojo's words of wisdom on the basement and red button issues.
As an outside observer though had I been present I would probably have laughed my ass off... Poor tact situations are humorous to me, especially ones that lead to conflict. At least as long as they aren't international incident range... then it moves to the realm of side-splitting madness-laughter. I can't help it, I find humor in horrible things and I don't know why. Maybe its my way of dealing with it... and laughter seems a better knee-jerk response than anger, sadness or horror.
Also let it be, if she's still speaking to you its probably something she just brushed off and I'd commend her for being so forgiving as some folk wouldn't be. Says a lot about the girl actually as most non-"communist" people would take worse offense at a dig at their own country.