During the communist revolution, many Chinese people abandoned (through force) their ancient culture and traditions in the name of embracing the Russian example of the ideal Socialist/Communist society. This led to a condition of organized and rampant failure resulting in widespread and catastrophic: famine, starvation and economic collapse. To name just a few of the horrific events that occurred during the so called “Mao years”.
After their own internal failures and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, the Chinese government began to look to the west in general and the United States in particular as a potential model for future growth. Once again refusing to look into their own ancient past for the answers they seek.
Over the last 20 + years the Chinese government has had an official policy of “westernizing” the country through the importation of all things American and European, mainly fashion and diet. Some have argued, through PR firms, that this increase in “material” wealth and the adoption of “proper” western clothing are clear signs that the western economic/cultural model is having a profoundly positive impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
The evidence, however, shows this is not the case.
The once high ideal of being a scholar of Taoist classics, eating low calorie-balanced meals and beginning each day with Qigong or other Self Healing exercises, has been replaced by being seen in the highest rated Michelin restaurants and of course wearing the latest Western couture fashion.
Over the last two decades their has also been an explosion of American style fast food restaurants, in particular McDonalds, which is causing traditional meals (home cooked and restaurant) to be replaced with: manufactured, GMO, test tube meats and the accompanying artery clogging fat and preservatives.
According to an article from ChinaDaily:
Diabetes in China may have reached 'an alert level', with one in 10 adults having the disease...the researchers warned in the Journal of the American Medical Association that China could face a major epidemic of diabetes-related complications,' including cardiovascular disease, stroke and chronic kidney disease in the near future without an effective national intervention."
The article goes on to show that “the prevalence of diabetes in the Chinese adult population has surpassed that of India and is now close to that of the United States. As the country's economy expanded quickly over the last three decades, the standards of living and lifestyles of ordinary Chinese have changed substantially...with increased high-calorie, high fat, high-sugar, and high-sodium diets, decreased physical activity and more sedentary lifestyles, all factors that could lead to weight gain, diabetes and other chronic diseases are now reaching epidemic proportions in China...”
One thing China has shown recently is how an entire country can be transformed from having the richest, oldest and healthiest civilization in the world; to following and aspiring to be like the youngest, most debt ridden and most unhealthy (by obesity standards) country and the resulting side effects of that change.
Perhaps, it is time for China to embrace their ancient history and reconnect with the root of their civilization, Taoism (and the accompanying Taoist sciences), which is their greatest achievement and their greatest gift to the world.
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