But for many other Chinese, especially younger ones, the idea of a rising East and a declining West is an accepted fact. News programs and social media are filled with such dogma, and political science classes, at the urging of Mr. Xi, are teaching it.
Yan Xuetong, a professor of international studies at Tsinghua University with a nationalistic bent, said at a Beijing conference in January that China’s college students need to learn more about the world. They often have a binary view, believing that “only China is just and innocent while all other countries, especially the Western countries, are ‘evil,’ and that Westerners are bound to hate China,” he said. Students “usually have a very strong sense of superiority and confidence” in international relations, he said, and often “treat the other countries with a condescending mind-set.”
“They use ‘wishful thinking’ in international affairs, believing that it’s very easy for China to achieve its foreign policy objectives,” said Professor Yan. He added that they also tend to believe conspiracy theories and other unsubstantiated opinions found online.
Many young people criticized him in turn, accusing him of condescension.