Photos: Comparing China and Other Countries

November 21, 2011Archer Wang10 Comments, , , , , , , ,

From Sina Weibo:

Recently a collection of photographs that shows how some aspects of Chinese people’s lives differ from those of people in some other countries, mainly the U.S., has gone viral on the Internet.

A comparison of school buses in China and in the U.S.

In the wake of a deadly school bus crash that claimed the lives of 19 kindergarten kids and two adults in the northwestern province of Gansu, photos of American school bus barely deformed after a crash with a Hummer have been circulating wildly on, with public anger ignited across China. Netizens are expressing their anger at the extremely underfunded Chinese education system.


The photo on the top: An elementary school allegedly donated by Chinese to a Western country (unknown).
The photo at the bottom: An elementary school in rural China.


A comparison of an American primary school and its Chinese counterpart.



Photo on the top: city hall in Manor, Texas, U.S.
Photo at the bottom: town hall in Shunde, Guangdong, China.

Forming a sharp contrast is not only juxtaposing the pictures of fabulous seat of town government in China with government office shanties in the U.S., but also the mammoth gap of funding that goes into education and bureaucracy.


Upper photo: Former U.S. ambassador Jon Huntsman going to work on his bike in Beijing.
Lower photo: Chinese local government officials’ motorcade.


Upper photo: Zhao Jinjun, former Chinese ambassador to France, president of China Foreign Affairs University: “The country pays for it. I represent the country. If I were an ambassador, I would definitely fly first class.”
Lower photo: Gary Locke, incumbent American ambassador to China, deboarding a plane with his family. Much Chinese media attention has been drawn to the fact that he only flies coach class.


Upper photo: A group of Chinese people kneeling down in front of a government building. Genuflecting to government officials has been a Chinese tradition. While it was abandoned for decades after the communist revolution, now desperate people can only resort of kowtow in trying to appeal their cases to and get their voices heard by the local government.
Lower photo: Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou walks past demonstrators.


A comparison of Taiwanese (upper photo) and Chinese lawmakers in meetings.


Comments from


@Gnosis_S: 一切都在提醒著那些既不能起義也不能考上公務員的草民們:趕快移民…不管你是偷渡蛇頭還是託福雅思。

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10 comments to “Photos: Comparing China and Other Countries”

  1. LotusEater | November 21, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Guangzhou vs Manor is a bit unfair. Maybe Huaxi vs Manor would be better. :) The populations are similar at least.

  2. ViktorMugli | November 21, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Those pictures arent very fair. Its easy to make the opposite, it is just a matter where to take those pictures.

    • Cultural Imperialist | November 25, 2011 | Permalink Reply

      Where in Taiwan or the United States will you find people kneeling in supplication before government officials or buildings?

  3. justice | November 21, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Those schools in america are not the average school by any means. I’ve never seen any school that nice and chances are, that is a private school

  4. Chris Devonshire-Ellis | November 21, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Hmmm. It seems largely a comparison between China and the United States, with a couple of Taiwan thrown in for good measure. I don’t think personally, that such comparisons, although entertaining, are completely valid. I question therefore, the point you are trying to make here. Please explain, perhaps more succinctly, in words. Thanks – Chris

    • Linda | November 30, 2011 | Permalink Reply

      Hi Chris,

      This is my personal take: I agree that the juxtapositions displayed here are not fair comparisons. They were definitely put together with a bias – and it shows. But I think you hit the matter on the nose: they are very entertaining. Furthermore, I think internet memes are most interesting when you look at how quickly they proliferate and how popular they become (and in what context). However inaccurate the representations may be, the basic idea of “inequity” is what strikes a cord with the netizens (who then decide join in on the conversation/reproduction). An overblown sense of entitlement is commonplace for the wealthy and privileged in China (and often, these are Chinese officials themselves). On the other hand, there is vast need on the part of “ordinary citizens” that are clearly not being met.

      The popularization of this meme, then, has to do with a shared feeling of there is are injustices in China that apparently does not exist in the US or more generally dare I say (since Taiwan was thrown in) countries with democratically organized governments.


  5. [...] Bing posted a set of photos comparing China with other countries. Archer Wang from Ministry of Tofu explained the context of the comparison. [...]

  6. rui | November 22, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    That parliament brawl is not from Taiwan, but from Japan.

  7. Linda | November 30, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Also, here’s my rough translation of the Weibo comments above:)

    边书坤律师:The disparity between socialism and capitalism is truly enormous, akin to the difference between Mt. Everest and the Mariana Trench.

    @Gnosis_S: 一切都在提醒著那些既不能起義也不能考上公務員的草民們:趕快移民…不管你是偷渡蛇頭還是託福雅思。
    @Gnosis_S: All of this remind those [ordinary people] who can neither revolt nor become [civil servants/government administrators] to emigrate ASAP … whether it’s by stowing away, paying a human smuggler or taking the TOEFL/IELTS.

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