I was talking to a girl I know a couple of years ago. She's half Chinese, and we had a very interesting chat about the Chinese. I'll post a bit of a summary:
Zoe: well, you know alot of chinese left china before mao. like, -lots- they think if you added up all the chinese in the world there'd be an extra 450 million of them. The ones that moved before kind of kept the old chinese attitude, and the ones that stayed became the great unknown. i swear, they're like robots.
NFG: How much of that is deeply held core belief, and how much is 'show a front for the police in case they're watching RIGHT NOW zOMFG!'? I can't help but believe that people are smarter, you know? that they see beyond the propaganda (though history proves time and again that I'm to be disappointed...)
Zoe: Yeah. i absolutely know what you mean. you spend your first three months in china beating your head against the these people cant possibly be this empty in the head! wall and then the next three you go for the these cant possibly be people!! wall.
The conversation was very free-ranging and I won't post it all here now. I don't remember why I thought the above was relevent, but there you go anyway. =)