Pence cites Lu Xun

Yesterday US Vice-President, Mike Pence, gave a speech on China at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think-tank in Washington. Near the end of the speech, he cited Lu Xun, of all people. He said:

The great Chinese story-teller Lu Xun often lamented that his country “has either looked down at foreigners as brutes, or up to them as saints, but never as equals.” Today, America is reaching out our hand to China; we hope that Beijing will soon reach back – with deeds, not words, and with renewed respect for America. But we will not relent until our relationship with China is grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for sovereignty.

We can now add the Trump administration to the long list of “political uses” of Lu Xun. By the way, the quote is from the opening to “Impromptu Reflection, no. 48” (隨感錄四十八) and reads in the original:


Not sure where he got the translation, but Pence did not use (thankfully?) the translation, by Eileen Cheng, in Jottings under Lamplight (Harvard UP, 2017), which reads:

The Chinese have had, throughout the ages, only two terms of address for other races: either “beasts” or “royal highnesses.” They have never been called friends, nor said to have anything in common with us. (p. 253).

If you can stomach it, the whole speech, both in text and in video, is here:



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