I'm not going to read this whole thread, but just a note... (1) China has been well praised in many ways in Western media. To say otherwise is simply to admit you don't read the news. The latest example is how well China has handled the earthquake. (2) America is regularly bashed in Chinese media. To say otherwise is simply to admit you don't read Chinese news. (3) retaxis... I think the main complaint coming from Western sources is that China supports and aids genocides. This, to us, is a horrid lack of morality. When our own governments do it, many of us feel equally repulsed and protest. The shocking difference to many Westerners is that Chinese people simply couldn't give a shit. If supporting the murder of 300,000 innocent Sudanese is what it takes to make their country richer, they're all for it. Hell, if oppressing the 500 million farmers of Anhui, Sichuan and other provinces is what it takes to make city dwellers rich, the city folk have no problem letting the farmers rot and die in conditions often worse than pre-revolutionary days. But you make an important point. The Chinese have a much higher tolerance for corruption, authority and oppression than do western nations. They expect it and do not see it as anything other than part of day-to-day life. My colleague put it bluntly: "Do you know why it was so easy for the tiny nation of Japan to take control of so much of China? Because we didn't notice a difference. It was just exchanging one corrupt demi-god for another corrupt demi-god." (4) diray... Visiting the government-approved areas of Tibet will teach you very little about day to day life for most Tibetans. There is a reason they pick those spots. Now, if you happen to bike into the province without a government guide and wander around on your own... Or, for that matter, talk to the large ethnic Tibetan populations outside the official province (in Yunnan, Sichuan, Xinjiang, etc.), you may get a much more open picture. (5) In my experience the young Taiwanese like Chinese money. They don't care too much about their flag, it's just a matter of if they can make more money by returning. Of course, they wouldn't agree to anything less than a Hong Kong like arrangement because they desire the freedom and modernity. But it's not nationalism holding back any re-unification. Of course there are tons of exceptions either way, this is just a trend I've noticed. By the by, I live in China. And yes, I've been out west.