Myths and stories have always brought the past to the present. Through stories told of the past it has been possible to have a glimpse of the past. One such myth is on symbol which is believed to have been created and posted at the gate in a park in China. The post is said to have read, “Dogs and Chinese not Admitted.” The existence of this symbol is highly disputed. This is an article critique of an article on, “Dogs and Chinese Not Admitted.” The critique will show how myths can be persistence over a long time. This is done by reviewing the contents of the article. This paper carefully examines the article and gives it strengths and weaknesses. This article shows the sensitivity associated with this issue in the nation of China. The article being critiqued is authored by Bickers Robert and Wasserstrom Jeffrey.
The authors start by giving a comprehensive historical background of the symbol by reviewing the regulation of the public garden in the years between 1868 and 1928. What is now the Huang Park was built by the British on a recreation land. The park is said to have started taking in visitors in 1868 but soon afterwards complains were registered against the way the Chinese people used the park. This led to the barring of the Chinese people from using the park except for those who served the westerns. The authors report that there were further complains from the Europeans about the number of Chinese accessing the park. This is reported to have led to the introduction of a pass system which allowed the Chinese to visit the park once in week’s time. This was in 1881 but later in 1890 the pass system was phased out and henceforth no Chinese was allowed access the park. It is claimed that this was done because too many passes were being applied for. The article in a very clear way shows the change of the regulations concerning Chinese accessing the park right from 1894 through 1903 to 1913 and 1917. In 1917 the regulation one dictated that the park was reserved for the foreigners only and regulation four prohibited dogs and bicycles from accessing the park. The park was opened to the public in 1928 to the fee paying persons. The authors argue that the myth of a symbol, “Chinese and Dogs not admitted” has not been officially proved to have existed (Bickers, & Wasserstrom, 1995).
The authors show how persistent the myth has been: this is shown through the review they carry out of recent news paper article one in a youth post and the other in the century post. The authors claim that the sensitivity of this issue came out clearly especially because the issue was published at a time when the Chinese press had mounted an attack on the foreigner mistreatment of the Chinese natives. The authors present a variety of views most of which are against the assumption made that the symbols never existed. In most cases the views from most Chinese press people views the symbol as a prime evidence of the humiliation of the past that the Chinese people were exposed to by the Europeans. The authors show the strong presence of this issue by showing how its presence is felt in the modern day time. The authors give a series of narration showing how this issue is deeply rooted in the minds of the Chinese people. The issue has been claimed to have been associated with political leaders from as earlier as 1924. This is a sure indication that the symbol is deeply rooted in the minds of the Chinese people (Bickers, & Wasserstrom, 1995).
The authors claim that the various leaders who led the Chinese people actually seemed to have done all they could to ensure that the Chinese people were aware of the humiliation that they underwent by being equated to dogs. Various dynasties are mentioned including the Dengist era all of which are said to have propagated the spread of the myth. The authors also quote two books which were published and which in a way extended the myth by talking about the story in a way that suggested that actually the symbol existed. The authors review many more articles which bring into surface the degree of presence of the issue among the Chinese people. It is shown that there are many forums in which the issue can be brought up and under which it is often brought up. The various articles as shown by the authors depict different versions of the symbol. For instance, the gazetteer of the Shanghai Region claims that it was only the Chinese people who were not to access the park while the rest of the people were; this included the Indians who were considered has been in the same level as the Chinese bearing in mind that they also served the Europeans. After reviewing the many articles that talk about the symbol the author turn to explain the origin of the myth (Bickers, & Wasserstrom, 1995).
The origin of the Myth
The authors try to give answers to what they view as questions which have been very elusive in answering. The authors pose the first question and relate it to be asking the issues concerning the timing of the origin of the myth. The authors claim that the stories about the myth must have probably started in the first decade of the century. They claim that this should be the case because the first stories concerning this myth appeared first in the late 1910s and 1920s. The second question concerns the origins of which they believe was due to the suggestion of Johnston in the year 1927. The authors also give a very interesting explanation on the origin of the myth: they say that the Chinese servants knew what the sign meant but unfortunately could not read. When these servants were explaining to fellow Chinese people they could point to Chinese and say no access and then to dogs and again say no restriction. These may have lead to a confusion been confused to means the Chinese and dogs are not allowed (Bickers, & Wasserstrom, 1995).
The article presents in general some of the challenges which the park was exposed to. The authors claim that the student population may have played a big role in escalating the myth. The authors claim that the shanghai student population most probably were made increasingly aware of the SMC’s regulations. The author reports of some crisis which resulted out of this knowledge on the part of the university students. They give the example of Jessfield Park which is directly at the main front of St. John’s University. This is said to have brought some conflicts between the students and the park authorities. The students become more dominant in the 1910s mounting a lot of pressure on the park authorities to allow the park to be used by the students for games (Bickers, & Wasserstrom, 1995).
Articles strengths and weakness
This article can be ranked as a well written article. The article is quite comprehensive with a lot of background information which makes it quite easy for a reader to under the dispute of the myth. The authors have structured the article into subtitles which make it easy for readers to follow their arguments. The article can be improved by including a pictorial map of the public park in the article. These will it more real and enjoyable while reading.
This article in a very clear and comprehensive way brings to the surface the truths behind a popular and influential myth in the motherland China. The public park now called Huangpu Park is at center of the controversial myth. Reported to have been developed put of a reclaimed piece of land, the park at first was accessible to all the people but due to some complains launched by the Europeans the Chinese people were gradually denied complete access to the park. However, the park in the later years the park was reopened again to all the people but at a fee.
Reading through the articles one gets to understand how the myth might have come about. It should be noted the Huangpu Park then the public park had some regulation which restricted those who could access it. The regulations denied access to the park the Chinese, bicycles and dogs. The restrictions were spelt out in different clauses of the regulation and were not in one clause. The origin of the myth still remains a mystery as this article only proposes suggestions and print evidence does not show whether such a sign as, “Chinese and Dogs not Admitted” ever existed.