Hello! I live in Canada, in a city who has a large population of Chinese. I'd love to answer your question.
As a Canadian, we have a very young and almost non-existent culture, so I'm naturally curious and interested in all others. Chinese culture in particular is of great interest to me, being that they were so advanced since ancient times. I have great respect toward China's accomplishments.
There is a decently long history of Chinese immigrants in my country, first by Cantonese-speakers and now by Mandarin-speakers. All of my friends in high school were of Chinese descent, and I hung around them so much that I began being able to speak Cantonese. (I've forgotten it since then, unfortunately!)
Growing up, I was aware of the difference in language, but I had not known there was such a vast difference in quality of living between Hong Kong and the rest of China. It's only recently that I'm learning of the atrocities the Chinese government has committed. The Great Firewall of China. Tiananmen Square Massacre. Genocide against muslims.
China's people are indeed suppressed, and by the sounds of it brainwashed, so I understand why you are confused. It seems more and more like China is being run like a dictatorship, and that makes me feel pity for its people. I'm almost afraid for you to be posting this here, as I've heard horror stories about what happens to people in China if they express a negative opinion about how the country is being run. It seems that China can be ruthless.
People in my city of Vancouver, have growing animosity toward China. This is because our most recent immigrants are money laundering in our country, buying property and leaving it empty. We have a housing crisis now, and it's in part due to foreign buyers. Canadian people cannot afford to live in their own cities anymore.
Then you have Hong Kong being dominated by China recently. I feel sorry for my old friends having to live through this. Hong Kong will never be the same, and we're all angry about what China has done. We suspect all the people in HK will slowly lose their rights, which is why they've been offered refuge by other countries.
Next, we have Meng Wanzhou under house arrest under America's direction. In retaliation, China has kidnapped two Canadians and currently are torturing them in prison, even though these two men have nothing to do with the situation. China wants to send us a message. (Look up the "two Michaels".) Meanwhile, Meng lives comfortably in her mansion in Canada, and is allowed to go outside as long as she is supervised.
For westerners, Chinese culture can be difficult to understand as it seems too oppressive in nature. We hear a lot of stories about parents who do not seem to love their children, who only use them as tools to financially benefit the family as a unit. We hear of kids who get strict punishment for not getting the best grades. Now we hear of its government stepping over basic human rights.
And lastly, you have COVID-19, or as Trump calls it, the "China Virus". Combining all of this, racism against the Chinese has been amping up from the west. Some people are legitimately angry at the Chinese, and unfortunately some people do take it out on innocent citizens.
Personally, I've only had good experiences with Chinese people. I am angry about our housing crisis, and the two Michaels. But I won't look at my Chinese peers and think for a second that it's their fault.
I would love to learn Mandarin and visit China, but during these recent events, I would be afraid for my safety there. This is a shame since China is in my top 10 countries to visit.