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Visit China to Understand the World


Happy 2012 everyone! If you are still working on those New Years resolutions, how about thinking on doing something fun and smart at the same time? Nick Kristof on the New York Times just wrote an articles on “Where to Go to Understand the World in 2012” and here’s the first two sentences:

“If you want to understand the world, you need to understand Asia. That, in turn, means setting foot in China and India.”

I hope that bold in China was enough to make it obvious. For those of us in CAPS, pat yourself in the back. For Cornellians who are not, like, what are you waiting for?? As one of the kids (Class ’12) coming back from Beijing, I can only say I regret not doing some of those things Kristof suggested (like visiting the countryside, Datong, Guilin…) For CAPS juniors preparing to go to Beijing, now you know where to visit in China. As for me, I’m halfway to understanding our world now (THANK YOU CAPS!!!).

VIDEO: Squeezing Out Homegrown Kids

A Taiwanese TV station released this animated video (pretty amusing) about rising enrollment of Chinese students at UC schools.  Although the video concedes that recruiting wealthy Chinese students ultimately crowds out homegrown American kids, the narrators defend that recruiting in China still provides a “win-win situation” for most parties involved–namely, Chinese students and cash-strapped UC administrators.

UC students have expressed concern that the increased enrollment of Chinese students prevents their poorer American counterparts from gaining spots at their hometown/in-state college.  In particular, Asian-Americans are believed to be put at greatest disadvantage (for related article, check out my first NewsBeat post).  For more reading on California’s education disaster, read on here.

VIDEO LINK: Students from China: Squeezing Out Homegrown Kids

china reflections

hey all, ian here. i graduated early this past fall, which means that my beijing semester was my conclusion to college. i wrote this article for my personal blog.  it contains a few of my thoughts on my experience in china. enjoy:

NewsBeat: Post-Christmas headlines on China

As a new feature of this blog, I will provide weekly updates with links to some of the web’s most-circulated articles on China and other articles I find of personal interest.  If you come across an article you would like to see submitted to the NewsBeat, shoot me an email at

China's Mengniu Dairy Co. the latest to emerge in ongoing dairy industry scandal

Tainted milk redux – China’s Mengniu Dairy Co. is the latest to emerge as target of dairy industry scandal (from the Wall Street Journal)

iPhone 4S introduced to China as early as January – second generation rich rejoice! (from MobileBeat)

China launches GPS alternative – is “Compass” a threat to the U.S. military? (from the Wall Street Journal)

China wins first foreign oil contract in Afghanistan – nice to know our American sacrifices have opened new Chinese opportunities! (from The Independent)

China and Japan strike a currency deal – good or bad for the U.S. economy? (from Bloomberg)

Mainland Chinese student enrollment up dramatically at U.S. schools – at greatest disadvantage to Asian-American applicants? (from Bloomberg)

Using mental hospitals to quiet dissent – the Chinese state commits protesters to mental institutions in an effort to silence them. (from USA Today)

Black box results on Wenzhou rail crash – government report surprisingly harsh on high-speed rail industry, corrupt officials (from the Wall Street Journal)

Personal China Blog

Hey everyone, if you’re interested in a more personal CAPS blog, please feel free to visit my site:

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival from CAPS!

CAPS banquet

CAPS 2012 dining with CAPS alumni, faculty, and administrators in Beijing.

CAPS 2012
CAPS 2012 with Chinese language faculty at the Great Wall.
CAPS 2012

CAPS students with Yin Hongbiao, Professor of History at Peking University and one of the world's leading experts on the Cultural Revolution.

Brown University and the “Year of China”

YOC LogoThis month marks the kickoff of Brown University’s “Year of China,” an effort to “explore the rich culture, economy, and politics of Greater China, investigating its past, examining its present, and contemplating its future.” Throughout the 2011-2012 academic year, Brown will host lectures, cultural events, conferences, and exhibits in an integrated exploration of China. 

This special initiative is sponsored by the Office of International Affairs and led by Prof. Chung-I Tan, physics faculty.  Prof. Tan commented in an interview (available here), “Due to the explosive growth of the Internet, job opportunities for our students are progressively more global in scope. I hope Brown students will more fully appreciate the fact that the futures of America and China are inextricably intertwined, and one can no longer afford to lack insight into the exceptional world player that is China. It is an indispensable partner in addressing global challenges. While we appreciate its past glory and its future promise, China will help to mold our own future. We hope that our students will engage in visits and exchanges to China to increase Chinese awareness of Brown and its unique standing in American higher education.”

Incoming students in Brown’s Class of 2015 were asked to read Leslie Chang’s Factory Girls (2009) as their “First Reading” this summer; the book is about rural migration and China’s modern industrial revolution.  The Year of China’s planned events officially begin this month with an exhibition by famed Chinese modern artist, Cai Guo-Qiang.  A full listing of this year’s events can be found on the official Year of China website, here.

The Year of China initiative is but one example of the ways Ivy League institutions have attempted to increase exchanges with China in recent years.

Da Shan solo comedy

I love this video of Da Shan.  Funny joke, easy to understand.  Enjoy!


[VIDEO] Cute videos about US-China exchange

This first video was introduced yesterday by Secretary Clinton at an annual event entitled “U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.”  I think the second American’s 汉语 is pretty stellar, right?  The first American, however, sounds hilarious.  Maybe that’s just me… : )

This second video is a promotional video for a language learning/touring program with EF Tours (it’s a ploy for your money!) that is nonetheless worth viewing because it is so well put-together.  Apparently, if you go to Beijing, you are likely to find love in calligraphy class.  And run into LOTS AND LOTS of cute Chinese babies.  OMG, let’s go!

On China’s Whitepaper on National Defense 2010

The Chinese government publishes a Defense White Paper approximately every two years with this year’s white paper published well beyond previous publication dates. The Economist argues that this date reflects the complexity and drastic changes in the international community over the past few months, particularly in the Middle East and in North Africa. Somethings to note about The Economist article on the white paper:

  • The articles argues China claims a “world resentful of China emergence as a world power” with a citation from the text: “Suspicion about China, interference and countering moves against China from the outside are on the increase.”
  • Heavy criticism of China’s human rights record and recent crackdown of political activists.
  • Emphasize the importance of the internet on sustainability of long-term regimes and China’s efforts to stifle internet usage.

A copy of a translated defense paper can be found here:

Since I have looked at the translated document rather than the original Chinese version, I cannot make any textual comments on the language used (there are obvious attitude and voice differentiations between the two version) nor can I say much about human rights but I would like to make some comments on the actual context regarding international security.

Interesting to note is China’s approach to the state of international affairs. The paper claims a changing international balance of power filled with contradictions between developed and developing countries and between traditional and emerging countries. It implies that China is in fact a developing countries (many argue otherwise) but also has a mediator role between traditional and emerging countries (no doubt to explain its growing influence in Latin America and Africa). Most significant of all is the statement “Prospects for world multi-polarization are becoming clearer”. This quote within the context of the white paper reveals a cautious yet confident China ready to oppose what is called “American hegemony”. The brief mention of the U.S. strengthening its “military alliances” in the Pacific in the paper’s discussion of Asia-Pacific security and Taiwan issue demonstrates this view.

Another issue I found particularly noticeable was the fact that the paper avoided referring directly to the political and social turmoil in the ME and Africa. Rather it cites political turbulence due to economic, religious, and ethnic issues. The paper did, however, mention Afghanistan followed by a short remark on “relevant powers increasing their strategic investments” and the U.S. increasing its involvement in regional affairs. Given the context and placing of these statements, no doubt China sent the U.S. a quick jab in the side.

keep looking »



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