Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Traditional or Simplified?

I have a lot of commentary on this issue. But for the moment, I will simply put up this news story and a couple links that help orient the question. (Now I must go study for an exam).

Almost at the two-month mark, my friends. Strange to think that it was only a few weeks ago that everyone was still here.

Taiwan President urges cross-strait consensus on Chinese characters

Technology as friend of tradition!

Simple arguments for character standards

Sorry to our friends on the Mainland, but I don't think "etaiwannews" is available there... But then again, Blogspot itself is blocked (see Erica's entry below), so perhaps this is a moot point.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tiananmen and Democracy

James Kynge of the Financial Times has an excellent and revealing take on the relationship between Tiananmen and Chinese democracy without all the media hype.

In other related news, The NYT's photoblog, Lens, did two incredible posts about the iconic "Tank Man" photographs. The first tracks down the photographers who shot the original photos and gets their comments. The second, even more incredibly, reveals a second version of the Tank Man that has never been published before.

For more coverage of Tiananmen, see Danwei.org's June 4 Roundup.


Well, today is the day. Hope everyone who wants it can find a moment of quiet reflection.


Twenty years after courage, and ideals, and the beautiful expression of the human spirit. Remember, don't forget, those earlier generations and what they stood for.

The dream that they believed in still lives in the hearts and minds of people all around the world.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

China Blocks Twitter

China blocks Twitter and other social media sites before Tianamen Square's 20th Anniversary on June 4th! Check out the full article at http://tinyurl.com/pdx3dm.

The original post was by Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/02/china-blocks-twitter-ahea_n_210177.html

There's also a Google spreadsheet of all of the sites that have been blocked: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=rcz-FpRKSsvyQUnLL1UMjcg&single=true&gid=0&output=html

Post by Erica Swallow

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Copenhagen, ho!

NEVER MIND. The Guardian took some liberties with its reporting, and the talks were neither so "secret" (just "off the record") nor monumental as the article made them out to be. Aargh, the sensationalizing press! It was 1 a.m. and I was too eager to hear optimistic news (I guess skepticism wanes in the early morning hours), so I just posted the links and went to bed. I guess I should have waited until the blogosphere and news agencies weighed in.

Thanks for the tip-off, Bobby!




Huge news on the environmental front! According to the UK newspaper The Guardian, the US and China held secret negotiations on coming together to help fight climate change (even as the world criticized them for inaction... a criticism that wasn't unwarranted, because we still need action).

From the source:

China and US held secret talks on climate change deal

• Negotiations began in final months of Bush administration
• Obama could seal accord on cutting emissions by autumn

Key points from the article:

  • The first communications took place in autumn 2007 and were initiated by the Chinese. “Xie Zhenhua, the vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's central economic planning body, made the first move by expressing interest in a co-operative effort on carbon capture and storage and other technologies with the US.”...
  • “The two sides began discussing ways to break through the impasse, including the possibility that China would agree to voluntary -- but verifiable -- reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. China has rejected the possibility of cuts” which “it sees as a risk to its continued economic growth, deemed essential to lift millions out of poverty and advance national status.”

  • During the second trip to China by the Americans, Xie suggested a memorandum of understanding between the two countries on joint action on climate change. William Chandler [of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace] and Jon Holdren [now Obama’s chief science advisor] drew up a list of three points including:
1. Using existing technologies to produce a 20% cut in carbon emissions by 2010.
2. Co-operating on new technology including carbon capture and storage and fuel efficiency for cars.
3. The US and China signing up to a global climate change deal in Copenhagen.

  • By the time Xie visited the US in March, the state department's new climate change envoy, Todd Stern, and his deputy, Jonathan Pershing, were also involved in the dialogue. But the trip by Xie did not produce the hoped-for agreement. Those involved agree it was premature to expect the Obama Administration to enter into a formal agreement so soon in its tenure.” But they “believe the effort will pay off in a more comprehensive deal between the two governments.”
So it’s just the start and it’s looking optimistic that there will be a real climate deal coming soon! Anyhow, I am just ecstatic and amazed.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm a Gilman Scholar! Are you?

Above is an interview that I did with the Institute of International Education about my experience as a Gilman Scholar. I discussed my Gilman experience as an NYU in Shanghai study abroad student in China and offered advice to current applicants for the Gilman Scholarship. Wish I was more interesting! I need to start reading a dictionary!

I mentioned that I had just been accepted to FACES, as well!

To learn more about my time abroad, check out my China Adventure website.

Post by Erica Swallow

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dani Rodrik on China

One of my favorite economist/writers is Dani Rodrik, who is currently a professor at Harvard's JFK School of Government.  He has a new blog post out about sustaining China's growth rate while simultaneously relaxing the exchange rate peg, which is accompanied by a more general paper on the topic.

The reason that I like his writing so much is because he makes everything seem so simple.  The whole knot of interacting economic factors falls apart under his analysis, as if he found that magical thread that, when pulled, unravels it all.

Also, in related news, The Economist has a story about China's first quarter GDP growth of 6.1%.  Not quite 8%, but definitely not bad compared to the Euro Zone's -2.5%.