Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Follow-up for the Tank Man documentary PART II

Your London correspondent met with the girl that Abby mentioned in the earlier post last evening, together with another friend of us, who is indeed a FACES2007 alumnus. We had a nice chat over Chinese politics and legal philosophy for the whole evening (despite all of us are now $-minded corporate lawyers, haha).

We think that Beida students know 64, although it is doubtless that people have diverse opinion on the incident. But we generally agree that students outside Beida know much less about 64.

Back to that documentary, your correspondent learnt that the 4 interviewees did already know what that picture means. But as they were alert of its sensitivity (and they were told that they could just say "I don't know" if they did not want to answer), they whispered to each other (as seen in the documentary) before responding to the interviewer. This created a sense in front of the camera that they knew nothing and looked ignorant.

Your correspondent has a few extended questions after the chat, and would like to invite you to think.

1) The producer of the documentary clearly wanted to portrait current Chinese youth as ignorant about Chinese past history. Should that justify him for manipulating the documentary?

2) Chinese says American media (e.g. CNN, BBC) are biased (at least when reporting China-related stories). While at the same that American says Chinese media are biased (e.g. People's Daily), and Chinese are "brainwashed" by the meida. How should we view the "independence" of media? And how should/can we bridge the gap between people who read such different newspapers?

Michael @ (Sunny!) London

Monday, April 27, 2009

Until next time...............

This title might sound a bit repetitive, but it truly put all my words in a nutshell. It’s been a week since the end of the OCG PART I and I hope everyone is doing well dealing with FACES withdrawal. I miss everyone and really look forward to seeing you all again in November, or even earlier.

The best moment on Friday night was when we formed a circle and sang Tong Hua (Fairy Tales) and Peng You (Friends) together. Here is one more song that I want to share with you guys which also expresses my feelings and emotions. I posted the link and lyrics here, and we will KTV more cheesy songs when we are in Beijing!

祝福 (Best Wishes) by 张学友 (Jacky Cheung)

不要问 不要说 一切尽在不言中
这一刻 偎着烛光让我们静静的渡过
莫挥手 莫回头 当我唱起这首歌

几许愁 几许忧 人生难免苦与痛
失去过 才能真正懂得去珍借和拥有
情难舍 人难留 今朝一别各西东
冷和热 点点滴滴在心头

伤离别 离别虽然在眼前
说再见 再见不会太遥远
若有缘 有缘就能其待明天

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Chinese People Need to be Controlled" (Part 2)

Here is some of the backlash regarding Jackie Chan's comments:
  • "He's insulted the Chinese people. Chinese people aren't pets," pro-democracy Hong Kong legislator Leung Kwok-hung told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "Chinese society needs a democratic system to protect human rights and rule of law."
  • "His comments are racist. People around the world are running their own countries. Why can't Chinese do the same?" another Hong Kong lawmaker, Albert Ho, told the AP.
  • "He himself has enjoyed freedom and democracy and has reaped the economic benefits of capitalism. But he has yet to grasp the true meaning of freedom and democracy," Taiwanese legislator Huang Wei-che said. (Associated Press)
  • “It’s easy to sacrifice freedom when you’re treated like a V.I.P. or some high-level official every time you come to China,” said Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology. “I’m sure Jackie Chan has never thought about the suffering of the little people who have no power.” (NY Times)
A few other commentators are also taking a crack at this situation, including John Pomfret, and there's a running debate at the New York Times with Gordon Chang and Russell Leigh Moses.

By the way, Yuan Xiang and Wai Kit, you don't get to walk away chuckling. Apparently the comments are not just about Hong Kong and Taiwan:

"Jackie Chan: Singaporeans have no self-respect" (AsiaOne News)

"Jackie Chan slams S'poreans" (Straits Times)

"Chinese People Need to be Controlled"

Last week at a panel during the BoAo business forum, Jackie Chan made certain comments that might raise a few of your eyebrows:
  • "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."
  • "I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not. I'm really confused now. If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic."
There's been quite a bit of backlash from both Hong Kong and Taiwan (see here and here), as well as in China itself over these statements. Here's a good round-up of the whole situation from the New York Times:

"Jackie Chan Strikes a Chinese Nerve"

So I'm wondering, what do you guys think about his comments? Is there some merit to the claimshe made about Chinese people needing to be "controlled"? Or is he mistaken, and even feeding into some problematic stereotypes?

Secondly, why do you think he said these things, and how should people respond to them? (By the way, has anyone seen discussion of this on Chinese websites that you can share with us?)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Follow-up for the Tank Man documentary

Thanks for Wilson's last entry, I totally enjoy it:)

Remember the Tank Man? Ok, I mentioned to some of you that 2 out of 4 Chinese students who appeared in that documentary are actually my friends:) Many of us including me doubted whetheter they were telling the truth when they said that they had no idea what the photo was about. So one of my friends replied to me, and here is the direct response from her:

"I bet the four of us looks sooo stupid...esp by saying that we didn't even know what the photo was about~~~the story is that:

1. the producer didn't tell the truth, he said thathe came to China to film about China's development and he actually asked lots of other questions but the bit in the documentary seemed to be the only part that was used in the end. He should have told us honestly about his true purpose in the first place (but understandably, if he said so, he may be denied the chance of talking to us in the first place by the school~~ but still, this is not a decent way to obtain info!)

2. We were told by the school shortly before the interview that we do not need to answer/ just say do not know if any questions reagarding ** arise (and so we did...)

3. As a personal defence, that was indeed my first time seeing that picture and I have never ever heard of that story before, had it not been the reminder of my fellow interviewees, it would take me some time to realize that this has sth to do with the event.

4. I think the producer just used us to make his point that Chinese young generation is no longer interested in politics and ingnorant about the country's very near past although I bet that he knew that we cannot be sooo ingnorant as to not be able to recognize what all this is about, but also that we would not tell him what we actually know (otherwise he didn't need to hide his true intention and ask so many other irrelevant questions). Again, not decent as he is just telling the audience what he thinks, rather than providing objective evidences and let the audience to decide for themselves, but nontheless, probably that is how journalism works??!

5. My parents saw itas well and they didn't think the documentary was wholly true, there seem to be some obvious errors regarding the sequence of events and timing etc."

I really appreciate my friend's response, and I hope you find it helpful.
As for the documentary itself, I appreciate its effort of drawing attention to China's democracy and human rights concerns. However, I certainly did not agree with the biasd perspective that the producer brought up in it. If a documentary loses its neutral standing point, I would rather call it movie.

Miss and love you all,
Abby 扶阳
Washington DC, USA.

I'll never forget...

The Admit Weekend of Stanford has put up lovely posters of students around campus describing something that they will never forget about their time here at the university over the past week. The goal of these posters is to showcase the diversity and uniqueness of the student life here at Stanford, hoping that accepted students will choose Stanford as their first choice school. This particular picture is taken outside the bookstore, where some of us actually spent a lot of time =p

As a soon-to-be graduate, I cannot help but feel sentimental about some of my experiences here at this amazing institution. Definitely, one of the most significant event that has happened to me over the past year is the FACES Conference. None of the other conferences that I have attended/organized in the past can compare with this one in terms of the level of conversations, caliber of the participants {delegates, execs and officers}, and the amount of fun I had.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you who contributed to this amazing experience. Kevin is one of the most passionate person I have met, and he does many things with an unparalleled enthusiasm, something that you have probably already noticed. I will like to urge you all to follow his lead on this project to make this blog something that will live on till the November conference and beyond, to serve as a bridge between all of us, the FACES class of 2009.

So, following the lead of Stanford Admit Weekend, this is my terribly uncreative version -

I'll never forget... the cheeky handshake between Alex and Christian during the press conference, the 'what the hell did i just eat?' expression on Matt's face at the cookout, the Condy keynote, the amazing conversations with so many of you, the game of KINGS that Waikit is going to bring home to China as 秦始皇, the numerous 杀手s, and getting chased out of the party house after singing 童话 at the top of our voices at 2am - in short, the FACES class of 2009.

-Wilson 远祥

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kick Off for Eight Melons Forum

Eight melons = 八 + 瓜
Gossip = 八 + 卦

The spring FACES conference at Stanford has ended, and we've all returned home -- but everyone still wishes for FACES to go on.

So instead of moping around, we thought a collective blog might
be an interesting outlet for all that latent FACES energy. This can be a site for delegates to share articles & commentary, upload entertaining photos, give their opinion on current events, recommend music, or post lively bits of "personal news".

For example, many of you are writers (Yale Globalist!) and journalists, or just have extremely intelligent things to say about US-China relations, China's role in Africa, domestic politics, environmental challenges, etc. So please share your expertise with all of us! Feel free to post your own work and to comment on what your fellow delegates have written.

FYI, some of us are imagining a special section for weekly updates on delegates' lives (heh heh), but we'll leave that to our enterprising gossip columnist in Claremont-McKenna to spearhead.

This isn't a CP project, but it's another way for us to stay in contact. We're sitting here missing you all desperately, of course.

By the way, according to, the eight melons 八瓜 are:
冬瓜、西瓜 、南瓜 、北瓜 、黃瓜 、絲瓜 、苦瓜 、甜瓜.

Hey, don't look at me, I've never heard of a 北瓜 either.