The post-50s Chinese generation of intellectuals who were heavily influenced by Mao had the practice of leaving their children behind as they single-mindedly sought to achieve success abroad. US academic Wu Guo remarks that this generation of people who had been sent down to the rural areas, travelled abroad, and finally gained a foothold and settled down in the US, have always been motivated by a religious zeal for chasing a dream.
Vancouver-based academic Leo K. Shin remembers his former professor, eminent historian and sinologist Yü Ying-shih, on the first anniversary of the latter’s passing. He says Yü was a staunch defender of humanity intrinsic in Chinese culture who always spoke up against the use of cultural tenets for political gain or acts against human dignity. It comes as no surprise then that he understood well the significance of Hong Kong as a beacon of freedom, democracy and human rights.
It would be rather extreme of China to peg South Korea as a key member of the Western camp because of its political system and values, says US academic Wu Guo. South Korea and China are inseparable in terms of culture, history, economy and people ties. It might be more accurate to view South Korea as a buffer between China and the West.
Tracing the evolution of China’s development, Malaysian academic Peter T.C. Chang pays tribute to historian Wang Gungwu and his contributions to the study of Chinese overseas. Wang continues to play a major role in the field as a member of a pioneering class of bridge-building scholars who are adept at explaining China to the world, and the world to China. This is an edited version of the book chapter “A Pioneering Class of Bridge-Building Junzi” from the book Wang Gungwu and Malaysia (2021) published by the University of Malaya Press.
The belief that the Chinese know far more about America than Americans know about China is a misconception. In the age of globalisation and the internet, a knowledge asymmetry actually exists between the Chinese and the Americans — middle class Americans seem to have an understanding of Chinese culture, history and system based on rigorous academic research and analysis, but the Chinese lack the same level of understanding of the Americans. US academic Wu Guo shares his views on why the “knowledge deficit” exists in China.
Wu Guo notes that equality is very much a mirage, whether in the socialist or liberal democracy conception of the term. The sum total of one’s head start in life is often tied to his or her family background. And often, no amount of levelling up can change that. But this does not mean that equality is of no relevance or should not be aspired to. Adopting an attitude of equality can help ensure that people’s rights are protected, even if the ideal of equality may never be achieved.
Americans are losing confidence in their own country while the Chinese are gaining confidence in China. This change is profoundly significant, says US academic Han Dongping. The crux of America’s decline is the deep polarisation in a country which is no longer the land of opportunity and optimism for many who live in the cycle of poverty and crime. Is it a surprise that many college students are supporting socialism and looking for new models that might work?
For New Oriental Education and Technology Group Inc. founder Michael Yu Minhong, the year 2021 has been a rollercoaster ride of losses amid a crackdown on the off-campus tutoring sector. The company seems to be bouncing back with livestreaming farm sales, but is this all just bravado and a further move away from the company’s origins as an educatonal provider assisting those preparing to study overseas? Yu himself has lamented in the past that the minute the company listed on the NYSE, it went off course. In the aftermath of the chaos, will it be able to recentre itself, or will it continue being swept by the tide?
The former Trump administration launched the China Initiative in 2018, ostensibly to protect US national security interests. However, a recent open letter by US academics calling for an end to the initiative seems to suggest that the programme is not what it set out to be. Zaobao’s China Desk examines the China Initiative and what it has achieved — or not.