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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘china

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Anthropology.net notes the discovery of some Neanderthal skeletons showing signs of having had the flesh carved off of them.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the messages carried by the New Horizon probe.
  • Crooked Timber makes the case for the continued relevance of Bob Marley.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at recurrent streams on Mars carved by perchlorate-laced water.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Edward Hugh argues that Spain is still digging out of the long crisis.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the story of a Louisiana trans man fired from his job for not detransitioning.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that China is not really a revisionist power.
  • Justin Petrone looks at ways in which young Estonian children are demonstrating and developing a fear of Russia.
  • The Planetary Society Blog examines the failure of the Dragon rocket.
  • Towleroad notes that the Russian-language version of Siri is quite homophobic.
  • Understanding Society looks at the criticial realist social theory of Frédéric Vandenberghe.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at trends in violence in the North Caucasus and warns of Central Asian alienation from Russia.

[LINK] “What Did China’s First Daughter Find in America?”

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The New Yorker‘s Evan Osnos takes a look at the effects of foreign education on China’s elite, starting with Xi Mingze, daughter of the Chinese president.

On a sunny morning last May, a member of Harvard’s graduating class received her diploma and prepared to depart from campus as quietly as she had arrived. Xi Mingze—the only child of Xi Jinping, the President of China, and his wife, the celebrity soprano Peng Liyuan—crossed the podium at Adams House, the dorm that housed Franklin Roosevelt and Henry Kissinger. She had studied psychology and English and lived under an assumed name, her identity known only to a limited number of faculty and close friends—“less than ten,” according to Kenji Minemura, a correspondent for the Asahi Shimbun, who attended the commencement and wrote about Xi’s experience in America.

Xi Mingze was largely protected from press attention, much like the college-age children of other heads of state (legal proceedings excepted). Some offspring of other Chinese leaders have courted attention abroad, however. Before the former Politburo member Bo Xilai was imprisoned for corruption and his wife, Gu Kailai, jailed for murder, their son, Bo Guagua, invited Jackie Chan to Oxford, and sang with him onstage; he drove a Porsche during his time as a graduate student at Harvard. Xi, on the other hand, led a “frugal life” in Cambridge, according to Minemura. “She studied all the time,” he told me recently.

At twenty-two, Xi Mingze has now returned to China; though she makes few public appearances, she joined her parents on a recent trip to Yan’an, the rural region where her father was sent to work during the Cultural Revolution, when he was a teen-ager. In the magazine last week, I profiled Xi Jinping, and noted that he often says that his years in Yan’an, when he was the age that his daughter was at Harvard, made him into who he is as an adult: “Many of the fundamental ideas and qualities I have today were formed in Yan’an.”

Though Xi Jinping has travelled widely, he has never lived abroad; unlike his predecessors Jiang Zemin (who studied at the Stalin Automobile Works, in Moscow) and Deng Xiaoping (who lived in France for five years, and studied in the Soviet Union), Xi made a decision to not live outside China. His first wife wanted to settle in Britain, and Xi did not; they divorced. As he rose through the ranks, Xi had frequent dealings with Westerners, but his government has recently taken a harder line against ideas from abroad. His education minister, Yuan Guiren, said recently, “We must, by no means, allow into our classrooms material that propagates Western values.” Many of us who follow China wonder: What does Xi Mingze tell her father about her life in America? How did living on a campus that doesn’t restrict discussion of China’s painful chapters—the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution—affect her world view?

For Chinese citizens, the effects of studying in the United States are rarely as simple as the cliché of coming home with wildly different ideas. Analyses of foreign students have found that Chinese citizens are more likely than others to stay in America. Ninety-two per cent of Chinese graduates remain in America five years after receiving a Ph.D., compared to forty-one per cent of South Koreans, according to a study by the National Science Foundation; the researchers loosely attributed the disparity to differences in family pressure and job opportunities. Going home doesn’t always feel easy, either. A 2009 survey, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, found that seventeen per cent of Chinese respondents considered it difficult to settle in the U.S.—but that twice as many, thirty-four per cent, reported difficulty going home, because of reverse culture shock, pollution, and other factors.

In the most thorough look at how studying abroad shapes the views of Chinese returnees, Donglin Han and David Zweig found that those who had lived overseas—in this case, those who had spent time in Canada and Japan—believed more strongly in “coöperative internationalism,” and were slightly less supportive of assertive nationalism, compared to members of the middle class who had never lived abroad. But the authors also noted a remarkable point: “A strikingly significant proportion of returnees support Chinese foreign policy, regardless of ‘whether it is right or wrong.’ ” This may be a result of self-selection (nationalistic students are more likely to return), but it also underscores the magnifying effect of living far away from home. Anyone who has lived overseas probably knows or can recall the temptation to hold fast to national characteristics, partly in contrast with an adopted land and partly out of resentment of foreigners’ criticisms. Cheng Li, of the Brookings Institution, has noted that, contrary to the myth of “democracy by osmosis”—the notion that simply living in the U.S. will make foreigners more congenial to democratic-liberal ideas—many of the most strident nationalist books in China are written by people who have returned from abroad.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 13, 2015 at 10:23 pm

[ISL] “China building artificial islands in the Pacific, stoking tensions with neighbours”

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The National Post‘s Matthew Fisher notes how China is, among other things, building artificial islands in the South China Sea to support its claimed maritime boundaries against Southeast Asian neighbours. Remarkable process, dubious goals.

To support part of its brazen — some might say preposterous — claim to about 85 per cent of the South China Sea, Beijing is building artificial islands on tiny outcroppings, atolls and reefs in hotly disputed waters in the Spratly Archipelago.

To do so, the Chinese have been using formidable seaborne dredges to haul up huge amounts of sand and coral from the ocean floor, and bulldozing what is brought to the surface onto at least six of the far-flung lumps of rock.

The growing outposts are part of a chain of more than 700 islets, none of which rises more than four metres above sea level. The string of promontories is closest to the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, in that order. But it is China, with a coastline more distant than any of the others, that has seized and is expanding on scraps of what little high ground there is.

[. . .]

To back what it says belongs to China, Beijing has been expanding islets in waters that are clearly within the 200-mile (320-km) exclusive zone of the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. It has also sent its coast guard to prevent Chinese boats being arrested for illegal fishing and to warn off fishing boats and sailors from countries with territorial claims.

The Chinese actions seriously complicate an already murky legal situation. There is no clear definition or consensus in maritime law about when or if a piece of rock that rises just above the surface can become part of a country’s sovereign territory through expansion by artificial means.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 10, 2015 at 9:58 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO shares vintage photos of Weston Road.
  • Centauri Dreams features a guest post on the fast radio bursts that had all astir.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper about the circumstellar disk of AB Aurigae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes problems with Russia’s development of a stealth fighter.
  • Language Hat links to an examination of the way the words “chikungunya” and “dengue” are used to describe the same disease.
  • Languages of the World takes a look at one dying Russian dialect of Alaska.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is surprised anyone is surprised Britain is spying on Argentina.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that demand in China and India is already driving research and development.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at the mechanics of the Internet presences of Island political parties.
  • Savage Minds announces the return of the intermittant online anthropological journal Anthropologies.
  • Transit Toronto links to a collection of Greater Toronto Area transit news.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reacts at length to the finding of the report on Rolling Stone‘s mistaken rape story, noting that the fraternity in question has a good case for libel.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Crimean Tatar news outlet closures and notes that Ukrainian government ministers widely speak English.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO shares some wacky and unusual maps of the Toronto subway system.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly describes her reason why she did not want to have children.
  • Gerry Canavan has another post of links.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at Earth-like planets with circumbinary orbits and considers a new model of gas giant formation that explains Jupiter.
  • Crooked Timber examines the ongoing controversy over the Hugo awards for science fiction, as captured by American right-wing authors.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the habitability of water worlds.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the delay of China’s Mars exploration program.
  • Far Outliers looks at different systems for representing vowels with consonant symbols in the languages of the Pacific Islands.
  • Geocurrents has some posts–1, 2, 3–looking at ways in which the state system does not reflect the reality of the Middle East.
  • Language Hat looks at the revival of Manx.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the United States’ Endangered Species Act is important for saving not just individual species but entire ecosystems.
  • Marginal Revolution tells readers how to find good Iranian food.
  • Steve Munro is dubious about the economics of the Union-Pearson Express.
  • pollotenchegg looks at changing industrial production in Ukraine in 2013, finding that the east was doing poorly.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at the military situation in eastern Ukraine.
  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands shares beautiful pictures of Bermuda.
  • Peter Rukavina continues mapping airplanes flying above Prince Edward Island.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports on the results of the famine in 1930s Ukraine.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that the Belarusian language is still endangered, quotes a Putin confidant on eastern Ukraine’s separation, looks at the impact of the Internet on Karelia, and looks at ethnogenesis as two small nations of the North Caucasus merge.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO notes the opening of a Detroit-style pizzeria in Toronto’s Leslieville.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper claiming that circumbinary Earth-like worlds can exist.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the American military’s mysterious X-37b space plane.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the opposition of Walmart to an anti-gay bill in Arkansas.
  • Language Hat argues that, at least in the recent past, English has displaced local languages in India. This may be changing.
  • Marginal Revolution seems to warn that too many Chinese are getting into stock speculation.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the overly-close relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state and observes the closing of Crimean Tatar news media.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • blogTO notes that Toronto will be holding a public meeting on ways to host the city’s music scene.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at a recent transit study of Alpha Centauri B that hints at the existence fo a second close-orbiting planet.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper on rogue exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at Korean military aircraft procurement.
  • Steve Munro writes at length about the minutiae of TTC signaling contracts.
  • Torontoist notes that most people in a recent Forum Research poll want alcoholic beverages to be available in grocery stores.
  • Towleroad argues that the show Looking could have benefitted from a mote interesting take on sex.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy suggests the Indiana religious freedom law isn’t as bad as described.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russians are misled about their relationship with China, notes the relative decline of the arms industry vis-a-vis more advanced competitors, looks at the impact on Crimean mass media of Russian annexation, and examines problematic links between Russia and Latvian Russophones.
  • The Yorkshire Ranter continues to write (1, 2, 3) about the ill-thought Biryani Project.
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