Taxis, Trust, and the “Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 Spirit 168极速赛车官方开奖网 极速赛车168官方开奖结果 极速开奖官网 官方开奖记录官网开奖历史 开奖历史记录 开奖查询 2024年168极速赛车开奖 官方平台游戏网站”

Patriotism. Innovation. Inclusiveness. Virtue.

These words greet travelers stepping out of the Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 Capital International Airport terminal, constituting the four pillars of the “Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 Spirit 168极速赛车官方开奖网 极速赛车168官方开奖结果 极速开奖官网 官方开奖记录官网开奖历史 开奖历史记录 开奖查询 2024年168极速赛车开奖 官方平台游戏网站” that supposedly permeates the city. Emblazoned across billboards, bridges, and street signs throughout Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站, they serve as a constant reminder — to tourists and Beijingers alike — of the values that those within the Northern Capital should strive to embody. Yet there appears to be a striking disconnect between these noble ideals and the quotidian realities of life in Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站, and the difference, during our time here, has most prominently centered on the idea of “inclusiveness.”

Perhaps the most noticeable instance of this discrepancy has been our experience with taxis throughout the trip: We quickly came to realize that Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 cab drivers have an overwhelming aversion to waiguo ren — foreigners. It is often exceedingly difficult for most of us to hail taxis — only those who physically appear to be native Chinese have regular success; the rest of us watch as drivers with perfectly empty cars make eye contact and simply keep driving. We have even had taxi drivers blatantly, angrily, and quite inexplicably tell us to leave their car. The occurrence has become so commonplace that we have developed a routine, of sorts, when commuting: “foreign-looking” people conceal themselves to the side as “Chinese-looking” people hail the cab. Making such superficial groupings is uncomfortable and almost painful, but even more painful is the realization that the drivers use the same system to categorically avoid potential customers on the basis of appearance.

The apparent discrimination we have faced, however, runs even deeper. A few nights ago, I took a taxi with Jess and Haley from our hotel to the Sanlitun neighborhood. We travel the route frequently, so we knew that the cab fare would be around 20 yuan. But upon arriving in Sanlitun, we realized that the driver had been charging us on a time-based rate in lieu of the normal distance-based rate, and the fare came out to 42 yuan. While the difference in fares only amounted to a few dollars, the principle of what had happened was truly disturbing: The taxi driver had taken advantage of our foreigner status and our lack of Chinese knowledge, and there was nothing we could do to confront him about it.

To a certain degree, this kind of treatment is to be expected in almost any foreign city. Yet the regularity and intensity with which it has manifested itself demonstrates a profound antipathy for foreigners in these taxi drivers — a far cry from the “inclusiveness” supposedly embedded in the spirit of the city.

The "Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 Spirit" lauded in a terminal at Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 Capital International Airport

The “Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 Spirit” lauded in a terminal at Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 Capital International Airport

This lack of inclusivity does not confine itself to anti-foreigner sentiment; in fact, it is even more clearly identifiable in the way Beijingers relate to one another and, in particular, those perceived as not “normal” or “conventional.” For example, the director of the orphanage we visited last week spoke with us about the obstacles that orphans with disabilities face in the adoption process. Chinese parents simply do not want to adopt children with physical deformities, so his orphanage strives to give medical treatment to these orphans — many of whom would be left to die otherwise — in order to increase their chances of adoption. Even the base principle of aiding those in need seems incongruous with the priorities of the Chinese government: For years, the orphanage director had to hide the establishment from the government, concealing his activities under the guise of a “marketing research firm for orphan care products.”

Haley, Jess, Cynthia, and I were returning from dinner in a taxi last night when we saw a man fall on the sidewalk in a fit of convulsions. Not a single person walking on the street stopped to help the man, to call an ambulance, or even to give him a second glance. We couldn’t get the cab driver to pull over and stop, so we exited the cab a block farther down the road and walked back to where we saw the man collapse. Fortunately, the man was gone by the time we got there — hopefully helped by someone on the street — but the initial indifference with which other pedestrians viewed the incident was a startling reminder that Chinese society is not always so “inclusive.”

Another eye-opening perspective came from Moon, an AIESEC member we met over dinner one night. She told us that Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 enthusiastically welcomes immigrant workers from other Chinese cities, but their school-aged children face impossibly prohibitive obstacles to entering the Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 school system. It is here where the extent of the idea of “inclusiveness” diverges: Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 certainly exudes inclusiveness in cases that will benefit the city’s economy, yet falls remarkably short when it comes to more personal matters.

Andrew Jacobs, a New York Times foreign correspondent with whom we ate lunch today, noted that such a phenomenon is a reflection of the two-layered nature of Chinese society: The government projects a layer of happiness and efficiency to outsiders, while the second layer — the unsavory underside of city life — remains, for the most part, under wraps. It’s plain to see that a profound lack of interpersonal trust is both a cause and effect of such interactions. Andrew also believes that trust does not come naturally to most people in China, a product of the rather bizarre interplay between traditional Chinese culture and a government that places a greater emphasis on state interests than on personal concerns.

What, then, is the “Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 Spirit”? At this point, I’m not quite sure. But what is clear is that the government’s emphasis on the highly idealistic qualities that supposedly pervade Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 belies the true, unfiltered condition of the city.

Aaron Berman

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Great Wall, 极速赛车168开奖网开奖APP 开奖直播 开奖结果 开奖记录 官方开奖记录官网开奖记录查询 开奖查询直播结果 2024最新赛车开奖号码 官方开奖 手机版开奖APP下载 精准走势人工计划分析图 xenophobic

There are a lot of underwhelming experiences in life. Our expectations, inflated by an industry of peddlers, are dashed on a continual basis. The food we eat never matches the pictures on the menu, the phones we use break down with a regularity that we don’t see in commercials, and that philosophy class never changed your life as your friend promised it would. Yet never is this feeling as evident as when you reach a great monument or tourist destination. There’s a great disappointment when you crisscross the globe only to find that the Eiffel Tower doesn’t sparkle as it does on your desktop background, or that the Colosseum in Rome can be mistaken for a pile of crumbling rocks.

Yet as we struggled up the Great Wall of China, hurting with each steep and slender step, I could honestly say that this fortification is more impressive in person than what even the most silver-tongued salesman or author can describe. Stretching more than 5,000 miles and seven-men wide, the wall snakes across deserts and grasslands, mountains and plateaus. To the unsuspecting tourist, in awe of the considerable manpower and engineering genius that was channeled into this landmark, the Great Wall is a sign of China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 enduring strength, a symbol of a leviathan that is only now reawakening from a long slumber to retake its rightful position as the Middle Kingdom.

It is, however, a defensive wall and walls by their nature – as Republicans in America should remember – are a symbol of weakness and vulnerability. Built by the Ming dynasty in the 16th century, the Great Wall is a manifestation of two trends long entrenched in Chinese history: xenophobia and anticommercialism. While the latter has more than been erased by 30 years of near-rapacious economic growth, the former persists to this day.

China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 history is a history of interaction between a settled Han ethnic majority who have lived in central and eastern China and peripheral and nomadic ethnic minorities, most famously the Mongols. Brave warriors with a propensity for conflict, the Mongols and other Turkic groups would intermittently advance into central and northern China when the central ruling dynasty was weak. In such cases, it was not uncommon for the “uncultured” Mongols (as Han Chinese saw them) to become culturally integrated into Chinese culture. When the incumbent dynasty was strong, Mongols would keep their distance, often in exchange for annual tributes. The central Chinese dynasty rarely would make reciprocal incursions into the periphery, recognizing the dangers of an overextended supply line and the costliness of fighting an insurgency in the Mongol homeland (a lesson America seems to need reminding of every few decades).

The Great Wall proved a futile and wasteful allocation of military resources, as it proved easy to penetrate or circumvent throughout history, but it is interesting to note that the Ming Dynasty’s emphasis on defensive fortifications to ward off the Mongol invaders came at the same time that Ming naval power declined. Once the creator of the greatest ships in the world (with ships superior to those that Columbus used to cross the Atlantic), China restricted shipbuilding to medium-sized vessels and banished the great vessels that theoretically could have crossed the globe and colonized the New World decades before Europe even caught the nautical fever. Regional seapower was relinquished to petty Japanese pirates, and foreign trade, already looked down upon, suffered.

As our group made a tacky human “YALE” sign for a photo, I couldn’t help but think that it’s a twist of history that China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 great monuments of today, to which tourists from around the world throng, were once a symbol of insularity. And it was a costly insularity at that; maritime advancement and exploration was just beginning when the Chinese turned inward.

Rishabh Bhandari

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More than a culture clash

Being neither Chinese nor American, I feel like I can identify with both sides and at least try to understand their culture clash. On one hand, both China and Brazil are developing countries, “BRICS,” effectively still in the Third World (although that classification isn’t very adequate today); in that sense, dirty tap water doesn’t faze me, nor am I paranoid about food contamination or impressed with the dirt on the streets. In fact I’ll have to say that Brazil has much to learn with China when it comes to economic development – much of their society is in a much better state. Yet what China does clash is with is my (Brazilian)– our (Yalie/American) – view of liberty and freedom.

I wanted to be culturally aware, to understand that China is based on a different culture; I wanted to comprehend how Confucianism and tradition shaped this society so rigidly; I wanted to not be that Westerner that shows up in a foreign country and in a week already feels entitled to pass judgment.

Here am I, however, attempting to understand (even if at a superficial level) how these countries developed so differently. On one hand, in China there are bullet trains, an amazing education system and familial importance placed on this education, and the magnificent 2008 Olympics. Then I think of my city, Salvador, whose subway system has been “under construction” for the past 11 years (although somehow we still pay taxes for it every year), with one of the most horrid education systems in the country (America, if you think your public schools are bad…), with the World Cup stadium still not completely built (although it’s coming in 2014) – and I am embarrassed that Brazil is considered one of the world’s upcoming powers compared to China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 true greatness. And then, however, I think of how Rishabh met two students from one of China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 best universities who did not know what the Tiananmen Square massacre was; I think of the extreme censorship, of the opaque nature of their government; and I cannot help but be embarrassed for them as well – embarrassed that both our countries are not even close to being the examples we must become in order to lead the world. I knew Brazil was not ready, but now I know China isn’t either.

Bringing this closer to the one-child policy, I simply find it irrational how a government is able to make so many decisions with so little regard for their people. I’m not going to begin an argument for or against democracy, for that really is dependent on each country’s political culture, but it baffles me that the Chinese government can simply fake economic reports, lie about statistical representation of the population, apply something as radical as the one-child policy to society without ever making the consequences clear or homogenous, and simply continue to grow. China is truly the everlasting, unstoppable dragon.

Perhaps four months away from Brazil has been way too long, but when Haley noticed the grotesque difference between our visit to the Hutongs and our visit to the Chinese Shangri-la hotel (a luxurious 80-floor skyscraper), I could not help but feel a bit disgusted myself. I was not necessarily disturbed by the blatant income disparity, for that I have witnessed all my life, and am not naïve enough to believe that the world will ever – or should ever – be absolutely equal. Yet when I see strangers on the streets of Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 and imagine that their life has been such a forceful experience at so many times, I did feel disgusted with this government that promotes an image of an inwardly unified, homogenous, protected, traditional, and equal Chinese society. It upsets me that when we talk of the one-child policy, we think of how the government, think tanks, NGOs, and agencies can change it, and very little is done for the people themselves. It frustrates me beyond compare that I cannot ask someone walking in the streets what they think of their government, what they think of this supposedly socialist, communist or whatever it is called society, that in reality is just another capitalist metropolis of the world. First, I do not speak their language, do not understand their culture, do not understand the dimension of Chinese history and politics in order to even begin to relate to them; second, they themselves would have very little knowledge of the true actions of their government. With censored media, government propaganda, statistical misreports, and little access to the outside world, how could they? How to balance growth with development, human rights with public interest, and governmental actions with population needs has been the focus of our research as we attempt to understand not only a policy, but also the greater spectrum of what China itself is.

The one-child policy is more than reproductive biology, than women’s rights, than economic development; although these are supremely important as well, we must first remember the people – the well-being of over a billion of human lives.

Jéssica Leão


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“Advertisements prefer blondes”

I often think of globalization in terms of material goods. I picture the all-too familiar iconic golden “M,” juxtaposed with not-so-familiar Chinese characters, or the Starbucks emblem posted on traditional Asian architecture. Upon arriving in Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 though, I quickly realized that the spread of Western culture goes far beyond merchandise. What particularly shocked me was the adulation of Western beauty; light hair and blue eyes appear in most advertisements — even for products exclusive to China.

At least five times today, our group passed an advertisement for eyelash growth serum that depicted a pair of icy blue eyes. Western actresses — or Asian women airbrushed and made up to the point of looking like Western actresses — graced the covers of all magazines. Tall blonde women appear in every store window display. Ads are not at all representative of the women purchasing the advertised goods.

To be honest, it left me disturbed. Our media is often criticized for narrowing the scope of what we consider “beautiful.” But, what I’ve seen in Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 has only reinforced the seriousness of this problem. We wonder why young girls are riddled with low self-esteem, yet we live in a world that fails to appreciate beauty in all forms. Television, film, and advertisements point to only one conclusion: tall and thin is the only way to be beautiful. In Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站, the advertisements scream an even more specific message: tall, thin, and Western is the only way to be beautiful.

In my first few days in China, I’ve seen hundreds of girls with their hair dyed an unnatural shade of blonde, making it clear that the media has altered the definition of what Chinese women consider attractive.

Globalization is inevitable; imposing unrealistic Western standards does not have to be.

Haley Adams 



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“Ni Shuo 极速赛车官方开奖查询 1分钟开奖记录 官网开奖结果查询记录 168官网极速赛车开奖记录 在线查询一分钟赛车结果+官网开奖历史 75秒极速赛车开奖平台 Shenme?”

Most Americans would agree that Chinese is a pretty difficult language to learn, especially for people who have had little to no exposure to character-based writing systems or tonal nuances in spoken language. A native English speaker, I worked and struggled through L1 Chinese at Yale this past semester — my first introduction to the language — so I came to China knowing the grammatical fundamentals and a few useful words and phrases, and I felt pretty confident that I’d be able to scrape by.

However, I soon realized that speaking Chinese in a structured classroom setting and trying to navigate the streets of Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 are two completely different ballgames, and that even though I might be able to ask a question in Chinese, I probably won’t understand the answer. Most of the time I speak Chinese to someone here, I’ll have to have one of our three Chinese speakers (Jack, Li, and Cynthia) nearby to translate what the person says back. There have been many occasions when a cashier, store clerk, or taxi driver has said something to me in rapid-fire Chinese and I, having unsuccessfully attempted to discern even a single word or phrase, have been stuck with a blank stare, awkwardly replying, “Ni shuo 极速赛车官方开奖查询 1分钟开奖记录 官网开奖结果查询记录 168官网极速赛车开奖记录 在线查询一分钟赛车结果+官网开奖历史 75秒极速赛车开奖平台 shenme?” — “What did you say?”

I personally find such a situation pretty frustrating and rather embarrassing. To initiate a conversation in Chinese and fail to follow through in the same language seems a social faux pas — equivalent, perhaps, to inviting oneself to a party — placing one’s linguistic inadequacies in plain view of native speakers.



Yet despite these frequent cringe-worthy moments, I’ve found the people in China to be incredibly encouraging. So far, at least two taxi drivers have complimented me on my Chinese pronunciation, and a clerk at a teashop even asked me where I learned to speak Chinese. It’s times like those that have made me reflect back on my experience with L1 Chinese and realize just how much language knowledge can be imparted in a single semester — a testament to the quality of Yale’s Chinese curriculum.

With the 350 or so characters we learned in L1, I was able to successfully tell the taxi driver at the airport the address of our hotel and, when he wasn’t familiar with that street, that he could instead take me to the Shuangjing subway station right by our hotel. I’ve been able to order food off of menus (mostly during our all-too-frequent visits to the nearby McDonald’s and KFC), ask where to buy bottled water and, probably most importantly, ask people if they speak English.

Furthermore, after just five days in China, I’ve already picked up some useful new vocabulary, such as 安全出口 (anquan chukou/emergency exit), 洗手间 (xishoujian/bathroom), and 商场 (shangchang/market). It’s also helpful to be surrounded by people speaking Chinese: Simply hearing the language spoken has given me a better sense of proper Chinese pronunciation and intonation.

Traveling to Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 has shown me that learning Chinese will be a long and winding road, and I look to the upcoming semester with excitement over the prospect of taking the next step down that path.

Aaron Berman

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Le déluge

Crammed into a subway car so packed that it makes New York’s 6 train seem like a private limousine, I began to grasp just how many people live in Beijing. With a population of around 8 million people, my hometown of New York is more than twice as large as any other American city. Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站, with 20 million permanent residents, isn’t even China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 largest city.

We say “sea” or “flood” to describe almost any crowd. Here, flood actually means flood, one of thousands of individuals, each coming from different places, thinking different thoughts, going home to different families.

A man struggles in the subway.

A man struggles in the subway.

Beijing’s immaculate subway system, where the trains seem to come every two minutes and where just two RMB (less than 50 cents) will rocket you to your destination no matter the congestion above ground, takes its millions of daily patrons and molds them into a continuously evolving but totally collective mass. The price of the ticket is negligible — the real cost of entry is measured in your temporary forfeiture of individual agency. I didn’t lift a foot to get on the train this afternoon at Guomao station — instead, I was propelled into it by the swell of people at my back. Getting off is just the same; instead of pushing your way off as you might in New York City, you try to immerse yourself in a general push towards the exit. You hope not to get lost in the opposite push of people getting onto the train.

The total democracy of the subway continues once you get off the train, as the tide of people pushes you through hallways and up stairwells, out into that eerily open square where China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 last push for political democracy was fully and brutally extinguished.

Once up in the open air of Tiananmen, where even the largest groups of people can’t make the space seem crowded, democracy recedes and military police stand guard. Individuality returns — from the middle-aged man who sneaks into our group picture and puts bunny ears behind our heads, to the adolescent girl who kindly takes our picture over and over again until we are satisfied with the angle. Unfortunately, the Forbidden City is already closed. We walk around the square and then return to the subway.

Harry Larson


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Our Dear Leader…

Tiananmen Square. In America, it’s not just a raw word. It’s fully cooked and grilled, squared into an entire concept, an argument, a thesis if you will. For Americans, it evokes the image of Deng Xiaoping, the supposedly pragmatic and moderate magician behind China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 seemingly inexorable economic rise, sending in tanks to massacre hundreds of his country’s brightest college students on prime-time television. Tiananmen is a one-word reply to any idealist in America who thinks China can ever become democratic. If such a rational man, who himself suffered unforgettable pain as a result of Mao’s excesses, was so entrenched in the autocratic tradition that he could order the Chinese Army to mow down protestors, how could China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 political elite – who revere and strive to emulate Deng Xiaoping – ever relinquish such a tendency?

Yet in China, it’s not just another word. It’s a simple and sanitized word, albeit one that is subtly suppressed. I find it difficult to believe that every time – and only when – I type in the word “Tiananmen” in my Hong Kong Google search, my Internet connection mysteriously drops. Look at the photo below to see what the Chinese-approved Wikipedia page on Tiananmen said happened in 1989:

Is this real?

Is this real?

The students I met on my bus ride from the airport on Thursday had no idea that a massacre ever occurred at Tiananmen Square. So perhaps that explains why I was the only person in a packed train who flinched when I read that there are two subway stations in Beijing 极速赛车+168极速赛车正规官方平台官方网站 named Tiananmen East and Tiananmen West.

When I stepped out into Tiananmen Square, however, it’s hard for this memory not to fade. Magnificent and richly red, with the Chinese flag proudly waving at the middle, Tiananmen is a vast space that stretches beyond the horizon. Chinese guards stand stiffly and sternly as you instinctively reach for your iPhone, wanting to take photos of the Forbidden City and its elaborate Ming Dynasty architecture.

Yet in the middle of Tiananmen Gate is the famous portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong, the most ubiquitous face in humanity’s history (it’s difficult to believe until you actually arrive in China, but Mao’s face really has been printed and painted more often than Jesus’). As the Great Leader unctuously smiles down on onlookers, you can’t help but think that’s he won.

Thousands of Chinese families are walking around the grand space, eagerly taking photos and almost all are more prosperous than their fathers or grandfathers were. Adorned in (almost certainly fake) Western brands, from Louis Vuitton luggage to Adidas tracksuit pants, Chinese parents see Tiananmen and the Forbidden City opposite it as a place of national pride and celebration. Perhaps it’s just me, but the square was thronged with a disproportionate number of families (in China, that obviously means one couple, one child). Children were adorned in patriotic gear, with many wearing pseudo-military uniforms, and everyone who walked out of the subway into Tiananmen Square (including our clearly foreign contingent) was offered a Chinese flag and absurd Maoist “ushankas” (those black fur caps branded with the red star), which sadly offered minimal protection against the unsmilingly cold winter winds. If this was a caricature, it was one, like the emperor with no clothes, that no one wanted to point out; every Chinese couple I saw gladly snapped up these offerings from their otherwise insouciant government. Just over 23 years ago, the predecessors of today’s guards were shooting at the fathers and mothers of those who today were rushing to take photos of the changing of the Chinese guard and the lowering of the flag at 5 o’clock.

It was a bizarre way to end 2012, and in a way, it perfectly encapsulates the bizarreness of modern-day China. Soon we hope to return to tour the insides of the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. Tonight we’ll probably celebrate New Year’s at one of Beijing’s flashier clubs, another more modern fixture of a very complex and contradictory country.

On a lighter note, we are enjoying the Wi-Fi at the Starbucks nearby.

Rishabh, Harry, Jess and Haley at Starbucks

Me, Harry, Jess and Haley at Starbucks









Rishabh Bhandari


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Two-child policy?

Yesterday afternoon we met Professor Zhan Zhongle, the deputy director of the Center for Public Law Studies from Peking University, for a talk on the societal impacts of the one-child policy. We had already had a similar discussion with a Yale law school graduate the previous day, but whereas the previous one focused more on the economic and medical impacts of the policy, our discussion yesterday was more focused on human rights and freedom. Professor Zhan outlined the policy’s impacts according to familial context, Chinese traditions, individual growth, and government control, and concluded our discussion with a recommendation of a new two-child policy.

The very first request Professor Zhan made of us was that we should understand the context of families impacted by the policy. He explained that each family was subject to different enforcements and outcomes according to their region’s wealth and geographic location. For example, the fine for the second child can vary from 200,000 yuan to 600,000 yuan, the former applied more to rural, low-income families and the latter to urban, richer regions. In the rural regions, where there is less access to contraceptives and a greater need for larger families to tend to the household, enforcement is more lenient. In such cases, a second child is allowed in the event that the firstborn is a girl – a phenomenon we will discuss later in this post. In the urban regions, however, because of the high costs of maintaining children – Chinese parents continue to support their sons and daughters even after marriage – there is less need for a second child, and the law is more voluntarily obeyed.

Zhan Zhongle speaks about global law.

Zhan Zhongle speaks about global law.

Before I delve into how each case is separately judged under Chinese law, it is important to understand how tradition has been involved in the making and enforcement of the one-child policy. In the first place, there has been a recurring motif in our talks with Chinese adults and Chinese students at Yale that male children are more desirable. Although this paradigm has slowly shifted due to the gender imbalance in rural areas, making female children more coveted as future wives, men will still frequently be the chief of their household, the higher-earning gender, and more dedicated to their birth families after marriage. Especially in the countryside, married women become a part of their husband’s family, making it more difficult for them to care for their elderly, as they have to dedicate themselves to their new families. Understanding this concept of male desirability is necessary to analyze effectively how the one-child policy has led to human rights abuses.

Another aspect of Chinese tradition to keep in mind is the financial dedication of Chinese parents to their children even post-marriage. During our talk with Professor Zhan, one of his students made a comparison with American values in terms of parental affection. In a perhaps generalized and slightly exaggerated assumption, but nonetheless valid for her comparison, she told us that American parents cease to care for their children after age 18, and expect their children to work in college to help pay for school, as well as assume the debts incurred by any higher-education institution‘s tuition. In contrast, she explained that Chinese parents will work to earn income destined primarily for the benefit of their children, continuing to provide financial support even when their children already are income-earners, married, and with children. Their expectation of their children is that they will support them in turn when they become senior citizens. This aspect of Chinese culture shows why maintaining more than one child per family is very expensive.

The most illuminating aspect of our conversation, I felt, was how the one-child policy has impacted the foundations of Chinese society at the individual level. We tend to think of governmental policies as solely affecting society at a broader level (i.e., political, economic, social), yet the one-child policy has significant personal impacts on the development of each “one child.” Although not universally the case, single children in general have less exposure to competitive environments, are generally less prone to sharing, are lonely, do not work as well in teams, and, according to our speakers, are generally more selfish and less considerate of others. Although I’m not sure I agree with all of these assumptions (being an only child myself), I understand that if at least a majority of cases turn out this way, a society that is based on one-child families will itself become a reflection of these single-child values. I don’t know how much research has been done to support this conclusion, but I personally felt it was a striking analogy made by the professor and his students, and is something that I will try to analyze in my next week here.

Professor Zhan concluded the talk by advocating for a two-child policy. He believes that the paradigm of Chinese society has already shifted towards a one-child preference – both because of the implementation of the one-child policy and the previously explained economic implications of raising children under Chinese traditions – so it would still be the prevalent choice of families. An allowance for two children, however, would lift much pressure off rural and low-income families who need more than one child, both in the case of a daughter who is married off to another family and in the case of single children who die young before they can care for their parents. Both the professor and his students reinforced the idea that although single children are as academically able as children with siblings, they are psychologically much less adaptable to the pressures of Chinese society.

Jéssica Leão


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funkyzone, Dr. Ruotao Wang and a stolen iPhone

Two days ago on Dec. 29, a lot happened.  We all arrived (Cynthia and Li arrived, the last two) and moved into our three suites of three (Jess and Haley are a unit). Sorry for not updating for the past 24 hours: We have been fighting through a combination of fatigue, jetlag, busyness and incapacitation, so we haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and blog.  On top of that, our only Internet source is a Wi-Fi network called funkyzone that disappears as frequently as the 100 RMB bills in Li’s drawer do (thanks, Chinese maids).

Our first meeting was with Dr. Ruotao Wang, a Yale Law School alumnus and the former advisor for the Chinese Ministry of Health and Centers for Disease Control.  But first, we’ll let you in on our normal commuting process: To get there, we split three cabs, each complete with our three token Chinese speakers (Cynthia, Li and me), and got lost when the cab dropped us off.  Finally, after about 30 minutes of walking in the cold and snow, we found the office building (on time!) for China AIDS, an NGO that Dr. Wang is now directing.

Dr. Wang’s experience is extremely broad. Yale offered him an opportunity to train in law through a professional training program, he has worked extensively in reproductive health, and he has navigated through the one-child policy to raise two kids.  Dr. Wang first gave a lecture about his work in health care and public policy before offering a Q&A session. Cynthia filmed clips of interviews, and Meghan shot several portraits. Look out for some multimedia content that we’ll be uploading later.

Interestingly, Dr. Wang also has two children, a son and a daughter, and explained to us that he went through legal processes to have his second child, the daughter.  Ultimately, as a young doctor with a modest salary, he paid a hefty fine to simply have his daughter.

Dr. Wang’s focus, of course, was on the health aspects of the policy. Li will continue more on this because she’s a biology major, but we got a deeper look at the forced sterilizations, abortions and ramifications of the policy on reproductive health.

Afterwards we took Dr. Wang out to lunch at the nearby Holiday Inn Express.  Again, we’ll explain how we eat: It’s kind of a struggle. Jess keeps kosher, so she doesn’t eat meat or eggs. Aaron doesn’t eat pork. Meghan doesn’t eat seafood, or anything else that she deems gross (which is a lot).  But somehow, we manage to get a good number of Chinese dishes so that all our dietary needs are met, and even better, we all eat to fullness for under 7 USD per person. Dr. Wang talked more to us (he speaks Russian!) about his life, his thoughts on Yale and his thoughts on American culture. He is an extremely kind and humble man, and you wouldn’t know of the sheer breadth of his work, accomplishments and commitment to public service by talking to him casually.

Later that night, one of us met the fate of Chinese pickpocketing, and an iPhone was lost!

Happy New Year’s Eve! We’ll be blogging more very soon.

Jack Linshi


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Do you know what Tiananmen Square is?

Three of us – Jessica, Haley, and I – arrived yesterday in Beijing! We were picked up by two members of Peking University’s AIESEC branch, Kooki and Justin, who patiently waited for over an hour as we navigated Chinese customs. The first thing we noticed was how courteous and helpful they were. From painting signs with our names to paying for our bus and cab fare, Kooki and Justin prepared us for the generous hospitality we’ve already received in our short time in China.

Beyond this generosity, Kooki and Justin struck me as very intelligent and earnest students who were willing to have a fascinating and frank discussion about our countries. Kooki said she spoke for “most young people” when she said that she wished to study in the United States. “We admire America,” she said, explaining how she wished China would be democratic. She didn’t think it was likely anytime soon, explaining that China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 culture is too autocratic. “In the old time, everyone worked for one emperor and if you didn’t, you’d be put to jail or killed,” she said, adding that the current system works for the Chinese elite. Justin also wants to go to America for graduate school. As a prospective medical studies major, he sees America’s graduate programs as far superior to China’s.

He also wanted to talk about the difference between how political rivalries are settled in American and in China. In America, after Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic nomination for the presidency, she worked for Barack Obama as America’s senior diplomat. In China, on the other hand, Bo Xilai – an immensely popular politician who made his name in Justin’s hometown of Chongqing – has been recently been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party after a familial drama worthy of a poorly made soap opera. Justin believes that Bo Xilai was dismissed because his charisma and charm was a threat to the new chairman, Xi Jingping. “In China, two tigers cannot remain on the same mountain. One must leave or be killed,” he explained.

Both Justin and Kooki are proudly Chinese; they believe Deng Xiaoping “saved the nation” and follow the country’s hard-line views of Taiwan and Tibet. China is not emerging as a great power in their eyes – China is re-emerging after a brief sojourn from the pinnacle of global power. They were also the first posters of China’s 168体彩彩票开奖网 comprehensive censorship – neither of them, despite studying Chinese history in college, knew anything about the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

They’re not sure that America and China will be friends because of their country’s growing power, but I think it’s a good sign that they both want to study in America. I think Kooki said it best when she explained, “China is growing and America is still the most strongest [sic] country so there will be conflict, but I think they can still be friends.”

Rishabh Bhandari


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