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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