Finally (and most importantly), I found out today that my family is officially coming to China! 我的家人办好了签证啊！很开心！
I’ve passed by these ominous Chinese characters in the basement of my building countless times but never looked to see what they meant. I was walking with a student and she told me they mean “Chen is a bastard (something like 陈是王八蛋—I can’t make out the last character). I wonder what the story is behind this!
A restaurant near the school, 岁月如歌, has a bunch of old photos of the University hung up. In this one, you can see a black woman and a white man amongst the Chinese teachers. They must’ve been some of the first 外教 (foreign teachers) to come to Huaibei. Considering how stressful it can be for us to live here now, I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like for them then. They were the ones who fought the battles to make our lives easier. 我就想说一声“谢谢” (I just want to say thank you)!
A link to some photos of a lecture I gave at a high school in all my derpy glory.
Perry Link: In China in the 1980s, the word renquan (“human rights”) was extremely “sensitive.” Few dared even to utter it in public, let alone to champion the concept. Now, nearly three decades later, even people at the lowest levels of society demand their rights. No one brought about this dramatic change single-handedly, but arguably no one did more to get it started than Fang Lizhi, the Chinese astrophysicist, activist, and dissident, who died a year ago. We were friends for many years; here are eight of my favorite memories of him.
Photo of Fang Lizhi by Forrest Anderson/Getty Images
Read more about Fang Lizhi from China Digital Times.
This article is amazing. Linking to it again:
In May, 1989, while student demonstrators were in the streets of Beijing calling for democracy, I listened as a Western journalist interviewed Fang. At the end, the interviewer asked if there were a way he could pursue follow-up questions if necessary. Fang said “sure,” and gave the reporter his telephone number.
“We’ve heard that your phone is tapped,” the reporter said. “Is it?”
“I assume so.” Fang grinned.
“Doesn’t that…bother you?” the reporter asked.
“No,” said Fang, “for years I’ve been trying to get them to listen to me. If this is how they want to do it, then fine!”
China missed a golden opportunity for political reform in the 1980s and it is doubtful when the next one will come, says a son of Hu Yaobang, the widely respected late liberal leader, whose death helped trigger one of the largest democratic movements in modern China.
Speaking to the South China Morning Post ahead of the 25th anniversary today of his father’s death, Hu Dehua lamented the lack of progress in political reform and the continued lack of protection for press freedom over ths last quarter century.
Hu Yaobang believed political reform had to go hand-in-hand with economic reform.
In 1986, he was planning a draft law to safeguard press freedoms, but was purged in 1987 before it could be enacted.
"Press freedom should have been the first step in political reform, but there is still no law on it … I guess it will never come out," Hu Dehua said.
"When you have no law to protect these rights, everything is in the hands of the officials.
"Although we have a constitution which guarantees freedoms in speech and assembly… in fact, there are hardly any freedoms. We have no right to supervise [the government]."