China Hands STO R I E S A N D A N A LYS I S O F CO N T E M P O R A RY C H I N A
Make East Asia Unstable Again? Politics & Diplomacy, p. 20
IN OTHER WORDS A translation of home through language, culture and changing bonds.
Features, p. 6
Rediscovering the Cultural Revolution Through Poster Art Features, p. 10
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
STEFANI KUO ASHLEY RIVENBARK
Words from the Editors
F 6 10 13
YIFU DONG & NICHOLAS WU
22 23 25
CAMILIA RAZAVI & DANIEL KHALESSI JAYLIA YAN
WENBIN GAO YI-LING LIU SHANG SHI ANITA YAN WONG
CHINA HANDS STAFF IRENE CHUNG YINGXUE WANG
32 34 36 38
41 42 44
In Other Words Of Art and Cultural Revolution 25 Under 25
Politics & Diplomacy
Make East Asia Unstable Again? Battles of the Keyboard China’s Nuclear Paradox, Made in North Korea The End of Civil Society?
Economics & Business
Closing The Loop: The Rise of Industrial Symbiosis in China Rays of Hope Over Shadows of Poverty China’s Uncertain Status
Life & Culture
Fading Echoes Hong Kong, 06/04/16 Imagining Piety Traditional Art Form Questioning the Modern Minds: "Rorschach"
“Selling” Human Rights: Interview with John Kamm Book Review: China's Future Movie Review: Ten Years
VOLUME 5, ISSUE I EDITORS IN CHIEF Alexander Herkert, Yale ‘17 William Magliocco, Yale ‘18
Yifu Dong, Yale ‘17
Zishi Li, Yale ‘18
Madeline Bauer, Yale ‘17
POLITICS & DIPLOMACY EDITOR Nicholas Wu, Princeton ‘18
ECONOMICS & BUSINESS EDITOR Kevin Fung, Yale ‘17
LIFE & CULTURE EDITOR Wenbin Gao, Yale ‘19
BUSINESS DIRECTOR Jacob Faber, Yale ‘18
Christian Rhally, Yale ‘16
Amy Xiaomeng Cheng, Yale ‘19 Kevin Lin, Yale ‘19
Yi-Ling Liu, Yale ‘17 Jean Young Koo, Yale ‘17 Sherril Wang, Yale ‘17
Anna Lu, Yale ‘18
Cover Art by Zishi Li
Zhirui Guan, Yale ‘19 Sonia Ruiz, Yale ‘19 Kaifeng Wu, Yale ‘18 Catherine Yang, Yale ‘19 Christina Chi Zhang, Yale ‘17
EDITOR-AT-LARGE SPECIAL THANKS
Qianyi Qin, Yale ‘17
Dear Readers, Thank you for opening the eighth issue of China Hands. We have greatly enjoyed putting together this issue of China Hands and our team of editors, writers, and artists has worked hard to create the product in your hands today. In this issue, we present our third class of “25 Under 25” honorees: 25 students and professionals under the age of 25 leading the way in U.S.-China relations. Although these exceptional individuals give us hope for the future, the present issue is published at a tense time. As a historic U.S. presidential election comes to a close, the future of America’s role in East Asia has come into question (“Make East Asia Unstable Again?” and “China’s North Korea Paradox”), as has China’s place in a shifting world order (“China’s Uncertain Status”). Meanwhile, Xi Jinping has doubled down on his own authoritarian tendencies at home, quashing the hopes of reformers (“Battles of the Keyboard,” “The End of Civil Society?” and “Hong Kong, 06/04/16”). In spite of a darkening political picture, we see signs of hope in the form of China’s nascent solar industry (“Rays of Hope Over Shadows of Poverty”), in the fight for human rights in China (Interview with John Kamm), and in a budding effort to confront some of the demons of the Mao Era (“Of Art and Cultural Revolution”). Finally, the issue begins and ends with the healing power of art: visual and verbal, old and new (“In Other Words,” “Imagining Piety,” “Rorschach,” and “Fading Echoes”). We hope these pieces encourage you to reflect on the social and cultural ties that bind us at a time when nations seem to be coming apart. Most of all, we hope you enjoy reading and viewing our work as much as we have enjoyed creating it.
Yours Truly, Alexander Herket William Magliocco Yifu Dong Zishi Li Editors of China Hands
IN OTHER WORDS
STEFANI KUO delves into the translation of home through language, culture and changing bonds. Illustration // Sonia Ruiz
We should be able to put two poems before a reader, the original and its translation, and say, “Here are two poems. They are the same poem. Which was translated from the other?” A better question would be: “Which was written first?” —Cynthia Ozick, “Prayer Leader”
or almost eight years, I have not lived at home in Hong Kong for more than three weeks at a time. My bedroom has remained frozen in time since I was ten. The whiteboard still has a checklist of sections to complete for my college applications; no one has erased it in the four years since I graduated from boarding school in Massachusetts. Soon, I will graduate from college in America; America, too, will begin to feel small, and spit me back into the world. But the more the bubble closes in on me, the more I hope it will not take me home, at least not to where I came from. I left home a gawky Hong Kong schoolgirl with indigo Hello Kitty glasses and a stack of Giordano’s cargo pants from the boys’ section. I decided to go to boarding school when I first saw a brochure filled with pictures of grassy quads and lawns, houses filled with backyards I had only seen on
My mom studied abroad in Spain, so even prior to attending college I had decided I would study abroad too. I had just returned from my semester abroad in France when, as a junior at Yale, I decided to take a course on translation with Comparative Literature Professor Peter Cole. French was the language I now considered home, and I desperately wanted to hold onto what I considered new roots. “I would be careful about choosing a piece you are unfamiliar with,” Professor Cole explained, “with translation, the more you go into it the more likely you are to become frustrated. You don’t want to pick something you realize you don’t like later on.” I looked for a Chinese-French female writer, someone like myself, but I soon realized I had no connection with any such woman. I had only recently decided to be French. “There is this writer from Taiwan...where my mother is from,” I reluctantly pointed out to Professor Cole, “Her name is Sanmao. She wrote stories about the Sahara Desert, but in Chinese.” Professor Cole’s eyes lit up. The idealized French writer melted away in my mind. He sat back and said, “Tell me more.”
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television. But I quickly learned that I didn’t have (nor could I afford) the right clothes, I didn’t grow up with the same cartoons, and I didn’t play the right (or any) team sports. I spoke the wrong language, so I acquired a new one. By the time I left boarding school, I had started using contact lenses, reappropriated my Chinese jacket as a hipster accessory, and I started taking French because it was one of two languages offered at my high school that my mother didn’t speak. My mom bet that I would never learn a new language, so I did.
I read Sanmao’s autobiographical collection Stories of the Sahara Desert in my sixth grade Chinese class. It was the first time I was introduced to a woman writer who resembled my mother. Sanmao’s stories allowed us to live vicariously through her travels. Born Chen Mao Ping, her pen name Sanmao was derived from caricaturist Zhang Leping’s cartoon character. The name “Sanmao” translates as either “three pennies” or “three hairs.” The cartoon character was created in the 1940s as a homeless boy, malnourished (hence, “three hairs”) and poor (hence the three pennies). Sanmao wanted to describe the world through the lens of an ordinary commoner. She was relatable, and implacable. She moved from Taiwan to Spain, Germany to the Sahara Desert. Restless, Sanmao never felt at home. She is grounded today in this pen name and these nomadic tales. I read her stories everywhere: at home, in class under the desk, during lunch, even while walking across streets after school. I read them twice, out loud in Cantonese and then with my mom in Mandarin. My friends and I dreamed of travelling across deserts, of marrying foreign men and speaking intimately in entirely new languages. When the school library’s copy was overdue, I went and bought myself a new copy.
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Mid-way through my translation of Sanmao, I got stuck. I came across a Chinese phrase I didn’t know how to translate. With no place else to seek help, I reluctantly returned to my pocket dictionary—my mother. “Have you forgotten all your Chinese?” Her voice was too loud over the phone. I turned the volume down. “I’m just making sure,” I muttered. I recognized the Chinese characters, and the pen strokes, but I could no longer pronounce the words. I described the words to her, 7
FEATURES deconstructing them into easier components I could say aloud. My mother patiently helped me put the pieces back together again. All I could think about was what I would do when my future children asked me to help them pick words apart, and whether I would speak my mother’s language well enough to call it my “mother tongue.”
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“This line: ‘You hoped some literary editor would see (like a cat) what we saw in your writing,’ What does this mean?” Professor Cole slowly read. I became embarrassed. I was having difficulty pinning down Sanmao’s voice. The section of the book I was translating was a letter from Sanmao’s mother and I wasn’t sure whose voice I was listening to. I thought because I was translating a Chinese idiom I didn’t quite understand I could get away with ambiguity. “Should I get rid of it since it doesn’t make sense?” I asked. Professor Cole insisted upon clarity instead of omittance, both for the text and the translator. Rather than thinking of textual alterations as betrayals of the original, I learned to identify and keep the salient qualities of Sanmao’s work. I started with the cat. Professor Cole drilled me with questions: What do cats do when we talk about them in English? How do they react when they see something they want? Is this image necessary? If it is, can we move it elsewhere in the sentence for greater clarity? In the hour I spent going through my preliminary paragraph, we came up with a new sentence I actually understood: “You hoped some literary editor would pounce (like a cat) on your work.” Translation is the act of going from point A to point B. I had been transporting a text I didn’t understand into another language and expected it to come across. But travelling takes time. The trip from Yale back home to Hong Kong takes 28 hours door-to-door. When I left for boarding school, my parents brought me to America. But each time I came back to Hong Kong, I left some of the self I grew up with in the US and brought some of the America I picked up back home with me. I started forgetting how to write certain Chinese characters, and began journaling exclusively in English. When I started college, I said I was from the boarding school I attended in Massachusetts, not from Hong Kong. I was no longer sure which self I liked better, or if either one felt whole. “Bilingual translators have it hardest,” Professor Cole said one day in class. A language is native to us when it is defined not only by other words but by internalized contexts. I found myself explaining aspects of Chinese culture with, “it’s just the way it is.” When questioned about the history of idioms or turns of phrases, I couldn’t quite explain the nuances I had never thought to dissect. The significance of removing one’s shoes at the door, the taboo of drinking ice-cold wa-
A language is native to us when it is defined not only by other words but by internalized contexts.
ter, and conception of love in the household all felt foreign in translation. These cultural nuances all wormed their way into my understanding of Chinese as a spoken language. Hearing Chinese evokes physical reactions for me; the softest family conversation (though Chinese conversations are rarely soft) have my ears perked up on the sidewalk. And I still have difficulty explaining to American friends that my mother calls me fat and lazy and derides my ambitions as useless and impractical out of love. In parsing out Sanmao’s text I looked for explanations to my own upbringing. I began translating Sanmao from Chinese into English because she felt familiar. But over the course of the few months I spent translating her book, I realized I was looking into the home I missed from sixth grade. I was staring at my twelve-year-old self in the face, wondering who I would have been had I kept her around.
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Sanmao once said to her math teacher, who drilled her on her ambitions when she was failing the class, that her only desire was to marry a painter, specifically Pablo Picasso. After being engaged to an older German gentleman who passed away suddenly before their wedding, she travelled to Spain and eventually married a Spaniard of her own, José. José abandoned his job and his ambitions for Sanmao’s wish to be the first Chinese woman to cross the Sahara Desert. Love was the constant motivation behind her travelling and writing. My mother has taught me to strive only for the things I love. She started working as an investment banker when she was twenty so she could buy my grandmother an apartment in Taipei. In her first few years working, she travelled all over Asia, spending time living in Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and eventually settling down in Hong Kong where she married my father. But my mother has always known herself. Her childhood was marked by figures who stayed and continued to stay in place. Growing up, she walked to school and passed by the same people each day—the butcher’s son, the family vendors who sold Taiwanese meatballs and soup dumplings, and the teenagers who babysat (and beat) her when my grandparents weren’t around. This year, after eight years of work, she finally finished and published a book she wrote on China's "Taiwan Dilemma". She has returned to Taiwan countless times over the years, and these constants have been there waiting for her. She has described this book, which took her eight years to write, as a trail of footprints leading home. When I last returned to Hong Kong over the summer, I took the minibus into town and got lost. I couldn’t find my bank. The city has suddenly (or perhaps steadily) been overtaken by Korean sunglass stores and pop-up makeup brands. The store where I used to buy dried mangos and sour plums had gone out of business, and in its place was a café filled with Pokémon Go! players and teenagers posting photos of their cappuccinos on Instagram. One of few remaining constants are my doctor appointments: each one marks the passing of another school year. Each year the doctors’ offices employ new nurses who, knowing I live
FEATURES in America, have begun to speak to me only in English. Every time I see old family friends and relatives, the same questions pop up: where do you plan on going after graduation? Where do you want to work? What do you want to do? Each time I am left defending my rejection of Hong Kong. “There is no arts industry in Hong Kong,” I say. I tried working in a theatre in Hong Kong one summer, and they put me in its financial department. When people ask what Hong Kong is like, it’s hard not to mention the pollution, overcrowding, heat, and, of course, the oversaturated financial industry. It is a running joke that when China retakes Hong Kong in 2047, we will all simply leave. It is difficult to watch the city where we grew up trade traditional Chinese characters for simplified, to hear more Mandarin than Cantonese, and edge closer to Chinese political control. When you look at a world map, Hong Kong is barely a dot next to China and Taiwan. It is hard to keep roots in a country that is pinched and pulled by so many, plucked up and changed so often. I find there is little left to love about home.
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My mother speaks five languages, grew up in Taiwan, and subsequently lived in six different countries, much like Sanmao. Sanmao spoke five languages and lived in four countries, travelling throughout her life across the globe. This summer I attended a panel discussion hosted by the Women’s Business Alliance at Morgan Stanley, where my mother used to work. I was the only non-investment banker sitting in the audience. The interview was conducted in English. My mother sat on the stage, next to a moderator who asked her questions I had never thought to bring up at the dinner table. I was seated in the front row, tagged with laminated “Reserved” signs, next to an important-looking man wearing cufflinks. Towards the end of it, the interviewer asked my mother, “as such a well-travelled woman in the industry, where do you consider home?”“It’s funny, I tend to live well wherever I go,” she laughs, “I eat everything. I like meeting new people. I adapt well, which is necessary in this industry. But I think it’s where the people you love are. I grew up in Taiwan but I’ve lived in Hong Kong for 23 years. It’s where I’ve lived with my daughters. I vote in elections. I listen to our district officers. I protest. I consider it home.” I watched my own mom and saw her for the first time as someone who has done something I envy. I found myself raising my hand to ask a question. “Oh,” she looked surprised, “Stefani.” “So…I don’t know how to phrase this, but do you know what a ‘third culture kid’ is?” I squinted my eyes at her dubiously. The audience laughed. “Yes,” she said, “I once considered myself one.” In 2047, Hong Kong will officially retire from its status as a special administrative region and be entirely turned over to China. One country, two systems will become one country under the umbrella of one government. “In my opinion, no one in this generation recognizes Hong
Kong anymore,” I spoke up, “the turnover rate of shops, of restaurants, of…culture is so high. I feel more like a Hong Konger when I am away from Hong Kong. Don’t you think everyone will just leave before the turnover in 2047? Will what’s left be reflective of Hong Kong’s actual culture?” My mom laughed. She called me, and eventually the entire audience, young. She said identity is something we curate, and at some point in our lives we will return to our roots, however we define them. In the 23 years my mom has lived in Hong Kong, she has become fluent in Cantonese. She votes at every single regional and district election, from choosing our legislative council to whether or not we should put a new stop sign on the corner. She used to carry me on her shoulders as a kid at protests and continued even after I left. Just as I never stopped looking for belonging in America, she never stopped to wonder when she started calling Hong Kong home.
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I was in France when I received my graded translation from Professor Cole with circles around words I misused and phrases that didn’t make sense. But at the bottom of the 26 pages was a small box It is hard to keep roots in of blue text, a country that is pinched and at its best, pulled by so many, plucked reading: "The result is quite up and changed so often. I fine, and I find there is little left to love sense that the about home. experience of this revision, the lessons of this class, will inform whatever you do next." I was sitting at a birthday dinner party with a boy I had a crush on in the French Alps that night. I sent the translation to my mom, and then to my aunt, then to my grandparents who had just learned how to use their iPads. We had finished six bottles of white wine and were passing around baguettes and cheese from Savoy when I started craving rice. The first meal I eat at home in Hong Kong after two months in France is my usual: winter melon soup, cabbage, and rice. I sit alone, jetlagged, at the breakfast table at five in the morning. There is a typhoon outside the window, and nobody is awake. I want to be back in France, in the Alps, speaking a language I didn’t always know. I wander to the fridge to look for juice and find a hidden, unopened package of imported cheese from Savoy. The price tag on the wrapping is four times how much it cost in France. I look around the kitchen for bread but can’t find any. I open the package with a knife and cut myself a slice of cheese. I can hear my mom coming down the stairs. I consider throwing the cheese back into the fridge, but turn over the package to read the French on the back. It feels unnatural, eating this food in this country in this body. I go to the cabinet and take out an extra bowl, a soup spoon, and a pair of chopsticks. I set it across the table from me and wait for my mother to come in. Stefani is a senior at Yale College. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OF ART AND
CULTURAL REVOLUTION On the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, ASHLEY RIVENBARK searches around Shanghai and rediscovers the legacies of the Cultural Revolution through poster art. Illustration // Zhirui Guan
eep in the tunnel of Shanghai’s West Nanjing Road subway station, a neat display lined the bustling walkway. Most people rushed by, not giving the exhibit a second glance. Yet the bright yellow and red block lettering plastered across the walls immediately caught my attention. It read: “Red Culture Enters the Subway: Commemorating the 95th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China.” Just as the subway serves as the city’s primary blood vessel, the exhibit claimed, it now also connects onlookers to a better understanding of the city’s “red” history, or the history of the Communist Party. The exhibit introduced the audience to many red history sites in Shanghai, including the two former residences of Mao Zedong, sites of Party conferences and buildings that once housed Party departments. However as I read through the panels, I noticed that there was one glaring gap in the historical timeline. Just as this year commemorates the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, it also marks the 50th anniversary of a ten-year period in Chinese history that has been omitted
from the exhibit: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In 1966, Mao Zedong initiated the Cultural Revolution, a decade-long campaign of physical destruction and ideological fanaticism. The campaign was supposed to be about defeating alleged capitalists in the ranks of the Communist Party and purging Chinese society of the “Four Olds”—old ideas, customs, culture, and habits. But it ended up witnessing the ruin of countless historical and cultural relics, and the persecution and sometimes execution of prominent scholars and artists, all in the name of revolution. How could this period of time be so seamlessly swept under the rug? In an attempt to find any public remnant of this past that had survived the years of repression, I decided to conduct my own search of the city. I started at two of the landmarks from the subway display: the site of the Communist Party’s First National Congress in 1921 and Mao Zedong’s temporary residence in 1920. Each provided a plethora of information about the founding of the Communist Party in 1921, the influence of its key members, and arguments for the Communist Party’s legitimacy. “The passing and coming of time creates our history, but the history
FEATURES written by the communists in this building shall never be forgotten,” says the site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party. Yet the museum’s timeline of Mao Zedong’s life skipped everything from 1954, when the first National People’s Congress convened, to 1976, when he died. Again, the Cultural Revolution, along with the Great Leap Forward, was nowhere to be found. The concluding remarks of the exhibit at Mao’s former residence stated: “As it is powerfully proved, only the Communist Party of China can lead the Chinese people to achieve victory of the struggle for national independence and people’s liberation. We firmly believe that only the Communist Party of China can create ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’ and deliver prosperity, national revitalization and happiness to the people.” As I digested all the new information from these sites, I couldn’t help but experience a slight aftertaste of irony. At each historic venue, I made a point to cautiously ask the staff and nearby “Shanghai Information Center for International Visitors” employees if they knew of any monuments or important places in the city related to the Cultural Revolution. Each gave a similar response: a look of surprised puzzlement, a pause as they considered the question, and then a polite yet definitive “no.” When I asked a sophomore communications major at the renowned Fudan University in Shanghai if he knew of any trace of the Cultural Revolution’s legacy on its campus, he assured me that there was none. Fudan was an epicenter of student activism and popular violence during the Cultural Revolution: “big character posters” were plastered everywhere, library collections were destroyed and some professors were even killed. Yet, few students today even knew their stories exist. In a last effort to find some visible landmark in the city related to the Cultural Revolution, I traveled to Shanghai’s Xingguo Hotel. I had finally learned from a source that this venue was the city’s propaganda center during the Cultural Revolution and regularly hosted prominent leaders who gathered there to discuss party policy. However, as I approached the high-walled fences of the premises, I noticed the English name printed above the Chinese sign: “Radisson Blu.” In an ironic twist of history, a hotbed of revolutionary thought had been bought out by one of the most well-known upscale international chains of full service hotels and resorts in the world. Inside, when I asked the concierge about the building’s history, he frowned and told me that the hotel was built in the 1990s and renovated in the 2000s. Puzzled, I then asked a young man at the hotel’s entrance the same question, and he smiled uneasily and admitted that the hotel was used
during the Cultural Revolution, but the propaganda offices are now event halls for the guests. As I returned to my room empty-handed, I picked up the tin coffee mug next to my laptop to take a sip. However just before the rim touched my lips, I noticed the design printed on the side of the cup. It was a sketch of three young Red Guards proudly lined up, each holding up a copy of Mao’s “Little Red Book” in front of a background of bloodred flags. Below them, it read: “If you do not burst out in silence; you will become unhinged in silence.” I bought the mug at Beijing’s famous Silk Street Market as a keepsake. As I studied its artwork, I reflected on the reality that tourist attractions like Beijing’s Silk Street Market and Panjiayuan Flea Market or Shanghai’s Yu Garden’s Market all sell copies of Mao’s “Little Red Book” and a host of other souvenirs covered in Cultural Revolution propaganda art, whose slogans often involve jokes and catchphrases popular among young people today. How is it that these knickknacks foreigners buy to evoke memories of China are often remnants of a time that the government has tried so desperately to forget? Could it be that part of China’s Cultural Revolution legacy lies in its iconic artistic expression? To answer these questions, I scheduled a visit with Mr. Yang Peiming, creator and director of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center. I first learned of the center through a friend, then saw it again referenced in an online article titled “Top communist attractions in Shanghai.” The private museum, located in the basement of an apartment complex in Shanghai’s French Concession, attracts over 10,000 visitors every year. As I made my way to a small alcove in the back of the museum, I could see why such a hidden place could arouse so much curiosity. The walls were covered in over 6,000 colorful posters dating from 1913 to 1997, a mural of history and insight waiting to be rediscovered. The museum’s security guard guided me to a workspace at the back of the museum, and there I found Mr. Yang hunched over his desk in focused concentration and surrounded on all sides by paintings and posters that had not yet been put up on display. He graciously welcomed me in and pointed me to a desk where we started our conversation. I began by asking him what sparked his interest in collecting these rare propaganda art posters. “I started collecting art in 1995,” he told me, “and at that time, nobody wanted it. After the Cultural Revolution, people really didn’t like that kind of art, and the policy at that time was to get rid of those materials. After 1976, China turned to a market economy and there was more freedom and people could collect whatever they wanted, but people suffered a lot during the Cultural Revolution, so they didn’t want those stories back. That’s one way of looking at it, but
How is it that these knickknacks foreigners buy to evoke memories of China are often remnants of a time that the government has tried so desperately to forget? Could it be that part of China’s Cultural Revolution legacy lies in its iconic artistic expression?
FEATURES for me, I think that if you want to remember history, you have to keep some art.” Mr. Yang has done just that, for his museum is a reflection of Shanghai’s deep relationship with this kind of art. According to author Enrique Rodriguez Larreta, the city served as China’s national printing center in the 20th century, with propaganda posters reaching the peak of production during the Cultural Revolution. During the Mao era, art had to serve politics, and these posters today capture Chinese people’s most fantastic and absurd experiences during the Cultural Revolution. No other country like China has seen such a large scale surge of propaganda posters in modern times. With so many of these posters disappearing during and after the Cultural Revolution, Mr. Yang has worked hard
to keep their legacy alive. During the Cultural Revolution, he was studying in the English Department of Shanghai’s East China Normal University and vividly remembered the artistic changes of the time. “All the previous styles of art almost suddenly stopped and ‘big character posters’ became very prevalent. They started using a lot of woodcuts and block prints, which then became the main form of art, almost over 90%. Most Cultural Revolution art was done by young people and the subject was very limited.” The museum’s poster captions offered further insight into the thematic thought process of creating these posters during the Cultural Revolution. One caption read, “In poster artworks of the time, Chairman Mao became the red sun shining down on sunflowers symbolizing the people. Common 12
themes included supporting world revolution against U.S. imperialism, the rejection of Russian revisionism, and the relocation of students to the countryside.” But Mr. Yang believes these images today hold a new meaning: “Some tourists that come to China want to find some items that evoke memories…this kind of art is a symbol of the history. Some people really take these images to heart because they like Mao, other people just see these images as interesting and see them as a symbol of China.” But why has such a difficult and repressed time in China’s history found such resonance in art, particularly in tourist shops? As Larreta explained it, the woodcut style prevalent in propaganda art during the Cultural Revolution connoted a powerful, popular, and democratic dimension of social activism. The relationship between woodcut movements and national traditions is deep and complex, and the combination of dramatic expression and social realism turned the woodcut into an ideal medium for representing the radical transformations of Chinese society in the twentieth century. Jing Wang, a contributor to Larreta’s work, added that each poster is like a mirror—we can see reflections of the fantasies, reveries, and daydreams of the times when those posters came into being. And for Mr. Yang, that is why he still strives to keep them and their historical significance relevant. “During the Cultural Revolution, everything was smashed into broken pieces,” Mr. Yang told me, “but then at one time the broken pieces became the foundation for a new rising up. So it’s terrible, these broken pieces, but on the other hand, they can serve as a foundation. From this respect, we have to say that we still learned some lessons and that is good. If we didn’t have the Cultural Revolution, we wouldn’t have today’s China. If you don’t know these old things, you don’t know how to enjoy today or tomorrow.” But there are still those who strive to make sure these old things remain unknown. In late April of this year, Peng Qi’an, founder of China’s first Cultural Revolution museum, found his memorials and exhibition halls covered in renovation signs and “Socialist Core Values” banners. After two decades of gathering private and local government donations for the museum’s construction and opening in 2005, and after another decade of its successful exhibition to the public in Shantou, the statues and plaques of remembrance are now being censored. In an interview with The New York Times, he lamented: “We thought, as the country became more open and moved forward, the museum would improve. Spring would come. But we didn’t know that spring didn’t come, winter did.” But there is hope. Mr. Yang has demonstrated that artistic expression is the glue that holds the broken pieces together, preserving their significance against all odds. And through this expression, the testimonies, legacies, and lessons of the Cultural Revolution, while not plastered on subway walls or showcased in public memorials, remain a vital component of the nation’s history. Ashley is an honoree of China Hand's Fall 2014 edition of "25 Under 25" and is now a Risk and Compliance Consultant at Protiviti. Contact her at email@example.com.
25 25 FEATURES
China Hands' annual feature "25 Under 25: Leaders in U.S.-China Relations" profiles 25 students and professionals under the age of 25 who have demonstrated exceptional promise in China studies and in furthering the future of the U.S.-China relationship. This year, the editorial board extends its gratitude to our judges, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States Robert Daly, senior fellow at The China Center at Yale Law School Graham Webster, and award-winning journalist and 2014 Yale World Fellow George Chen. We hope you enjoy learning about this talented group of individuals as much as we have. Congratulations to the honorees!
Alexandra Gray is from New Jersey, U.S. and currently attends Yench-
ing Academy at Peking University. She graduated from Stanford University in 2016 with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in both Chinese and Creative Writing. She is particularly interested in how government or actors in civil society may address issues of social inequity. Her interest in China began in high school, when for the summers of 2010 and 2011 she studied there through the US State Departmentâ€™s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y). At Stanford, she served as a Campus Ambassador for Teach for China and advocated the importance of educational equity in soliciting partners and candidates for the program. In 2015, she interned for the Asia Team at Internews, an international development non-profit that harnesses the power of media and IT to enhance civil society. There, she helped develop projects to improve the quality of life of LGBTQ individuals and people with disabilities in China. After completing her M.A. program in China Studies, she hopes to pursue a career in which she can make positive social impact. 13
Emma Campbell-Mohn currently resides in Beijing as a Schwarzman
Scholar at Tsinghua University. In the past, she served as a Defense Research Intern to Congressman J. Randy Forbes, Subcommittee Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, and as a Research Intern at the American Enterprise Institute. Emma graduated with distinction from Duke University, where she wrote her honors thesis on Chinese contributions to UN Peacekeeping Operations. While at Duke, Emma co-taught a House Course on “China in a 21st Century” and served as President of the Duke Alexander Hamilton Society and Co-chair of the Duke Council on American Grand Strategy.
Born and raised in China, Jue Hou is an avid reader of both Chinese and English literatures and believes that mutual knowledge achieved through studies in the Humanities can help transcend the boundary of human ignorance and prejudice. A student of Comparative Literature at Tsinghua University and a former visiting student at Oxford, he reads and writes extensively in both languages, seeking to renegotiate modern Chinese literature in a globalized context. For two consecutive summers, he worked in the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium Project, “History, Philology, and the Nation,” and translated Chinese scholarship on modern writer Lu Xun to English, completing a total of over 80,000 words. With a wide range of interests, he also worked on a sociological project examining the transformation of private-owned businesses in China, and single-handedly spearheaded a linguistic project that looked into Chinese-speaking aphasics’ reproduction of abstract words. Jue intends to continue contributing to academic exchange and translation that will promote transcultural understanding between China and the United States.
Amanda Johnson is a senior at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan
majoring in Economics and minoring in Political Science and Chinese. During the academic year of 2015-2016 Amanda spent the year studying in Beijing and Harbin, China as a David L. Boren Scholar. While in China, Amanda focused her studies on language and the Chinese economy. She conducted multiple research projects on China’s influence on the market value of Bitcoin, trends in Chinese monetary policy, and income inequality developments in China. While in Beijing she interned with the Beijing International Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the foreign communities understanding of Chinese politics, economics and culture. She worked alongside diplomats from all over the world to put on events and to write articles to contribute to advancing the goals of the group. In the long term, Amanda hopes to pursue a career in international economic policy with a specific focus on US-China economic relations.
Roman Chen is a senior pursuing a major in gender politics at New York
University in Shanghai. Growing up in a migrant family from the Tibetan Plateau, he has always been attuned to marginalized communities. He worked in New York for a summer to produce a musical that addresses mental issues among college students. He helped coordinate LGBT community building events for NYU’s Ally Week and Shanghai’s LGBT Pride Festival. He travelled to Hungary in 2015 to research Budapest’s post-communist queer activism in the context of the European Union. Roman has interned at Machik, a non-profit organization that works to develop opportunities for education and innovation in Tibet. He participated in Machik’s Summer Enrichment Program as a teaching fellow, and now he continues his liaison with the organization through fundraising endeavors. Roman is currently working on his senior thesis, which compares the formation of community among sexual-minority college students in Shanghai and Taipei. He hopes to pursue graduate study in social justice from the perspective of public policy. 14
FEATURES Max Song grew up in Beijing, Shanghai and Chicago. He is passionate
about how technology can facilitate new models of cross-cultural education. At Brown University, he was a Student Coordinator for Brown’s Year of China, a campus-wide celebration of Chinese culture and history. After studying machine learning and diplomacy, he worked in Silicon Valley, Paris, and New York, which gave him a global outlook on the interconnections between cities and cultures. He is passionate about leveraging technology and community building to bridge intercultural divides, especially between the U.S. and China. In 2014, he founded the One Salon—an intellectual, emotional and experiential gathering that spread from Stanford to twelve cities around the world (TEDx Video). In 2016, he founded Prometheus Education—an international summer program that teaches public speaking, robotics and entrepreneurship in Shenzhen. He is currently studying in Beijing as an inaugural Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University.
David Stack currently serves as a James C. Gaither Junior Fellow with the Asia
Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he conducts research on the Chinese economy. He has spent two summers in China studying Mandarin, most recently as a participant in the Critical Language Scholarship program at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an. As an undergraduate at Penn State, he studied economics, international politics, and Chinese. He was awarded the Edward C. Budd Award for his honors thesis investigating the effects of the hukou household registration system and regionally biased university admissions policies on labor mobility and human capital accumulation in China. On campus he served as vice president of the Penn State Journal of International Affairs, and he completed summer internships with the Brookings Institution and the U.S. Army War College. He hopes to contribute to positive U.S.-China relations through a career in public service, most likely as a diplomat.
Rona Ji is a junior at Yale University double majoring in Economics and
Ethnicity, Race & Migration. Although Rona was born and raised in the United States, she has spent nearly four years in China on summer trips, which allowed her to pursue intercultural learning and become natively proficient in both Mandarin and English. Her bicultural upbringing has strengthened her resolve to create connections between the U.S. and China through educating others to become leaders in today’s changing international realm. In high school, Rona helped propose the Tsinghua-University of Washington Global Innovation Exchange R&D Center, which capitalizes on today’s changing STEM entrepreneurship. She has also worked towards mobilizing Asian Americans, both helping to organize the first White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islander conference at Yale, and by helping to found a Center for Advanced China and International Studies in Seattle to further avenues for high-level bilingual language acquisition.
Daniel Khalessi believes that the future of U.S.-China relations depends
heavily on each country’s political leadership. As Founder and CEO of Fireside, Daniel and his team created a mobile application that reduces misinformation in American media and empowers people to communicate directly to political leaders. After graduating from Stanford, Daniel pursued an MA in Global Affairs at Yale and a second MA in China Studies at Peking University on a Yenching Scholarship. A Silk Road traveler, Daniel has analyzed China’s relations with the Persian Empire and its influence in Central Asia. Daniel served as an Adviser to Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry for a global nuclear disarmament project and conducted research for a collaborative report with China for the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Sustainability Panel. Daniel’s publications on Sino-Iranian relations, nuclear weapons, and Chinese philosophy have appeared in the Huffington Post, Routledge Taylor and Francis’s Nonproliferation Review, and the Yenching Review.
FEATURES As a member of New York University Shanghai’s inaugural class, Roxanne Roman has worked to integrate the joint U.S.-China University into the city as a founding member of student government and as Student Body President. Roxanne organized the Student Government Summit bringing student leaders from eight local universities together. She also launched a charity week, where proceeds sponsored surgeries for migrant children. Roxanne studied abroad in Abu Dhabi and Washington, D.C. where she interned in the White House for the Office of First Lady Michelle Obama. While working at the White House, Roxanne assisted with the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit and met President Xi JinPing. She studies Social Science with a Political Science focus and a minor in Global China Studies. She is a first generation Filipino-American from a military family. Roxanne aspires to use her unique experiences and cultural identities to bridge opportunities between China, the United States, and the Philippines.
Jesse C. Caemmerer is a member of the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars based at Tsinghua University. He received his BA in Political Science and International Relations from Santa Clara University, graduating Honors and Phi Beta Kappa, and received his MSc in Strategic Studies from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) as a Rotary Global Scholar. During his graduate studies, Jesse worked as a research assistant in the Military Studies Program at the Institute for Defense and Strategic Studies, Singapore. After completing his MSc, he spent a year as a Research Analyst at RSIS, where he coordinated the Singapore Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and researched Asian security and trade policy. His principle interests include Asia-Pacific economic and security architectures, Sino-U.S. relations, and strategic studies. After completing the Schwarzman Scholars program, Jesse intends to pursue a career in research and public service focused on U.S. foreign and security policy in Asia.
Rosie Levine’s interest in China began at an early age: she spent five years
living in Beijing as a child. This experience instilled in her from a young age a passion to improve global understanding about China. This led her to pursue degrees in History, Asian Languages & Cultures and Museum Studies at the University of Michigan with an emphasis on modern Chinese history, cultural heritage and public history. She graduated with High Honors and Highest Distinction in May of 2014. After graduation, Rosie returned to Beijing and has worked in various institutions in the culture sector including UNESCO’s Beijing office and the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center, a Chinese NGO working to preserve and protect the unique cultural heritage of Beijing. Her goal is to promote a more holistic view of China through increased understanding of Chinese history and culture. Rosie is currently studying at the Yenching Academy at Peking University in the History & Archeology concentration.
Brian Kim graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from
Princeton University with a degree in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs and is currently a Yenching Scholar at Peking University pursuing a Master’s in China Studies. Kim focused his undergraduate studies on devising a Korean reunification policy, conducting his thesis research in Germany on issues of transitional justice, regime transition, conflict resolution, and restoration of private property. In 2015, Kim worked for Choson Exchange in Singapore where he helped organize a 3-month MBA program for a delegation of North Korean bureaucrats. Previously he held an internship with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for the former White House Director of Asian Affairs and a Virtual Foreign Service internship with the Office of Japanese Affairs at the US Department of State. In Beijing, Kim hopes to continue research on identifying statistically significant differences in policy priorities within the United States, China, and South Korea on North Korea.
FEATURES Jakob Lengacher was first exposed to Chinese during his freshman year
at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He instantly fell in love with the language, and after developing an interest in U.S.-China relations spent his junior year in Harbin, China as a Boren Scholar. Studying in Harbin and attending the 2015 FACES conference impressed upon Jakob the massive impact personal connections have in building cross-cultural understanding, and he believes they lay the foundation for greater diplomatic accomplishments. Currently a Fulbright Scholar at Heilongjiang University, Jakob seeks to strengthen this foundation by helping others better understand American and Chinese cultures, particularly both countries’ respective LGBTQ communities. His Fulbright research explores new directions for the 20-year-old Shanghai Cooperation Organization in hopes that it can play a part in helping the U.S. and China work towards the denuclearization of East Asia. In the future, he hopes to pursue a career in nuclear nonproliferation, paving the way for a safer world and the safe development of new energy technologies. A student at Tsinghua University, Shuangchen Yu believes that the future of the world depends on friendly cooperation between the USA and China. At the age of 15, she won the top prize in the Martin Luther King Memorial Poetry competition. As an acknowledgement of her important role in helping Jinan and Sacramento to win the 2014 U.S.-China Sister Cities Award, her photo appeared in the China Daily as a representative of the youth of China who actively seek to better promote ties with the United States. Jinan Municipal government and Jinan TV Station made a short documentary about her. After attending Harvard Summer School in 2014 and Yale Summer School in 2016, she participated in a Youth Leadership Workshop in Berkeley and then worked as an intern in the offices of Senator Richard Pan in the State Capitol of California. Shuangchen’s message is clear: we can work together; we can learn from each other; we can friend each other!
Adopted from Jiangsu Province, China, at five months old and a native of Newton, MA, Charlotte Cotter co-founded the international organization “China’s Children International,” in 2011 to connect young adults adopted from China around the globe. Today, the organization serves as the pre-eminent support and networking organization for Chinese adoptees with 2000 members worldwide and programs around the world. Charlotte is dedicated to expanding China’s Children International, with a goal of organizing the first international Mainland Chinese adoptee conference. Fluent in Mandarin, Charlotte is a senior East Asian Studies major at Yale, where she has served as the president of Building Bridges, an organization that pools educational resources and capital to teach disadvantaged children in rural China, and the president of the Chinese Adopted Siblings Program for Youth, where she created a mentorship program. She is passionate about making the most of her unique position as a Chinese adoptee to create opportunities that increase mutual understanding between the people of America and China.
Jennifer Mayer is dedicated to studying domestic politics in China. With
a Chinese and Political Science double major at Ohio State University, she researched Chinese hukou policy and urban development, attended the Beijing Language and Culture University, and worked for the federal government on China’s infrastructure development. After graduating summa cum laude, Jennifer spent a year in Taiwan on a Fulbright grant, broadening her knowledge of cross-Strait issues. Jennifer is now attending the Masters of Asian Studies program at Georgetown University, for which she wrote a thesis on Chinese labor politics during the economic slowdown. Jennifer has undertaken primary research on human rights at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and multidimensional analysis of China’s rise for the China Power Project at CSIS. She also acts as Editor-in-Chief for the Georgetown Journal of Asian Affairs. Jennifer looks forward to a career advising U.S. policymakers on China’s domestic politics in order to strengthen U.S.-China relations.
FEATURES Vincent Wang is currently the Center Coordinator for the John L.
Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. Vincent co-founded and co-hosts the DC Asia Policy Happy Hour with the mission to connect people interested in Asia policy across think tanks, academic institutions, industries, nonprofits, and agencies. A graduate of UC Berkeley, he worked extensively with the Taiwanese American and Asian American communities while on campus. His commitment to engagement and dialogue stemmed from his work with Strait Talk Berkeley, an organization dedicated to cross-Strait conflict resolution. Having worked for a political action committee, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and the U.S. House of Representatives, Vincent is also familiar with domestic politics at the local, state, and federal level. Vincent has presented his research at the North American Taiwan Studies Association and has written for The Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief and Taiwan’s United Daily News.
Florence Tesha is a Class of 2017 MasterCard Foundation Scholar from
Tanzania majoring in Global Health and Chinese at Duke University. Florence participated in an intensive Mandarin study abroad program in Beijing during her freshman summer. In the fall of 2014, she studied at Duke Kunshan University (DKU), where she was elected as the Secretary of the Kunshan Student’s Ambassador’s Council (KSAC). In her time at KSAC, she led the formation of the constitution for the first DKU Student Government. While in China, Florence carried out research on the factors affecting smoking among the Chinese population, which was published in the North American Chinese-Learning Students’ Anthology. Upon her return to Duke, she was offered a part-time job at the Duke One Health Team, which aims to establish U.S.-China partnership in addressing zoonotic diseases. Currently, Florence is pursuing a senior thesis analyzing China’s global health aid to Tanzania.
David Solomon is Business Advisory Services Manager at the U.S.-China
Business Council in Washington, DC, where he advises U.S. energy and healthcare companies navigating China’s regulatory environment. Collaborating with the United States and Chinese government and industry experts, he advocates cooperative commercial relations between the two countries on climate/clean energy and healthcare access issues. Solomon lived three years in China—studying Mandarin in the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies at Tsinghua University, IES Beijing Language Intensive Program at Beijing Foreign Studies University, and US State Department Critical Language Scholarship Program at Suzhou University—while launching digital communications and loan disbursement platforms for a Beijing-based microfinance firm operating in economically-evolving Western China. Graduating magna cum laude from Skidmore College, he double-majored in Government/International Affairs and minored in Chinese. Solomon strives to establish his own platform, marrying Western industry expertise with Chinese development capabilities to achieve sustainable energy solutions for underserved populations.
J.R. Thornton graduated from Harvard in 2014 where he studied History,
English and Chinese. As a teenager he spent a year living in China, training with the junior national tennis team in Beijing. His experiences with the Beijing team later served as inspiration for his first novel, Beautiful Country. A best seller on its release in China, Beautiful Country was published in the U.S. by Harper Collins in April, 2016. It has received critical acclaim from Mo Yan, the 2012 Nobel Laureate in Literature, and Niall Ferguson who termed it “the quintessential Chimerican novel for the Millennial generation.” A recipient of the LeBaron Russel Briggs Fiction Prize, and a writer in residence fellowship from Beijing Normal University, Thornton was also one of five U-35 young leaders invited by the Asia Society to participate in the inaugural Brussels-Asia Society Dialogue this past summer. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at Tsinghua University as a member of the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars. 18
FEATURES Born and raised in a traditional Mongolian-Manchurian family in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of the PRC, Celine (Yan) Wang has dedicated her studies towards the oft-neglected issues of social justice and rights violations of ethnic minorities in China. As a graduate student at Yale, her interests focus on contentious issues within Chinese politics including Sinicization, ethnic policy and ethnic minority rights. Wang is also passionate about U.S.-China issues in law and public policy, and has deepened her understanding of the American judicial and legislative systems through working as a legal intern at the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and via the Volunteer Lawyer Network. Wang currently works as a Research Fellow at Oyu Tolgoi Watch in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a human rights advocacy NGO, where she works on policy and advocacy strategy and analysis with respect to China-Mongolia energy markets, the Mongolian mining industry, and environmental justice for Mongolian herders.
Lorand Loskai is a researcher, journalist and former debate league director.
Until recently, Lorand worked at Danwei, a research arm of the Financial Times in Beijing, where he provided international companies with research and market intelligence on topics like SOE reform, the corruption drive, and China’s approach to Internet governance. He recently co-authored a chapter on China’s Internet with Jeremy Goldkorn for China Story’s 2015 China Yearbook. Lorand is also a frequent journalist and keeps a close eye on Taiwan, where he originally studied Chinese in 2014. He frequently returns to the island to write stories, most recently to cover Taiwan’s 2016 presidential election. Before working at Danwei, Lorand helped spread American-style debate in China as League Director at the National High School Debate League of China (NHSLDC), which took him to nearly every province of China. He currently sits on the NHSDLC’s Academic Advisory board.
Ariel Hsing was named after the main character in the Disney movie “The
Little Mermaid,” but instead of singing and dancing, she likes to study and play ping pong. In 2009, she was a part of the U.S. delegation that visited China to celebrate the 30th anniversary of U.S.-China diplomatic relations—which was started with, yes, a ping-pong ball! She represented the U.S. at the 2012 London Olympics in table tennis and lost to the eventual gold medalist Li Xiaoxia of China in the round of 32. Despite the loss, Ariel gave herself a 10 out of 10 for performance.In the summer of 2014, Ariel became the first U.S. player to participate in the China Table Tennis Super League. She took this opportunity to introduce American culture to her teammates and also by speaking at high schools. Ariel is now a student at Princeton University studying economics. Her junior independent work explored the global financial crisis and its effects on Chinese stock market anomalies. Ariel is also into music. You can find her “Ping Pong Concerto” China tour composed by Andy Akiho on YouTube.
Zixuan (Sharon) Deng grew up in Wuhan, China, and it was in
Wuhan, aptly and poetically named the “furnace city” because of the scorching summer heat, that Sharon began her life-long endeavor to strengthen the U.S.-China relations by creating platforms that compels people to understand those who seem distant from them. As the director and producer ofParis, Ni Hao, a 40-minute documentary film, she probed the lives of eight first and second-generation Chinese immigrants who must reinvent their identities and lifestyles to thrive in their adoptive city. As president of GCC’s Princeton Chapter, she pioneered the U.S.-China Pen Pal Program, bridging students from two countries. She has also proposed and co-led a trip addressing the challenges that socioeconomically disadvantaged international students face in the pursuit of American higher education. She is currently studying architecture and urban planning at Princeton University, focusing how culture and immigration are transforming the urban landscape.
POLITICS & DIPLOMACY
MAKE EAST ASIA UNSTABLE AGAIN? China Hands editors NICHOLAS WU and YIFU DONG explore the potentially destabilizing effect of president-elect Donald Trumpâ€™s policies on East Asia. Illustration // Zishi Li
POLITICS & DIPLOMACY
s the dust settles after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, this much is certain—Foggy Bottom will not be spared seismic changes. Donald Trump has neither legislative nor governing background, but since the beginning of the campaign, he has proposed a radically different vision of America’s place in the world. Beijing seems to welcome the prospect of a Trump presidency. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, this election meant that “the U.S. political system is faltering.” This American decline, coupled with Trump’s willingness to abandon U.S. commitments around the world, will create room for Beijing to exert its influences. Trump’s East Asia policies on territorial disputes, trade, climate change and nuclear proliferation will involve uncertainties that will probably hurt American credibility and leadership in the region. Regarding the territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas, the president-elect suggested that the U.S. respond economically and militarily against “Chinese adventurism.” It’s still unclear as to how exactly that could work, but it seems Trump believes that he can leverage the two countries’ trade relationship to pressure China into cooling its aggression in the South China Sea. At the same time, he has implied that a U.S.-supported military escalation in the South China Sea will work in the favor of the U.S. in renegotiating its trade relationship with China. This dual approach seems to create a contradiction—American policymakers cannot possibly use trade as leverage over security matters and attempt to use security policy as leverage on trade at the same time. Further complicating this matter, Trump has suggested major revisions of the U.S.-Japan military treaty, framing Japan as a freeloader benefitting from U.S. protection but free from responsibilities to the United States. This decrease in security commitments for one of the strongest American allies in the region will embolden Beijing to enact more aggressive policies towards Japan in trade and on the East China Sea. As promised on the campaign trail, on the first day of his presidency, Trump will label China as a currency manipulator in order to open negotiations over the trade deficit. This act will be a jumping board for countermeasures such as imposing tariffs, instating a zero-tolerance policy on the theft of U.S. intellectual property, and reducing the deficit to prevent China from using U.S. Treasury bonds as leverage against the U.S.. The Trump administration’s unilateral measures threaten to spark a trade war with China, which, like a military scuffle, will likely benefit no one in the end. Trump’s rhetoric on a potential trade war marks the beginning of a openly protectionist phase for American trade. He pledged to renegotiate or withdraw from the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA), repeatedly accusing it with a barrage of negative remarks characteristic of his entire campaign. Trump’s “Contract with the American Voter” has also called for American
withdrawal from negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement with U.S. allies in Latin America, Oceania and Southeast Asia. Many analysts have seen the TPP as a potential rival to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is headed by China and includes Australia, China, India, Russia, and the United Kingdom, among many other countries. The TPP was already on life support before the election, and with Trump accusing it of being a “death blow for American manufacturing,” the deal will almost certainly die. The death of TPP will almost certainly lead to China’s growing presence in global trade amidst increasing American protectionism. Insofar as climate negotiations with China are concerned, Trump believes that the recent U.S.-China climate deal only serves to hamstring American businesses with higher production costs and allows Chinese entrepreneurs to swoop in with lower prices. The U.S.-China climate deal, in which both countries pledged to reduce emissions under the goals set by last year’s Paris Accord, will almost certainly be scrapped or substantially revised. The two countries currently produce 40% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Perhaps the most concerning East Asian issue of a Trump presidency is nuclear proliferation. In a town hall on CNN during the presidential campaign, Trump suggested that if countries like Japan and South Korea possessed nuclear weapons, then there would be less of a burden on the U.S. to protect them from North Korea and China. Trump’s cost-cutting proposal to weaken U.S. military presence in the region could in fact encourage those otherwise peaceful allies to obtain nuclear arms, escalating tensions in East Asia and setting an extremely dangerous precedent for the rest of the world. Trump’s campaign promises certainly warrant a pessimistic projection of what his policies might entail for the future of East Asia. In the meantime, it could be a mistake to base how Trump will govern solely based on his campaign rhetoric. There is hope, though still unsubstantiated, that he will pivot to a more centrist and less iconoclastic position. That said, when Trump was asked in a recent Wall Street Journal interview if his rhetoric on the campaign trail went too far, Trump simply replied, “No, I won.” Scores of Republican foreign policy professionals have publicly declared that they did not support Trump as a candidate and will not support his administration. Therefore, it is possible that actual U.S. policies will be a compromise between Trump’s radical proposals and conventional wisdom within the establishment. Given how this election is gone, no one can reliably predict what the next four years will bring. Nicholas is a junior at Princeton University and the Politics and Diplomacy editor of this magazine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org Yifu is a senior at Yale College and the managing editor of this magazine. Contact him at email@example.com.
POLITICS & DIPLOMACY
BATTLES OF THE
ZHEYAN NI discusses how online battles between Mainland and Taiwanese netizens reflect the growing rift in cross-strait mutual understanding. Illustration // Christina Chi Zhang
uring the past year, Mainland Chinese netizens have been active in boycotting Taiwanese celebrities who cling to their Taiwanese identity as a standalone political or cultural symbol. Both the Chinese government and the general public have exerted pressure over social media on Asian celebrities in the Chinese market. Taiwanese celebrities’ careers became vulnerable to the scrutiny of thousands of patriotic Mainlanders ready to attack perceived disloyalty to the Chinese Communist Party. Several Taiwanese celebrities have been forced to cancel shows or to make public apologies as a result of behaviors misperceived as characterizing the Republic of China as a separate political entity from the People’s Republic of China. One hotly debated case this year involves Chou Tzu-yu, a 16-year-old Taiwanese singer. She was widely criticized and insulted by Mainland netizens simply because she held the Republic of China flag on a Korean TV show. This action was interpreted as a sign of pro-Taiwanese independence and was quickly reported by a Taiwanese leftist activist, Huang An, on Weibo. Chinese TV stations doing business with Chou’s South Korean brokerage firm, JYP, felt pressured and demanded an explanation for her behavior. JYP kept silent. Chinese TV stations then asked for business severance, which JYP again refused. The Chinese smartphone and telecom giant Huawei then cut all its ties with JYP, whose stock value soon plummeted. Repercussions of Chou’s incident extended beyond business matters. On social media, Mainland Chinese felt offended because they interpreted Chou’s act as advocating Taiwan’s independence, while Chou was crassly making money from the Mainland audience at the same time. Many netizens told her to “get out!” On January 15, having endured too much pressure from both JYP and the general public, Chou made an absolute video apology. Reading from a piece of paper with her voice trembling, Chou stated that Taiwan and the Mainland were “one unit” and that she always took pride in her identity as a “Chinese.” However, the connotation of
“Chinese” is ambiguous. “Chinese” (zhongguo ren) could easily be interpreted as ethnically or culturally Chinese instead of politically Mainland Chinese. She emphasized that she felt “deeply ashamed for her past behavior that hurt the feelings of people on the Mainland.” On the other side of the strait, the Taiwanese public was angered by the cyberbullying of Chou. Many believed that the apology was made under duress. Since Chou’s public announcement was made right before the Taiwanese presidential election, a survey found that the video might have affected the decision of about 1.34 million young voters, either by swaying them to vote or changing their votes. Scholars estimate that the incident probably contributed one or two percentage points to President Tsai Ing-wen’s winning margin, a president perceived as more pro-independence than her predecessor Ma Yingjeou. Chou’s predicament is not an isolated case. This July, Taiwanese actor Leon Dai became embroiled in a similar controversy. The Communist Youth League, a training ground for elite positions within the Chinese Communist Party, waged a coordinated social media campaign on Weibo against Dai’s casting in an upcoming Chinese romance No Other Love. The Youth League accused Dai of being a supporter of Taiwanese independence and Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement—political issues of particular consternation for the Chinese Communist Party. Mainland netizens posted over 300,000 comments about the incident on Weibo, with most echoing the Youth League’s accusations. Later, both Dai and members of the film’s production crew made public statements denying that the actor had any political agenda or sympathy for Taiwanese independence. Unlike Chou, Dai was backed by a well-known mainland based film crew and a connected, public relations-savvy Chinese director, Zhao Wei. Dai’s team was believed to have pressured Weibo to remove this incident from the most searched hashtag list, trying to clear “rumors” of his political stance, instead of issuing a public apology. After Dai’s incident, Taiwanese netizens launched a
POLITICS & DIPLOMACY satirical “Apologize to China Contest” on Facebook and gathered thousands of posts from Taiwan, Hong Kong and even Japan—all targets of Chinese patriotic ire. The posts facetiously apologized for enjoying cleaner air, safer food products and more political freedom than Mainlanders. The impact of this campaign reverberated on Mainland social media sites. While some empathized with the campaign’s intentions of revealing fundamental value differences among Mainlanders, Hong Kongers and Taiwanese, many mocked the participants for their arrogance towards the Mainland. Different experiences in the past seven decades are difficult to unite in one grand narrative. While mainland Chinese often stigmatize pro-independence attitudes, the current social media-savvy generation in Taiwan tends to take it as a given reality. One student from National Cheng Kung University
claims that the school’s literature department has seen growing interest in Taiwanese indigenous literature and declining interest in Chinese literature. Jian Xiaoyou, a PhD candidate studying cross-strait relations at National Sun Yet-sen University of Taiwan, opined that “For most younger generations in Taiwan, Taiwan is Taiwan, not Chinese Taiwan, not Taiwan province; there is nothing to be independent of.” The Internet, often perceived as a platform for bringing about consensus and understanding, may instead become a proxy battleground for the two sides. More challenges in cross-strait relations will emerge, and the online chaos around Chou Tzu-yu may be just a beginning. Zheyan is a graduate student studying History at the University of Chicago. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHINA’S NUCLEAR PARADOX, MADE IN
CAMILIA RAZAVI and DANIEL KHALESSI explain the paradox that has kept China from denuclearizing North Korea. Illustration // Kaifeng Wu
t approximately 9:00 a.m. local time on September 9th, 2016, seismologists around the world detected a 5.3-magnitude earthquake in North Korea’s northernmost province near the Chinese border. The US Geological Survey and nuclear weapons experts determined that the seismic activity was the result of a nuclear explosion at Punggye-ri, North Korea’s underground site for its four previous nuclear weapons tests. The 10-kiloton nuclear explosion—North Korea’s largest known test to-date—met swift condemnation from the international community, including China, its long-time ally and largest trading partner. China has served as North Korea’s most important military ally since the beginning of the Korean War. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “China provides North Korea with most of its food and energy supplies and accounts for more than 70 percent of North Korea’s trade volume.” Despite the history of close military and economic relations, China has major concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program. The recent nuclear test has led the international community to zoom in on some of the complexities in relations between the two nations. However, misaligned interests between the U.S. and China over the future of the Korean Peninsula and the dynamics of China’s relationship with the Kim regime
make it challenging for both sides to find a sensible policy outcome. “North Korea believes that China is helping them primarily because it is in China’s self interest to do so,” says Philip Yun, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation that supports initiatives to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. “China doesn’t want a collapse in [North Korea’s] government which could allow U.S. troops to have direct access to the Chinese border—the very reason they fought in the Korean War to begin with.” Further complicating U.S.-China relations, the United States is moving swiftly to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) into South Korea. THAAD is meant to protect South Korea against a possible attack from Pyongyang by intercepting ballistic missiles in their terminal phase of flight. China vehemently opposes THAAD, seeing it as yet another threatening encroachment by the United States in the Korean Peninsula. Following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January and long-range ballistic missile test in February, Chinese leaders criticized North Korea’s actions and advocated for international diplomacy to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. China has generally opposed multilateral 23
POLITICS & DIPLOMACY
economic sanctions against the North Korean regime, believing that crippling sanctions could exponentially increase the probability of the regime’s collapse. Chinese leaders also fear that the North Korean regime’s downfall would inevitably lead to a mass refugee influx across the 1,420-kilometer border between the two countries. American policymakers, however, want China to implement sanctions to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. “It seems increasingly clear that as long as this difference between China and the United States continues, it will only give North Korea more time to advance its nuclear and missile technologies,” says Choe Sang-Hun, a Pulitzer Prize-winning South Korean journalist and expert on U.S.-Korea relations. “If China and the United States want a nuclear-free North Korea, as they have repeatedly said they do, they must first work out a common strategy to 24
achieve that goal.” The rhetoric and actions of Chinese leaders in the aftermath of North Korea’s latest nuclear test, however, suggest they might be considering more stringent policy alternatives. On September 9, Xinhua—the official news agency of the Chinese government—reported that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs believed the nuclear test was “unwise” and contravened United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Moreover, on September 19, President Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met in New York City during the United Nations General Assembly. At the UNSC meeting, the two leaders discussed strengthening cooperation and investigating Liaoning Hongxiang Industrial, a Chinese conglomerate that is allegedly providing financial support to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Although China has not publicly announced its support
POLITICS & DIPLOMACY for greater economic sanctions against North Korea, American and Chinese diplomats are discussing the possibility of a new UNSC sanctions resolution. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. and China are engaging in private negotiations over whether to impose restrictions on North Korea’s energy trade in coal, iron ore, and crude oil. Experts disagree on the next steps the United States should take with North Korea. In a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on October 25, the Director of National Intelligence in the U.S., James R. Clapper Jr., said that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was “a lost cause.” Some experts, however, argue that the United States should engage in diplomatic negotiations with North Korea with clear-cut, sequential priorities—starting with the halting of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program as opposed to its elimination. “We should focus on the future. Get together with China and see what it’s priorities are—such as halting the program, rather than trying to get North Korea to give up the nukes now,” says Dr. Siegfried Hecker, Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Former Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Hecker, who has been invited by North Korea multiple times to visit its nuclear facilities, believes that diplomacy is a feasible option. “The North has given many indications in the past that
it is willing to discuss various limits on its program. The U.S. government should take it up on such proposals,” Dr. Hecker tells China Hands. “Negotiating the elimination of nuclear weapons will take a long time—it will have to be ‘halt, roll back, and eventually eliminate’—that will take many years.” On October 4, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the United Nations should act in a manner “conducive to solving the nuclear problem on the peninsula and maintaining peace and stability.” As of now, however, it is unclear what specific policy prescriptions such a posture would entail. In formulating such a policy, Chinese leaders will have to weigh their concerns regarding the North Korean regime’s stability with the importance of sending a clear and credible signal to the North Korean regime against its nuclear weapons program. Camilia, a UC Berkeley graduate, is an Operations Associate and Executive Assistant to the COO of Ploughshares Fund and a former intern at the White House under the Obama Administration. Contact her at email@example.com. Daniel is Co-Founder and CEO of Fireside. He is an alumnus of the Yenching Academy, Yale’s Masters program in global affairs, and Stanford University. He has worked at the US Mission to the UN and the US Department of Treasury. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE END OF CIVIL SOCIETY? JAYLIA YAN dissects China’s new foreign NGO law and its ramifications for Chinese civil society. Illustration // Zishi Li
new Chinese law has been universally described by world leaders and media as “draconian.” The White House is “deeply concerned;” Amnesty International states that the law would “further smother civil society.” Activists have proclaimed the law as the harbinger of the end of a more liberal growing civil society, which are the institutions and organizations working in citizens’ interests and behalf outside the government and businesses. What is this law? Following months of revision and international censure, Beijing issued legislation governing foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
which takes effect at the beginning of 2017. This law looks to regulate foreign NGOs, pulling them from a legal gray area into the purview and scrutiny of China’s Ministry of Security. The law officially defines a foreign NGO and the areas it is allowed to engage in: economics, education, science, culture, health, sports, environmental protection, and disaster and poverty relief. The law ostensibly bequeaths a clear legal status for foreign NGOs, but with a protected legal status comes government oversight on their every move. Under the law, China’s domestic NGOs cannot receive overseas funding, 25
POLITICS & DIPLOMACY must release information regarding membership, leadership and funding, and deliver public annual work reports. Actions that “endanger China’s national unity” and security, or activities that support and fund religious and political causes are strictly forbidden. Beijing has always maintained a delicate relationship with NGOs, domestic and foreign; the government has been wary of grassroots civilian organizations following the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, so NGOs have only recently begun playing a role in civil society. Since the establishment of the first NGO registered in China, Friends of Nature, in 1994, approximately 500,000 NGOs have registered, and over 1.5 million have operated unofficially. Before the passage of the new foreign NGO law this past spring, experts estimated that the number of registered NGOs would double in upcoming years. Both foreign and domestic NGOs have filled important functions, some of which are even officially designated to them by the government. During the early 2000s, partnerships between an NGO, the Asian Development Bank, and the government were created in the Rural China Poverty Alleviation and Development Program. NGOs were able to access villages previously unreached by federal aid. As Chinese NGO expert Timothy Hildebrandt tells China Hands, NGOs “provide a service that the state needs, and therefore are allowed to exist.” Foreign NGOs enjoy more freedoms by working in a legal gray area, and if careful, are allowed to contend with more controversial issues, such as AIDS and other disease treatment and rights advocacy for women, the LGBT population, and workers. According to William Kirby, T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard, by working in that gray zone, NGOs were able to flourish and pursue “activities that were neither illegal nor fully sanctioned.” This lack of a working definition for an NGO and the essentially non-enforcement of the few regulations allowed for unforeseen freedoms and risks as NGOs became more ingrained in civil society, garnering considerable influence in the relative vacuum of government interference and positive economic growth. In an interview with China Hands, Professor Christopher Hughes of the London School of Economics notes that perhaps Xi Jinping was prompted to call for harsher measures of control and increased internal repression upon his assumption of office in a bid to protect his economic legitimacy amid increasing political strife and decreasing economic growth. Consequently, Chinese officials proposed and amended a draft law which according to Legislative Affairs Commissioner Zhang Yong, would “facilitate the activities of foreign NGOs,” “guarantee the legal rights of foreign NGOs,” and preserve Chinese national security. The governance of the legal gray area can be extremely beneficial—according to Professor Hughes, regulating the NGOs can prevent less scrupulous organizations from taking advantage of the lack of legal restraints. Official NGO status also comes with official benefits—according to Xinhua, NGOs will be able to “enjoy preferential tax policies,” and a clearer 26
legal status. However, Hughes concedes that such regulation is far more reasonable and far less dangerous in a more open society. According to Hildebrandt, by isolating domestic NGOs and institutions, the bill may also allow them to become more meaningful and independent “Fear of Western influence is still there and will always be a part of the way international NGOs are perceived,” he added. The law, especially the clauses limiting foreign donations to local NGOs, may serve to limit dependency and allow Chinese organizations to establish capabilities of that of their foreign counterparts. NGOs are now scrambling to prepare for the new requirements, effective at the beginning of next year. If found in violation of any provisions of the law, tax exemptions and benefits will be cancelled. Violations two years in a row result in the outright ban of the NGO. NGOs centered on issues outside of the permitted purview fear for continued existence. Even well-established NGOs that have long worked in areas of human rights are concerned. The Ford Foundation, the first international NGO to establish an office in China, primarily functions by funding local NGOs, a process that would now be expressly forbidden under the new law. The Ford Foundation declined a request for comment from China Hands. Several NGOs and government organizations have reached out to Timothy Hildebrandt for advice on how to contend with the new law, prompting him to describe the atmosphere of confusion and trepidation. The vague language of the law not only endows the Chinese authorities with tremendous flexibility of enforcement, but also makes it difficult for NGOs to plan for the future other than to enact upcoming “strategic adaptations”. Regardless of an NGO’s focus and its friendliness to the authorities, monumental shifts in how NGOs are run and monitored are inevitable as NGOs transition to a new status quo of control and inquiry. Social discourse regarding sensitive issues will likely be effectively hushed as the groups and even foreign businesses that facilitated work in these areas depart. Chinese civil society has grown in tandem, though not in equal measure, with Chinese economic success. While new restrictions come on the heels of recent economic and leadership crises—could the threat towards civil society trigger further economic consequences? The extent to which the new law begets the cataclysmic changes predicted by activists is unseen—it wholly depends on how thoroughly the law is enforced. As noted by Hildebrandt, despite the new responsibilities entrusted with the Ministry of Security over foreign NGOs, the Ministry’s funding has not increased—the law may be an unfunded mandate, existing only on paper. Regardless, what is certain is that the Chinese authorities are looking to take control of the NGO sector. Jaylia Yan is a junior at Arizona State University, currently studying abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Contact her at email@example.com.
ECONOMICS & BUSINESS
CLOSING THE LOOP: The Rise of Industrial Symbiosis in China LILLIAN CHILDRESS examines the growth of eco-industrial parks and the circular economy in China. Illustration // Zishi Li
hina’s largest sugar refining plant is also its most forward-thinking. Since 1956, the Guitang Group, located in the heart of southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, has slowly evolved from a single refinery to a large industrial park. What makes this industrial park different from the myriad of others in China is that all the factories in the park are working together. Like an interconnected web of symbiotic interactions in an ecosystem, each factory is participating in a complex change of input and output flows, using the waste from one process as the inputs for another, and sharing infrastructure between multiple firms. Today, the Guitang Group is China’s premier example of an eco-industrial park, a new paradigm for organizing co-located factories that uses waste reduction and energy efficiency as its guiding principles. For example, after sugar cane passes through the main refinery, the leftover fibrous stalks—called bagasse—are sent to a pulp plant and then a mill to be turned into paper. Leftover bagasse is sent to an alkali recovery facility to be used as an input for the adjacent cement plant. Initially developed as a profit-gaining mechanism, incorporating firms that used by-products of existing factories was key for the Guitang Group to establish relationships with suppliers and the local government. Today, the State Environmental Protection Agency hails the Guitang Group as a model for eco-industrial parks around the country. By building factories around the original sugar refinery that use locally produced wastes as their principal inputs, the Guitang Group has succeeded in employing thirty percent of the five million residents in the city of Guigang, contributing to one third of the area’s GDP and dramatically reducing emissions of air pollutants. For a country that produces almost a quarter of global manufacturing output, eco-industrial parks like the Guitang Group provide a valuable window into the future for more sustainable and ethical methods of production. The intellectual underpinnings of eco-industrial parks like the Guitang Group began to take shape decades before any physical factory networks were built in China. In 1989,
Robert Frosch and Nicholas Gallopoulos, two researchers at the General Motors Research Laboratory, published their seminal paper “Strategies for Manufacturing,” in which they laid down the intellectual framework for a radically different guiding principal of manufacturing called “industrial ecology.” In order help reduce resource depletion and waste accumulation, Frosch and Gallopoulos suggested that industrial activity should be transformed into a more integrated model involving an industrial ecosystem. “In such a system the consumption of energy and materials is optimized, waste generation is minimized, and the effluents of one process…serve as the raw material for another,” wrote Frosch and Gallopoulos. Over the next few decades, the field of industrial ecology grew to include any academic discipline that uses ecological systems as a tool to optimize and evaluate material and energy flows. Industrial ecology is a marriage of two concepts that have historically been in opposition with one another. Ultimately, industrial ecology is a stepping stone towards a circular economy. This model moves away from the linear logic of putting raw materials in one end of the production cycle and getting waste at the other end. Instead, the circular economy focuses on creating a loop of energy and material flows, where waste is simply recycled as input for a new process. Academics from prestigious Chinese universities like Tsinghua and Fudan are embracing the concept of the circular economy. In a recent address to the Global Research Forum on Sustainability, Production, and Consumption, Professor Zhu Dajian of Tongji University in Shanghai expressed confidence that China is moving towards a circular economy. Suggestions he gave to further this transition included increasing recycling operations in the agriculture and manufacturing industries, making product reuse easier for consumers, and moving towards a more service-based economy. The Guitang Group is not the only eco-industrial park in China — currently over 60 eco-industrial parks have been approved by relevant government ministries. The majority of these are mixed industrial parks, as opposed 27
ECONOMICS & BUSINESS to sectoral industrial parks, such as sugar, mining, or petrochemical industries. However, the number of eco-industrial parks is rather small when compared to a total of around 1560 industrial parks in China. Eco-industrial parks that use industrial symbiosis as their guiding framework of operation are the cornerstones of a circular economy. While many symbioses arose spontaneously out of mutual cooperation among private enterprises, the growth of eco-industrial parks in China has largely been fueled by government planning. There are currently three separate government incentive programs that guide the development of eco-industrial parks. While none of these programs mandates standards for existing parks, voluntary participation is encouraged through promises of government subsidies and assistance from technical experts. The Guitang Group is a prime example of how government intervention can stimulate symbiosis. The city government in Guigang sets a price floor for the amount that the company pays local sugar farmers. This policy helps farmers keep financially afloat through China’s rapid shift towards industry and manufacturing. Additionally, the government mandates these local sugar producers to send their by-products of bagasse and molasses to the Guitang Group for production of paper and alcohol. Of course, challenges still remain for the growth of eco-industrial parks in China. Cooperation with local governments and communities is critical for maintaining interconnection. However, these linkages can be difficult
to forge in a short timespan. More momentum towards sustainable industrial development also needs to be built, either through increasing research funding or training new expertise. Additionally, some developers are wary of the short-term losses of transitioning towards an industrial symbiosis, despite long-term gains. Although the financial gains of industrial symbiosis are difficult to quantify due to the complex nature of both the exchanges themselves and other less tangible added-value benefits, a variety of studies have shown the financial gains due to transitioning to an industrial symbiosis model. One study estimates that that from 2010 to 2013, revenue for the Tianjin Economic Development Area, China’s largest eco-industrial park, experienced a 1,500-fold increase, while carbon dioxide abatement increased by over 400 times. A comprehensive analysis of the amount of money the Guitang Guanxi Group has saved over its history due to industrial symbiosis has not been carried out, but according to estimates, it was able to sell its sugar at a 10-30% premium due to higher quality. As China’s economy continues to grow, it is critical that existing eco-industrial parks continue to be funded and new parks continue to be built. Directing China’s economy towards a more circular flow of materials and energy will not only reduce pollution but also provide a more sustainable foundation for future economic growth. Lillian is a senior at Yale College. Contact her at lillian.g.childress@ yale.edu.
RAYS OF HOPE
SHADOWS OF POVERTY
YUNKE LIU reports on the emerging relationship between the growing solar energy market and poverty alleviation. Illustration // Sonia Ruiz
ocated on the outskirts of Dong’e County in Shandong Province, North Luzhuang village is mired in poverty. While Dong’e thrives from producing ejiao, or donkey-hide gelatin, an expensive ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine for relieving dizziness and insomnia, North Luzhuang is an anachronism with winding, dusty roads, villagers toiling in maize fields, and giant propaganda posters promoting the recently abolished One-Child Policy. Since the Reform and Opening-up in 1978, China has successfully lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty, becoming the first developing country to reach the
United Nations Millennium Development Goal of halving its poverty rate. However, in 2015, according to China’s official poverty line of 2,800 yuan in annual income per capita (approximately $420), there were still more than 70 million rural residents struggling with poverty on a daily basis. Now the Chinese countryside has found an innovative solution for alleviating poverty: solar panels. When Village Party Secretary Yu Shaobin was first deployed to North Luzhuang in 2015, his immediate goal was to improve the lives of almost one-third of the 384 villagers living under two dollars a day. Since then, the sleepy backwater village
ECONOMICS & BUSINESS has experienced some visible changes—Linuo-Ritter Company Limited, a local solar panel supplier, installed five photovoltaic (PV) panels on roofs in January 2016, their shiny surfaces glistening with new hope. “Solar energy has made a huge difference here,” said Yu. The PV panels not only generate enough electricity for household usage, but also bring profit whenever the surplus of electricity is sold to the local branches of the State Grid Corporation. With 1 PV panel generating 450 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per month, the 41 low-income households can see their annual household income increase by 1000 yuan (approximately $150), a 20% spike without any additional manual labor. In the thirteenth Five-Year Plan beginning in 2016, the government aims to combine clean energy with poverty alleviation. The outcome has been promising so far. According to statistics from the National Development and Reform Commission, PV panels installed in rural areas generated 1836 megawatts of electricity in 2015 alone, bringing about 2.26 billion yuan in income for almost 430,000 people living in poverty. This year, the Chinese government plans to raise the annual income of two million individuals in 16 provinces by 3,000 yuan per person (approximately $450). In the next 5 years, policymakers are looking at an overall electricity generation between 10 to 50 gigawatts. Implementation of this policy, however, has proved to be more challenging than originally anticipated. To begin with, distribution of the poverty alleviation budget is ambiguous—the central government allocated a stratospheric 66.1 billion yuan for rural poverty alleviation in 2016, but the proportion of funds channeled into PV panels is unknown. Even for villages like North Luzhuang, where nearly 400,000 yuan has been set aside specifically for the purchase of PV panels by the provincial and local authorities, it still takes painfully long to clear complex administrative procedures, thus hampering the overall effectiveness of such projects. However, solar energy still offers significant promise. Solar has a low carbon footprint and involves minimal manual labor. According to a journalist at Beijing News, local governments are also experimenting with various models of reducing dependency on state funding. Yuexi county in Anhui province is the first in China to run a successful PV poverty alleviation project using public-private partnership (PPP), which eases the financial burden on the local government while capitalizing on private sector technologies and funding. An interconnected system of solar power stations has already been set up in Anhui and 5,000 documented low-income households in the province have seen their income rise. Moreover, China’s National Energy Administration also promised to introduce more checks and balances into the system, with monitoring branches overseeing the installation of PV panels, as well as grid integration and subsidy distribution. Many working in the field of clean energy also point to even more innovative solutions that bode well for the future of solar energy development in rural China. Ms. Tao
Jingyu, a journalist from China Electrical Power News, believes the advent of the recently announced New Energy Comprehensive Insurance Project, an initiative aimed to ease difficulties in financing for solar energy firms, along with recent technological breakthroughs, will bode well for the future of solar energy development. In recent years, thin-film PV panels have replaced more conventional models due to their high flexibility and stellar performance even under rainy or cloudy conditions. Hanergy, a leading renewable energy company in China, has been spearheading research efforts into this niche area and currently has 1,319 patents under its belt. “PV companies in China are increasingly investing in thin-film PV research, and thinfilm PV panels are already being installed on the fragile roofs of greenhouses.” said one Hanergy representative. In Nanping, Fujian Province, a thin-film PV pioneer project is delivering 302 thousand kWh electricity annually, on top of the proportion used for the various aspects of greenhouse operation, ranging from temperature control to lighting. This project alone reduced the emission of 58,180 tons of carbon dioxide in 2015. According to the official Hanergy website, approximately 2.6 million trees must be planted in order to attain the same level of environmental benefits this project brings. In China, PV panels are no longer a luxury found only in upscale urban condominiums; they are also occupying a growing number of flat roofs in the country’s most underdeveloped villages. However, lifting 128,000 poverty-stricken villages like North Luzhuang out of poverty with solar panels is a Herculean task. As the Chinese proverb goes, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” The same can be said for poverty alleviation; only with effective policy implementation and constant technological innovation can such projects truly help rural populations break the cycle of poverty in the long run. Yunke, a native of Jinan, Shandong Province, is a senior at the Dunman High School in Singapore. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECONOMICS & BUSINESS
MELISSA YIN explains the global controversy over China’s Market Economy Status. Illustration // Sonia Ruiz
n 2001, in order to attain World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, China agreed in its WTO accession protocol to be considered a non-market economy (NME) for the purpose of calculating anti-dumping tariffs. In international trade, dumping occurs when an exporter sells a product in foreign countries at a price (known as the export price) below the price at which the same product is sold domestically (known as the normal value of goods). The significance of the NME designation is that in calculating the normal value of goods, the importer can use prices found in a surrogate third country rather than using the domestic selling prices found in the exporting country, as such prices are believed to be artificially low due to government intervention. For example, in determining whether Chinese exporters have committed dumping in the U.S., the U.S. antidumping investigation authority may use the market price in a surrogate country to approximate the normal value, disregarding the actual market price in China. Essentially, if the surrogate country sells a comparable product at a price higher than the price at which the China-exported product is sold in the U.S., then China is at fault for dumping. Therefore, direct consequences of China’s NME status include greater scrutiny and harsher punishment for alleged dumping because the surrogate country’s market price is often higher than China’s. The NME is set to expire on December 11, 2016, fifteen years into China’s WTO membership. China believes it should automatically be granted market economy status (MES), but this demand has remained highly controversial. Why does MES matter so much to China? China is the target of the largest volume of anti-dumping investigations in the world, and Chinese exporters suffer significant financial losses due to the NME status. For example, in a trade dispute over fasteners with the E.U. that eventually
was filed in the WTO Dispute Settlement Body in July 2009, China argued, with some degree of success, against the E.U.’s approach of treating NME exporters. China believed the EU approach had unfairly required exporters to demonstrate they were not linked to the state, thus resulting in heavy financial losses for Chinese exporters. Similar to having the yuan recognized as a World Bank reserve currency, gaining MES status not only helps China financially but also boosts China’s prestige. In its pursuit to be seen as a major economic power, China has long desired to be recognized as a market economy. Following its accession to the WTO, China has often asked for MES recognition by its trading partners as a condition for entering into bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), as is the case in its FTA with Australia in 2005. The main opponents to China’s MES goal are the U.S. and the E.U. The U.S. and the E.U. have frequently used the surrogate country methodology in antidumping investigations against Chinese exports, levying enormous tariffs on China. Under WTO rules, if China is granted MES, then it would be more difficult for the U.S. and the E.U. to levy antidumping duties on Chinese exports. However, the U.S. and the E.U. insist they have established procedures and criteria in their domestic laws for granting MES to trading partners, and that China has yet to comply. Essentially, the U.S. and the E.U. maintain that the expiration of NME does not automatically lead to the granting of MES. On the surface, whether or not expiration of NME automatically leads to MES is a legal issue. Lawyers and scholars are debating the various interpretations of ambivalent WTO statutes, but more importantly, countries use international law to defend their economic and political interests. The U.S. and E.U. have economic incentives not to grant China MES, as they believe China’s marketization is not yet up to par. When China first joined the WTO, the country was
ECONOMICS & BUSINESS
expected to take on structural reforms to become a market economy during the fifteen-year interim period. “Despite the Communist Party’s decision in 2013 to let market forces play a ‘decisive’ role, and despite the continued growth of the private sector in China,” The Economist commented this May regarding China’s NME status, “there has been no fundamental transformation of its economic structure.” Today, China still maintains a strong state sector, subsidizes exporters nationally and locally, and controls currency exchange rate and capital flow. For example, nearly all of China’s steel manufacturers are state-owned, which means steel production receives government subsidies even when it is not profitable. Excess Chinese steel is flooding the global market, and both the U.S. and the E.U. have continuously complained about what they see as China’s unfair advantages—over-capacity and government subsidy. Currently, the U.S. and the E.U. have placed high anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese steel exports compliant with WTO rule. If China receives MES, then other countries can no longer impose such tariffs and will lose considerable tariff revenue. The U.S. and the E.U. are also opposing China’s MES bid for political reasons, as a response to the dissatisfaction within their electorate over the inflow of Chinese imports.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Michael Punke asserted this February that “the mere change of date at the end of the year does not automatically result in a change of status for China.” A nonbinding vote by the European Parliament this May rejected granting China MES, which might prelude a formal decision on the matter. However, the foreign policy risks of refusing China MES are tangible. A refusal might instead present an opportunity for China and a challenge for the U.S. and the E.U. “China is now turning its tactical defeat in achieving recognition as a market economy into an advantage,” a macro analyst commented on investment website Seeking Alpha in August this year. “Without the market economy title, it has abandoned its commitments and the economic burden of playing a leading role in the creation of global economic growth.” With less to lose, China may become a more disruptive actor in global trade. Ultimately, in denying China MES, the U.S. and the E.U. must be careful what they wish for. Melissa graduated from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 2016 and now works at PwC Strategy&, a consulting firm. Contact her at email@example.com.
LIFE & CULTURE
WENBIN GAO offers glimpses into the last years of Kunqu Opera master Zhang Chonghe. Illustration // Zishi Li
LIFE & CULTURE
idely considered as the crown jewel of traditional Chinese opera, Kunqu Opera is now largely alien to China’s younger generations, for most people find its language too archaic and performance techniques too complex. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Tang Xianzu, the author of Mudan Ting (“The Peony Pavilion”), the single greatest masterpiece of Kunqu Opera, but few seem to take notice. It also marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of Zhang Chonghe, a Chinese cultural icon famous for her Kunqu Opera performance and calligraphy. Married to Yale sinologist Hans Frankel, Zhang resided in New Haven for over fifty years. Intellectuals in Mainland China rediscovered Zhang in her late years and wrote abundantly about her in a frantic attempt to preserve the last glimpses of the Chinese traditions she embodied. However, writings about her skills in Kunqu Opera, of which very few videos and recordings have survived, often exaggerate on the brink of fiction. Living in obscurity as an unemployed housewife for most of her life, Zhang assembled a close circle of friends interested in Kunqu Opera and helped found the Yale Kunqu Society, whose members include Chinese immigrants as well as American scholars. I have had the privilege of interviewing Li Liu, resident artist at the Yale Kunqu Opera Society. Founded by Zhang herself, the society has remained for decades as a close-knit group of fewer than ten that meets weekly. A school bus driver by profession, Li is the leader of this tiny group. Li studied Kunqu Opera under Zhang’s guidance for six years, making him the best Chinese flute player on campus. Li recounted details of Zhang’s final years, presenting a forlorn silhouette of the last generation of Chinese literati. Li met Zhang in 2002 when he just arrived in the states from Anhui to accompany his wife for her PhD program. “I met her children at a church in Milford. I am not Christian, but it was customary for Chinese immigrants to hang out at local churches, so we could learn the American way.” For many years, Li worked as an unofficial caretaker at Zhang’s house, first for Hans Frankel, who passed away in 2003, and then for Zhang. “At first Madame Zhang was concerned that I was too young to live at an old lady’s house. She was already in her late eighties. She felt that I might get bored and leave her. So she wanted to teach me Kunqu Opera. She thought it might be interesting to me. I knew nothing about music back then, and it was hard. But I had to learn it because I wanted to obey the wish of my employer”. Li spent the first six months learning one line. He practiced for six hours every day. “Madame Zhang required me to listen to the tapes of other master performers. I am pretty sure that I listened to some songs for more than eight hundred times. In fact when the master Yue Meiti came to visit her, I accompanied Master Yue with my flute. I felt confident because I listened to her tape for
eight hundred times!” Li said he actually did very little as a caretaker. “She wouldn’t even allow me to cook for her. The only thing we did was singing. We would sing all day long and then go to a restaurant.” He recalled. “I practiced the flute diligently. It was impossible to practice it without singing, so Madame Zhang would sing the songs that I was learning at the moment. Our roles got kind of reversed. She was in a sense singing for me.” There were only two things in Zhang’s final years: calligraphy and Kunqu Opera. Li remembered that after Hans had passed away, it became difficult for her to fall asleep at night, so she would practice calligraphy at 4 a.m. in the morning and go to bed during the day. She practiced calligraphy daily until she was 98, when her body couldn’t take it anymore. But even then she still held on to singing, until one month before she died. She died at 101, on June 18th, 2015. In her last years her legs were too weak to walk to her bedroom on the 2nd floor, so she would grab the handrails of the stairs with her right arm and pull herself upstairs. “She could do it because the muscles on her right arm were like steel. They were the result of decades of practicing calligraphy.” After Zhang passed away, many people came looking for her personal correspondences. Some were thrilled by the potential commercial value; others were interested from a historical perspective, for Zhang’s family had connections with many scholars and politicians. Li insisted that all of her letters must be disposed of in private. He also resisted the motion to set up a museum for her. “It was unnecessary. What good would come out of it? I know Madame Zhang would approve of my decisions. She had always wanted to live in peace as a normal person. Besides, her children were not interested in her clichés at all. They couldn’t even speak Chinese anymore.” In a poem, Zhang recounted how she would “entice” her daughter with sweetened Chinese plums to teach her passages from “The Peony Pavilion.” But as soon as she gained independence, the girl broke away from a tradition that she could not possibly identify with. On YouTube, I found the video of a small gathering celebrating Madame Zhang’s one hundredth birthday. The event, traditionally referred to as a yaji, or “elegant forum,” featured the singing of the elderly master who chose a famous passage from Yuzan Ji (“the Story of the Jade Hairpin”): “I listened to her, one word after another, every syllable depressed by sorrow. Beneath her sacred façade, I sense the fleshly longing. Miaochang, your song is so pure and fragile, how can any young man not be broken?” Ironically, Kunqu, an archaic art form, eternalizes longings for youth. In the video, Li was accompanying Zhang with his flute. But in another couple of decades, who will be able to sing to his music? Wenbin is a sophomore at Yale College and an associate editor of this magazine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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HONG KONG, 06/04/16 Photos // YI-LING LIU Text // China Hands Staff
n the night of June 4, an annual ceremony in Hong Kongâ€™s Victoria Park commemorates the Chinese Communist Partyâ€™s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters on Tiananmen Square in 1989. The ritual of demands and slogans, public speeches and candlelight vigil began on the one-year anniversary on June 4, 1990, and continued until today. This year, the organizers say 125,000
showed up for the event, while the police claimed only 21,800 were present. Whatever the numbers, this annual act of remembrance is one of few defiant gestures in the Chinese world against the amnesia Mainland authorities impose upon its own people. Yi-ling is a senior at Yale College and a former editor-in-chief of this magazine. Contact her at email@example.com.
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SHANG SHI reflects on what truly makes the art of Dunhuang timeless. Sketches // Shang Shi
unhuang, located in western China, is an oasis in a desert, a world-famous heritage site of Chinese civilization, and an arena in which academics, businessmen, adventurers and politicians competed for decades in a wild treasure hunt. People see distinct aspects in this intersection of narratives. As an art student, I am supposed to see “art”—the unparalleled artistic achievements of the frescos and statues, the meticulous rendering of color and form, and the unique styles central to China’s traditional cultural identity. Simply knowing what the art is, however, cannot satisfy me. I am more interested in understanding why Dunhuang is the way it is. Shi Xiaoyu, a craftsman living in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), was the only artist who left his name on Dunhuang’s fresco. All other painters were anonymous— they were underclass laborers considered unworthy of remembrance. The concepts of “art” and “artist” are merely modern constructs. So what drove ancient painters to create such breathtaking beauty? As I tried in vain to capture on my sketchbook fragments of the inexplicable beauty around me, I started to realize that something beyond art was behind the mystery of Dunhuang. In the Tang Dynasty, Dunhuang was the second largest city in China, only after the capital Chang’an. Just imagine a Shanghai or Beijing located in the deep hinterlands of the Chinese northwest. The source of Dunhuang’s prosperity
was its pivotal role in Buddhist worship. Kings and lords from the middle of Asia would scramble for the honor of building their own monasteries in the city. Medieval Dunhuang was heaven on earth in the most literal sense. Painters and sculptors were recreating Sukhāvatī on the walls of hundreds of caves. Their inspiration sprang from a devotion to the sacred that has been long lost to the modern world. Immersion in the sacred involves all of a man’s senses: the visual, the aural and the tactile. Images of religious music instruments are preserved on wall paintings. They are the vestiges of a sensually sacred experience, the materialization of the ethereal, the codification of the unspeakable. And then I saw them, not warped in the glory of art, but exposed in a dazzling fuzziness of lazurite blue. They are gods from Cave No. 285: Rain, Wind, Lightning and Thunder. They are running in the clouds. Wild beasts they are, forever fixed on the wall in a nervous tension. Where do they come from? Who created them? Buddhism in its medieval form is dead. Pious mantras no longer reverberate between the walls of desolate caves. Over the past century, Dunhuang has played the complicated role of “cultural heritage.” It was neglected, excavated, dissected, interpreted and reconstructed. When it was rediscovered from centuries of oblivion, it quickly fell prey to controversial excavations conducted by foreign adventurers like Aurel Stein. When the Chinese
LIFE & CULTURE government finally initiated preservation projects, damages were beyond repair. Right now the narrative of Dunhuang studies is still entangled with China‘s “century of humiliation” and is elevated to the physical embodiment of China’s battered national dignity. I stood amidst the roaring winds, gazing upon the distant towers of Mogao Caves, which stood opposite to the grave of Chang Shuhong, one among many who lived and died for the desert. He gave up his burgeoning art career in France and founded the National Dunhuang Academy amid the turmoils of the Sino-Japanese War. The first to number the caves, his numerical system is still in use today. I wonder if Chang had realized that however hard he tried, the sand would eventually take over everything. Faced with the corrosive powers of nature, human efforts are rendered meaningless. And yet he and many others still worked diligently on the mountain of despair and preserved the Dunhuang we can appreciate today. Due to the overburden of tourism, contemporary artists have created replicas of certain caves. The meticulous reproductions are masterpieces in their own right. They not only provide tourists with better experiences in a much more comfortable setting, but also protect original works from the moisture and heat of crowds. Visitors, however, are often dissatisfied with this “fake” experience. They are obsessed with seeing the authentic Dunhuang, which allegedly carries more artistic value. But where is that authenticity? For me, it does not lie in externalities, but exists within ourselves. Piety will only reveal itself in profound silence in which we voluntarily shut down our senses and savor intuitively the mystical connections between the thousand-armed Avalokiteśvara and the Thousand Realms which we inhabit. Ancient sculptors humbled themselves before wood and clay to
create transcendental statues that exceed the explanatory powers of art history. Yet they never even considered themselves to be artists. I see the starry sky above me, drenched in a timeless and yet lively solitude. What is the difference between heaven and earth when stars are humans and humans are stars? Dunhuang possesses a mission that will extend far beyond into the future. The observer’s every twinkle and every smile will eventually acquire a cosmological significance. Shang is a junior at China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Traditional Art Form Questioning the Modern Minds:
ANITA YAN WONG is a specialist in modern and traditional Chinese art. She received her B.A. (Honours) in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and her M.F.A. and M.A. in Digital Photography and Digital Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art. Contact her at email@example.com. “Rorschach”, a series of works inspired by patterns in
nature, conceptually questions individualism in the age of digital art, echoing the German cultural critic Walter Benjamin in his famous essay—The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. This “Rorschach” series offers the viewers a Rorschach test, inviting them to openly question what they see. This invitation asks the viewer to see art with not just the eyes but also the mind. This style of traditional Chinese painting, or guohua, challenges the audience’s
modern minds to appreciate traditional art in digital format. Nowadays, as we display more and more art on screens, we tend to overlook the aura and authenticity of the original works, the smell of ink and the texture of the rice paper. This series is an attempt to bring back the aura in a traditional art form. The subjects of the paintings are chosen for their symbolic meanings, which prompt us to open our minds and think as this traditional art form is reproduced in this magazine as well as on computer screens.
“Message from the black crows” Black crows symbolize xiao, or filial piety, as well as a selfless dedication in Confucianism.
“Message from the clever fruit” Lychee (lizhi) is nearly homophobic to “clever son” (lizi) in Chinese. Thus, this lychee drawing symbolizes fruitfulness and intelligence.
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â€œMessage in the feathersâ€? For most people, birds are a symbol of freedom, but sparrows represent commonness. This is why the beauty and power of sparrows are often taken for granted. This piece showcases the collective power of sparrows, a reminder that we do not have to be big to make a difference.
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“Tiger Skin” In Chinese folklore, the tiger is the king of the wild. The pattern of the tiger skin is present across cultures and is often subject to studies on animal print by psychologists.
“Message from a gentleman” A gentleman with the perfect virtues is firm yet flexible, graceful yet strong. In ancient China, bamboo is seen as the perfect gentleman: it stands upright, and when the storm comes, it bends but doesn’t break. 40
CHINA HANDS interviews JOHN KAMM, founder and executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation, an organization that helps at-risk detainees in China. Illustration // Zishi Li
sell. I’m a businessman,” John Kamm introduced himself as we sat down in the spacious common room of Yale’s Branford College. However, Kamm is no longer a businessman. He is now the executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation, an NGO founded by Kamm that helps China’s most at-risk prison detainees. During his visit to Yale, China Hands interviewed Kamm and asked him about his transition from businessman to human rights activist. When Kamm first set foot in mainland China in 1976, he came as a businessman. As a representative of the National Foreign Trade Council, he made four trips to China before Chairman Mao’s death that September. “1976 was a momentous year,” Kamm recalled. Beside’s Chairman Mao’s death, 1976 also saw the death of Premier Zhou Enlai, the Tangshan earthquake, the end of the Cultural Revolution, and the fall of the Gang of Four. Kamm was one of the first Westerners to witness firsthand the beginning of China’s seismic economic and social transformation. Kamm continued to work in China, as a chemical salesman and representative for the American Chamber of Commerce. He was First Vice President of the American Chamber of Commerce in 1989 when the government cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrators across the country and massacred hundreds of students in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. In the aftermath of the crackdown, the authorities also detained ten thousand protesters. “It certainly changed my life,” Kamm told China Hands, “The reason I got involved with human rights was because of Tiananmen.” To be more specific, the beginning of career as a human rights activist involved a rather fortunate turn of events. In 1990, Kamm was about to testify before Congress that China’s human rights record should not prevent the country from acquiring Most Favored Nation trading status, arguing that granting this status was one way to pressure China to improve its human rights record. Before the trip, Kamm was at a banquet in Hong Kong
where he mentioned the name of an imprisoned young protester to a Beijing representative. The official “reacted negatively” toward Kamm, but within a few months, the young man that Kamm inquired about had been released from prison. “That was just lucky,” Kamm remarked. It was the first time that China had responded to foreign inquiries regarding political prisoners. “It was quite a break from the past.” That incident was the source of what would become the Dui Ha Foundation. “I was told by everybody that China would not release prisoners because of foreign pressure,” Kamm told China Hands, “I was warned: ‘Don’t do this. First of all, you’ll fail. Second of all, your business will be ruined.’ They were wrong.” In 1999, Kamm established the Dui Hua Foundation. Dui hua translates to “dialogue”, and according to the NGO’s website, Dui Hua’s objective is to “seek clemency and better treatment for at-risk detainees through the promotion of universally recognized human rights in a well-informed, mutually respectful dialogue with China.” For Kamm, business was a good preparation for human rights advocacy. Both require what Kamm calls “the Secret of the Five P’s”: preparation, persuasion, patience, persistence, and passion. Perhaps most importantly, building trust and mutual respect with the Chinese authorities has been crucial to Kamm’s successes. Kamm has been able to utilize his special identity as “the man who helped China obtain Most Favored Nation status” and his relationship with a number of senior Chinese officials to help detainees under political persecution. Recently, amid growing pessimism surrounding Beijing’s attitude toward human rights lawyers, Dui Hua managed to help the lawyer and professor Chen Taihe settle down with his wife and children in California following his release from detention. In July 2015, Chinese authorities cracked down on human rights lawyers across China, detaining more than two hundred in one day. Most were released soon after, but some were held for longer periods of time, stretching 41
OPINION to the indefinite. According to Kamm, Chen was the only professor among the group of detainees. Therefore, before President Xi’s state visit to Washington D.C. last September, Kamm suggested that the Chinese government “consider making a gesture in the area of human rights that would attract Obama,” who was formerly a law professor. Kamm drafted a three-page petition to the Chinese government, and Chen’s release and settlement in the United States were granted. When China Hands asked Kamm whether he thought the Chinese authorities disrespected the very human rights that he advocated for, Kamm answered no. He explained that China and the United States have simply
held differing views on issues surrounding civil, economic, cultural, civil, and political liberties. Besides working on sensitive populations such as political and religious prisoners, the Dui Hua foundation also works with China’s Supreme People’s Court on juvenile justice system reform and helps women in prison. Kamm has endured heartbreaking setbacks, but has recovered each time by reflecting on the importance of his work. He now acknowledges his limits but is determined to continue his advocacy in China. “I can’t change China, nor should I expect to. Only the Chinese people can, but you can’t change China if you are in prison. My job is to get people who can change China out of prison.”
WHERE’S THE FUTURE? T
o professors teaching a survey course on China: assign David Shambaugh’s China’s Future and just call it a day. Reading Shambaugh’s short book on China’s future, I was immediately reminded of the extensive coursework on China available here at Yale—what Shambaugh calls the “Big Topic.” From courses like “China in World Politics” and “The Next China” to “China from Mao to Now,” Yale has its fair share of classes whose goal is the same as Shambaugh’s: to evaluate the state of affairs in China, to predict the country’s next developments, and to suggest global repercussions. As a student of U.S.-China relations involved in the China “scene” on campus, I have taken many of these courses. And while reading Shambaugh’s book, I reflected on the many hours I have spent in the last three years of my college education typing away in lecture, writing policy memos, and debating these very topics in discussion sections. How did Shambaugh do in a few chapters what I have spent multiple course credits on? And who did it better? Shambaugh, Professor of Political Science at George Washington University and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, disagrees with many China scholars, including some at Yale, who are optimistic about China’s growth potential. Instead, he predicts a bleak future for the country, representing a recent shift to skepticism towards China’s continuous rise. Disagreeing with conventional wisdom, Shambaugh claims that China does not differ from other post-socialist countries whose economic modernization was tied to political democratization. He argues that China cannot continue its economic development without political and social liberalization, or becoming what Shambaugh calls an “inclusive state.” In order for China’s economy to bypass a certain development ceiling, Chinese institutions
IRENE CHUNG reviews David Shambaugh’s new book China’s Future. Illustration // Catherine Yang
must be facilitative and social actors must enjoy greater autonomy. Shambaugh begins by arguing that if the regime stays on its current course, economic modernization will halt and eventually ruin the Chinese Communist Party, a consequence of “trying to create a modern economy with a pre-modern political system.” To Shambaugh, the political and economic situation of any given country is independent of geopolitical influences, and, in the case of China, the evolution of its politics and economics will determine the country’s continued growth or collapse. Shambaugh corroborates his claims with both quantitative data and qualitative analysis, attempting to put China’s economy into global context. But ultimately, Shambaugh lacks follow-through. His book is organized like a survey course on China, and offers breadth at the expense of convincing argument or analysis. While it provides a wide-ranging overview of the country’s current state of affairs, much like an introductory course syllabus, Shambaugh’s attempt to address every aspect of the Chinese economic and political situation dilutes the strength of his claim. As a result, instead of being comprehensive, he is reductive. Internally, Shambaugh enumerates several pressing challenges facing China’s economy, from the lack of implementation of central policies to a volatile property market to the thriving “shadow banking” economy. Shambaugh offers numerous possible reforms for the Chinese economy, from stimulating personal spending to reforming state-owned enterprises, that seem impossible for the economic behemoth to achieve. Overwhelmed by the volume of things to fix and a lack of prioritization or substantiation, the reader feels that none of Shambaugh’s
suggestions are weighty. Externally, Shambaugh loves to pose grand questions about China’s international role that he cannot meaningfully respond to: What will be the nature of China’s future interactions with the world? How will the country’s external environment impact its internal situation? These are questions that Shambaugh promises to answer, but he quickly skims over crucial issues such as the relationship between China and South Asia in just a few paragraphs. He name-drops the One Belt, One Road initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Bank and never gives the reader a sense of how these position China on the world stage. Shambaugh’s error lies in his ambition: he presents empirical evidence that spans nearly every facet of Chinese politics, society, and economics. In trying to cover so much ground, Shambaugh makes too many assumptions and oversimplifies complex issues. In fact, some parts of his arguments seem to be tautological, as Shambaugh assumes the main argument that he seeks to prove: that China cannot advance economically without political opening-up. Attempting again to be comprehensive, when it comes to predicting changes for China, Shambaugh tries to touch on every possible scenario. He frames his discussion with four possibilities for political systems, from neo-totalitarianism to semi-democracy. Shambaugh compares China to a car approaching a roundabout: the car has four different
exit options but does not know which to take. With such a range of possibilities, the reader is left puzzled at what exactly Shambaugh believes will occur—together, they span the entire gamut of possibility. While this may be an appropriate approach for a classroom setting where the professor helps students form their own opinions, readers cannot help but feel unsatisfied with this laundry list. Shambaugh never eliminates any potential routes for China’s future. Instead, he skirts around concrete conclusions, hedging his assertions, and positing that each is “not a completely unfeasible scenario.” David Shambaugh’s prosaic tone, quick assumptions, and hand-waving predictions create the illusory notion that he offers a well-formulated position on China. While his voice is a valuable one representing a growing cohort of pessimistic China watchers, I think the contents of this book are more appropriate for broad exposure to issues facing China than for gleaning any real conclusions. Professors often hope to keep their personal opinions out of the classroom to create an environment of neutrality. Shambaugh has succeeded in doing this. His book has a strong structure to be a survey course, but for me that is not fully satisfying: I want to come to a book’s final pages agreeing or disagreeing with the author. And to Shambaugh, all I can say is, “So what do you think?” Irene is a senior at Yale College. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEN YEARS YINGXUE WANG reviews the popular and controversial award-winning Hong Kong film Ten Years. Illustration // Catherine Yang
TIMELINE 2014 Sep. 2014 Mar. 2015 Nov. 2015 Dec. 17, 2015 Jan. 17th, 2016 Jan. 22, 2016 Feb. 2016 Mar. 2016 Mar. 9, 2016 Apr. 3, 2016 Mar. 4–Apr. 13, 2016 Apr. 17, 2016 Jun. 30 2016 Jul. 4, 2016
First draft of the script created Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong; script modified Production began Featured at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival Came out in Hong Kong theaters; South China Morning Post calls it “a deeply poignant political satire” and “one of the most thought-provoking local films in years” Won the Film of Merit at the 22nd Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award The Global Times, a nationalist Mainland newspaper, called Ten Years “absurd” and “overly pessimistic.” Pulled from Hong Kong theaters due to pressure from the Chinese government Screening at Hong Kong’s churches, universities, and other public venues Won the Executive Committee Special Award at the 10th Hong Kong Film Director Annual Award Won the Best Film at the 35th Hong Kong Film Awards. Mainland media boycotted broadcasting the ceremony Screened at the Osaka Asian Film Festival Apple’s iTunes Movies and iBooks services were closed down in China due to the availability of Ten Years Screened at the opening of the 18th Taipei Film Festival Premiered in the United States during the New York Asian Film Festival
he dystopian film Ten Years became an instant box-office hit when it came out in Hong Kong at the end of 2015. The movie, split into five episodes, presents a bleak vision of life in Hong Kong one decade from now—a chilling imagining of a future in which the city has lost most of its sovereignty under the suppression of the Chinese central government—and provides valuable insights into perceptions of China at a time of crisis in Hong Kong. Ten Years’ success surprised the movie’s directors, as well as local media—produced on a meager budget of HK$500,000, or around $64,000, the movie even beat out the blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens in box office and brought in revenues roughly twelve times its budget. Within half a year, Ten Years won the award for Best Film at
the prestigious Hong Kong Film Awards, whose ceremony Mainland Chinese television did not broadcast because of Ten Years winning the award. The movie would then go on to be screened around the world, including in Japan, Taiwan, and the United States. Ten Years has attracted widespread public attention because it overtly addresses the tensions between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Hong Kong has had a complicated relationship with China since its return from British colonial rule in 1997, known as the “handover.” While Beijing then promised to govern Hong Kong under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, which guarantees a high level of autonomy and democratic rule in Hong Kong until 2047, in recent years Beijing increasingly tightened its grip on Hong Kong, leading to outbursts of popular protest
OPINION Hong Kong and demands for greater autonomy. Released not long after the Umbrella Movement in 2014, Ten Years caught worldwide attention for its pessimistic message, a vision resonating with many Hong Kongers worried about Beijing’s politics of control. The movie provides multifaceted insight into the tension between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Among the five episodes, two focus on political tensions, dramatized by clandestine scheming, death, and intrigue. In Extras, officials from China’s central government stage a terrorist attack, in which two “innocent” gangsters are killed in an assassination attempt, in order to arouse the public’s fear and rally for the National Security Law in Hong Kong; in Self-Immolator, a student activist and an elderly figure willingly become martyrs for Hong Kong’s independence. These stories take a clear political stance, casting Beijing as the oppressor and Hong Kong as the oppressed. The gangsters are portrayed as instruments of Beijing’s despicable plots, and the self-immolators are Hong Kong’s heroes. Other episodes grapple with changing attitudes among Hong Kong people from an intergenerational perspective. In Season of the End, the two protagonists have a morbid desire and impulse to preserve, believing that ideas will disappear after the people who hold them pass away, perhaps a parable for fading memories of Hong Kong under British rule. In the Hong Kong-China context, their macabre decision to turn a human body into a specimen, by filling a living person with preservatives, serves as a potent warning against forgetfulness and an urgent call for Hong Kongers to actively remember their history. The episode addresses the fear that the younger generation will be susceptible to Beijing’s ideological manipulation—the worry that ten years from now, while those who witnessed the handover or its immediate aftermath might remember Beijing’s promise for Hong Kong autonomy, the younger generation may have become totally indifferent. Local Egg draws attention to issues of social inertia in Hong Kong, illustrating Chinese government-driven tactics that may already be in use to brainwash the younger generation. In this episode, the Chinese government enforces extensive censorship on the usage of words and the circulation of goods in Hong Kong. Selling local eggs is banned, as it requires the designation of “local”. The government sets out to educate the younger generation ideologically through an organization called the Youth Guards. These Youth Guards train students to police the “inappropriate” use of words and actions against the Chinese government, and forbids them to communicate their activities to their parents. As the gap between the generation that remembers and the young grows wider, the movie argues, the very idea of Hong Kong autonomy will eventually die. Seeing through the government’s tactics, a shop owner named Sam warns his son: “Never ever get used to it. It’s precisely because our generation got used to it that you have to live like this now.” Ten Years showcases the deeply personal anxieties of Hong Kongers—questions about Hong Kong’s future are intertwined with the question of Hong Kong identity now. The episode Dialect illustrates the loss of Hong Kong
identity through the demise of its native tongue—Cantonese. In 2025, taxi drivers are required to pass a standardized Mandarin test and have a Mandarin certificate in their vehicle. One taxi driver, Han, is in danger of losing his job because of his inability to pick up Mandarin. He feels increasingly estranged from the people around him and the city that he calls home. At a local restaurant, he has difficulty asking a waitress for his bill because she cannot understand his Cantonese. When Han tries to use speech recognition on the GPS in his taxi, the machine malfunctions due to his poor Mandarin pronunciation. And his wife even forbids him to use Cantonese with his son, who uses only Mandarin for school work. As Han loses his language, he also loses the security he once had as a Hong Kong local, and is forced to redefine his identity. Yet despite the movie’s popularity among Hong Kong’s residents and the attention from both local and international media, how much can it constructively contribute to resolving the conflict between Hong Kong and Mainland or creating a better future for Hong Kong? The film elicited strong emotional responses from many Hong Kongers because it took inspiration directly from the attitudes on the ground. The image of Beijing as conspiratorial and untrustworthy presented in Extras and Self-Immolator fits well with people’s perceptions of China’s tightening grip on the territory in recent years. The fifty years of “One Country, Two Systems” includes a guarantee of fair elections and universal suffrage. However, in 2014, the top Chinese legislative committee stipulated that the people of Hong Kong may only elect their top leader from a select list of candidates pre-screened by the Chinese government. Discontent towards Beijing culminated in a massive protest in 2014, initially organized by a group of Hong Kong students but eventually attracted tens of thousands of residents in the city. People from all walks of life came together and occupied the major streets of the city for days. The protests came to be known as the Umbrella Movement, in which protesters used their umbrellas to shield themselves from the police. Joshua Wong, a prominent student leader of the Umbrella Movement, said during his visit to Yale this April, “We want more. We want a say in our future,” a message echoed by the student activist in Self-Immolator. The idealistic and romantic rhetoric of political activists resonate with the movie’s portrayal of the heroic acts of the self-immolators. Other aspects of the film, such as its warning against the demise of Cantonese, also take their cue from the 2014 protests, but are less convincing. Hong Kong is not the only place where Cantonese is spoken; in fact, people living in the southeast of Mainland China also speak Cantonese. Ever since Mandarin became the country’s official language in 1982, the Chinese government has been promoting Mandarin in the city of Guangzhou to encourage the development of a unified national identity. It has found some success as many schools switched their language of instruction to Mandarin, and most young people speak fluent Mandarin today. Nevertheless, Cantonese is far from
OPINION dead in Guangzhou. In 2010 and 2014, the government tried to switch major Cantonese television programs into Mandarin, but bowed to pressure as people protested in the city. In reality, Cantonese has proven much more resilient than as portrayed in Ten Years, so it is highly unlikely that the authorities will be able to enforce any policy close to those shown in the movie. Dialect again presents the anxiety of Hong Kongers, but the homogenization efforts in the movie exaggerate the extent to which the Chinese government is capable of imposing changes in Hong Kongers’ mother tongue and identity. While such dramatization of real situations effectively evokes positive emotions such as the sense of ownership and pride over one’s native tongue, it also appeals to deeply problematic ones—it can potentially reinforce many stereotypes Hong Kong people have of Mainlanders. In Self-Immolator, the student protester calls the British more civilized than Mainland Chinese. Another character in the same episode maintains that since Hong Kong has been
Implementation of China’s existing National Security Law
Season of the End
Taxidermy, fruitless effort to preserve what people once had
Local Egg 46
Loss of the Cantonese dialect in Hong Kong
Hong Kong independence
Trade protectionism and radicalized youth
exposed to a superior British culture, it can act as a parent to Mainland China by showing them a good example of the fight for democracy. Such details appeal to many Hong Kongers’ sense of superiority, but the reinforcement of this sentiment will only escalate tensions. Ten Years provides viewers with insight into the complications and nuances of the tensions between Hong Kong and Mainland China. The film’s unexpected success signals that its pessimistic message resonates with a significant portion of Hong Kong’s population. In the meantime, however, it builds a narrative contingent upon a sense of moral superiority and may further provoke hostility between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Therefore, as much as the viewers might sympathize with the values conveyed in the movie, it is necessary to see its underlying assumptions and deviation from reality with a critical eye. Yingxue is a senior at Yale College. Contact her at yingxue.wang@yale. edu.
Pro-Beijing political leaders orchestrate a terrorist attack on May Day, 2020. They hired two local gangsters to assassinate the two leaders of the two major political parties in Hong Kong during the day’s celebration. Their goal is to cause mass panic so that the people will submit to Beijing’s authority and support the implementation National Security Law.
After their friend’s house was bulldozed, a couple begin to make everything on the site into specimens. Haunted by what they once had and what they have lost forever, the couple are obsessed with conserving things. As they run out of specimen boxes, the final big project they decide to undertake together is to turn the man’s body into a specimen.
After making Mandarin the only official language of Hong Kong, the Chinese government begins limiting the areas in which non-Mandarin-speaking taxi drivers can pick up passengers. A local taxi driver who failed the National Mandarin Standardized Test witnesses the gradual demise of his mother tongue and feels increasingly estranged from the city he calls home.
Almost 30 years after the transfer of sovereignty, many have grown numb to Beijing’s encroachment of Hong Kong’s sovereignty. Against this general inertia, two exponents of Hong Kong independence shocked the public with their suicidal deaths. A 21-year-old student activist died from a hunger strike in prison and an elderly woman soon committed self-immolation in front of the British Consulate-General. Suddenly, Hong Kong found itself in a heated debate about independence from Beijing.
The last chicken farm in Hong Kong closed for business in 2025. The Youth Guards warned the owner of a grocery shop not to sell local eggs. Unable to persuade his own son from staying away from the Youth Guards, the owner comes to see the full extent of the Chinese government’s control.
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