So this whole Revolution in the Middle East thing is shaping up to be not only a boon to liberal democracy (probably, hopefully, maybe?), but to publicity for good ol’ Wes as well.
Russia expert and Putin-meme connoisseur Peter Rutland (pictured on the right) has an op-ed up in the New York Times presenting the case of why what happened in Egypt and Tunisia will probably not happen in big, fluffy China. His op-ed was written in collaboration with one Orion Lewis, who – aside from having the first name I have now decided to bestow upon my firstborn – is a Government postdoctoral research associate here at Wesleyan. He co-coordinates the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research(PTIR), which as I talked about in an earlier post was started up by Govt. Prof. Erica Chenoweth back in 2008.
Speaking of Prof. Chenoweth, she also has an op-ed up in NYT entitled “Give Peaceful Resistance a Chance,” which provides evidence that nonviolent uprisings actually succeed more often than violent uprisings, even against bat-shit-crazy regimes (see Mumu Gaddafi). She even preempts counterarguments by publishing counter-counterarguments on her personal website, which is pretty damn badass. As you can probably tell by now, I’m something of a Chenoweth fan-boy, and if such bad-assery doesn’t justify my fanboy-dom, I don’t know what kind of bad-assery will.
You can go to that one here, with the counter-counterarguments here.
[Thanks to Shoutbox Poster for the tip!]
I hope you guys are enjoying the break, because I’m here on campus enjoying the cold, cold weather.
You now have a reason to be thankful that Wesleyan doesn’t have a J-term. This past January, Econ professor Philip H. Brown took a bunch of students to China to “examine the economic, political, and social issues associated with China’s rapid growth.” What these students didn’t realize (at least at first), however, was that Brown was examining the bodies of female students with a hidden surveillance camera.
According to the affidavit filed by Armstrong, the allegations surfaced on Jan. 22 when two students were writing a blog post and accidentally deleted the entry. The students attempted to retrieve the blog post from the computer’s trash bin “and found disturbing images of a fellow student.”
The student in the photo, a female, was “nude from the waist down.” […]
[The medicine box] contained a First Aid kit, medicine container and black box, which Brown said “contained necessary information about the trip.” She said that during the first night in the hotel, Brown placed the containers in the bathroom “and insisted that the containers be kept in the bathroom so everybody would know where they were.”
After the female student confirmed that the photo was of her, she and other students searched the bathroom and found a surveillance camera in the black box. They reported the discovery to college officials and sent the image to Armstrong, who was able to confirm the image had come from a surveillance-type camera.
Sure, the American job market is not so hot right now. Luckily, there is China!
Joshua Arjuna Stephens ’07is one of several American college graduates featured in an NY Times article about how China’s surging economy and low cost of living are offering a promising alternative to questionable post-grad employment prospects in this country:
One of those in the latest wave is Joshua Arjuna Stephens, who graduated from Wesleyan University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in American studies. Two years ago, he decided to take a temporary summer position in Shanghai with China Prep, an educational travel company.
“I didn’t know anything about China,” said Mr. Stephens, who worked on market research and program development. “People thought I was nuts to go not speaking the language, but I wanted to do something off the beaten track.”
Two years later, after stints in the nonprofit sector and at a large public relations firm in Beijing, he is highly proficient in Mandarin and works as a manager for XPD Media, a social media company based in Beijing that makes online games.
So there you have it, the new Brooklyn is Shanghai.
Slate compiles a handy guide to potential crises that may or may not erupt in China in the coming weeks, while that nation hosts what will probably be the most interesting Olympics in recent memory even without the threats of festering political unrest ignited by dissident groups, terrorist attacks, suffocating smog, rolling blackouts… or a plague of locusts.
Women’s lacrosse midfielder Jade Scott ’09 is profiled in today’s Hartford Courant in an article on four local athletes of Chinese descent and their thoughts/impressions of the Olympics being held in Beijing. Jade, whose maternal grandparents are both Chinese, is taking it a step further: she’ll be a translator for NBC:
Scott, 21, will serve as a translator and tour guide for NBC, which is broadcasting the Games. She also plans to write her senior project on the economic implications of the Olympics.
She also got a sense of how people feel in China [while studying abroad in China last fall].
“A lot of the people I talked to believe their lives will change [after the Olympics],” she said. “It’s hard to tell right now. They knocked down a lot of the older neighborhoods to make way for newer buildings for the Olympics. It’s interesting. Everybody’s excited for the Olympics and very proud. At the same time, some of the traditions are being pushed aside to make way for new possibilities.”
Majora Carter ’88 was involved in an incident with San Francisco authorities yesterday during the Olympic torch relay ceremony.
Carter, a notable Wesleyan alum and clearly an awesome individual, was selected as a torchbearer for part of the San Francisco relay due to her humanitarian work in New York City. AP:
At least one torchbearer decided to show her support for Tibetan independence during her moment in the spotlight. After being passed the Olympic flame, Majora Carter [’88] pulled out a small Tibetan flag that she had hidden in her shirt sleeve.
“The Chinese security and cops were on me like white on rice, it was no joke,” said Carter, 41, who runs a nonprofit organization in New York. “They pulled me out of the race, and then San Francisco police officers pushed me back into the crowd on the side of the street.”
“Apparently, I’m not part of the Olympic torch-bearing entourage anymore,” Carter quipped.
Carter’s maverick move was the most successful act of defiance in the cat-and-mouse game cops played with the thousands railing against China’s crackdown on dissidents in Tibet and its unwillingness to denounce genocide in Darfur.
[EDIT 5:15 pm] A video of Carter explaining her feelings about the incident:
And another video of Carter speaking at a Free Tibet rally shortly after the incident.
Thanks to Izaak Orlansky for the tip, and Leah Lamb of Current Media for the video!
Toxic children’s toys, dangerous seafood, defective tires, poisonous medicine, incredible amounts of pollution, thousands of shady executions. They’ve killed your pets. They’ve got some weird hybrid of Communism and capitalism and a government rife with corruption. They’re propping up unstable governments in Africa in exchange for their natural resources. And now they’re tracking everything about you. Or, rather, everything about the Chinese in Shenzhen:
Starting this month in a port neighborhood and then spreading across Shenzhen, a city of 12.4 million people, residency cards fitted with powerful computer chips […] will be issued to most citizens.
Data on the chip will include not just the citizen’s name and address but also work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status and landlord’s phone number. Even personal reproductive history will be included, for enforcement of China’s controversial “one child” policy. Plans are being studied to add credit histories, subway travel payments and small purchases charged to the card.
Woohoo, civil rights! Personal freedom! Personal privacy! Communism!
Here’s to hoping the Justice Department (or P-Safe) doesn’t think this experiment is a good idea.