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Reflections on China
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Working in China, and making friends there, with adults and with some students, has been an unexpected treasure, late in my career.  Turning 70 in May 2012, making two trips a year these past few years, has been an intensely personal and a peak professional experience, leading to deep reflections and soaring emotions. 
I had other opportunities, at earlier ages, in Europe, Nicaragua, and Japan, but did not act for various reasons.  Traveling and working in Hong Kong, and then in Mainland China, has captured me, and helped me see my country, and the world with new eyes, and is altering my 'mental models' in what I feel are productive ways....I am really grateful to all who make it possible....

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared....Buddha

If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.
Chinese Proverb

China is headed to become the largest English-speaking country in the world.  It has more 'gifted' children that the US has children.....and, with recent economic gains, has a higher rate of diabetes than the US.....

China & The United States

Harmony vs Individual Freedom
Effort vs  Intelligence
Respect for Age / Youth Seeking Culture
Respect for Past / Future Oriented
Respect for Past Thinkers & Researchers / Require 'Current' Research
Value Learning / Favor Consistency
('Cross the river by feeling the stones' / Ridicule those who change their minds )
Practicality vs Ideological purity
The Good Earth / Grapes of Wrath
Mao / Nixon - both did much good,
both did much damage to their countries
Censorship / Freedom of Speech
? 240 days of school each year / 180 days of school each year ??
? % 2-3-4 year-olds in formal school - comparison ??
? Average teacher salary ??
Religious Tolerance vs Religious Intolerance
Martial Arts vs Pop Warner Football for young Boys (head injuries?)
Forgiveness vs Retribution
Small homes or Apartments /Larger detached homes
Immigration? Both ways?
Isolation from world problems?
Gun Control?
Slavery - both, in history
Incarceration - Average (China) vs US (more people in 'correctional supervision' in America than were in the Gul
ag Archipelago under Stalin, more black men in the criminal-justice system than were in slavery)  Jan 30, 2012 New Yorker
Confucius Says vs Poor Richard's Almanac 

The China Conundrum

Corruption In America - (Hong Kong prior approval of top candidates by few people in Beijing is about like the few people & wealth controlling the party nominations in the US!

Intellectual Property Dispute - In the past there was no private property in China, and all ideas belnged to the State.

Diabetes in China and the US

China & Russia....Perestroika w/o Glastnost ?  Perestroika and Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms have similar origins but very different effects on their respective countries' economies. Both efforts occurred in large communist countries attempting to modernize their economies, but while China's GDP has grown consistently since the late 1980s (albeit from a much lower level), national GDP in the USSR and in many of its successor states fell precipitously throughout the 1990s.[8][citation needed] Gorbachev's reforms were largely a top-down attempt at reform, and maintained many of the macroeconomic aspects of the command economy (including price controls, inconvertibility of the ruble, exclusion of private property ownership, and the government monopoly over most means of production).

Reform was largely focused on industry and on cooperatives, and a limited role was given to the development of foreign investment and international trade. Factory managers were expected to meet state demands for goods, but to find their own funding. Perestroika reforms went far enough to create new bottlenecks in the Soviet economy, but arguably did not go far enough to effectively streamline it.

Chinese economic reform was, by contrast, a bottom-up attempt at reform, focusing on light industry and agriculture (namely allowing peasants to sell produce grown on private holdings at market prices). Economic reforms were fostered through the development of "Special Economic Zones", designed for export and to attract foreign investment, municipally managed Township and Village Enterprises and a "dual pricing" system leading to the steady phasing out of state-dictated prices. Greater latitude was given to managers of state-owned factories, while capital was made available to them through a reformed banking system and through fiscal policies (in contrast to the fiscal anarchy and fall in revenue experienced by the Soviet government during perestroika).

Another fundamental difference is that where perestroika was accompanied by greater political freedoms under Gorbachev's glasnost policies, Chinese economic reform has been accompanied by continued authoritarian rule and a suppression of political dissidents, most notably at Tiananmen Square.

Another difference is that Soviet Union faced strong secession threats from their ethnic regions, while China faced arguably less. Gorbachev's extension of regional autonomy only fueled existing ethnic/regional tension, while Deng's reforms did not alter the tight grip of the central government on any autonomous regions.


More on Perestroika & Glastnost

The Middle Kingdom & American Exceptionalism

Economic Comparisons.....Plus Video of Parody of Gangnam Style & Rich / Poor Gaps

Middle Kingdom: The Center of Civilization

American Exceptionalism: The First New Nation

A conflict has arisen: On the one hand, they're pushing for the building of a commercial industry, but on the other hand they wonder if this commercialization has led to an overall decline in cultural quality and moral cultivation, said Yin Hong, a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing who studies television.... "senior officials began growing more worried about social morality, so they steered the policy toward the control of culture. Regarding television specifically, he said, many old comrades frequently complained about entertainment shows and the idolizing of celebrities. China TV Grows Racy, and Gets a Chaperon EDWARD WONG in the NY Times

Chinese College Students in America get a Negative Impression

Chinese College Students in America - Difficulties With English

The Chinese tend to favor the American education system. NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote about this paradox: Chinese themselves are far less impressed by their school system. Almost every time I try to interview a Chinese about the system here, I hear grousing rather than praise. Many Chinese complain scathingly that their system kills independent thought and creativity, and they envy the American system for nurturing self-reliance and for trying to make learning exciting and not just a chore. [ The New York Times Chinas Winning Schools? Jan. 15, 2011 ] More.....

Values Clash Within China - WSJ


Little Red Flowers -

The Red Scarf Girl

South China Morning Post - March 1, 2014

China and the United States have accused each other of human rights abuses in an annual tit-for-tat exchange of criticism.

In the China section of its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013, the US said China remained "an authoritarian state" despite the abolition of the notorious system of re-education through labour and a change to the one-child policy.

"Repression and coercion, particularly against organisations and individuals involved in civil and political rights advocacy and public interest issues, ethnic minorities, and law firms that took on sensitive cases, were routine," the report said.

Officials increasingly harassed and intimidated families and associates of rights defenders, it said. Individuals and groups regarded as politically sensitive still faced restrictions on their freedom to assemble, practise religion and travel, the report said.

[Beijing engaged in the] severe repression of Tibet's unique heritage

Authorities also used extra-legal measures such as enforced disappearance and strict house arrest, not just on suspects but also their family members, to prevent public expression of independent opinions, it said. Officials also used new methods to censor the internet and targeted popular bloggers, it said.

The report listed other abuses including executions without due process, arbitrary detention, torture and coerced confessions, and detention and harassment of lawyers, writers and dissidents who tried to express views legally .

It noted "severe official repression" of the freedoms of speech, religion, association and assembly in Xinjiang and Tibet.

The report said the government's respect for human rights in Tibet "remained poor" last year and said it engaged in the "severe repression of Tibet's unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage".

It also accused the government of vilifying Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama and noted at least 26 reported self-immolations by Tibetan laypersons, monks, and nuns last year.

In response, China's State Council Information Office yesterday issued its own report on the US' handling of human rights, accusing Washington of "posing as the world judge of human rights" but "carefully concealing and avoiding mentioning its own human rights problems," Xinhua said.

The report denounced US drone strikes overseas that caused "heavy civilian casualties" and accused the National Security Agency of spying at home andabroad.

It also condemned "rampant gun violence" in the US and said it failed to ratify or participate in several UN conventions on human rights, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Additional reporting by Teddy Ng

Taoism, Buddhism & Confucianism

Yin - Yang

Laozi (Chinese: 老子; pinyin: Lǎozǐ; Wade–Giles: Lao Tzu; also romanized as Lao Tse, Lao Tu, Lao-Tsu, Laotze, Laosi, Laocius, and other variations) was a mystic philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching (often simply referred to as Laozi).[1] His association with the Tao Te Ching has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of Taoism (pronounced as "Daoism"). He is also revered as a deity in most religious forms of Taoist philosophy, which often refers to Laozi as Taishang Laojun, or "One of the Three Pure Ones".

Laozi is an honorific title. Lao () means "venerable" or "old", such as modern Mandarin laoshi (老师), "teacher". Zi (), Wade-Giles transliteration tzu, in this context is typically translated "master". Zi was used in ancient China as an honorific suffix, indicating "Master", or "Sir". In popular biographies, Laozi's given name was Er, his surname was Li (forming Li Er, ) and his courtesy name was Boyang. Dan is a posthumous name given to Laozi, and he is sometimes referred to as Li Dan ().[2][3][4]

According to Chinese traditions, Laozi lived in the 6th century BCE. Historians variously contend that Laozi is a synthesis of multiple historical figures, that he is a mythical figure, or that he actually lived in the 5th-4th century BCE, concurrent with the Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States Period.[5]

A central figure in Chinese culture, both nobility and common people claim Laozi in their lineage. He was honored as an ancestor of the Tang imperial family, and was granted the title Taishang xuanyuan huangdi, meaning "Supreme Mysterious and Primordial Emperor". Xuanyuan and Huangdi are also, respectively, the personal and proper names of the Yellow Emperor.[6][7][8] Throughout history, Laozi's work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements.

Rise of Taoism - NY Times Magazine


The Three Jewels, or Three Treasures, (Chinese: 三寶; pinyin: sānbǎo; Wade-Giles: san-pao) are basic virtues in Taoism. The Three Jewels are compassion, moderation, and humility. They are also translated as kindness, simplicity (or the absence of excess), and modesty. Arthur Waley describes them as "[t]he three rules that formed the practical, political side of the author's teaching". He correlated the Three Treasures with "abstention from aggressive war and capital punishment", "absolute simplicity of living", and "refusal to assert active authority".[52]

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