Link of the Day

Over the summer, chinaSMACK, Chinese news and pop culture website, launched a new site called Diaspora @ chinaSMACK. This section features a collection of articles and personal anecdotes by overseas Chinese, exploring issues of culture, society and self-identity, all told from a fresh perspective. Some very thought provoking articles, a couple that warrant a bit of an eye-roll, but still worth the look. For starters, check out I became American and the world kept turning, by a contributor at the blog Hypermodern.



Digital Racism?

Excerpt from article “Beware Social Media’s Dark Side, Scholars Warn Companies“:

Lisa Nakamura, a professor of Asian-American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies virtual communities, argued that new forms of racism are emerging amid the bits and bytes of video games.

For instance, in China large numbers of users began earning actual money playing the fantasy role-playing game Lineage II. They did so by playing for many hours and selling their online loot to people in the United States who did not play as long. Many of the Chinese chose the online role of a female dwarf, a character class in the game that can more easily win treasure on solo missions. Rival players began killing off female dwarfs in the game on sight, often adding anti-Chinese slurs in the chat section of the game as they did, said Ms. Nakamura.

“What happened was that female dwarfs become an unplayable race” in the game, she said. “They basically became a racial minority.”

She also noted a study that found what she called “plain old racism” cropping up in online marketplaces like Craigslist. The study found that when people posted listings on the free classifieds site that showed a black hand holding a product, the final selling price was lower than in an ad for the same product held by a white hand.

Blog Contest Runner-up: The Future of China

Congratulations to Tony Wu, TC ’13, for his submission!


The year 2010 saw China surpassing Japan and becoming the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP – merely one spot away from what most Chinese feel is their country’s inevitable position as the leading global superpower. As the son of two Beijingers, I am proud of how far the nation of my heritage has come since the beginning of Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms in 1978, but China’s growth is fractured.

Annual growth rates have averaged 9% for the last decade, and yet China’s GDP per capita hovers below $4,000, lower than that of Botswana, South Africa, and even Algeria. Corruption spans 15% of the entire economy and the wealthy elite exploit privatization to further perpetuate and widen the socioeconomic gap. Economic liberalization has hardly occurred – the state still has absolute power to censor, prosecute, and kill on a whim. All of these problems thrive behind the mask of China’s status as the poster child of globalization.


There’s no doubt that China wants to assume the helm of world leader. It craves unrivaled global recognition and power that once defined (and perhaps still does) the United States at the dawn of the postmodern age.

China today has the money and might to accomplish great things, but while Chinese leaders complain about the West’s antagonism toward their country’s questionable development, their own behavior, in the words of the The Economist, has “done too little to reassure the outside world that China’s rise is something to be celebrated everywhere.”

For a country with as much to fix as it has gained, China retains a century-old nationalistically defensive attitude against international opinion and desperately needs a lesson in utilizing the soft power that has secured the longevity of the Western World. China is militant in its suppression of domestic transgressions (take Tibet) and hypocritical in its desire for tolerance from the global community – the PRC is openly critical of Western political and cultural standards without being able to stomach reciprocal commentary. The country as a whole seems just as ready to war with the world as it tries to garner respect.

In 2010, China may have become the second richest country on paper, but as an international leader it remains far from exemplary.

Why do Asians all look the same?

All right, obviously, we don’t. I’ve never been too bothered by people who think that though, for one because their own inattention and lack of exposure isn’t my problem, and also because I actually frequently think, “Wow, that person I just saw on the street looks exactly like [acquaintance of the same ethnicity!]!”

But sometimes it does gets a bit old, like when your seminar professor, one of those “hardcore,” demanding types who makes a big show of getting to know each student personally (and also frequently white, male, and over 50 years old in my past experience but I won’t comment on that) constantly calls on you by the name of one of the two other Asian girls (both of whom are from completely different Asian countries) in your class. And vice versa. End personal rant.

Think you would never do such a thing? Try taking the age-old quiz at and see if you really know what Chinese, Korean, and Japanese people look like. And if your score makes you feel like you’ve dishonored your family, perhaps this handy guide can be of use…

By the way, I’m pretty sure I got below average the first time I took that quiz. I guess all these years of watching different Asian dramas have all been for nothing.


Happy Year of the Rabbit, everyone! Well, it’s not technically until tomorrow, but many of the “New Year’s Eve” festivities are just as important, and since Asia is nearly a day ahead of us, many of the celebrations are already under way.

Here’s a look at some related events happening for the occasion: Yale Dining brings forth their annual Chinese Lunar New Year Dinner in Commons on Thursday. On Saturday at 7 pm in Woolsey Hall, the Association of Chinese Scholars at Yale is hosting a Chinese New Year’s performance. Organized primarily by international and graduate students, the event is generally poorly advertised among the undergraduate student body. AASA has tried to bring its cultural groups into the mix as well, with “A Taste of Asia”, an all-you-can-eat food event featuring delicacies from different cultures the following week.

So on this holiday welcoming the arrival of a new spring, enjoy the food, remember to give your families a call, and stay dry!

Karin Chien Reveals Underground Film Industry in China

Submitted by Karmen Cheung MC ’13

The Pierson Master’s Tea with Karin Chien can be described as a funny yet enlightening experience filled with inspiring stories about that start of her career, her work as a distributor of independent films from China and her role as an Asian American independent film producer. After completing college in three years and working in the sub-prime mortgage industry for another two, Chien finally embarked on her career in film. She “swallows her pride” and quit her job for an unpaid internship, where her main responsibilities included sweeping the floors and taking out the trash. However, in the span of six months, she went from being the trash girl to the head of a whole department. A series of fateful events and people have spurred her career and today, she has produced 10 feature length films, won the 2010 Sundance Independent Film Award and become the founder of an entire distribution company.

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Reflections on China-Taiwan Panel

Submitted by Karmen Cheung MC ’13, CASA Political Chair

 We’ve all heard about the China-Taiwan conflict. Taiwan wants independence, China wants to hold on to what they think is rightfully theirs, tempers flare and debates suddenly turn into childish screaming and yelling.  I’ve heard bits and pieces about the conflict but never really took the chance to learn more. Through a panel of three professors, Peter Perdue, Ann-Ping Chin and Pierre Landry, here is what I took away from the panel:

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Panel on Future of U.S.-China Relations on Thursday

The YIRA Speakers Committee cordially invites you to a panel discussing the future of U.S.-China Relations featuring *Ambassador Clark T. Randt*, the longest-serving U.S. Ambassador to China. The panel will also feature *Nancy Massbach*, Director of the Yale-China Association and former Director of Corporate Affairs at the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as *Prof. Jessica Weiss*, an assistant professor of political science. Each of these experts will present their views on the future of U.S.-China Relations.
*2.00 – 3.00 PM*

China-Taiwan Relations Panel on Friday!

PAEC is proud to promote a joint effort by Yale’s Chinese American Students Association and Taiwanese-American Society, China Taiwan Relations Panel featuring Professors Peter Perdue and Annping Chin of Yale’s History Department and Professor Pierre Landry from the Political Science Department. Come learn from the experts about one of this decades-old critical issue facing Asia.

Harry Wu Speaks About Chinese Human Rights Activism at Master’s Tea

Submitted by Molly Ma TD ’13 (AASA PAEC)

Originally posted on

This image is courtesy of

On February 22, Harry Wu, a famous Chinese human rights activist, came to Yale for a Branford Master’s Tea sponsored by CASA. Mr. Wu told his moving story to an audience of 30 to 40 students.

His Life

His father was a banker and his mother was of the landlord class. In 1949, the Communist Party caused a purging of the entire landlord and bourgeoisie classes. At this time, Mr. Wu was still a young student and was not entirely aware of the situation. However, he became aware of the human rights violations committed during the Hundred Flowers/Anti-Rightist Movement, in which the government cracked down on over 1.2 million intellectuals.

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