Summary of “Every Culture Appropriates”

Customs we may think of as immemorially inherent in one culture very often originated in that culture’s own history of empire and domination.
The Chinese dress young Kezia Daum wanted to wear to prom originated in a brutal act of imperialism, but not by any western people.
They have a morality tale to tell, one of Western victimization of non-Western peoples-a victimization so extreme that it is triggered by a Western girl’s purchase of a Chinese dress designed precisely so that Chinese girls could live more like Western girls.
Why not? The would-be culture police build their whole philosophy on a single assumption of extreme chauvinism: that Western culture is universal-indeed the only universal culture.
Western technology, the Western emphasis on individual autonomy and equal human dignity, and even such oddly specific Western practices as death-metal music-the cultural police take all this for granted as thoroughly as a fish takes for granted the water in its fishbowl.
The various coverings voluntarily adopted by some women in North America and Western Europe evolved in societies where 90 percent of the population still agrees that women must obey their husbands at all times.
Their individual decision to wear a traditional garment has already changed that garment’s cultural context and put it to a new and very Western use.
The Western culture of personal autonomy and equal dignity is a precious thing precisely because it is not universal.

The orginal article.

Summary of “White House Considers Restricting Chinese Researchers Over Espionage Fears”

The administration is expected to detail new plans for restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States by the end of May. Congress is also considering giving the United States broader authority to restrict Chinese investments.
The Committee of 100, a group of prominent Chinese-Americans, has denounced government assertions that Chinese professors, scientists and students in the United States may be gathering intelligence for the Chinese government as “Disturbing and prejudicial” and warned that it has overtones of anti-Japanese sentiment that was rampant during World War II.”To target a whole group of people as being subject to greater suspicion, based purely on race and national origin, and in advance of any facts or evidence, goes against the fundamental American ideals of the presumption of innocence, due process and equal protection for all. It also fans the flames of hysteria,” the group said in a statement.
Administration officials have been debating restricting visas offered to Chinese nationals for months as part of the broad package of measures targeting China economically.
If the proposal is approved by the Commerce Department, and ultimately by Mr. Trump, American companies and universities would be required to obtain special licenses for Chinese nationals who have any contact whatsoever with a much wider range of goods – making it harder for Chinese citizens to work on a range of scientific research and product development programs.
The academic community is likely to push back on the administration’s efforts over concerns that tighter controls on Chinese nationals could hurt American universities’ ability to collaborate on cutting-edge research and wind up benefiting China even more.
If the United States makes it harder for aerospace manufacturers, defense contractors and others to employ Chinese nationals, more of these recently trained Chinese graduate students may return to China, taking their skills with them.
Stephen A. Orlins, the president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, said that restricting Chinese researchers would be “Tragic” for American universities.
Even Mr. Smith said he did not support tougher restrictions on Chinese researchers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Prom Dress That Caused a Furor in U.S. Draws Head-Scratching in China”

Far from being critical of Ms. Daum, who is not Chinese, many people in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan proclaimed her choice of the traditional high-necked dress as a victory for Chinese culture.
“From the perspective of a Chinese person, if a foreign woman wears a qipao and thinks she looks pretty, then why shouldn’t she wear it?”.
The uproar surrounding Ms. Daum’s dress prompted many Chinese to reflect on examples of cultural appropriation in their own country.
Others were quick to point out that the qipao, as it is known in China, was introduced by the Manchus, an ethnic minority group from China’s northeast – implying that the garment was itself appropriated by the majority Han Chinese.
In its original form, the dress was worn in a baggy style, mostly by upper-class women during the Qing dynasty, which ruled China for more than 250 years, until 1912.
“To Chinese, it’s not sacred and it’s not that meaningful,” said Hung Huang, a Beijing-based writer and fashion blogger, in an interview.
The uproar surrounding the prom dress highlights America’s growing – and increasingly complex – conversation about race.
After the release of the movie trailer, another diversity issue arose: Several prominent Asian-Americans criticized the filmmakers for casting Matt Damon in the lead role, as one of the leaders of a Chinese army, likening the decision to “Whitewashing.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “China’s Carmakers Want to Dominate World’s Next Era of Driving”

On a bright spring day in Amsterdam, car buffs stepped inside a blacked-out warehouse to nibble on lamb skewers and sip rhubarb cocktails courtesy of Lynk & Co., which was showing off its new hybrid SUV. What seemed like just another launch of a new vehicle was actually something more: the coming-out party for China’s globally ambitious auto industry.
Li is spearheading China’s aspirations to wedge itself among the big three of the global car industry-the U.S., Germany and Japan-so they become the Big Four.
He’s not alone: At least four Chinese carmakers and three Chinese-owned startups-SF Motors Inc., NIO and Byton-plan to sell cars in the U.S. starting next year.
Carmakers may get better visibility of their futures, and those Chinese companies that fear losing sales at home may sense a greater impetus to go abroad. “They are in a better position now than they ever have been,” Anna-Marie Baisden, head of autos research in London with BMI Research, said of Chinese carmakers.
The creeping global influence of China’s industry isn’t limited to getting their wheels on U.S. and European roads.
“China does intend to lead and dominate the electric-vehicle industry.”
China’s knack for speedy adaptation has put the country in a position to lead the auto industry in new technologies, Toyota Motor Corp.’s China Chief Executive Officer Kazuhiro Kobayashi said.
“Developing new-energy vehicles is the only way for China to move from a big automobile country to a powerful automobile hub,” he said when visiting SAIC Motor Corp., a Shanghai government-owned company that partners with GM and Volkswagen in China.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why you’ve never heard of the six Chinese men who survived the Titanic”

That man would be one of six Chinese passengers who survived the Titanic, a little-known fact about the historic disaster that has largely remained untold or distorted, owing to a racially hostile environment toward Chinese people in the West at the turn of the 20th century.
For six Chinese passengers who survived the sinking, their ties to the Titanic have all but vanished.
The New Jersey native, who has lived in China for 22 years, had recently researched the Titanic and come across a brief mention of six Chinese survivors.
The invisibility of the six Chinese survivors is such that, even in China, Jones and Schwankert find themselves telling people: Yes, there were Chinese passengers on the Titanic.
A still from “The Six,” an upcoming documentary about the little-known Chinese survivors of the Titanic.
How the eight men responded as the Titanic began taking on water may never be known.
Even after the Carpathia arrived in New York on April 18, 1912, the troubles for the six Chinese men were not over.
“The one dark spot is the fact that in the bottom of one lifeboat which left the Titanic were found, wedged beneath the seats, the bodies of two dead Chinese coolies and eight living ones,” the article stated.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Five ways China’s past has shaped its present”

The author of one of the most important works chronicling China’s past, in the 1st Century BC, he dared to defend a general who had lost a battle.
He left behind a legacy which has shaped the writing of history in China to this day.
Modern China is much more tolerant of religious practice than in the days of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution – within limits – but past experience makes it cautious about faith-driven movements which could potentially spiral out of control and pose a challenge to the government.
The Taiping rebellion promised to bring a kingdom of heavenly peace to China but actually led to one of the bloodiest civil wars in history, killing as many as 20 million people, according to some accounts.
In 1900, peasant rebels calling themselves Boxers would appear in north China, calling for death to Christian missionaries and converts, the latter being characterised as traitors to China.
Today, on Nanjing Road in that city, you can still see China’s new working and middle class enjoying a wide range of consumer goods as part of China’s contemporary tech-driven economy.
One thing is almost certain – a century from now, China will still be a place of fascination for those who live there and those who live with it, and its rich history will continue to inform its present and future direction.
Prof Rana Mitter is professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford, and is director of the University China Centre.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Chinese Speakers Cut Their Hair Before New Year’s”

English speakers can relish a good pun, and messing around with homophones is a staple of many a clever ad. But Chinese practices take punning to a whole new level-one that reaches deep into a culture where good fortune is persistently courted through positive words and deeds, and misfortune repelled by banishing the negative.
Psycholinguists Michael Yip and Eiling Yee have shared with me their impressions that Chinese speakers are more likely to take pains to clarify the intended meaning of an ambiguous word, even when its meaning should be obvious from the context.
These monosyllables aren’t necessarily stand-alone words, as most words in Chinese are compounds made up of two or more morphemes, each of which is represented by a separate character.
Languages use words to capture reality, and the words we inherit as native speakers might in turn shape our vision of that reality.
Chinese tradition dictates that the words you utter can attract luck-either good or bad-into your life, a tradition that is distilled during New Year celebrations, when all talk of death, disease, or divorce becomes taboo and people shower each other with wishes for good health, wealth, and success.
It would not be surprising to find that words related to luck-and especially to misfortune-fall into the category of attention-grabbing words that Chinese speakers find hard to ignore.
Though no experiments so far have tested this directly, it would provide a neat explanation for why Chinese speakers sidestep certain perfectly ordinary words while being drawn to others, based solely on which emotionally tinged words they sound like.
For example: What does it say about Japanese culture that the language has a special word to describe seeing someone praiseworthy overcoming an obstacle? Do speakers of languages that have a single word for blue and green have trouble distinguishing between these two colors? These questions focus on how languages use words to capture reality and how the words we inherit as native speakers might in turn shape our vision of that reality.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Chinese Speakers Cut Their Hair Before New Year’s”

English speakers can relish a good pun, and messing around with homophones is a staple of many a clever ad. But Chinese practices take punning to a whole new level-one that reaches deep into a culture where good fortune is persistently courted through positive words and deeds, and misfortune repelled by banishing the negative.
Psycholinguists Michael Yip and Eiling Yee have shared with me their impressions that Chinese speakers are more likely to take pains to clarify the intended meaning of an ambiguous word, even when its meaning should be obvious from the context.
These monosyllables aren’t necessarily stand-alone words, as most words in Chinese are compounds made up of two or more morphemes, each of which is represented by a separate character.
Languages use words to capture reality, and the words we inherit as native speakers might in turn shape our vision of that reality.
Chinese tradition dictates that the words you utter can attract luck-either good or bad-into your life, a tradition that is distilled during New Year celebrations, when all talk of death, disease, or divorce becomes taboo and people shower each other with wishes for good health, wealth, and success.
It would not be surprising to find that words related to luck-and especially to misfortune-fall into the category of attention-grabbing words that Chinese speakers find hard to ignore.
Though no experiments so far have tested this directly, it would provide a neat explanation for why Chinese speakers sidestep certain perfectly ordinary words while being drawn to others, based solely on which emotionally tinged words they sound like.
For example: What does it say about Japanese culture that the language has a special word to describe seeing someone praiseworthy overcoming an obstacle? Do speakers of languages that have a single word for blue and green have trouble distinguishing between these two colors? These questions focus on how languages use words to capture reality and how the words we inherit as native speakers might in turn shape our vision of that reality.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Chinese Workers Who Assemble Designer Bags in Tuscany”

Throughout the aughts, Chinese continued to show up in Tuscany.
In the early nineties, a group of Italians who worked in areas with a high concentration of immigrants sent an open letter to the Chinese government, sarcastically demanding citizenship: “We are six hundred honest workers who feel as if we were already citizens of your great country.”
Innocenti, the leather artisan, claimed that “The Chinese don’t even go to the store here. They have a van that goes from factory to factory, selling Band-Aids, tampons, and chicken. And in the back of the van they have a steamer with rice.” The under-the-table cash economy of Prato’s Chinese factories has facilitated tax evasion.
Francesco Xia, a real-estate agent who heads a social organization for young Chinese-Italians, said, “The Chinese feel like the Jews of the thirties. Prato is a city that had a big economic crisis, and now there’s a nouveau-riche class of Chinese driving fancy cars, spending money in restaurants, and dressing in the latest fashions. It’s a very dangerous situation.”
Giovanni Donzelli, a member of the quasi-Fascist Fratelli d’Italia party, who last month was elected a national representative, told me, “The Chinese have their own restaurants and their own banks-even their own police force. You damage the economy twice. Once, because you compete unfairly with the other businesses in the area, and the second time because the money doesn’t go back into the Tuscan economic fabric.” He added that he had once tried to talk with some Chinese parents at his children’s school.
While I was in Tuscany, a Chinese mill owner I’ll call Enrico-most Chinese immigrants adopt Italian first names-permitted me to visit his operation.
A third Chinese proprietor, whom I’ll call Luigi, estimated that more than a hundred Chinese-owned workshops in Tuscany were assembling bags for the famous fashion houses.
Deborah Sarmento, a Pratan who started a tutoring organization for Chinese children whose parents work long hours, views Chinese immigration more philosophically than many of her neighbors: what the Pratans had to do, she said, was embrace what was special in their tradition while also learning from the Chinese.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Disappeared – Foreign Policy”

Powerful businessmen, ex-Chinese Communist Party officials, dissidents, and activists have all been targeted as part of what Western intelligence officials say appears to be a large-scale campaign.
Reached by phone in Australia, he confirms his account of Lan Meng’s rendition, citing numerous conversations about such abductions with Chinese military, intelligence, and diplomatic officials during his tenure at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The number of suspected kidnappings in that country is approaching double digits and includes multiple cases where individuals were beaten or drugged and then dragged onto a boat destined for China, according to former senior U.S. intelligence officials.
The former Canadian official describes Chinese operatives using a “Carrot and stick” approach: Individuals were promised leniency if they agreed to cooperate and return to China, while those who resisted were subjected to escalating threats.
China has formal legal channels to retrieve “Economic fugitives.” According to a former senior U.S. law enforcement official, Chinese officials about three years ago gave their American counterparts a list of U.S.-based individuals they wanted deported to China.
The cases set off what one former intelligence official calls a “Heated” debate among senior U.S. counterintelligence officials about half a decade ago, going all the way up to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
There is greater consensus among U.S. intelligence officials that China has engaged in these extreme pressure campaigns, which include outright threats to individuals or their families, in order to compel U.S.-based Chinese nationals to return.
According to three former officials, the intelligence community is looking at whether Lee’s disclosures led to the arrest, and possible execution, of a U.S. intelligence asset who voluntarily returned to China from the San Francisco area.

The orginal article.