Tiger Cub Bites Back

The first post I ever made to this blog involved the Tiger Mom (TM) philosophy, which I consider counterproductive even with regard to the TMs’ goals. Well, in the case of Chinese foreign student Shuping Yang, her TM must now think the word counterproductive is a tragic understatement, for Ms. Yang recently delivered a commencement address at the University of Maryland in which she excoriated the Chinese government for lack of freedom of speech, allowing egregious pollution and so on. “If only I had not allowed her to major in psychology and theater,” her TM must be thinking.

Some of Yang’s fellow Chinese foreign students are livid for her public condemnation of the Homeland. But while some of that is likely due to pressure from the Chinese government, put yourself in their shoes. If you were studying in China and a fellow American student there were to viciously trash the U.S., how would you feel? Only the most tolerant Americans — or the most leftist — would be fully OK with that. And in the case of students from China, who’ve been schooled since age 4 that the Evil West has been persecuting China for 175 years, that goes double.

Over the years, I’ve refused to take sides on China, criticizing the government on some aspects but criticizing the critics on others. Back in the early 1990s, when Congress was considering revoking normal trade status (Most Favored Nation, MFN) from China, I pointed out the hypocrisy. After all, even the U.S. critics admitted that most people in China wanted MFN, so wouldn’t it be a tad hypocritical for Congress to take action against the popular will in China in the name of “democracy”?

On the other hand, I’ve always stated that the Chinese government is sbooting itself in the foot by restricting freedom of speech. So I sympathize with Ms. Yang (and have experienced the pollution problems, though things are improving). But what she doesn’t know is that a week from now, almost none of the people she is trying to reach in the U.S. will remember her. Meanwhile she will have burned her bridges with many people in China, even ones who agree with her. Very sad, a lose-lose situation.

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7 thoughts on “Tiger Cub Bites Back

  1. “But what she doesn’t know is that a week from now, almost none of the people she is trying to reach in the U.S. will remember her. Meanwhile she will have burned her bridges with many people in China, even ones who agree with her. Very sad, a lose-lose situation.”

    Anyone want to bet she applies for asylum instead of heading home?

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  2. that girl is horrible, not just because she trashed her own country but she was flat-out lying. She was from kun ming, one of the cities in China that has the highest air quality. Second, any foreign student which some critical thinking and reasonable mind, if they spend enough time in US, will be able to evaluate good things in US and bad things in US in a fair manner. So not only she is unpatriotic(which I could actually forgive if she indeed values freedom / democracy over anything else including her honor of her nationality), she is very ignorant and wasted her time in US

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    • If things were that clearcut, she would not dare lie about it. Could be that she hasn’t been home for a while.

      I was in Anshun, not too far from Kunming, four or five years ago, and it was the worst air pollution I’d ever seen. Again, it may be much better now.

      In her speech, she discussed a play she was in at her U.S. school, about racism and the 1992 riots in LA. So she recognized that the U.S. has problems too.

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    • Yi Shi, allow me to say what Matloff is too modest to say.

      Your reaction is very similar to many Chinese. This ingrained definition of patriotism that makes no room for the nation’s criticism is flawed. Talking about the very real evils in China does not mean I am unpatriotic. It means my allegiance lies with higher ideals than Ferrari driving CPC kings and the princelings.

      I hope this is something the YouTube trolls, trolling away through a VPN could understand. Maintaining that there is indeed free speech in China while having to work around through a VPN network, because the CPC doesn’t trust your judgement!

      -International Student
      And proud to have experienced Americanness

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  3. I think there’s a significant difference between U.S. citizens trashing America when on foreign soil, vs. students from restrictive countries talking down their own nations when on American turf.

    Remember that any U.S. citizen should feel free to criticize U.S. flaws when at home, without fear of official government reprisal. Hopefully, such criticism would be constructive and not merely bad-mouthing. When a U.S. citizen goes abroad to make such public criticisms, it is almost an insult, considering they were free to make the same statements here and chose not to.

    OTOH, a Chinese (or Iranian, or perhaps Russian) citizen might not be able to speak so openly in their home country about its flaws, and may feel that only in the relative freedom of the U.S. can they hope to do so without penalty.

    However, as you said, going home may not feel so welcome after having done so.

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  4. Being in the arts she was probably trying to make a name for herself before heading home. I doubt that anybody will take her critique seriously in China. After all she is female, in the arts, and obviously brainwashed by the evil empire and it’s evil emperor Trump. She will be able to play the victim or the activist, as the need arises, in two hemispheres.

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