Tag Archives: China

North Korea’s Nucelar Threats are Bogus

In recent months, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has made plenty of threats of a nuclear attack if the United States and its allies — namely, South Korea and the United Nations — don’t ease up on their sanctions against the aspiring nuclear power that is his country. North Korea is still developing its nascent nuclear arsenal and the technology to effectively send nuclear warheads to the United States.

While South Korea, by virtue of their proximity to North Korean missiles, have a reason to worry, (and even then, over 28,000 military American military personnel are stationed there) the U.S. should not even give North Korea the dignity of taking their threats seriously.

Presently, the United States has a national missile defense system that would protect against nuclear missile launches. An attack of thousands of missiles trained on the U.S. may overcome such a defense, but a country with such a small and untested arsenal as North Korea’s would have little chance of getting anything through that system. Even as we speak, the U.S. is spending $1 billion to strengthen the already existent missile defense system in Alaska.

If Kim Jung Un really wanted to hurt the United States, he would have better luck supplying various terrorist groups with dirty (radioactive) bombs and having them detonate within our borders. His threats are less of a declaration of what the North Koreans will do and more of a way to boost morale within his country and to gain some sort of attention in the international community.

Even if, in an unlikely turn of events, Kim Jong Un opts for a nuclear launch, he would have to deal with the United States, South Korea, and the United Nations. Even China, North Korea’s longtime ally, has lost patience with the country. If North Korea’s muscle — that is, China — is cautioning Kim Jong Un to tone down the threats of  nuclear war, one is probably not forthcoming.

The best thing North Korea can hope for at this point is to go back to the negotiation table, talk it out with the other parties involved and hope that the U.N. doesn’t impose even more sanctions on an already struggling, starving, and oppressed country. If North Korea wants to fire a nuclear weapon at the United States or South Korea, the only people to suffer would be the citizens of North and South Korea who would be in danger of a grizzly, existentially destructive repeat of the Korean war.

Developing Story: Ass’t Dean of School of Managment Quits

On September 24, 2012, the San Francisco Chronicle published a story on its website, SFGate, in the Matier & Ross column about the resignation of Dayle Smith, the associate dean of undergraduate studies at the USF School of Management.

Dayle Smith quit her position as associate dean amidst what the Chronicle calls, “USF’s aggressive recruitment of students from China.” Many of these students have trouble speaking English. Smith remains employed as a USF professor.

According to the Matier & Ross column, 781 of the 10,017 students at the University of San Francisco are Chinese national students. In the column, it is noted that Mike Webber, dean of the School of Management, said that the “considerable increase in foreign students this year is not in and of itself a cause for concern.”

In his written statement included in the Chronicle’s column, Webber said, “But given that so many of these students have weak English skills and are disproportionately from one country, we are going to be faced with some unique pedagogical and cultural challenges.” Mike Webber’s comments in the Chronicle also stated that Smith “felt there was a real failure on the part of the university to understand these unique challenges and how they will impact” the business school.

Provost Jennifer E. Turpin, provided a written comment to the Foghorn which stated “USF admitted a smaller percentage of Chinese applicants than we admitted last year, but we increased our requirement in English proficiency. As a direct result of conversations I had with faculty last year, we now require Chinese students to score not only an overall 79 on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), but also to obtain a score of 17 on each sub-area of the test.

These criteria are similar or more strict than those at other universities.” She also said, “The University is rightfully proud of the successes of our Chinese students and grateful to them for the cultural perspectives they bring to campus. USF will continue to recruit internationally and will work to ensure all students are prepared for class.”

As of Monday evening, Dayle Smith has not yet returned Foghorn phone calls for a comment.
The Foghorn will provide more news on this matter as the story progresses.

Chinese Students Ring in Year of the Tiger

Members of the Chinese Student and Scholar Association put on performances and played games to entertain guests and celebrate the Chinese New Year. Photo by Alexander Crook/Foghorn

Dozens of USF students and staff filled Fromm Hall’s Xavier Chapel to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, on Friday, Feb. 19. The festival was organized by the Chinese Student and Scholar Association to welcome the Year of the Tiger.

Visitors were greeted by a festive atmosphere and a night packed with performances and interactive activities. Slotted in among the many performances were a Chinese comic dialogue, musical performances, and a scene from a Chinese legend acted out as a romantic comedy by members of the Chinese Association. Festival attendees participated in a game of name-that-tune and a poetry competition.

Though 2010 officially began on Feb. 14 by the Chinese lunar calendar, the Chinese Association’s festival fell on the sixth day of the 15-day celebration, which culminates in the Lantern Festival. Throughout the evening, the audience was regaled with the origins and traditions of the Chinese New Year.

“The beginning of the Chinese New Year started with the fight against the beast Nien,” the emcee said. According to legend, she explained, Nien would pillage and destroy the villages, killing children and wrecking crops and livestock. After the monster had its fill, it would not return until the start of the next lunar year.

One year, some villagers noticed Nien fleeing from a child dressed in red. From this myth, the tradition of dressing and decorating in red and using firecrackers to celebrate the New Year was born: to keep the monster away.

Though traditions vary regionally, emphasis is placed on community and togetherness. The sharing of food, usually dumplings or rice cakes, and gift giving are both common practices throughout the Chinese community. The Chinese Association’s festival was no different, treating guests to a Chinese dinner and even asking guests to sport name tags to promote conversation. They served their purpose, as there was hardly a silence during the night. A low murmur of chatter punctuated every presentation and camera flashes bounced off of the bright walls of the room as students photographed their friends on stage.

Yue Song, the President of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, was pleased with the vibrant atmosphere of the festival after logging hours of work in the run-up to the celebration.

“We’ve spent a lot of time preparing. Last week, most of the performers were only getting five hours of sleep a night,” he said. “The celebration for the Chinese New Year is for China what Christmas is for the Western cultures,” a comparison that was made time and again. “It is the most important holiday for Chinese people,” Song reiterated.

Song was also impressed by the high level of attendance, joking that most friends “came for the Chinese food.” Song may have been on target with this, as students and faculty alike wandered from Xavier Chapel and into the foyer, finally retiring to the floor with plates buckling under the weight of dumplings and rice.

The majority of attendees, however, were Chinese students, highlighting the booming population of Chinese international students at USF. According to Song, Chinese students make up the largest chunk of the university’s pool of international students, roughly 250 strong.

For Song and the Chinese Association, the support of this student community by USF, a university renowned for its diversity, was very important to the success of the festival, which was the second of its kind in the past three years. Just as important was the support of the university’s president and figurehead, Father Stephen Privett, who was in attendance.

“USF has a large Chinese population, and it’s important to show them how much we appreciate them and how valued their culture is,” Privett said.

Song stressed that the event was not just an event for the Chinese community, pointing out the elements of other cultures in the festival and its modern undertones. Beyond its more traditional aspects, the program featured an appearance by the USF Hawaiian ensemble, a classical piano performance, and a jazz dance choreographed to the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.”

Senior Lina  Calderón-Morin seconded this sentiment, arguing that this recognition of Chinese culture was tantamount to the appreciation of difference as a whole.

“I love Chinese New Year because it’s a celebration of life not just for the Chinese community, but a time when we can share and enjoy the rich diversity of our city and University,” Calderón-Morin said.

The event was co-sponsored by the Center for the Pacific Rim, International Relations, and the Chinese program.

“You Say You Want a Revolution”

“Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot!” Nov. 5 marked the 404th anniversary of the attempt by a group of Catholic conspirators to blow up London’s Parliament and unseat Protestant officials (and the king) who, at the time, were suppressing Britain’s Catholic population. Government officials thwarted the plot in its final days of planning and one if it’s main conspirators, Guy Fawkes, was taken into custody. Consequently, the fifth of November is celebrated in Great Britain as “Guy Fawkes Day,” marking parliament’s circumvention of terrorism. In the following centuries, Fawkes has become something of a revolutionary ideal. Fawkes does represent the individual’s ability to combat corruption in governments.

In more recent history, this Monday Nov. 9 marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1989, the barrier separating democratic West Berlin and Soviet controlled East Berlin was demolished by a large, spontaneous rebellion of East Berlin citizens who refused to continue living with oppression and poverty. The failure of the Soviets to impede the East Berlin rebellion represented the turning point of Soviet control, leading to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union and establishment of democracy in much of Eastern Europe. Twenty years later, the blatant suppression of free speech, press, and travel is nearly unheard of in western countries and the establishment of the European Union seeks to eradicate corruption within European governments.

Both of these anniversaries represent milestones in history when individuals banded together in revolutionary pursuit. This begs the question: What will our generation’s revolution be? Or is it already happening? I believe revolutions, in many forms, are already under way. As we reflect on those of the past, it’s time we acknowledge the revolutions occurring today.

Tehran, Iran: The nation’s capital has spent the last five months in violent uproar as opposition forces protest electoral fraud and government corruption. International investigations into Iran’s presidential election in June shows conclusive evidence that president elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rigged the election. The opposition leaders, specifically western-supported Mir Hussein Moussavi immediately revolted after election results were announced. In the following five months, riots in Tehran have drawn record crowds. Government-sponsored police have resorted to violent suppression of all protests. Despite shootings and releasing of tear gas, Iranians have continued to rebel, demanding government reform.

Washington D.C., United States: Revolutionary action for social reform is taking place across the United States, specifically in the nation’s capital. Revolutionary healthcare reform was brought to the front of American politics after the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. For the first time since President Clinton’s call for reform in 1993, a serious campaign for universal healthcare is underway. The current healthcare bill seeks to grant affordable coverage to American citizens, especially those who have lost employment and/or insurance in the recession. This revolution has the potential to completely change the state of our country’s health. The reform could insure up to 36 million Americans who, at this point, do not have access to any form of healthcare, from chemotherapy to pediatric check-ups.

China: The revolution of totalitarian-capitalism is growing fast. China has the fastest growing economy in the world and is showing no signs of slowing down. In the worldwide recession, China’s economy barely took the hit, continuing nearly normal production rates.

The cultural climate of China remains rooted in communism, while free-market policies have taken hold of the country’s economy. The fiscal revolution defies the boundaries of both capitalism and communism, with the abundance of human capital and thrifty investment aiding China’s pursuit to dominate world markets. Economists are calling China the superpower of the future, and there is little reason to refute these claims.

Revolutions are abundant in today’s society. Guy Fawkes Day and the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall remind us to appreciate revolutions of both the past and present.

Our generation will alter this world drastically. Whether it is Iranian freedom, healthcare reform, major economic transformations, or something yet to occur, our effect on this planet will be undeniable.