11 juin, 2010

About China

Classé dans : — justeurope @ 8:14
    Last October, the European Union has granted a human rights award to the chinese human rights defender Quinn Gang, which has much displeased China. 

Query whether the European Union is aware ot the reforms in process in China and the new situation it has created. Query also whether the European Union is aware that most human rights in France are not protected by the legal instrument which is named a Constitution.

BRUSSELS, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) — Thirty years of reform and opening up to the outside world have brought about freedom and diversity as well as new challenges to China, a Dutch Sinologist told Xinhua in a recent interview.      »The changes in the past 30 years in such a vast country with such a huge population are truly unprecedented in the world, » said Maghiel van Crevel in fluent Mandarin.    Van Crevel, dean of the Sinologist Institute at Leiden University of the Netherlands, has witnessed the dramatic changes in the past 20 years in China.

    He studied Chinese at China’s prestigious Peking University between 1986 and 1987, and has been visiting China on a regular basis since then, giving lectures and doing research in China.

    The culture shock he got upon his first arrival in Beijing was the shortage of almost everything, he recalled. Van Crevel had to share a poorly equipped dorm with several other international students, at the sacrifice of privacy, which he had enjoyed in the Netherlands.

    The whole building had one telephone, so the concierge had to shout each time to get the attention of the person wanted on the phone, he recalled with a smile.

     »As a matter of fact, the international students had much better housing conditions than the Chinese students. I also visited homes of several Chinese friends. Their housing conditions were even poorer — one could barely turn around in the kitchen. »

    Living conditions in China have improved vastly since then, he said.

    Van Crevel also saw tremendous changes in people’s attitudes. In the 1980s, Chinese universities did not seem to be encouraging contacts between Chinese and international students, he said.

    He felt very uncomfortable with the many restrictions, including a ban on lodging outside the campus. « Now the situation is completely different. Chinese and international students can exchange their ideas freely and the students are allowed to find accommodation elsewhere. »

    Van Crevel, who has been visiting China on an annual basis in recent years, said he now feels quite at ease in China, which was not the case in the past.

    He said the academic circles in China are pretty open now. « Allsorts of ideas are allowed and I can feel the atmosphere of free debate on the Internet, » said the Chinese language and literature professor.

    Back in 1986, his debate in class with the lecturer was seen as a serious « incident » by the university, he said. But today, heated debates are commonplace in classrooms of Chinese colleges, he said.

    Van Crevel noted that there have been profound changes in ethics in China. For example, generation gaps in the 1950s and 1960s were far less evident than in the 1980s and 1990s, he said. The changes are a manifestation of the diversification of social values. However, it is difficult to determine whether these changes are positive or not, he said.

     »People in the past tended to pay more attention to ethics. As a result, social injustice was less a problem than today. Now in restaurants, it is common to see guests shouting at young waitresses, obviously in belief that they are superior. »

    Reform and opening up have brought about progress, but also a wider wealth gap and social injustice, he said.

    In addition, China faces new challenges in terms of social welfares, environment and social order. « When I was at Peking University, people even didn’t have to lock up their bikes when they were parking them. Today, it is a different story. »

    As a Sinologist, Van Crevel feels there is an increasing interest in China by outsiders. In 1986, Peking University had about 400 international students. Now, the number has risen to 3,000. At Leiden, one of the first European universities to teach the Chinese language, 140 students applied for the course in 2007,a record number.

    Despite the increase of interest in China, ordinary Dutch people still know little about the country, he said. « I hope more and more Dutch people will pay attention to China and that my faculty will have more and more students, » said Van Crevel.

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