Te-Ping Chen writes: China has long struggled with the question of how to build world-class universities that encourage creativity and innovation. This week, that challenge was again in the spotlight after Shanghai’s prestigious Fudan University – one of the country’s best schools – pulled a glossy promotional video from its website, following a public outcry over allegations of plagiarism.
Posted earlier this week, the video bears a striking resemblance to the University of Tokyo’s official promotional video, “Explorer,” which was released last year. In it, an astronaut walks through campus and the city of Tokyo, narrating in English in a contemplative voice.
“I took this city as an explorer, ate with strangers from the same bowl, laughed, partied together, became a family,” the astronaut intones in English, as the video shows footage of her busting various moves on a laser beam-lit dance floor. The video culminates with a shot of the main character removing her white helmet to reveal a woman identified as astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, class of 1993.
Fudan University’s film follows a similar arc, with the main character dressed in a flight suit and shown partying on a dance floor. When she whips off her helmet at the end of the video, it is revealed that she is Le Yafei, class of 2009 and a flight test engineer.
Social media users were quick to mock the video, which the university explained earlier this week was produced in English in keeping with its increasingly internationalized campus. Read the rest of this entry »
Gandhi was assassinated on this day in 1948, a shocking and dispiriting event covered by media all across the world, including a mournful Nation. But perhaps more interesting to read today is this article from our issue of May 6, 1897, “East Indians in South Africa,” written by Alfred Webb, an Irish MP and an early president of the Indian National Congress.
According to the historian Ramachandra Guha, this is the first mention of Gandhi ever to appear in the American press.
The population of India increases rapidly and encroaches upon the means of subsistence. South Africa is the nearest outlet for emigration. The climate is congenial; and thither numbers of Indians have repaired…. While all were at first welcomed as helpful toward the development of the country, all alike have been subjected to disabilities by color prejudice and by law…. M.K. Gandhi, a Hindu barrister, long resident in South Africa, returned to India to arouse public interest in the subject. His address at Bombay, last September, has been published…Mr. Gandhi says: “The general feeling throughout South Africa is that of hatred towards the Indians, encouraged by the newspapers and connived at, even countenanced, by the legislators…(read more)
We can survive cranks, but not a criminal government.
For NRO, Kevin D. Williamson writes: Cliven Bundy’s racial rhetoric is indefensible, and it has inspired a lot of half-bright commentary from the left today directed at your favorite correspondent, mostly variations on this theme: Don’t you feel stupid for having compared him to Mohandas Gandhi?
Short version: No. There is a time to break the law, and the fact that the law is against you does not mean that justice is against you. The law was against Washington and Martin Luther King Jr., too. That does not mean that what is transpiring in Nevada is the American Revolution or the civil-rights movement; it means that there is a time to break the law. As I wrote, “Cliven Bundy may very well be a nut job, but one thing is for sure: The federal government wouldn’t treat a tortoise the way it has treated him.”
Critics on the left, being an ignorant bunch, may be unaware of the fact, but the example of Mohandas Gandhi is here particularly apt, given that the great man had some pretty creepy ideas about everything from race to homosexuality, for example writing that blacks aspired to nothing more than passing their time in “indolence and nakedness,” objecting to blacks’ being housed in Indian neighborhoods, etc. Americans, many of whom seem to believe that Mr. Gandhi’s first name was “Mahatma,” generally confuse the Indian historical figure, a man whose biography contains some complexity, with the relatively straightforward character from the Richard Attenborough movie. We remember Gandhi and admire him because he was right about the thing most closely associated with him. In the same way, there is more to the life of Thomas Jefferson than his having been a slave owner. The question of standing in opposition to a domineering federal government that acts as the absentee landlord for nine-tenths of the state of Nevada is only incidentally related to Cliven Bundy’s having backward views about race. Mr. Bundy’s remarks reflect poorly on the man, not on the issue with which the man is associated. Read the rest of this entry »