Tag Archives: chinese

Independence Movements in China… Story by Alex Chow

“This world will separate after long time united and vice versa.” This is a famous quote from the Records of the Three Kingdoms—a manuscript from a period in China’s history in around 280 B.C.E. It is an undoubtful truth since various parts of the world, including China, have separated and unified along history. Tibet, Uighur and Mongolia used to be foreign enemies of ancient China, until finally they were conquered after long years of wars. With 56 ethnic groups and over 200 dialects, diversity enriches the Chinese culture, yet it also means a heavy burden to unify the whole country.

When it comes to independence movements, there are many different aspects depending on the culture. Many of the messages contrast with the government’s policy towards “inalienable parts of the country’’.

Most of the people in Hong Kong are Hans—they shared much of their same history with mainland China, yet a seed of western culture germinated. Hong Kong was the colony of the British Empire from 1842 until recently in 1997.

Independent Hong Kong?... Many protesters desire ideas such as democracy and free elections
Independent Hong Kong?… Many protesters desire ideas such as democracy and free elections. Photo By: themalaymail

Notions of democracy, capitalism, and freedom became deeply rooted in the city. However, these ideals are often suppressed under the dictatorship of China. While Hong Kong has ten political parties, there is but a one-party system in the mainland China. The conflicts between Hong Kong and China are inevitable due to these contradicting beliefs.

Much of the desire for independence is because China keeps taking benefits from Hong Kong. For example, around a hundred billion HK$ was spend to build a high-speed railway from Hong Kong to China, a project that mainly benefits mainland China.

An attempt to seek democracy  triggered a wave of independent movements, advocated not only by street protesters, but also by legislative councilors. However, many of the councilors were suppressed by the government, either being unfairly removed or even thrown in jail. As a result, the independent movements lost momentum but were not eradicated.

Some claim that Hong Kong can never become independent because of it’s dependence on the mainland. This is only partially true—China will never say yes to the independence of Hong Kong because of the dignity of being a superpower and the financial role of Hong Kong. Hong Kong would also not be admitted to the United Nations since China is one of the five permanent members who can veto admission. China’s global influence means that Hong Kong would inevitably be isolated, should it desire independence.

Autonomous Regions... China has borderlands with independent cultures. Photo by: Wikipedia
Autonomous Regions… China has borderlands with independent cultures. Photo by: Wikipedia

On the other side of China, Tibet was an independent kingdom for centuries before the Mongol conquest. Afterwards, it fell largely under Chinese influence. It achieved autonomy during the chaos in the Chinese Civil War, before the communist forces took over the mainland. In 1950, the PRC invaded Tibet and defeated the Tibetan forces decisively in the Battle of Chamdo.

After the annexation of Tibet, quality of life was greatly improved in the region, though at the price of tightened control from China. It underwent sinification, a process whereby non-Chinese society come under the influence of Chinese culture, particularly Han Chinese norms. Land collectivization led to famines and riots, all suppressed by violence As a result, the Tibetan political leader Dalai Lama fled to India to establish Tibetan Government in Exile. Meanwhile, Tibet is still under the control of China.

Tibetan as an ethnic minority, they have their unique culture and language. Hence, it makes sense for them to possess some autonomy under the government. Nevertheless, China is not going to agree with the pursuit of the independence as others ethnic minorities may follow this example. China will lose to natural access to numerous natural resources in these areas, as well as Tibet’s strategic importance as a buffer region.

The independence movements are likely to go into a dead end since at no point will China gives up these regions to weaken the strength of the country. Catalonia is a good example of the failure of independent movements, an announcement of independence is nothing but a delusion without international support. Still, it is only a pause but not an end as long as it could be a leverage for asking higher autonomy.

Chinese Mathematics Stereotypes?… Story by Alex Chow

‘’Chinese students are geniuses in mathematics”—Is it a stereotype?

If there are Chinese students in your school, people will perceive they are geniuses in mathematics. This is the most trivial stereotype about Chinese, but does it hold any truth?

Here are the statistics: according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which is a standardized test among the globe, when it comes to mathematics Chinese students are always in the top of the academic pile. There are up to 30 percent of students in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan that reached the highest level in math performance.

However, American students are in the bottom, as 25 percent of American students did not reach the PISA baseline for “level 2” in math proficiency. Comparatively only about 10 percent of students in countries such as Canada, Korea, Shanghai, and Singapore, failed to reach that benchmark. Also, there are only two percent of students in America that achieved the top performance.

Mapping IQ... The supposed average IQ of different countries is listed, with China's slightly above the US's. Photo By: Our World in Data.
Mapping IQ… The supposed average IQ of different countries is listed, with China’s slightly above the US’s. Photo By: Our World in Data.

First off, many Chinese have higher intelligence quotient (IQ) than their American counterparts. This is backed by the research of Richard Lynn, a British Professor of Psychology, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish Professor of Political Science, who conducted IQ studies in more than 80 countries. Hong Kong’s citizens have the highest intelligence quotient among the world, at an average of 108, while the average in America is 98. IQ is another possible reason how the current stereotype on Chinese math skills came to be. However, there are known faults in this test, and while it can sometimes accurately gauge proficiency it is not definitive—acquired cultivation also plays a vital role in mathematics.

As you may know, China has a much higher education standard than America. The width and depth of the syllabus of mathematics in China is superior to America. In China, mathematics is a compulsory subject, students have mathematics class nearly every school day. Chinese students have longer time to learn and practice mathematics than American.’’ Practice makes perfect.’’ It may prove that Chinese is not genius, but are hard-workers.

Additionally, the competitive Chinese society boosts the academic results of students. In China, there is a famous saying ,” Knowledge can offer you a new leaf.’’ Chinese people believe that studying in a good college can push them into an upper social class. As a result, there are huge competition for colleges.

Rigorous Testing... National tests in China create a lot more competition than in the US. Photo By: ICEC.
Rigorous Testing… National tests in China create a lot more competition than in the US. Photo By: ICEC.

For example, there are only 18% of students in Hong Kong have a chance to study in colleges. China has the greatest Gini’s coefficient, education is the ladder for people getting rid of poverty. Thus, Chinese students study very hard. On the other hand, there are far less competition in America. There is not a vast gap between blue and white collar workers. Even if students cannot study in colleges, they could still have decent income. Hence, American students have smaller motivation to strike for excellence in academic.

Last , the mindset about studying. The Chinese have a growth mindset while America has a fixed mindset. Growth mindset is all about diligence—in general, Chinese students believe excellence can only be achieved by hard work instead of talent. If they aren’t doing well, they’ll work harder, and they’ll be successful. However, American students tend to believe in talent, if they don’t get a good result at the beginning, usually they will not try to put more effort to improve it as they think themselves are not good at it.

To conclude, Chinese students outperform American students in mathematics is not because they are geniuses, it is because of the work ethic behind the excellence.