Last Thursday, just in time for Chinese new year, President Obama unveiled new directives that would make it easier for tourists from countries like China and Brazil to visit the United States.
In a speech delivered from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the President announced:
I’m directing the State Department to accelerate our ability to process visas by 40 percent in China and in Brazil this year.
Charles Bennett, minister counselor for consular affairs of the US embassy in Beijing, told China Daily earlier that 50 more American staff members will be deployed to the embassy and US consulates in China this year.
In addition, more interview windows and buildings will be built and the embassy is considering allowing people to arrange an interview date as early as two days after he applied, he said.
But don’t be fooled. Despite the bilateral enthusiasm surrounding these new initiates, the push to expedite visas for Chinese nationals has less to do with improving Sino-US relations than one thing: cold hard cash.
I’ve been reading a lot about the British riots, including a post by fellow contributor Monica Tan, and I feel like most of the discussion is missing the point.
The funny thing about crowd psychology that most people miss is the concept of diffusion of responsibility. Basically, it means that the more people there are, the less responsibility each of them feels for what is going on. It’s a simple but powerful theory that helps to explain behavior that might otherwise signify the end of morality—most notably the murder of Kitty Genovese. Thus, individually, each rioter feels little responsibility for the actions of their neighbors or for their own actions. After all, if you are just one of a dozen people taking things from a shop, and you weren’t the first to take it, then it’s not really your fault. Besides, if you don’t take it, someone else will.
In reading Zoe Williams’ excellent Guardian piece on the psychology of looting, in which she analyzes the significance of London rioters doing away with consumer retail products, I was reminded of a vaguely analogous story in China, of a 17-year-old boy who sold his kidney to buy an iPad 2. Both stories seem to illustrate the extremities to which consumerism has driven us.
There is a battle raging in Hollywood, and it’s getting ugly. The explosive growth of the Netflix customer base, which now has more than 24 million subscribers (more than any individual cable channel), has seen the Los Gatos, CA based company morph, in last ten years, from an under-the-radar DVD rental service into the distributor of movies online.
Shortly after Google’s social networking platform, Google+, was launched on June 28, reports sprung up of it being blocked by the Chinese government. On June 30, The Guardian used two sites (Great Firewall of China and Just Ping) to ping plus.google.com from a Chinese server and, after failing to reach the site, concluded that the government [...]
On Monday Radar Online released X-rated Facebook transcripts between New York Representative Anthony Weiner and Las Vegas blackjack dealer Lisa Weiss. Everyone paying attention to the news should be aware of the details of this political sex scandal so I won’t go into them. Weiner’s confession comes only weeks after another prominent ‘ex’-politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger, admitted to having an affair and fathering an illegitimate child with his housekeeper ten years ago. In an unfortunate turn of events Weiner’s wife, and aide to Hillary Clinton, has revealed that she is pregnant with their first child.
Last Friday, an American girl who attends UCLA posted an angry anti-Asian rant on YouTube. In the video, political science student Alexandra Wallace lists off a number of complaints against Asian UCLA students, beginning with their use of cell phones in the library. Currently many students at the prestigious Los Angeles university are busy studying [...]
The Amy Chua parenting phenomenon goes international! The Wall Street Journal, originators of all this insanity, reports that a Chinese translation of Chua’s book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” has been released in China. The title in Chinese is “Being a Mom in America” and on the jacket flap below Chua’s picture are the words, “This story proves: when it comes to parenting, Eastern parents are more successful than Western parents.” For reasons why this is in violation of any and all logic, please refer to my previous post about Chua.
Obama’s town hall in Shanghai pleased me greatly. His silver tongue was on full display in appeasing the Chinese with conciliatory praise and refined humility. Humility, a word I would rarely associate with American politicians, is an extremely important in Asian cultures. He was not forceful, he was not arrogant, and he was the first to point out America’s hypocrisies. I think that this was something the Chinese wanted and needed to hear from an American leader.
Four Uighur detainees from Guantanamo Bay who were cleared for release will not be moving to America. Although a large Uighur community in Northern Virginia has offered to accept the former detainees, elected officials from Virginia refused to allow the Uighurs to resettle in Northern Virginia.
The Premier in Bermuda, a British protectorate, agreed to accept the Uighurs without consulting the Foreign Ministry in the U.K. This unilateral move led to large protests across the island calling for his resignation that coincided with the arrival of the Uighurs. 13 other Uighurs have been moved to Palau. None of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay who have been cleared of the charges against them has been released into the United States.