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Living through History “How have the core historical events you experienced shaped your outlook on life and your visions for China’s future?” That was the question we recently posed to individuals from different generations in China. What we wanted to know was the impact of history on individual...
“Our motherland is like a garden, and we, the colorful flowers,” the song goes. Dear motherland, I would love to be one of the colors and add to your beauty. But before that, please let me bloom into my own. September 8, 2013, I was on my way home. “2020 already? God, I’m old!” I exclaimed, when I...
Like layers of haze and smog, Mao Zedong's ghost continues to linger over China today. Agnes Smedley (1892-1950), [1] Mao’s Western confidante, using her feminine intuition, noticed that there was a door of Mao's that was never open to anyone. As a matter of fact, Mao had more than one door. Let us...
This is an era in which our lives are constantly bombarded with information. In this era, people all seem content with the bustle and constraints in their lives; and yet, they also appear to be faintly troubled and worried about the future. People seem to be living, but they also seem not to be...
Born Under the Red Flag Hu Ping discussing his essay, “On the Freedom of Speech.” Peking University, November 17, 1980. Photo courtesy of Hu Ping. NextGen: Envisioning Future A third-grade class in Guangzhou, 1999 This Little Era Students in class. Beijing, February, 2011. Photo credit: ToGa...
In China— At the bottom of the abyss Is still a road! In China— People fallen into the abyss Can still be marchers! In China— When the abyss floats this way and that The presence of the world is uncertain! In China— Some are bound to seize the opportunity to take off Some are bound to be surprised...
In 1978, 35 years ago, as China began to thaw from the dark ice age of Mao’s totalitarian rule, groups of young people from the bottom rungs and cracks of a closed society came out one after another to gather together. On the “Democracy Walls” in Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities, were not only...
My first trip to China was in May 1972, just three months after Nixon’s visit! I accompanied my husband, Jerome Cohen, who was the China adviser to a small delegation of the Federation of American Scientists invited on the first scientific exchange after 23 hostile years between the two countries...
One day in 2008, my 13-year-old daughter Lingling saw me organizing my grandfather Yan Cangshan's belongings. "Who is this?" she asked. "Was he very famous?" "He's your great-grandfather, my paternal grandfather," I responded. "He was a famous doctor of traditional medicine in Shanghai, and his...
“Shun” (舜) is a legendary leader of ancient China—one of the “Five Emperors”—who lived in 23rd-22nd century B.C.; it is also my name. Actually, my parents originally named me “Xin,” after the protagonist in the Japanese television show, Oshin . They hoped that like the protagonist, I would...

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