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Chinese student apologizes after Maryland graduation speech sparks firestorm

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The uproar in China over comments made during a university commencement speech shows no signs of slowing down. At the center of the hubbub is graduate Yang Shuping, who is drawing fire for an address in which she repeatedly used the idea of "fresh air" to contrast her life in China with that of her experiences while studying in the United States.

The backlash began on May 21 shortly after Yang made her remarks as she addressed students, faculty and families at the University of Maryland (UM). Yang was chosen to speak after earning dual degrees in psychology and theater, as well a for being a "top student", according to a university statement.

She opened the speech by saying she chose to study in the United States because of the "fresh air". Yang first used the metaphor to contrast the literal air in her hometown of Kunming versus that she found in the US. She then broadened the idea to include the "fresh air of free speech" she says she experienced while studying at UM, then extending her metaphor further to include the concepts of democracy and freedom. Yang ended by saying, "My friends, enjoy the fresh air and never let it go."

Reaction across Chinese social media was swift and often acrimonious. Yang has been labeled a US "lap-dog", someone who "insults the motherland" and far worse. Many anonymous posters on Weibo have also called for a "human flesh hunt" (人肉搜索) — the practice of scouring online and paper records of a person or family in order to discredit them publicly. Commenters took special issue with Yang's statement that "every time I went outside [in Kunming...], I might get sick," characterizing it as a disingenuous and exaggerated comment about a city often receiving high praise in the Chinese media for its air standards.

Perceived hyperbole led to more of the same, as government news outlet Global Times countered Yang, claiming that Kunming "enjoys high-quality air, with the PM2.5 always staying below 50". The administration of UM weighed in by supporting Yang, issuing a statement that read in part, "The University proudly supports Shuping's right to share her views and her unique perspectives and we commend her on lending her voice on this joyous occasion."

Other UM organizations were not so charitable, and the university's Chinese Students and Scholars Association asked other mainland students studying in the US to create videos supporting and introducing their home towns. Those who do are encouraged to use the tagline "I have different views from Shuping Yang. I am proud of China."

As for Yang, she issued a public apology in Chinese one day after the uproar began. As of this writing, an online statement purportedly made by Yang is making the rounds on social media. It reads, in full:

I love my country and my hometown, and I am proud of the prosperity and development there. I also hope that in the future, with my time spent abroad, I can promote the Chinese people, the country, and make a positive contribution. The [Maryland] speech was just sharing a part of my experience studying in the United States. There was no intention to belittle my country and my hometown. I apologize if my speech was misleading at any point. I sincerely hope I can be understood and forgiven by the public, and hope there are no more interpretations of my speech, or more personal attacks. Thank you!

Image: South China Morning Post

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'Human flesh hunt' - what a nice term.

I still think her speech went over the top, both about the wonders of the US and the air in kunming - I've certainly never 'felt sick' from merely breathing Kunming air - but it would be nice if people in China could roll a bit with the fact that Chinese themselves might be willing to criticize the country in a public, international forum, without being accused of betraying their homeland etc. etc. etc.
But hey! Let everybody talk, backtalk, whatever.

the problem is that once the haters start, for things like this, anyone who tries to defend her also risks the human flesh hunt. she will probably be met a welcoming comittee carying pitch forks and torches when she returns. and others will just stand by and nod. like a grumpy elephant, never forgives never forgets.

How did that statement go, by an anti-fascist in Germany about 1939? "When they came for the Jews I did not speak up because I was not a Jew, when they came for the communists I did not speak up because I was not a communist; when they came for me I didn't bother because when I looked around there was nobody left to support me' - something like that.

Kunming's air is not bad compare to Beijing's and other major cities. She kind of exaggerated. Don't criticize China if you plan to come back here whether you are a native or foreigner. That's the lesson.

"I belong to that school of thought which declares that school is over." - Henry Miller

Lets face it. If she was going to talk about how good China was, she wouldn't have been giving that speech.

@vicar: True, the wonders of other countries are rarely the subject of graduation-day speeches in US universities.

About her interpretation of Kunming air - I don't think Kunming air is that bad in comparison to many cities in China, but if she never did (which I don't know) experience smoggy winter day in Beijing or other super polluted city, perhaps Kunming does not compare that well to her experience in US.

Kunming might be all about spring, flowers. and blue skies for someone coming from Beijing, but perhaps not for someone hailing from Maryland?

It's quite subjective matter really.

And when she extends the fresh air to civil liberties, my arguments on that matter with Chinese usually proceed to them saying how they are content and satisfied without them - so why all the hate if someone happens to enjoy those.

The nation just has low self-esteem, and she forgot to consider that.

@Liumingke1234 - yes, the air here is MUCH cleaner than in Beijing but let's not pretend it's 'fresh' or free of pollution. So Kunming "enjoys high-quality air, with the PM2.5 always staying below 50"?? I must be in a different city... according to www.pm25s.com/en/kunming.html

Kunming AQI ranks #133 in China at the moment (total 367).

With AQI regularly in the 150 bracket, the Kunming air cannot be considered good quality. I have had some more serious problems with my asthma this year, and have on occasion used a mask.

Kunmings market strategy has been clean air, and hence one can be sceptical over those measures. Add to that the culture of avoiding saying the truth, the phenomenon of faking everything, overall enthusiasm in managing anything more than 6 months, and what is the apparatus used anyway. These measures have been faked elsewhere, and the faking has been acknowledged by both state and media, hence a suspicion will not be "harmful rumor" or will it?

Have been seeing a lot more people wearing masks in Kunming these days, so she's hardly the only local to be thinking this way about the air.

The Chinese Student and Scholar Association (CSSA) at the University of Maryland, which the Post describes as "loyal to the Communist Party," created a seven-minute video in which Chinese students and alumni respond to Yang's critique. You can view it here. What's striking about the response is how many of the students focus on debunking Yang's comments about the quality of China's air. None of them directly address what was clearly the point of her analogy.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG-s9nenvcw

kinda proves the point about free s peach

The little pinks are certainly out in force on this one.

A common theme of the little pinks is summed up in this comment I recently read from one of their minions: "Freedom of speech doesn't mean not respecting the facts. Trampling on China to praise the US, sorry I can't agree with that."

Hmmm, ok...Does anyone remember Zhou Xiaoping? The blogger whose claim to fame was anti-USA writings? He certainly never let facts get in the way of his anti US diatribes. And while there were a few Chinese who called bs on his rants, China lapped up his every word. And even Xi praised him for his "positive energy."

Where was China's outrage at Zhou's blatant exaggerations (much worse than Yang's). No little pinks came out to denounce Zhou and the many others like him for "trampling on the USA to praise China."

It cuts both ways, how about China as a currency manipulator, China is stealing our jobs, anything Chinese is viewed as suspicious by the Republican party and the American public in general as that was the narrative being pushed. Japanese companies, Korean companies, German companies, even American companies have all recently been involved in massive product recalls that poses a public safety risk and yet I don't see the same fervor as when it was a Chinese made product.

Such is the nature of politics & government and humans. Always pointing fingers and seeing flaws in others when thinking themselves to be perfect and superior.

but do we persucute young students?????

do we attack the donald and say he is an idiot, do we point the finger at big corps, do we point the finger at our own govs corruption? can we? are we permitted? do we self censor? are we told to self censor? do we feel we have to?

Granted, the suppression and control of outside the mainstream narrative is more overt in China but government control, or at least the control by the main parties of the narrative exists in America just the same, just more subtle.

The finger pointing, as you say, is the result of the two party system, the discourse and freedom is but an illusion. Outside attacks on each other, their views are nearly identical on almost all issues. Both parties have talked "tough on China", both panders and caters to the Middle East and Israel, the only difference is a matter of degrees and the facade of the institution in which they support.

"As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.'

When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

― Abraham Lincoln, 1855

Kunming's air makes me sick all the f**king time.

only makes me sick a couple of times a year

Never makes me sick, though it could be better.

@Geezer, putting aside the politicking of the Chinese government, the oversimplification of the freedoms enjoyed in the US in her speech is very problematic.

What was the point of her analogy? That freedoms blossom in the US while withers in China? Let us not forget that those freedoms were fought for and paid for by the blood of the preceding generations. While she enjoy the labors of those sacrifices, is she ready to make sacrifices of her own? The answer, sadly, is no, as evidence by her insincere non-apology and "commitment" to spread Chinese ideals and culture. Instead of of standing up and defending those freedoms, she cowers at the hint of retribution.

To discover freedom, perhaps you can speak to the minorities that face systematic discrimination everyday, speak to the Muslim communities on how much they enjoyed their freedom, give an opposing view at a MAGA rally to see the freedom of speech at work.

I find nothing at all about her speech or its synthesis to be worth defending other than her rights to make such a speech. But at the same time, I equally defend everyone elses' response to it, CSSA included, those freedom of speech are equally sacred to me.

While the issues involved are important and worthy of discussion, I'm rather sorry that so much focus is being put on this particular woman, who doesn't really deserve being singled out, praised, or vilified on all this. My impression is that she's perhaps unwittingly and naively stumbled into a limelight she didn't want - perhaps 'she should have known better', ok, but then that's part of what naivete is, and naivete is no crime.

Perhaps she's just now realizing the truth of the Sartre quote that she presented in her speech - problem is, of course, that you can never really be sure just what the consequences of your choice will be - and yet you have to make them anyway - i.e., according to Sartre, we are 'condemned to freedom'.

@Trumpster You have constructed a response and argument to a position I did not state or refer to. My comment above provided a reaction of several of her fellow Chinese students. Other than pointing out the reaction was to defend Kunming's air quality, those comments avoided addressing freedom of speech, I did not comment on the merits of her, or their, words.

I have no issue with her speech nor the responses it generated. People have every right, in this American's thinking, to think and speak as they feel and do it freely. That said, in the context of a Chinese person, getting a liberal education at a US university who would shortly return to China, I find her words to be incredibly naive.

I have no doubt Ms. Yang read that speech to friends and perhaps faculty at UM. That no one suggested to her that those words held consequences strikes me as incredible. Further, the CSSA reaction was entirely predictable. It is my opinion Yang has a complete lack of situational awareness and that is unfortunate.

do you think that is matt?

In her present position? yeah China sucks...

Could be

@ dazzer

"do we attack the donald and say he is an idiot"

A lot. And major idiots in Brussels were doing it today, surprisingly without rioting though, at least yet. Here we have a city, Brussels, under constant security threat, considered a Mecca of growing extremism, and having had terror attacks, and what do the idiots do, heh, protest against Trump! :D

So in other words, Peter, there is still a good bit of free speech in the West.

Yea, Alien, as long as you are against Trump and stand for for open borders, and all the rest what these lunatics are preaching. Then you have free speech as much as you please.

@Peter: My impression is that there are a lot of people spouting off freely in favor of Trump and for closed US borders as well - am I wrong?

@Alien: Your perception of free speech in the US is a bit weird, sorta like it comes from a propaganda script. There is only a few things things that are curtained by law.

It seems these days that political correctness is the biggest thing that attenuates speech but being un-PC is not illegal. Even hate speech is protected by the 1st Amendment. PC is now pretty much a left wing tool to limit divergent opinion and attempts to shame disagreement with labels like racist, denier, sexist and various phobias. Should the argument continue then the non-PC person is personally attacked.

In the case of Yang, most Americans would not even blink at her words. The reaction in China is quite different. To me, the issue is not about free speech but one of being naive.

@Geezer: When PC is used in nasty ways then I am against the nasty ways it is being used. But others use the same sorts of tactics, and the left in the US is not large, unless you are referring to US liberals, who aren't exactly a huge majority either.
Anyway, the problem with free speech in the US and many other places is not that speech is really restricted in any stringent terms, but that the mass of the media is controlled by huge corporate interests with fingers in many pies, dominated by advertising revenues, etc., and swamps public opinion with its points of view. Check out who owns major media outlets, and how articles are presented, buried, ignored or slanted by them. Many seem to think that papers such as the New York Times are somehow 'left', when in fact they generally merely present the views and promote the attitudes of sections of the owning class.
So when I speak of freedom of speech (and of the press), I don't by any means mean that it's all somehow open on a level playing field - I simply mean that there are plenty of formal, legal guarantees that say you can pretty much say what you want, even if you're not rich enough to be heard by many. This is indeed worth something, and it's important to make the most of it, no matter what your opinions, even though money and power weigh a hell of a lot more than your voice.
Yeah, as I've said, Yang seems naive to me too.

And it should be obvious that there are other ways, practiced in other countries, to swamp public opinion - ways that do not permit what I've referred to as 'free speech' above - one might hmm think of China in this way. Oddly enough, in some such places people are smarter about reading between the lines in the press, and in what people say, than they are in places where a level playing field is imagined. But I still prefer the formal guarantees.
Like I said, propaganda exists in many forms, but it needs power behind it to be effective, and that power can be in terms of law, wealth, or (as is the usual case) a combination of the two. I can't at the moment think of any place where this is not the case.

I've nothing to say about the speech, which was clearly filled with clichés and exaggerations.

What is more worrisome to me is the engineered reaction on Chinese social media. It's pretty obvious that the intention of this state-sponsored hysteria is to put social pressure on future Yang Shupings to think twice before ever criticizing the motherland in public again!

it's not fair, i got caught, wah wah wah scream cry stamp feet, my father is... etc

oops wrong thread

Geogramatt: Agreed.

LoL. I'm from Maryland, born and raised. Kunming definitely have better weather than ML. In fact, far better than most U.S cities I've worked in.

This kid had learned during her studies that anti-Chinese remarks get you far in the States, so she capitalize on it.

@hehehe, hopefully you do not claim to be educated there because obviously you cannot read or do not understand the difference between the weather and clean air.

And also (s)he uses normative grammar and used the wrong abbreviation for Maryland, which should be MD.

Autocorrect. Normative=non-native

I spent a few weeks in Kunming last year, the air was fine, but more importantly, the people were wonderful. This was a great example of misguided self indulgence. I support all those residents who feel resentment about it.

Never have i experienced meeting so many kind, helpful and generous people, in such a short space of time, and i am returning this year full of gratitude. Once the illusions have evaporated, perhaps the young lady will be grateful for having such a wonderful home to which she can return.

She said nothing untoward about Kunming people. I would also guess that most of her attackers have never been to Kunming. Kunming air on many days of the year is on a par with Shanghai (I check this almost daily and have done for several years), and blue-green algae pollution of Dianchi lake has been a source of much local concern for many years.

Tiger is right, but truth wouldnt matter when you cross the line of the homogenic mental community line. Maybe she is the one that introduced gutter oil, and polluted Beijing air too. Her grandfather invited the japanese, It is said that the Great Wall was not about protecting the nation, but rather to confine the people, so no-one could escape. But then again, its a nationalistic nation and different from, say, Europe, that have decided not to even have borders.

@Peter: Why in hell do you have to go speculating that this young woman introduced gutter oil, polluted Beijing air and that her grandfather invited the Japanese? Could it possibly be that you just enjoy insulting anybody and anything Chinese?

You offend everybody, while simultaneously wasting their time.

Are you playing your power games again A, or really offended. Maybe someone is thinking outside the lines of Your acceptace. Be thankful you get a reply, Im only replying to u in case someone else misunderstood.

Just saying when u cross a line in certain societies, the accusations may get absurd. Like a fatwa. During Chinese history leaving Chinese has had a death penalty.

The gutter oil was an example of this absurity, like Tiger said, she had never said Kunming people would be bad, and the air is not that good, no matter who tries to claim it to be otherwise. Same during Olympics when a US student girl took the wrong side during the antagonism going on then, the accusations towards her got totally out of contexts, and she received death threats. I wasnt on this Kunming students side in the first place, as I support the efforts going on to have a stable society in China, and I think Western democracy is collapsing, but seeing things get out of context you end up taking her side to some degree.

100% agree with that last sentence Peter. I wasn't on her 'side' when I first saw the vid but now after seeing the way it's gone way out of what it should be viewed as, it's easy to become more friendlier to her view.

I feel sorry for her, she was just giving a speech. I haven't heard it but I'm assuming she wasn't trying to incite people to violence, it's just words and she's very young. Much more sensible for people to overlook that sort of thing than get upset.

Nationalism, when looked at carefully, is rarely sensible.

Most -isms seem to be problematic.

Agreed, but some perhaps produce clearer and more useful problems than others. Anyway, nationalism very often scrambles brains, to irrational effect.

'Fresh Air' also refers to a NPR radio series that focuses on liberal politics and women's issues. I'm almost certain she is referring to something like that. It may also refer to one's first significant travel to a different culture and the feeling one gets when one realizes that some cultures offer benefits that one might not have thought existed. Finally, this woman is a kid, and any political hyper-sensitivity is unnecessary, uncalled for, and pathetically naive. I don't care who said it.

So does "internationalism" or "globalism", Alien. It produces the insanity that we have been seeing in many parts of the west, the USA in particular of screaming leftists who have become so insane as to threaten the life of the US president yet strangely haven't been arrested for attempted murder. Even the media takes part, in fact the media is a huge part of the problem and yes, it's completely biased and much of their reporting is fake, distorted inconsistent with the facts or omits the truth.

The Chinese form of nationalism that you are referring to may however also be somewhat exaggerated for effect and yes, ultra-nationalism, as many Chinese practice when there is a stir-up of nationalist sentiment in response to a "threat", particularly from the arch-nemisis nation of Japan or Vietnam, the Philippines etc. can get out of hand and sometimes results in innocent lives being lost when a riot starts, in addition to massive property destruction. The anti-Japanese riots of a few years ago, when Japanese cars, probably made in China and driven by Chinese citizens were destroyed is one example. Similarly, an anti-China protest last year I think in Vietnam resulted in a couple of lives lost and a large amount of property destruction at a Taiwanese owned factory. No mainland Chinese people owned any of the assets that were targeted nor were they amongst the victims of the rioting.

So perhaps the point I'd like to make is the best response is the middle ground.

best response to storm in a teacup is no response

Yes, something like that but I think you've misinterpreted my point. I was trying to say that extreme viewpoints on either side of the spectrum are problematic as evidenced by my examples contrasting two ideological opposites that have resulted in largely the same outcomes (violence, rioting, property damage, vandalism etc.) It's always best to reach a conclusion somewhere in the middle by considering both angles to a story. Being perpetually offended by playing the victim card is stupid, but so too is deliberately antagonizing someone or something else.

Don't disagree with you, Tom, but this incident has to do with nationalism, not "internationalism" or "globalism".

Globalism is relevant here, because it's the dominant ideology that is being force fed down our throats, at least in the west for the past few decades. Just because the media, popular culture and western governments like to force us to accept that crap doesn't mean it should be considered the 'norm' or 'good', which is why I object to people dissing nationalism, without being objective by also criticizing the left's tactics because to me it is a blatant double standard. You would have made a better point if you had correctly pointed out "ultra-nationalism" as being the problem here, which is quite prevalent amongst a significant proportion of the Chinese population and explains the negative reactions of many Chinese netizens to this student's speech.

From the responses here, I can see many GoKunming posters still have their wits about them, but I can guarantee you back in the west you have to assume everyone is a liberal when they only attack speech that is contrary to their worldview.

This student's speech was a sort of subtle way of dissing her country. While it may be a bit excessive for her countrymen to criticize her for correctly pointing out that China has air pollution problems (which would suggest that a Chinese person can't even slightly criticize their homeland), I think what really got Chinese netizens fuming is the claim that there is complete freedom of speech and freedom in general in America but none in China, which is a typical tactic employed by western propagandists trying to make China look bad. I call complete bull on that. You have freedom of speech in America that is protected by the 1st amendment of the constitution, but in practice, there are many places (such as most universities) or situations where anything other than left-wing, liberal, SJW speech is not welcome. Anything of a conservative or libertarian nature is criticized, ridiculed, taken out of context, dismissed etc. and to pretend there's complete freedom of speech in America in 2017 when you have both active and passive censorship taking place is ludicrous. It's also not true that there is absolutely no freedom of speech in China. Yes there are a few things you have to be very careful talking about - but I find it's possible to talk about the vast majority of topics with Chinese people, many of which I would only carefully raise with a westerner or even avoid altogether unless I knew said individual very well. The other thing is when I talk to Chinese people about these topics, sometimes they even bring them up themselves, nobody gets offended, but they relish in the lively discussion.

Another example are publications like The Shanghaiist, the Global Times etc. all allow unfiltered comments of any type to fill their comments sections - some newspapers in the States like the NY Times will delete unfavorable ones. Let's not forget Facebook, or should I say "censorbook", which is increasingly employing the same kind of tactics. Hmm. Double standard much?

Interesting post, Tom, but as for globalism being forced down everybody's throats, note that the US state is involved in quite a few wars, on a nationalist basis, and we all hear about how the country is protecting people, trying to strengthen foreign national governments in the was the US would like them to be. The globalism you refer to is economic, internationalist (which implies the existence of nations) - nobody's referring to nations fading away, or anything of the sort. Freedom of exploitation requires the presence, often the use of, the state's guns and regulations, even when they are carried by mercenaries.
As for freedom of speech, it's not exactly crushed, in China or in the US, but the point is that, as a tool that people can and do use, it's overruled and managed by wealth and power.

@Tom

Those people have not only infiltrated American universities and media, Europe is completely same - if not double the worse. Apparently theres a movement striving to bring West to chaos. And it seems to succeed too. Done by its own citizen.

Above goes both for what most people, in the US anyway, refer to as 'conservative' and 'liberal' agendas.

My comment above is on my previous comment, not on Peter's.

My comment is not to Alien either, its in lines of Orwell: "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act".

@Peter: All respects to Orwell. However, if you want to jump on somebody for not telling the truth, or what they believe to be the truth, there's no point in concentrating on universities when our entire media environment, from the advertising industry to government spin-PR to other, numerous types of insidious media, the goals of all of which are to bend what is believed to be truth when it is not a straightforward matter of lying, I think the universities come off well - in most places, for that matter - relative to the media environment around them, which is fueled primarily by the desire to gain or maintain wealth and/or power - and yes, academics are subject to this too, but most do not put themselves into the serious acquire-wealth/power professions, where deceit becomes not-yet-quite universal. Competitive-rational arguments in universities are more likely, I think, to expose deceit than asking questions at press conferences or complaining to people engaged heavily in economic competition.
But hey! no guarantees.

@Alien, you make an excellent point but the US is not making wars/regime change for nationalist purposes. It's actually for the exact opposite reason, which is to advance the interests and pockets of multinational corporations like Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin big oil companies and many others (and of course the big banks and big oligarchs) for whom nationality and patriotism is meaningless.

I am absolutely 100% opposed to all imperalistic US-led actions since the late 1800s, all these wars were unnecessary and have brought with them untold misery.

I used to buy all that bull about China being a "dictatorship" whenever the NY Times, The Washington Post or The Economist used to bring it up in my younger days, but I've since become much wiser now that I can predict their writing style in my sleep. Hence why I now frown every time I read a story similar to this one - the writing style, the things said are always pretty much the same.

@Peter99, 100% agree with you. It's insane the way things are going now in Europe, in many ways it's even worse than in the USA because you have almost no conservative opposition in Europe. The patriotic, freedom loving revolutionary spirit is still strong in the US, but it's fading fast in Europe.

China and most parts of East Asia are a refreshing change, which makes living here so refreshing, in many ways. At least that's been my experience over the years.

@Tom: My point is that it's all promoted in the name of nationalism, which is the smokescreen, and a necessary one, to cover the kind of unacceptable truth that you discuss.
As for conservative opposition in Europe, and the 'patriotic freedom loving revolutionary spirit' in the US (what might these words actually relate to - the US Democratic Party? Or the Republicans? I think they're all Republicrats), which seem pretty much the same to me, I pretty much see people, or at the very least, their governments, as operating behind the smokescreen too, although there are perhaps more people in Europe who can see a least a little bit through it.
The student who made the speech is deep behind the smokescreen as well. Obviously, no?

Oh, nations, yeah - obviously there are cultural differences, as well as strategic ones.

@Tom

Remember when u sere young and in school there was this saying that if you stand on the moon, you can now see the trash pile of New Yor?. That was a hoax going on back then. Anyway, recently, if you look from space, you can see this huge trash pile Northern side of Africa.

New York

Sorry, need to clarify in this case. Meant Europe as a trash pile, as culture, patriotism and overall values have become totally irrelevant.

Yesterday we had a former drug addict on UK music festival giving "terrorists a message" among drunken pissheads. Europe certainly deserves what it asks for.

@Peter: Relevance?

@Alien, you are right about the nationalist "protecting our country from ....." part, which is indeed a smokescreen that most people still fall for.

As for the opposition that I referred to, the real patriots, liberty and freedom loving people etc. are generally not tied to any political party because they are able to think outside of the two party paradigm. Traditionally they probably thought of themselves as conservatives, however, these days not that much separates the democrats and republicans anymore as they both largely run the same agenda even if they use slightly different means of getting there. Libertarians would be closer, but even that's not specific enough as some Libertarian candidates aren't true enough to the core values of that brand if you will. "Conservative Libertarian" is perhaps the closest term that describes what I'm referring to. There are certainly Europeans who share these values, but far fewer than Americans.

As for the student who made the speech, it's hard to say exactly what she meant because I didn't hear her whole talk, only read this article. However, I suspect that she, like many others are successfully drawn into the whole ideology that students are taught at American universities and this not only made her worldview conform to these values, but she has probably been so convinced that these "progressive" values are what makes America great and what China should strive for.

@Peter99, LOL. Yeah nihilism seems to have replaced any sort of sense of self-worth, self-preservation or pride in one's being, culture and overall values in Europe. It's disturbing, though sad more than anything. At least China still clings onto most of these things. Not that everything traditional about say Chinese culture is good, or that change should be rejected at all costs, but preserving the most important cultural values and having at least some sense of history and identity is important. Otherwise I think there's not much purpose to life.

Libertarianism in terms of personal practices etc., fine, but in economic terms it's usually just more free-market capitalism, with an imagined level playing field, which is hard to find when a few players own most of the table,and not just because they 'work hard', or whatever. Class antagonisms remain.

@ Tom

As Europeans we got no choice but to envy that at least u guys got a President. Its almost as if we need to send a Mayday. Here in Europe, we must use youtube to watch The US Presidents speeches, as our media is completely biased. So far this is not banned.

Trump could make in in Europe media though, but then he would have to use a different strategy. He would have to declare himself a transvestite, start to cross-dress, and say he has surpressed his feeling towards Justin Trudeau. Then, you would have the Europe media cheering.

LOL, of course. If you can't beat 'em, join them as they say.

In other words, if Trump wanted to run in Europe, he'd have to emulate "Conchita Wurst" whatever that thing is.

What's Europe got to do with it?

Yea, Tom. Another strategy Trump could use to be accepted by Europe media would be he would be an "Anti Trump", go on different parades and shout "Love" and "open borders", go on angry feminists meetings, and then preferably smoke pot on some LBGT parade and throw out some cliche phrase.

Here whole thing was about freedom of speech and now she's apologizing for that - the irony

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