Culture 101: “All You Can Eat” Diplomacy

April 3, 2009 § 10 Comments

The Chinese have always been known for their creative diplomacy. The “Ping Pong” diplomacy between China and the United States was a fine example. But there was another creative instance of Chinese diplomacy that many aren’t aware of.

In the early 1900s, there were a lot of unrests in the Chinese capital of Beijing. A number of foreigners were killed by a nationalist group called the Boxers. The killings infuriated foreign governments who demanded the Qing government to take swift actions. In hope of reducing tensions, Empress Dowager Cixi invited all the top foreign diplomats to a very elaborate banquet.

The banquet was one of historic proportions. It lasted for several days (& nights) and cost around 80-100 million dollars in today’s value. Unfortunately, very little diplomacy actually took place during the feast; people were just too occupied with their eating. In fact, the participants spent more time in restrooms than engaging in conversations.

Ironically, many Chinese died of starvation during the same period; the money spent on the banquet could have adequately fed most of the Chinese poor for a whole year. The banquet, however, failed to dissuade foreign governments from attacking China and nearly demolishing Beijing.

[Simon N.]

Peach Blossoms: Full Bloom

March 20, 2009 § 5 Comments

“Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think too far away”

~Robert Frost

blossom5a

~~~

blossom5b

Do not use these images without prior consent. 2009

[Simon N.]

Culture 101: One Child

January 9, 2009 § 13 Comments

china.jpg

Throughout its long history, China has always been a male-dominated society. Since men are considered the “flag bearers” of a typical Chinese family, male infants are highly favored over female infants. After the Chinese government put in place a policy that limits a family to one child, many female infants have been mistreated, abandoned, and even killed to make room for male infants. This is a well-established fact.

One of the more popular ways to abandon female infants is to put them into small baskets and let the river’s currents carrying them away. Hopefully, some childless couples will catch sight of the baskets and adopt these poor girls. Since the Chinese government still insists in enforcing this consequential policy, abandonment of female infants and infanticide are likely to continue. As a result of the policy, there are now substantially more men than women in China.

~Simon N.

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