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Dec 6

Not the Last of the Last Airbender

aslantedview:

Chinese American author Gene Yang is going to tackle the graphic novelization of The Last Airbender. However, he plans on returning back to the original series’ Asian themes and characters rather than furthering the film’s version which white-washed all of the lead characters.

Gene is author of the award-winning book, American Born Chinese, which also happens to be on my Christmas list should you wish to send me a copy.

Original article on The Last Airbender returning to Asian roots here.

For a timeline on protests over The Last Airbender film, click here.

Homosexuality in China

Li Yinhe

Indifference has led to tolerance

Homosexuality has existed since prehistoric times across countries and cultures. But for a long time Chinese society has turned a blind eye to homosexuality and thus created an illusion that it is rare or simply does not exist in China. A few homosexuals do enter the public field of vision either seeking medical treatment or having committed a crime, thus aggravating the prejudice that homosexuality is a disease, crime or wrongdoing.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) conducted a national survey over the phone in 2007 to determine the level of public acceptance of homosexuality. The 10-point questionnaire, based on random sampling, covered large and medium-sized cities on the Chinese mainland. The refusal rate to the survey was 12-13 percent in large cities and 7 percent in medium-sized ones.

The survey found that Chinese society, on the whole, is tolerant but some misunderstandings among people about homosexuality still refuse to die. The findings are as follows:

About 20 percent of the respondents said there was nothing wrong with being homosexual, 30 percent said there was something wrong with homosexuality, and nearly 40 percent said it was wrong. The answer of the rest of the respondents was ambiguous. In the United States, 43 percent of the people fully approve of homosexuality and 47 totally disapprove of it.

Whether we admit it or not, homosexuality is a reality across the world, and the visibility of homosexuals reflects how accepting a society is toward them. But the CASS survey found out that only 7.5 percent of the respondents admitted having known any homosexual.

In answer to the question, “whether you will make friends with a homosexual”, more than 60 percent of the respondents said “yes” and only one-third responded in the negative. And despite the lack of understanding about homosexuality, most Chinese people are not averse to making friends with homosexuals.

One question was, should a known homosexual be allowed to take up a schoolteacher’s job. The respondents who said “no” slightly outnumbered those saying “yes”. French philosopher Michel Foucault writes: “A homosexual teacher should not present any more of a problem than a bald teacher, a male teacher in an all-female school, a female teacher in an all-male school ” This means the CASS finding exposes people’s fear of and prejudice against homosexuals.

When it came to “whether parents should require a school to replace a teacher who is a homosexual”, more than half of the respondents stuck to their prejudice.

To the question, “whether movies and TV programs with homosexual themes should be cleared for public viewing” the respondents were clearly divided: 55 percent said “yes” and more than 40 percent responded in the negative.

With respect to equal employment rights for homosexuals, 91 percent of the respondents offered their support, exceeding the 65 percent in the US in 1983 and 84 percent in the 1996. Although many Chinese people disapprove of homosexuality, they favor equal employment rights for homosexuals, because working is the basic means of a human being’s survival, and our moral baseline entails the respect for anothers’ right to work.

To the question, “how would you respond to a family member coming out of closet”, respondents showing full acceptance or zero tolerance accounted for only a small proportion. Three-fourths of them said they would “tolerate” it if they had prior inkling about the homosexual tendencies of the family member.

On legislation for same-sex marriage, the CASS respondents seemed more conservative with 70 percent rejecting the idea, compared with 58 percent in the US.

The CASS survey was different from a similar online survey, which found 60 percent of the Chinese respondents approved of same-sex marriage. The gap probably results from the fact that a large percentage of Chinese netizens are young, well-educated and urban dwellers.

To the last question, “whether homosexuals were equal to heterosexuals”, rationality once again took the upper hand, with 80 percent of the respondents agreeing that they were equal and only 15 percent saying they were inferior.

Judging from the findings of the CASS survey, Chinese society as a whole is tolerant toward homosexuality. People are not critical of homosexuality as long as homosexuals do not harm others or commit crimes.

Besides, Chinese people take pride in their traditional culture that has a long history, and are not worried about their culture being “poisoned” by homosexuality. In this sense, Chinese people’s indifference to homosexuality seems to be the reason for their tolerance.

The author is a research scholar with the Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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(Source: chinadaily.com.cn)

Man Walks 7 Days To Find Job

A 21-year-old man spent seven days and six nights trudging for 360 kilometers from Chengdu,the capital city of Southwest Sichuan province, to Chongqing municipality, just to look for a job,Xinhuanet.com reported Thursday.

Jing Weiquan’s journey began when he took several hundred yuan and left Ziyang city, Sichuanprovince, for Hangzhou city, the capital of East China’s Zhejiang province, in June 2011, to lookfor a job.

However, having failed to find a job and almost out of cash, Jing remembered that a friend inChengdu owed him 4,000 yuan ($620), so he called the friend to ask him to repay the loan. Thefriend told him to come to Chengdu to collect the money.

Jing got a free train ticket to Chengdu from a help center in Hangzhou on July 4, but when hearrived in the city he found he could no longer connect with his friend.

Gutsy 7 day, 360 km hike to find a job

Jing Weiquan is all smiles after receiving a job withan IT company in Southwest Chongqingmunicipality, July 19, 2011.[Photo/Xinhua] 

With only 1.4 yuan (2.1 US cents) left in hispocket, Jing tried to find a job in Chengdu, butfailed again.

During this tough time, it suddenly struck himthat he once worked in a garment factory inChongqing, which gave him that he might getwork in that factory again. Finally, Jing decidedto hike to Chongqing and started his longjourney at about 10 am on July 7.

Without money, Jing relied on water in ditchesand fruit on the ground to sustain himself, andhe slept on the road side. Eventually, Jingarrived at Chongqing early in the morning onJuly 14.

Jing found local police officers for help andthen left to continue his job hunt.

However Jing’s experience attracted a lot ofpublic concern after a micro blog titled ”He isreally crazy, trudging on the old Chengdu-Chongqing road for seven days and six nightsjust to look for a job” was posted on July 16 andwas quickly circulated on the Internet.

Thousands of netizens commented on the blogand referred to Jing as ”Brother Trudge”.

Just two days after the micro blog was posted,Jing, the son of migrant workers, had receivedmore than 30 job offers.

Finally Jing chose to work for an IT company.Gu Yi, the company’s boss, was impressed withJing’s spirit and said society should not fear a lack of skill as skill can be learned while spirit isharder to foster.”

Confronted with so many offers of support and care, Jing said there is great loved displayed onthe Internet. “This is the warmest time in my life.” 

(Source: chinadaily.com.cn)

China offering FULL scholarships for Americans studying abroad

China’s Ministry of Education is ready to offer full scholarships to American students who wish to pursue their university degrees in China.

The program officially kicked off in April when Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the China-US Consultation on People to People Exchange agreement, even though the actual offering of scholarships started last year.

From 2010 and 2013, the program provides tuition and living allowance to up to 10,000 American students who enroll in universities in China for undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, said Zhang Jin, a secondary secretary in charge of the education exchange program. Students enrolled in joint-degree programs between Chinese and American universities also may be eligible.

"We hope the scholarships will encourage American students to delve into China studies and other subjects in China in earnest," Zhang said.

The scholarships will also give some support to US President Barack Obama’s call to send more than 100,000 Americans to China to learn the Chinese language and culture, she said.

The Chinese government will also pay miscellaneous fees to cover books, internships, registration, on-campus accommodations and medical insurance, she said.

The scholarships constitute part of China’s plan to attract some 500,000 foreign students to study in China by 2020. The number of US students in China is expected to become one of the largest.

China’s central government provided 800 million yuan ($123.9 million) in scholarships to international students last year and local governments offered about 110 million yuan in scholarships, according to Zhang Xiuqin, director of the Education Ministry’s department of international cooperation and exchange.

The scholarships benefited 22,390 international students last year, 22.7 percent more than in 2009.

The number of foreign students in China has risen dramatically, from 110,844 in 2004 to a record 265,090-plus last year, according to the latest statistics released by the ministry.

International students can find more information at www.studyinchina.edu.cn.

Li Xing reported from Washington and Chen Jia from Beijing.

(Source: )