Where is Civility?

Can’t we even call for peaceful reconciliation, or at least tolerance, anymore? By all means, disagree vigorously, and don’t change your position or your expression of it one bit until you encounter compelling evidence. By all means, be active and voice your disapproval. But this has gone way too far (RFA):

[Grace Wang, from Qingdao,] claims that she was only trying to mediate at an April 10 campus vigil, in which several dozen pro-Tibetan students were facing off with several hundred Chinese students. She doesn’t support Tibetan independence. But she gave up under verbal assault from the Chinese side.

A few hours later, she published an online essay to the Duke Chinese Students and Scholars Association forum, calling for tolerance—and sparking thousands of e-mails and hundreds of phone calls. Her personal data appeared on the Internet, she received death threats, her home in China was vandalized, and her parents are in hiding.

I call on Chinese people, whatever “side” they take, to remember civility and true deliberation. Sometimes I get the impression that, inside, many other Chinese people are like this: excessive and stifling in enforcing, not articulating and arguing for, their opinions.


2 responses to “Where is Civility?

  1. Wow. It is a very emotional issue. I don’t think tolerance and civility toward non-mainstream ideas are two characteristics that are well-known in the mainland Chinese culture. You would think that the mainland Chinese students would react better. No such issue on my campus. Mainlanders dominate my campus.


  2. We Chinese people have a long way to go. It’s an uphill, upward battle, and upon its wake is a hope of maturity.

    Sun Yat-sen could not have imagined, in his incredible optimism, that it could take this long. We’ll learn to be free. One day.


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