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Yang Shuping’s MU Commencement Speech

Recently Ms. Yang’s speech went viral with disapproval in China. Most felt betrayed by her fawning comparison of pollution in major Chinese cities compare with sweet and fragrant air in U.S., or the freedom of speech and political process with China’s closed system. Obvious the pollution comment was really an opening used to introduce the resulting praise of politics in West.
I have no problem if Ms. Yang is an incoming student with naiveté talking about something beyond her competence, but she is a graduating student after 4 years of study in theater and psychology, then I have a bone to pick with her. She used a one woman play by Anna Deavere Smith, “Twilight, LA”, as a point of diversity, questioning of authority, and freedom of speech. As a student of theater does she really understand what Ms. Smith is trying to say? Does she understand why did the Rodney King riot occur? The riot happened because after Rodney King was brutally beaten by police with video footages documenting it, all the policemen were acquitted in court. The people felt there was no justice and redress. The results were loss of 58 lives, over 2,000 injured, and over $1 billion property damages. Ms. Smith interviewed over 200 people of various occupations and circumstances, and distilled down to a few monologues to give viewers a sense of history as it happens. Yet beneath it all she showed the gulf and injustice prevailing over LA and U.S..
Now in 2017, 25 years after the riot, we have similar verdicts coming down. Policeman involved with shooting Tamir Rice found not guilty, shooting of Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma, found not guilty, and all with videos documenting them. The list is endless. I would think Ms. Smith would be outraged if her student gleam from her play only the praises of such an unjust system instead of outrage and protest.
Yesterday we have the Trump budget plan for the coming years, cuts in Medicaid, cuts in food stamps, cuts in cancer research. As Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said, “We must lower the debt for unborn children by taking food from children”, and of course tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Pollution in Beijing may yet take a decade or more to solve, but solve it will be. China has lifted half a billion people out of poverty, and will soon be the beacon for nations in Africa and other underdeveloped countries. Ms. Yang’s family probably benefitted greatly from China’s development. I suspect it probably cost her family $200,00 for her education. What a waste.

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  1. May 25th, 2017 at 09:54 | #1

    The funny thing is she hails from Yunnan where the air is better than most US cities. A relative of mine from Taiwan, move to Yunnan because of the air and greenery.

    Remember our discussion earlier, I point out that many Asian felt pressured to condemn their homeland to fit in. This is more so with China as the country is pretty much demonized in western MSM.

  2. alanking
    May 25th, 2017 at 21:51 | #2

    Clearly Ms Yang will make a great politician in the USA, its clear what she is good at – telling her audience what they like to hear! In China, such skills would be mostly useless. I strongly suggests that she becomes a US politician in the future, she may go far! As one of my favorite song goes “tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies, tell me tell me tell me lies….” (Fleetwood Mac).

  3. N.M.Cheung
    May 28th, 2017 at 07:08 | #3

    The fact that she hails from Kunming is irrelevant as pollution is not her main point but a device for opening. I questions her understanding of the play and the superficial understanding of American society. By living in U.S. for 4 years and major in theater and psychology, she should have dig deeper beyond the glitter and ivory tower freedom she claim to possess. She like Ai Weiwei both live in the bubble they constructed, as much as Trump is in his tower, indifferent to the real suffering of the majority of people in this world.

  4. Charles Liu
    June 2nd, 2017 at 14:46 | #4

    I think many in US do not see the reason she was criticized initially by her classmates, and why it blew up with Chinese netters. It’s obvious she fawned over her host country at the expense of her own country. If she was talking about her 5 years in US, did she bother to mention Black Lives Matters, poisonous water in Flint, Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant anti-science politics, US role in Syrian conflict? All these happened during her 5 years in US.

    Imagine an American student giving a speech in China, oogling over how great China is and how shi++y America is. How would any patriotic American feel?

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