I feel sorry for the Chinese researchers having to endure extra scrutiny of their research by the American federal government on account of their nationality (Life of the Mind, Nov. 13). I’m sure some of them are honest and suffering from generalization.
But I feel much sorrier for the one-billion-plus Chinese citizens who daily endure harsh scrutiny of the most intimate details of their lives by their own government.
I feel much sorrier for the millions of Chinese women forced into aborting their children over four decades under China’s brutalizing one-child policy.
I feel much sorrier for the millions of Chinese ethnic minorities, religious believers, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, activists, dissidents, complainers, priests, pastors, bishops, nuns, and other political miscreants, disappeared, imprisoned, tortured, executed, worked or starved or frozen to death in Chinese government labor prisons and reeducation camps since the time of Mao.
So, actually, no, I don’t feel sympathy for the visiting Chinese researchers. I feel anger, that we have closed our eyes in self-interest to their government’s inhuman atrocities while we divested over other atrocities such as Apartheid, in fear of “McCarthyism,” or for cheaper sneakers and newer iPhones. We fund these atrocities. I feel anger that our academics continue to idealize and fantasize about communism to our students, because of our own imperfections, without teaching entire courses on Mao, Stalin, Tito, Solzhenitsyn, the Gulag, Walter Ciszek, Dr. Zhivago, and the Lithuanian author Ruta Sepetys. Survivors of Eastern European brutality and ugliness should be visiting schoolchildren just like Holocaust survivors warned my generation vividly, “never again.” Do any of your children know these names? Does anyone even care about “Free Tibet” anymore?