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January 16, 2008 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-01-16

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I. *.-" . " . S

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - The Michigan Daily

last year, the IMF's World Economic
outlook projected that China's global
economic growth would surpass that
of the United States in 2008 - some-
thing no country has done since the
Accompanying rapid economic
growth, though, has been increased
environmental destruction across
China, as well as marked deterioration
in the protection of basic human rights
and fair labor practices for Chinese
citizens. Last year, China surpassed
the U.S. as the leading producer of
carbon dioxide. And according to the
Worldwatch Institute, an international
environmental monitoring group, 16 of
the 20 most polluted cities in the world
are located in China. Many, including
China Labor Watch, a New York-based
labor rights group, think China's gov-
ernment-controlled "union" is a farce
and doesn't aim to improve the work-
ing conditions of Chinese laborers.
But despite the questions surround-
ing China's destructive environmental
policy and human rights issues - all.
byproducts of an economic growth the
likes of which the world has never seen
- University President Mary Sue Cole-
man thinks China is much too influen-
tial of a country not to connect with.
"China is going to be a major force
in the 21st century and so I think it's
very important for our students to be
exposed and to understand the culture
and the politics and the current issues
in China," Coleman said in an Octo-
ber interview. "It doesn't mean that
we endorse everything that happens
there, but I've found that ignoring a
certain part of the world isn't going to
help us understand it."
Political Science Prof. Kenneth
Lieberthal, one of the nation's leading
experts on Chinese foreign policy and
political economy, said the goal of Uni-
versity initiatives directly engaging
China, like the theme year and Chi-
nese educational exchange programs,
is to gain a deeper understanding of
China's culture, economy and global
"You don't get those understand-
ings sitting in the Rackham library
and reading," said Lieberthal, who is
a former special assistant to President
Bill Clinton and senior director for
Asia Affairs for the National Security
What's more, Lieberthal said, the
University views the China theme
year not as a one-off occurrence but
rather as a catalyst for continually
increasing the study of China on cam-
pus. Throughout this academic year,
a University taskforce, commissioned
by Coleman, has been meeting to dis-
cuss how to best apply the University's
resources to understanding China
beyond this year. In addition to con-
tinuingto offerChinese-themed cours-
es and bringiin in 'fluential speakers,
said Lieberthal, a member of the task
force, the group has been studying
how other universit es both American
and international study China on their
campuses. Although Lieberthal said
the group, expected to report back to
Coleman at the end of the semester,
hadn't reached any definite ,cotciu-
sions yet, he said he hopes the m
will be able to recommend vwas tat
the University can trackClhia's dl-
opments and worldwide impact.

A man protests outside Rackham Amphitheare before a Nov.12 lecture by Zhou Wenzhong,
China's ambassador tothe United States. In his speech, Zhou said China was committed to
monitoring manufacturing after toys made there were found to contain toxins.
Apart from exposing its students to region's mandated minimum wage.
Chinese culture, history and language, Meanwhile, a report issued in Novem-
the University has more immediate ber by China Labor Watch said that
goals for expanding its relationship Chinese factories producing apparel
with China. The University plans for Adidas, the University's new exclu-
to emphasize its China programs in sive athletics apparel provider, refused
2010 when it undergoes review for re- employees even basic living condi-
accreditation by the Higher Learning tions. On top of working excessive
Commission, a Chicago-based inde- hours and receiving unconscionably
pendent corporation that oversees the low wages, the report said employees
accreditation process lived in "primitive"
for degree-granting and "filthy" company
universities. On the dormitories with only
University's website, Increased old sheets or plastic
one of the focal points dividing the buildings'
of its accreditation investment mold ridden interiors
preparations is the , into private spaces
"internationaliza- means ethical But many at the
tion" of the University, University say these
including China-relat- implications human rights issues
ed initiatives like the are not unique to
theme year and Presi- China and therefore
dent Coleman's plan to not worth risking sev-
double the amount of ered ties.
University students studying abroad "Now there is the concern that
by 2017. (China's) human rights are lacking, but
Still, as the University's relationship that's true of a lot of places that we're
with China becomes more complex, friends with. and indeed it's actually
China's dismal hune '"ts record a lot worse in many oter places," said
and disregard for fair Iaor lassws beg Alan Dear corf, an ecnomics and
to be acknowledged. As recently as public policy professor.
last semester, the University was And although the rate of change for
implicated in an egregious instasccof Cliii a's economy vsitout paces its
labor violations in Chi. A D'cctmilc ,oitic, uiitngi D r ',tf s tI tliact
cc, istii lst he Na iii I L. dsot t'on s iiiT- do sn m'-: iic.in i _. a I ' c isn't
et -n rdi lii Icsity 5_ cc rin : a i iC h i sen Cinev
sicis nit iedallii s ato sir itfacoe y iscnm its outla-c. Ise sI- iii I i

"Very slowly, politically, they're
moving in the right direction," Dear-
dorff said. "And I don't think there's
any reason to try to be removed from
University professors don't turn
a blind eye to China's pitfalls in the
classroom, though.
More than ever, critical studies of
past and present-day China are avail-
able on campus. Lieberthal's under-
graduate seminar, "Understanding
China's International Impact," not
only presents students with a picture
of how China's growing globalized
economy reverberates throughout the
world, but also shows the consequenc-
es of that growth.
In several of her courses, Political
Science Asst. Prof. Mary Gallagher
said she examines, among other topics,
the political ramifications of China's
rapid growth in the last 30 years. Her
courses, Gallagher said, "give students
a sense of what certain things China's
political system doesn't do so well, like
monitor the environment or protect
labor rights."
Aside from concerns about envi-
ronmental and human rights issues
in China, another perspective puts
into question the ethics - or at least
the advisability - of the University's
growing relationship with China.
With the affects of a globalizing econ-
omy felt throughout United States
job fields, some people feel the Uni-
versity's increased efforts to educate
exchange students from China equates
to American academia shooting itself
in the foot.
As part of the Shanghai Jiao Tong
University Joint Institute summer
program, the University also offers
graduate degrees in engineering to
Chinese students in Shanghai. It is
one of the first non-Chinese academic
institutions to do so. But many people
ask whether a University of Michigan
education should be provided to people
from a country that has lured jobs and
companies from the United States. To
Gallagher, though, the question bor-
ders on xenophobia.
"To deny Chinese students the
chance to study here would be so self-
defeating," she said. "Students who
spend time in the U.S., if anything, are
more likely to favor the American sys-
tem, simply' ecause education is one of
our biggest assets."
Building on the success of the
Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint
Institute program and the growing
popularity of several other less-official
exchange programs in the social sci-
ences and chemistry, the University
plans to expand its exchange programs
with China to other disciplines like
medicine, pharmacy and business.
But if the University continues to
develop exchange programs research
collaborations aid shared degree
opport-ttiles vich Chinese insti-
tutis lu vwill o b ble to claim
conmplete removal feomthei ethical
itmpicact itns vo ndtiag a coutry
owhere so little atticin isgivenito
tiphoiig humsoi i htpls act abce

Z hou Wenzhong, the Chinese
ambassador to the United
States, stoodbefore a full-capac-
ity crowd ate Rackham Amphitheatre
on Nov. 12 and, with an almost casual
air about him, explained China's plans
to drastically improve the lives of its
nearly 1.3abillion citizens by quadru-
pling per capita income by the year
2024. Zhou, speaking perfect English,
went on to say that China s a. commit-
ted to preventing future health scares
stemming from Chinese products
aludiing to the icall of tens of oil
tin if Clhirn'ye-mati products from
Amer rry imanufacici is 'lstfall.
And cviindig t crtitim cabout
t evir etac ci ences of
Ch' 'g itdstrial sector,
hu sid hi unrv suh build

"a resource-conserving a
ment-friendly society" in,
with its booming economy.
A week after Zhou's visi
of people streamed into a
auditorium across campus
ham to hear Wang Dan,
leaders in the Chinese
movementof the late1980s
had spent years in Chinese
lost many friends and Fe
ists in the bloody Ti an n
massacre of 1989, embode
Chinese patriotism stark
from the view cof Zhoi% I
speaking isli obri( ig
ie ici tic sotnd s cia
t e intl isv 'i a ci

nd environ- reforms proposed by t
conjunction ernment - the ones Z
. increase the per capit
it, hundreds country's citizens - w
Law School for the benefit of the p
from Rack- "a license to openly st
one of the property." He saidt
democracy the government's cut
.Wang,who reforms "has become
prisons and for the Communist Pa
sllow activ- reject freedom and det
men Square While Zhou's and W
d a spirit of differed drastically, ti
ly different put together ade it
Passioiracely lChia is a divisive, tu
lsi, Wan that letters swrlsdwd
tmpioitt by both its tiiarlieu Iec
led thc rat ind tile stagat'
eaitme of' hm i 'hits. standard

he Chinese gov- negative interpretations of China's
hou said would modern development makes the nation
a income of the a dynamic subject for the University's
'ere, in fact, not theme year series. This year's pro-
'eople, but were gram, titled ChinaNow and coordinat-
eal the people's ed by the College of Literature, Science
the success of and the Arts and the Center of Chi-
rrent economic nese Studies, offers an array of events,
the best excuse activities and special courses meant
rty of China to to enlighten students on the budding
aocracy." world powrer.
fang's ideologies But while ChiuaNow promotes a
ie two lectures stronger link beteeti the tUtiversity
perfectly c e: and Citie na, the qulestiont ricot:its uwhat
multuous natio Chinar i n tus, andt whlebter the Cniser-
e attcei iiii fr sity Inas a m1ioralc rspsIltibi\ty t ik
onoie growiu-Nth a pubilic stand aat Iumn ights
in or Ic luse' f a trocties -whih incleI, bu 'r nt
Is foi its yeotple liited t: state-spoil r'el esrii l
en1p51ti1 and it mei, supprissin iofI reius fe

dom and repression of dissidents and
protesters - occurring in a country
with which it has a close relationship.
The University's association with
China, though likely stronger now
than ever, extends back to the late 19th
century, when then-University presi-
dent .James Angell served as the Unit-
ed States's minister to China. Since
then, the University has continued to
maintain and expand its relationship
with China by establishing the Center
for Chinese Studies in 1961, sending a
Universit ldelegratioti to China in 1971
and ope oing a ifficial office - the
University (f Michigan Office in C'i'na
inthe Chitse icapital of Blijin i
200, l M tre et'y, current Unier-
sity Itsdet M.s Sue Coleman led a

she helped establish the Joint Institute
with Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
an engineering exchange program that
allows for shared degree programs and
research collaboration between the
What makes the University's ties
with the China of the past so different
from its present relations is the global
power that today's China now wields.
For one thing, the desire to foster bonds
between the University and China has
undoubtedly taken on more steam
siice the latter became sn economic
poweerhouse. In 2006, both the Wo rld
it; tiandfi the Interniatiosl-: Misnsetaryt
loud rantmkedt Ctiha's gircis diisi
Itduct- ivei tt metse te iz f
acountry's cOtty -It secind in thei
worldI, ,hsits t Usitd 'tai -n

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