you have the right to speak freely and the responsibility to speak correctly

Some new things I have done so far:

New Foods-

Blue corn breakfast bread is soft and slightly sweet and delicious but my favorite breakfast food is this little ball, i guess made of rice flour, covered with sesame seeds and filled with a sweat red bean past. They are delicious!

I also like all the spicy foods.

And this cool yogurt drink that tasts kind of like vanilla yogurt but is just a plain sour milk yogurt (not soured, just sour opposed to sweet)

New Sights-

A bunch of us joined a gym close by and I have been to a Chinese spin class (very hard!) and a Chinese yoga class (not as hard, but very stretchy). I plan on going to a lot. Between the healthy foods- I hope healthy. I don’t know if all the veggies outweigh the oil they are cooked in!- and the gym access I hope to be a very healthy Erica by the time summer rolls around.

Today we are going hiking in the hills around West Lake to look at temples and a “bamboo lined pathway” that sounds beautiful. This weekend it is supposed to be sunny and in the 50’s. That is my kind of winter!

New Classes-

We got our new consulting project assignments yesterday and I am REALLY excited about my project. It is for an import/export company and we have to research what would be good to import from and export to Taiwan. That will be SUCH good experience and is really interesting too!!

Thats all the newness to report so far I think. I am sorry I haven’t posted any pictures. China won’t let me upload them. :(

OH!! Also,

Today in our Asian Business Environment class we got into a really good class discussion about capitalism, democracy, and communism (both as a government and economic system).  I was really impressed with some of the comments of my fellow students- especially two. One asked us what westerners actually mean when they speak of “democracy”. What values and characteristics of it do we actually value and imply when we say that democracy is better than socialism or communism. And more importantly- what characteristics have we noticed lacking in China that were available in America or France.  It is important for us to think about what our words mean, and to observe problems before arguing them rather than assuming they exist. This was shortly followed by another comment (also by a Chinese student) that though we have the freedom to speak what we want, we must also take responsibility for what we say and we must strive to speak the truth.

My response to this debate was to pose a question on their value of the freedom to listen. I do not like to see individuals believing the things that they believe because they have been told to do so. Propaganda, or only supplying half the truth, can be worse than supplying no information at all.  It happened to my parent’s generation during the cold war, and it is happening to the Chinese students this generation. For example, there is no reason to need an internet proxy IP address to access websites and gather information on line. I understand that all media is biased and slanted, but at least in some countries the option is there to seek out other perspectives if the individual chooses to do so. This freedom to listen of course links back to our responsibility to speak correctly and truthfully. I think that in censored nations the governments are not respecting their responsibility.

What do you think?

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