About 15 Penn students got a chance to hear about American and Chinese relationships from a different perspective than the one typically found in textbooks. A small audience, composed mostly of Political Science and International Relations majors, gathered Monday with select professors to hear Qingguo Jia, a professor from Peking University, discuss the interaction between the two countries. In his 35-minute speech, entitled "Chinese Perceptions of the Engagement Policy Debate in the United States," Jia focused on Chinese policies of human rights. In particular, he argued that it is ironic that many Americans fault the Chinese government for trying to revamp human rights policies, which have often been criticized in America. "United States people don't appreciate the Chinese attempts. They only admit that, economically, China has become more liberalized, which is a simplistic view of China," Jia said. Introduced by Political Science Professor Avery Goldstein, Jia received praise for his continuing work in the field of international studies. After earning his doctoral degree from Cornell University in 1988, Qingguo retuned to his native China to continue teaching. In addition to being associate dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University and a teaching professor at the school, Jia also now acts as a fellow at the Institute of World Development. Many of the students who attended the talk said they came to the lecture to learn about the Chinese perspective on the matter. Wei Tang, a graduate student in the Political Science Department, said he felt it was "good to hear a Chinese voice on American policy." "He has the advantage of speaking English. Many policy makers there cannot speak English," said Tang, who was lauded during Monday's program for aiding in Jia's research. College junior Nadaa Taiyab, an International Relations major, said she too felt the talk was beneficial. She noted that the topic of Chinese-American relations arises frequently in her classes. "It became quite interesting, especially to hear a Chinese perspective. We [Americans] are usually put up against American propaganda that makes the Chinese seem as though they are losing face," she said. Goldstein said it was important for Jia to talk to students at Penn because he is "someone who understands the United States but lives in China and understands China's perspective." Following his talk, Jia said he believed that his arrival on campus was a "good opportunity and important for Chinese to tell their story to the Americans to gain more understanding." "I think there seems to be a lot of lack of understanding on the part of the Americans on what is going on in China," he added.Comments powered by Disqus
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