Racist vandalism toward Chinese students at Columbia and its backlash

Society & Culture

Top society and culture news for February 15, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "A surprise win for the Trump brand in China."

  • After being James, Peter, and William, I decided to stick with my Chinese name / Quartz
    Earlier this month at Columbia University in New York, a number of East Asian students with distinctive non-Western names reported that their name tags were ripped off from their dormitory doors at several residential halls across the campus. The vandalism promoted an investigation conducted by the university’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and a student-made video that went viral on the internet and has garnered 288,000 views so far on Facebook. In the video, Columbia students of Chinese origin explain the meaning of their last names and the reason why keeping a Chinese name, instead of a English one, while interacting with Westerners is important to them. In response to the buzz created by the video, Quartz writer Zheping Huang wrote this personal essay to tell his story of why he used his Chinese name for his bylines.
  • Police use app to solicit Chaoyang’s online masses to nab lawbreakers / Global Times
    Police in Beijing’s Chaoyang district have developed a new smartphone app for locals to easily report suspected illegal behavior. Named after the famous police informants cháoyáng qúnzhòng (朝阳群众), or “Chaoyang masses,” the app “aims to strengthen the relationship between the police and the public, and to fully tap the potential of Chaoyang residents in fighting against crimes,” according to an announcement posted by Chaoyang police on Weibo. On the app, users can anonymously provide tip-offs by uploading videos, photos, and text related to all kinds of suspicious activities such as child trafficking, criminal suspects, and traffic violations. The app also allows users to check on the progress of their reported cases. Over the years, “Chaoyang masses” gained their reputation by successfully bringing several Chinese celebrities who were involved in drug taking and prostitution to justice, including Jaycee Chan, Hong Kong kung fu star Jackie Chan’s son, who was arrested for drug use in August 2014. The snitching app is jokingly called the world’s fifth-largest intelligence group after the United States’ CIA, the Soviet-era KGB, Israel’s Mossad, and Britain’s MI6 by Xinhua News Agency.