Yangyang Cheng on the ‘tyranny of the border’

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SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

It’s the final Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for Yangyang Cheng’s Science and China Column. This month, she writes about national borders, specifically, the ways they are politicized to the detriment of people. The story starts at CERN, where the Large Hadron Collider straddles both Switzerland and France — a border Yangyang crossed every day in the summer of 2010, when she was working on her Ph.D. You’ll have to click through to SupChina to see where the story goes from there — and how the coronavirus ties in.

Regular readers of Yangyang will know that her mother often makes an appearance in her column. (See: “Thicker than blood.”) Sure enough, Yangyang’s mother is in this latest essay, and she does not disappoint:

My mother finally went outside for groceries. She wore three layers of masks. “I heard that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) says masks are only needed for sick people,” my mother writes. “Don’t listen to them. Americans are of a different race. Chinese people wear masks.”

Go read the piece: “Fault lines in humanity.”

See also: Our Slack Q&A archive for Access members, where the most recent chat featured Yangyang. If you have not yet joined the Slack channel, click here to set up your account. We are working to set up more guest Q&As in the near future, so let us know if you have any requests for topics!

—Anthony Tao