Yang Shuping, an international Chinese student who recently gave an address at the University of Maryland’s commencement ceremony, has found herself in hot water at home for remarks she made on behalf of the right to free speech available in the United States.
As reported by The Washington Post, Shuping said, in part:
“People often ask me: ‘Why did you come to the University of Maryland?’ I always answer: Fresh air.”
“I grew up in a city in China where I had to wear a face mask every time I went outside, otherwise I might get sick. However, the moment I inhaled and exhaled outside the airport, I felt free,” she said of her arrival to America.
“I would soon feel another kind of fresh air for which I will be forever grateful. The fresh air of free speech. Democracy and free speech should not be taken for granted. Democracy and freedom are the fresh air that is worth fighting for.”
Well, THAT didn’t go over so well in China.
Her speech has been seen, via social media, by tens of millions so far in her home country, and LOTS of posts in response to the video have been critical of Shuping, including from one user who wrote, “China does not need a traitor like you. Just stay in the U.S. and breathe your fresh air.”
Another wrote, “Don’t let me meet you in the United States; I am afraid I could not stop myself from going up and smacking you in the face.”
For its part, the People’s Daily Online, one of the official Internet organs of China’s communist party, criticized Shuping for reinforcing “negative Chinese stereotypes.”
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large