Student apologizes for ‘belittling’ China in graduation speech in US

By Shan Jie and Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/22 21:58:40

A Chinese student apologized on Sina Weibo Monday for her speech at a US university that triggered outrage among Chinese netizens after the video clip, in which she complimented the US and belittled China, was put online.

Yang Shuping, a graduate student at the University of Maryland in the US,  wrote on Monday on her Sina Weibo that "I love my country and hometown and am proud of its prosperity … I also hope to make contributions to it with what I have learnt overseas … the speech is just to share my overseas experience and I have no intention to belittle my country and hometown … I'm deeply sorry and hope for forgiveness."

In the speech, Yang says that the reason she came to study at the University of Maryland is because of the "fresh air."

"I grew up in a city in China where I had to wear face masks every time I went outside, otherwise I might get sick," said Yang.

According to Yang's Facebook profile, she used to study in Kunming, Yunnan Province, a city that enjoys high-quality air, with the PM2.5 always staying below 50.

Her speech soon sparked heated discussion online as many Chinese netizens blamed her for "degrading China."

"How can a Chinese make such comments on her motherland while speaking to a bunch of foreigners, we overseas students always pay attention to protecting our country," said Sina Weibo user "baiyishaonian."

"Insulting the motherland to grab attention is intolerable. The university's support to such critical speech is not only ill-considered, but also raises suspicion about other motives," Zhu Lihan, former president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) at the University of Maryland, told the Global Times.

The CSSA is also calling students from China to make videos to promote their hometowns with the words "I have different views from Shuping Yang. I am proud of China."

Yang also mentioned in the speech that she breathed another fresh air after she came to the US, which is "free speech." "Before I came to the US … life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, these words sounded so strange, so abstract and so foreign to me," said Yang.

"Contrasting China with the US as the starting point of a speech is quite narrow-minded," an anonymous PhD student from China on policy studies at a US university told the Global Times.

"She has rights and freedom to express such opinion in private. Saying this in a public speech shows her being immature and mean," she said.

This girl drew a demarcation line with the motherland with radical opinions, while some other people could recognize problems and take responsibilities to solve the problems in their countries, she noted.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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