04 May 2011

TEDxSMU Tuesday 5.3.11

Events, Ideas, News No Comments

Ai Weiwei

Michael Bloomberg Speaks Out For Detained Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei, Unafraid Of Business Repercussions, The Huffington Post, May 4, 2011

“Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared with a dozen prominent cultural figures in front of New York City’s Plaza Hotel Wednesday to open a piece of public art by Ai Weiwei, who was detained last month by the Chinese government. Calling the unveiling a ‘bittersweet honor,’ the mayor took a couple of shots at Chinese authorities, who he suggested ‘do not value and protect free speech.’”

China breaks silence on Ai Weiwei’s detention, The Telegraph, May 3, 2011

“No one has heard from Mr. Ai, 53, since he was stopped from boarding a flight at Beijing airport last Sunday and escorted away by police, together with his friend Wan Tao.”

China Baffled by Support for Imprisoned Activist Ai Weiwei, Voice of America News, April 12, 2011

“The Chinese government says it is unhappy with international support for detained artist and activist Ai Weiwei.”

Chinese Authorities Raze an Artist’s Studio, New York Times, January 12, 2011

“…An order to raze the studio — designed by Ai Weiwei, a protean artist who is one of the most outspoken critics of the Chinese Communist Party — was issued last July. Mr. Ai took the move to be retribution for rankling the authorities.”

A Year After Sichuan Quake, Citizens Press for Answers, Time, May 12, 2009

“With his bushy salt-and-pepper hair, scraggly goatee and bohemian airs, Ai Weiwei doesn’t fit the mold of earnest human-rights campaigner. But the 52-year-old Chinese artist has made the cause of documenting every child killed in last May’s massive earthquake in Sichuan his own. Leveraging his position as one of the country’s best-known artists — he had a hand in designing the Olympic Bird’s Nest stadium and is the son of China’s most prominent modern poet — Ai has managed to help keep the issue of why so many schools collapsed, killing thousands of students, alive.”

Censorship in China

The Great Firewall: China’s Web Users Battle Censorship, Time, April 13, 2010

“After he was listed on this year’s TIME 100 poll to determine the world’s most influential people, Chinese author Han Han wrote a blog post announcing, ‘Other Chinese nominees include sensitive word, sensitive word and sensitive word.’ It was something of an inside joke, but one that Han’s huge fan base would immediately get. ‘Sensitive word’ was a jab at China’s Web censors’ habit of sometimes blocking even commonplace names from display in blog posts and Web searches. Within days, his post had generated more than 20,000 comments, most in support of the writer, a few in opposition and many grumbling about the state of online freedom in China.”

Internet Censorship in China, New York Times

“Internet censorship in China is among the most stringent in the world. The government blocks Web sites that discuss the Dalai Lama, the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters, Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement, and other Internet sites.”

Censorship in China, Amnesty International

“… In China, Amnesty International is concerned that in their pursuit of new and lucrative markets, foreign corporations may be directly or indirectly contributing to human rights violations or at the very least failing to give adequate consideration to the human rights implications of their investments. Of particular concern are abuses of the right to freedom of expression and information. More recently concerns tied to privacy issues have also arisen.”

Human Rights and Politics

Fears in China as another human rights lawyer disappears, The Guardian, May 1, 2011

“Campaigners have warned that Chinese human rights lawyers remain under intense pressure, following the disappearance of another high-profile legal figure.”

U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue: Soft Power Gone Hard? The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2011

“…Spooked by anonymous online calls for a ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in February, Beijing is in the midst of a crackdown on dissent that has seen dozens of writers, lawyers, artists, religious leaders and other and political activists arrested, detained or, in some cases, simply disappeared. Confronted with criticism over the sometimes extralegal measures taken to silence critics of the regime, China’s Foreign Ministry has been defiant, insisting foreign journalists and foreign countries should mind their own business.”

China accuses US of human rights double standards, The Guardian, April 11, 2011

“The Chinese government has attacked the US for targeting WikiLeaks while campaigning for internet freedom overseas. Beijing has a doctrine of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, but the State Council Information Office releases an annual report on the US human rights record as a riposte to Washington’s criticisms. The document says it underlines the hypocrisy of the US and ‘its malicious design to pursue hegemony under the pretext of human rights.’”

Going Long Liberty in China, Thomas Friedman, New York Times, October 16, 2010

“China has thrived since Deng Xiaoping by offering its people economic freedom without political freedom. And surely one of the most intriguing political science questions in the world today is: Can China continue to prosper, while censoring the Internet, controlling its news media and insisting on a monopoly of political power by the Chinese Communist Party?”

Our One-Party Democracy, Thomas Friedman, New York Times, September 8, 2009

“One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power.”

English Mania

Across cultures, English is the word, New York Times, April 9, 2007

“Riding the crest of globalization and technology, English dominates the world as no language ever has, and some linguists are now saying it may never be dethroned as the king of languages.”

English ‘world language’ forecast, BBC News, December 9, 2004

“…Researcher David Graddol says two billion people will be learning English as it becomes a truly ‘world language…’ But the UK Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, has warned against the ‘arrogance’ of English speakers who fail to learn other languages.”

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English, by John McWhorter

Covering such turning points as the little-known Celtic and Welsh influences on English, the impact of the Viking raids and the Norman Conquest, and the Germanic invasions that started it all during the fifth century ad, John McWhorter narrates this colorful evolution with vigor. Drawing on revolutionary genetic and linguistic research as well as a cache of remarkable trivia about the origins of English words and syntax patterns, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue ultimately demonstrates the arbitrary, maddening nature of English— and its ironic simplicity due to its role as a streamlined lingua franca during the early formation of Britain. This is the book that language aficionados worldwide have been waiting for (and no, it’s not a sin to end a sentence with a preposition).

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World, by Nicholas Ostler

Ostler’s ambitious and accessible book is not a technical linguistic study-i.e., it’s not concerned with language structure-but about the “growth, development and collapse of language communities” and their cultures… The rise of English to global status, Ostler argues, owes much to the economic prestige of the Industrial Revolution, but its future as a lingua franca may falter on demographic trends, such as booming birth rates in China. This stimulating book is a history of the world as seen through the spread and demise of languages.

Related TED Talks

Joseph Nye on global power shifts, TEDGlobal 2010

Historian and diplomat Joseph Nye gives us the 30,000-foot view of the shifts in power between China and the US, and the global implications as economic, political and “soft” power shifts and moves around the globe.

Martin Jacques: Understanding the rise of China, TEDSalon London 2010

Speaking at a TED Salon in London, economist Martin Jacques asks: How do we in the West make sense of China and its phenomenal rise? The author of “When China Rules the World,” he examines why the West often puzzles over the growing power of the Chinese economy, and offers three building blocks for understanding what China is and will become.

Hans Rosling: Asia’s rise — how and when, TEDIndia 2009

Hans Rosling was a young guest student in India when he first realized that Asia had all the capacities to reclaim its place as the world’s dominant economic force. At TEDIndia, he graphs global economic growth since 1858 and predicts the exact date that India and China will outstrip the US.

Sergey Brin on Google’s China decision, TED Blog 2010

Onstage at TED2010, TED curator Chris Anderson interviews Google’s Sergey Brin about the company’s recent statement on China

Patricia Ryan: Don’t insist on English! TEDxDubai

At TEDxDubai, longtime English teacher Patricia Ryan asks a provocative question: Is the world’s focus on English preventing the spread of great ideas in other languages? (For instance: what if Einstein had to pass the TOEFL?) It’s a passionate defense of translating and sharing ideas.

Jody Williams: A realistic vision for world peace, TEDWomen

Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams brings tough love to the dream of world peace, with her razor-sharp take on what “peace” really means, and a set of profound stories that zero in on the creative struggle — and sacrifice — of those who work for it.

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