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Archive for August, 2011

China in the Next 30 Years

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

I’m excited to announce the digital release of China in the Next 30 Years in all the major ebook retailers, including Kindle at Amazon.com, B&N.com and iTunes Store.

China in the Next 30 Years is first released in China by the Chinese Compilation and Translation Press, a major publisher in Beijing. MoraQuest acquired the worldwide digital rights for the release of the book.

Below is a synopsis of China in the Next 30 Years. I found it a very informative, in-depth book on many political, social, cultural, sustainability, environmental and agricultural issues that China faces moving forward. A gem to be discovered. Check it out and enjoy!

 

Robert W. Fogel

“China has achieved phenomenal economic growth in the last 30 years. Robert Fogel, Nobel Laureate in Economics, predicts that the Chinese economy will reach $123 trillion and per capita income will hit $85,000 by 2040, ranking it among the super-rich nations in the world. This economic transformation has been accompanied by political reforms and major societal changes. In order for China to emerge as a global powerhouse, political reforms will have to continue to deal with new challenges associated with social stability, international relations and environmental issues.

China aspires to develop a unique political hierarchy and humanistic democracy which is based on its cultural heritage. This is quite different from the democratic systems commonly found in the West. The Chinese “development model” is not fixed. “Crossing a river by feeling the stones underfoot”- the mantra advocated by Deng Xiaoping will likely remain the guiding principle for pragmatic action and swift adaptation.

 

Yu Keping

Looking ahead to the next 30 years, seventeen essays contributed by nineteen leading Chinese and Western scholars trace the steps of China’s recent accomplishments and offer their views on how China can continue its economic and societal development and emerge as a positive world contributor.”

 

Contributing writers for book include:

Michael Hudson, Li Daokui, Pan Wei, Wang Huiyao, Wu Jinglian, Yu Keping, Cheng Enfu, Robert W. Fogel, Chen Wenling, Yan Shaojun, Hans Herren, Bjørn Lomborg, Christopher Flavin, Ma hai ing, Hu An-gang, Li Wuwei, Tommy Koh, Gustaaf Geeraerts, and Tan Chung.

For more information, visit www.moraquest.com.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. Visit www.mulberrychild.com and www.moraquest.com. Mulberry Child has been turned into a feature-length documentary film by award-winning director Susan Morgan Cooper and will be released in 2011.

 

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New Chinese IP Resource Center

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

By Jian Ping

 

Gan, Corkery, Li and other delegation and faculty members

The John Marshall Law School (JMLS) officially opened its Chinese Intellectual Property Center in Chicago on August 23. Dean John Corkery presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was well attended by distinguished guests, representatives of Chicago law firms, faculty, students, and the media.

 

The Center is the first of its kind in the U.S. I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend the ceremony.

“The John Marshall Law School and the Chinese intellectual property community, particularly the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO), has enjoyed many years of successful cooperation,” said Dorothy Li, Co-Director, Asian Alliances Program at the John Marshall Law School. “The Resource Center will provide a unique stage for IP dialogue between the U.S. and China in the years to come.”

 

Professor Wen, Chief Judge Holderman, Hon. Sharon Barner and IP attorney Jeff Duncan at the panel

A delegation of six people headed by Mr. Gan Shaoning, Deputy Commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), and Lu Kun, Deputy Consul General from the Chinese Consulate in Chicago also attended the opening ceremony.

 

Over the past 17 years, SIPO has sent more than 600 Chinese students for short and long term studies at  JMLS. Gan said the Resource Center would provide a new platform for American students and IP practitioners to learn more about Chinese intellectual property law and help enhancing the mutual understanding and communication between the two countries.

Professor Wen Xikai, a member of the Chinese delegation, gave a two-hour lecture on the implications of the third amendment to China’s Patent Law that became effective on October 1, 2009. She briefed the captivated audience of nearly a hundred students, faculty and IP attorneys from the Chicago area, providing them with the background of the three amendments implemented respectively in 1992, 2000 and 2008 and addressed in details the changes made in the 3rd amendment.

 

Ribbon cutting at the opening ceremony

Joining Wen after her talk in a discussion panel regarding the Chinese IP law and practices are Hon. James F. Holderman, chief judge of the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Hon. Sharon Barner, former Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and Jeff Duncan, partner at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione.

 

“Foreign companies welcome the changes,” Barner commented about the 3rd amendment. “However, the key still lies in the ability to enforce the regulations.”

John Marshall Law School started working with China’s law schools and government agencies in 1994. Besides training Chinese students in the U.S., the School also runs a summer program in which they send 20 or so students to study in China for a month.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. Visit www.mulberrychild.com, www.moraquest.com for more information. Mulberry Child has been made into a feature-length documentary film by award-winning director Susan Morgan Cooper and will be released in 2011.

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A New Toy

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

By Jian Ping

 

My new toy

Two weeks ago, I bought a MacBook Pro laptop, completing my shifting to Apple products from iPhone, iPad, and finally a computer.

 

The latest step was made necessary by my new initiative to release books I had acquired and will continue to acquire from publisher(s) in China. I’m excited to make my contribution in bridging cultural differences and promoting cross-cultural communications/understanding by releasing books under MoraQuest, the company I founded two years ago.

The first book I selected during my June trip to China was titled China in the Next 30 Years, a wonderful collection of essays written by more than a dozen Chinese and Western scholars who predict the economic, political, and agricultural development of China in 30 years. I found it very informative and the perspectives from both Chinese and Westerners provided various balanced and in-depth views.

 

A powerful tool

Armed with my new toy, I learned the basics of page layout and cover design by using Pages, the equivalent of Word in Microsoft Office. I took one-to-one tutoring at the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue and spent hours laboring over templates and graphics and the color “inspector”. I must admit I was and still am quite “technology” challenged. I put aside everything else, including blogging, and “fought” my through step of the way, day and night. For two weeks, I slept four or five hours a day. After many trials and errors. I finally created a file with hyperlinks that would allow readers to click on the table of contents in PDF or ePub files, the basic requirements to release the title in digital format at the three key e-retailers, namely, Amazon, B&N.com and iStore. I’ve made one round of revision shortly after loading up the files. There are still minor issues, I’m sure, that will be brought to my attention. But the digital book is available for sale online now!

 

 

A new release in digital format

A few people who read the book generously endorsed it, including Robert Herbold, retired COO of Microsoft. Mr. Herbold wrote in his testimonial: “China has made huge progress over the past 30 years. In this book, some of the world’s best visionaries examine if and how China can now transition to a genuine global leader. I highly recommend this very interesting collection of viewpoints.”

 

My new toy has helped me embark on a new endeavor. I’ve acquired two more books focused on China issues, mostly its political and democratic systems. They were both written by Westerners and were quite critical of China. I am impressed that these books were released in China, in both Chinese and English. If my newly learned skills doesn’t fail me, I should be able to release these books in the next few weeks.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. Visit www.mulberrychild.com, www.moraquest.com for more information. Mulberry Child has been made into a feature-length documentary film by award-winning director Susan Morgan Cooper and will be released in 2011.

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We Don’t Need No Education

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
Science Class at UIS

Image by jeremy.wilburn via Flickr

by Nancy Werking Poling

author of  Had Eve Come First and Jonah Been a Woman

and Out of the Pumpkin Shell

 

So why am I not surprised when I read of legislators cutting funds to education?

It used to be that a well educated person was held in esteem. We believed the findings of science; we valued the informed opinions of –ologists. We wanted a populace capable of making informed decisions, leaders who were intelligent. Nowadays we hear, “Yeah, they say eating a lot of red meat is unhealthy, but my granddaddy ate beef his whole life, and he lived to be a hundred.” “Those scientists who warn about global warming—there are just as many saying there’s no crisis.” “Nobody will ever convince me that God didn’t create the earth and everything on it in seven days.” In the last presidential election I heard voters say they liked Sarah Palin because she was “just like you and me,” that is not smarter than most of us.

In the current cultural climate we see the extreme to which the power of the individual has been taken. It doesn’t matter what years of research have shown; if I don’t want to believe the theory of evolution, all I have to do is say it’s not true. If the coal industry, which contributed to my senator’s reelection campaign, says global warming is a myth, and I want to drive a Hummer and run my air conditioning, I maintain global warming hasn’t been proved. I want to believe that cutting federal spending will stimulate the economy, so don’t confuse me with facts that show otherwise. If a T.V. channel tells me what I want to hear, I repeat what I heard there and swear it to be the truth.

No wonder American children don’t do well in science: their parents don’t believe the scientific facts that are out there. Back in the early eighties, when I worked as an editor at a textbook company, Melvin and Norma Gabler, religious conservatives in Texas, held an inordinate influence over textbook publications. Our company’s biology books didn’t mention evolution; our junior high health books didn’t mention puberty. For decades many students have been inadvertently taught not to think scientifically and not to accept scientific evidence.

Yet, even for those of us who don’t intend to adopt science as a vocation, a sound scientific background is important. It informs our gathering of new knowledge. We try to approach a subject/problem—even if it’s related to economics, the environment, or forging strong communities—in an unbiased manner, gather evidence that can be measured and replicated by someone else, develop hypotheses, test them.

And now conservative legislators are cutting education. Who cares what educational research says about class size? What does it matter if “American students rank 21st in science compared to students in 30 industrialized countries”? What does it matter if “more than 1.2 million students drop out of school every year”? What does it matter if “44 percent of dropouts under the age of 24 are jobless” (broadeducation.org/about/crisis_stats.html)?

Money is also being pulled from our public universities. That’s not surprising either, given a widely held opinion that colleges and universities harbor left-leaning, socialist faculties. My personal interpretation is that universities foster critical thinking. The more a person studies a problem, and thinks critically, the more complexity the learner sees. Issues are no longer clear-cut, no longer answered with simple solutions and platitudes. If one exiting the university questions commonly accepted practices, is that leftist thinking?

We used to say we wanted an informed citizenry. I’m convinced conservatives in our country, fueled by money from corporations, want individuals to believe that their own opinion, which has been manipulated, is more sound than science.

Withholding money from education is sure to result in a citizenry no longer influenced by careful, unbiased research. “Don’t confuse us with the facts,” might well become our national mantra.

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God and Politics

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

 

By Ellis Goodman

I think the Founding Fathers got it right when they decided to separate church and state. Throughout history, the involvement of religion in politics has had bloody, repressive, and often unexpected consequences.  For an up-to-date example, just look at Iran today.  However, religion has always played an important part in U.S. life.  In fact, Americans are considerably more religious than most developed nations.  Our leaders have followed their faith in various stripes and for the most part, have professed the importance of their faith in their daily lives.

However, I believe it is unhealthy when God and religion are embedded into our political system.  I know there would be many on the religious right that would disagree with this comment, and of course they are entitled to their opinion.  The question is, in their eyes, am I entitled to mine? 

I am quite perturbed by the latest candidate to enter the Republican race for President in 2012 – Governor Rick Perry of Texas.  A former Democrat who ran Al Gore’s campaign in 1988, he is by all accounts a devoted and actively practicing Methodist.  That’s fine in my book, but the recently organized August 6th “Day of Prayer and Fasting,” when he invited governors across the country to join him in participating in “The Response” – described as a non-denominational apolitical Christian prayer meeting hosted by American Families Association in Houston a few days before announcing his candidacy – takes on a whole different aura.  “The Day of Prayer and Fasting” was a call to God for help for our country in its current economic difficulties.  During the speculation as to whether Governor Perry would seek the Presidency, he has invoked God on many occasions, saying not only has he been seeking guidance, but that God “has told him that he should undertake this quest for the sake of his fellow Americans,” that’s when I start to get worried.

   

“George Bush believes he is on a mission from God,” according to the politician Nabil Shaath.  Photograph: Charles Dharapak/AP

We just had a President – George W. Bush – who apparently got instructions and guidance from God in all things.  When asked whether he would be seeking advice from his father about the wisdom of the invasion of Iraq, he responded that he was receiving guidance from a “higher Father.”  George W. Bush was adamant in his convictions and I presume that, once God told him he was on the right track, nothing could change his mind, not even evidence to the contrary about weapons of mass destruction.  The George W. Bush Presidency severely weakened this country and led us to the edge of bankruptcy.  It seems that if God had been giving advice to George W. Bush, he was certainly not on the “American side.”  Perhaps God is more sympathetic to Ahmadinejad or the Ayatollahs or even Saddam Hussein. On the face of Bush’s performance, we have to assume that God is not very pleased with America. 

I’m certainly not looking forward to the hundreds of millions of campaign dollars that are going to be spent in the next year on television advertising – most of which will be negative – extorting the virtues of various candidates and maligning competitors and of course our current President. Unfortunately, this is the face of U.S. politics today; and, what is even more worrying is that the powers that be, e.g., Karl Rove and his friends, large chunks of corporate America, the Unions and similar Democratic supporters know that this negative advertising works.  If you shout loud enough, the public will believe what you’re saying, even if it is totally untrue.

It’s bad enough having to go through months of this frustratingly inaccurate information that is blasted at us through the airwaves without having to hear the privileged position that candidates have with God.

 

Ellis M. Goodman, author of Bear Any Burden: www.bearanyburden.com

Visiting Cook County Jail (2)

Friday, August 5th, 2011

by Jian Ping

Cook County jail garden

I could see a group of detainees working in the garden fenced by tall barbed wire. They were weeding in the well-maintained garden, with a variety of vegetables, including tomatoes, okra, and green pepper. They moved freely, and a couple of security guards were watching them from a distance. Michael, an administrator in charge of the garden, greeted us, along with two colleagues. The vegetable plants looked small for the season and we soon learned that a recent hail had destroyed most of them.

 I had never talked to a detainee or inmate before and hesitated for a while before I struck a conversation with one, with the encouragement of Sheriff Dart. Or rather by his example—he constantly stopped and talked to the detainees and thanked them for their work.

 “I like working in the garden,” a black man told me. I wanted to know more about his situation, but couldn’t bring myself to ask.

Another section of the garden, with the maximum security building in the back

Michael told us the detainees working at the garden could eat the produce, but couldn’t take anything to their cells. Anyone violating the rule would lose the privilege of working at the garden.

 It was a hot day. I could see the perspiration on the black detainee’s forehead. He used a hue to loosen the soil and appeared enjoying the outdoor work.

 Another detainee went inside and came out with a cup of water for each of us.

 “Thanks for your interest in our garden,” he said.

He was so polite and considerate. I wondered what he had done to end up in here.

The work in the garden was voluntary, and the participants, selective. The security for them was minimum compared to others. I would not have associated them with detainees/prisoners if it were not for the uniforms they were wearing.

 We visited another garden at the Boot Camp.  People at the Boot Camp aged from 17 to 35. They are non-violent offenders and are being trained on military disciplines and vocational skills. The vegetables here were planted in raised beds and looked much better. This garden was spared from the recent hail and it also received professional help from the Chicago Botanic Garden, thanks to a grant the Botanic Garden had received.

Judge Liu, Francis and Sheriff Dart

Judge Laura Liu joined us in the tour. She was there to see how the jail was run, saying she used to handle civil cases before and now with cases in transportation, her dealing had expanded to criminal cases, and she wanted to have a better understanding of the jail system. We talked to three young men working in the garden and learned about the success of the Boot Camp.

She was as impressed as we were by the Boot Camp programs.

We took the opportunity to visit part of the medium security jail with Judge Liu and the area for “receivable.” After scrutinized security check, we went through layers of doors, each time, entering one after the previous door was closed. The Superintendent of the division accompanied us.  In one area, more than two dozen inmates were sitting in an open area, playing chess or chatting at tables and chairs that were all permanently fixed to the floor. I was surprised by the cleanness of the jail, thinking the condition was much better than that of the college dorm I lived in for four years in China!

As the superintendent was explaining to us the set up of the cells and schedules for the detainees, Sheriff Dart was busy talking with a group of detainees. I heard them telling the Sheriff their cases and asked him for help.

I observed Sheriff Dart from a distance and was touched by the same care and insincerity he demonstrated to these detainees. When we were ready to leave, Sheriff Dart asked the superintendent to get him a few people’s names, saying he’d look into their cases.

The most shocking sight of the day was the “receivable,” where offenders were delivered by the busloads. I watched the small and large cells filled by people, either waiting for their bond or being sent to different divisions based on the crimes they were accused of. Some of them were sitting, some lying on the concrete floor, and some putting their heads against the metal bars to look outside. They looked like caged animals.

Okra flourishes in the jail garden

Sheriff Dart said a new facility was being built and the condition would be much improved. I learned the Cook County jail had over 11,000 detainees, which meant over 30,000 meals a day, numerous bus rides to transport detainees to and from the courthouses, and to hospitals for treatments. Not to mention receiving hundreds of detainees’ visitors every day. I watched the detainees in yellow or orange outfits and listened to the color code that was used to classify them. Chills ran up from my spine and I couldn’t gauge it was from shock, fear, or empathy. Quite a few people behind the bars were drivers caught with DUI.

Each day, more than 250 people were dropped in and moved out of the “receiving” area. Underground pathways took them to where they needed to be.

I was still in shock when it was time to leave. I was surprised a few cells that were filled with people when we came in were already empty.

I wondered what a “typical” day would like for Sheriff Dart.

“I thought my life was chaotic,” I said to him.

Sheriff Dart laughed, the same hearty, contagious laugh. We shook hands again before saying goodbye. Looking at him, I felt an overwhelming surge of appreciation and respect for him and his team.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. Visit www.mulberrychild.com or www.moraquest.com. Mulberry Child has been turned into a feature-length documentary film by award-winning director Susan Morgan Cooper and will be released in 2011.

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Visiting Cook County Jail

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

by Jian Ping

Front Gate of Cook County Jail

I had a special opportunity of visiting the Cook County Jail in Chicago last week at the invitation of Sheriff Thomas Dart. I had never stepped onto the territory of a jail, nor had I ever had any desire to do so. However, I must say it was an eye-opening experience. I first met Sheriff Dart at a dinner hosted by Dean Fennell at the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University Chicago. I was the speaker at the commencement in the morning, and Sheriff Dart the speaker at the afternoon commencement. After the commencement ceremonies, I had the opportunity of meeting him and his wife over dinner, along with my husband, Francis, and daughter, Lisa. During a conversation, Sheriff Dart learned that Francis is a horticulturist. He invited us to visit the vegetable garden(s) at the cook county jail.

Francis, Sheriff Dart and me

“We had the largest jail in the country,” he said. “Is that something to be proud of?” I asked, laughing. It never occurred to me that someone should visit a jail unless absolutely necessary. “Maybe not,” he said. “But we do have the largest jail.” He gave a hearty laughter. I must say Sheriff Dart showed a level of energy, sincerity, and warmth that I rarely saw in politicians. I was intrigued. But I dismissed his invitation, thinking it was just a small talk.

I went to China for three weeks soon after. Upon my return, I saw a card from him to me, saying he was looking forward to reading my book Mulberry Child in the near future, and a card to Francis, inviting him to visit the jail garden. I was impressed by his follow up, again with a sense of sincerity.

A jail building

I arranged the trip with Brenda, his assistant. I was surprised to see the large area of jail facilities so close to the city center when we arrived for the tour. Sheriff Dart appeared in a pair of Khaki pants and a blue shirt with white stripes hanging loosely over a t-shirt. He greeted us like an old friend and showed us a map of the jail layout, with each division of the jail from the Boot Camp for younger prisoners to the building that had the maximum security. A total of 96 acres.

Instead of having a Deputy Sheriff to show us around, Sheriff Dart walked out of his office with us and took us to the first vegetable garden. Again I was impressed. (To be continued)

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. Visit www.mulberrychild.com, www.moraquest.com. Mulberry Child has been turned into a feature-length documentary film by award-winning director Susan Morgan Cooper and will be released in 2011.

 

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