The time has come to begin speaking frankly about China’s ongoing, wide-reaching and systematic human rights brutality, which now ranks among the world’s most troubling. For many years, in part because China was (wrongly) perceived to be navigating a complex liberalization process that assumed (again wrongly) that these conditions would ultimately improve and in part because China has spent vast millions of dollars buying influence and manipulating its global image to its strategic advantage, the nation has largely escaped the human rights scrutiny and consequences that its repressive policies properly warrant. The list of human rights violations by the Chinese government is long and exhaustive. China’s suppression of Tibetans, its destruction of Christian churches, its jailing of political dissidents and its unrelenting control over Hong Kong have received some level of attention. The same cannot be said of one of China’s most egregious violations: its brutally repressive treatment of the nation’s largely Islamic Uyghur population.
I have to act like I’m typing something because there’s a group of elementary school kids walking by and I want to look responsible. That’s actually the most motivated I’ve felt in weeks, so I’m gonna leave that there. I can only hope that one day, one of those kids will come to Cornell and derive purpose from the nonexistent expectations of a group of kindergarteners. It’s the circle of life. Speaking of the circle of life, but on a cosmic scale that makes ours seem insignificant, yesterday I got to listen to a lecture given by Interstellar producer and renowned astrophysicist Kip Thorne.