Sorry Ms. Qianyuan (Grace) Wang


Dear Ms. Grace Wang 王千源:

We’ve read about your story in the New York Times and seen the postings of your countrymen all over the internet, like the summary of the “Wang Qianyuan Incident” here.

I’d like to commend you on your fantastic scholastic abilities, but if hadn’t been for what happened to you upon leaving the dining hall at Duke that evening, I wouldn’t have known about that.  So, I’m writing to say sorry for the mess that you’re finding yourself in, but also to commend you for how you are handling it and yourself.  Since I’m a “foreigner”, my commendation is of little value, if not harm, on this issue.  But people like you can help bring positive change to China.  Based on the attacks against you and your family – both virtual and ‘real’ – you can see that change is needed in China.  You and other Chinese people need to be allowed to express a view, on anything, without being uniformly attacked by your countrymen.  You are going to get a lot of mileage – and pain -out of this saga, but it is now your saga nonetheless.  Please don’t back down and don’t give up.  And, to be clear, I’m not talking about supporting the ‘Teabet’ independence / 藏独分子 issue per se, because personally I believe it is and should be a part of China.  What I am talking about is much more important than one specific issue.  It’s about the freedom to engage in an open-minded discussion about an important issue, about dialogue and compromise.  You are seeing what that’s like at Duke.  It’s not a clean and orderly process, but it is a beautiful one.  You now have the opportunity to be a trail blazer of reform to help your people.  I think the great Chinese people deserve the right to not have their minds dictated to them by anyone, and obviously so do you.  Keep at what you are doing.  Make it your cause.  Don’t be afraid.  Just like Susan B. Anthony, change may not truly come about during your lifetime, but you can be part of the catalyst for change.

You are a hero and one day Chinese people will recognize that.  This too shall pass.