Thursday, July 12, 2007

Henry Kissinger and Stephen Hawking are treated like rock stars in China

Why is Kissinger not simply welcome in China, but treated like a celebrity? Kissinger is naturally credited for contributions toward renewing US-China ties, and his personal relationships with Mao and Zhou mark him with greatness by association. Add to this the Chinese worship of academic achievement. The year I studied at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, I was shocked by reaction to a lecture by a Nobel Prize-winning economist; the overflow crowd stampeded the podium afterwards, jostling for photos and autographs. When Steven Hawking appeared at Beijing's Great Hall of the People last summer, crazed fans rushed the stage.