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Chinese Media: It Was Only a Goodbye Kiss

New America Media, News Digest, Vivian Po Posted: Jan 14, 2010

Jiang HaiSong might have wanted to make news in bio-medical research, but instead he's become famous in mainstream and Chinese media for a kiss.

Jiangs romantic act caused local authorities to shut down one of the airports busiest terminals for six hours, delaying more than 100 flights and thousands of passengers. The 28-year-old Chinese bio-medical doctoral student from Rutgers University is now charged with defiant trespass, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.

However, Jiang may be facing more serious charges in the near future. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey publicly expressed his hope in seeing the United States Attorneys Office bring federal charges against him, which could lead Jiangs student visa to be revoked and cause him to be deported back to China before he obtains his doctoral degree in a few months.

In response, the Chinese-American media are calling on the U.S. government to go soft on Jiang in order to maintain stable U.S.-China relations.

An editorial, Punishing Jiang HaiSong Will Hurt China-U.S. Relations was published on Tuesday in World Journal, one of the biggest Chinese newspapers in the United States. It argued that politicians who are pressuring the court to pursue Jiangs case are turning a local issue into a diplomatic confrontation, since the Chinese government has also clearly indicated that it will protect and assist Jiang through its New York consulate. World Journal adds that the security guard should be the one who is punished.

The editorial also points out that cracking down on foreign students from China may not be wise idea because highly educated Chinese foreign students contribute financially and intellectually to Americas research and education field. The recent news of a Chinese Yale University alumni, Zhang Lei, donating $8,888,888 to Yale School of Management has proven that they are beneficial to Americas development, wrote editors of the World Journal.

But not everyone in the Chinese community agreed. On Chinese-language Internet discussion boards, many writers in both the Untied States and Asia called Jiang a national disgrace.

When interviewed by China National Radio, the outlets correspondent in New York, Cheng Hui, said she was surprised by the outraged online responses from many Chinese. She said almost all of the responses she has read on the Chinese sites are attacking Jiang.

The Web site of Global Times, meanwhile, quoted online responses from a few popular Chinese sites . Within China, some bad habits are considered individual problems, but outside the country, people will perceive these as problems of the Chinese people," read one comment. "This has brought shame upon the Chinese people. Others criticized Jiangs behavior as degrading, despite his doctoral education. Some believe his punishment should be more serious.

The deep contrast between the different reactions from American and Chinese readers is likely due to their different perceptions of the incident. While the American public is overwhelming focusing on airport security, the Chinese are responding with a nationalistic approach and are most concerned with the image of the Chinese people.

Quickly following Jiangs arrest, an article on Chinesenews.com titled, Assimilating into the Mainstream, the Image of the Chinese and Overseas Chinese, called attention to the behavior of Chinese people in foreign countries after the incident. It said that as more Chinese nationals are traveling overseas and emigrating to other countries, a significant minority practices bad habits such as spitting and speaking loudly. These few people tarnish the image of the whole group.

World Journal Los Angeles published a story Monday listing some of the most common violations Chinese people commit in American airports. These included taking pictures of prohibited areas and security officials, carrying prohibited items, and arguing and lying to security officials.

Ning Wang, editor in chief of Sing Tao New York, does not believe Jiangs behavior represents the Chinese people, but he encourages overseas Chinese, especially new immigrants, to learn the rules and appropriate social practices of American society.

Jiang is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 28. He came to the United States in 2004 to continue his doctoral study after graduating from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

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