Chinese students visit Stanford

April 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Just a few days after the confusing torch run through San Francisco, a different scene Monday night at Stanford. Two dozen students from China took part in a discussion that was not about protest, but understanding.

There are images, seen around the world, of Tibetans protesting against the Chinese Government.

In turn, they spark images of the western world protesting China's human rights record.

Now, these students on Stanford's campus are trying to create a new, lasting image, one that shows the U.S. and China working together through a week-long conference.

"It's all about breaking assumptions about one another because the point is really to promote understanding," said Winnie Chen, event organizer.

The FACES program started in 2001 and ever since then, 25 students from the top universities in China and the U.S. meet, twice a year, to discuss politics, social issues and the environment in the two countries.

But given world events, the topic of discussion on this night is about China and the Olympics.

"Tonight there's gonna be a clip on Tibet and the Olympics," said an organizer to the group.

It was an exercise in understanding and humor. The students together watched an episode of the "Colbert Report" a comedic commentary on politics.

"If you love Tibet so much, why don't you run for their caucus?" said Steven Colbert on the Colbert Report.

"Hope they'll find it as funny as us Americans," said Meryl Holt.

While some appreciated the humor and the moment with their new found friends, others didn't.

"Tibet and the Olympics, it's very crucial these days, and both sides want to talk about it more. While we're watching this show together, we kind of already shared our opinions," said Anna Wencong, a Chinese student.

"I don't think it's a funny thing. The life for Tibetans has improved a lot, a lot," said Kong Deyang, a Chinese student.

This week is about sharing ideas. Kong Deyang hopes those in this room will feel differently about China by the weeks end.


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