China: Has Crazy English gone crazy?

Crazy English is a private education agency in which the founder Li Yang advocates a new method to study English; namely, to shout out antiquated English phrases and seize every chance to approach an English speaker for a conversation, all for sweeping the shyness away. Learners should scream deafening English out with all their strength. It has study centers all over China, and is so well-known that millions of English learners have taken its courses in less than a decade since its inception.

However, a picture recently posted on Li Yang’s blog has become a rather controversial topic, receiving everything from condemnation, sarcasm, and even support. The strong reaction in the blogsphere and media have made the story unavoidable.
The picture posted on 4th, September shows that 3000 students kneeled down to their Crazy English teachers. It was taken at an open ceremony of the second Crazy English Training Base in Bao Tou, Inner Mongolia . They are all students in a local high school.
Numbers of furious netizens soon condemned this not an education, but a brainwashing of servility and spinelessness, because in China, kneeling down has historically been a symbol of being slavish to power.

Blogger Tong Wandou(铜豌豆) questioned:
Though worship on bent knees showed an upmost courtesy, it represents kingship that emphasized more on inequality among people, rather than mutual respect in accordance with modern society.

Xu Xiaoping(徐小平), the teacher of New Oriental, another agency that helps students crack Toefl and SAT, shed a hail of criticism on Li Yang:
The incident that Li Yang accepted the kneeling of students will have to be remarkable news in education field this year. It signs how seriously the core value has been lost in Chinese education. Li Yang yet showed open appreciation to the shocking bent knees. It demonstrates nothing but that he doesn’t know what education really means at all.

Moreover, some compared Li Yang to a would-be hierarch of evil cult (邪教):
笔者知道,越是神化了自己,李阳的疯狂英语会更加的红火。说到底,这是一种奴化人性的教育,是一种迷惑人的教育。这与民间的装神弄鬼来骗钱的把戏,没有本质上的区别。我不是英语老师,但我知道,学习英语却不必疯狂。难道美国人、英国人学习自己的语言也要通过疯狂的方式?笔者看武侠小说,那些邪教门派总是通过下跪等方式神化自己,以达到统率的目的。而李阳的某种方式却与之挺像。难道李阳也走火入魔了?谁来拯救他? ——海峡都市报 王军荣
Li Yang enshrined himself to prosper Crazy English, a bewitching education, which has nothing different from a deceitful trick. I am not an English teacher, but I know we don't have to be crazy to study English. Are American and English mad when studying their mother tongue?In swordsmen fictions, I see those cult (illegal group) leaders always summon giaours to kneel down in order to enshrine themselves and get the regime. Li Yang did quite the same. Is Li Yang insane as well? Who come to save him? By Wang Junrong on Strait Metropolitan Daily

Li Yang’s post received over 270000 clicks and 500 comments in just several days. Obviously, these comments are out of Li Yang’s expectation. But he refused to concede, and in his post on 8th, September, he insisted on his position:
Here, I would have to declare my point; firstly, it was I that suggested students kneeling down to teachers for thanksgiving; secondly, I think this is a common but significant kneel!
He stated what happened that day; he firstly suggested learners bowing down for an appreciation to the teachers, but soon changed to advising them kneeling instead because of the limited space. Students took his proposal, and then did that voluntarily.

In interviews, Li Yang agued that this behavior means deep introspection because we often forget to appreciate those who helped us much, and compared it to that German prime minister kneeled in Poland . He meanwhile criticized Xu Xiaoping’s writing style as like those in Culture revolution, when people maligned and blackened one another.

But most netizens didn't drop their criticisms. Zhang Junyi (张军昱) rebuked in his blog;

Surely nothing is wrong with thanksgiving. However, to apply such a method almost abandoned nowadays is itself an emotional outrage of thanksgiving.
Xu Xunlei doubted Li Yang misunderstands the meaning of education:

教育的核心价值是“立人 ”,如今却是“跪人”。把下跪磕头等同于尊师重教,这根本就不值一驳。教育的奴性与奴性的教育,在反复戕害孩子的心灵。
The essence of education is to foster one’s integrity and independence, not to press one to kneel down. To equal such a behavior to respect of teachers is worth no rebuke.
And some netizens furthermore argued that the students were obliged down because of that oppressing atmosphere built by Li Yang, like in a Nazi congregation.

Though Li Yang is under waves of reprehensions, many still stand with him. In Li Yang’s blog, a fans of Crazy English named Wang Zhijie (王志杰) left a comment:
Those who achieve have to taste great solitary!

No one can definitely tell whether Chinese are too sensitive with the past servile age, or it’s just a stunt by BSP Sina.com, or even a trick by Li Yang to catch eyeballs in an unusual way. All in all, in this cross swords of either side, Li Yang, the protagonist under focus, might be the most resolute man clinging to his point. That’s how he summarized the whole thing:
李阳回应:“下跪的照片是真的,我已经习以为常了,学生下跪是对老师的尊重。过几天我还要去成都讲课,相信可以让成都最好中学的全体学生下跪。” 9月10日< 新快报>
The picture is real, and I have been used to this ( kneeling ). It shows the respect to teachers. A couple of days later I am going to have class in Cheng Du, and I believe, I can make the best students there kneel down as well.


China: Senior sues would-be Samaritan

At around 9:00 am on November 20, 2006 in the eastern city of Nanjing, a Ms. Xu, now 65, was knocked down while trying to board a bus. Peng Yu, a 26-year-old man, as he got off at the station, saw Ms. Xu lying on the ground with her left collarbone fractured.

This much is known; a lack of witness leaves what happened next embroiled in controversy. According to Peng, he helped elderly Ms. Xu up and took her to the hospital. Soon after, Ms. Xu's family arrived. Peng's good deed worthy of praise? Not this time. According to Peng, however, when Xu heard that treatment would figure into the tens of thousands, Ms. Xu immediately blurted out at him: ‘it was YOU who knocked me down!'

According to the Xus, as it was Peng Yu who knocked her down and then took her to the hospital for treatment, it is he who must take responsibility. So then Ms. Xu sued the young man for 136,419.30 yuan, including medical expenses and compensation for emotional suffering.
On September 7, at the 4th session of the case, the district court finally released its verdict: Peng Yu, partially liable for the accident, would pay 45, 876.36 yuan (US$6,076) to Ms Xu.
The court's sentence was based on the following analysis:

As the first passenger off the bus, it was most likely Peng who slammed into Ms. Xu. And according to “common sense”, if Peng had not been the one who collided with Ms. Xu, it is reasonable to assume that instead of sending the old woman to hospital, even giving her 200 yuan, he would have caught the real troublemaker. As Peng's actions run contrary to common sense, it was ruled that Peng Yu held responsibility for Ms. Xu's injury.

Emphasis: the court based its judgment entirely on “common sense”. In the absence of sustainable facts or any witnesses, a fire was immediately lit on the blogsphere, with many netizens and bloggers protesting the ruling, most of them inclined to see Peng Yu as innocent, and lamenting what impact this immensely-discussed incident would have for society when future roadside or traffic injuries occur. Would you risk lending a hand?

On his Sina blog, Shi Hanbing (时寒冰) growled for the loss of justice:
This is an absolute betrayal of the law! It outrages and desecrates the law! We demand judges give sentences according to fact, and based on the law; yet this verdict was built entirely upon guesswork and deduction. You call this a judgment? This is nothing other than the perverse sort of imagination one sees in fiction.

The writer went on examining its negative effect on public morality:
An old woman stumbled, and someone helped her. But the judge was able to see from this that “his behavior was obviously contrary to common sense”. I doubt how dark our society is in the judge's mind, how malicious we are!Let me tell you, our goodness gets nothing less than buried by judgments as stupid and weak as this one!
With as big as the controversy has gotten, the fear now is that if you're ever, say, hit by a bus, is anyone going to help pull you off the street? The Bullog bloggers responded by creating a campaign, calling on netizens to ‘Give Integrity One More Chance

An anonymous netizen in Baidu (百度) even raised the case to the level of charity affair:
而且这个案子毁了我国多年的对公益事业的努力, 一个案子毁了雷锋一生的成果
The case destroyed our effort committed to public charity, also ruined the lifetime fruit of Lei Feng (雷锋).
Most people considered it from the point of law and legal issue, and ridiculed the judge's sole reliance on deduction.

‘Clouds low in turning back' (回首白云低) at Xici Hutong argues:
The judge applied the deduction in a wrong way. He should reconstruct the scene, the positions of Peng Xu and the witness, the location of defendant when the accuser slipped up, even the posture of Peng when he got off……,rather than the reaction taken afterwards. This put the cart before the horse, also vexed people for its anti-value logic.

In this wave of fury and condemnation, still some people appealed public to be temperate, such as Southern Metropolis Daily editor Lu Yaqian, discussed here on Jiang Xia 85's MSN Live Spaces blog:
What if Peng really did that? It's not impossible that he did. The community is revoltngi against social degeneration, but the consequence of this is actually that a justice covers over the truth, with morality being carried out only to tread all over itself. True tragedy only begins when we lose our faith in the social system.

No matter what the result of the 2nd appeal will be, this case is destined to be remembered in the field of law study in China. Just one more thing that bears mention: the report that depicts how Peng Yu behaved when he heard the judgment:
Peng Yu remained silent, eyes moist with tears. After a long while, he muttered: “I just want to go somewhere where justice can to be found.”


DAY9:government says No to Internet control

Last week, Luoyang (used to be the capital for over one thousand years) government made out a notification: all actions to investigate identities of internet users should be forbidden, irrelevant departments have no right to get information from net companies.

This is the first time that a local government puts forward a promise to protect privacy and speech freedom in internet. Though some still doubted its sincerity, most net users welcomed the notification.

Luoyang government has been a pioneer among its peers. The mayor himself often went online for public perspectives, and problems reflected on internet could often get a quick solution. He appointed specific faculty to answer questions from netizens and set up online office.

Luoyang, a city of thousands of years


Bob say: houses buring in fire-where is tomorrow?

I agreed most of citizens in Shenzhen: we approve the action to dismantle illegal construction, but criticized the brutal way of doing it.

To light a fire then burn everything down is first a dangerous action that may imperil some residents carelessly left, especially those kids. Also, it brought unredeemable hurt to those residents when seeing their homelands forced out of existence.

But I concern most about where the residents could go after the destruction. At night, I heard that most of them had nowhere to go, and had to make up another canopy with remains, having another night on the relic. Where is their future? Do we have measures to settle them down? If we just expelled them out, they could be city vagrants. It will produce another negative effect to our public security. None of them wish to be villains. But what can else they do if they were treated in injustice? We have to improve our art in city management!

DAY8:houses buring in fire-where is tomorrow?

domestic influence: 2.5 controversy rank: 2.5 genre: urban,social key word: fire

240 uniformed service men marched to several shanties, expelled about 70 residents out, then lit a fire that soon engulfed all the houses. Most residents could do nothing but stared at the burning houses silently.

This is not a live report form frontline of war, it's just an action launched by authority in Shenzhen to dismantle the illegal constructions. These house were called ‘village in city’, a notable atmosphere in many China city. In urbanization, some residents can't afford the surging price of housing, and therefore built some houses themselves in margin of city. Actually, they were just sheds supported by bamboo sticks and covered by iron sheets.

Recently, municipal authority launched a campaign to beautify the city, and these illegal houses were the first targets. To accelerate the process, they thought such an idea to burn down the shanties in a fire. During the whole process, some residents rushed into burning houses for their properties left. Some children brought up in there watched the whole destruction of former homeland and could do nothing.


DAY7;Bus fare under hot discussion

social influence:3 controversy:3.5 key word: game action

Short news:
The bus fare in Shenzhen is still in hot discussion. Under the complaint of Shenzhenese for the high fare, the government finally opened a new conversation with delegates of crowd and transportation enterprises.

Now they are bargaining on the six projects selected out for final choice and a solution, though several terms still in dispute, is expected to reach soon. The various media are giving a lot of concern of the issue. No matter what the result finally out would be, many approve its meaning and progress in civilian participation of public affair, in another word, democracy.


Bob say: hospital now battlefield

Yes, this is a 100 percent hospital in Shenzhen. Compared to the one in news above, this is exactly what battlefield. Right, battlefield, that’s the term for a lot of hospitals in china. The tension between patients and doctors reach a new record.

Doctor, a respectable career used to be called white angel, has now fallen to notorious. The reason, again, is rooted in corruption companied with reform. It’s mainly produced in the part of medicine. Those can be bought for 1 yuan sometimes sell more 20 yuan, the illegal profit fetched by doctors and factories. Bribe is enough to make a career no more glorious.

We never forget the Bill Impossible in china. It happened in 2005 that a patient was finally dead but with a bill of more than 800 thousand dollars. The bill is like a mess that it showed the patient took the same test one day for 54 times, accepted one ton of transfusion for merely one month..

So sometimes we say that we will no longer be able to afford a cold, not mentioning a fever.
If those in poverty should have their life in danger as well, how can we really erect social justice? That’s why we are making a new reform now, the medical co-operation system and it begins to work. I hope we will finally have our life well guaranteed!

DAY6:Hospital now battlefield

Social influence: 3 controversy rank: 2 genre: social, medical key word: tension

27, Aug, scream for help echoed around ER of Fuxin hospital in Tsingtao province. People heard the call rushed to there, found two nurses cringing at the corner, blood coursing down from forehead. Beside them, two young men were still brandishing chairs on hands, one even hitting a nurse on head with it. The violent image shocked all, and soon doctors and police came to stop the two men.

All this started with a lapse in injection. In the afternoon, a young woman took his mother, about 40 years old, to the ER for inflammation on arm. A nurse gave her an injection, but made a little mistake. The patient felt ached on arm and scolded the nurse though she apologized for the mistake.

The nurse endured patients’ curse without a word, which may further incited their fury. They finally took out the phone and called friends to settle this. The nurses initially took it a bluff, but little did one think that minutes later two young men really came and fling into ER, then gave a punch on the nurses, later even with a wooden chair.

The brutal action soon made all faculties exceptionally angry. They mobbed the four people and called the police. Later, they were arrested.