The (UD) Review, April 19, 2001
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Jaime FlorCruz

THE REVIEW/Andrew Mehan

Jaime FlorCruz spoke on American-Chinese relations Thursday night in Clayton Hall.

TEXT of Article


Staff Reporter

With the recent American-Chinese conflict, an insider expressed his viewpoint about American-Chinese relations to students and Newark residents.

Jaime FlorCruz, former Beijing bureau chief for Time Magazine, came to Clayton Hall Thursday night to share his knowledge of American-Chinese affairs with approximately 150 people.

Since he lived in China for 30 years and witnessed extensive change within the country, FlorCruz said his main goal was to dispel stereotypes.

"Americans need to resist the temptation to dismiss the Chinese," FlorCruz said. "It's a cop-out for the media to just let society see the Chinese the way Hollywood portrays them -- as a one dimensional, evil empire of `commies.' "

FlorCruz said he saw the country experience a "slow, moral decay" over the 30 years he lived in China.

"To many Chinese, the focus of their life is now making money," he said. "They have been robbed of a strong, charismatic leader, their ideology and tight, central control.

"The idealism of communism is gone and [the Chinese people] are yearning for an anchor. They are turning to religion, secret societies and cults instead of their government."

Much of the audience, composed of both students and senior citizens, wanted to know how the recent spy plane incident would affect the United States' relationship with China.

FlorCruz said he hopes both countries will continue to make decisions based on the facts of each individual case and not let their feelings about this incident overshadow their ability to build a relationship.

He also stressed the importance of understanding perspectives from both sides. He said the spy plane incident was a classic example of cultural divide.

"The Chinese are much about face and thought an apology was in order," he said, "but the U.S. was not sensitive to their needs.

"Both sides put a spin on the events to say they won. [They] are working for sovereignty and need to put aside their emotions to work together."

Freshman Ryosuke Hanafusa, a political science major, said he thinks FlorCruz sees things in a moderate way.

"The U.S. sees things fairly cohesively," Hanafusa said, "whereas [FlorCruz] sees things in many parts, and keeps issues separate."

Ralph Begleiter, distinguished journalist in residence, said he organized the speech as part of a series for his Global Agenda 2001 class.

He said he chose a wide variety of guest speakers for this series in hopes of showing students that there are many aspects to politics and media.

"I wanted to have many different vantage points from which the students could view issues," Begleiter said.

"I wanted them to see things from the point of an American diplomat in Senegal, a White House spokesman, a Time magazine correspondent -- not just from one side," he said.