Nationalists in China have abused a Chinese student for her graduation’s speech at a US university where she celebrated “the fresh air of free speech.”
Yang Shuping graduated from Yunnan province where she studied psychology and theater, she then decided e to study at the University of Maryland. She came to Maryland five years ago whilst academic restriction took place in china under Xi Jinping.
During Shuping’s speech at her graduation on Sunday, the student praised the freedom of speech and the clean skies in the US saying that “every breath was a delight”.
“I have learned [that] the right to freely express oneself is sacred in America … I could even rate my professors online,” she said. “My voice matters. Your voice matters. Our voices matter.”
The speech lasted for 8 minutes where she discussed many point such as political freedom and how inspired she was to see her fellow Americans voting and taking part in politics as well as protests. She also said she was inspired by Anna Deavere Smith play talking about the 1992 LA riots, featuring racism, sexism and politics in their utmost levels.
“I was shocked, I never thought such topics could be discussed openly … I have always had a burning desire to tell these kinds of stories, but I was convinced that only authorities owned the narrative, only authorities could define the truth,” she stated. “Freedom is oxygen. Freedom is passion. Freedom is love. As the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once said: ‘Freedom is a choice’.”
China’s reaction to the student speech was full of rage and criticism.
The government of Kunming, Shuping’s birthplace, defended its “fresh and sweet” air and that the city was spring-like all year-long.
A person wrote online: “She has demonised China with the nonsense she has talked.”
Another said: “She has an incredible ability to lick feet. Don’t worry about coming back to China. Our motherland doesn’t need a bitch like this.”
The People’s Daily, a Communist newspaper, condemned Yang of “bolstering negative Chinese stereotypes”.
Trying to control the situation, Shuping posted an online apology where she said: “I’m sincerely sorry for the speech and hope to be forgiven,” she wrote, adding that she had not intended to “insult” her country.
While the University of Maryland supported her and described Shuping as a “top student.”