Those Who Did Not Stand

by Nicholas Chang

This week, several Chinese dorm students stood up in gathering to express their feelings about a work of art that they considered to be disrespectful.

The artwork was featured in the Sophomore Cultural Event last Thursday, and featured a picture of Mao Zedong, offering a number of American flags with which the viewer was meant to cover Mao’s face. As several dorm students spoke about the incident, they invited anyone who “agreed with the statement” to stand with them.

There were many students of Chinese backgrounds who decided not to stand, however. I interviewed two of them.

While they both wish to remain anonymous, the first student said that, “I was invited to stand and speak, but I felt that I couldn’t. When I was younger, when I grew up in China, I thought of Mao Zedong as a hero and creator of our country. Once I moved to America, I soon learned the truth and his true history. A lot of information in China is censored, including the true story of Mao Zedong. When I saw that these other Chinese students stood up and took offense to this art, I could not relate.”

The second student echoed the same sentiment. “While I wasn’t invited to speak, I knew that I could not stand up,” they said. “From my point of view, Mao Zedong killed millions of people to gain his power over China. I can understand why the students, who felt offended, stood up. But because I know what Mao did, I did not stand and felt no regret afterwards.”

While many students felt that were obligated to stand up during gathering because they felt the need to express their feelings on the art piece to the community, the mindset of the opposing side should also be respected.

Thanks for reading.

One thought on “Those Who Did Not Stand

  1. Hi Nicholas, I appreciate you put your viewpoint out here and I totally respect that. However, I would like to point out one thing. The first sentence of the announcement that we made was “Please feel free to stand up to show your support during the announcement”. You didn’t have to “agree”. Personally, I make no judgement for people who did or didn’t stand up. The purpose of the announcement was to purely show the frustrations and hurt feelings that some portion of the Chinese population at OES have. You can find the complete transcript here of what we said.

    Thank you.

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