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Mark Elliott's China Model breaks with New York Times WASP language policy

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Harvard Professor breaks with WASP language policy at New York Times, uses Chinese vocabulary.

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Mark Elliott's China Model breaks with New York Times WASP language policy

Harvard Professor breaks with WASP language policy at New York Times, uses Chinese vocabulary.

I remember a time (April 2010, if you must know) when Harvard University kindly refused to let your author talk about shengren and language imperialism at the Fairbank Center. Two reasons, first I wasn't a "professor" (so my argument wouldn't count); second Harvard University has a WASP language policy, meaning, as an American tool of 21st century imperialism, the school adheres to a strict non-Chinese policy. Chinese students and scholars at Harvard, in case you wondered, are supposed to learn the Western way, not the other way around.

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When I approached the New York Times, another conservative American icon, and dozens of other American newspapers, the result was always the same: No shengren, please! And I am not alone. Daniel A. Bell, a professor of Confucianism at Tsinghua University, for example, did manage to publish a piece on Confucianism in the NYT, but, alas, it wasn't to have a single Chinese term in it. As if the job of us Western scholars was to destroy foreign originality.

In my little experiment, all Western editors [with the exception of one younger member of the German Times, it needs to be said], refused to print Chinese terminology. For comparison, your author's articles were published in English in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea.

But now, the Harvard historian Mark Elliott himself wrote this subversive piece "The Real China Model' for the New York Times and employs no less than two Chinese terms -- keju and xuanxian renneng. Of course, two Chinese words is not a big deal, especially not if you are a Professor of Chinese History and Chinese should be your world; especially not when the editors of NYT give you a hard time and demand a "translated China"; however Chinese terminology truly is a new domain of knowledge for most Westerners. Way to go, Professor Elliott.

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Dr. Thorsten J. Pattberg (裴德思 Pei Desi) is a German philosopher and cultural critic.
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