A Little Taiwanese Animation to Start the Year Off Right

In the eventual Chronicles of Imperial Decline that will be written about our era, this may make a piquant subchapter. It's from our friends at NMA in Taiwan, and it dramatizes the ongoing squeeze on America's great public research universities. As the University of California and other proud, once-fully public systems are de facto privatizing themselves -- raising tuition, courting donors, and looking for full-freight students not eligible for in-state discounts -- one of the consequences is a dramatically larger role for paying customers from China.

For the record, I'm all in favor of more Chinese (and other international) students at U.S. universities. It's good for the students, and it's good for the schools. It helps America if they stay here after they graduate -- and it even helps America if they leave (with U.S. outlooks, connections, and so on). Still, you have to both* laugh and wince at this NMA clip. Tip: when the popup ad appears 10 seconds in, dismiss it if you want to see the English subtitles.
UPDATE: A piece today by Kevin Carey describes the no-laughing-matter reality behind the jokey video.

* Grammar zealots: don't bother to write. I'm putting it this way on purpose.

Also, as a reminder, NMA is based in Taiwan, so there's a natural edge to its criticism of the Confucius Institutes and other "soft power" initiatives from the PRC. Still, it's a good video.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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