A Chinese student forced to apologize for praising the United States during her commencement speech at her University in the US on Sunday. The Chinese student, Yang Shuping while speaking at the commencement at the University of Maryland said that she came to the university for the ‘Fresh Air’ and it also taught her of ‘Free Speech’ which showed her that her ‘Voice Mattered’.
“People often ask me: Why did you come to the University of Maryland?” she said in her speech. “I always answer: Fresh air.” Ms. Yang says in her eight minute commencement speech which went viral in her home country China. The video generated more than 50 million views in a short span of time which also attracted large number of critical comments from Chinese netizens.
“I grew up in a city in China where I had to wear a face mask every time I went outside, otherwise I might get sick. However, the moment I inhaled and exhaled outside the airport, I felt free,” she said, referring to her arrival in the United States.” she said.
“I would soon feel another kind of fresh air for which I will be forever grateful. The fresh air of free speech. Democracy and free speech should not be taken for granted. Democracy and freedom are the fresh air that is worth fighting for.” the Chinese student added.
While she went on to speak freely of her opinions of the free world in the United States, she recounted of her introduction to the culture of open discussions of political opinions, facts and truths. However, the bold movement from the Chinese student supported by the University of Maryland authorities garnered unprecedented blacklash from the Chinese netizens forcing her to issue a statement of apology.
However, Ms. Yang also enjoyed few positive comments from fellow Chinese in support of her speech at the university commencement event. The speech of having felt the touch of a sweet and fresh air in US should not be taken as traitor while it should be taken as challenge by the authorities and citizens of China as well to make the country a better place to live for them. While truth is bitter, China should able to realize the truth that China needs to improve its freedom of speech in the country.