Sheng Li (gmachine1729) wrote,
Sheng Li

My observations of Chinese scientists and engineers in America

Originally published at 狗和留美者不得入内. You can comment here or there.


In short, they are still quite culturally isolated from the mainstream. I’ve interacted with graduate students and graduate departments before. In those, the Chinese students largely self-segregate. Their conversational English is limited. As for the professors from mainland China, they mostly do their research and teach their classes and are rather inactive in actual department matters. They are respected for their technical ability, but they are not really actually assimilated, from what I’ve observed. And many of them take on mostly Chinese students, as non-Chinese students would naturally find a Chinese advisor somewhat uncomfortable, culturally, especially if most of his students are Chinese. They do generally behave in a way that could be characterized as “keeping their head down” and “toeing the American line,” because they know that even as a tenured professor they’re not anywhere near as socially or politically influential. They interact mostly with Chinese outside the work setting, I’ve attended parties of somewhat or very high up Chinese immigrant scientists and engineers before so that I can attest to this. Even in the workplace, they have lunch with mostly other Chinese immigrants (I have participated in those as well). The people of other more assimilated races obviously don’t like them or even secretly hate them, but they are too afraid to openly say it. It is obvious from the segregation and the way whites treat them, and I think those Chinese immigrants are perhaps too insensitive in this regard. Many Chinese out of desperation for their career will purposely try to act more “American,” in a way that makes them seem pathetic, that would be met with utter social disapproval in China. They do act like they are better than Chinese in China for sure, and they project that image when interacting with whites. Though many of them still will try to use/exaggerate their American position and university name tag to get stuff out of China. They know that whites don’t give a fuck about them, but in China, they can still fool a lot of people.


Like Shing-Tung Yau in pure math, who has said a ton of ridiculous stuff in China, like “in America, even law students have to learn math.” He talks all the time about how great America is in China. And then there was physicist Shoucheng Zhang, who died at age 55. His VC firm failed (this was what someone with indirect connection to him told me), there was an FBI investigation against him. He wanted serious privilege in America, as opposed to merely being a low-profile top scientist, with that tenured Stanford professorship not enough. He wanted more, he wanted influence in China. He also wanted a venture capital firm for Chinese in Silicon Valley. He wanted to feign loyalty to China too as an evangelical Christian who naturalized as American citizen despite being sent to study in Germany in the middle of undergrad on Chinese government funds. Really, anyone with some common sense will realize that a mainland Chinese immigrant cannot attain what he aspired for in America, where ethnic Chinese are socially and politically an untouchable caste. And lately, I learned of Kai Li, Princeton computer science professor, who apparently pulled his American connections to help get funding from an American VC for this fingerprint recognition company whose main client is the Chinese police department. Most of these immigrants are not actually loyal to America, they only pretend to love America to advance their career there. Americans should know that once they talk with Chinese in China they put on a completely difference face. I’ve had some personal interactions with this type of stuff, and it’s absolutely disgusting.


Something that most Americans might find a bit counterintuitive is that most Chinese people don’t like Chinese-American scientists either. They’re not really Chinese anymore, especially if they’ve raised banana children in America who don’t even know the culture and language. They are increasingly also politically untouchable in their ancestral home country. That’s something that China and US have in common in this ongoing trade war and civilizational clash. They both dislike Chinese-Americans. This does not need much explanation. Nobody likes traitors and spineless opportunists.


The few white Americans I could get along best with in America were actually those who wanted to preserve Western civilization. Once I knew them well enough, I could actually talk with them honestly and openly on such matters. And they better understand where I’m coming from as well…


Ironically, there is actually some form of mutual respect between WASP and Chinese conservatives… they do actually have a bit in common…


Tags: 理工科文化, 美国亚裔

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