Monday, December 23, 2013

December 24th in China

The night of December 24th is called peace night and everyone eats an apple.
In China, tonight is called "Ping An"night.  Ping  in English means safe and  apple in Chinese is pronounce "Ping Guo." A beautifully wrapped a single apple is given to a friend to express best wishes. 
I knew nothing about this tradition and suddenly on Christmas Eve, my students began bringing beautifully wrapped apples.  It was curious to observe dozens of fruits stands set up along the boulevard selling gaily wrapped apples for just one day…gone the next day.

Christmas Eve is just another working day in China, albeit thousands of Chinese Christians attempt to celebrate Christmas quietly. Last year the iconic Catholic cathedral next to the old campus of Shangdong University was closed for remolding and repairs. It will open its doors to the public this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Lots and lots of students are excited to go into the church which is usually gated and locked at all times. This is a rare treat that many students don't want to miss.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Premium Admission?

Actually, the real story doesn't match the headline or the printed summary. The real question might be, how differently does ICE treat different nationalities in this "investment" immigration program; apparently, money doesn't guarantee automatic admission.  Also, several foreigners I have spoken to express the same sense of freedom they experience in America. What we natives feel and take for granted is quite different from what foreigners feel and yearn for.

Chinese investors 'buying' US green cards for $1m

18 December 2013 Last updated at 00:05 GMT

As the US debates how to reform its immigration system - and deal with roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country - wealthy foreigners already have a legal route to a new life in America.

A visa programme called EB-5 offers overseas investors the opportunity to get permanent residence - a green card - in return for $1m (£614,000). In areas with high unemployment, the visas are available for a $500,000 investment.

The visas have been available since the 1990s, when Europeans were the main beneficiaries. But today Chinese citizens represent a majority of the applicants.

While critics complain about foreigners "buying" their way into the US, the scheme's supporters told the BBC that the developers fund projects that create jobs in America.

Produced by the BBC's Franz Strasser

Altered States is a series of video features published every Wednesday on the BBC News website which examine how shifting demographics and economic conditions affect America on a local level.