China Launches the C919! Should Boeing and Airbus Look Out?

Putting on headphones to regulate emotions may not always be beneficial.

Listening to music is a form of emotional self-care that many of us turn to every day, without much conscious thought. The streaming service Spotify, well aware of this, offers a collection of “Mood” playlists, from “Anthems of Angst” to “Running Thru a Field of Smiles,” to my personal favorite, “The Happy Hipster.”

While music’s therapeutic qualities have long been known—Aristotle described music as a force to purify the emotions—music therapy as it exists today began in the early-mid 20th century, when musicians in the U.K. travelled to hospitals and played music for soldiers suffering emotional and physical trauma after World Wars I and II.

Music therapy is now a sanctioned form of health care with clinical, quantitative research to back it up. In some cases, it’s as effective as traditional forms of therapy, especially for adolescents with mood disorders or adults with depression. One tool music therapists use with patients—along with actively playing or composing music—is guiding patients through the music listening experience, helping them to process what they are thinking and feeling. What we do when we put on headphones is, in many ways, just a self-guided version of this process.

If You’re Thinking About a Looming Naval-Warfare Showdown in the South China Sea …

2) “The U.S. Asserts Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea,” by Michael J. Green, Bonnie S. Glaser,Gregory B. Poling on the CSIS site. This is an informative Q-and-A feature on the latest developments and their implications. Sample, on why the U.S. Navy is conducting Freedom of Navigation exercises in this area to begin with:

FON operations are intended to challenge maritime claims that the United States considers excessive under international law…. This particular operation was intended to assert that the United States does not recognize a 12-nautical-mile territorial sea or any other maritime entitlements generated by reefs that were originally submerged but on which China has built artificial islands. It was not meant to challenge China’s claim to Subi Reef itself.

FON operations are not primarily about military deterrence or diplomatic messaging, though in a politically charged atmosphere like the South China Sea those play a role. At its root, FON operations are legal exercises to reinforce the United States’—and in this case the overwhelming majority of the international community’s—interpretations of international maritime law. They are a means to ensure that U.S. naval, coast guard, and civilian ships, and by extension those of all nations, maintain unrestricted access to their rights at sea.

A lot more to read there.

3) “Reckless, Dangerous, Irresponsible.” A report on the Chinese view. Sample:

“The action by the U.S. warship has threatened China’s sovereignty and security interests, endangered the safety of personnel and facilities on the islands and damaged regional peace and stability,” said Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry. Kang urged the U.S. government to “correct its wrongdoing immediately” and to avoid further “dangerous and provocative actions.”

4) “After the show, time for U.S. destroyer to leave.” From a usually aggressive voice of the Chinese government, Global Times. Sample:

The Pentagon is obviously provoking China. It is time to test the wisdom and determination of the Chinese people.

We should stay calm. If we feel disgraced and utter some furious words, it will only make the US achieve its goal of irritating us.

5) “U.S. Not Provoking China.” A contrary view. Sample:

Whatever the protestations from Beijing and others, this will no doubt be just the first of many freedom of navigation operations in and around the Spratly Islands.


The right U.S. policy, in my view, is continuing to send ships through these traditionally international  sea lanes, as a reminder that China has not annexed them; but without gloating or chest-bumping China about it, an approach that has no record of having paid off. You’ll see more of the rationale in these articles.

The Significance of a Nobel Prize for a Chinese Scientist

The first winner of a Nobel prize in the sciences from a Chinese institution, Tu Youyou, today in Beijing (Reuters)

The commanding heights of international prestige have outsized importance to societies on the way up. And understandably so.

A Nobel prize, an Olympic medal or role as Olympic host, an Academy award, a scholarship to or honored position at a famous university— recognitions like these are part of the regular news cycle in North America and Europe. But for countries on the long path upward, they can be significant, often too significant, milestones. The modern histories of Japan, South Korea, and China all treat their respective roles as Olympic hosts (Tokyo 1964, Seoul 1988, Beijing 2008) as markers in international regard for the countries and, more important, in self-esteem.

Nobel prizes have been particularly fraught in China. The internationally most famous Chinese Nobel winner is still senselessly and cruelly imprisoned in his home country. This of course is Liu Xiaobo, whose selection for the Peace Prize in 2010 seemed only to intensify the Chinese government’s repression of him and his family, and which led to Chinese diplomatic and economic sanctions against Norway that still senselessly and pettily go on. (Norwegians choose the Peace Prize winner; Swedes choose the rest.)

A predecessor as Peace Prize winner, the Dalai Lama, is such persona non grata for the Chinese government that it issues bitter protests whenever foreign leaders dare to meet with him. Novelist Mo Yan, born in China and still a citizen, won the Literature prize three years ago. But apart from him, the many other Chinese-born or ethnically Chinese Nobelists, especially the scientists, won their prizes for work done after they left the country. China now trains more scientists and engineers than any other country. But no one had ever won a Nobel prize for scientific work done in China or at a Chinese institution. Until today.

The Atlantic’s Krishnadev Calamur has an item on the announcement that Tu Youyou is one of three winners of this year’s Medicine prize, recognizing her innovative anti-malarial work, drawing among other sources on traditional Chinese medicine.

A Western reader who has lived, worked, and taught in China for many years sends this note about the prize’s significance:

Among my students, I often hear  angst about how the Nobel Committee never awards a Nobel to Chinese (except to dissidents living outside the mainland). [JF note: And scientists working in Western universities or other institutions.] Today they awarded one to Tu Youyou for her work on malaria. She’s the first mainland recipient of a Nobel [in the sciences].

Much of her early work was done within the mainland, and moreover, during the darkest of times-the Cultural Revolution and the Korean War.

(Delayed) proof that good things can come from bad situations. Her work and her award are inspiring. Let it not go un-noticed [in the West].

Indeed. This will rightly be a moment of satisfaction in China, and should be, not just for Tu Youyou but also for many of her fellow citizens. Congratulations to her and all affected by her discoveries and her achievement. We’ll hope that conditions in Chinese institutions evolve in such a way as to allow even more people to do their best world-benefitting work there.