Apparently, another one of Ren Zhengfei’s daughters is a computer science undergraduate at Harvard

The detaining of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei and daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, at Canadian airport on behest of the US authorities has made headlines the past several days. On that, I have little to say other than that she is quite attractive and also that the half-closeted nepotism via mother’s surname is both amusing and somewhat gross.

Reading her Wikipedia page, I pulled the following

Ren’s first wife was Meng Jun, the daughter of Meng Dongbo, a former deputy governor of Sichuan Province. They had two children: daughter Meng Wanzhou and son Meng Ping, both of whom took up their mother’s surname.[14] After their divorce, he married Yao Ling, with whom he had another daughter, Annabel Yao, who is 25 years younger than Meng Wanzhou. Annabel is a computer science student at Harvard University who made a high-profile debut at Le Bal des Débutantes in Paris in 2018.[14] Ren married for the third time to Su Wei, who was reportedly his former secretary.[14]

Ren’s eldest daughter, Meng Wanzhou, is deputy chairperson and chief financial officer (CFO) of Huawei.[15]

I’m somewhat surprised and also rather disappointed that Ren Zhengfei sent his other daughter, who also took her mother’s surname (and this is a different mother), to Harvard for undergrad. It reminds of how Xi Jinping’s daughter transferred to Harvard from Zhejiang University after her freshman year. I hate to say it but it’ll be hard to take the PRC elites too seriously when they send their children to elite US schools for undergrad. It is a sign that they still lack independence with a need to associate with global homo Anglo elite institutions. On the Chinese internet, people are questioning what other passports besides the Chinese one is possessed by Meng Wanzhou, and it was revealed somewhere that she had a green card from Canada.

Meng for undergraduate merely attended a good but not great university in China. That was when her father, who started Huawei in his 40s, was still a relative nobody. Remember that in China, aside from regional discrimination, wherein Beijing residents are allocated like 10 times more slots at Beida/Qinghua adjusted for population than residents in the provinces, admissions is based purely on gaokao and automatic admission via top performance on the national math and science olympiads. It’s basically impossible for filthy rich and/or well-connected parents to buy one’s kid’s way into Beida/Qinghua in China. So I guess when the kid of someone super high up in China turns out to be intellectually mediocre, attending an elite US school for undergrad becomes the default, sadly.

Something to note, relatedly, is that 富二代 (second generation rich) is a relatively new phenomenon in China. After all, after the communists took power, the rich people had their assets confiscated (like my amusingly pro-communist ABC friend stuck in the US at least for the near future, his family ended up sharing their four story house/building with a bunch of a poor people), and afterwards, people in high up positions did not make much more than the ordinary worker, with the salary difference, based on what I’ve heard, at most a factor of 10, barring very exceptional cases. It was really only after 1980 when it became possible for one to become extremely rich doing business. Between 1980 and 2010. there was a lot of low hanging fruit in China, economically. Plenty of mediocre people with the right entrepreneurial energy/personality became rich. And by that, the class of second generation rich was born, and it seems now they are forming their own culture, with studying abroad paying ridiculous tuition at US universities common, as well as their parents investing in US real estate. It’s very possible and perhaps likely that the class structure in China will solidify over the next generation, as is already the case in the US. How much so, that remains to be seen.

I’ve had some interactions with 富二代 kids and their parents in the US. Many of them are, predictably, not very smart academically. They are basically on permanent vacation in America. Their career/employment prospects in America are not surely not good for obvious reasons. It doesn’t seem like they’re well treated in school by their white peers in America. Yes, their families are economically well off, but that doesn’t mean they can integrate into American society. Their families are able to invest in real estate in America for now; even so, their existence in the US will be a marginal one much confined to the Chinese community. Many of them do not even know English well and are mostly here to invest in real estate, enjoy some material comfort and fresh air, and also send their kids to school here. In most cases, the father based in China only visits every once in a while. They’re obviously not really wanted in America other than for their money, spent on international tuition and luxury brands and so on.

As the reader can tell, I don’t have a high opinion of those 富二代 who send their kids to America and invest in real estate there. Being in China now, I’m sure I’ll learn more about them, including the process they go through to transfer all that money to the US, and maybe I can even influence them a bit. As one can see from the detention of Meng Wanzhou in Canada, there is little guarantee for them on US soil. Finance/economics tells us there is no such thing as a free lunch. They may feel they are winning now and that their assets in America are safe, but this could very much be a process of 温水煮青蛙 (a frog boiled in warm water), where initially one feels warmth, until one gets burned. They may own real estate in America on paper for now, but that real estate is physically in America, where the Chinese do not really control anything. They have no media power, no legal power, no military power there. It’s totally possible for them to suddenly lose everything. Unlikely, but it can happen and only needs to happen once.

The Meng Wanzhou incident has been in Chinese media tied to the death of Stanford physics professor Shoucheng Zhang at age 55 which happened on the same day. The family statement said that it was due to depression, which we all know is just a euphemism. There has been speculation that it was related to the alleged tanking of his Chinese venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. It’s quite tragic that he took his ambition/careerism too far, assuming that his death was related to his VC activity. Had he just remained purely academic, he would have survived and likely eventually won his Nobel. Needless to say, using the prestige of a rare Stanford tenured professorship in physics to raise a Chinese VC is not really what he should be doing while officially in that position. Stanford probably should be somewhat embarrassed about his case as well, in addition to the recent Elizabeth Holmes case that was magnitudes worse. On this, I also have in mind the cases of Lucas Duplan and Evan Spiegel, both quite shameful.

It is my hope that talented, elite Chinese can focus more on developing their institutions at home instead of wasting so much money and energy associating with and working for elite US institutions for signaling. Doing so only inflates the value of a system hostile to Chinese while at the same time de-valuing Chinese institutions. If Chinese are really serious about this trade war, they should be going out of their way to devalue Harvard and Stanford, to devalue Google and Facebook, not eagerly trying to attend those schools for undergrad for a rather mediocre academic educational experience and making such a big deal about working for those companies, whose programmers are generally no better than ones in a good internet company in China as far as I can tell. If Chinese want other people to respect and value them, then they ought to first have confidence in their own institutions. I say this having been in prestigious US institutions myself, interacted substantially with numerous people from there, and frankly, many of them are not all that great, with some depressingly mediocre or even problematic. Of course, there are also plenty of genuinely brilliant, accomplished people in America in top American institutions. Overall, my point is that it’s clear that America will not judge the Chinese well, so why expend so much trying to associate and fit in with America? Why not instead expend more energy into creating a system where what America thinks simply becomes more or less irrelevant?



周四,我认识的一位同样搞理论凝聚态物理的人微信发给我了张首晟去世的消息,让我感到吃惊。这么牛逼的人,不光有资格得诺贝尔奖的理论物理学家,而且还很有钱,好像他90年代末凭他斯坦福大学教授的关系做了搞虚拟机器(virtual machine)的VMware(其创始人是斯坦福大学计算机系教授)的天使投资,赚了一大笔钱,也得到了为后来做风险投资的资历和关系。一流理论物理学家很少是多么有钱的,美国名校物理教授每年也就15万,最多30万的工资(当然,现在极少数最牛的理论物理学家可以通过什么突破奖发点大财了),而张首晟成为了极其罕见的即大物理学家又大发财的人,一种几乎不存在的令人惊叹不已的人生赢家。可惜他近年做得过度了,最终出现了悲剧。可以说他当初运气太好了,拿到的教职确是斯坦福的,才得到了这种天使投资的机会。反而他要是是什么麻省理工或哈弗的,很难想象到他这么去做。可是,反过来,也可以说最终好事变成了坏事,他的这种运气所迎来的成功引发了他后来自以为是的做一件物理教授不应该做的事情而运气不好彻底倒闭了,英年夭折失去了得诺贝尔奖的机会。




我还记得有一次网上看到了他的一个视频,是在斯坦福大学举行的那种启发美国华裔中学生那种活动,网上可以搜到,那里边他讲了他的一些人生故事和价值观。记得一开始他说起他长大的文革时期中国的气候是不鼓励学习的,然后又说起他父母是工程师,然后家人有好多学过文科的人,自己小时候多么多么善于自己读书学习。然后还开始扯美国建国的人如Benjamin Franklin, John Adams的一些理念,说什么我自己要做一些实用的挣钱的事情,为了我的孩子或孙子能够从事更创造性的如艺术之类的工作。他说同样,我们这一代移民来到美国好多为了留下,为了挣钱,却选择了工程,他属于少数坚持他对理论物理热爱的人,但第二代就比他们有远远更好的条件,应该去追求自己的梦想,最自己喜欢的东西。他说的这些也有一定道理了,当然,他扯美国建国人的时候我有点感到不舒服,我想他是不是觉得自己在美国名校斯坦福举行这种明目张胆的华人利益活动有点不要脸了,他真的觉得中国人应该学习美国建国人那套吗,以白人至上主义和暴力逐出印第安土著人建设一个华人没有什么真正地位的国家吗?他跟那些孩子讲完了之后,在旧金山的中国领事馆的一个代表又开始采访他了。在那一段谈话里,我记得他说中国人在美国都混得不错,大多是在做工程。是,那些科技移民在硅谷都有比较好的工程工作,整一个相当高的工资,不过相当少能成为经理,很少能够创办自己的公司,也没有那么好,在美国依然算相对边缘。还记得他又提到自己的儿子在哈弗上学第一学期在上一门中国近代历史的课,不过都是用英文以美国的眼光讲,同时儿子中文也不错,也读了陈独秀的一些中文文集。我想这活动肯定是那儿的中国领事馆组织的,由于张首晟当时是拿了政府的钱本科时去德国留学的,中国政府的人依然觉得有资格“利用”他一下。



Reflections on the airplane in China

I’m on the airplane in China right now with nothing to do so I write this. The person next to me is watching an American movie with Chinese subtitles. Having been in China for almost a month, seeing that screen feels foreign to me, there are mostly some white people and a few black ones too. On that I shall say that my mental state has much changed being surrounded by people like myself for no more than 30 days. In America my only access to the culture and environment of what is to be my natural habitat was indirectly and very imperfectly through Chinese in America as well as the Chinese Internet. But that is nothing like actually being in China surrounded by Chinese people and their way of life in cities built in their own style. After just this little bit of time, much has changed as for my mental defaults, perhaps most prominently that now a pretty woman is instinctively East Asian as opposed to white. The power of advertising, the power of propaganda. I had been exposed to propaganda all my life in America nonstop and now I’m China I experience one in the reverse direction, with crudely speaking a cancellation effect underway.

Almost instinctively I no longer care or fear anything near as much what whites think. This is actually natural for almost everyone in China. They have no direct contact with white people or with people of any other race really. White people are pretty much invisible in their lives excepting an occasional model advertisement in public and appearance on some world news on TV. This is in stark contrast to in America where communication is so stilted in comparison because there are a zillion races which the multicultural environment naturally conditions one to fear pissing off either intentionally or by accident. One reason why I’m not optimistic about America. Sure America can attract smart people from all over the world. But there is also that given how people of one race already have enough difficulty getting along, how much of a problem it becomes when there are many races of vastly different cultures and inherently competing interests sharing the same space. Maybe that is much a reason why now China’s airports render the ones in America shabby in comparison. Even in a second tier city the magnificence of the airport instantly made an impression on me. Of course America is still more advanced and of higher innovative substance in core science and technology but even there the advantage is dwindling.

I increasingly view my experience growing up in America as an ethnic Chinese as an abnormal one essentially forced upon me. It’s human biological nature for races to self segregate, this is instinctive and it’s really modernity that has made possible people like me. Biologically and culturally, whites and East Asian are far far apart. It’s nothing like the difference between Han Chinese and the Mongols or that between the English and French. And so it’s also natural that the Chinese in America are perpetual foreigners who die out in a few generations with high outmarriage and low birth rates. It’s like a pollutant entering water that eventually becomes absorbed in, no longer visible to the naked eye. Of course there has been a continuous stream of it entering to replenish but mostly uniformly there is quite a low half-life.

I am the rare type of pollutant who opts to leave that system for self preservation. Yet owing to my having entered and stayed in formative years I continue to with my fluent and still prolific English writing infect readers and minds within. I am in some sense a product of American liberalism. It was the invasion of toxic American liberal ideas into my native land in the 80s and 90s along with some slots opened for entrance into the land of its gospel that attracted people like my mother and many other Chinese of that generation. Most of their offspring were absorbed and tamed under the new system, yet I resisted and am now in some sense retreating and launching some sort of counterattack. What was it of this gospel that so repelled and disgusted me? That is quite complex and not to be elaborated on here. In any case, it is evidence of lack of universality of that gospel in its power to attract, its power to deceive.

The West as represented by America is now nihilistic. It seeks perpetual expansion but in the long run that brings in outsiders to its culture and eventually to its own lands. It moves and mixes races and peoples to the point where the mixing becomes the norm that goes on eventually to the point of no return. It seeks much, inadvertent and complicit, to destroy itself and everyone else along with it. The West has unleashed a force it cannot control unto itself that may well end with its own tragic destruction. With reference to the words of Duke of Qin, civilization is fragile and its continuation requires constant shepherding. Especially in the modern world so small and interconnected dangerous in a way never before for racial and cultural survival.

Jack Ma

He’s one of those trendy major success stories. He’s basically gone viral in China. Especially after Alibaba IPO. His net worth is like $44 billion. I didn’t really care enough to learn more about him. What I did remember was that he was an academically dull student. From his Wiki page:

Later in his youth, Ma struggled attending college. The Chinese entrance exams are held only once a year and Ma took four years to pass. Ma attended Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute (currently known as Hangzhou Normal University) and graduated in 1988 with a B.A. in English.[8][9]

Okay back then, only a small percentage actually attended college (like 5%, maybe 10%). In the end, he could only get into a bullshit major in a shit tier school.

It seems like he was basically a complete loser until his mid thirties.

Jack Ma applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected by all. “I went for a job with the police; they said, ‘you’re no good,'” Ma told interviewer Charlie Rose. “I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted. I was the only guy…”.[12] In addition to this, he applied 10 times to Harvard Business School (HBS) and got rejected.[13]

It’s funny he even applied for the police because I just learned he’s only 5′ 0″ (152 cm). Those people hiring in the police department were probably like, “who is this midget twit.” He doesn’t know shit about programming or computing and basically hired people who did to actually create Alibaba. I’m ever more convinced that he mostly was extremely lucky. There are zillions of average IQ people with entrepreneurial spirit in China, and I’ve had encounters with some of them myself. Most will only attain modest success. Sadly, people, even in China, are statistically delusional, and actually believe his success was mostly due to skill or “unusual business sense.”

I was just talking about this in a group chat. I wrote the following:

Honestly I’d respect a serious engineer/scientist in, say, the space program in China more than Jack Ma just about any day.

Mostly because there is actually real skill/depth/substance in that. The people who developed China’s nuclear weapons/missiles and satellites unambiguously created much more value for China than Alibaba did. They, the top scientists and engineers behind that, of course merely earned high salaries from the government. In contrast, the leverage China obtained internationally from that, in addition to the technical foundation essential for later economic development is easily on the order of trillions of dollars. Not that what Jack Ma did didn’t have a lot of value. It did, but it’s way overhyped, and more importantly, more people could have in theory lucked into that than there are people with the IQ to, say, master calculus, which by the standards of any serious STEM R&D would be but extremely rudimentary, more or less taken for granted.

This phenomenon is everywhere. In America, when Steve Jobs dies, it’s like the end of the world. When Dennis Ritchie dies, few people actually care. China, much thanks to a combination of Confucian culture and its hard-core communist past, is much better in this regard. But it has degenerated too, sadly. It’s quite problematic that now in China, young people aspire more to be Jack Ma than to be Qian Xuesen (钱学森). Mostly because of money. More convinced I am now that most of what is still culturally healthy left in China today can be traced back to the Maoist era. Yes, there was persecution of intellectuals, much of it an unintended side effect, especially during the Cultural Revolution. But overall, the serious scientists/engineers were highly respected, and even the top political leaders like Mao and Zhou paid close attention to them and their needs; the political attacks against them mostly came from below as a side effect of political movements. They were paid high salaries and given higher benefits, which is what should be done given their talent and importance to the country. Remember that back then, everybody was dirt poor and there were no jock entrepreneurs lucking out on millions.

Now we have an epidemic of highly talented, cultured, hardworking, perceptive, and well-meaning people in STEM being treated like shit, let alone the average Joe, so that more resources and wealth can be concentrated in the hands of idiot businessmen and corrupt politicians. This changes the culture too to value money above substance. There needs to be a strong counterforce to that, and only a powerful government and state controlled media run by actual smart, cultured people dedicated to preservation of national interest and communist orthodoxy can achieve this.


最近在美国,正在进行的对常春藤大学歧视亚裔的种族配额制度的案子在2018年6月中旬透露了哈弗录取人员给亚裔申请生更低的所谓的“个性评分”,以此为拒绝他们之由。可预料,这引起了一场稍同情亚裔的媒体大波,而7月出头没过多久,川普政府撤销了奥巴马时期推行的大学录取种族平衡政策并颁布了新政策指南的重要举措。同时,亚裔又在纽约市强烈抵抗市长de Blasio提出的将撤销特殊高中考试录取的案,为了种族多元化而改至holistic的录取方式,难以接受在现有制度,那些特殊高中的名额大约百分之七十都占于亚裔学生。加上,芝加哥大学,一所SAT分数分布很高的接近顶尖大学,已经把SAT考试改为可选而非必要的申请件。看来随着亚裔体抗议常春藤的歧视加热而稍有进展的同时,美国的某些其它教育机构又开始给以新的袭击。看来美国社会就是对亚裔不要好啊。为此,我当然也有自己的想法。





















其实,鉴于此文在纪念党的生日,我觉得中共所领导的做的好多都是惊人的,具有无比勇气的。统一了百年军阀混战的中国是一。建国没捞着喘什么气又跟世界老大直接打了一仗,而且还赢了,至少平了。此代价是世界老大采取几乎所有措施让你崩溃,但是二十年后,中国从几乎零的基础下研制出了两弹一星,世界老大也不得不认输了。之后,跟世界老大建交了,他非要让你改变你的制度,到处污蔑你好对你施加压力,但中共依然坚持抵抗着,直到今天发展到世界老大真的怕你代替他咯。所以从任何客观的角度这都是很神的党,奇迹性的政治组织,美国当权派及其走狗对它的诬蔑只能客观表示一种自己深厚的畏惧和对自己失败的回避,是一种拒绝面对客观事实的表现,用另一句话说,是一种sore loser的表现。当然,中国在共产党的领导下还要好多做的不足的地方,如此前文所述,还有很漫长的路要走。我个人觉得中共改革开放那帮领导相对比较差,比较没有骨气,此可以以六四和中国的人才流失证实,当然我也认识到中国要融入美国为首的国际体系就是要失去一定的独立自主为代价。(注:读者别把我搞错,我绝对不是一个极左,四人帮当然也有很多糟糕的地方,基本上是一些弱智流氓,但至少他们是立场坚定,不会去走卖国的自由主义。)


Not that I am any sort of unreconstructed Maoist: I also approve of Deng Xiaoping, including his willingness to be harsh when necessary.  Both Mao and Deng played a big part in producing today’s China, but in a future article I will argue that it was Deng who came closest to wrecking it. Contrary to what most analysts will tell you, Mao always had a fall-back position that he could return to if one of his radical experiments went wrong.