The 2001 UK Foot-and-Mouth Crisis
At one point in the novel, Zhuang takes her lover to a Chinese restaurant to eat food that she has been missing since she arrived in England but is appalled by how rude the owners of the store are and how poor their service is. It’s very possible that these owners were embittered from mistreatment and unsubstantiated rumors from the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis. When the United Kingdom saw an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in meat and livestock all through the country, there were many rumors pinning the problem on Chinese restaurant owners. While the government denied having any part in the rumors, many Chinese citizens of the UK organized to protest their mistreatment not only as restaurant owners but as citizens against such a racist attack.
Read the full story here.
Problems in the International Student Community
In the last 10 year, many people have been studying the performance and overall well-being of international students, especially Chinese students, as there seems to have been a boom of them in English speaking countries like the United States and United Kingdom. One study has found that Chinese students studying abroad in English speaking countries are likely to experience symptoms of depression if they fit three specific categories. If they have maladaptive perfectionism, which means that they’re performance in school doesn’t match their expectations, acculturative stress, which is the psychological impact of adapting to a new culture, and if they have spent a long time in their country of study. This new influx of international students could be rewarding but it does not come without a price.
Read the study here.
The Golden Era of UK-China Relations Meets Brexit
There is no official mention of Brexit in the novel; however, the freedoms that Zhuang was able to have living in the U.K. on a visa don’t look to be as peaceful now as they were a few years ago. About 10 years ago China and the U.K. declared the start of a golden age between the two countries of bilateral trade, intense diplomacy, and discussions of investment and other financial services. The good trade relations that China and England have mean that overall, both countries and its citizens get along well and have peaceful relationships with each other; however, this article discusses how those relationships will be deteriorating soon with the Brexit vote.
Zhuang lived in England during a Golden age of relations between her country and England, and even then she encountered a few rude and ignorant citizens. Her time under a new era such as this might not have been so kind to her
Read the full story here.
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John Quigley ’19