Steve Kelman on Politics, Culture, and Life

I am Steve Kelman, Harvard Kennedy School professor. I do research on improving government performance and am interested in China. This blog will reprint many of my Facebook posts in these areas.


Linked in leaves China

LinkedIn, the last American social media site available in China, has announced it is shutting down (they will keep only their job search function) after increased pressure from the Chinese government. This is very sad news. Repression is increasing.

Harvard Chinese program relocates to Taiwan

Harvard has announced it is relocating its summer program for students studying Chinese from China to Taiwan. A spokesperson for the Taiwan foreign ministry stated in reaction, “Only in a free environment where free speech is not censored can the best results of learning be achieved.” The Times notes that relocation to Taiwan “comes as the island has supplanted Hong Kong as a bastion of free speech in the Chinese-speaking world.” I say to my Taiwanese friends, “Harvard ai Taiwan.”

Black-white vaccination gap disappears

The gap in vaccination rates between blacks and whites has disappeared. Good health news.

Anti-democratic populist loses in Czech republic

Anti-democratic populism has been strong in Eastern Europe, a stain on European democracy. Now the populist leader of the Czech republic has been defeated. Nice news.

A sickeningly violent show most popular ever on Netflix

The Korean series Squid Game, featuring “contests” among children where the losers are killed, is said to be the most-popular Netflix show ever. I have read some accounts, and it is apparently very graphically violent and inhuman. Don’t we have enough sickeningly violent US shows without needing a Korean one also. Goes without saying I have no plans to watch.

Ben and Jerry boycott over shunning Israel

Interesting that the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a mainstream anti-Holocaust organization, has endorsed the call for grocery stalls to boycott Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to protest the company’s refusal to sell in East Jerusalem and the West Bank?. They say that the board chair of Ben and Jerry’s supports the BDS (boycott) movement against Israel. Up to now, my reaction has been that one might agree or disagree with refusal to sell in the West Bank, but that this was an understandable position (unlike if they refused to sell in Israel at all). Should I reconsider and only go with Haagen Dasz? What do friends think?

Holiday honoring old people in China

A Chinese friend informed me that today is a holiday in China honoring old people. And he sent me best wishes for the day. Trying to figure out if I should be honored or disappointed. Am I that old?

Boston mayor candidate ”person of color”?

One of the finalists in the Boston mayor’s race has described herself as a “person of color” – her dad was born in Tunisia, she has straight light brown hair and looks completely white. Somebody asked me whether if Arabs are people of color Jews are as well.

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