The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The lie of Chinese ethnic unity.

During the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympic games, 56 children were presented to us as members of the 56 ethnicities of China. I thought this rather a good touch. It showed, perhaps, that China was thinking of all of its contributing ethnicities at this time. However, something rankled about it, as a gesture. It rankled because I know, for a fact, that China makes it almost a national sport, to persecute its minorities. It was, therefore, a strange thing to do, to promote itself as being inclusive of all of its 56 ethnicities, when there were many incidents, of international renown, that showed that this was not so, in practice.

Now, we have learnt that the "56 ethnicities" were, in fact, all Han Chinese children. Ethnic children were not allowed to take part. This is most ironic, for in debarring the children of truly ethnic minority origin, China was showing its true face with regards to its ethnic minorities: racism and oppression, sometimes even to genocidal practices (look at the history of Tibet, for instance). Not allowing ethnic minorities to participate is symptomatic of its true attitude towards its own ethnic minorities: they are to be repressed, marginalized and excluded, at the least, perhaps even killed, in some cases.

China is lying to the world again. I rather hope that this will teach the world one basic assumption about China: that it lies at all opportunities - for it has done so, in this Olympics and, no doubt, does so in all its dealings with the world. A liar doesn't just lie on special occasions, a liar lies all the time. Thus, China, in lying so much at the Olympics is showing us that they always lie, that, if they were a person, they would be classified as a pathological liar. When given every opportunity to be truthful, they prefer to lie. They could have told the world: "These are 56 Han Chinese children dressed in the costumes of the 56 ethnicities of China." Instead of which they told the world's media, and thus the world, that they were, actually, children of 56 different ethnicities. So, rather than a simply told truth, they would rather a cleverly told lie.

So, what we have seen, so far, is not a Chinese Olympics, put on by a united China, represented by all Chinese people. No. What we have seen is a Han Chinese Olympics, put on to the exclusion of the diverse minorities that are part of the Chinese land (in spatial co-ordinates, if not in social inclusion).

In a very real sense, the Chinese are insulting the international community by lying to them, in various ways. By telling the world that they had thoughtfully included representatives of all 56 races, they were presenting an image to the world of ethnic inclusivity and absence of racism. This, if true, would have made China seem more progressive, developed and mature. That was the impression they wished to give. The truth, however, was that so racist, internally divided, xenophobic, exclusive and riven are they that they did not include ANY other race of child, apart from Han Chinese. They understood enough to know, however, that the world would like it to be as they said it was. Rather than make it so, however, they preferred to lie about it.

The funny thing about all of this is that China is doing more damage to its international standing than a whole world of critics has managed to do in recent decades. China is coming to look like a shameless liar through and through. Well done, China. What more lies, deceptions and instances of cheating are yet to be uncovered?

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:28 PM 


Blogger Miao said...

That is really disappointing to know. Does China really want its credibility (if it even has any in the first place) to suffer an irreparable dent? If I were the leader of another country I'd be extremely wary of all my dealings with China.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

China has always been this way. They think it is the natural way to be. They think it is the only way to be. They think it is the best way to be. If a lie can help them win, then why not, they think.

However, what they don't understand is how the rest of the world sees their actions. The rest of the world takes a very different view of such lies. This is something which China is unable to see, because it sees nothing wrong with what it is doing.

So, they will continue to act in this way, so long as they continue not to understand its effects on their prospects with the rest of the world. They want the respect of the world - but they are losing it by these actions.

Thanks for your comment.

1:19 AM  
Blogger Miao said...

Hi, I'm just wondering if you've heard that Lin Miaoke has been offered a role in a movie. She is to make a 3-minute appearance and she will get to earn US$120k.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Miao, that is ridiculous news. The girl with the talent is buried and hidden, the girl with the fairly good looks gets to be a movie star!!!

If she had any moral sense she should give half the fee to Yang Peiyi, to whose buck teeth she owes her big break in life.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Miao said...

I'm not sure how accurate this piece of information is. I read it in The New Paper. My brothers buy it every Sunday to read the soccer news. The title of the article was: "Going for $120,000 movie role... And she didn't even sing." Anyway her pay will be S$120k and not US$120k, but that is still really absurd. I quote the article:

Said her father Lin Hui, a newspaper photographer: "As parents, we still think her studies should come first. A sound education will give her a firm foundation. As to whether she wants to enter the show business, we'll leave it for the future."

Her father said that Miaoke's ambition is to be a doctor so that she can treat her classmates in future.

I wonder if her parents are really going to say No to a S$120,000 paycheck.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are reading too much from this incident. From the other faked incidents like the fireworks and young singer, its quite clear that China is keen to promote a perfect image to the world for fear of losing face.

The children were probably selected based on good looks. Not that minorities are ugly but its simply the case that Hans are 93% and so practically all the selected children are Hans. If anything the Chinese govt has sought to preserve and promote ethnic cultures and has a commission to implement such policies.

Uighur and Tibetans are discriminated against because they present political problems for China and the reason is not racial. Even from the feudal days it wasn't some Han hegemony oppressing the minorities, in fact minorities who managed to secure the throne became Han'itized so to speak.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I think you are reading too little into the incident.

The Chinese may call it fear of losing face, the rest of the world calls it persistent lying. There is a difference between being perfect and lying about being perfect.

The Chinese said they were 56 ethnic minority children when, in fact, they were 56 Han children - none of them are ethnic minority children at all. As for being selected for good looks - many, many years ago in London, I met two Tibetan girls. They were better looking than any Chinese girl I have met - so it is not looks on which they are being selected. Only a racist Chinese person would think that Chinese people automatically had better looks than the ethnic minorities. Given the variety of the latter, it is more likely that good looks will be found in one or more of the minorities.

You use the words "discriminated against" to describe what the Chinese do in Uighur and Tibet. Other people would call it vicious oppression and murder. Many Tibetans have been killed over the years. It is definitely racial because the Tibetans present no real threat, of any kind. Outsiders would call the situation in Tibet occupation by an outside power. The Chinese don't see it that way.

It is common among Chinese communities around the world, to be supportive of the Chinese way of doing things - even when that way clearly violates international norms for human rights and freedoms.

I am not making too much of it. It is another case of China lying to the world. Then there is the gymnast's age - who were mentioned on Chinese government websites as being as young as 13 only a few months ago. To enter them for a competition with an age limit of 16is just cheating.

China is an old nation, but not a mature nation. They behave in ways that have not yet attained the standards required by the international community - certainly not in ethical areas. They have a lot to learn.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Onlooker said...

Suddenly everyone forgot Tibet, Xinjiang ,the 1987 Tian an men Massacre and The cultural revolution that killed so many "Different" ethnic people.
I'm more concern about the Georgian/Russo war that is going on now. Neglected under all that hype generated by the Olympic that is suppose to promote peace......
Wait now I know why our media rank so low...... lol(uneasy).

1:06 PM  
Blogger Ned Stark said...

Taking anon's argument to its conclusion, a country is entitled to discriminate against people on the basis that they create political problems. So if Ned decides to join the WP, technically he would constitute a "political problem" for LHL (who seeks to fix opposition members) and is entitled to be treated as enemy of the state liable to be shot on sight. Clearly this is patently ridiculous but if we accept anon's contentions then that is the conclusion.

Furthermore, if one accepts the Chinese allegations, then one is left with an image of the Dalai Lama as some terrorist mastermind which is patently ludicrous.

Yes it is true that the West itself is not with clean hands but then again whether their hands are clean a not is irrelevant for the purposes of evaluating the actions of China. If we cannot criticise just because our argument is derived from Western ideals then at the end we are left with the conclusion that everything is relative with no proper benchmark.

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Valentine, First off I'm not condoning what China did to put on a perfect face for the world. Just be aware that the original girl that was supposed to sing got pulled out only minutes before the show so it wasn't like China planned the trickery in advance.

I did not say Han was better looking than minorities I just said 93% of China is Han so in any selection process the pool will be virtually all Han.

The 'Han' is not a race although it is termed as such. Han is a pure cultural construct on top of a whole lot of racial mixing. The Chinese ethnic identity was never centered on race but that of the Han culture and hence the Hanization that went on for centuries . And so there will be alot of physical variation within the 'Han race' that overlaps with its ethnic minorities.

Please read Foster Stockwell - Myth and Reality and Parenti to understand the history of Tibet and to understand why many get the story fundamentally wrong from the start. Its more complicated than they think it is. Ned Stark might also want to think about the Dalai Lama petitioning for Pinochets release from custody and trial.

8:53 PM  

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