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Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Halting Mandarin

This is fascinating. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, speaks at Tsinghua University. He addresses a young and middle-aged audience for twenty minutes in halting Mandarin. He seems to do it from memory, without a teleprompter.

He speaks in tones, he struggles at bringing phrases to memory at times, but he is working at correct pronunciation, an exercise which pleases Chinese to no end. They usually think that Westerners are too damned dumb to get their language.

He is not a smooth speaker, as some Westerners are. Jon Hunstman, the former American ambassador, speaks fairly good Chinese and so does Jerome Cohen, the China lawyer. Zuckerberg even gets a laugh, which is pretty good for a Western barbarian. Thus the Great Wall across the great cultural divide may be breached and one wonders does this have any resonance for the Great Firewall that Chinese censors have placed around the Internet.

Zuckerberg, of course, is known to the Chinese as a technical genius. He speaks about connecting the world. This is a great performance. The audience applauds him. I have to run this story down, because I want to know more about it. Sty tuned for further reportage.



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