MacKinnon writes that "Prof. Bell's well-kept house as well as his background suggest his family is of the class he thinks should rule China." The implication is that I defend rule by the rich because it's in my class interest to do so. In fact, I do not think that rich people should rule China. An important advantage of a well-functioning political meritocracy is that it allows for upward (and downward) mobility based on ability and morality, not class background.
But to press his vulgar Marxist argument, MacKinnon writes: "He met his wife, Song Bing, at Oxford University in 1989, a time when only top students with impeccable Communist credentials were allowed to leave China to study." In fact, my wife is not a party member, and she left China in 1988 because she was awarded a merit-based scholarship by the Hong Kong based Swire Corporation. At the time, my wife was an undergraduate at Peking University's law faculy, and she was admitted to that university as a result of having scored highly on the national university examinations in her home province of Hunan. Perhaps MacKinnon was led to think that "impeccable Communist credentials" played a role in helping my wife go abroad because my wife's 86 year old father was a local level communist cadre. Such "guilt by family association" was typical in the Cultural Revolution and maybe MacKinnon chose to borrow tactics from those days. In fact, the connection exists only in MacKinnon's mind. Again, he could have checked this information, but he chose not to.
Set across the street from Beijing’s elite Dulwich College, Prof. Bell’s well-kept house as well as his background suggest his family is of the class he thinks should rule China. He met his wife, Song Bing, at Oxford University in 1988. She was there on a merit-based scholarship from the Hong Kong-based Swire Corporation. The couple lived in Singapore and Hong Kong before Prof. Bell was hired at Tsinghua in 2004, the first foreign philosophy professor to join the university since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
In 2005 world-renowned artist Chen Danqing had resigned from Tsinghua in disgust over the unnecessarily rigid (not rigorous, mind you) screening system for student recruitment and academic qualification. Chen saw the system as antagonistic to talent. Right on the heels of Chen Danqing’s resignation from Tsinghua, prominent Peking University legal scholar He Weifang penned an open letter announcing that he would refuse to accept master’s degree students for the 2006 academic year. Why? Because the admissions process was fundamentally flawed, he said, and many of the brightest students were not being admitted because of needless and fussy requirements.