BEIJING - Michelle Obama, the wife of the US president, loves to do things in a big way. What better place to talk about the future of education and academic exchange between the two superpowers during her trip to Beijing than visiting China's mother lode of Higher Education -Peking University.
This event will long been used by the sages of PKU to boost their prestige in the world, as Wang Enge, the current president of PKU (also known as 'Beida' in China) and other leaders have invested greatest efforts in attracting some of the most visible and renowned speakers (from world leaders to economists, professors, and celebrities) of all walks of life to hold lecturers here. The speaker's fee of Ms Obama was not disclosed (if there was any) -but it isn't uncommon that (instead of cash) valuable gifts or favors are presented. President Wang Enge allegedly offered admission of Ms Obama's two daughters to Peking University should they decide to study in China in the future.
Peking University recently crashed down on democrats and dissident voices, fulminating into the dismissal of Xia Yeliang -an outspoken critic against corruption in China's academia.
Note: The Stanford Center is pretty posh; usually underused. It's two levels underground. You can see the daylight falling in through the ceiling. Great picture!