We should all be concerned with the lack of appropriate political dialogue not between lukewarm diplomats, but rather protesters and pro-China demonstrators. Recent events have been distressing. A brave Chinese student at Duke attempted to disperse a commotion between the two groups, but her attempt resulted in her portrayal as a traitor to her native country (“Caught in the middle of the Tibet controversy, and labeled a traitor,” April 23).

Expressing one’s own opinion is crucial, but I also believe it is imperative to step back and recalibrate our own perspective by acknowledging where each person is coming from. By recognizing the mutual source of frustration and retaliation, we will be able to alleviate our irrational instinct to defend our own stance.

Even in an era of free information, the Chinese Communist Party filters the mass media, including the Internet. Thus pro-China demonstrators’ irrational responses can be viewed as a byproduct of their government’s policy. However, if social change is to occur, it must begin with appropriate dialogue and respect. When differing views cross, clash and raise emotional responses, one must not lose composure, but try to accept the logic behind their counterpart.

Incidences such as branding someone a traitor and threatening her parents simply display social ineptitude. If one cannot retain the ability to respect the views of another, then one cannot expect international criticism of China to flutter away despite its economic growth.

kenta hayashi