Monday, September 7, 2009

Dan Ben-Canaan, The Kaspe File: A Cas...


The Kaspe File: A Case Study of Harbin as an Intersection of Cultural and Ethnical Communities in Conflict 1932-1945


Dan Ben-Canaan, The Kaspe File: A Case Study of Harbin as an Intersection of Cultural and Ethnical Communities in Conflict 1932-1945. Heilongjiang People’s Publishing House. Harbin, China 2009. ISBN 978-7-207-08234-3 Chinese Translation: Yin Tiechao and Sun Han


Deciphering History

This book takes one general subject of conflict that characterized Harbin – the Japanese occupation of the city – and examines one of its aspects, namely the “Kaspe Affair”. It is a case study of Harbin as an international city, and an intersection of cultures and ethnics in clash between 1932-1945.

It presents a general conflict that created or reinforced other conflicts. It narrows them down to the kidnapping and murder of Semion Kaspe, a young Jewish musician and French national. It does so by presenting and analyzing historical testimonies, declassified reports and letters, the state of law and order in Manchukuo, as well as brings accounts by persons who once lived in Harbin.

History is not a pile of arbitrary facts, but rather a series of incontrovertible truths that happened in a certain special time, situation, and that hold cause and effects. History is just like a concerto in which some key musical notes are comprised into larger parts and thus make it a complete composition. Therefore, searching for key notes and recognizing them in an overall perspective are a prerequisite to establish a logical connection of the piece, music as well as text.

Searching for facts is by no means easy as in most of the cases history is accounted for not the real happenings but of memories of people. No matter what types of account they were, such as written records, memoirs, or visual materials, historical facts and accounts cannot be revealed in a crystal clear way due to the accouter’ point of view, let alone their acuteness and or deform of memories like semantic, procedural, episodic and field memories, and also with the possibility of evil intentions. Thus, all these may produce barriers between facts in history and the researcher.

The case of Semion Kaspe that examines the Japanese invasion of China, among other things, carried such barriers which produced huge difficulty to the interpretation of events, causes and effects of that time.

This book “The Kaspe File: A Case Study of Harbin as an Intersection of Cultural and Ethnical Communities in Conflict 1932-1945” by Dr. Dan Ben-Canaan from the Sino-Israel Research and Study Center at Heilongjiang University’s School of Western Studies is exactly such model research which intends and indeed peels off the episodes of history to look for key notes for the understanding of the total concerto.

The research done is noted especially for the seeking of accurate facts as well as for the investigation and examination of interpretations within the historical scenario of Harbin when multi-national communities, special policies of the Japanese invaders, Harbin Jews’ living conditions as well as cultural and ethnical communities in conflict, all were entwined to make the case happen. The author’s employment of a great amount of historical files and memoirs and his personal observation offer the reader a clearer view of the case.

With good citation, objectivity and hard facts, the Kaspe case, demonstrating communities in conflict in Harbin, reveal a truth that was hidden for a long time.

From the book, one can see the author’s serious attitude toward narrative research, his endeavors to solve the puzzles and his achievements are just as he writes: “History, in order to educate and live on, is not a matter of secrets of one’s heart. Nor should it be summed up as nonexistent.”

History is history, but history must be interpreted to be understood. The research conducted by Dr. Dan Ben-Canaan is a hard to find model sample of historical studies.

The declassification of the “Kaspe files” stored at the French Foreign Ministry Quai d’Orsay archive provides researchers with new information, although not all conclusive, that put to rest several aspects of the case but casts new ones.

Memory and nostalgia in historical research context is dealt with in various academic disciplines. Scholars have noted that interest in memory is also linked to trauma, particularly those related to war and other violent conflicts. These were part of the new city called Harbin, a classical intersection of various cultures and communities made of different ethnic groups.

The development of Harbin rested on internal and external “conflicts”; a series of clashes, disputes, military hostilities, political frictions and social quarrels, as well as cultural differences, interests and needs. The Kaspe case represents such conflicts.

Several conflicts and their resolution have remained unclear due to the weakness of memory, and new ones that shade better light are surfacing occasionally. The difference between those of the past and those of the present rests on the availability of new first hand information.

There are general agreements among researchers as to what were the circumstances that led to the founding of Harbin. But when trying to examine Harbin as a cluster of different communities, a crossroad of cultures representing different “civilizations” - societies, made of groups of people personifying particular places and different developed social and economic structures, one finds difficulties in achieving an agreed consensus.

The present clash between beliefs and opinions on the nature of conflicts is caused, in part, by fuzzy personal and nostalgic memories of former or present residents of the city, as well as on self-served political proclamations of interested parties.

The conflicts come also from within the many interpretations given to what constituted communities and cultures in early Harbin.

These should be first commonly defined. Did each group that reached this spot in Manchuria stay within its own boundaries or was there a new form of collective culture? Was there a common aspiration for a new home, or did the place constituted just a temporary domicile? What did the many thousands of people, representing different religions, nations, races, professions, and other characteristics, had in common? What dictated their survival? How open were the boundaries between the individual and the collective? How these groups resolve, if any, the differences between and among them? How did they respond to violent conflicts and crisis? Did the series of clashes, disputes, military hostilities, political and social quarrels, between 1898 and 1949, separate the different groups from each other or there was a mark of unity? Were there inherent cultural conflicts between the groups or communities? How it manifested itself and did it create competition in structure, style and form of public and private decision making as well as the daily life?

These are but few of the questions that should be addressed to when considering Harbin as a band of different communities, and an intersection of cultures.

The Kaspe Affair presents clearly not only some the major areas of a conflict created by the Japanese military rule but the hostilities between, among and within the Harbin communities – political, social, institutional, ethnic, cultural and religious. It demonstrates also how unavailable official records gave rise to innuendo and rumors based upon selective memories, politick-correctness, state political maneuverings, hate, and plain ignorance.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Business of Stereotyping Business


Journal of Jewish Studies in the Pacific Regions


The Business of

Stereotyping Business

By Prof. Dan Ben-Canaan

Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies

What has come to be known as the 'Fugu Plan'1, a secret Japanese plot designed to recruit "world Jewish money" and use it to enhance Japan's war torn economy some sixty-five years ago, has been reconstructed in Harbin once again. Any plan aiming at bringing "Jewish business" to Heilongjiang and to its capital city may very well be seen as a present day scheme to attempt at recruiting world Jewish business investments for a particular local purpose.

In June 2007 Harbin hosted an “International Forum on Economic Cooperation with World Jews”2. The 3-day weekend event which coincided with the annual International Harbin Trade Fair aimed at bringing Jewish investment money to the capital of Heilongjiang province. Furthermore, it was the organizers’ intention to display their ability of recruiting “Jewish money” from around the world, thus fulfilling a mandate given to them several years earlier, and by doing so, elevating themselves to an important position within the provincial and city governments. Like the failed Japanese Fugu Plan of the 1920s and 30s, so did they, being unsuccessful in fulfilling their purpose.

Although the number of Jews who engage in business very successfully is small, most Chinese people believe that the Jews own most of the world’s fortunes.

Most Chinese have never met a Jewish person, nor hold a minimal knowledge of what Judaism or being Jewish is all about. Never the less, stereotypes of high Jewish intellect and genus, that all Jews are very good in business, that Jewish money gives the Jews world power, as well as Jewish cunningness – Jewish skill in achieving one's ends by deceit or evasion, are being presented in academic, social and political spheres. These misguided notions have penetrated all levels of the Chinese society.

How this concept of Jews being money dominant power of the world came into being in China, who introduced these and the other stereotypes into the Chinese minds and why, and how it manifests itself in today’s China, are the key questions to which we are searching for answers.

The study of economics and business is fundamentally about human decision-making. It is a branch of the social sciences concerned primarily with analyzing and explaining human behavior in making decisions about the allocation and distribution of resources.3 In this context, some construed the Jewish people as a valuable resource.

Economy and business have been two key concepts in China's policy-making in the past twenty years. It is well understood here that in order to be an active player within the global community, China should be using both economics and business concepts to its advantage.

Being an important industrial and agricultural center in China, Heilongjiang province has been vigorously engaged in promoting its resources and goods. In the past five years, the northeastern province has been trying to reach new sources of investments, without which its economic future will be stagnating and left far behind. The local government has been exploring various avenues to achieve its economic rejuvenation and one of those, the “Jewish file” was grabbed by the provincial Academy of Social Sciences.

A study of the policy and decision-making process of the various provincial government departments that are charged with these tasks reveals a serious lack of insight into the problem and many misconceptions or misunderstandings about human traits.

These misconceptions and or misunderstandings have been translated into a distorted reality, thus creating a misrepresented picture of the course of action needed and making it difficult to achieve favorable results. Moreover, it is characterized by attaching misguided labels that are, on many occasions, based on ignorance, stereotypes, and bias.

The etymology (语源学) of "business" refers to the state of being, in the context of the individual as well as the community or society. In other words, to be busy is to be doing commercially viable and profitable work4, and it refers to the community as a whole, not just to one group within it. But in China, excellence in business is a trademark attached to all Jews.

Harbin, the capital city of Heilongjiang province, has been a home for the largest Jewish community in China for over half a century. Among the members of the Jewish community were some who engaged in different branches of business – local and international. Those few contributed to the economy of the city and laid the foundations for its growth. They were Jewish businesspersons who engaged in business – not "Jewish business", because there is no such concept to my knowledge.

The Jewish community in Shanghai was founded by several Jewish families who came there more than 200 years ago in order to expend their businesses. They were the exception because the growth of the Jewish community there was based on thousands of poor refugees who escaped the Japanese in Harbin and later the burning Europe.

The "Jewish business" biased phenomena has been manifested in a mental process that groups similar objectives, or people, into a stereotypical linkage of images and words5. Further more, since the enactment of the “opening up to the world” policy, China has been engaged in an endless festival of economics and business. In this festival, the Jews as a group are among the highly regarded guests of honor.

Some Cases in point

A recent article in the American based Washington Post investigated the "Sold on a Stereotype" phenomena.6 Ariana Eunjung Cha, a Chinese correspondent for the Post, asserted that "in China, a popular genre of self-help books purports to tell the secrets of making money 'the Jewish way."

Showcased in bookstores are stacks of books built on a stereotype: "The Eight Most Valuable Business Secrets of the Jewish Business", "The Legend of Jewish Wealth," "Jewish People and Business: The Bible of How to Live Their Lives," and "Jewish Entrepreneurial Experience and Business Wisdom," are among the most popular ones.

Making money “the Jewish way”? Cha asserts that “in the United States, where making broad generalizations about races, cultures or religions has become unacceptable in most circles, the titles of some of these books might make people cringe. Throughout history and around the world, even outwardly innocuous and broadly accepted characterizations of Jews have sometimes formed the basis for eventual campaigns of violent anti-Semitism.”

Audrie Ohana, who works at her Shanghai family's import-export company and attended China's prestigious Fudan University, says that these "Jewish" success books are very dangerous. What they say -- it's not true. In our community, it's not everybody that succeeds. We're like everyone else. Some are rich, but there are others that are very poor."7


Some construed the Jewish people as a valuable socio-economics and business resource

he books, despite their covers, focus on basic business genius that has little to do with religion or culture, and every book features one or more case studies of the success of the Lehman brothers, the Rothschilds and other Jewish "titans of industry and captains of finance," as one author put it. Some works incorrectly refer to J.P. Morgan (an influential Episcopalian leader) and John D. Rockefeller (a devout Baptist) as Jewish businessmen.8

According to Cha, “among this booming genre's most popular books is William Hampton's ‘Jewish Entrepreneurial Experience and Business Wisdom.’ It comes packaged in a red-and-gold cover, and a banner along the top brags that it was a "gold list" bestseller in the United States. Among Hampton's credentials, according to his biography: "Business Week editor," part of the "pioneer batch of Harvard DBAs," "professor in business strategy and philosophy" with "many years of experience in Jewish studies."

Cha and her research associate Ai Ghee Ong spoke with He Xiong Fe, a visiting professor in Nankai University's literature department. Prof. He estimated “that more than half of the books are fakes, written by people who are not familiar with Judaism or Jewish history and who have made up their qualifications. There are only a few books that have value," said He, who has lectured on such topics as "Why are Jewish people so smart?" and "The mystery of the Jews."

When asked for contact information for William Hampton, author of "Jewish Entrepreneurial Experience and Business Wisdom," a representative for the book's publisher, Harbin Press, said the company obtained the manuscript from a translator and had never met the author. Several days later, the publisher said she had trouble reaching the translator so she could not provide more details about the origin of the book.

A search of international ISBNs pulled up no hits for books by a William Hampton with a title similar to "Jewish Entrepreneurial Experience and Business Wisdom." Harvard Business School has no record of a William Hampton in the first class of its doctorate of business administration program. Officials at Business Week magazine said there was a former employee with that name… He publishes an automobile newsletter, but had never served as an editor.

William Hampton, who lives near Detroit, said he had no idea where the book came from. "I can confidently tell you that this is not something that I did," he said. "This would not be a topic I would be knowledgeable about in any way. It would be helpful to be Jewish, for one thing."9

These kinds of books that contribute stereotypes about Jews and their supposed cleverness and business prowess have given them an iconic status in the eyes of the Chinese public.

These “pop” publications, including those of the Christian New Testament under the cover of the “Holy Bible” and the popular “Stories of the Bible” with stories from the Old and New Testaments mixed together, have penetrated also the libraries of China’s academic institutions.


In China the secrets of Jewish wisdom and Jewish business are hot sales

n a 1998 essay “on stereotypes of Jewishness in China”10 Zhou Yun tries to trace the Chinese perception of the Jews. “In modern China, the term 'Jew' or 'Youtai', can be a symbol for money, deviousness and meanness; it can also represent poverty, trustworthiness and warm heartedness. It has religious as well as secular meanings. While it represents individualism, it also stands for a collective spirit. It symbolizes tradition, and can equally invoke modernity. One day the 'Jew' is a stateless slave, another day he is the dominant power in the world. The 'Jew' is nationalist and at the same time cosmopolitan. He can be a filthy capitalist or an ardent communist, a committed revolutionary or a spineless loser. In other words, anything which the Chinese aspire to is Jewish, and, at the same time, anything which they despise is also Jewish.”

Not all of the Jews have much money. As a matter of fact there are, and there always have been, gaps between the wealthy and the poor within the Jewish communities, the same as in any other community. In fact, impoverished Jews exist much like impoverished Chinese or any other group of people anywhere in the world.

Never the less, most Chinese people believe that Jews own the most of the world’s riches.

Baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu11 has said in his book Persian Letters that “there are Jews where there are riches”. The book has been translated into Chinese.

William Shakespeare’s plays are part of the Chinese students’ study curriculum. When they learn the “Merchant of Venice” most of them are being introduced to stereotypical commentaries by ill-informed teachers or popular internet sources.

Being fascinated by the term “Jew”, many Chinese look for sources that may reveal the secrets of the “Jewish wisdom”. They buy books such as the “Bible” or “Biblical Stories” with the hope that those will help them understand better the Christian phenomena to which they include the Jews. Although the books available in the Chinese stores carry on their cover graphic images of Moses or Abraham, they are popular versions of the Christian “New Testament” and have nothing to do with the Bible – the “Old Testament”, or the Jewish religion.

Among the books that one can purchase in today’s China are publications that promise to provide the readers with a better understanding of Jewishness. Those books “present” a large spectrum of subjects, among them Jewish laws, Jewish economics, business and money. These books are available as the Jewish knowledge part in all of China’s libraries, including those in the universities.

In many cases these books are being produced by publishing companies that follow popular trends with a hope to enlarge their bank accounts. The books, compiled boastingly with articles copied from unknown sources or written by obscured authors, proclaim that one may find an answer to any question he has about Judaism and Jewish power – wisdom or money.

Between 1978 and 2002 a total of 384 books on the subject of Western religion were published in China12. Most of the books were written by Western Christians, and the rest were translations done by Chinese. The Moses Mystery: The African Origins of the Jewish People, was the only book written by a Jewish person13. Peter S. Temes of the New York Times Book Review wrote on January 26, 1997 that “Most readers won't be able to make any connection between these arcana and their own experiences of the Bible. The scholarly audience is likely to reject ''The Moses Mystery'' for its poor method, while the general reading audience is not likely to make it beyond the first page of argumentative, obscure prose.” Never the less the book was translated to Chinese.

Between 2002 and 2007 China witnessed a surge in local publications on the subject of Western religion. We could not find a single translated book on Judaism or the Bible – Old Testament written by an authoritative Jewish or Israeli scholar.

“Judaism is not a recognized religion in China, but people here regard the Jews as highly intelligent people and want to learn from them,” say Dr. Pertti Sulevi Nikkila and his wife Dr. Aune Kaisa Maria Nikkila from the missionary Institute of Sino-Christian Studies Ltd. in Hong Kong. They were invited to lecture on "Christian Thoughts" in November 2007 in Heilongjiang University in Harbin. Both of them received their Th.D from the University of Helsinki in Finland. Their interests are mainly on Systematic Theology, Religion and Culture and Religious Education. The couple teaches the values as presented in the Christian “Holy Bible” and do not make a clear distinction between that and the Old Testament. In a lecture they gave on November 13, 2007 to students from the Religion Department at the university, they spoke about the position of man before “the lord” and about good and evil. “Bad and good are not for us to judge. Hitler and Mother Teresa or Gandhi are equal before the Lord and only he can judge them for being good or evil,” the missionaries said.

According to a report by an unidentified member of the State Council's Bureau of Religious Affairs, published in Beijing Review, Sept. 1-7, 1997, there were 18,040,000 Muslims and 14,022,000 Christians among them 4,004,000 Catholics and 10,018,000 Protestants. The number of missionaries and people who say they are Christian believers has grown dramatically since then.


The Talmud and the understanding of Jewish laws is one of the books written by Chinese scholars. It describes the relationship between people in many matters. The laws play a great role in the Jewish religious life. They tell people how to deal with everyday issues among them money, labor relations, and damages. However, these books misinterpret and misguide the ignorant or the uninformed reader.

A Chinese book written by Prof. Zhang Qianhong and titled 犹太人-犹太精神 Jews · Jewish Spirit14 presents the Talmud as a source of laws and rules regarding the Jewish dealings with matters of money for one’s own selfish and sole benefits. In the chapter titled “The Famous Spirit of Financing”15 the first quotation as a subtitle reads as follows:


“Money stops those who put a knife in your back, and the Bible shines like the sun and money sends out warmth.”

The author continues and says that “the Talmud teaches people to cherish money as well as cherish oneself”:


“One can not live without the heart, while the heart stops beating without the purse.”


“Money is a blessing, not a vice or a curse.”


“Those who have money live with worries, but those who have not, carry greater worries.” 16



A letter of invitation

December 15, 2006

Dear Sir or Madam:

The International Forum on Economic Cooperation between Harbin and the World’s Jews sponsored by Heilongjiang Provincial People’s Government and Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences will be held in Harbin on June 15, 2007. We take pleasure in inviting you to attend the Forum.

Your hotel accommodation and meals will be paid by us, but you will be responsible for your airfare.

If you have any paper or topics on which you would like to give talks, please inform us as soon as possible and the program is being finalized soon.

Please confirm your participation at your earliest convenience.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Professor Wei Qu

President of Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences

ograms and conferences on subjects such as “Bringing Jewish Business”, and “Uncovering the Jewish Wisdom”, are among those which are being conceived, debated, and implemented in governmental departments and academic institutions.

In 1999 Prof. Zhang Tiejiang, a Research Fellow at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences and the Assistant Director of its Jewish Center, wrote an essay titled ‘Suggestions for the Study of Harbin Jews to Quicken Heilongjiang Economic Development’.

“In December of that year, Prime Minister Li Peng went on a visit to Israel for the first time. Soon after that Zhang Tiejiang's essay was published by the Xinhua News Agency. And on April 7, 2000, the essay was sent to the related departments in the Central government, and then to the Provincial government. Mr. Song Fatang, then the Party Secretary of the province, sent a document to the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences. In the document he wrote “Comrade Qu Wei, please intensify the study of the history of Harbin Jews, in order to help expend our cooperative services”.17

“Zhang Tiejiang’s proposal of taking advantage of the Jewish asset in Harbin just coincided with the Government of Heilongjiang Province’s intention of developing. The experience gained in Shanghai stimulated the Government of Heilongjiang. Shanghai, which started the study of the history of Jews in 1988, made the most of Jewish special historical complex for the Jewish sites and distinguishing features of buildings and succeeded in attracting investments. As a result, room for Jewish Studies was set up in the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, and it was renamed as Center of Jewish Studies.

The reporters of this investigation found that the reports of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences to the government, always advised of integrating, packaging and promoting Jewish culture in Harbin only for investments. Meeting dignitaries, and calling on political leaders of the host countries, also had these to be a main point for a good use of the human resources for investments here.

In fact, the Academy’s Jewish Research Center has established the similar direction long before. Its central promotion site described it like this: ‘…attracting [Jewish] business investments as the tenet of our existence and purpose’...”18

The “International Forum on Economic Cooperation with World Jewry”19 held in Harbin in June 2007 is a good case study. The conference’s original title was “The International Forum on Economic Cooperation between Harbin and the World’s Jews - Bringing Jewish Business to Harbin”. It was organized and implemented by the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences to coincide with the Harbin International Trade Expo between June 14 and 17, 2007.

A calendar examination shows that the main activities of the conference fell on Friday and Saturday, excluding any observant Jew from active participation. The activities included “Viewing in the exhibition hall of “Harbin fair for trade and economic cooperation, enterprises hold trade talks, attend the introduction meeting of Northeastern Old Industrial Base, and see the theatrical performance of Harbin fair for trade and economic cooperation”.

Of the 83 participants, 16 were Israelis among them the Israeli ambassador and his wife, a delegation of five local politicians from the Givataim municipality (a twin city to Harbin), the mayor and deputy mayor of Amikam Regional Council, three persons representing the Israel-China Friendship Association, two businessmen, one of Ehud Olmert’s brothers who read a congratulatory letter of the Israeli Premier, and one professor from the faculty of the School of Western Studies at Heilongjiang University. There were nine guests representing the Jewish community Center in Birobijian, the “Jewish autonomous region of Russia”. Three Americans, among them a history professor. Six guests from Hungary, all dentists, representing the Hungarian and Austrian Jewish Federations. The rest were Chinese, among them 15 from the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, a former ambassador of China to Israel, academicians from several universities in China, and officials representing the Heilongjiang and Harbin governments. There was one Chinese businessman who came from Beijing to promote his travel agency.

But according to the official printed program, most of the foreign guests, including the Israelis, were enterpenures.20

In his paper presented at the opening ceremony of the Forum, Harbin Mayor, Mr. Zhang Xiaolian, explained the important task of bringing Jewish investments to the city and the province. “The most memorable outstanding Jewish figures, for instance, Carl Marx, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Edmund Husserl, John Rockefeller... the admirable entrepreneurial spirit and extraordinary wisdom of the industrious... Jewish nation has won them the reputation of ‘world’s No. 1 merchant’ with their unique business skills and large number of successful entrepreneurs over the world... In today’s world there is a classic appraisal of the Jewish wealth, ‘the world’s money is in the pockets of Americans, and the Americans’ money is in the pockets of the Jews’. This is the highest acclaim and praise to the Jewish wisdom... We will be more supportive, more open-minded and more pragmatic, and work together with you, for a brighter tomorrow...”21

The Business of Bringing

Jewish Business”

Jewish entrepreneurs in China say they are bombarded with invitations to give seminars on how to make money "the Jewish way."22

People in China may be fascinated by Jews because they feel both cultures share a strong entrepreneurial spirit. But, in fact, most Jewish people place higher value on superb education rather than on business.

"Jews are rich, powerful, rich, and shrewd. They know the secret of success in banking, trade and industry. And they know the key to gaining influence in the US in general and in the White House in particular."23

These shared Chinese characterizations of Jews might sound like anti-Semitism, and many Jews object to it. But to sociologist Shalom Salomon Wald it is not. “It's actually a statement, he says, of the high regard in which China holds the Jewish people: These are the very traits that endear the Jews to the Chinese.”24

Never the less, this kind of “high regard to the Jewish people” is provocative and extremely dangerous, especially in a society that develops and promotes nationalism and race to its utmost.

Business has nothing to do with Judaism, and those who associate the two and equate them as inseparable parts will not bare their desired fruits.

Entrepreneurs will come to China only if it offers attractive incentives for doing business here. The same applies to Harbin. It has nothing to do with being Jewish or with the history of the city.

To achieve successful results the province should promote its resources and goods both domestically and abroad in a scientific and progressive way. Its course should be based on what resources, goods, and special appeals the province has. It should match these with countries around the world that may be in need of such resources or, with foreign enterprises that can find these very attractive and beneficial to their business goals.25

There are some examples of successful Israeli or Jewish owned companies that operate in China. Their success is due to their ability to maneuver through the complexity of rules, regulations and the huge bureaucracy.

But, many Israeli companies that came to China failed. They thought China was the new Promised Land but found it was not as simple as they anticipated, and could not adapt to the Chinese way of conducting business, to the cultural differences, nor could understand the markets and the potential partners here.26

The Economic and Trade Attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Beijing says that too many of the Israeli and Jewish people who have come to China looking for golden business opportunities did not succeed because they are not good in doing business here, they are arrogant and do not understand or except cultural differences. What usually happens, the attaché says, is that they return home disappointed and burn the connections to the ground.

Such is the case with many other representatives of businesses from around the world. One does not have to be Jewish in order to succeed or fail.

Now after China has joint the WTO, the country adheres to global standards. This makes it relatively easier to all foreign multinational companies to conduct business here.

A recent study done by the McKenzie company concludes that by 2025 China will have more than 270 million middle-class consumers, thus becoming the third largest consuming market in the world, with private consumption of 2.3 trillion dollars. China will be by then a huge market for international enterprises.27

Many in China, especially the younger generations, believe that Jews own most of the international enterprises.

The concept of Jews being the money dominant power of the world came into being in China through missionaries who introduced these and the other stereotypes into the Chinese minds. The on going study on the subject by the Sino-Israel Research Center at Heilongjiang University School of Western Studies shows that ill informed contemporary scholars, as well as the rise in publication of “Jewish success” books, have contributed to the deepening belief in such stereotypes.

Some of the scholars believe that the Jews had come to China through both the Silk Road and by way of the sea during the 7th and 8th centuries. The main reason cited for their travels to China was for trade and for avoiding discrimination and persecutions in the lands they lived in.

From these and other occasional publications one can not conclude that the Jews, as a group, possessed particular business skills that made them rise above any other group of people. As was the case with many of the travelers who reached the Chinese territories, some were merchants, but many others traveled for various reasons among them explorations of peaceful environments to settle in.

The study shows also that in modern times ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ forgeries are in part responsible for Chinese beliefs and perception of the characteristics of the Jews. Those forgeries were disseminated here first by the “White” Russian army during its quest to annex Manchuria into Czarist Russia’s empire, then by the “Reds”, and later, in the 1900s, by the Japanese and the representatives of Nazi Germany in China.

No new business will come to China because of historical, emotional or nostalgic attachments. Foreign enterprises, among them enterprises owned by Jews, will arrive here because of the incentives that will be offered in order to generate profits. This is the name of the economic game.

China should promote aggressively its resources and progressive enterprises. Harbin will be an attractive business destination for foreign enterprises because of its resources and incentives and the ability of any new business to be profitable here regardless of who owns it – Christians, Jews, Muslims or atheists. 

References and Notes

  1. Tokayer, Marvin and Swartz, Mary, The Fugu Plan; The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews During World War II, Gefen Publishing House, Jerusalem Israel 2004

  2. The International Forum on Economic Cooperation with World Jews, organized and hosted by the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, Harbin June 2007

  3. Harvey, Campbell R., Hypertextual Finance Glossary, 2001

  4. Wright, Ray, Raynet Business & Marketing Glossary, 2000

  5. Wright, Ray, Raynet Business & Marketing Glossary, 2001

  6. Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post, February 7, 2007

  7. Ibid

  8. Ibid

  9. Ibid

  10. Zhou Yun, Youtai: The mythical Jew, China In Focus Magazine, Issue No. 4, Spring 1998

  11. Charles Louis de Secondat (1689-1755), French political philosopher and writer – Persian Letters, 1721, Chinese popular version.

  12. A survey of books on Christianity Published in China from 1978 to 2002. The survey was conducted by China Internet Information Center. October 11, 2002. Analysis of the titles, authors and numbers was done by Prof. Dan Ben-Canaan with two of his research assistants Liu Haibo and Long Min at the Sino-Israel Research and Study Center at Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies. September-October 2007.

  13. Greenberg, Gary, The Moses Mystery: The African Origins of the Jewish People, translated by Zhu Dongli and Qin xiqing, Guangming Daily Press, January 2001

The New York Times Book Review - January 26, 1997, By Peter S. Temes - In ''The Moses Mystery,'' Gary Greenberg, a trial attorney with the Legal Aid Society in New York, holds aloft scattered fragments of archeological findings, along with flat-footed bits of textual analysis, to argue that the Jewish people originated in Africa. He seems to take to heart any bit of evidence supporting his broad thesis, no matter how trivial. He also refers to a longer, unpublished manuscript that presumably holds the answers to many of the questions this book raises but does not satisfy. However, even if his data were expertly handled and convincing, few people would care. Mr. Greenberg's argument is, finally, a quibble, though it pretends to be more. The broad significance of the Bible is not as a detailed historical record, but as an embodiment of faith -- or faiths. Mr. Greenberg seems to delight in a game of scholarly ''gotcha,'' proving that individual biblical characters couldn't possibly have been in a given place on a given day in an early century, thus overthrowing some obscure thesis hatched by other (generally more credible) scholars. Most readers won't be able to make any connection between these arcana and their own experiences of the Bible. The scholarly audience is likely to reject ''The Moses Mystery'' for its poor method, while the general reading audience is not likely to make it beyond the first page of argumentative, obscure prose.

  1. Zhang Qianhong Jews · Jewish Spirit, China Literary Federation Publishing House, October 1999. ISBN 7-5059-3458-9/I.2636

Prof. Zhang Qianhong is the Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the College of History and Culture, Henan University, Kaifeng City, China.

Notes: The institute was established in March 2002 at Henan University at Kaifeng, Henan Province, China. At the opening ceremony, the university vice-president, Li Xiaojian, was joined by Mr. Len Hew (Canada), Prof. Zhang Qianhong and Prof. Liang Gong. Mr. Hew was recognized for his efforts and his contribution that led to the founding of the Institute. Prof. Zhang Qianhong was appointed director of the Institute.

Several scholars and representatives of the Kaifeng Jewish descendants held a discussion on the subject of "Jewish Studies in China." In attendance were Mr. Hew, Prof. Zhang Qianhong, Prof. Liang Gong, Dr. Lu Shirong, and Prof. Wei Qianzhi. At the meeting, Mr. Hew pledged to offer two scholarships each year, together with the necessary finances, to promote interest in Jewish studies among the population of university students.

  1. Ibid, p. 99

  2. Ibid, p. 104

  3. Su Ling, Southern Metropolis Magazine, Guangzhou April 2007, An investigative article on the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, p. A18

  4. Ibid, pp. A19 to A26

  5. The June 2007 Harbin “International Forum on Economic Cooperation with World Jewry” was organized by the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences and its “Jewish Research Center”, in cooperation with the Heilongjiang Provincial government, the Harbin City government and the government of the city’s Daoli District.

  6. From the official program of the June 2007 “International Forum on Economic Cooperation with World Jewry”.

  7. Mr. Zhang Xiaolian, Harbin Mayor, Strengthen Exchange and Collaboration for a Brighter Future – Hand in Hand. Documents Collection of International Forum on Economic Cooperation with World Jews, Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, Harbin, China 2007

  8. Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post, February 7, 2007

  9. Hilary Leila Krieger, The Chinese and Anti-Semitism, The Jerusalem Post, February 3, 2005

  10. Note: "The Chinese are nauseatingly obsessed with making it, with success," says Wald, who recently authored a strategy paper titled "China and the Jewish People" for the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, a think tank affiliated with the Jewish Agency and headed by former US diplomat Dennis Ross. For the Chinese, he explains, the Jews are the model of success."

  11. Prof. Ben-Canaan, Dan; An Outlined Blueprint Plan on International Trade, Business, Propaganda and Communication strategy, Agriculture and Tourism Development for Heilongjiang Province. November 2005

  12. Ora Koren, The Marker, March 26, 2007

  13. Richard Hunter, The Genes of the Chinese Consumer, The Marker, March 26, 2007


MIZRACH – Journal of Jewish Studies in the Pacific Regions

Prof. Dan Ben-Canaan - The Business of Stereotyping Business

The Impact of Globalization and the Internet

on English Language Teaching and Learning

By Professor Wu, Li and Professor Ben-Canaan, Dan

Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies, Harbin, May 2006


The spread of English as an international language and the emergence of the Internet as a fast communication channel that has no boundaries, are mutually enforcing trends in an age of globalization. Since its conception, the Internet has, so it seems, revolutionize the ways of human communication as well as English language learning in a global context. Learners of English language today need a new set of critical and interpretive skills. Teachers of ESOL therefore, need to understand how the Internet is revolutionizing English language learning. This paper attempts to discuss the impact of the Internet on English language learning as well as the need for new frameworks for teaching English language in computer mediated contexts.

Key Words: globalization; the Internet; English language learning and teaching

I. Introduction

The last few decades have seen a growth in the role of the English language around the world as the lingua franca for economic, scientific, and political exchange. The term lingua franca means ‘any language used for communication between groups who have no other language in common’ (Matthews, 2000:209). According to Crystal (1997), 85% of the world's international organizations use English as their official language in transnational communication. About 85% of the world’s important film productions and markets use English as well, and 90% of the published academic articles in several academic fields, such as linguistics, are written in English. In many cases, the increased growth in the use of the English language can be attributed to educational, economic, or cultural globalization.

Giddens (2000) defined globalization as a separation of space and time, emphasizing that with instantaneous communications, knowledge, and culture could be shared around the world simultaneously. Globalization has been viewed primarily as an economic phenomenon, involving the increasing interaction, or integration of national economic systems through the growth in international trade, investment, and capital flow. However, the definition has expended to include also cross-border social, cultural, political, and technological exchanges between nations and in particular, between people.

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is one of the features of globalization and as a result, the Internet has become an important linguistic medium. It has been added to every aspect of human life, including the learning of languages. McLuhan (1962) even coined the term ‘global village’ in the 1960s of the last century to express his belief that electronic communication would unite the world because "the medium is the message". Warschauer and Healey (1998:63) also stated that:

It is the rise of computer-mediated communication and the Internet, more than anything else, which has reshaped the uses of computers for language learning at the end of the 20th century. With the advent of the Internet, the computer—both in society and in the classroom—has been transformed from a tool for information processing and display to a tool for information processing and communication. For the first time, learners of a language can now communicate inexpensively and quickly with other learners of speakers of the target language all over the world.

The Internet has also an ever growing impact on the lexical, phonetic, syntactic standards of language, and the great importance that most teachers place, or should put, on the use of ‘correct’ language. For example, this global technology has led to the evolution of an abbreviated English language that emerged in chat groups and in what is referred to as the virtual world. Examples for this feature include, 2day (today), cu (see you), b4 (before), RUOK? (Are you OK?), c%l (cool), to mention but a few. Capital letters are also given syllabic values, as in thN (then), nEd (need) in Internet communications. In one creation such as ru2cnmel8r? (Are you two seeing me later?), less than half the characters used in the traditional sentence formation are used. It seems that sentence length will tend to be short, and that certain types of complex structures (relative clauses, for instance) will be avoided in Internet communication. In everyday conversation, terms from the computer technology are given a new application among people who want their talk to have a "cool" tone (In slang - great, terrific). Such examples include:

It's my turn to download now (I’ve heard all your gossip, now hear mine)

She's multitasking (She is doing two things at once)

E you later (farewell—see you later)

The Internet seems to have important implications for linguistics or language learning. In this context, this paper explores the impact of the Internet on today's teaching and learning of the English language.

II. The Internet: Prescriptive/Descriptive Approaches to Learning

Globalization is a relatively recent term used to describe the changes in societies and the world economy that result from dramatically increased international trade and cultural exchange. It was first used in economics to describe the increase of trade and investing due to the falling of barriers and the interdependence of countries. In specifically economic contexts, it is often understood to refer almost exclusively to the effects of trade, particularly trade liberalization or "free trade". However, this term as a concept is being use now in a wider way to describe all aspects of global human existence – social, cultural, educational and political. It is a process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world.

Today's definition of the term comprise of factors that have contributed to globalization including increasingly sophisticated communications (in all levels), transportation technologies and services, mass migration and the movement of peoples and languages. It comes to define a level of economic, social and cultural activities that have outgrown national borders and markets through either industrial combinations and commercial groupings that cross national frontiers, international agreements that reduce the cost of doing business in foreign countries, or cultural influences of certain societies on others. Globalization offers huge potential profits to companies and nations but has been complicated by widely differing expectations, standards of living, cultures and values, and legal systems as well as unexpected global cause-and-effect linkages.

Globalization is believed by some to lead to an end of a cultural diversity as it imposes sameness in the countries of the world; where everyone in the world is likely to drink Coca-Cola, eat American junk food, and watch American movies. Similarly, te know that t its impact on the use of English language will be analyzed/discussed.economic or cultural globalization. 11111111here has been a widespread belief that the Internet is bad for the future of many languages and enables rich (or technology able) countries to take monopoly over the content generated on the Internet and that it becomes a form of cultural and linguistic imperialism in which western values dominate. In this scenario, it was also argued that the Internet must evolve its own principles and standards in order to grow and maintain as a newly emerging linguistic medium (Crystal, 2001).

Traditionally, the approaches used to study languages have been prescriptive and descriptive (Fromkin et. al., 2004). Prescriptivism represents the view that one variety of language has an inherently higher value than others, and that this variety of language ought to be imposed on the whole of the speech community. It usually prefers a version of the standard written language, which most closely reflects the literary style of great classics in a language. Those who speak or write in a standardized variety are termed to be using the language ‘correctly’; those who do not are termed to be using it ‘incorrectly’. An example for correct usage of grammar in English is ‘Never begin a sentence with an and’. An example for spelling is that ‘There must always be an ae in encyclopaedia’, etc. The prescriptive approach ignores the realities of everyday usages of language, where most people do begin sentences with an and, and do not put the a in the spelling of encyclopedia.

The descriptive approach, by contrast, does not condemn usages that do not follow the standardized rules of language set by linguistics. Rather, it describes the variations in usage found within a language, and explains the reasons for variations in usages. The American usage favors the spelling ‘encyclopedia’, whereas, traditional British usage favors the spelling ‘encyclopaedia’. Due to the dominant influence of the USA on the UK during the twentieth century, the American spelling was increasingly accepted and found in British publications. Descriptivists do not like the narrow-minded intolerance and misinformed purism of prescriptivists.

Correspondingly, prescriptivists, do not like the all-inclusiveness and egalitarian philosophy of descriptivists, which they interpret as a lack of responsibility towards what is best in a language (Crystal, 2001). Even after 250 years, the controversy over these linguistic approaches remains with the arguments being passed on by each generation, and refueled by the new (technological) developments within societies, such as broadcasting and the Internet. What should be of interest to either teachers or learners, in the fast-developing Internet literature, is to see the way writers are struggling to maintain a bent which is naturally descriptive and egalitarian in character while recognizing a prescriptive argument to impose regularity and consistency on a world which otherwise might spiral out of control (Crystal, 2001).

For example, according to our anecdotal evidence, short or instant messages such as good nite (good night), so wot (so what), @home (at home), etc. were commonly-used daily expressions in England in 2003. In China, there also appeared some new expressions from a popular TV program Super Girls in 2005, such as PK (play kill), fensi (fans), or cuall (see you all), gud4u (good for you), etc.

How can anyone say that such short or instant messages are not acceptable or correct in at least colloquial English and Chinese?

From the above discussion, it appears that in the 21st century, speakers of English may increasingly diverge from what they have been taught is correct usage of language, in order to make themselves understood by people from around the world. Thus, the Internet is likely to alter the standardized usage of English in a worldwide context.

III. The Internet and English Literacy

According to a study conducted by the American Management Association International (AMAI) in 1998, e-mail was taking over the place of face-to-face and telephone communication as a means of business communication. It has also been found to be popular among students with more than 95% of university students in the United States using the Web to conduct research and stay in touch with friends (Diederich, 1998).

The U.S. has been a world leader in Internet use, and other industrialized countries are also reported to be using it widely, with the fastest growth on the Internet occurring in emerging economies of Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. According to one estimate, China will have more Internet users than the U.S. by the year 2010 (NUA Internet Surveys, 1999).

When the Internet first emerged, the early tendency among the educators of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) was to see how it could be employed as a tool in teaching English (Warschauer, 1995). Computer was then seen as an optional or supplementary tool, among several others, used for teaching English. Today, however, the significance of information technology for teaching or learning is widely acknowledged. To put it simply, information technology has been termed as the medium of a new, and fourth revolution in human communication and cognition, matched in significance only by the prior three revolutions of language, writing, and print (Harnad, 1991). Information technology will impact on how people interact, access information, and share information akin to the Bi Sheng revolution about 900 years ago in ancient China (Song Dynasty). This impact will also occur much more quickly than anticipated.

The development of modern information technology is occurring simultaneously with the development of informationalism and globalization. Thus, it ensures a quicker impact on literacy and communication practices.

The Internet appears to revolutionize the ways of human communication and language learning, as languages are being acquired and communication continues to occur between people. In this context, it appears that learners of English need a new set of literacy skills for English language acquisition. these are discussed in detail under the two broad categories of reading and writing below:


As a result of the IT (Information Technology) revolution, there is a shift in reading practices from the (paper) page to the screen (Reinking, 1998; Snyder, 1998). This shift is more likely to occur especially among young people who grow up with computers (Tapscott, 1998). It will necessitate different psycholinguistic processes related to decoding information from a screen instead of a page, especially when the screen will be decoding words for the reader at the click of a mouse. It will also change how we as educators teach things like skimming, scanning, and guessing words from a context (Anderson-Inman & Horney, 1998; McKenna, 1998). It will also force educators to think more about how texts combine together with graphics, images, and audio-visual content to communicate a message (Bolter, 1998; Kress, 1999; Lemke, 1998).

Reading is not just a psycholinguistic act of decoding letters and words. Rather, it is a social practice that takes place in particular sociocultural contexts (de Castell & Luke, 1986; Gee, 1996). In this sense the shift of reading from the (paper) page to the screen, and the new socioeconomic circumstances in which it takes place, has an even greater impact on language learning. Reading from the screen is less a passive act of decoding a message from a single authoritative author and more a self-conscious act of accumulating or creating knowledge from a variety of sources (Bolter, 1991; Landow, 1992). Central principals to the ability to read from the screen include the following skills (Shetzer & Warschauer, 2000):

  • Finding the information to read in the first place through Internet searches, etc.

  • Rapidly evaluating the source, credibility, and timeliness of information once it has been located;

  • Rapidly making navigational decisions as to whether to read the current page of information, pursue links internal or external to the page, or revert back to further searching;

  • Making on-the-spot decisions about ways to save or catalogue part of the information on the page or the complete page and

  • Organizing and keeping track of electronic information that has been saved.

These may seem like mysterious skills for a class of beginning English learners who are still trying to figure out how to decode simple words. But as English expands in the 21st century as a language of international communication, the number of learners who master basic English skills will grow. An increasing number of learners throughout the world will find themselves in the situation of secondary students in many English-speaking countries today, where the challenge is not so much to achieve basic decoding skills but rather to use English for the types of complex global communication, as well as mastering an ability to find and use ever growing linked resources.

None of these types of skills are completely new of course. The need for critical, active, and interpretive reading has been an important part of print literacy before. Nevertheless, the vast amount of information available on the Internet and its hyper-textual organization have changed the nature of reading occurring in the age of print, making these kinds of critical reading skills all highly essential for English language learning.


Similar to the changes learners need to make in their reading practices, changes are expected to be made in writing practices as well in pedagogical contexts involving the Internet (Bolter, 1996; Faigley, 1997). In much of the world, writing has been given little emphasis in English language courses, and if emphasized at all, is seen as synonymous with the putting on paper of grammatically correct sentences (Raimes, 1991). And indeed, this was sufficient for most learners’ needs prior to the information revolution of the 1970s. However, the rise of informationalism, and the widespread use of computers and the Internet, dramatically raised the profile of writing and the need for effective written communication (American Management Association International, 1998). The new types of writing skills which are required in the context of the Internet include:

  • Development of shared skills for abstraction of words, sentences and paragraphs so that they may become mind-vivid - critical interpreters, and put in logical context and order (B-CD);

  • Integrating texts, graphics, and audio-visual material into a multimedia presentation;

  • Writing effectively in hypertext genres;

  • Using internal and external links to communicate a message well;

  • Writing for a particular audience when the audience are comprised of unknown readers on the World Wide Web and

  • Using effective pragmatic strategies in various circumstances of computer-mediated communication (including one-to-one and discussion lists e-mail, and various forms of synchronous real-time communication, Shetzer & Warschauer, 2000).

The shifts in reading and writing practices necessitate the need for new curriculum frameworks/approaches for teaching of English in Internet medium. The following section briefly explores the significance of multiliteracies (multi-literacy) as a framework for the teaching of English in an era of fast growing, fast changing information technology dominance.

IV. The Internet and English Pedagogy: New Curriculum Approaches and Practices

The spread of the English language and the emergence of new technological literacy are mutually enforcing new trends of the global informational economy. In response, it is believed that some common approaches should be adopted.

A key pedagogical concept that answers, replies, or react to them (trends of…) is ‘multiliteracies’. It has been put forth by a group of specialists in education, critical literacy, and discourse analysis (New London Group, 1996; Cope & Kalantzis, 2000).

The multiliteracies concept recognizes the inadequacy of educational approaches, which limit themselves to ‘page-bound, official, standard forms of the national language’ (New London Group, 1996, p. 61), instead, it suggests that students should learn to negotiate a multiplicity of media and discourses. Any pedagogical approach that can meet this challenge (multiplicity of…) should include the following such elements, which are discussed in more depth by the New London Group (1996). Among them are:

  • Immersion in situated practice: Practice in authentic communicative situations is required for students to learn how to collaborate with partners, negotiate complex points, and critically evaluate information as it applies to particular meaningful contexts. At the same time, such authentic situations can give students the opportunity to develop new technological literacies in meaningful contexts;

  • Overt instruction: The kinds of sophisticated communication skills required in the 21st century will seldom develop through practice alone. Students need the opportunity to step back under the guidance of a teacher to critically analyze the content, coherence, organization, pragmatics, syntax, and lexis of communication (which is necessary, for example, in the analysis and critique of texts, and other media forms. [B-CD]);

  • Critical framing: Effective cross-cultural communication and collaboration, including making effective use of information found in online networks, necessitates a high degree of critical interpretation. The instructor’s overt role thus should extend beyond narrow language items to also help students learn to critically interpret information and communication in a given social context and

  • Transformed practice: Transformed practice allows students to improve their communication skills by raising their practice to new levels based on prior practice, instruction, and critical framing. This involves working toward higher-quality outcomes within particular contexts and also to transfer what has been learned for application in new social and cultural contexts.

Such a framework goes far beyond the (traditional) linguistic syllabi that are most common today, based on collections of syntactic or functional items. It also goes far beyond the notion of task-based learning, at least when task-based learning is interpreted as consisting of a progression of narrow tasks designed principally to assist learners in grasping particular grammatical forms. Akin to the multiliteracies framework, project-based learning is a new pedagogical tool that would be useful in English teaching/learning contexts (Stoller, 1997). Projects themselves may include many individual tasks, but the umbrella of the project allows opportunities to criticize and transform their practice in ways that individual tasks do not.

Projects can take many forms and should be based mostly on students’ backgrounds, needs, and interests. When possible, they may involve electronic communication and collaboration to increase students’ online literacy skills. They may also provide students with opportunities to deal with cultural and identity issues emerging in the new global era. These might include long-distance exchange projects in which students debate and discuss issues related to cultural identity (Kern, 1996), service learning projects in which students use their knowledge of English and technology to assist their local communities (Warschauer & Cook, 1999), or the creation and publishing of multimedia projects in which students collaboratively experiment with new genres (Sokolik, 1999).

Project-based work of this type of course will not be suitable in all educational contexts. Holliday (1992; 1994) has written expressively about the mismatch between the pedagogical values of ‘BANA’ educators (from British, Australasian, or North American settings, often working with highly motivated adult learners in small classes) and the actual contexts of ‘TESEP’ (in tertiary, secondary, and primary) English teaching in the rest of the world, which frequently feature poorly motivated students in large classes. Most BANA TESOL programs favor student-centered group work and ‘learning festivals’ (p. 36), whereas most TESEP institutions value educators with strong disciplinary knowledge (e.g., of linguistics or literature), firm control of the classroom, and the ability to deliver captivating lectures (‘teaching spectacles’, p. 36).

E-mail, for instance, is a convenient medium which gives students the experience of authentic writing tasks, in relation to fellow students, teachers, and native speaker contacts (Kelm 1995, Tella 1992). It is now widely incorporated into English language teaching—in those parts of the world where Internet access is routine—for a broad range of purposes. Additional textual and graphic material can be sent through the use of attachments. This is a useful and feasible tool that can be included in teaching English in Chinese universities where many of the college students enrolled may have an access to the Internet. It also enables students who know some English to make a pen-friend (a native English speaker), and to exchange emails on a regular basis. The usage of 'smileys' is also very common among—and popular with the Chinese youth and this could be used, with as many variations as needed, as a pedagogical tool in teaching English in Chinese universities.

Chat groups are other means to teaching English to ESOL. Crystal (2001) identified two types of chat group interaction—asynchronous (delayed-time) situation and synchronous (real-time) situation, both of which can be used in English language teaching.

Asynchronous situation, such as mailing lists and newsgroups, have facilitated discussion of issues, student-student contact, and teacher-student interaction which soon takes on the characteristics of a virtual classroom. But synchronous interaction is also being used, both as a straightforward chat group and as a virtual world.

The Web can put learners in contact with up-to-date information about the English language, especially through the use of online dictionaries, usage guide, etc. though at present these are in limited supply due to access fees and copyright. Websites can provide a great variety of materials attractively packaged, such as newspaper articles, exercises, quizzes, and self-assessments, etc.

The use of the Internet in English-language teaching may be in its early stages, but it is going to grow continuously. In this regard, Eastment (1999) suggests, that teachers need to learn search-engine skills, ways of evaluating Web pages, techniques for manipulating and creating their own Web materials, and methods of integrating Web activities with the rest of their language teaching. We suggest that this should be a basic package among tools given to teachers in all universities.

VI. Conclusions

With the rapid changes brought about by globalization and technological development, teachers of ESOL need to understand that they are entering, or have already entered the biggest language/linguistic revolution ever. Many people have learned to meet the demands of the new Internet conditions, such as e-mails, chat groups, Web pages, etc. The e-prefix must have been used in hundreds of expressions of people on a daily basis. The Oxford Dictionary of New Words (Knowles, 1997) had already noted e-text, e-cash, e-books, e-conferences, e-voting, e-loan, e-newsletters, e-cards, e-shop, etc.

However, it is impossible to know how many of these e-expressions which originated with the Internet will remain in long-term use in the English language. We can only recognize and describe language change once it has occurred.

Linguists have begun to investigate the linguistic properties of the so-called ‘electronic revolution’. Whether the way in which the English language is being used on the Internet is so different from previous linguistic behavior, and should it be described as revolutionary.

As Paolillo (1999: 1) puts it, in his introduction to a paper on the virtual speech community: ‘If we are to understand truly how the Internet might shape our language, then it is essential that we seek to understand how different varieties of language are used on the Internet.’

Eastment (1999) estimated that there were 1,000 ELT (English Language Teaching) sites devoted to language learning activities, resources, and materials (on the Internet). From his survey on English-language teaching (ELT) in relation to the Internet, Eastment (1999:1) notes that ‘no doubt that the Internet…will eventually transform the way that the teaching and learning of English, and the business of ELT is conducted’ (In the seven years that have passed since then, the number of ELT sites has grown dramatically).

The continuing changes in the spread, reception, interaction, sharing, and understanding of global information have altered the process of human and technological communication. It has created a necessity for linguists, especially language teachers, to fully understand the factors and their Internet influence on the way the English language should now be taught.

Therefore, there is an immediate need to clarify whether or not the Internet is a communication and a linguistic revolution that alter linguistic behavior. And, would the Internet transform the way in which teaching and learning of English, and the business of ELT should be conducted.


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The Impact of Globalization and the Internet on English Language Teaching and Learning












姓名:丹 · -卡南











First author

Name: Wu, Li

Workplace: Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies

Academic Title: Associate Professor

Contact details

Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies, English Department

No. 74 Xuefu Road, Nangang District, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, P. R. China 150080

Home Tel: 0451-86609398 Mobile: 13936627769


Personal Profile

Wu Li graduated from Heilongjiang University's English Department, receiving her BA degree in July 1988. She stayed on as English teacher at the University. She received her MA degree in July 1999, from Heilongjiang University's English Department.

In 2000, she was promoted to a position of Associate Professor. Prof. Wu obtained a grant from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) of Education Commission, and held a post of Visiting Scholar at the University of Nottingham, UK, School of English Studies from January 2003 to January 2004.

Prof. Wu has edited five books and published fifteen articles in academic journals such as Foreign Languages Research, English Teaching in China, and Jiangsu Foreign Languages Research. She has obtained eight teaching and academic achievements awards.

Currently Prof. Wu is working on three-funded research projects (Funding bodies include the Heilongjiang Education Commission and Heilongjiang University). Her courses and lectures focus mainly on subjects such as An Introduction to Linguisticsand A Survey of English-speaking Countries, both designed for English major students.

Prof. Wu's research interests are in the fields of general linguistics, cognitive linguistics, and applied linguistics. She also contributes to the development and design of a CAI courseware of A Survey of Great Britain.


姓名:丹 · -卡南









Second Author

Name: Ben-Canaan, Dan

Workplace: Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies, English Department

Academic title: Professor

Contact details

Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies, English Department

No. 74 Xuefu Road, Nangang District, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, P. R. China 150080

Office Telephone: 045186608652 * Mobile: 13845184401


Personal Profile

Prof. Ben-Canaan, Dan has been with the English Department at Heilongjiang University’s School of Western Studies since 2002, where he serves as Professor of Creative Writing, Text Critique and Analysis, Journalism and Public and Social Media Studies. He holds a position of Hon. Research Fellow at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, and serves as the Senior Editor of the Heilongjiang Television China English News Service, and an institutional advisor.

Prof. Ben-Canaan holds Bachelor and Master Degrees in Mass Communication from the City University of New York at Hunter College USA; Advance studies Ph.D. degree in Information and Political Propaganda from the American University in Washington D.C. USA; Professional Diploma from the R.C.A Institutes, New York, USA in Television Directing and Production; And a Journalism Diploma from the Tel Aviv School of Journalism, Israel.

Prof. Ben-Canaan specializes in text criticism and analysis, the applications of creative writing, mass communication, and journalism, as well as in advanced information theories. Before joining the faculty of the English Department at the Heilongjiang University he served, among other things, as a media specialist, lecturer and researcher, and as journalist specializing in East-Asian affairs, human, social, and political agendas. He was the Press secretary and Spokesman of the Council of Local Governments and the municipal lobby of the Israeli Parliament for almost ten years.

Among civic and academic accomplishments awards are The International Lions Organization 1987 Civic Participation Award; The Israel Journalists & Editors Association's 1989 Best Public Campaign Award; 1998 Best Interview Series Award for magazines on the issue of the Labor High Court; 2004 best news programs – HLJTV China, English News, Outstanding Teaching Contribution Award – Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies; Outstanding Teaching Contribution Award – Heilongjiang University, Literature and Communication College.

Some Publications

Nostalgia vs. Historical Reality. Paper for the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, "International Forum on the History and Culture of Harbin Jews". China 2006

The Jewish People as the Classic Diaspora: A Concise Historical and Political View. Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, China 2003

Political Communication - Guide for Political Candidates Strategy Publications 1990, Israel

Changing Media – Changing Times. IAPP Publications 1992, Israel

A Diary of the 20th Century - The Story of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. IFHUJ Publications 2000, Israel

A Man of All Seasons - General Yohai Ben-Nun. IFHUJ Publications 2002, Israel

The Jews in Harbin – A Pictorial History. English & Hebrew versions - HAOSS 2003/2006, China

A New Dawn. Documentary film for HLJTV – Harbin 2003, China

Journalism & writing. 13 one-hour weekly Radio Programs, Harbin 2003, China

The Jews in Harbin. Website. Northeast Network 2004, China

Mama, China, and Me. HLJTV documentary English writing and narration. China 2004

Where Are You Mom. HLJTV documentary. English version. China 2005

Phoenix Mountain. HLJTV documentary. English version

Waitress. Documentary. Script and direction. Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies. Literary Images Seminar. 2006, China

In Progress

Globalizing China's News. A Comprehensive Guide to English News Writing, Editing and Reporting for Chinese students. Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies. China 2006

China My Darling. Novel

The Impact of Globalization and the Internet on

English Language Teaching and Learning



The spread of English as an international language and the emergence of the Internet as a fast communication channel that has no boundaries, are mutually enforcing trends in an age of globalization. Since its conception, the Internet has, so it seems, revolutionize the ways of human communication as well as English language learning in a global context. Learners of English language today need a new set of critical and interpretive skills. Teachers of ESOL therefore, need to understand how the Internet is revolutionizing English language learning. This paper attempts to discuss the impact of the Internet on English language learning as well as the need for new frameworks for teaching English language in computer mediated contexts.

Key Words: globalization; the Internet; English language teaching