(NYTIMES) - My generation of Chinese looked up to the United States. When I was a university student in north-western China in the late 1990s, my friends and I tuned in to shortwave broadcasts of Voice of America, polishing our English while soaking up American and world news. We flocked to packed lecture halls whenever a visiting American professor was on campus.
It was a thrilling time. China was emerging from isolationism and poverty, and as we looked to the future, we studied democracy, market economics, equality and other ideals that made America great.