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Michael Levy
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Michael Levy is the author of Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China’s Other Billion (Henry Holt, July, 2011), a memoir about his experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer in western China. Mike is currently teaching at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, N.Y. He returns frequently to China to check in on his students and visit the basketball courts where he momentarily attained stardom. While in the United States, he keeps strictly kosher. While in China, he eats anything with four legs except the table. You can reach him at his website.

You can follow Mike on Twitter @kosherchinese

Blog Entries by Michael Levy

China's 1% Following the American Model

(6) Comments | Posted July 2, 2012 | 3:04 PM

The extreme wealth of China's political elites has lately been a hot topic in the Western media. The Bo Xilai scandal dribbled blood into the mental waters of writers from The Daily Beast to the New York Times, and a raging feeding frenzy is now under way. The conclusion of...

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The Bo Xilai Scandal and What It Says About Us

(3) Comments | Posted April 25, 2012 | 2:43 PM

The New York Times reported earlier this week that the Bo Xilai scandal has created "a deep fear among millions of Chinese... that their government may be dissolving into a criminal state."

Are they kidding?

The scandal is many things. It is intriguing, complex, significant, and even sexy....

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China's New Cultural Revolution

(4) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 10:52 AM

What will 2012 bring for China?

One thing we can count on is a revamped effort at censorship, Big Brother surveillance, and thought control. This may sound like hyperbole, but it isn't; President Hu Jintao has, in fact, been very blunt on these points. On Jan. 1, he published...

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"Conundrum": 90 Percent of China's Applicants Cheat

(12) Comments | Posted November 7, 2011 | 4:21 PM

Chinese students are coming to American colleges in record numbers. A recent New York Times analysis of this phenomenon makes it clear that nearly all of these students cheat to gain admission. As evidence, the Times quotes a report concluding that "90 percent of Chinese applicants submit false...

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Chinglish on Broadway

(2) Comments | Posted October 28, 2011 | 11:45 AM

When I joined the Peace Corps in 2005 and my recruiter told me I would be stationed in China, I was shocked. "I thought Peace Corps only went to really poor places," I remember saying. "Doesn't' China own us?"

She smiled, nodded, and spoke her response slowly. "You don't know...

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Is Li Na the Next Arthur Ashe?

(4) Comments | Posted June 29, 2011 | 7:25 PM

Chinese tennis star Li Na may have just followed her stunning French Open championship with an equally stunning Wimbledon flame out, but she is still a red star on the rise. She has the tabloids eating out of her hands; she has sponsors running around in circles; most of all,...

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What I Learned from China's Schools

(15) Comments | Posted June 7, 2011 | 1:19 PM

A few months ago, I compared college anxiety in the hyper-competitive private school world here in New York City with the college anxiety I saw when I taught in China. If elite parents in New York think they have it bad when they drop $50,000 each year in...

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How to Understand China: Summer Reading

(6) Comments | Posted May 18, 2011 | 11:19 AM

Last month, I finished Richard McGregor's excellent book The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers. One of his best chapters focuses on the Central Organization Department of the Communist Party, the "human resource" arm of the Chinese state. This department controls hiring and firing as well...

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Can Memoir Be Trusted?

(2) Comments | Posted April 29, 2011 | 5:25 PM

The best memoir disclaimer I've read comes from J. Marteen Troost, who begins Getting Stoned with Savages with the following:

Disclaimer: The author acknowledges that he is not Bob Woodward. Mr. Woodward is scrupulous with names and dates. This author is not. Mr. Woodward would never suggest that something happened...
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The College Admissions Game (With Chinese Characteristics)

(3) Comments | Posted April 1, 2011 | 1:40 PM

High school seniors have been hearing from colleges over the last few weeks. At Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, where I teach history, we've seen smiles, tears, and any number of new hoodies emblazoned with bulldogs, bears, and various birds of prey.

I always find this time of year...

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China Wants Big Brother; Does the Middle East Need Him?

(1) Comments | Posted March 1, 2011 | 8:52 PM

When I lived in China, the evening news always followed a formula: ten minutes on instability in the rest of the world (labor protests in France! Monks running wild in Burma! Indian farmers lighting themselves on fire!); ten minutes on slow, systematic progress within China thanks to the stability created...

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Communist Buddhism: China Steps Up Its Tibetan Meddling

(13) Comments | Posted February 11, 2011 | 12:12 PM

Thomas Jefferson gushed over the 1st Amendment, writing in 1802 that it guaranteed "a wall of separation between Church & State." The American Constitution would protect religion from political meddling, and politics from religious meddling.

The Chinese Constitution looks quite a bit different. It states, in admirable bluntness, "the government...

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Amy Chua Vs. The Talmud

(14) Comments | Posted January 22, 2011 | 3:49 PM

Amy Chua's memoir about Chinese parenting styles, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, has American parents in a tizzy. I teach History at Saint Ann's in Brooklyn, a K-12 school in which we neither grade nor punish our students. Instead, we let the students' individual interests serve as their guides....

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