This Man Just Became the First Chinese Citizen to Give a Harvard Graduation Speech

he-jiang-harvard

In front of an audience of around 32,000 on Wednesday, He Jiang, a doctoral student in biochemistry, talked about how his being bitten by a poisonous spider as a child and the rural remedy that followed changed the course of his life.

He recalled being bitten by the spider 15 years ago while he was growing up in a poor, pre-industrial village in central China’s Hunan province. With no local doctor, his mother wrapped his hand in wine-soaked cotton, put a chopstick in his mouth for him to bite down on, and then set the cotton alight. The heat denatures the proteins that make up spider venom, rendering it less harmful.

“All I could do was watch my hand burn — one minute, then two minutes — until mom put out the fire,” He said.

The experience, which left him “troubled by the unequal distribution of scientific knowledge throughout the world,” spurred him on to graduating from the University of Science and Technology of China before receiving a full scholarship from Harvard. He is the first member of his family to graduate from college.

“Changing the world doesn’t mean that everyone has to find the next big thing,” He said. “It can be as simple as becoming better communicators, and finding more creative ways to pass on the knowledge we have to people like my mom and the farmers in their local community.”

He continued: “And if we do that, then perhaps a teenager in rural China who is bitten by a spider will not have to burn his hand, but will know to seek a doctor instead.”

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com