Criminalized by Canada and USA for dispute of “beauty is a European concept” Part I.

I was criminalized and lost everything in life, only because I disagreed with a White professor’s theory that beauty is a European concept, and complained against his retaliation. I was convicted for a crime that the Canadian government forced me to commit by compelling me to testify at Ontario Human Rights Commission and then charged me for my testimony as “threat” to the professor. A judge convicted me on his admitted guessing that I “meant” to threaten the professor in my mind.

I came to Canada in 1989 from China on a student visa. Previously I had university education and was a teacher in China. In 1991, I was registered in a Master program in the East Asia Studies Department of the University of Toronto (U of T), and took a Chinese art history course with an Asian art history professor David Waterhouse.

In February 1991, Waterhouse instructed us to study his recent research paper about his theory on “the concept of beauty”. His theory was based on Asian-European cross-cultural comparative studies. He told us that, Adam and Eve in the Genesis story of The Bible appreciated “Every tree is pleasant to sight”, “it was the first aesthetic response in history “, but Asians did not have the concept of beauty in history, for that “beautiful” this word in Indian and Japanese languages did not originally mean the same as Adam and Eve’s appreciation of “pleasant to sight”, but meant something else such as good taste of food, etc. He then concluded: “We can safely identify ‘beautiful’ this shopworn epithet is a European concept.”

I asked out of curiosity: “So what’s the origin of the English word ‘beautiful’?” Waterhouse could not answer, but continued to read that, if the concept of beauty is applied to Asian art, “we may be extending the meaning of this concept and possibly creating confusions about it.”

Waterhouse’s paper also openly calls to revive a 1930’s German art history theory called Style, a theory of aesthetic analysis based upon the concept of biological or racial characteristics that was criticized by famous American art historian Meyer Schapiro for “played a significant role in promoting national consciousness and race feeling.”

In the following class, Waterhouse said that he had checked out that the English word “beautiful” was borrowed from Latin language originally. I said: “The Chinese word ‘beautiful’ is one of the earliest Chinese characters inscribed on oracle bones, dated from 16-11 B.C., and it originally meant ‘pleasant to sight’.” Waterhouse said he would consider my opinion.

Two months later, Waterhouse read an article in the class which he wrote about a Chinese contemporary artist/art historian C.C. Wong in US. He read:”…Despite the well-known fact that China has been far left behind history, some Chinese people are still very keen to claim historical inventions and achievements… … despite C.C. Wong he himself now lives in Washington D.C….” I felt it was hinting at my dispute with him on the concept of beauty and was very upset.

I later assumed that maybe because I’d only offered the evidences on the concept of beauty from Chinese sources, Waterhouse misunderstood that I was trying to rival with him to claim the concept of beauty as a “Chinese invention”. So when I wrote my middle term essay and had to come across the topic of aesthetics in Chinese art history, I thought it might be a good chance for me to clear up the “misunderstanding”. So while I cited briefly about Chinese people’s appreciation of beauty in history, I cited to a large extent of that from other sources such as Australia Natives, Africans, etc. to prove that the concept of “beautiful” is universal to all human beings in history since it was rooted in human being’s biological instinct.

Waterhouse then wrote in his comments to my paper: “The best part of this paper is in the last section where you have collected early Chinese passages which show appreciation of ‘beautiful’. I have to agree with your findings here.” I was disappointed that Waterhouse would only single out the Chinese sources in my paper to respond. His sensitivity toward the Chinese source later was extended to the university. In a decision to deny my Complaint, the U of T characterized the dispute as: “In considering the concept of ‘beauty’, Prof. Waterhouse was said to conclude that concept was European in origin. Ms. Liao, in her paper, was concerned to demonstrate that ‘beauty’ was a very old Chinese concept.”

After the dispute, Waterhouse retaliated against me in purpose to interfere with my Ph.D application by a series of fraud, in violation of the university’s grading systems and academic regulations: a). Faking a B as final grade of the course for me while I was still taking the course with him and submitted it to the Graduate School and the department admission committee;  b). Lied to the school clerk in reply to the clerk’s inquiry about the course designation error on the grade submission form to get the grade entered; c). Bypassing the department chair for grade approving as required by the university’s grading policy, the Chair was Asian (Korean); d). Providing a reference letter to the Committee for my Ph.D application in that he falsified a capacity for himself as my program supervisor to object my application; etc.

(To be continued).

Waterhouse Comment on my paper: “The best part of this paper is in the last section where you have collected early Chinese passages which show appreciation of ‘beautiful’. I have to agree with your findings here.”

Waterhouse Comment on my paper: “The best part of this paper is in the last section where you have collected early Chinese passages which show appreciation of ‘beautiful’. I have to agree with your findings here.”

Waterhouse's fraudulent Grade for my paper

Waterhouse’s fraudulent Grade for my paper


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