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JD/MS Social Policy Joint Degree, Chinese

The University of XXXX is my first choice for graduate study because I want very much to study simultaneously towards both the JD Degree and the MS Degree in Social Policy. Most importantly, I appreciate how your program is highly distinguished for its interdisciplinary character, with students exposed to and engaging with political discourse, policy analysis, and the social sciences. I see your incredibly intellectually rigorous program as the optimal springboard not just for a career in law, but also as preparation for making significant contributions to public policy leadership and directions in my native China, raising public awareness and consciousness, and progressive social change resulting in more tremendous respect for human rights and more egalitarian and therefore sustainable social and economic development.

As a Chinese man born and raised in mainland China, my life was changed forever by the fact that I had the privilege of earning my LLB Degree in Hong Kong, thus having the invaluable experience of not only mastering Cantonese in addition to my native Mandarin, but also being at the right time and place for the fullest of observation and participation in front-line struggles for greater levels of democracy and respect for human rights. After earning my JD/MS at UXXXX, I plan to return to both Hong Kong and mainland China to work on behalf of the advancement of human rights; but not directly as a human rights lawyer since it is just too dangerous, and I am horrified by the idea of going to jail. Instead, I hope to work behind the scenes, using the internet to the fullest extent possible.

There is a lot at stake in the directions that China will take and a lot of support among non-profit organizations for financing greater social and economic liberties and respect for human rights. I hope to take full advantage of this interest and—on the strength of becoming a graduate of your especially distinguished JD/MS program at UXXXX—be awarded funding to build an internet platform (both a website and an app) to connect lawyers and law students with people who need legal help. I see your program as the optimal springboard for me to eventually play an essential role in the building of community law centers in Chinese universities, providing more significant opportunities for law students to acquire hands-on experience at the same time that many of our most vulnerable citizens are assisted and protected, accountability and social justice enhanced.

Along with several colleagues, I am already publishing translations of articles concerning the law, human rights, and political issues on public accounts on Chinese social media. I want to share more significant volumes of information as I make progress as a student in your program and beyond, and to do so in increasingly effective ways. One of the reasons why I very much fear joining the ranks of Chinese political prisoners behind bars is that there is no internet. I cannot really imagine my life or career without being online, and this is especially true since I am Chinese and the audience that I want to reach is at the same time so vast and so insulated from the outside world. The internet is our only hope of getting them.

Perhaps the unique aspect of my application to your highly competitive program is my volunteer experience. For more than a year beginning in 2012, I worked for an NGO called Justice Center Hong Kong, the only organization providing free legal services to refugees. My responsibilities were interviewing, researching the credibility of testimony, and helping clients to prepare their testimony. This experience has resulted in my particular passion for all issues involving refugees throughout China. It would be a special honor for me to share some of my experiences with my classmates from around the world at UPenn who share my concern for the fate of those fleeing political violence.

The asylum protection application was outrageously long – 7 to 8 years. Refugees are not allowed to work in HK and face discrimination at every turn. A refugee from Iran who had converted to Christianity and had to flee for his life, a Sri Lankan fleeing a bloody civil war in his country, told me: “When I am on a bus, people sometimes refused to sit by me and even move away. If my arm touches theirs, they brush themselves off as I’ve dirtied them. It hurts.”

Unfortunately, the number of refugees in Hong Kong is soaring. Most of them are from South Asia (Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh), and currently, there is an influx of Syrian refugees. I am also very much concerned with internal displacement in China, with growing economic gaps between coastal and inland regions, between cities and rural areas, and between Eastern and Western China.

I thank you for considering my application.

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