Chapter 774: Something big has happened again!
Translator: Legge Editor: - -
After he got out of the car, his mother called him just before he headed upstairs.
"Son! You won an international math award?" his mother asked, sounding very thrilled.
Zhang Ye said into his phone: "How did you learn of this?"
His mother said: "It was reported on the news, who wouldn't know! When are you receiving the award?"
Zhang Ye chuckled: "A few days later. How's your trip going?"
His mother said: "Didn't we just reach Tianjin a while ago? If I had known that something like this would happen, your dad and I wouldn't have gone on the trip. I heard that you're the first Chinese person to receive that Abel Prize or something?"
Zhang Ye made a sound confirming that and said: "Take good care of the kid and have fun with Dad. There's nothing much to worry about here. My passport and airline tickets will be taken care of by someone."
He pressed the doorbell.
After a moment, the door opened.
Zhang Ye sniffed and smelled the fragrance of stewed pork. "Wow, that smells delicious!"
"It's stewed pork ribs." Wu Zeqing smiled at him. "Hungry?"
Zhang Ye appetite was whetted. "I wasn't hungry at first, but I'm hungry now."
After closing the door, Wu Zeqing asked concerned, "How did it go over there? Have all the procedures been completed?"
"What procedures can there be? They just congratulated me. There were even people from the Chinese Academy of Sciences who came to offer me their congratulations. I was so flattered by it." Zhang Ye looked at Old Wu and continued, "Only the person from the Abel Foundation left me a little frustrated. This bro did not even offend them, but that bastard started criticizing me instead, claiming that I didn't have the qualifications and it was only down to luck that I managed to be selected for the award. He also claimed how they had to specially handle this matter and were being generous, as though telling me that their award's barrier to entry was very high and how I should be grateful for it. Heh, I was so amused listening to him say all that!"
Old Wu asked, "Then what did you say?"
Zhang Ye pouted and replied, "Do you think that I would have anything nice to say to him?"
"True," Old Wu giggled.
"In the end, I just said a few words to spite him and came back home," Zhang Ye clarified.
Suddenly, a call came in from Dean Pan.
Zhang Ye curiously answered: "Dean Pan, didn't we just say goodbye? What's the matter? Are you looking for me for something?"
Dean Pan wondered: "Did you offend the person from the Abel Foundation?"
"No, I didn't," Zhang Ye pretended even though he knew it clearly.
"Then that's strange." Dean Pan said: "That Johannes seemed like he was rather upset after speaking to you. He looked quite angry and even declined to attend the press conference afterwards. Besides, who doesn't know about your temper? You often offend people, so being worried, I called you to check about it. Being nominated for the award this time, you have done our country and Peking University very proud. I don't think you need me to remind you just how important this award is, but it definitely has a place in the top six international awards for math prizes, so don't mess this up."
After hanging up, Zhang Ye waved his cell phone around at Old Wu. "Look at this, talking to me about such small things." He sat down and added, "I can't bother with them anymore. Let me have something to eat first. I'm so hungry."
"Wait a while longer."
"You've worked hard, Old Wu."
The food was served and every dish looked sumptuous.
Zhang Ye was watching the news together with Old Wu as he tucked in heartily.
As for Zhang Ye being awarded the Abel Prize, the satellite channels of every province were reporting about it. Even the news channel of Beijing Television did a special report about this matter in a segment that lasted over ten minutes. Ten minutes might seem short, but realize that the duration of a news program was not long to begin with. Whether it was the afternoon or evening news, the entire duration of the report would not exceed 30 minutes. So dedicating ten minutes to report on this news exclusively showed just how important it was.
At the beginning, Beijing Television's news channel started introducing in detail the origin and name of the Abel Prize. Then they listed the previous laureates, talking about how each and every past laureate was either a famous mathematician or had been famous before. As the first Chinese citizen and person to be awarded this prize, Zhang Ye was undoubtedly a very prominent recipient.
In the middle of the special report, there was an interview conducted with some of the profession's experts.
Dean Pan and a Fellow from the Chinese Academy of Sciences were both interviewed. From the footage of the interview, it could be seen that it was done at Peking University. It was probably sent back to Beijing Television Station immediately after the interview was done so that it could be used for the afternoon news report.
At the end of the special report, there was an interview conducted on the streets.
The Beijing Television Station's reporter asked the people some questions on the streets.
Reporter: "Can you tell us your views on Professor Zhang Ye being awarded the Abel Prize?"
The interviewee was a young man. When he heard the question, his spirit was perked up. "That is so awesome! I'm still worked up from all the excitement!"
The shot cut to a young female university student being interviewed. "I am a student from the Math Department currently in my second year of studies. I would never have thought that one day a mathematician from China would receive the Abel Prize. Teacher Zhang is my idol and as my goal is to become as good as him in the future, so that I can help mathematics flourish as a subject like he did. I want to be just like Teacher Zhang and bring glory to our country!"
A middle-aged man said: "My first thought was how awesome this is! Zhang Ye indeed lives up to his name!"
Then, yet another person was interviewed. "When I just found out about the news, I was rather shocked too. But after thinking about it, if Teacher Zhang could even prove Dale's Conjecture, then what was so shocking about him getting the Abel Prize!? Congratulations, Teacher Zhang. You've made history again!"
A third-year student at a high school said: "I will be taking my college entrance exam next year, but was still undecided on which institution and degree I wanted to pursue. However, after I learned about Teacher Zhang Ye being selected for the Abel Prize, I immediately decided that I wanted to join Peking University's Math Department! Teacher Zhang is way too amazing!"
Every television station was showing similar things, rushing to report about this important piece of news.
All with the exception of one station. The channel that was the most authoritative and should be reporting about this news at this moment dropped the ball-Central TV Department 1!
It wasn't that they did not report about it, since this was big news and they couldn't have possibly missed out on it or make no mention of it. Instead, their report about it was limited to several words only. To put it plainly, Central TV Department 1's afternoon news only gave the news a few seconds of coverage, with the news anchor summarizing Zhang Ye's nomination for the award into just a single sentence. There was no follow up to it, much less an interview. There wasn't even any live footage from the site or an insert of the university's picture, with this report being casually skipped over, leaving the audience greatly surprised.
But Zhang Ye was not surprised at this. He knew that Central TV Department 1 was now increasing their efforts to freeze and suppress Zhang Ye. From this point forward, Central TV Department 1 was not just going to keep Zhang Ye out of work, they were even going to keep him out of the news. This was an extremely ruthless move by them!
Zhang Ye sneered at this mentally. He could no longer be bothered with this bunch of people. He knew very well that he had never done Central TV Department 1 any wrong, working on his show without any rest for several months straight. He hardly went home during the production of The Voice, living and eating at the office just so that he could spend more time on the new show. Having put so much effort into the show and making it popular, it ended with those people turning greedy instead. Jiang Naixiong, Jiang Yuan, and the other executives of Central TV Department 1 were so greedy that Zhang Ye couldn't help fighting back. Was he in the wrong? His conscience was clear.
Enjoy your antics for now!
I will settle the score someday!
The next day.
Many of Zhang Ye's friends called to offer their congratulations.
"Little Zhang, congratulations!"
"Thank you, Brother Hu."
"Seeing you doing better and better with each passing day, as an elder brother, I am really happy for you!"
Hu Fei, Yao Jiancai, Dong Shanshan, Ha Qiqi, etc. Everyone sent their regards to him, but the one worth mentioning was from Zhang Yuanqi's manager, Fang Weihong. She got someone to send a basket of flowers to his home with a congratulatory card, making it look very formal.
When he received it, Zhang Ye hurriedly gave her a call.
"Sister Fang, I've received the flower basket," Zhang Ye said.
Fang Weihong laughed: "It's good that you got it. Congratulations again."
Zhang Ye said: "Hur hur, thank you very much. But that was such a formal congratulation. It's my first time receiving something like that."
"It's only proper. This is not a small award that you're getting, but a well-recognized math award. It's even one of the top international awards, and besides, you're the first Chinese person to receive it and gain glory for our country, so of course this asks for a more formal congratulation. If we just called, it wouldn't be that sincere anymore, hur hur. Furthermore, you should not be thanking me since it was Sister Zhang who asked me to arrange it. The congratulatory message was all in her exact words," Fang Weihong said.
Zhang Ye said with surprise: "Then I am truly honored. Alright, please help me give my thanks to Sister Zhang."
The news of Zhang Ye receiving the award was getting hyped up!
"Abel Prize: No longer just a 'playground' for the westerners!"
"'The 'jack-of-all-trades' Zhang Ye debuts on the world stage!"
"Abel Prize: The award that our countrymen have looked forward to for over 50 years!"
Online, in the newspapers, on television, every media outlet was rushing to report this news. The people's congratulatory messages were also coming in overwhelmingly. As this was a matter of glory for the country, involving an international award, there were no naysayers coming out to sing a different tune. Even Zhang Ye's foes did not say much about this event.
But right at this moment, an incident occurred!
Because there wasn't much time left until the award ceremony, the matter could be considered rather urgent. Zhang Ye had already handed his passport over to the administrative staff at Peking University to handle since he did not have his own management team. It was also the first time he had encountered something like this. Therefore, the school administration at Peking University formed a team to handle communication with the Abel Foundation and the original plan did not require much effort on Zhang Ye's end. At most, he would be required to show up at the embassy, yet somehow, Zhang Ye and the school administrative team encountered some issues while applying for his visa and were rejected by the embassy staff!
The visa application was denied!
The reason given was that the paperwork was incomplete and the supporting documents submitted by the Abel Foundation were also incorrect!
The administrative team of Peking University were confused and quickly called Dean Pan to let him know.
Dean Pan was startled by this and said: "The paperwork was incomplete? It can't be!"
The school administrative staff said: "That's right, we did everything in accordance to the procedures and even checked the procedures of the Abel Foundation as well. They have already sent us the invitation documents and I believe Johannes has also communicated beforehand with the embassy? So why didn't the application get approved? They just straight up denied the visa application? There was no room for any discussion at all? If we have to reapply after the rejection, there will surely be a delay. If we don't hurry, Professor Zhang won't be able to make it in time to America to receive the prize!"
Dean Pan hastily asked: "Where is Professor Zhang?"
The school administrative staff said: "Professor Zhang is beside me right now."
"I'll go check again. I suppose there was something we missed while communicating with them." Dean Pan hung up the call and immediately contacted Johannes. After that, he made several more calls to the embassy.
Meanwhile, Zhang Ye stood outside having a smoke. He did not know this world's visa regulations so did not say anything.
Shortly, Dean Pan called back. The school administrative staff came outside to tell Zhang Ye and they went back into the embassy. They tried to do the application again but were unable to finish it for the entire afternoon. In the end, they had to settle for the embassy staff's request for them to get the Abel Foundation to resend them the supporting documents and for them to get an official stamp from several agencies. That barrage of requests left the few school administrative staff grasping to understand it all. This was not the first time they were handling such visa applications since many staff members and some academics or professors would often have to go overseas on official business. However, a visa application was something that was very straightforward to handle and it was just a matter of procedures. They had never met with a case like this where Zhang Ye's visa application was incredibly difficult to get approved. Besides, Zhang Ye wasn't just going overseas for business. He was in point of fact invited by the Americans to go over. There was no reason for the visa application to be this troublesome!
If the Abel Foundation's supporting documents were missing some information, then why don't we do it another way instead? We will apply for a work visa as Peking University. That should make things work, right?
With this decision, the school administrative staff immediately made a call back to urgently prepare a draft stating that Zhang Ye had some business to attend to in America. After signing and putting a stamp on it, they got someone to deliver it to the embassy immediately. However, the resulting application was the same. They were still rejected with the reason given as how they were not allowed to make an application for two different types of visas within the same week!
Only then did the people from Peking University feel that something was amiss.
Zhang Ye understood even better why it turned out this way. This was definitely Johannes or someone from the Abel Foundation purposely trying to trip them up. Zhang Ye had seen enough of such underhand methods before to know, but this wasn't the style of the Americans but felt closer to the style of the Chinese. Knowing that Johannes' wife was a Chinese American, and how he could speak Mandarin fluently as well, Zhang Ye was no longer doubtful.
The Peking University people were beginning to feel anxious. Reapply after a week? The yellow daylilies would have already been frozen by then! The award ceremony would be over and done with by then, so what would we reapply for? The Abel Prize required the nominee to be there to receive the prize in person!
The embassy staff were having none of that and did not budge no matter what was said. The school administrative team hurriedly contacted Johannes, hoping that he could help to coordinate on this matter.
"Hello, Mr. Johannes, we seem to have met with some trouble over here at the embassy," the school administrative staff member explained the situation to him.
Johannes pretended to be surprised on the other end: "Something like that happened? That can't be?"
The school administrative staff member said: "At the moment, Teacher Zhang Ye is unable to get his visa approved. We're all waiting over here at the embassy. Do you think you can make a trip here?"
Johannes said, "It might be that the Foundation did not communicate this well enough to the embassy, causing there to be some problems. But I have something urgent to attend to and I am out of the country at the moment."
"Ah?" The school administrative staff member said: "Out of the country?"
Johannes replied: "I definitely can't make it back today. Why don't you contact me again tomorrow?"
Zhang Ye guessed right-the situation was indeed created by Johannes. Right now, Johannes was actually in a business suite at a hotel in Beijing. Beside him were his wife and two friends from America. They were currently having steak dinner with wine in the suite.
When she heard Johannes say that he was overseas, his Chinese wife smiled slightly at that.
"Haha, let's drink up," a blond American said.
The Chinese woman shushed him while smiling, gesturing for them to be a little quieter.
Yesterday at Peking University, as the official contact person of the Abel Foundation here, Johannes had been rebuked by Zhang Ye and that gave him a grudge. After he came back to the hotel, he started complaining to his wife and friends about how Zhang Ye did not know how to behave and was too cocky because of his achievements. After hearing that from him, his wife was also fuming mad, so came up with this idea. Johannes then made a call to a friend who worked at the embassy and another call to someone at the Foundation, all of which led to today's situation at the embassy. Johannes wanted to use this to regain some honor and to give Zhang Ye a scare.
Of course Johannes knew how important the Abel Prize was. From the media coverage and news in China for the past two days, he knew just how great the Chinese and Peking University felt about Zhang Ye receiving the award this time. The message Johannes wanted to send to Zhang Ye today was that he was in charge of managing things at the Abel Foundation and also the main contact person this time. The entire itinerary of events was controlled by him, and if he did not want Zhang Ye to get his visa, then Zhang Ye couldn't even make the trip to America, much less receive the award. Because a lot of the awards in the global mathematics field were not administered by one single entity, there were specific regulations for each type of award. For example, there were some awards that were only given out to young mathematicians under the age of 40, or, like in the regulations of the Abel Prize, if the recipient was not present in person, the award would be treated as turned down-but of course, in the many years since the start of the Abel Prize, there had never been a case of anyone turning down the award.
For such an important international math award, an award that your country places so much importance on, if they saw how close you were to getting the award yet met with such an unexpected roadblock, I won't believe you won't be anxious!
Johannes thought about how no matter whether Zhang Ye begged him or hopped around in anger, he could still assert this grudge of his. By then, he would have considered himself to have stifled Zhang Ye's momentum and taught him a lesson on how he should never try to rebuke him again. With that, his purpose would have been achieved! As for not granting Zhang Ye the visa? Thus making him unable to go to America? That was clearly not going to happen. Johannes did not dare to do so. He was only trying to scare Zhang Ye a little. He did not have the guts to block Zhang Ye from receiving the award, because if he did, then it would be a huge problem. Johannes was not stupid, so of course he wouldn't do that!
On the phone.
His two friends were eyeing him and starting to urge him a little. One of them even poured Johannes a glass full of wine, hinting for him to quickly start eating.
Johannes, who was still holding the phone, smiled and nodded in acknowledgment.
The Peking University administrative staff member said anxiously: "If you can't make it over here, why don't you give them a call instead? On the other hand, you could get someone from the Abel Foundation to communicate with the embassy again. The paperwork is definitely not a problem, but since we're so close to the day of the award ceremony, we're just afraid we won't make it in time!"
Johannes put his arm around his wife's shoulder, and declined while grinning: "We can't clear up such matters over the phone. It's not like the embassy staff knows me, so why don't we wait until I get back before we do anything. Yes, probably tomorrow or the day after, get Zhang Ye to look for me and I will help you all get it done."
Earlier, he said tomorrow!
But just a few moments later, it had become either tomorrow or the day after?
The Peking University administrative team was anxiously going around in circles. If they messed this matter up, they wouldn't be able to handle the consequences and responsibilities. This was the first time a Chinese citizen was going to receive an Abel Prize!
However, Zhang Ye who was on hand had heard everything that was said over the phone very clearly. He was not anxious or angry like the Peking University administrative team and appeared to be very calm instead. He walked over and stretched out his hand, stating, "Hand the phone to me."
The school administrative staff member was taken aback at this and subconsciously handed the phone over to Zhang Ye.
Zhang Ye took it from him and spoke into the cell phone: "Mr. Johannes, let's not wait for the day after tomorrow. Since my visa application was denied, I can see the attitude and sincerity of you and the Abel Foundation from this. If that's the case, I don't think there's anything else that we should be talking about anymore. You might not know me, but from now on, you will get to know me better. I am officially informing you right now that I fucking won't be going to this year's Abel Prize award ceremony, so you can find anyone else you like to receive the award instead!"
"What? What are you saying?" Over at the other side, Johannes' expression had shifted drastically. He immediately said: "Wait, wait awhile!"
With Johannes's panicked voice still shouting, Zhang Ye slowly hung up the phone and threw the phone back to the similarly aghast-looking members of the Peking University administrative team.
Zhang Ye smiled and said, "Everyone, you've all worked hard today. Let's go."
A young member of the team said in shock, "Professor Zhang, are...are you out of your mind?"
"Turning down the award? You want to turn down the award!?"
"Holy shit! Professor Zhang, don't be messing around at such a time! Please stop messing around like this!"
"Professor Zhang, stop scaring us like this! Aiyo, don't go away, come back!"
Zhang Ye had already exited and entered his car to drive off.
The several members of the Peking University administrative team were all panicking!
Something big had happened!
Something big had truly happened this time!!