Last chance

In case you missed my beautifully written and universally praised interview with a 1989 demonstrator in China, it is now up over at Living on the Planet.

In all seriousness, it’s probably the most interesting piece I’ve written about China to date (not that that says very much), and the answers the interviewee gave totally blew me away. In the two hours I spent interviewing him, I gained years’ worth of insights into the Chinese psyche and their view of the current government. While it was in line with what I heard from the people I knew when I lived there, I had never heard it said so forcefully before.

The Discussion: 5 Comments

Here is a long over due response I promised somewhile ago, Richard.

I also have a friend, who, like David, had participated in the demonstrations in Shanghai when she was a university student in 1989. But unlike David, she isn’t from an “elite” family with good connections (guanxi) and special privileges. She remained in Shanghai after she graduated from university and worked for a state owned organization for a couple of years, before joining a multinational corporation in the late 1990s.

Today, she is one of the many middle class, “white collar” workers in Shanghai who has a relatively good life. But she never felt secured. She was very disappointed by the sharp change of political environment after 1989 that today she has no faith in any government institutions and politics. She thinks the government and chinese society is very fragile with deep problems everywhere. Her only wish now is to immigrate abroad, even if it means an end to a stable and comfortable life in Shanghai. In fact, she has recently secured a permanent residency in western country, it’s just a matter of when she would leave. But I digress…

January 26, 2004 @ 2:46 pm | Comment

Thanks so much for the wonderful comment. Yes, a lot of Chinese are quite ecstatic about the current state of the economy and are infinitely grateful to their government. Then, as you note, there are others who are less so. Still, it sounds like your friend has an exceptionally grim view of things; is she afraid of an imminent collapse? That’s quite extreme, to flee the country….

January 26, 2004 @ 3:02 pm | Comment

Yes, she is pretty cynical about China. But I wouldn’t say she is afraid of an imminent collapse. She is just pretty fed up with what she has seen all these years and seriously questions how the current system, not just political and economic, but also in terms of culture and values, can be sustainable in the long run. Well, I think, in her case, it is her personality and her desires of green, quiet and spacious environment, as well as a more balanced life., that were also key factors that prompted her to immigrate abroad.

January 26, 2004 @ 3:55 pm | Comment

Thanks for the article, it’s really interesting : )

January 27, 2004 @ 11:10 am | Comment

Hey it’s a great article, very insightful indeed!

January 28, 2004 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.