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Evolving China

It’s hard to belive that not too long ago, China was not only labelled as the poorest country in the world, but also the weakest. Today its a growing and
29 Dec 2015 10:04
Evolving China

It’s hard to belive that not too long ago, China was not only labelled as the poorest country in the world, but also the weakest.

Today its a growing and constantly evolving economy.  A country that has shown resilience in the midst of many economic and political disasters and fall.

The hukou sytem which was once embraced as the way forward to monitor China’s internal migration structure is something many still live with today.

Hukou, a system of residency permits, was used by the Communist Party beginning in 1958 to minimize the movement of people between rural and urban areas. Chinese citizens were classified as urban and rural based on their hukou.

Urban residents received state-allocated jobs and access to an array of social services while rural residents were expected to be more self-reliant.

Xie Guihua, a sociologist professor at the Renmin University in Beijing explained about the social stratification China endured and lessons learnt.

Theoretically it seemed complicated with reforms after reforms aimed to uplift the standard of living and quicken the industrialisation of China.

But Chen Yanjun was able to shed some light on how the hukou impacted her life.

She is the  Conference Interpreter  for the All-China Journalist Association.

Her uncle (father’s brother) was a member of the opposition party. Her father held a good government job in Beijing until his relationship with his brother was known.

As a result he was banished to the village. They were also separated as a family. Ms Chen lived with her mother and sister in the city.

She said every month they would get rations for each member of the family. Food ration, clothing ration and so on.

“We lived very simple lives, nothing fancy – no furnture, just open rooms.”

Ms Chen recalled how her teacher could not describe what a living room looked like.

“This was simply because she has never seen one.”

Ms Chen had no dreams or aspirations about the future. But looking back, she is thankful.

“China has been through a lot. The Chinese people even more. We have been labelled so many things by the outside world.

“But what I’m seeing today is hope for a better future for China.”

She said the leadership of President Xi Jinping has brought that hope.

“Many of my friends have given up hope. They’d rather sit, talk and drink tea all day. But I’m glad I kept on.”

Ms Chen is highly sought-after by many Chinese organisations for her clarity in interpreting the English language. Her work has taken her to many places in China and outside of China. It has also allowed her to live rather comfortably.

But she remains modest about owning a house and a car. Something that was never part of her dream growing up.



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