Blog #17: Response to Young and Restless In China- China is a new melting pot of human experience

November 23, 2008

The following paragraphs are responses to three of the questions from Mr. Jones’s Blog for Frontline documentary called Young and Restess In China. After viewing the video, I was quite impressed with the way Frontline portrayed lives of nine Chinese. Some of them fit perfectly into the category of ambitious “new” Chinese while some others fit into other categories.


  1. Why do you think the Chinese government has nicknamed the young people coming home from abroad “returning turtles?”
    • How do you think their work or educational experiences abroad have affected their ambitions in China?
    • Why do you think these young people have returned to China?

         This is because young turtles return to their birthplace after a period of time to hatch their eggs. This habit of turtles certainly makes an appropriate name for returning Chinese. With their Western education and experience, I think they are some of the more ambitious people in China. In fact, these “returning turtles” do know they have an advantage over other Chinese because they got access to “higher” education and values which means that they will be able to use knowledge that other Chinese do not have to do their business. Furthermore, their educational experiences abroad might have affected them to start their own business. As we see from the film, Ben Wu and Xu Weimin both started their own business. I think this was because they were affected by Western education which has a handful of businessmen who became millionaires after starting their own business. Also, I think the concept of opportunity taught in Western education has boosted up their ambition. Capitalist values instilled in American and other foreign education emphasizes the importance of finding and seizing the opportunity. Historically, we have seen this emphasis of opportunity in American history in California Gold Rush and government advertisement for Oregon and Texas. Thus, opportunity was one of the factors that made these young Chinese to return as we can see from the way Lu Dong talked about China’s 9 million shirt market and the way that he referred China as the land of opportunity. Family and home would be another issue that got these Chinese to return. Just like many professional Indian workers, these Chinese would have preferred to work in their native country where they are much comfortable to work in. They do not have to get used to new values and cultures.


2. In what ways do you think Ben Wu, the entrepreneur launching the Internet cafe, is representative of the “new” China?

         Like I said in the previous paragraph, ambition and knowledge would be two of the characteristics that Ben Wu is representative of the “new” China. During this period of globalization, knowledge became easier to obtain and more crucial for success. With opportunities and technology such as Internet and over-seas education, young Chinese are very keen about knowledge. For example, Ben Wu was able to utilize his Western education to design and operate his cafe which became pretty successful. As a result, Ben Wu shows that knowledge is important for the “new” China since knowledge can be used to create something unique, which would eventually help achieve success. Ambition is another characteristic Ben Wu is representative of the “new” China. Ben Wu worked all day long between his job and his Internet Cafe. This would have quickly sapped energy and determination from one’s body and mind, but Ben Wu endured this with his ambition for success. He also used his ambition to look for ways to update his Internet Cafe and build more cafes throughout China. Moreover, I think his ambition helped him to quickly realize China’s way of doing business: bribery and to some extent corruption. Although we do not know if he succumbed to bribery or not, Ben Wu’s ambition made him alert enough to read what was going on. This way, Ben Wu shows that ambition defines “new” China. With ambition, “new” Chinese are able to constantly experiment with new ideas and expand business. In addition, ambition makes these young Chinese alert and “restless.”


3. Lu Dong likens Chinese ambition to a poor kid going into a candy store and grabbing too much candy because he has been hungry for so long.

  • Is this an apt analogy about China?
  • Propose another analogy to describe Chinese ambition.

          I think this analogy is appropriate about China. Since China has been poor for so long, it is natural for these Chinese to scurry for money. China’s poverty has turned on Chinese instinct for success, so they could satiate their thirst for plentiful and comfortable life. This analogy about China distinctly contradicts with Siddhartha’s attitude towards money from Siddhartha. Siddartha got bored of earning lot of money so after earning a lot, he would intentionally spend money. Afterwards, he would start earning money again so he could feel that rush of energy and life. Later, Siddhartha had no attraction towards money whatsoever. This is certainly the opposite of Chinese ambition for success. I would compare Chinese ambition to a bunch of fish living in drying river migrating to another river fresh with water. In this process of migration, some fish would die and some would succeed, just like some Chinese facing failure and others savoring their success.



One of the 10 Wonders of new China- its all-new airport

One of the 10 Wonders of "new" China- its all-new airport


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