The B’s and P’s of China – China at a Glimpse
Before moving to China my views of this society where clouded by judgments compiled strictly through the media. Even today, I read the headlines on Yahoo and question the daily lens from which I view this emerging nation. From this vantage point, as a university teacher in China, I see a very different China then that which is portrayed in headline news. Here on the ground floor, I see beautiful people, bountiful progress, and benevolent power.
Beautiful People: The people of China, for the most part, are so honoring to foreigners. Yes, here I call myself a foreigner (Whereas in most of my travels I always referred to myself as American). Now I have gotten use to saying, “I am a foreigner.” Yet, the people of China always welcome me and are gracious to help even though my language skills are so poor. I have found that the people of China embrace foreigners desiring to know them and assist them with great kindness. Sure there are a few sketchy characters who will take advantage of you and overcharge you, but this is really rare. And what I truly love is, despite my lack of communication skills, I always feel safe here unlike many other countries I have traveled to.
The people are gracious and eager to know you. They desire to learn more about Western culture and in turn share their love of their homeland. Prior to coming to China, I had thought all the people of China where oppressed and longing to leave; yet what I discovered was quite different. The people of China love their country. They are patriotic just as we are. Sure they desire some changes within their system of government, but they are hopeful in that their leaders are trying their best for the greater good of their society. I tell people all the time that I came to China for the experience, but I have stayed because of the love of the people.
Bountiful Progress: Emerging on every front is the theme of progress and innovation. With buildings popping up all around one cannot deny profound growth and atmosphere of advancement seen in China. Not only is there new construction projects everywhere, but also there are renovations and reconstruction of historical sites. With pride in their historical cultural heritage the leisure and tourism industry is developing rapidly in hopes of being one of the worlds leading tourist destinations in the near future.
In fact, I just read yesterday that there is a plan currently being implemented which is the construction of the sixth ring road here in Beijing to be completed by 2015. And that is not all; China is diligently working on their pollution problems allocating funds and bringing in global experts to develop solutions to reduce air pollution. I see this as their biggest dilemma.
As industrial development continues there is an overlaying shadow, which is a constant reminder to the government and that is for the health of the people. Immediate attention must be placed on the environmental issues for future generations. Quality of living and health of the people must not be impeded because of the desire for growth. Actually, I believe it is China’s sincere desire to combat this problem and they are implementing laws as well as practical engineering applications. I have personally met international engineers who are here assisting them with these enormous environmental issues, which are globally impacting.
Benevolent Power: Truly, the most gracious, yet brilliant young people I have had the privilege to meet and develop relationships with are my students here at Beijing International Studies University. They are an example of the emerging China. They are open to truth desiring to learn and grow. Their hearts are pure and intellect steady. They hold true to many of their traditional beliefs while rationally inspired to dream for a greater China. There is truly a melting, if you will, of Philosophical and ideological thoughts from both East and West while holding tight to the harmonious nature of their cultural heritage. There is a power in China that is undeniable especially when one walks in Tiananmen Square near the Forbidden City. Yes, I see China as a ‘Benevolent Power’ for I believe the government, though often criticized, desires the good of the people.
When I talk with my students they are hopeful of their future. They see their country as progressive and willing to bring about necessary change for the people. The pressure placed on many of today’s Chinese youth because of the one child policy is also a reality as they feel great responsibility to care for their parents, unlike American tradition. But, with economic gains and suitable educational and employment opportunities evolving many are hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.
The B’s and P’s of China are enlightening my eyes to see beyond the propaganda and news headlines. When you walk outside your door into your neighborhood and community speaking to the people and encountering their heart’s cry for America, think of the people of China. Like us, they too love their families; they love their country; they dream for a better tomorrow, and they long for peace on earth. They are bright, forward thinking, and proud to be Chinese. I am honored to have this opportunity to see the vast beauty and cultural heritage of this country. Living and teaching here has enlightened my thinking. As a woman of faith - I am hopeful for China and eager to see the world embrace that which China has to give. Surely, there is much we can learn from this ancient culture.