Alfred-Charles Co (许有泉)
BEIJING—(October 25, 2010,–M4relay)– Just recently, two of my cousins fell out of favor with my uncle and are on the verge of being disowned. One fought for a career outside the family business, the other fought to defend the love he shared with a Filipino which is considered to be a disgrace for many traditional Chinese families living in the Philippines like theirs. Ultimately, both fought for freedom from what they felt was a sad life of shackles and bars devoid of any glory of fulfillment: the life of pure, ceaseless labor which allowed their parents to defeat the poverty that once gripped them.
To my cousins, it was an act of righteousness, of defending their freedom that they see others have and that is also due them. The promise of freedom and the extreme lack of it nor anything to compensate it emboldened them to act. Their parents saw the act as a mutiny. They saw their children as dissidents, ingrates who were devoid of any consideration and respect for their parents and family.
The gap between their perceptions caused my uncle to rule with an “iron hand” leading to a bloody showdown and an undesirable outcome that will leave deep scars in the relationship of their family.
In 1989, China was in a similar situation when students held a protest against the Chinese government and left them with no choice but the use of brutal force.
The softer generation
Today’s situation is very different from what it was then, 21 years ago. Since then, China has transformed from an outdated, country of shackles and bars, the “Sick Man of the East” as they were described by the West, to an economic powerhouse and political heavyweight.
The Chinese middle class is ballooning at an incredible rate; it not only outperformed the global financial crisis but was instrumental in helping the rest of the world recover.
Unlike the scenario in 1989, this generation of Chinese youth has fuller stomachs, and more and more people are being given the opportunity to rise out of poverty.
The degree that Western Capitalistic Ideology and money has seeped into the Chinese society has tremendously altered the way the Chinese Youth of today thinks.
Western type democracy has become less and less desired in China. It is certainly much less worth now than the risk of losing one’s life or opportunities for prosperity which have in many ways, been increasingly closer to an increasing number of people.
Capitalism versus Democracy
Between Western capitalism and their democracy, Capitalism is by far preferred by the current generation of Chinese youth. Most young people on school campuses are constantly planning on how to grab the next opportunity to earn a living for themselves and their families.
Those Chinese young people, who are employers and employees respectively in the country, are more often than not preoccupied with how to become the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. To these youths, working towards more financial stability for a secured future makes much more sense and better than following the footsteps of the lawless Professor Liu Xiaobo, who is seen by the Chinese public as a person who wasted his brilliance by inciting subversion against the authority of the land that brought the Chinese nation wealth, and successfully positioned the nation as an important decision-maker in world affairs.
* Alfred-Charles Co (许有泉) is an international reporter at M4 Media