I know that this video is still banned in China and that many young people there have never seen this. I also think that with China’s new prosperity the youth may not realize the struggle that their parents went through. I put the video with Chinese commentary in case someone gets to see it.
How things change.
Two decades ago, China’s youth were at the forefront of a movement to bring democracy to the world’s most populous nation in demonstrations bloodily put down around Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.
Today, after years of breakneck economic growth, the young are more pro-government, more suspicious of the West, and genuinely proud of China’s achievements, such as the Beijing Olympics, making a repeat of June 4 unlikely.
The China of 20 years ago, where the chaos of the Cultural Revolution was still fresh in many people’s minds, is also very different from the China of today, with its shining skyscrapers, bustling malls and expanding middle class.
“One good thing about young people today is that they are luckier than in the past,” said Bao Tong, a former senior official purged after the 1989 demonstrations.
“My son and daughter grew up in difficult circumstances, with rationed food … They didn’t have enough nutrition, now, there are no grains coupons, no meat coupons.”
The potential for unrest has not gone away though thanks to the global economic crisis.
More than six million university students will try to enter China’s workforce this year. Up to a quarter could have difficulty finding jobs, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in December, as the economy slows.
Many are already getting desperate.
The Yangtse Evening Post reported earlier this month that in the relatively affluent eastern province of Jiangsu, 46 university graduates had applied for jobs as public toilet attendants, such was the state of the labor market.
“Better to be a ‘toilet master’ than unemployed at home,” it cited one of the applicants as saying.
Now they are experiences both sides of capitalism.