by Wang Aihua, Xinhua
Mar. 5, 2013 (TSR) – This year’s parliamentary season is sure to be abuzz about the “Chinese dream,” but lawmakers and political advisors still need to take heed of average people’s hopes and dreams.
Top leader Xi Jinping’s interpretation of the Chinese dream as the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has been widely echoed throughout the country since November. While people agree that such an ambition should be built upon the dreams of every individual, people also agree that some dreams are simply too trivial.
Interviews conducted by China Central Television, the state broadcaster, and posts on Sina Weibo, China’s popular Twitter-like microblogging platform, show that most people simply dream of living a better life, which often means making more money and having access to clean air and safe food.
One woman said in an interview that her dream was for her daughter to find a boyfriend, while one man said he wished he could go back in time and go to school, something he never had the chance to do.
Difficult as it is to generalize where 1.3 billion Chinese people currently sit on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the Chinese dream, a grand vision of the nation’s future, can be achieved only if down-to-earth measures are taken in response to the appeals of the people.
“The people are the foundation of a state,” according to an ancient Chinese saying. In fact, the point of making a country stronger is to provide better lives for the people of that country.
In China, the people’s most pressing and visible demands are for their leaders to tackle problems threatening their daily lives, notably pollution, food safety and the equal distribution of wealth and other social resources.
This winter, heavy smog choked large parts of China several times, fanning fears about the putrid air’s effect on human health, as well as raising concern about, and prompting reflection on, the environmental impact of the country’s decades of fast economic growth driven largely by labor-intensive manufacturing.
Levels of PM2.5, particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter that can deeply penetrate the lungs, has become the stuff of nightmares for many Chinese. They have given it several nicknames in their mother tongue that rhyme with “the capital,” “public servants” and “serve the people.”
The foul air even gave rise to heated public debate about whether the government should ban people from setting off fireworks to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival, a tradition that dates back several thousand years.
Meanwhile, food safety is just as heart-breaking, if not gut-wrenching. Widespread distrust in the domestic dairy industry has driven many parents of infants to buy milk powder in bulk overseas, a trend that has been condemned and restricted by some countries and regions to protect supplies for local consumers.
Since March 1, people are prohibited from carrying more than 1.8 kg of milk powder through customs checkpoints in Hong Kong. Violators face steep fines and up to two years in prison. The move cut off one source of safe, reliable infant formula for parents on the mainland whose confidence in infant formula available here has been rocked by food safety scares.
In the coming two weeks or so, the country’s national legislators and political advisors will gather in Beijing for the annual political sessions. Throughout the duration of the sessions, they are expected to discuss the aforementioned issues and offer advice on how to realize the Chinese dream.
Deputies elected to represent the country’s large population should take this opportunity to propose solutions rather than use the time to talk about the Chinese dream.
In the meantime, while pinning hopes for wise policies on the Party and the government, each individual should be aware of his own responsibility in the cause of building a strong and prosperous country.
The self-discipline of ordinary citizens is vital to China’s fight against environmental and social woes and, consequently, ability to achieve the Chinese dream.
After all, it is the daily work of average citizens that lays the road to a bright future.
Chinese Dream to benefit the world
Novelles D’Europe, the largest Chinese language newspaper in Europe, said in an editorial that the “Chinese Dream” is a common goal and desire of the Chinese people at home and abroad.
Despite various obstacles on the road toward the dream, the Chinese people will feel proud and honored when it comes true, the newspaper said, adding that no matter what kind of dream, it requires perseverance and hard work to overcome difficulties.
The “Chinese Dream,” with the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as its core, has always been a common desire and goal pursued by numerous men and women with high aspiration in the country.
After the two Opium Wars in the 1800s, the ancient country suffered repeated foreign invasions and the dream was broken over and over again.
But now, thanks to the Chinese people’s unremitting endeavor for generations, China has taken its due place in the family of nations, with the dream of the Chinese nation’s rejuvenation closer to a reality than ever before.
Countries around the world have been keeping a keen eye on the “Chinese Dream,” which was named the Word of the Year in the country in 2012.
In the view of Qian Feng, vice director and chief editor of Asian Daily, a Thailand-based Chinese language newspaper, the “Chinese Dream” is a scientific, down-to-earth ideal, rather than an impractical Utopia.H “The ‘Chinese Dream’ embodies the new Chinese leadership’s concept of governance, which allows people to feel China’s rise in the new times,” he said. “It also means a new opportunity for the world’s development.”
Kwame Owino, chief executive officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs of Kenya, said the ideal can help the Chinese form a positive mentality and make greater achievements in its social and economic development.
Foreign media also regard the “Chinese Dream” as a big move that will benefit the Chinese people, especially those at the grassroots level.
Under an ambitious plan of the Chinese government, more and more farmers will move to cities, Die Zeit, a German newspaper, said in an article posted on its website.
Due to the lower living conditions of most Chinese farmers, urbanization has played a role in narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas, the article said, adding that Chinese farmers also view urbanization as an incubator for their dream.
China and the world have become a community that shares common interests and destinies. As the Chinese people strive for national rejuvenation, other countries are also eager to learn more about their dream.
Wang Zheng, an associate professor at Seton Hall University of the United States, said the Chinese people, while pursuing rejuvenation, should also help the international community get a better understanding on the dream.
Other countries should be glad to see the Chinese people’s enthusiasm in realizing their dream, said Kim Jin Ho, an international relations professor from the Dan Kook University of South Korea.
“An active China will certainly have a positive influence on the world,” he said.
Echoing Kim’s view, Jose Luis Robaina, a renowned Cuban expert on China, said the whole world will benefit from the “Chinese Dream.”
“A powerful, independent and stable socialist China” is in the interests of the whole world, he said, adding that it will also be a peaceful country that is conducive to other nations.
First published in Xinhua.