In a series of interviews, Chinese young adults tell us in their own words about their lives, their values, their goals for the future, their daily joys and persistent challenges. They also tell us what they think of westerners and what they believe we need to know about China. Chapters by the author on Confucian values, recent Chinese history, and the typical life stages of the Chinese give meaningful context to their commentary. Chinese blue-collar workers, educated professionals, and university students are represented in these interviews which were conducted with adults between the ages of 18 and 35. Learn what life is like in China from the Chinese perspective.
Price: $5.99 Kindle; $10.99 paperback 30% discount for libraries.
Available from Rope's End Publishing, Antigone Books in Tucson, and Amazon.com
review by M.S. DuToit on Amazon.com
This book is a series of interviews with young Chinese people from various backgrounds, about themselves and their country. CJ Shane helps the reader understand the hopes, dreams, and beliefs of Chinese people. The book is a continuation of the work she did with her Yingwen Teach project, a cross-cultural education project that sent Americans to China, to teach English and learn about Chinese culture.
The first third of the book is all about context. It is a brief overview of Chinese history, focusing mostly on the dramatic events of the 20th Century which still reverberate in the memories of the current generation. There is also a chapter which introduces the reader to the ways in which Chinese culture differs from Western culture. The book stresses the danger of assuming that "we are all basically the same", without examining the way history has shaped us.
The rest of the book is a series of interviews with young people, aged between 18 - 35. Some are educated university students from relatively wealthy backgrounds. Some are poor workers who have only had a few years of primary school. Each interview teases out touching insights and shows a unique and intimate portrait of an individual, their opinions, their sense of humour, their wistful dreams.
There are many beautiful moments. For example, when a young mother asks the interviewer to give her little son an English name, and is charmed with the resulting suggestion. Some moments are sad -- for example a young man who works for the government, but is a poet and philosopher at heart. He is one of the few who expresses quite outspoken against the Chinese government, but is torn between his dream of being a successful poet, and the reality of having to survive as a business man.
Another interview reveals the struggle of a young woman who has to choose between pursuing her dream of studying further, or having a child. The interview seems to create a space for her to face the choice she has to make.
Many bitter-sweet moments. I was struck by how many of those interviewed worried about the environmental problems that China faces today. People mention never seeing the blue sky, or stars. Or lament the cutting down of forests near their home.
Voices of New Chinaoffers a glimpse of China as seen through the eyes of young Chinese people. An antidote to the version we see in Western media.
Excerpts from more Reviews:
~~ ...the material provides a useful introduction to modern China. J.C. Martin, Arizona Daily Star, Dec. 1, 2013.
~~This is a terrific book for people who are traveling to China. It will help to humanize their travel experience in a way that a tour book and tour guide just can't do. Amazon reader review
~~This book is an excellent choice for anyone who would like real insight into the social context and the lives of ordinary people in modern China. Amazon reader review
~~This book is a must read for anyone who dreams about traveling to China or is having a business or private relationship with Chinese people. It explains a lot of things. Amazon reader review