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How would you characterize contemporary China, as expressed by the people interviewed...

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user9568680 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted July 2, 2013 at 10:07 PM via web

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How would you characterize contemporary China, as expressed by the people interviewed in China Candid? How is life in today's China positive, and how is it negative?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 2, 2013 at 11:34 PM (Answer #1)

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As with so much in the globalized world, contemporary China is shown to be complex.  There is really no direct answer to what China is out of the narratives in the book.  Sang Ye himself concludes that it is not entirely absolute that the people he interviewed were telling the truth or merely reciting "the stories that were rehearsed in their minds."  In a philosophical manner, this condition reflects much in how similar contemporary China is to the rest of the world. There is little in way of obtaining "absolute" conditions of truth in a globalized setting. Ideas merge, thoughts combine, and technology advances to make truth more of an adaptable quality to specific contexts and situations.  The particular is what interprets the universal.  The lack of authenticity in the narratives present helps to establish this. 

The fact that authenticity is difficult to validate reflects one of the modern conditions in China.  Truth, in the most absolute of sense, is difficult to establish.  Truth means different things to different individuals.  The truth for the Olympic athlete is that Gold  medals mean benefits and incentives, while other medals reflect failure.  Another truth that is revealed is that the more connections one has to government officials, better opportunities are present.  One more truth that is evident is that the professor who lent his person to an English school ended up benefiting more than with the devoted life he led as a teacher.  The reality is that China is shown to be a complex setting that ends up being no different than any other nation in the globalized world.  Economic success is predicated upon who one knows, those who struggle to make it, such as the farmer in the urban setting, face overwhelming odds, and that there are perks for success.  The narratives end up defining China in complex terms, no different than most other globalized nations that are seeking to establish an identity in a world of intense change and speed.

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