The Chinese, Not Even Fearing Death, Are Afraid of Not Having an Easy Life

What is your dream? Some people may say I want to become a lawyer, doctor, firefighter, or others. But if you ask the Chinese people this question, having an easy life is more likely to make their list.

There is a huge number of Chinese graduates who plan to work as civil servants in government organs, or teachers in public schools. If you think such young graduates hold a great passion about serving the society or educating Chinese students, then you are ridiculously wrong. The most probable reason for them to choose such jobs is that these positions offered by government organs and public schools are stable. You will have a very high chance of working there all your life so long as you do not make serious mistakes during work.

The luster for the positions offered by China’s government bodies does not lie in the salary. On the contrary, the starting salary for young graduates are quite low compared with many positions in China’s first-tier and second-tier cities. According to a survey conducted in 2018, the average monthly salary in China’s first-tier cities is around 8,000 RMB (1,165 USD) to 11,000 RMB (1,600 USD). In view of the fact that the starting monthly salary for civil servants in China is just around 3,000 RMB (436 USD) to 4,000 RMB (582 USD), such positions are really not attractive in terms of salary.

However, can you imagine how many people participated in the entrance examination of civil servants in China every year? In 2018, there were more than 3 million candidates participated in examinations, a similar figure compared with 2017. But the number of open positions was just over 120,000, meaning that around 25 candidates competed for a single one position.

Candidates are entering their examination rooms

Why is this happening? Perhaps we could try to find the answer from China’s education. As I recall, my teachers during the period of primary school and secondary school always reminded us of the importance of studying hard. “You must study hard to find a decent job when you grow up. Then you guys will have a host of time to play or relax after you find a good job. So, seize the day and study now!” This was the most frequently heard sentence said by my teachers. It looks like all Chinese teachers believe, as least they say so, students can secure a promising future by obeying teachers’ instructions to study hard. The harsh learning environment for the Chinese students is notoriously famous in the world, and you probably have already heard of the fierce competition in China’s college entrance examination. Most of Chinese students, after going through over 10 years of studying diligently and following their teachers’ instructions strictly, hold the idea that they can finally take a rest and do not need to work hard anymore. Now you can see, many Chinese students who have consumed tons of vigor in schools find little incentives to work hard again.

Chinese students overwhelmed by course manuals

Of course, China’s education is not the only reason giving birth to the long-standing wish of having an easy life. If you look into China’s ancient history, you can also find a thing or two.

In ancient times, the territory of China makes this country a relatively enclosed environment. The Pacific Ocean lies at the east of China, and the other three sides are also surrounded by high mountains or plateau. Under such an enclosed environment, the Chinese ancestors found it unnecessary to venture into exploring the outside world. Therefore, they developed the small-scale peasant economy in China, requiring the Chinese people to stay in their hometown to farm the land on a regular basis. As you may know, the small-scale peasant economy prefers the stability to turbulence, which may engrave the wish of living an easy, stable, and peaceful life upon the Chinese people’s genes through the ages. Since there is almost no need to venture into the outside world, no wonder the Chinese people develop the habit of treasuring native land and settling for stability.

China’s geography map

Throughout the China’s history, you can find a countless number of Chinese heroes who fought against foreign enemies and even sacrificed their own lives for a single purpose: to protect the unity and stability of China. In 2009, there was a popular Chinese TV series named My Chief and My Regiment which was broadcast in China. The TV series tells a story about a group of battle-weary Chinese soldiers fought against the invasion of Imperial Japanese Army during the Sino-Japanese War. The protagonist said a very famous saying in this TV series: the Chinese, not even fearing death, are afraid of not having an easy life. Such a weak spot has always been taken advantaged of by China’s opponents. Before the Lugou Bridge Incident, an event marking the beginning of Sino-Japanese War, broke out, Japan still negotiated with the government of Republic of China, giving China an illusion that the war would not break out. The negotiations worked out by giving Japan more time to prepare for the war. Thinking that the war might would not happen, China lowered its vigilance down, and Japan seized this opportunity immediately to launch the war against China.

The similar story also occurred in today’s China. At a post-G20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires in December 2018, US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to halt new trade tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks. Such a news eased the Chinese people’s mind to make them believe now they can finally take a breath after they have been worn out by the US-China trade war. Surprisingly, just several days later, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO, was arrested in Canada, indicating this trade war is far from over.

Throughout the history, numerous Chinese people scarified their own lives for the common good, fully proving the courage of Chinese. But the idea of settling for stability is still reflected among the Chinese. Fortunately, there is an increasingly number of young Chinese people who are sick of the outdated traditional education and lifestyle and are migrating to China’s first-tier or second tier cities to look for better career opportunities. As a Chinese saying goes: the strength of a country depends on its youth. Perhaps this group of young Chinese hunger for new lives exactly represents a fresh prospect for China.

Considering this is my first blog article published on wordpress, I would like to give you a brief introduction about myself. As a freelance English-Chinese translator and blog writer born in China, I have always been thinking of telling the world what a real China looks like. I am firmly convinced that China must show the world the Chinese people’s thoughts to better facilitate the communication between China and world, as China’s influence is spreading across the world. I know many of you have read news articles about China from the media before, but my articles vary from the ones written by media. In my blog, I hope my articles could give you a closer look at the real lives and thoughts of ordinary Chinese people, and China’s business and society. Hope you could enjoy it. If you have anything you would like to know about China, please write down your comments below. Thanks for reading.

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