I was recently browsing a collection of Adrian Fisk‘s portraits of ordinary Chinese people holding up placards expressing their thoughts. The photo of LUO ZhengChui caught my attention. She is a 30 year-old farmer in Yunnan Province.
Her message (with couple of wrong Chinese characters) roughly translates to:
After watching television, I have many ideas, but no way of realizing them.
Many people might feel sad while looking at this image. After all, it seems she is not very educated. She is obviously poor (compared to developed country standards). From her writing, one gets the impression she feels trapped; not for lacking of ideas or for not wanting something better for herself.
I am actually very optimistic. For me, she represents the hundreds of millions of people in the rural areas who will undoubtedly one day join those other hundreds of millions who have in recent decades migrated to the cities.
We have a group of Chinese people reminiscing their childhood past. (See “Father’s Prairie, Mother’s River’ – the feelings of one billion people on the move.”) We have another group (such as LUO) yearning for something better. China is a country of 1.4 billion people moving forward and in transition.
For LUO’s sake, China must continue to grow economically and have a stable environment to do so.
For a more thoughtful look, I recommend Beijing University Professor, Fan Gang’s article on this topic.