From Collectivism to Individualism

Under the planned economic system, most goods and services were distributed to various places of employment, called danwei. Apartment housing, welfare benefits, and even necessary items like sandals were all rationed in this manner. In general, the consumption of goods was highly regulated through government quotas and ration coupons and special goods such as bikes could only be bought with vouchers. Even if one had the money, no voucher meant no bike. These policies reduced socio-economic inequalities (except disparities between urban and rural regions) but also limited individualism. At the time, most of the population wore similar clothes, sported similar hairstyles, and rode the same bicycles.
Today, individualism has emerged as an important ideal and consumption has become


Demographic Dilemmas

China’s demographics have been largely influenced by the One-child Policy which slowed China’s population boom but also caused a gender imbalance through selective abortions. Today, China is facing the problems of an aging society, as life expectancy increases and birth-rates decrease. This will change the dynamics of China’s workforce and may challenge the competitiveness of their future economy.

One-Child Policy

Mandated nationwide in 1979, the One-Child Policy restricts Chinese parents to a single child, with limited exceptions. Couples who violate the regulation have to pay high fines and face the fact that their children will not be able to attend school unless the parents pay for it out of their own pocket.
Though criticized for its social implications, the policy successfully slowed down population growth. The One-Child principle has become understood as a necessary measure in Chinese society.
As the percentage of elderly Chinese citizens is growing rapidly, the leadership has begun…


The Education System: The Big Picture

Education holds great importance in China, opening the door to promising professional careers, wealth, and financial security for the whole family. The Chinese strongly believe that a school or university with a better reputation gives a better education and assures a good future. Accordingly, Chinese are willing to invest a huge part of their income on their children’s education.
The education system was nearly destroyed by the negative impacts of the cultural revolution. In recent years China has made rapid progress in improving the system once again. Initially built around “key” schools and universities for a small elite (a concept that still exists today on a small scale), the leadership has implemented numerous reforms to resolve the problems of disparity and inequality in education. These initiatives were geared towards raising the standard of education across the country and included school ratings to achieve minimum standards, increased public funds for rural schools, and systematic teacher transfers (urban teachers sent to rural areas and vice versa).
However, the system still emphasizes repetitive learning rather than deep understanding and problem-solving skills. Thus, it has strong limitations in producing school graduates with creative…