How will knowledge change fate?

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Beijing Review, May 24, 2021
Adjust font size:

Very recently, the acknowledgement section in a doctoral dissertation managed to stir up an online sensation. Huang Guoping, a Ph.D graduating from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 2017, wrote in this part that he had toiled away for 22 years before he was finally able to hand in his doctoral dissertation. He further acknowledged the countless difficulties he'd encountered along the 22-year-long path of receiving education from primary school, across the mountains surrounding his village all the way to the CAS.

Huang is now working with Tencent AI Lab, successfully transforming his life and fate. His bylines went viral and a growing number of people across Chinese society began to ponder the question: How can people change their fate through education?

Zhao Zhijiang ( For thousands of years, education, or knowledge, has long been seen as the most realistic and easiest way to transform people's life. Actually, it's not easy at all, but it is true that this is a relatively fair opportunity that almost everyone can use to change the course of fate.

As for students from poor families, fate seems to have dealt them an extremely cruel hand, as they have to go all out for even the most common of rewards. Indeed, knowledge helps to change their fate for good, but more accurately, it is their persistence and hardworking spirit, throughout the whole process of studying, that contribute to their successful transformation. 

"Knowledge changes fate" will never lose its relevance. While working hard to gain knowledge, one is empowering oneself and thus altering the course of fate based on personal efforts. Fate is the result of one's hard work and perseverance.

Jiang Chongjing ( In the 1980s, and even the 1990s, when some parts of China's rural areas still lacked food and clothes supplies, to go to college and find a good job in the cities was the common goal for tens of thousands of children from poor families. Thus, Huang's story of adversity and success alike can strike a chord across Chinese society.

People can't choose the family they are born into, and thus they stand at different starting lines in terms of education and many other things. However, poverty will not necessarily stop those ambitious students from seeking a better life. They do not complain about fate, but instead work harder than the others and keep striving for a better future for themselves and their families. As Huang wrote in the acknowledgement: The biggest fun thing for him to do in the evening when he was little was to read or do homework under a kerosene lamp. Knowledge empowers and enlightens him.

Yi Yangang ( One important underlying reason for this letter going viral was the grateful sentiment embedded within, between the lines. When realizing his dream, harvesting a doctoral degree at the CAS and obtaining a high-paying job, Huang still remembers all of the assistance from relatives, teachers and kind-hearted strangers. His senior middle school exempted him from tuition fees and this proved the biggest booster factor, sending him all the way up to university.

Huang's experience of getting out of the mountains and securing an ideal job in a big city, and the bright prospects of great future truly epitomizes the saying that "knowledge changes fate." "Devalue the importance of intelligence and knowledge" is currently gaining some momentum across some rural areas, but Huang's story is likely to once again fill the minds of those rural students ready to carve out their own path with confidence.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:    
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from