China Voice: "The Chinese Dream": A grand vision with humble beginnings

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 5, 2013
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This year's parliamentary season is sure to be abuzz about the "Chinese dream," but lawmakers and political advisors still need to take heed of average people's hopes and dreams.

Top leader Xi Jinping's interpretation of the Chinese dream as the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has been widely echoed throughout the country since November. While people agree that such an ambition should be built upon the dreams of every individual, people also agree that some dreams are simply too trivial.

Interviews conducted by China Central Television, the state broadcaster, and posts on Sina Weibo, China's popular Twitter-like microblogging platform, show that most people simply dream of living a better life, which often means making more money and having access to clean air and safe food.

One woman said in an interview that her dream was for her daughter to find a boyfriend, while one man said he wished he could go back in time and go to school, something he never had the chance to do.

Difficult as it is to generalize where 1.3 billion Chinese people currently sit on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the Chinese dream, a grand vision of the nation's future, can be achieved only if down-to-earth measures are taken in response to the appeals of the people.

"The people are the foundation of a state," according to an ancient Chinese saying. In fact, the point of making a country stronger is to provide better lives for the people of that country.

In China, the people's most pressing and visible demands are for their leaders to tackle problems threatening their daily lives, notably pollution, food safety and the equal distribution of wealth and other social resources.

This winter, heavy smog choked large parts of China several times, fanning fears about the putrid air's effect on human health, as well as raising concern about, and prompting reflection on, the environmental impact of the country's decades of fast economic growth driven largely by labor-intensive manufacturing.

Levels of PM2.5, particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter that can deeply penetrate the lungs, has become the stuff of nightmares for many Chinese. They have given it several nicknames in their mother tongue that rhyme with "the capital," "public servants" and "serve the people."

The foul air even gave rise to heated public debate about whether the government should ban people from setting off fireworks to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival, a tradition that dates back several thousand years.

Meanwhile, food safety is just as heart-breaking, if not gut-wrenching. Widespread distrust in the domestic dairy industry has driven many parents of infants to buy milk powder in bulk overseas, a trend that has been condemned and restricted by some countries and regions to protect supplies for local consumers.

Since March 1, people are prohibited from carrying more than 1.8 kg of milk powder through customs checkpoints in Hong Kong. Violators face steep fines and up to two years in prison. The move cut off one source of safe, reliable infant formula for parents on the mainland whose confidence in infant formula available here has been rocked by food safety scares.

In the coming two weeks or so, the country's national legislators and political advisors will gather in Beijing for the annual political sessions. Throughout the duration of the sessions, they are expected to discuss the aforementioned issues and offer advice on how to realize the Chinese dream.

Deputies elected to represent the country's large population should take this opportunity to propose solutions rather than use the time to talk about the Chinese dream.

In the meantime, while pinning hopes for wise policies on the Party and the government, each individual should be aware of his own responsibility in the cause of building a strong and prosperous country.

The self-discipline of ordinary citizens is vital to China's fight against environmental and social woes and, consequently, ability to achieve the Chinese dream.

After all, it is the daily work of average citizens that lays the road to a bright future. Endi

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