Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

px1745.jpg Pedro Molina

As China Turns

Thirty years of economic reform have transformed China into an increasingly materialistic, money-worshipping society that has lost touch with traditional ethics. Nothing captures this moral vacuum more vividly than the recent television drama, “Wo Ju” (“Crowded Spaces”), which has been riveting Chinese audiences.

When Deng Xiaoping began to open China in the late 1970’s, he said, “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white. As long as it catches mice, it is a good cat.” This motto helped catalyze China into becoming what it is today: an increasingly materialistic, money-worshipping society that has lost touch with traditional ethics. Nothing captures this moral vacuum more vividly than the recent television drama, “Wo Ju” (“Crowded Spaces”), which has been riveting Chinese audiences.

The program’s “hero,” Guo Haizao, is a fair-skinned and innocent 25-year-old woman living near Shanghai. Initially she follows in her older sister’s footsteps in quest of their common dream, to attend one of China’s top universities. But, even with a university degree, life in go-go Shanghai turns out not to be as she had imagined.

“Why is the world so full of unfairness, with the limelight only splashing on the prettiest spots in the city?” she wonders one night, as she worries about her and her sister’s struggle to buy a home.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/LFjfuIb;
  1. wei22_FABRICE COFFRINIAFP via Getty Images_WTOredlight Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

    How to Revive the WTO

    Shang-Jin Wei & Xinding Yu

    The World Trade Organization’s appellate body is under threat not from China, but from the United States, which is blocking the appointment of new judges to the panel. Reviving the WTO will require changes to the organization's rules – but killing its dispute-settlement system is not the solution.

    0
  2. ghosh16_Yawar NazirGetty Images_indiakashmirmuslimwoman Yawar Nazir/Getty Images

    The Rape of India’s Soul

    Jayati Ghosh

    India’s rapid descent into xenophobia, violence, and irrationality has an important economic dimension, but it takes politicians to channel these emotions into nationalism, and to embolden the nationalists to commit violence. Now that the BJP has done so, is it able – or willing – to exorcise the many demons it has unleashed?

    10