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tv   Asia Insight  PBS  March 12, 2016 12:00am-12:31am PST

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the college admission rate in china has been surging since 2000. in 2015, the number of new graduates hit a record high of
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7.49 million. competition in the job market has become fierce. critics say graduates turn down everyday jobs, to aim for placements at leading corporations. some, however, are choosing different paths. we follow the lives of three college graduates, who are
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seeking an alternative to social status and high income lifestyle. agriculture is a way to make a living that most chinese college graduates would never imagine doing. we met one young man who went against the grain, and chose to become a farmer. fengxiya district is about an hour drive from shanghai and an importer of rice and vegetables. as most of the produce is sold locally, the district is situated in a fortunate location. but farmers still have trouble finding successors. this 20,000 square meter plot of
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land is where our first college graduate works. sun peng, since becoming a farmer, gross mostly strawberries and rice. sun comes from a family of farmer whose decided to return their land to the state ten years ago, when he entered university. sun was the first person in the family to ever attend university. everyone expected big things
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from him. after graduation, sun joined an it firm that develops architecture software, but only four years into the job, he quit. sun's family was surprised by his decision to become a sun's parents didn't want their college educated only child to take up the demanding farm work they endured for
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since the family had already given up their land and equipment, sun used his entire savings to prepare for his new enterprise. he had to borrow land from a farmer who had no successors.
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the previous farmer had used huge amounts of chemical fertilizer on parts of the land to boost harvest volume. soon, he discovered chemical residues. on the unspoiled part of the land, sun decided to try his hand at the difficult process of growing organic strawberries.
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only a year after he began farming, he won the gold award in their category at a national strawberry growing contest. but they've yet to hit the market. as sun can't secure a sales route due to the small quantities he produces. in january 2016, sun received a great opportunity to market and promote his produce. at a trade fair held just before the chinese new year. exhibiters include select producers from shanghai and
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neighboring provinces. visitors come from top restaurants and luxury department stores. deals are commonly made on the spot. right when sun arrives, he begins looking around the sun finds four other booths selling strawberries. he carefully inspects the color, shape and taste of the
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sun decides to sell his 500 gram boxes for $4 each. and his 200 gram boxes for $1.50. but for the first hour after putting his strawberries out, customers are put off by the prices, and quickly move sun tries his hardest at selling, but people aren't willing to make a purchase. he suddenly remembers that he should have given away free tastings, and quickly starts offering samples.
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and so he finally gets his first customer. the free tastings work. and sun's strawberries begin selling like hot sun says that to gain customer trust, he needs to learn how to sell as well as
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ni huam gave up an en vire mental career. on this day, she is taking children and their families on an ec eco tour. do it yourself ideas. at the end, she gives a workshop on how to set up an air purifier in just three minutes. she hands out cheap electric fans sold everywhere. and filters too.
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this air purifier set was conceived of by a start up and costs $20. all you have to do is attach the filter to the mi says the air purifiers works the same sold for over $200 a piece, but most people are skeptical and find it hard to believe. to prove what she claims, mi tests the filter with a machine that measures air
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in just a few seconds, the figure begins to drop. mi believes that using it do it yourself approaches such as this is an economic way of keeping the indoor environment safe and clean. mi charged families $23 each for the tour. she says that's the only way to cover the costs.
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mi graduated from the southwestern university of finance and economics, and then studied at cambridge university in the u.k. she landed a job at the world bank. and after getting married, she went on to work as a freelance environmental consultant for governments and corporations. green light-year is the name of the ngo she launched in 2015. her home serves as the base. currently, mi is the only official member. her friends and volunteers help out when she does activities.
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mi started her ngo after settling into married life. along with her husband, she has always tried to be as eco friendly as possible. their measures include generating solar power, and
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turning raw garbage into fertilizer for growing vegetables. the couple came to realize that it's up to every individual to make an effort to go green. mi's husband is her number one supporter. he is a university professor, who teaches artificial intelligence. the couple believes that the kind of grassroots activities they're doing are exactly what
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people from educated backgrounds are suited to. this large shopping mall sits in a new residential area of eastern shanghai. here on this stage, crafts people are creating their wares. items such as these used to be sold at festivals and events as good luck passers by enjoy watching them being made and they can bring them home for decorations to bring fortune. recently in china, traditional crafts have been disappearing.
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figurines such as these for example, date back 1,400 years, and have long been part of the chinese culture. made of wheat flour, they are frequently used in special celebrations. they're simply made and a very dear item to the common people. shang shujia, but resigned to pursue her dream of keeping traditional crafts alive. all the artisans here were insightsed to take part in the
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event by shang herself.
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zhang has been making efforts to help preserve traditional crafts. but it has proved to be challenging. she tried incorporating cultural activities, and received support from the government. she was able to create an exhibitions space and office at the local community center. she says she first got the idea when she was in the marketing division of the cosmetic firm she worked at. her main source of income and funding is hosting events and running a culture school.
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she was first drawn to traditional crafts when she was ten. watching a dough figure craft man. she started making them herself and was once touted as a child genius. but it was always just a hobby for her, so she got on with her studies and eventually entered one of shanghai's top urts. she never considered being one herself. she made this piece when she was only 12 years old. it represents 56 ethnic minorities in china. it received so much praise, she was invited overseas to exhibit
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as a promising young crafts woman.
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zhang bam a promoter of traditional crafts. she is grateful for his business experience which have given her useful skills. in late january 2016, shanghai was gripped by a cold wave. the morning after the cold first
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struck, we heard from sun that his strawberries were one of his 12 greenhouses was wrecked by the strong winds, leaving the strawberries exposed to the freezing cold rain. the mature strawberries were completely exposed to the elements. sun estimates the dang to the greenhouse and crops to be at least $2,000.
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the strawberries soon put so much hard work into are now worthless. si silently, he plucks them and throws them
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fortunately, the damage from the cold wave wasn't as severe as he initially thought. next year, he plans to double his strawberry cultivation, in order to secure sales routes so
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consumers can finally enjoy his produce. some of china's university graduates are applying their academic abilities to venture into unchartered waters. they could pave the way for a new generation of entrepreneurs who are determine today preserve the country's environment and culture.
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narrator: this week, "global 3000" is in ethiopia, where we're watching globalization at work. we're looking into why chinese companies are relocating production here. and we'll be finding out how farmers in cambodia are responding to climate change and how that affects the rare sarus crane. but first, we go to brazil. a country already reeling from political and economic crisis, brazil is now in the headlines because of a new health threat we know little about, the zika virus. the virus came with the "aedes aegypti" or "yellow fever mosquito." in 2007, on a little island in the pacific, over 100 people came down with zika. this was when virologists first really noticed it.


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