narrator: mosaic, understanding through diverse voices around the world. tonight on mosaic, china has a new slogan. narrator: introduced by chinese president xi jinping in 2012, the china dream is a pledge to rejuvenate the nation. prof. cheah: when i hear china dream, the first thing i think about: materialist consumption. ai weiwei: i think it's just a nightmare.
narrator: is the china dream of security and economic prosperity for all chinese citizens or only for the well educated and fortunate enough to already be middle class? professor taz frazier: you know working class, working poor, rural chinese citizens are finding the chinese dream to be a myth. prof. stan rosen: it's being introduced at a time when you're trying to pull back everybody who is going off in their own 1.3 billion directions. narrator: tonight on mosaic, through the eyes of film makers around the globe we explore the china dream with intellectuals, overseas students in america, migrant workers in beijing, and an entrepreneur in africa. tonight on mosaic, the china dream.
dean yam yeutong: national rejuvenation refers to those periods when china was very strong. in the like of the han dynasty, tang dynasty, and the early period of qing dynasty. jinping is not the first person talking about a national rejuvenation. but xi jinping talking about the possibility to achieve it within our life. professor wang gungwu: even as a boy i think people talked about a china dream. i mean the sense of being treated as an inferior people who were barbarous and uncultured and unworthy was the kind of image which was very widespread. so the dream was that one day china would be respected country, the culture would be respected. the chinese people would be treated with respect everywhere. nothing very
clear-cut, nothing very concrete, but that hope. narrator: in 1978 the china dream was set into motion when leader deng xiaoping introduced economic reform that opened china's markets to the world. ♪ music the government creates special economy economic zones to attract foreign investment. billions of dollars pour into the country and within two decades china becomes a leading manufacturer of automobiles and heavy machinery. by the early 2000's china's first generation of tech entrepreneurs is born. and land reform guarantees private property rights in 2007. a boom in real estate development and construction creates 85 urban centers that are now home to more than half of china's total population. the country's new wealth has created over 400 billionaires and lifted more than 500 million people out of
poverty. in just 30 years china has emerged from an agrarian collective economy into the world's second largest with an annual gross domestic product at $11 trillion making it the most rapid transformation of a nation's economy in human history. but china's success has also come with a heavy price. a toxic environment, corruption and cronyism, and a wealth gap that is among the highest in the world is now leading many in china to question the direction of its dream. professor pheng cheah: once i was in the san francisco branch of the departmental store barney's. when i looked around, the only shoppers were from the mainland. that's the image that i have of the chinese dream, especially when they're overseas. it's to consume as much as you can and to show how sophisticated your consumption is.
professor zha daojiong: it can be a little bit risky if people take the china dream to imply, number one, we do whatever we have been doing and somehow we stop thinking about, critically about ourselves. assoc. prof. xie zhering: the china dream for us means, stable life and not fascinating life, but stable life with the person you love, with a job you like to do. a spiritual life is very important. angie baecker: i think it's a pretty empty phrase but it indicates a lot of aspirations. it indicates hope. it
indicates a certain direction. narrator: the digital revolution brought hollywood block buster movies, american music, and pop culture to china's millennial generation. exposure to western culture has inspired new attitudes about individuality and personal freedom. seeking to explore the american dream many are now choosing to study in the united states. assoc. prof. taj frazier: for chinese students, one of the things that generates some excitement i think among them in terms of their experience studying here, it's an opportunity to focus on themselves. so the appeal of the american dream over that of the chinese dream for chinese students really has to do with
the emphasis within the american dream on the individual. narrator: today 275,000 chinese students are attending u.s. universities. their experiences in america are forging new china dreams. shincy lu: my name is shincy. i'm 21. i studied economics, cognitive science and film at ucla and i just graduated from college. and right now i am a filmmaker. right now we're at matcha box here at west third street. three... two... one... action. chang li: my name is chang li. i'm a ucla student, senior, fourth year. i saw airplane at the airport and people flying in small airplane over there. and i watched the airplane taking off and landing for like two hours. so i found santa monica airport and i got my introductional flight. and i actually fly on my own on
that time. i feel really good. name is sweet pea. it's a cessna 152. and today while flying this one. it's good. it's flexible. it's solid. okay, good. shavvon lin: my name is shavvon. i'm 21 years old. i'm a student at ucla. my major is communication, minor in theatre. i sing for a long time as well. so the project we're shooting today is china's next top model. and i feel very nervous. shincy: people come to america because of american dreams. they're aware of the idea that the definition of american dreams and what you can achieve in america. chang li: being in america not only changed my dream, they established my dream. before i come here i don't know i can fly, i can be a pilot. i don't know anything about psychology. but here i got the chance to learn all of that. shavvon: i got interested into western music because of mariah carey when i was 12. i kept listening a lot like beyonce,
aretha franklin, the motown, it's so different from what i learned. my mom didn't want me to learn singing. so my teacher sent a recording of mine to a national competition of children singing. very luckily i got picked and sent to beijing. ♪ music so my mom said, okay, probably you got some talents and why don't you just learn some singing. my mom actually got the chance to be a signed singer but she didn't want to choose that path at all. because how she perceived that profession just very scary for her. shincy: since my parents went to top universities in china, they certainly had a really high expectation for me in terms of schoolwork. so when i decided to do film instead of pursue my economics ph.d. degree, they really freaked out and they were like, no.
my show is "sounder show." it is a show shot mainly in restaurants and cafes. we talk about different topics each time, mostly related to lives of international students here in the u.s. if i'd gone to college in china, i don't think i would be in the same path just because i felt like la, especially ucla, has given me this very specific atmosphere for film making. it's true love when you do something you can forget about eating, forget about sleeping. chang: i do feel pressure to surpass my parents. they are really successful. and they start from zero. to be honest i'm not start from zero. yeah, my dad used to be a university teacher when he graduated. and after that started a cpa firm.
shavvon: my personal china dream is to break the stereotypical image of the chinese through my performance, my music and what i do in the states. chang: i can be a nice person to my friend. and i can be a good boyfriend to my girlfriend. i can be a good son to my parents. maybe some day all these things will change the world. it will change my world at least. shincy: after working in the u.s. for a couple years my ideal career path will be to go back to china because i wanted to tell the stories of chinese people, bring progress to the society of china. shavvon: i think eventually i want to do something for my country. because i know that right now there's still a lot of change that needs to be done by people who study abroad. shincy: i feel like we are the crucial people that would be able to bring together the idealogy of china and the u.s.
shincy: i represent china wherever i go, but because i want to achieve success in the states so i have american dream as well. i think i'm a combination of both. [in unison] good-bye everybody. shincy: ooh, it's a wrap. narrator: while students in the u.s. are pursuing their american dreams, back in china young migrants flock to urban settings hoping to escape generations of poverty. taz: people of working class, working poor, rural backgrounds in china, many of them are helping to create the conditions for the chinese dream. but many of them aren't able to experience it and live it. professor stan rosen: they don't have time to worry about the china dream; they're just
narrator: wang hao dropped out of school at age 16 after just a year of vocational high school. while most urban students attend high school only half of poor rural children do. education is necessary for rural youth to break the cycle of poverty. but like wang hao many complain that the substandard quality of rural education leaves them little hope.
dwellers are still classified as rural rather than urban. this means that they have little or no access to social services like schools, hospitals, and pensions in the cities where they live. yang lu has been in beijing for several years already but is still grappling with the metropolis. narrator: china's youth largely made up of single children are pushed to succeed academically. but for many women as soon as they graduate and start establishing careers, there comes an almost immediate
pressure to marry. yang lu is a member of what is known as beijing's ant tribe where millions of migrants and graduates pack into cheap dormitories, plaster board separated grid rooms or slums on the city's fringes. still, yang lu says at her current 3x3 meter grid home is a step up from the darker damper basement housing she lived in for her first eight years in beijing. after working as a waitress and security guard, yang lu decided to study part-time and gained a vocational degree which lead to her current office job.
narrator: one of wu shiliang's biggest dreams is for more social equality and both yang lu and wang hao say they and their peers don't need a government campaign to persuade them to dream, just a fair chance to achieve their ambition. narrator: today the 275 million migrants that help build the china dream are discovering labor rights and demanding higher wages. rising labor costs at home are driving many chinese companies to develop overseas opportunities in emerging markets. the business potential of african economies has attracted hundreds of thousands of chinese entrepreneurs seeking to fill gaps in the market. since 2001 over 1 million chinese have emigrated to africa. frank fang: let's go and check in. narrator: frank fang has a farm
on the outskirts of lusaka, the capitol city of zambia. he loves to bring his family here on the weekend for barbecue. in 1994 frank graduated with a law degree from a prestigious university in south of china. he got employed by a high profile company in his only province which specializes in international cooperration. ♪ music narrator: a few years later frank was deployed by his company to botswana. the memory of arriving in africa for the first time is still very fresh.
narrator: in 2000 frank quit the company and together with his friends they drove from botswana to zambia to start a new life. frank fang: this is lusaka hotel. and this is the first place we stayed on the first day, from the first day we arrived in lusaka, we stayed here -- i can't remember if it was this room or this room -- for about 30, 40 days. this is one of my brothers here. i've known him for long. how many years we know each other? >>i've been here for almost 13 years. frank: 13 years? >>how did you know each other? frank: how did we know each other? >>we know each other (unclear) when i was younger. frank: when you was young, you're still pretty young. [laughter] narrator: in a friend's wedding, frank meets a zambian
gal lucy, who was going to change his life completely. frank married lucy. together they have three sons, regal, caleb, and bubu. frank: okay, go and catch regal, catch regal. narrator: the interracial marriages between africans and chinese were other times rare and not without controversy. after his marriage, frank transferred all his assets from china to zambia and invested in a clothing business together with lucy.
frank: this is the first shop. thirteen years ago i managed to help my wife. we help each other to open this shop. it's changed a bit but still the same logo, 15 years ago. narrator: they have moved their major business to high end malls and operate a chain of clothing stores in lusaka. they have employed about 2000 zambian workers. frank might not have expected to have come this far in their business. it's not only the business that binds frank to africa. he has never forgotten what lured him to quit his former job 15 years ago and become an adventurer in africa.
♪ music narrator: the debate about the long-term consequences of china's engagement with africa is heated, especially in western media. will it create real development and prosperity? or simply lead to labor and resource exploitation reminiscent of 19th century western colonialism? while the average chinese citizen lives a better life than 30 years ago, more than ever many are feeling uncertain about their own prospects and their country's future. only time will tell if xi jinping's china dream will ultimately succeed and become more than a party slogan.
go to linktv.org/mosaic to watch the full length films featured in this episode of mosaic. to learn more about the china dream, go to linktv.org/mosaic and explore more perspectives with students at china's top universities, the wealthiest one percent, a coalminer and chinese in africa. connect to the mosaic community on facebook and twitter. for more on mosaic go to linktv.org/mosaic. ♪ music mosaic is made possible through the generous support of the henry luce foundation. a a a oyjñ