17. Young and Restless in China

This blog refers to the film from Frontline.

I’ve answered few of the questions that our class has discussed about.

Question 3: What do you think Ben Wu, the entrepreneur launching the Internet café, is representative of the “new” China?

One of the factors that make Ben Wu a good representative of the “new” China is his educational achievements and purpose. In the beginning of the film, the narrator mentions that many Chinese people come back from United States after pursuing their educations.  They choose to come back for entrepreneurial opportunities that Western-educated people can succeed in. Ben Wu, after studying in New York, also comes back to China to start his Internet café business. Another way Ben Wu resembles nowadays China is his family issues. Majority of the Chinese businessmen, businesswomen, and workers face trouble dealing with both their family lives and works. Ben had to live separately from his wife because he had to stay in China to regulate his café, while his wife was studying in New York. Similarly, another character from the film, Zhang Jingjing, a public lawyer, lost her fiancé because she tied herself to her job.

Lawyer Jingjing

Lawyer Jingjing

She admitted that she was focused too much on her work, which eventually led to her breakup. The “new” China is a developing nation that is transforming into a center of international and entrepreneurial events, and unfortunately experiencing conflicts between personal lives and business lives.   



Question 6: Lu Dong likens Chinese ambition to a poor kid going into a candy store and grabbing too much candy because he has been hungry for so long.

        Is this an apt analogy about China?

        Propose another analogy to describe Chinese ambition.


As we have seen from the video, most of the people who are having successful businesses have once suffered poor lives. China has been one of the poorest nations in the 20th century. It has suffered through disastrous poverty and communism. The “new” China is, however, developing economically in an uncontrollable speed. The citizens are getting education from America, myriads of independent businesses are blossoming, and the nation is getting richer. Because the Chinese people have witnessed and experienced the hardships, their main goal is to have peaceful lives. And for them to enjoy their lives, they need money.



China since has become the money-driven nation. As Lu Dong said, the common Chinese Dream nowadays became

 “Get rich as fast as you can and enjoy the rest of life.”

The “poor kid” analogy perfectly fits the circumstance that China is currently experiencing. The people have been economically deprived and hungry, and they want to reverse their lives as quickly as possible.

Another possible analogy that can describe the Chinese ambition is the Burmese Pythons. In 2005, a 13-foot Burmese python tried to swallow an indigenous 6-foot alligator in Everglades National Park. However, the alligator was too big that python’s stomach ripped open. Later on, the biologists and ecologists figured out that the python was starving for days. This also is an apt analogy that represents the Chinese ambition: desires overwhelming the reasonable consciousness.

burmese python

burmese python






Question 9: Why do you think FRONTLINE producers named this program Young & Restless in China?

        Do you think this is an appropriate title? Why or why not?

        What other titles would aptly describe this program?


China is a newly developing country. Compared to its status from the 20th century, it went through tremendous alteration and economical improvements. The improvements, however, could not have happened without the citizens. The new and young generation of arduous workers is slowly yet affectively transforming the nation. Just like each of the nine characters introduced in the video, the Chinese people work hard and continuously. The young people who received education from United States are coming back to China. They are restless. They are the ones who are changing China. The film’s title Young and Restless thereby clearly represents the current Chinese trend; young people working restlessly to make China more prosperous and worldly known.

Another possible title that fits the purpose of the video is Chinese Python. (Just kidding). If the negative sides of Chinese workers being money-blind and money-driven are to be emphasized, then I think a good title would be Indifference or Blindness. This title specifically targets the audiences to think about what the obsessions have resulted in and where they originated from. If the titles were to be a little more optimistic, a good title would be Evolution of China.


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