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From Superschool to Super Cool: Leaving ‘Beida’ to Become a Technician

Hao Zhou has become a trending topic on Chinese social media as a ‘rebel’ against Chinese conformity when it comes down to the educational system; instead of continuing his academic career at Beida, he chose to be a technician.

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Trending on Sina Weibo today is the story of Hao Zhou, a young man who chose to be technician over studying at Peking University, one of the most renowned universities in China better known as ‘Beida’.

Comparable to Cambridge in the UK or Harvard in the US, Peking University is one of the top universities in China. For most Chinese, studying at Peking University is an unattainable dream. It makes the story of Hao Zhou (周浩) a striking one; he gave up his place at the famous university in order to be a technician. After several Chinese media brought the story, it turned into a trending topic on Weibo. Netizens have sketched his story as one of a young man who followed his heart and dropped his chance of being a Peking University graduate in order to do what he really wants.

Many view Hao’s choice as a challenge to Chinese ruling ideals and concepts of what the right educational path is. Studying in a top university is a dream for everyone: the student, the teacher and the parents. It is generally believed that a Peking University certificate is the guarantee for a respectable career, good earnings and a happy future.

Discussions have flared up on Sina Weibo on whether one should do what is deemed to be ‘good’ by society and family, or choosing one’s own path and doing what one really likes. Many netizens speak out against Hao’s action, believing that he is still too young to tell what is really right or wrong. On the other hand, many also support Hao and think his decision is an act of bravery and self-confidence: he knows what he likes and what he is doing, making him responsible for his own future. Other views suggest that more young people should reexamine the value of China’s current education in favor of discovering their own passions and chasing their own dreams: exam results and graduation certificates should not be sole factors in determining ‘success’.

Over recent years, China’s education system has been criticized for its emphasis on tests and grades. As CNN’s Yong Zhao writes: “One study shows that fewer than 10% of Chinese graduates would be qualified to work in a foreign company in occupations such as engineering, finance and accounting,” adding that: “The biggest price China has paid is the loss of creative talents. Its education system stifles creativity, suppresses individuality and induces conformity by forcing all children to compete for better test outcomes in a narrow set of subjects.”

Hao, ‘rebel’ against conformity, has stated that he has “no regret whatsoever” over the choice he has made.

 

– by Fan Bai & Manya Koetse 

 

About the author: Fan Bai is a freelance translator and writer. Born and raised in China, she is now based in the UK.

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China Local News

China’s Shulan City in “Wartime Mode” after Recording 13 COVID-19 Infections

Local authorities announced a “wartime mode” lockdown due to 13 new local coronavirus cases in Shulan.

Manya Koetse

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The city of Shulan in China’s Jilin Province is top trending on Chinese social media today after local authorities announced a “wartime mode” lockdown due to 13 new local coronavirus cases.

These are the first local infections in the entire province after a period of 73 days, China News reports, with other previous cases all being infections from abroad.

Last week, on May 7th, a female resident was the first to be tested positive for COVID-19. The city in northeast China is now the only place in the PRC to be marked as “high risk.”

One page on social media platform Weibo dedicated to the topic of Shulan going into “wartime mode” (“战时状态”) had received over 190 million views by Monday evening local time.

What does this “wartime mode” entail?
– All residents stay home, lockdown of residential compounds
– All public places closed
– Schools closed
– All public transportation suspended
– No more selling of fever-reducing medicine in clinics or stores

According to CGTN, a total of 290 people who have been in close contact with the infected patients have been traced and placed under medical observation.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
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China Local News

On Wuhan’s ‘Reopening Day’, Even Traffic Jams Are Celebrated

As the COVID-19 lockdown has ended in Wuhan, many people are happy to see the city’s traffic finally getting busy again. “I hated traffic jams before, now it makes me happy to see them.”

Manya Koetse

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It was chilly and grey in Wuhan when the coronavirus epicenter city went into a full lockdown on January 23 of this year. On April 8, 76 days later, it is sunny and twenty degrees warmer outside as people leave their homes to resume work or go for a stroll.

The end of the Wuhan lockdown is a special day for many, as the city finally lifted the 11-week-long ban that shut down all travel to and from the city in a radical effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, city residents returned to work as public transport started again. Roads, bridges, and tunnels were reopened, and the local airport resumed flights.

On Chinese social media, various hashtags relating to the Wuhan lockdown end have become popular topics. Using hashtags such as “Wuhan Lifts the Ban” (#武汉解封#), “Wuhan Open Again after 76 Days” (#武汉暂停76天后重启#), and “Wuhan Reopens” (#武汉重启#), the end of the coronavirus ban is a much-discussed news item, along with the spectacular midnight light show that was organized to celebrate the city’s reopening.

The Wuhan lightshow, image via Xinhua.

“Today has finally arrived! It’s been difficult for the people of Wuhan,” some commenters write.

According to China’s official statistics, that are disputed, over 3330 people have died from the new coronavirus since its outbreak; 80% of these fatal cases were reported in Wuhan. On April 6, authorities claimed that for the first time since the virus outbreak, there were zero new COVID-19 deaths.

Some state media, including People’s Daily, report that the reopening of restaurants and food shops is going smoothly in the city, as people – for the first time since January – are back to buying pan-fried dumplings and noodles from their favorite vendors.

Meanwhile, the fact that the traffic in some Wuhan areas is back to being somewhat congested is something that is widely celebrated on social media.

Some call the mild traffic congestions “great”, viewing it as a sign that the city is coming back to life again after practically turning into a ghost town for all these weeks.

“I hated traffic jams before, now it makes me happy to see them,” one Weibo commenter writes.

“I won’t complain about congested traffic again, because it’s a sign the streets are flourishing,” another Weibo user posted.

While netizens and media outlets are celebrating the end of the lockdown, several Chinese media accounts also remind people on social media that although the ban has been lifted, people still need to be vigilant and refrain from gathering in groups and standing close to each other.

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
Follow @whatsonweibo

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