From Sina | translated by Ivan | edited by Key
On Mar 7, Wang Ping, member of the national committee of CPPCC, director of Chinese National Museum in Beijing, stated that children from rural areas should not be encouraged to enter university, because once they go to university, they would never go back to their hometown, which would be a tragedy. In her opinion, supporting a child to go to university will cause poverty for a family , and because the kid may not be able to find a suitable job or afford a house after graduating from college and also not willing to return home. This is quite unreasonable. (Mar 9, Jinghua Times)
Wang Ping’s opinion was soon quoted by many websites and raised a storm of criticism among netizens: “Are all rural kids doomed to work on the land generation after generation? Shouldn’t they have a taste of the reform?” Other netizens even doubted how she became a member of the national committee of CPPCC, and even going to conduct human flesh search on her.
In my opinion, Wang Ping’s view was astonishing and unexplainable, but it was not totally groundless or baseless. Generally speaking, she saw the problem, but prescribed a wrong recipe.
What Wang Ping noticed can be simplified into the following three points: first, the continuous expansion of the gap between rural and urban development causes the loss of rural talents, and the decline of traditional culture; second, the expensive university tuition outweighs what a poor rural family can afford, which leads to the situation of “one person going to university, whole family falling into poverty”; third, the lack of employment and development opportunities imposes great pressure and difficulty on rural university graduates.
These three challenges do exist. These thirty years of the implementation of reform and opening up have witnessed a remarkable headway made in the living standard in countryside, but still the income gap between rural and urban areas is increased to 3.6 times from 2.4 times in 1980s. Under the great siphon effect generated by the huge gap, rural students are reluctant to go back to their hometown, which leads to the lack of talents in countryside and the emergence of Vacant Village symptom, let alone the old problems of the expensive university tuition fee and the job-hunting difficulty for university graduates.
What’s ridiculous is that Wang Ping saw the problem, but no proposal to address these social problems was put forward. Instead, she rationalized all these. At least she regarded them as unsolvable. Rather, she asked rural students to give up the opportunity to enter university or even go into city. This is a totally wrong prescription!
These problems mentioned above can be solved mainly by vigorously promoting the program of metropolitan “feeding” countryside and encouraging farmers to create new cooperative economy and to go in for non-agricultural industries and so on. In dealing with unaffordable university tuition issue in rural families, we should step up to reform higher education system and exercise remission or reduction on tuition fees for students from the countryside or poverty-stricken districts.
If we completely follow Wang Ping’s advice, China would turn into a society with a caste system, where superior caste, living in city, savors the result of reform and modernization while inferior caste, staying in rural areas, does manual low-paid labor generation by generation—— isn’t it a huge step backwards in history?
Facing the apparent lack of fairness and practicality in the advice, Wang Ping kept preaching on her Great opinion with self-satisfaction without any awareness. This again showed the parochialism, short sighted vision and selfishness of some elites and the necessity of the reform in NPC & CPPCC.