A country needs to appeal to its elites at least
Throughout the history it was always that 1% of the population who made profound changes in our civilization. The people in power may change from time to time, but the importance of the elite class to a country stays the same. But if a country could not even hold its elites, what kind of future does the country have?
I am talking specifically to my country, China, a renowned economic miracle of the 21st century. While every money-drilling businessman is dashing into China for the gold rush, every desperate Chinese intelligentsia would do everything he/she could to get out of the country. You are probably not aware of the latter one, but definitely heard of the former phenomenon. Especially in such an economic downturn in the West, people even see China as the ultimate savior for the misery Europeans have got themselves into. To a normal Chinese, especially for guys who have extensive experience and understanding of both China and the west like myself, China is a sad place. Emotionally, when the place makes people sad, you just want to leave it behind.
Why is China a sad place? A reactionary like myself would first argue about the complete loss of Chinese Classic culture in modern Chinese society. I for one despise all the peasantry and impetuosity that have immersed this country and would never be fine to live as one of them. Normal folks who worry about seven days a week, four weeks a month, would be sad about how little money they could earn from their double hard-working everyday life and how insecure their society makes them feel still in return. The milk powder scandal, the railway scandal, the hospital scandal, the construction scandal… Too many to believe what and to who they could trust. So parents tell their kids, “son, study hard and go abroad, once you could settle down in a good place, never come back!“.
I am not exaggerating here at all. Young people like myself grew up in a sentiment that excelling in school in order to go abroad is the only future for us. The modern Chinese society is too disheartening for a concerning individual to stay. So the next thing you know Western top institutions, top law firms, top IT companies, top banks, are full of those people who actually wanted to leave China for good. This is what we call the new wave of Chinese immigration in the past two decades. Since 1979, there are in total almost 2 million Chinese kids going abroad for higher education in the West. And guess what? Merely 600,000 returned afterwards. The emigration of those one and half million top of the top intellectuals are an incurable loss to China. This is what we call “the Brain Drain”.
So like those annoying clannish peasants who dare to illegally immigrate to the West to open a lousy Chinese restaurant or a convenient store, the intellectuals want out as well. But the mega escape doesn’t stop there. In a recent study, the rich, along with the ones in power in China, want out, too. That’d be a bit too much to lose. Like it or not, those are the guys who are actually enjoying the economic miracle in China. They are the new power of the country and by all means they should stay at the place where they have unlimited access to resources and power. But they want out as well.
That really puzzles me. I get that modern China sucks for ordinary Chinese, sucks for intellectuals. But I never thought those business magnates and high official profiles would think their life suck too in China. In a merchantist culture specially for the taste of corporate scam, political bribery, and most of all, those rich oligarch poker faces, modern China could not even appeal to those money-drilling merchants and officials in power? That is fundamentally ironic.
I also get that those people might feel insecure of their new status and wealth in China, where back-stabbing is common as blurring “Wish you getting rich” on the Chinese New Year and lying is normal as eating rice. So the same kind of people who topped those games are hoping to dodge away from those rules themselves.
It doesn’t matter if China promise more money to those smart ones who went abroad or force some rich guys from taking away the gold. The elites lost their faith in the country. The most urgent assignment for the current Chinese regime is to set up a better image to be appealing to its own people. And that could require something more than sending 20 astronauts at the same time. A country needs to be appealing to its elite at least, otherwise there will be no hope.