What the “Chinese Dream” Means to Me

Xi Jinpingby Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and the President of the People’s Republic of China.

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about what the term “Chinese Dream” actually means.

Is it a revival of Chinese culture? Reclaiming China’s rightful place at the forefront of history? Or is it just a hollow catchphrase Tom Friedman and I settled on after a long night of word association and binge drinking?

Well, I don’t quite remember so let me put it like this: the Chinese Dream is like the Matrix—unfortunately, no one can be told what it is.

I see you are unsatisfied.

Fine. I suppose if we’re being honest, the Chinese Dream is a lot like the “American Dream.”

Back in the 20th century, before their country fell into the hands of a corrupt financial oligarchy, Americans believed that if they worked hard, they could send their children to an Ivy League college and own a home in one of the great American cities.

The Chinese Dream is like the Matrix—unfortunately, no one can be told what it is.

Believe it or not, these are also tenets of the Chinese Dream.

If you work hard enough, you can buy your child’s way to Harvard, or, failing that, UPenn. You can own a home, or multiple homes, in Los Angeles and New York. And if you really set your mind to it, maybe—just maybe—you can even become an American.

Some critics will call me a Pollyanna and say that this dream is impossible.

But they are wrong. Many of us, especially those in the higher echelons of government, have already realized the Chinese Dream. As someone with a daughter in Harvard, multiple properties in the United States and a Taiwanese passport, believe me when I say that the dream is not only possible, it is probable.

So how can you, a normal Chinese, achieve the Chinese Dream?

My advice is to keep striving, keep sacrificing for your country even if you don’t see any meaningful return for decades. And know that even if you haven’t achieved the Chinese Dream, others have thanks to your hard work.

And for the pundits who think that the Chinese Dream means reforming the political and legal system, closing the wealth gap and relaxing restrictions on freedom of speech?

I only have one thing to say: keep dreaming.


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