Regarding “Can’t Buy Me Love” by John Osburg and excerpts of Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos
Osburg and Osnos’ works describe a very different China than what we have previously learned in class. In a modernizing world, China is no longer in a time of hardship, and religious belief is seeing a resurgence. Young people today are flirting with the idea of religion, many seeking refuge in Buddhist monasteries or “home church” groups.
This return of spiritualism seems rather contradictory to the CPC’s previous policies regarding religion. However, these policies have changed several times throughout history. Prior to the Cultural Revolution, the Communist Party was rather lenient toward the religious freedom of citizens. These frequent changes in policies, however, have left a profound effect on Chinese people’s attitudes toward religion. In Osnos’ Spiritual Void, he describes a modern China in which middle-aged women are unaware of Confucian traditions. However, I do find China’s newfound interest in religion to be interesting as it may potentially lead to an eventual liberalization of the Chinese government.
Osburg and Osnos differ in their beliefs as Osnos mentioned that he believes that China will eventually open up spiritually while Osburg believes that young Chinese people are more materialistic and would rather spend their time earning money than fighting for democratic change. Both of these seem like valid beliefs as the Chinese domestic affairs are heavily dependent on the current president’s policies. Xi Jinping has been a comparably conservative leader as seen in his policies over the past five years, including heavily censoring “morally obscene” content on television, a major gripe of young Chinese people today.
Honestly, I believe that the future of China is really unpredictable. The only thing for certain is uncertainty.