China's youth: rebellious, or misunderstood?

Updated: 2015-07-30 15:38


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China's youth: rebellious, or misunderstood?

Yin Sang, founder of 17chang, or "sing together",an online karaoke/social networking platform, was the youngest person in 30 under 30 listing of entrepreneurs of Forbes in Chinese version last year. [Photo from web]

Recently famous Chinese writer Yan Lianke, winner of the Franz Kafka Prize, criticized the Chinese post-80s generation for being too self-centered and for lacking the ability to think independently, saying that “now they are not rebellious enough so that few of them can be heard when faced with social issues.”

But is that true? China’s post-80s have been labeled by many critics as disobedient and rebellious 10 years ago, but now they are blamed for not being rebellious enough, which sparked huge controversy over why this generation is always being criticized no matter what they do.

We cannot define a whole generation as rebellious simply because a tiny number of them behave disobediently, nor accused them of being too weak because their behavior falls short of some individual’s expectations or fail to fit in with some people’s demands.

Each generation has its own characteristics and most of them have their own beliefs and try hard to make the world a better place to live in. The 80s and 90s generation have access via the Internet to cultural innovation and a growing number of these people are becoming the pillars of society.

The post-80s are still a relatively young generation and they are more likely to be ignored. Lots of them give up something in order to adapt themselves to the fiercely competitive environment, but their compromise causes some to accuse them of lacking fighting spirit. Lots of them silently work hard to support their families, but can we criticize them for being too cowardly merely because they lead an ordinary life?

Most people would not stand up to the criteria of having a rebellious spirit if that is defined as “giving up everything including their families without hesitation if needed.” In my opinion, the essence of courage is a spirit that one can have a good understanding of the nature of life and can still try hard to embrace their ordinary life.

The above is from a Beijing News article published on Thursday.