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As a 90's in China, what Li said part is right but part is wrong.

I am not sure where Li's statistics came from, but it must be wrong. Since only about 30% graduates in 2013 get a job and more and more people, especially in Beijing find that it is too difficult to buy a house. Can you imaging that you have to pay 10 million RMB or about 2 million US dollar to buy an apartment about 100 square meters? For me, I have to say I can see little hope. But it is because of the competition. I believe there are so many talented people who can chase their dream, however, for most of us, we see desperation.

  • Jul 2 2013: As a 90's in China, you should appreciate what you have... 30% graduates... well at least they graduated from college and got a higher education. Why is it necessary to purchase a home? Renting is perfectly affordable and convenient. If demand is so high then of course the price goes up.. that's just simple economic rules of supply and demand. (and the fact that there is very limited space in large cities) Of course anyone has the right to disagree with anyone but I would prefer to watch Li's talk as a simple suggestion or a DIFFERENT way of looking at a situation. A way that you might not agree with but should definitely take into consideration. Also to state that his statstics are wrong is very immature and uncalled for. If you are from China then you must know what it was like for your parents to grow up and the sacrifices they made and now as you complain about unemployment and expensive house prices, be grateful that you have food on your dinner table and internet and phones... I'm not saying the Chinese government is great but it works.. well at least for the china in it's current and past state. Change is not easy and you can't expect everything to get better at once. I'm also a 90's and I appreciate the sacrifices my parents and grandparents made to get me here today.
    • Jul 2 2013: Regard Li's talk as a simple suggestion or a DIFFERENT way of looking at a situation that will make it easy for all to take it.Even the statistics all wrong!And this is the significance of Li's talk
    • Jul 3 2013: I appreciate Li's talk and I really thank him to let more people not only westerns but also Chinese to know and think the world in a different way. And also I am not one only complain about the society, I also work hard. You say rent a house, OK, then do you know how much will it take in Beijing? I have to say it cannot be called affordable. And about "the simple economic rules" , yes there are a surplus in demand, however, some people have tens or hundreds of houses well other have nothing, how could you explain that? It is not a simple supply and demand, it contain a lot of other things. I want China to become better, not on the GDP but on GDP per capita and want the standard deviation could be smaller. I love my country, but we also have to understand the bad part of the society. Right now, I cannot say I understand the bad part of the society, because I agree that I am too negative. This is because everyday so many negative news jump into my eyes but the positive news are so far away. I agree that GDP means a lot, but it means more to the country than to each individual. I remember that in Li's talk, he sail most people in China think China will go better, I agree with that, but what about asking them will you go better or worse? I cannot remember it is Hong Kong or Taiwan or mainland China, a survey said that most people believe the society will go better but their own life will go worse.
    • Jul 3 2013: "Why is it necessary to purchase a home? "No,it 's not necessary.You may not have a kid or you can send your child to school in Chinese country which seems to be anothor country.
      "I'm not saying the Chinese government is great but it works.. well" for official and Guo Meimei babies who has hundreds of houses , millons of money ,billions of ...
      • Jul 3 2013: I agree that that life is harder in China (depending on what country you are comparing to) but do you believe that if China was governed under a democratic party that all your problems and poverty will just go away? My arguement is not over the living standards of China but over Li's talk about the Chinese government. In china's present state in it's development the government at this point in time is working (just look at how far you've come in the past 20 years) Also... replying to the comment about rich individuals with hundreds of houses... DUDE.. are you serious? no matter what country, what government, there will ALWAYS be the rich and corrupt (Li even mentions how China's corruption rating is better than many western countries) I live in the US and the RICHEST people in the world live here...that in no way makes me think it's the government's fault? Yes some are born more fortunately but I do believe in hard work paying off. Li makes a great point in that argument when he states that officials in China actually raise through the ranks from bottoms up.. in a democratic system, leaders are elected based on their popularity and public recognition. Corruption of the officials is NOT just China, just look in the News (Chicago, New Orleans for example) corrupt and rich officals are not just a problem China faces.
      • Jul 4 2013: Come on, be rational. I don't believe there is any parents want to send their children back to the countryside after so many years fighting. They finally get out of the countryside, they will try their best to get all their family out. Though my family (from grandgrandparents) live in Beijing, and sometimes I really hate so many people out of Beijing come here and make the capital too crowded, I have to admit that there is no reason to ask those people who fight out to Beijing or those who live in Beijing for several centuries to sent their children to countryside. Man struggles upwards; water flows downwards. Your claim make me remember the educated youth who have settled in the rural areas in 1970's.
        • Jul 5 2013: I don't understand the reference to parents... if you graduated college, u should be a mature human being (grown ass woman/man) that can make their own decisions.

          Also, I'm not saying they need to move out to the countryside for the rest of their lives?
          I'm talking a few years after graduation (especially since their wage is so low starting off.. this will give them work experience, leadership skills, and build character)
          Here in the US a lot of students will choose to teach english in a foreign country for a few years before starting a career. This also proves to employers they care about society.
          All I see is benefit in doing this... yes it will be tough for a little bit in the countryside but look it as an experience to grow. I don't understand why you would call me irrational for suggesting this?
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          Jul 18 2013: Sorry to jump into the conversation, but I believe this is simply a cultural difference here. In China, "face" is very important. Going back to the countryside to work is like bringing shame to the family's reputation. Of course, in America, no one cares about this kind of stuff.
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    Jul 2 2013: A very eye opening talk. I love the fact that he mentions coming to Berkeley - where we like to "re-imagine our world".
    We also like to question authority and challenge the status quo. Being a Berkeley grad myself - I like to live by the motto of "see what's actually there" - not just what people tell you to see. For example - when people ask what color is the sky - the most common response is blue. Yet the sky is not blue at night - or sunrise or sunset for that matter. We need to see what's really there and tell the truth about it. I believe that's what Li has done. Western ways are not perfect and eastern ways are not perfect - yet if we all work together in real honest collaboration we may yet come up with a third way that works even better for all of us.
    • Jul 3 2013: It is difficult to say what is right what is wrong even you see it. Like in ancient, people think earth is not a ball because of what they had seen. So the so called real is never a real, it is only a real in one's eye. You look up and think the sky is blue, but maybe for a color blindness the sky is gray.
  • Jul 2 2013: 1.I read his speech twice..and I do not think you have done your part well.Almost every statistics given with a source,and all true.
    2.Employment issues. Notice that what about it in 2012?in2011?and before?and before? And what's more?did you notice what measurements our government has taken?No!You just blind it.Sad.
    3.Real estate.Do you know that Beijing is the capital of China,owing a population of more than 20 M.So you tell me a 20 year old boy could not buy a house in Beijing is a result of injustice ?
    Suggestions.reading more,thinking more,and contributing to society ,then you will be able to get a house sooner or later
    • Jul 3 2013: I agree with the first two. The third one, I really don't know how to say about it. I never imaging a 20 year old boy can buy a house or even pay the advance for a department. I am talking about those 40's, 50's, they have no money to buy a decent house after 20 to 30 years hard work.
      And a graduate earn 10,000RMB a month after tax, (and the average salary in Beijing is 5000RMB), 5 month can earn one square meter second hand apartment, that is the reality.
      • Jul 5 2013: Why is it suddenly a requirement to live in Beijing? That makes no sense at all, literally none. Why should it suddenly be the duty of the government or society to ensure that every single graduate can make it in Beijing? Leave Beijing/Shanghai and you'll find housing prices that are FAR cheaper.

        As far as living in Beijing goes... sure, if you're going for prime real estate, you're looking at 5w+ a square meter. Go out a bit and you're closer to 1~2w though. There are even cheaper parts of the city, they are just not as glamorous... why should you have that handed out to you before you even do anything deserving of it? Here's a simple fact: most graduates will have far better lives if they just leave Beijing and venture off to a second tier city. The pay is slightly lower, but the cost of living differences are huge, too many people do not understand that. Most migrant labor is only here for scrapping and saving so they can take back a large chunk quickly and set up a good life. Once you have actual experience, try back in Beijing if you want. As for those in their 40s and 50s who have been working 20~30 years, if they didn't buy a house when it was stupidly cheap and essentially government-provided, that's their own problem.

        And don't get me started about Hukou. Fine, you graduate from a Beijing Uni, find whatever job for a year or two to secure your BJ 集体户口, then fall back, get experience in a city that is not as competitive then move back with a decent salary to buy your new place to make it 个人户口.
  • Jul 13 2013: Maybe you have to pay RMB10 Million for a 100 sq meter apartment in central Beijing or Shanghai. The same is true in central New York, London, wherever
    But I live ( as a Western company director ) in a 50 sq meter apartment in central Hong Kong which is now worth RMB 5 Million, and I bought a 200 sq meter apartment in Wenzhou for much less than RMB2 Million.
    Mr Zhou - how old are you ?
    I am close to 65
    Start small, work hard, invest sensibly and conservatively, and eventually you will own your own home.
  • Jul 8 2013: That's what I said last night. And some people were irritated like I insulted them. One guy from America thought I insulted his country because the research I questioned was from a authenticated institution.
    What I want to say here is, in China, we can't completely trust so called official data.
  • Jul 3 2013: Contribute to the society, don't complain too much, cos i don't think a random 20 year old can buy a 200 square m house in sydney or NYC easily either.
    Contribute to the society, that's all i can say mate
    • Jul 3 2013: That's right. That's why I am fighting for myself right now, and that's why I said part of the Eric X. Li's statement is right~~
    • Jul 3 2013: In most cities of China, no houses means your kids have no right to go to pulic school.
      The public school is the only opportunity to receive education for common Chinese people.
      How dare common Chinese to talk about contributions before he/ or she buy a house?
      • Jul 3 2013: I just think it's so funny that in China not purchasing a house means no wife, no children, no future... Many people in Europe and US rent their entire life and are perfectly happy with that.

        Everyone want their kids to go to the big public schools in the city thats why the big cities in China are so crowded and housing so expensive... also explains why school systems in the rural /surburban areas are so bad... this is where contribute to the society comes from...

        I think the people that truly gets it in China are those college graduates that decides to become teachers in the countryside instead of moving to a big city like other kids their age. China definitely needs help right now (not from outsiders but from the inside) 90s are known to be selfish... instead of complaining about everything... go out and help this society... the 2 generations before you sacrificed so much... much more than you can imagine
        • Jul 3 2013: Well, I have to say something to clarify the situation about housing. First, I agree that many people in Europe and US rent their entire life. In China, as Li has mentioned, we have a totally different idea about housing. We have been through a very long time of turbulence and everyone feel unsafe about the future. We seek a sense of safety by owning our own apartment, even it has only one room. Why we are not sure about the future? CPI had increased more than forty times over the past 30 years and how about the salary? Less than 10 times as for the vegetables. No mention the price for housing. If we don't consider the future, how can we survive after we retired? The standard pension is about 2,000 Chinese yuan per month and the price for 1 lb pork is about 16 Chinese yuan. As for relevance, a cup of coffee in Starbucks is 20 Chinese yuan. An ipad which is the same price all over the world is around 5,000 yuan for the cheapest regular iPad. A normal small surgery with the cover of medical insurance is at least thousands of Chinese yuan and the normal rent for Shanghai where I came from is about 3,000 yuan for an apartment with 2 rooms outside the main part of the city where the transporting is inconvenient and no good hospitals. Wanna live at a better place? The rent is far more higher. The pension is far less than enough. Then how can we survive if we are not trying to get a place to live? That's where the no house, no wife, no future coming from. Parents wouldn't like to their children having all of these budget on them. Since the pension is not enough for medical care, adult children need to subside them which makes the situation even harder. The house or apartment we need to spend over millions to buy actually doesn't belong to us. We are paying for the permission to live there for 70 years. As far as I know, there are few buildings now can last for this long.....
        • Jul 4 2013: Have to say your opinion is too simple too naive. I appreciate those who become teacher in countryside. But think about the Maslow's hierarchy of needs to be satisfied. If the basic needs are not satisfied, how could people go to chase their self-actualizing such as not care about money and living standard but to chase the so called dream? Those teachers are like god, but remember we are human but not god.
        • Jul 8 2013: You should know which generation breed the 90s. And you shouldn't blame on 90s. If a generation has something wrong, the society commit to it.
      • Jul 4 2013: I agree with Lisa, it's just in our mind that we have to have a house. It's like our security blanket. And your last sentence is annoying me to be honest - anyone dares to do anything if he/she really wants to. If they don't do it, that means they don't really want to - or not enough. You contribute to the society and at the same time you get paid. I mean, you can't expect one day you wake up and someone knocks on your door and say 'here's a free house'! Having to buy a house is a wrong idea to have, but being cynical and not doing anything to at least try to get one is a worse idea to have.
        • Jul 4 2013: I don't know why you say that. I think you misunderstand my point. People see desperation not means people do not fight. And as Mingqing Chen said, house is important to us, it is not a topic to discuss but a reality or a nature to Chinese in my point of view.
  • Jul 4 2013: Are most of the comments coming from Chinese? I love my country. I will never change my nationality and will work hard with people around my age to build a better country. This is my dream, I am not sure whether I have the ability or whether I am capable to achieve it or not, but I am working. But there are so many people talking something useless. Such as "no need to buy a house". It's like a rich people looking down to a poor and laughing at him/her, "cannot afford a house? Then don't buy it!", this doesn't solve any problem! And I really don't know why some people think that there is no need to buy a house! Where are you come from? 2 month ago I watched the AmericandreamsinChina and it makes me think a lot. Maybe we care too much about what westerner think about as, but actually they are not that care about.
    • Jul 4 2013: I don't think any discussion or disagreement is "something useless"
      This is Ted. ideas worth spreading...
      just like in School. the teacher says no question is too dumb... well in this case, no IDEA IS USELESS
      all of my comments are response to your initial idea that Li was wrong about his idea (and statistic ?!?!) that Chinese has gotten better under the government now and all I am doing to trying to get you see the other side of this issue.
      You cannot solely blame the government for your desperation.
      I (as the reset of the world) have seen the improvement of China as a country. You cannot deny that? China is big. The fact that China is in the business section of every newspaper around the world proves that it is a significant part of the world economy. Therefore, I don't doubt you love your country and of course you want to build a better country that you love.

      Your desperation steams from the culture, values, and honestly (in my opinion) yourself and the pressure you give yourself. This has nothing to do with democracy. Your complaints should be going out into the society, not to Li who shared a great idea that made me have a better outlook on China and it's government. His speech showed his love for China and he's trying to make it better. But as you contradicts him, points out the exact problem in the Chinese society.

      You mentioned Maslow's hierarchy, have you compared life to 30 years ago, 20 years ago, and present day on this hierarchy? China is moving up.. and not just baby steps.

      The mere fact that you KNOW maslow's hierarchy proves to me that you are well educated, NOT starving, and probably have a roof over your head. That already satisfies the basic essentials on the hierarchy.. I'm not asking to reach self-enlightenment or something but simply consider the source of your desperation? I am not rich and I do not own my own house. for you comment on this doesn't solve any problem, what do you think would?
      • Jul 8 2013: China is booming up, however, to some degree, at the cost of risking ordinary people's lives. Yes, we see some Chinese are extremely wealthy. But meanwhile more people suffer as one people become rich. I can sense that China society is twisting.
  • Jul 13 2013: Already read the comments below, and as a 90's Chinese, I didn't see which side is wrong. I just think we have to admit and cherish the rapid development here and actually I have benefited from it. The need of house is indeed a real question posed in front of most Chinese who don't have a father called "Ligang". That's a Chinese feature and the cause is much too complicated.

    The point is that in this new era in China, as well as the entire world, young people have to seek a new road which is never taken by forebears. During this hard time, it's so common to feel hopeless, helpless, and confused. But that's what we have to endure.
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    Jul 13 2013: true for some maybe the sky is gray -good point - and for others the truly blind - I suppose the sky has no color at all - but it seems it would still exist. -earth and sky that is. - my point is we've been conditioned to give what many perceive to be a right - or correct answer - what color is the sky? - Blue is the "correct" answer - but as you've pointed out even sight can be deceiving. My point is we may need to revisit what we perceive to be right answers now and again to see if they are in fact correct.
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    Jul 13 2013: Jiayi, what do you think is the cause of the lack of work? Even if there is a lot of competition, since every person is a consumer, there should be a way for most people to find some work, so why is this happening?

    And, do you think Li might be right about the upward progression of the country, despite these current issues?

    I felt that the talk ignored the fact that many people have suffered over the timeline of China's growth. You must be one of those people for whom statistics are not a solution to current problems.
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    Jul 10 2013: i have seen all comments above and i thought a lot.we have to admit that china still has a long way to go,at the same time,we also should see the great progresses china has made.we don't have to compare china with some other western countries,because we can't.china has different culture,background and large population,at this time,this situation,the communist party maybe the most correct a Chinese 90's,i am so satisfied with the life now,which is so nice when compare to our parents'.this is just my opinion,i am so proud of being a Chinese,as a college student,i will study hard to realize my dream and Chinese dream.
    sorry for my poor English.
    • Jul 13 2013: Zheng Xiansheng

      I agree with you 100%
  • Nick L

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    Jul 8 2013: I'm happy to see there are a few active participants in comments to this video with quite clear and balanced views, and may I pose a question to see what you all think: is there anything that the Chinese government can change, politically, to be better?
  • Jul 6 2013: I think I can see the hope of our nation.I am a college student studying law.
    1.About a house,I never think I could buy a house immediately in the large city,but it would be easy if I truly work hard .And it is really easier when I choose a small city to live.At least I think it is not so late that I get my own house when I am 30.I choose my own style of life,no blaming for the political system.
    May be it is a shameful thing, but I believe if you are powerful enough you can do anything you want with any political system and the limitation is decided by your own moral system.And thanks to god,China has less belief.May be it is why nowadays Chinese become more selfish.We are never be satisfied in mental and can not find the peace, so we work hard to find the shortly mental peace.Then we work harder to continuing just like a drug things. At last it only left the desperation.Because I think we can not be truly satisfied in today's main value judge system in China such as a better material life.But These really help us to have a better material life.So the desperation is not a problem only changing a political system could solve.
    2.May be the government forbid something to talk about which indeed sacred me about I cannot protect my own rights one day.but I see the hope our government is changing when I am doing some legal assistance.Nowadays more and more people choose to protect their rights by law even against government,and it really works as what I see.So these helping others' staff also give me some feelings of safety making I believe the future would be better.
    All above is just my feeling.I am not standing for anyone,but at least I can share my idea with others.
  • Jul 4 2013: I am curious, is there a Chinese version of TED? Is there this kind of open minded exchange of ideas put forth by intelligent, well spoken Chinese nationals that seek to improve life in China? Would this kind of forum even be allowed?

    Why does China appear to be separate from the global community? There have been only a few Chinese speakers on TED. Let us hear more from Chinese brainiacs.
    • Jul 6 2013: According to the information I've heard, I don't think such a Chinese version of TED does exist. There're are a few TEDx events in China, but with limited impact.

      I think it is based on the Great Fire Wall in China, thousands of websites have been blocked to us, including Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Yeah I wanna see more Chinese faces, too.
      • Jul 8 2013: That's why Chinese people are separated from the rest of the world. Too sad. Why do the government do it.
        • Jul 12 2013: Cause PRISM started the same year as great fire wall? lol. I don't think Chinese internet is that much worse. I can have almost all information I want except once a while gmail does work. But I'm not sure if I can still trust google any more, there just isn't a good alternative.
    • Jul 17 2013: I was lead to this page by a Chinese platform called ZhiHu (, which exchanges interesting minds.
  • Jul 3 2013: As a Westerner what I noticed about Li's talk were aspects of what little I know of Chinese history and what I've read by Francis Fukuyama who he cited. Wow - does this system serve the purpose of the old exam system but on steriods? So Confusus still has an impact?
    • Jul 3 2013: Confusus must always has an impact. And I don't know what is Confusus (is that Confucius?) in your mind. Because in my mind, there are not only Confucius, but also other belief or just claims such as Zhuangzi and Laozi. Those tell us to be kind to others, chase for peace, harmony, it tell us that a smooth and peace life means happiness. Just as Laozi said Government Noninterference in ancient. Maybe nowadays, westerner only know Confusus, but that is not what we Chinese see our culture. But those concept of kindness, honesty etc. are diminishing in some part in China nowadays, we become more eager to power and money without morality. I think that is because we learn too much from west but not all, and we throw away too much of our own things. Hope that we 90's can create a more peaceful country.
      • Jul 4 2013: Thank you I always learn stuff doing this though it annoyed my late father that I was such a poor spelller. I'll try to do better.
        • Jul 6 2013: Haha, no problem. I find out that actually Chinese students are better in spelling than most Americans. I think the reason is that the teachers in primary schools are extremely strict to us. Once a spelling mistake is found, we have to copy the word for 10 more times.

          In my opinion, Confucius is popular is because it potentially proves the legitimacy of a hierachy society. The rulers are always utilizing this aspect of Confucius to reduce the diversity of voices.
      • Jul 7 2013: Thank you I am interested, but the nearest I got to the mainland was Taipai