Zachary Lown's blog

Young Communist Dreams of a Job in Corporate China

After enduring a rigorous, yearlong application process, Wu Qiong, 22, was admitted as a member of the Chinese Communist Party. The selection committee responsible for Wu’s university, the Beijing-based China Institute of Defense, Science and Technology, deemed her “morally righteous, loyal to the Communist Party, and a sharp thinker.” Wu was appointed to head the Women's Department of the student union before graduating in 2007. Though she is still a member of the Communist Party, Wu says that politics bore her and she wants to work for a foreign company someday.

The People's Streetball

Streetball at two of China’s major universities is a lot like how streetball in America was in the 1990s. Back then, the baddest move in the NBA was Tim Hardaway’s “Killer Crossover.” Playing pickup at two schools, one in Xian and the other in Hangzhou, the meanest moves I encountered were a well-played stutter step and a driving-hanging-jumper, both effective in their own right.

Mantra of Success

The national television game show Outlook English, in which Chinese youth compete to demonstrate their English language skills, has taken on an American Idol-like popularity. The show was originally conceived to raise the level of spoken English in anticipation of the 2008 Olympics. More than 20,000 teenage contestants entered this year's competition. By May 31 the field had narrowed to three finalists who went head-to-head for the championship at a China Central Television studio in Beijing.

In Rural China Enterprising Villagers Are Elected to Leadership

“Everything for the peasant!,” proclaims village head Ding Jingang, as trailed by his entourage, he strides down the main road of Tihucun, a rural community located in Shaanxi province in central China.

College Hopefuls from the Countryside Face Hurdles

Liu Xiaome, 33, came to Beijing nine years ago from Anhui province. Today she works as a maid cleaning homes for 10 yuan, or about $1.50, per hour. Liu’s son is back home in the care of her mother and older sister.

At Beijing's Edge, Development Raises a City of A Different Color

Xin Men Tang Chun, or “New Door Front Village,” is a dusty slum on Beijing’s western fringe that is now home to hundreds of migrant laborers.

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