(I took this picture when I visited the village’s local school and this is a renovated building)
One of the biggest differences between the United States and China is how the urban and rural environment develop. In the United States, even in the very remote areas like a little town in Vermont, people’s living conditions are generally good. However, in China, the countryside is poor and extremely undeveloped. It is extremely difficult to improve people’s quality of life because they are trapped in poverty. Low-income families remain poor generation after generation. Due to the lack of education, these families can only work the low-skill, low-wage jobs. With such low income, families can only afford the basics of life, and education seems to be a luxury. Without education, the poverty trap simply becomes a downward spiral that doesn’t seem to end. Continue reading
For my independent research seminar this year, I’m looking at a small Christian village in China and the political influence around it. I began this research project last summer. Because Christianity is not the dominant religion in China, it is not very common for an undeveloped village to have Christianity as their dominant religion. The name of this village is Shimenkan. I took my first trip there in the summer of 2016. I was shocked when I arrived; I thought I had traveled 40 years back in history. The houses people lived in did not have running water! A small number of the houses had electricity. This summer when I got to the main street of the village, all the buildings on the street were under construction. After I did some research, I found out that the Chinese government had invested 80 billion yuan (Chinese currency $1= 6.46 yuan) in this tiny village for reconstruction purposes. One year later the main street looks much nicer, wider and more modern. In just two years, the government has had a significant impact on the village both culturally and financially.