News / Asia

Living Among the People Gives Author a View of China’s Possible Future

FILE - People on electric bikes cross a busy traffic intersection on a rainy day on Chang'an Avenue in Beijing, China.
FILE - People on electric bikes cross a busy traffic intersection on a rainy day on Chang'an Avenue in Beijing, China.

Millions of tourists visit China each year, and their impressions of the country can vary widely based on a short exposure time. For people like Jim Hammond, the experience was much deeper and the understanding of the Middle Kingdom much richer. He initially spent about 18 months in China, living among the people, learning about their lives, dreams for the future and concerns. In excerpts of his conversation with VOA’s Jim Stevenson, Hammond shares his view of China in a book titled New China.

Living Among the People Gives Author a View of China’s Possible Future
Living Among the People Gives Author a View of China’s Possible Futurei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

HAMMOND:  I was not a tourist. I lived there amongst the Chinese. I married a Chinese lady. I did not stay in hotels, I lived in apartment houses. I taught English to kids in high school and college and also some businesses I taught English. That is why I feel my message is perhaps a little better than some from the past. I was not there to report on China. As a matter of fact, I did not even think about writing about China until I was about ready to come home. While I was there I did take a bunch of photographs and I did take a lot of notes.

STEVENSON:  You write about one of the turning points of China in June 1989 and mention unfortunately the Chinese people and even some of the government authorities had misread former leader Deng Xiaoping’s intent in creating a ‘New China.’

HAMMOND:  Yes. You have some people that were very optimistic that bringing a version of capitalism to China would eventually result in democracy. That was very erroneous. That was not Deng’s intent at all. He wanted the money. He wanted the industrialization. He wanted a lot of what you get in the modern society, but he did not want democracy at all.

STEVENSON:  Your book also begins with an interesting chapter on American and Chinese public attitude. What were some of the ways that you found they were different and similar?

HAMMOND:  I think to characterize American public opinion, it… basically is one of ignorance because Americans have a tendency to be very involved with their own home concerns. They do not want to get too involved overseas or entangled with foreign countries or foreign problems. The Chinese, it was interesting, because when I talked to various Chinese from various walks of life, I found their government was not really very popular to them. They tended to be very impressed with American democracy and our freedom. They really liked a lot of things which I don’t know are particularly positive like Hollywood pictures and singers and things like that. Some of the things that were a little disturbing were a lot of the Chinese have a very strong nationalistic spirit with relationship to Taiwan. That is one area that they tend to be in strong agreement with their government. They think that the Taiwanese should be taken over by China and not allowed to be an independent country. But in many other respects, they were very critical of their government.

STEVENSON:  Xi Jinping has made it one of his primary goals to counter corruption and graft. In your chapter, Economy and Graft, the economy and graft seem to go hand-in-hand quite a bit.

HAMMOND:  Yes. Actually, I think not too far in the future a lot of the government, especially leaders like Xi Jinping, will have strong regrets about the corruption and graft in China because a lot of money has been wasted, lost through these events. I think Xi Jinping is concerned about that. So far, it looks like he is going to be successful in combating a lot of corruption and graft. Deng Xiaoping created basically what is called “new China” and it has been pretty successful from the standpoint of creating a lot of wealth in China. You have to look at the negative side, and that is the fact that it is based on greed. Greed is of course a weakness of humanity that is from the very beginning of mankind. I think that you can’t have a government that is based on greed and expect it to survive. I think the Chinese people inherently have an ethical basis from the past to judge the government. I think that ultimately that judgment will cause the failure of the Communist regime.


Jim Stevenson

For over 35 years, Jim Stevenson has been sharing stories with the world on the radio and internet. From both the field and the studio, Jim enjoys telling about specific events and uncovering the interesting periphery every story possesses. His broadcast career has been balanced between music, news, and sports, always blending the serious with the lighter side.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs