A German student Jorg, who goes by his Chinese name Yue Kaihan, graduate of the class of 2017 from Institute of China Studies, Zhejiang University, cycled 5,800 kilometers across China to explore what exactly the Chinese Dream is among ordinary people. His footprints have spread across 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, from the northernmost city of Mohe to the southernmost city of Sanya. At the end of his journey, Yue documented what he saw in a 31,000-word long essay which he named “Ordinary people’s Chinese dreams”. His story has become a hit on the internet.
The following is the report by CGTN (China Global Television Network)
German student cycles around China in search of Chinese Dream
For his graduate thesis, a German student Jorg, who goes by his Chinese name Yue Kaihan, cycled 5,800 kilometers across China to explore what exactly the Chinese Dream is among ordinary people.
“What’s your Chinese Dream?” is the question Yue, who majored in Chinese studies at Zhejiang University in eastern Zhejiang Province, asked every stranger he came across on his 100-day journey.
Jorg at Shaolin Temple in central China's Henan Province /Photo from Yue's Wechat account
The 28-year-old first came across the buzzword “Chinese Dream” in 2013, after the idea was put forward by President Xi Jinping calling on people to collaboratively achieve the goals of building a moderately prosperous society and realizing national rejuvenation.
In 2015, Yue returned to China to complete his masters degree in Chinese studies when he encountered the terminology again in class and academic papers.
Thinking that a thousand people may have a thousand different Chinese dreams, Yue proposed a field trip across China searching for the connotation behind the idea, local paper Qianjiang Evening News reports.
With only a backpack and a foldable bicycle small enough to fit in a plastic bag, Yue set off on his journey in May last year.
Jorg's foldable bicycle /Photo from Yue's Wechat account
His trip saw him cover 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, from the northernmost city of Mohe to the southernmost city of Sanya.
Along the way, he set up a public account on Chinese social media platform Wechat to record and share his experiences during the trip.
A photo marking his 61th day on his field trip /Photo from Yue's Wechat account
In the northernmost city of Mohe, Yue tried a public bath in a place where many families don’t own a bathroom.
Yue took a rest on his trip near Mohe City in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. /Photo from Yue's Wechat account
In Inner Mongolia, he camped in the wild in Aoluguya village where the Ewenke people live, a Chinese minority group who live off raising reindeers and hunting in forests.
Camping site in Aoluguya village, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region /Photo from Yue's Wechat account
On the 57th day of his trip, Yue recounted his encounter with a Tai Chi master called Li. After realizing his passion for Tai Chi, Li quit his job as an engineer and started teaching the traditional martial art.
Li's Chinese Dream is to pass on this cultural tradition to the next generation.
At the end of his journey, Yue documented what he saw in a 31,000-word long essay which he named “Ordinary people’s Chinese dreams.”
“Everyone has a different Chinese Dream,” he said.
“Urban-rural disparity is obvious, with people in the countryside preferring a peaceful life while urban residents striving for more achievements. But they all share the positive attitude towards chasing a dream.”