The Waste Tide

  • January 28, 2013
  • By Han Song
  • Editor: Sarah
  • Change Text Size: A  A  A

The new novel "The Waste Tide," which depicts a dystopian China in the post-2020 era, is causing a stir not only because of the dark future it illustrates, but for the attitudes and beliefs it reflects.

The novel paints China as a conflicted nation, powerful enough to convince other countries to accept its ideologies, but not strong enough to pull its population out of poverty.

In fact, the Chinese society depicted in the novel features an even greater wealth gap than exists now, with the rich people possessing the country's main resources.

In an economic zone in Guangdong province, the laborers who undertake dangerous work for the profit of the Chinese and foreign businessmen who employ them, are depicted not as humans, but cyborgs whose bodies and minds have been altered permanently through bio-engineering. Their plight is unknown to the world, as the rich elite's control over the Internet means and no one can know what is happening to them. 

Cover of The Waste Tide [hexun.com]

Cover of The Waste Tide [hexun.com]

The dystopian nightmare described by Beijing-based sci-fi writer Chen Qiufan is at odds with the government's goal of creating a "well-off society" by 2020, a feat described by some as the "China Dream."

Chen, 32, is a Beijing-based fiction writer and a Google employee. He spent a year writing his book, which was recently published by Shanghai Zui Co.,Ltd.

Acclaimed writer Guo Jingming, the company's president, wrote in the preface for Chen's book:

"In the novel, doomsday is not a fictitious thing from Mayan myth, but an astounding reality that we are facing now. You may find that our world is severely bruised and riddled with problems like environmental pollution."

The book reflects the younger generation's worries about the future, as they are uncertain of how things will turn out here. Although they tend to live more affluently and are more exposed to globalization than their parents, many young Chinese are anxious, unhappy and angry with the hand life has dealt them.

Guo, born in 1983, is one of China's richest writers.

Han Han, one of China's most famous writers and bloggers, said many young Chinese are frustrated with the reality of their situation.

"A friend of mine earns 2,000 yuan a month. He needs to work for 25 years without eating and drinking in order to afford a simple house for his family," Han Han wrote.

"This is why a number of workers at Foxconn jumped from the company's building and killed themselves. Working like a machine, having a hopeless future and low salary...plus skyrocketing prices. All you can do is care for your stomach and body without doing anything else."

"When I was 18 years old, I was convinced by my high school teacher to take an exam and enter Peking University. But now I want to flee away from Beijing, as it is boring, crowded and badly polluted. However, I find there is no way to run," Chen said.

Although Han Han and Chen may sound pessimistic, their concerns are very real and shared by many.

The economic fruits enjoyed by the country's elite are still on a branch too high for many young Chinese to reach -- it is this, among other problems, that will slow China's future development.

Although many other great difficulties loom ahead for China, the malaise that is now so prevalent among younger generations is just as pressing.

Members of the post-1980s generation are becoming leading players in all walks of life in China. In the next 20 years, they will be a pillar of society and China's top leaders will likely be among them.

It is not yet known how they will handle and govern the country. But the anxiety and frustration they face now will have to be sincerely discussed and solved before then.


(Source: Xinhua)

Please understand that womenofchina.cn,a non-profit, information-communication website, cannot reach every writer before using articles and images. For copyright issues, please contact us by emailing: website@womenofchina.cn. The articles published and opinions expressed on this website represent the opinions of writers and are not necessarily shared by womenofchina.cn.


13.7K
comment on this story

Messages that harass, abuse or threaten others; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have commercial or advertising content or links may be removed.

    most popular
    • Most Viewed
    • Editor's Pick
    newsletter
       
    • Hello! I am researching NGOs and international organisations working with women in China. I was wondering whether you might be able to suggest individuals or organisations working in this area who may be willing to speak with me? Thanks in advance!Camille from England
    • Dear Sir/ Madam, Greetings from Niskrity Foundation Bangladesh. I feel privileged to your honor for active and sympathetic consideration. I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that ours is an organization working at the grassroots f ...AZIZ from Bangladesh
    • Olá! Passando só para dizer, que acho vocês chinesas as mulheres mais bonitas do Planeta.KT from Brasil
    • Greetings. I attended a women's studies conference in Beijing, perhaps 1995. Can you help me with the actual year?Gayle Kimball, Ph.D. from United States
    • I wish to inform women working as social workers, counselors and psychologist in China that the 23rd World Family Therapy Congress will be held 11 - 14 March 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We invite you to join colleagues from over 30 different coun ...William Hiebert from Asia
    • Commission on the Status of Women meeting for 2015-May I please get in touch with your group so that I can follow your organization's fantastic growth and development in this area? I am trying to empower North Asian women to understand gender equalit ...Betsy Kawamura from United States
    • Dear All-China Women's Federation Representative, I am a social worker employed in Melbourne Australia as an advocate in a not for profit organization that works with women and children responding to domestic violence. Their website address is htt ...Maree Bargar from Melbourne Australia
    • Hello, My name is Anna Marie Carter aka The Seed Lady of Watts. I am a graduate of President Obama's Export Program. As a US Certified Organic Supplier, I met with Ms. Yolanda Che, of Welspring, hk. I introduced her to some of my Organic, Non-GM ...Anna Carter from USA
    • Hello, I am Stefaan Van Hyfte from Belgium, And would like to know how to help a Chinese friend, female in China; I met in China during my trip over. I am concerned and aware that she goes into a difficult time of sexual and domes ...stefaanvanhyfte from Belgium, Brussels
    • Dear ACWF, My name is Leen and I am currently completing my bachelor's degree. I am writing my thesis on microfinance and how it contributes to women empowerment in society; more specifically focused on female entrepreneurs. I would like to focus ...Leen A from Hungary
      • 银川妇女
      • Our Chinese Dream
      • Spouses of Ambassadors to China
      • 台港澳婦女頻道
      在线翻译