Viewpoint- Debunking Americans’ myths surrounding China

By Isabelle Zhu/ reporter

Wearing simple clothes. Speaking little English. Working hard. Riding bicycles everywhere. Living in poverty. And living without freedom. 

These are the impressions most Americans have of Chinese people.

But do Americans really know China?

If you have Chinese friends, you would know something about China. If you heard President Donald Trump speak, you would know some too. However, most Americans haven’t been to China and do not really know any Chinese people.

Let me put the veil aside and debunk some myths.

China has experienced a series of historical turning points, such as the war against Japan, the founding of New China, the reforming and returning of Hong Kong and Macao.

Many people know that China is the most populous country in the world. China has been developing at great speed these past 20 years. By the end of 2016, about 1.4 billion people were living in China. It has become one of the most powerful countries in the world.

With younger generations of Chinese, more and more people are paying attention to their appearance, whether men or women. Makeup is a given for urban women. Plastic surgery has become fashionable. Clothing, shoes and bags are never outdated topics. Most Chinese men and women love traveling and shopping.

In urban areas, people live in buildings, and some of them own villas. Maybe many Americans, who live in their own homes, think being crammed into buildings isn’t that great. However, more people move to urban areas to look for opportunities, so the cities’ population densities continue to grow.

Houses in China are expensive. For example, my family lives in a third-tier city — Wuxi. The population has expanded to over 6.3 million. The price of my home is about $2,000 per square meter, which can buy a good house in Arlington. So, it is not easy to own a place in China. However, 90 percent of Chinese own their own homes, and 10 percent own more than two homes.

Each family has at least one car in China, and some have more. That is leading to urban traffic congestion. This phenomenon is not just happening in the first-tier cities. To reduce traffic, we built subways. We also have high-speed rail that shortens travel by four times.

In addition, real Chinese food is different from America’s. We do not have orange chicken in China, but we have much more delicious food.

China is a big, mysterious country. I highly recommend you go there and find out the truth.