Understanding the young adults who came of age during the rise of China's economic and global power
This book by a prominent Chinese sociologist explores how China's youth will influence the country's future. Focusing on millennialsthose born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990sthe book examines the status, lifestyles, attitudes, values, and behaviors of this key segment of the country's population. Li Chunling's study presents a native Chinese perspective on the increasingly diverse generation that at some point will assume leadership of the country.
Among the key questions addressed in the book are: How do Chinese millennials differ both from preceding generations in China and from their counterparts around the world? How can current and future relations between Chinese millennials and the Chinese government be assessed? And, what are the factors or fault lines that have shaped the intra-generational differences among China's young people?
Members of this age cohort are extraordinary, and in some respects unique, in contemporary China. Their ascent has accompanied five historic and far-reaching developments. These include China's rapid economic rise, the adoption of the one-child-per-family policy, the largest domestic rural-to-urban migration in Chinese history, the opening of extensive educational opportunities abroad, and the arrival of the digital era. Young Chinese citizens have developed a comprehensive understanding of the world much faster than previous generations; millennials see themselves not as extensions of the past, but rather as the innovators of the country's future.
Through expansive and in-depth empirical research on Chinese millennials and younger age cohorts (people in their late teens and early 20s), Dr. Li's book illustrates how China's younger adults reflect the growing diversity and persistent inequality in society. The book also explores how their distinct characteristics and views will shape the country's trajectory. For the outside world, developing a better understanding of this unique generation is an urgent task, given that China now has more influence on the global economy and regional security than at any other point in modern history.
Li Chunling, one of the most influential sociologists in China, is director of and a professor in the Department of Youth Studies and Education at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She has earned considerable influence in academic circles, the policy establishment, and public discourse as a result of her exploration of youth issues in China.
John L. Thornton is chair emeritus of the board of trustees of the Brookings Institution, global co-chair of the Asia Society, and professor and director of global leadership in the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University.
Cheng Li is director of and a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution's John L. Thornton China Center. He is also a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. His most recent book is Middle Class Shanghai: Reshaping U.S.-China Engagement (2021).
Foreword by John L. Thornton
Introduction: China's Millennials: Navigating Socioeconomic Diversity and Disparity in a Digital Era by Cheng Li
1. Social Transformation and Youth Studies in China: A Review of Sociological Research from the Past Decade
2. Children of the 1980s: Formative Experiences and Changing Circumstances
3. An Emerging Silent Revolution?: Shifting Values among the Post-1980s and Post-1990s Generations
4. The Urban-Rural Divide
5. Educational Inequality in the Post-1980s Generation
6. China's Millennial NEETs
7. A Tightening Labor Market for College Graduates: A 2013 Survey of Twelve Schools
8. Housing Conditions of Employed Youth in Beijing: A 2014 Survey
9. The Reversal of the Gender Balance in Education, and Its Challenges
10. The Widening Income Gap: Market Competition or Gender Discrimination?
11. Gender Inequality in Education: The Role of Family Background
12. Consumption Power and Patterns of the Chinese Middle Class
13. Consumption Trends and Behavioral Changes among Urban White-Collar Youth in the Era of WeChat
14. Group Characteristics of China's Youth and Triggering Factors for Potential Sociopolitical Unrest
15. Intergenerational Differences in National Identity
16. Today's Generation: Witnessing China's Rise on the World Stage