Invisible China

October 26, 2021, by Morgan Robertson

Yvette Mendoza, Emma Anderson, Ziwen Lu (exchange student from China) and I attended a virtual lecture from the TAMU Bush School featuring Dr. Scott Rozelle and his book Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China’s Rise.

Dr. Rozelle is the Hellen F. Farnsworth Senior Fellow at Stanford University. He began by explaining his interest in international affairs, specifically China. Dr. Rozelle quickly identified the massive divide seen in China amongst the Urban and Rural areas. This divide is fueled by the long-lasting impact of rural farming and developing industry in the urban areas. Literacy rates and education is at an all time low for those found in rural China, while urban areas are growing and thriving.

Dr. Rozelle also entertained the idea that with the way things are moving, China is becoming more susceptible to an economic crisis–which would, of course, affect the rest of the world and, especially, those who rely on China heavily.

Dr. Rozelle noted that, in China, citizens are given an Identification card that states whether they are from a rural or urban part of China. Upon hearing this, Ziwen reached for her wallet to show us her Identification card that highlighted her urban status.

After the lecture, Ziwen was gracious enough to tell us more about the culture in China, which we learned about while eating Chinese food, selected by Ziwen.

As we expanded our knowledge on the culture and customs in China, Ziwen also taught me how to write her name and my name in Chinese characters.

I was nowhere close to perfection in copying my symbols, but it was fun to practice and learn more about the Chinese culture.