Why you should care
Because fearing China is so yesterday.
In many ways, Xi Jinping (pronounced SHEE jin-PING) is the perfect leader for modern China, a country straddling multiple identities — between communism and capitalism, multilateralism and isolation. Like the country he leads, the 59-year-old, who was elected president by the country’s National People’s Congress to a 10-year term in March by a whopping 2,952-to-1 vote, is enigmatic, to say the least. For many in China and abroad, he looks like a continuation of the old guard, a doubling down on its economic and social policies. But others see a far different Xi Jinping: They see an affable, beer-drinking 6-footer who is married to a rock star — literally. Brush up on your Chinese politics with a profile of Xi here.
If you think the SATs or the A-Levels were bad, you wouldn’t even imagine how rough the life of a high school senior in China is. Yang Chengxing, 23, wasn’t going to take it anymore, and six years ago he staged a public boycott of the intense admissions tests that reign over the lives of Chinese teens. He tried to make his way into universities by talking of his passions instead of taking the tests. It was no luck. But it inspired him to tackle an entrepreneurial career. Dig into his story here.
China accounts for almost half of the world’s total coal consumption, which won’t surprise anyone who has tried to breathe while walking Beijing’s streets. And the Chinese government, recognizing the social and economic harms of air pollution, plans to cap its coal consumption in the next five years. This is great news for the urban Chinese but bad news for the Australian economy — which currently accounts for 32 percent of Chinese coal imports — and for anyone banking on China’s continued increasing demand for coal. Read more here.
Born into a family of bamboo cutters in rural Xiang Yang, China, Hesong Tang had never taken a shower or used a toilet before he was accepted into Tsinghua University (considered the Chinese MIT). And while that must have been a lot for a freshman-year roommate to deal with, Tang, who now oversees all corporate development at Baidu, China’s version of Google, says “everything” has changed in China in the last two decades. You probably haven’t heard his name before. But this is the guy who controls the purse strings of China’s largest Internet company. So best listen up when one of the key minds running this $59 billion-valued company tells OZY six key takeaways about China, the Internet and the global economy. Check out the full interview.