China Observations — One Child, Migrants, Rebellion, and The Children of Men

If you saw my earlier post (here), you might not be surprised that The Children of Men colored some of my perceptions of China.  My take is that modern China’s progress has brought it some social and political ills that resemble those of James’s year 2021 England. 

  • The one-child generation and princelings and the Omegas — Here’s a Shanghai Daily one-child article here, China Post and Washington Post on the old and young “Princelings” here and here.
  • Rural migrants and the Sojourners — A Shanghai Daily column on rural disintegration here.
  • Xinjiang/Tibet and the Isle of Man prison — While this isn’t exact, there’s a dread of imminent violent rebellion and turmoil in both places, though (see these Washington Post articles on Xinjiang and Tibet).

I felt at ease in Shanghai — China seems nowhere near as menacing as Park Chung Hee’s South Korea or East Germany did — but order and comfort clearly comes first.  Freedom is clearly, if gently, attenuated in the rich eastern part of the country.  The yoke in the book is also subtle, which is a contrast with the movie, apparently.

All that said, modern China and dystopian England may parallel each other, but that’s because they’re going in opposite directions on separate tracks.  I felt little foreboding or despair; in fact, my Chinese colleagues seemed very confident (if incredibly busy).  No end times in Shanghai…

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One Response

  1. […] some similarities between P.D. James’s England in The Children of Men and modern China (here), the strongest real-world parallel is modern Japanese culture.  The most striking parallels are […]

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