Young Chinese sick and tired of NK provocation
Young people of China are increasingly sick and tired of North Korea, China’s longtime ally, prompted by series of provocations by the North.
Doubts have deepened due to factors such as envisioned nuclear test, withdrawal from the six-party talks and the latest rocket launch.
The young generation refers to those who were born after the free market reform and opening up in 1978.
The mindset of Chinese born in the 1980’s, known as “80 hou” in mainland China, is basically affected by traditional Chinese culture and Confucian morals. But simultaneously they are the first generation to be exposed to western culture and who began their careers in a nearly free market.
They also tend to prefer self-interest to general norms as they are the first generation born during the enforcement of China’s one-child policy in 1979.
In China, they are called “little emperors.”
Analysts say continued military provocations by Pyongyang since 2006, combined with the fast-changing Chinese society, have slowly led to change in the mindset of the youngsters toward their “socialist partner.”
“I am more interested in the livelihood of the people. What the North Korea is doing right now is a method that China used to do long time ago. They are trying to gain the upper hand in diplomacy by concentrating all its powers on military provocations,” said Chen Chaomin, 29, a businessman in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province in southern China. “North Korea needs to take care of its people’s living first.”
“Isn’t it like playing a game? (The North’s provocations) have a repeated pattern. They have been taking place from way before. It’s not a big deal to me,” said You Chuangye, 26, who just graduated from a university in Beijing and looking for a job.
Some urged a shift in Beijing’s policy of an unconditional support for the North. They say Pyongyang’s dangerous brinkmanship can undermine China’s regional security interests.
“I disagree on offering aid to the North if the provocations continue to take place. If the aid doesn’t help (China’s) national interest, it must be reduced I guess,” said Xingli Xuelian, 25, a banker in Beijing.
“I think the North is too closed-up. It would be better if they open up their country. I think China can help do that,” said a 22-year-old Chinese exchange student on Seoul in condition of anonymity. “Relying on brinkmanship for survival will only hurt the interests of both countries.”
However, some Chinese experts disagree on the fact that the young Chinese are changing their attitude on the issue and that they can bring along any shift in Beijing’s policy.
“Young Chinese differ in their views on Pyongyang. Some of them think it is good to have a stable relationship with Pyongyang while some oppose it. China has to seriously look back upon its policies in preparation for a better relationship with the North,” said Zhang Xiaomin, Associate Professor of the School of International Studies and Diplomacy in Beijing Foreign Studies University.
“No matter what young Chinese think, they should understand that Beijing needs Pyongyang as its key ally,” said a professor at Beijing Normal University on condition of anonymity. “North Korea and China have the similar socialist system and a mindset. Secondly, the Korean peninsula is strategically important region to Beijing. Teeth (China) will feel coldness without the lips (North Korea). Lastly, Beijing doesn’t want to see reunification led by South Korea. For these reasons, Chinese government will keep on supporting Pyongyang’s new regime.”