The answer is quite simple. It is because the western media didn’t tell the truth: that’s their stereotypes views.
I’m from Western China and my hometown was defined to be the poor rural district by our government. Here it is…
As you can see in the map in my hometown there are many mountains out there and yes! Back to 10 years ago we were very poor and all the China’s rural region were very poor. At that time we lived in this house…
As you can see at that time our living condition was not good. I remember when I was a child our food had very little meat because we couldn’t afford it. But now it has changed and we moved into a new house. It looks like this…
We are not rich but we are not that poor. Every family has at least 2 motorcycles; some of them have bought cars; TV and Internet are very common; smartphone is very cheap in China (do you know about Xiaomi?); all my family members have smartphone; and now I’m in university and about 1000 miles far away from my hometown but every weekend I can make a video talk with my parents because I know they miss me.
My parents didn’t have too much education: my dad can’t even write his name correctly! So my dad can’t get a stable job and he is a farmer-worker (农民工) in China. He builds houses for other families and earns some money but he has no insurance and no welfare security. Every penny is made by his hand and he feeds the whole family. But I think our life is OK and we don’t have to worry about food shortage—the time of starvation has passed.
Urbanization in China has totally changed the view in the rural regions. In my hometown more and more people move to the cities and use their abilities to make money. When they have enough money they buy an apartment in the city and settle down and they won’t do the farm work anymore. But some of them like my parents they don’t want to leave their land so they plant crops just like this..
Now is the harvest time…
We don’t rely on the crops to survive. In fact many people in my hometown didn’t plant crops because they can buy their food. But my parents do that because they love their lands—they spent all their life to take care of it—and they can’t live without their land!
Today more and more people live in the big cities with big houses. They are rich and they can buy anything they want but can we say they are happy enough? I don’t think so. I think everyone needs something to support them in the world—not just money. While of course money can solve material problems it can’t solve the spiritual problems. Some of them need religion a God and some of them need science and philosophy. But for my parents they don’t know what communism and capitalism are; they don’t know what democracy is and what the Great Firewall of China is about; they don’t care who is take charge of the country—what they care about is their land their crops the land is their dependable “God.” When they can eat the food they plant by their own hands they are happy enough.
And the young people in the rural areas they know how to dress up to catch others’ attention and they like fashion and trends. For example as a college student I’m not rich and I’m from a “poor” countryside but I have iPhone iPad and computers. This is very common in China. If you use iPhone no one thinks you are rich; but if you can buy a big house in Beijing Shanghai or Shenzhen then they may think you are rich.
Urbanization in China has changed many people’s life. On one hand it makes us rich and we don’t have to worry about our next meal like 15 years ago. But on the other hand many people in China especially the young generation they leave their hometown and their land to struggle in the big cities. They work for money and endure a lot of pressure. For some of those people they have no roots! They forget who they are they forget where they belong—all they want is money and they ended up lost in their life.
In a famous Chinese movie called Happy Together (春光乍泄) directed by Karwai Wong (王家卫) there was a memorable line.
“Finally I understood the reason why he could be happy when he wanders outside. It’s because he knows there’s always a home for him to return to.”
As a young generation in China whether my country is poor or rich I still love it; whether my hometown is poor or rich I still love it. Maybe one day when I became very rich and bought a big house in a big city I would still remember that there’s always a place for me to return to—it’s home!
In summary: “No investigation; no right to judgement.” And so I welcome anyone to visit China :)
智能手机在中国非常便宜（你们知道小米手机吗？） ，我们家人手一部智能手机，如今，我在离家千里之外上大学，但是每个周末，我都会（能） 和爸妈视频聊天，因为我知道他们很想我。
Thanks for the many upvotes. Some friends in the comment section talked about the farmer-worker problem in China and so I want to show you more.
China has rapidly developed in the last decades because of the expenditures on infrastructure and industrial so China has millions of construction workers. My father is also one of them because he didn’t have a well-educated background. He only went to primary school so even as a Chinese he can’t say Putonghua (Standard Chinese; our official language though my hometown has its own language) and write his name correctly. So the only jobs he can do are construction work. Construction work is of course very harsh and I can guess many of you have no idea how it is like to be working under the hellish heat of the sun! But I know.
Two years ago when I finished my high school and went to university I had a three-months-long holiday. So at that time I followed my father to do construction work—we built a primary school for the local people in the rural area.
The school looks like this…
And back then was around July in China the hottest month in a year. In the midday the temperature could surge to 40+ ℃ and working with that heat is very tough…
I had to drink lots of water or else I’d be down with a heatstroke. When we worked for a while we would rest for a bit. And nowhere was as cooling as this place…
Here my father and uncles are working together…
And this is my job in the very hot weather. At the time I was just got 18…
After three days my skin was almost fried to black by the hot sun and my father persuaded me to go home. He said I was not the man who could do this kind of work—I was almost crying at that time too tired to work anymore and all I wanted was to run away and go home to have a shower and sleep—so the boss gave me ￥500 for my three days of work. When I got the money I quit and left my father there. It was then when I came to know how hard it is for my father to earn money to feed my family and I told myself that I’d study harder and get a better job.
My father can earn about ￥250 a day but my uncles can earn about ￥400+ a day. For some proficient worker they can earn more and it can go up to ￥500+ a day which is almost $100 in one day. I think no matter what kind of jobs you are doing the more job skills you master the higher pay you will get. Because this work is quite hard my father won’t do it everyday. He usually does this work for just 15 days in a month and for the rest of his time he stays home and takes care of his crops. My mother didn’t get a job because her physical health is not really well.
I know that some people may judge people like my father and think he’s a lower class and are ashamed of them but here I want to tell you that they are the most respectable people in China—it’s those people like my father who build the country and improve our living not the politicians and bankers. Look around where you are living and working right now: the apartments the city buildings the roads… Many construction workers have given their utmost effort to build it.
Many construction workers like my father have only a little education so they have no choice but to do the heavy work. Those people will persuade their children to have a better education. And now in China people like myself from the rural area can easily go to college; the university fee is not too expensive (about ￥5000 a year); every year we can borrow ￥6000 from the bank and we don’t need to pay the interest since our government paid for us and that was the fee. Our government also has some special policies for students from rural places. For me I can receive about ￥3000 from our government. Also if your grades are good enough you can earn scholarships.
The young generation is the country’s hope. After we have been well educated we can expect a good future for ourselves and for our country.
All the picture in my answer were shot by myself. If you want to post them in other places please ask me for the permission. Thanks for reading.