Voluntary Return To Chinese Village Life

During the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, thousands of educated Chinese youth were yanked out of city life and compelled to labor in small villages in order to partake of Mao tse-tung’s desire to reinvent a revolutionary society. Today, thousands of young Chinese college graduates are voluntarlly returning to village life due to conditions of an overloaded job market. Fresh out of college, Shen Juntian decided to return to the village he fled years before and become a village adminstrator. “At first, it was a compromise between realities and dreams when the job market forced me to think again about his position. But, later, I began to love this job, where I get the chance to know the realities of China and help make changes in the countryside.”

He has brought agricultural experts to the village to assist farmers become more efficient, and worked with villagers to improve sanitation and health conditions. Thousands of young college graduates are being lured to the countryside by promises of better pay, free medical insurance and promises they will be placed on the fast track for government promotions. In a sense, this is a Chinese version of the American Peace Corps and in the long run it will prove beneficial both to rural areas and to those given a chance to give back to their nation.