A Chinese businessman working in the U.S. is shocked when he returns to China
By Chen Han Ming*
After leaving China more than two years ago, I finally had the opportunity to go back recently on a three-week business trip. I was thrilled about the fact that one of the cities we were going to was also my hometown. My company had kindly agreed to give me several days to visit my parents. During the three busy and exciting weeks, many thoughts came into my mind that I would like to share.
Coming back to China was both familiar and strange. It was good to see and hear the Chinese language again. It was good to smell and taste the delicious Chinese dishes again. It was good to talk with family and friends, see the busy crowded streets, and hear the latest popular music in the air. I was back home.
Yet I also felt different. I wasn’t the same person now that I was when I had left. I had seen other countries, met many people from many cultures, and been exposed to many ideas. And the Chinese people now treated me differently. Because I had been overseas, I now had to pay the more expensive prices at restaurants and hotels. Everyone wanted me to do business with them, and I had to go almost everywhere with my American bosses. I almost felt like a “foreigner.”
The most surprising thing to me was all the changes that had happened in only two years! Some of the changes were good: There were more conveniences now to make peoples’ lives easier, like air conditioners, cars, VCRs, and video cameras. There were more foreign companies investing in the city and more foreign products available. There were more opportunities for citizens to do business and better their lifestyles than ever before.
But it soon became obvious that most of the opportunities benefited only a few in society. Those who were rich were becoming richer, while the majority of the people were finding it harder and harder to make a living. Some of my friends and relatives said that they had not purchased meat for months. And many could no longer afford to feed their families. Many state-owned factories and institutions were not able to pay their employees and had not in months.
Because of these problems, everyone sees “making money” as the only solution to their problems. Making money is the most important thing on everyone’s mind. I can understand why people want to earn money to make their lives easier, but it’s the increase in corruption that bothers me. Some of my former classmates from college are working in companies now. Several have told me how well they are doing by cheating their companies. They take millions of yuan, without the company knowing it, and invest it to make millions for themselves. Sometimes even their bosses are involved in this activity.
“Why not?” my classmate said. “It doesn’t matter as long as I don’t get caught.”
I think now I know why everyone thinks this way. There is no “right” or “wrong” any more in China. For years and years, the people have been told, “There is no God! There is no religion! Your hope is in the political system and your government.”
These days, the people don’t even believe in that.
I worry for my country. What kind of future can there be when there are no longer any rules at the basis for society except “make money any way you can.” I pray that China will hear of the real hope.
In this chaotic world of war, death, suffering, and pain, there is a God. He does love us and sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us. I came to know Him while I was a college student still in China. Today I still clearly remember when my teacher taught us to sing the Christmas song “Holy Night.” My heart was suddenly filled with a peace and joy I had never experienced before. This was what I had been looking for. This was a God who was so real I could feel Him. Now I had a hope that would change my life forever.
To the people of China, I wish to say that there is hope! There is “right” and “wrong.” It is written in God’s word, the Bible. As a society, we must recognize this and try to follow just and honest policies in our business, work, and family life, or we will not prosper or survive as a nation.
*Not his real name
Chen Han Ming is a businessman from China. He currently works in the U.S. with an American company.