The Thousand Faces of China
Enchanted cities with legendary histories, young people addicted to video games in the neon-lit streets of modern metropolises, strict family rules that still affect the lives of millions. These are the stories that make up this report and help to reveal the thousand faces of China. The crisis caused by the spread of the COVID-19 has changed the paradigm not only of Chinese politics and society, but also of the whole world, with some unique features seen in China. More and more young people in China are attracted to video games, which also represent a real business capable of moving millions of dollars. Alongside the glitter of video games, however, a dark side also emerges: that of addiction. To try to cure it, several centers — sometimes even controversial ones — have been created to fight video game addiction through tough military-style training. Alongside the young people, however, a large part of China is increasing growing older. In 2019 the number of newborns in the Asian country was the lowest in the last sixty years and the birth rate stopped at 1.04%. Getting married is also not easy. The expenses that new couples have to face to start a family are often too high. The average cost to raise a child up to the age of 16 is estimated to be around 490,000 yuan, (about 65,000 Euros). This is too high a cost by Chinese standards. Finally, there is Huaxi, “the village paradise.” A true paradise city where the descendants of the founding families receive villas of 400 square meters by birthright as well as health care, education and a range of exclusive comforts. Huaxi is a village that has nothing to do with the reality in other more rural areas of China and which demonstrates the great contradictions of the Asian giant.