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Rachel Lu

Voices — Migratory Season

Do you hear it? That’s the sound of China’s talent and assets flying abroad. The International Herald Tribune recently covered the path of China’s so-called “migratory birds.” Ms. Wan Ying (@新闻工匠 ), a journalist and writer, tweeted on January 25:

Another good friend is emigrating to Canada. A group of friends gathered to raise glasses and send him off. One said to him, “Don’t forget us when you get rich.” He said, “The opportunity to get rich is actually in China, but we can’t capture it.” Another said, “You don’t know the people or the customs there; why are you going?” He said, “I don’t know the people there and they don’t know me, but in our hearts we all believe in rules.” I said, “Don’t go. Would be good to stay and become a critic.” He said, “Life is too short; can’t waste time.”

又一位好友要移民去加拿大。朋友们举杯送别。一位朋友对他说:“苟富贵,莫相忘。”他说:“富贵的机会其实在中国,只是我们抓不住。”另一位说:“人生地不熟的,去哪儿干嘛?”他说:“互相不熟,但大家心里都有规则。”我说:“别走吧,留下来做一个批评家也好。”他说:“人生苦短,耽误不起。”

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Rachel Lu

Rachel Lu is a co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation. Rachel traces her ancestry to Southern China. She spent much of her childhood memorizing Chinese poetry. After long stints in New York, New Haven and Cambridge, she has returned to China to bear witness to its great transformation. She is currently based in China.
  • http://vocationoftheheart.wordpress.com Lorin Yochim

    Isn’t it the case that many of these people become lifelong migrants, moving back and forth for a variety of reasons, including greater opportunities in China? Isn’t this the case for Dragonwell?

    • dragonwell

      Dear Lorin, you are right, the number of overseas returnees (the so-called “sea turtles”) has shot up since China’s economy took off in the last ten years. Many in the Chinese diaspora have returned to witness or participate in China’s change. At the same time, there is a great sense of insecurity and frustration that continues to drive people to emigrate, as evidenced by Ms. Wang’s tweet. Only time will tell whether these people will be “lifelong migrants.”