A New Road
In 1978, China opened a new page under the leadership Deng Xiaoping. China has been undergoing remarkable changes since the economic reform of the 1970s. More and more high buildings and factories were built in big cities, and a lot of new merchandise was been sold in markets. That motivated many young people to move from their small villages to big cities in order to get good jobs. From that moment, the life of a farmer became richer and richer. At the same time, the country reinstated the college entrance examination, so many Chinese students continued their secondary education in universities and even went to foreign countries to study. Therefore, the Reform and Opening up Policy influenced Chinese people in various ways. Moreover, this period was an important turning point for my relatives and my parents.
After the Reform and Opening up Policy, agricultural products gradually increased, so my parents no longer suffered food shortages. In the 1960s and 1970s, the food shortages were widespread due to the lower food production. Many Chinese people died in southwestern China because of the famine. However, the food shortage problem was much better in southeastern China. My mother could eat some small sweet potatoes and congee to sustain her energy, and my father caught fish to feed his family members. Even though my parents had food to sustain themselves, their food did not have enough nutrition. Fortunately, as the government improved productive technology, my parents had enough money to afford food through working hard in their field.
Furthermore, various types of factories boomed quickly in the southeastern part of China, so it was easy for my mother find a good job in a company. My mother chose a paper factory to work after she graduated from high school. In the pre-reform period, there were only a few factories running in southern part of China, so my mother, like other children, had to catch fish and sell them in a market to for cash. Then she bought necessary supplies to support her family. Moreover, since my mother worked in a factory, her income had a good influence on her living standard. My mother was able to buy a variety of food items in the markets. As a result, my mother was satisfied after the economy grew quickly.
More importantly, my aunt and her family members had a chance to migrate to the United States after Reform and Opening up. My aunt’s family lived in a remote village before moving to the United States; therefore, my aunt’s family was very poor at that time. My cousin could not receive a good education because schools in the villages were not good. After Reform and Opening Up, my
aunt’s family moved to the United States for my cousins’ higher education. Eventually, my cousin got a nursing degree in a selective university in the United States. In addition, my aunt bought a new house in Illinois in 1999. Consequently, the Reform and Opening Up policy had an important influence the living condition of my aunt’s family.
Through the economic opening of China, the life of my parents and my aunt’s family stepped onto a new road. My parents not only solved their food supply problem, but also their standard of living improved a lot. The career path of my parents become smoother and smoother; they were no longer farmers who always worked in the farming fields. In addition, my aunt was able to get a good education for her children. Every time when my parents look back to see the past through old document and pictures, their moods are filled with mixed feelings for the life they left behind and their new home.