I hope that the notion of the Chinese Dream is a signal that the Party recognizes that China ought not to be merely the world’s biggest factory, largest market, and most significant creator of pollution. I hope it is a recognition of the dignity and the aspirations of ordinary Chinese people.
Unfortunately, I have seen nothing to convince me that the Chinese Dream is anything but a shoddy ripoff of the American Dream, a propaganda campaign imposed from above as an ideological framework to justify continued Party rule, and to find a euphonious way of talking about China’s place in the world.
The emptiness of the concept was demonstrated in May when Xinhua reported that “a senior Chinese official… called for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) to research the “Chinese dream.” The official went on to say that the research “would provide academic support for self-confidence in the Chinese path, theories and system.” In other words, China’s leading think tank was given the task of finding an actual meaning for the Chinese dream.
On the other hand, on the Internet where you find ordinary Chinese people talking about their own ideas rather than Party ideology, many people joke that the real Chinese dream is to get a Green Card and emigrate to the United States.