The Chinese Dream (simplified Chinese: 中国梦; traditional Chinese: 中國夢; pinyin: Zhōngguó mèng) is a new term within Chinese socialist thought and describes a set of ideals in the People's Republic of China. It is used by journalists, government officials, and activists to describe the role of the individual in Chinese society.
In 2013 the Communist Party (CPC) General Secretary Xi Jinping began promoting the phrase as a slogan, leading to its widespread use in the Chinese media. Xi has described the dream as "national rejuvenation, improvement of people’s livelihoods, prosperity, construction of a better society and military strengthening." He has stated that young people should "dare to dream, work assiduously to fulfill the dreams and contribute to the revitalization of the nation." According to the party's theoretical journal Qiushi, the Chinese Dream is about Chinese prosperity, collective effort, socialism and national glory.
Some believe that, although the phrase has been used previously by many Western journalists and Chinese activists, a translation of a New York Times article written by the American journalist Thomas Friedman, "China Needs Its Own Dream", has been credited with popularizing the concept in China. He attributes the term to Peggy Liu and the environmental NGO JUCCCE's China Dream project, which defines the Chinese Dream as sustainable development.
The Chinese Dream is vaguely defined, and has led to multiple interpretations describing the phrase's meaning. However, what is not vague is its connection to the party's ideology of socialism with Chinese characteristics and Marxism–Leninism.
The Chinese Dream vs. the American Dream
Author Helen H. Wang was the first one to connect the Chinese Dream with the American Dream. In her book The Chinese Dream, Wang wrote: “The Chinese Dream, taking its title from the American Dream, alluding to an easily identifiable concept…” Wang attempts to demonstrate that the Chinese people have similar dreams as those of the American people. “This new [Chinese] middle class." Wang wrote, "which barely existed a decade ago, will reach the size of more than two Americas in a decade or two. They number in the hundreds of millions, with the same hopes and dreams that you and I have: to have a better life, to give our children an even better life….”
The China Dream has been defined as sustainable development. Peggy Liu and the NGO JUCCCE coined the phrase "China Dream" as a movement based on sustainability, which was later popularized in China through a New York Times article and adopted by Xi Jinping. Pollution and food safety are popular concerns in China. Cities are frequently covered by smog and the country's rivers are polluted with industrial waste. China's rising middle class is expected to increase by 500 million people by 2025 and wi