During the past week, I’ve seen a lot of women wearing white wedding gowns on the campus of Henan University of Technology. Since most of the female students I know don’t even have boyfriends, I was puzzled until I found out the real reason: graduation photos.
Seniors have been getting their graduation photos taken this week and, in China, that means some girls will be posing in wedding dresses. When I asked one of them why, she said, “Because it makes us look more beautiful.’’
Hard to argue with that.
China is learning the downsides of being a superpower.
In the past week, anti-China sentiment has led to ugly incidents in Vietnam and Myanmar, two countries on its southern border. And a recent four-nation tour of Africa by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has renewed debate over whether China’s huge economic investment in the continent is a new form of colonialism.
In Vietnam, two Chinese workers were killed and more than 100 others injured during a wave of protests over the presence of a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters of the South China Sea. In Myanmar, two Chinese contractors were kidnapped by opponents of a copper mine backed by a Chinese arms manufacturer. (The hostages were later released.)
All those workers were targeted because China is now a global economic and military power. And power can breed resentment, as the U.S. has painfully learned over the years.
It will be interesting to see how China deals with the backlash in its own backyard. Will it try to impose its might on its weaker neighbors in Southeast Asia, or will it come to understand that smaller countries living under its giant shadow have a right to be concerned about its ever-growing clout?