[EDITORIALS]China is an eye-opener“We were surprised at the dynamism of China.” “If we don’t change, we will face a miserable time in the next decade.”
These are the remarks of two civic group leaders, who recently visited China’s Shanghai and other cities, on visit sponsored by the Federation of Korean Industries. The two activists were the representatives of the so-called 386 generation ― people in their 30s, educated in the 1980s and born in the 1960s ― who led the student movement in the 1980s. We have many things to think about, after seeing those two leaders discussing their shock after seeing a glimpse of China.
Although belated, it is still fortunate they have felt the changes around the world. And yet, it is also lamentable that they had to witness the changes despite so many previous discussions about China’s evolution.
Today, Korea is going backward. The economy is laid aside, and the nation is repeating conflicts and confrontations, swept by the anachronistic ideological disputes such as progressive vs. conservative and pro-America vs. anti-America. China, which is a socialist country, is putting all its energy into economic development by adopting market-friendly policies. And yet, Korea, a capitalist market economy, is seeing widespread anti-corporate sentiment and is becoming the haven of labor unions.
Such changes have been predominant since the launch of the Roh administration. Many see the reasons for them in the rise of the 386 generation. The deputy prime minister of economy has also pointed out the problem. He said the awareness of the 386 generation, who are playing key roles in the Roh administration, was problematic.
The 386 leaders spent their college years under the military dictatorship. Because of the hopeless domestic politics at the time, they had no choice in the development of their distorted awareness of reality. But, the world is changing. Until when will they hold on to the internal struggle and the past?
In the past, they have rejected such advice, calling it the logic of the establishment and the rich. But, similar advice is now being heard from the 386 generation, and it is worth listening to. The 386 activists recommended widening the horizon to properly play a role as a leader. They recommended learning from China, even if it is necessary to lend money for visits there. Whether it is China or Vietnam, travel and see the changes of the world.