DOWN TO EARTH
The subject of ancient poets and symbol of mystic wisdom, the humble hermit is making a comeback in modern China as the decades-long craze for urbanization begins to wane. But it's not just mountain men—today's “hermits” are also seeking spiritual resorts in luxury resorts, while others form a new “creative class” that's helping revitalize the countryside
For the past three decades, China has embraced a breakneck economic model that has prioritized three main values—family, fortune, and face. Some 690 million of China’s total 1.35-billion population now live in cities, where career prospects are considered greater, and economists expect 300 million more to follow in the next 15
You ask me why I dwell in the green mountains, I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care. As the peach blossom flows downstream into the unknown, I have a world apart that is not among men — Green Mountain, Li Bai
years; ninety percent now own their own homes, one of the highest rates in the world. Increasingly, though, young people are turning away from the priorities of their parents. They’re less concerned with GDP growth and stability than they are with quality of life, a better environment and a strong sense of personal fulfillment.
As the cities fill with migrants, many in the middle class feel squeezed, left to wonder if there’s much more to life than morning commutes, marriage and mortgage payments. For some, it’s simply about giving greater spiritual meaning to their daily lives; others favor aspects of China’s ancient past over the moral vacuum of its urban materialism. And increasingly, many seek to find a balance in between—pursuing entrepreneurial ambitions without sacrificing the eternal human desire for the peace and solitude of “the green mountains…a world apart.”