lørdag 6. januar 2018

China's Class of 1977: I took an exam that changed China

Forty years ago China reinstated its all-important college entrance exam after a gap of more than a decade when the country was plunged into the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. More than five million people sat the exams in the hope of securing a university place. The BBC's Yuwen Wu describes what it was like to be among them.

On 10 December 1977, I took a bus to No 35 Middle School in the West City District of Beijing to do something young people in China hadn't done for more than 12 years.I was taking part in the first college entrance examination since 1965. There was subdued yet palpable excitement and expectation in the cold winter air, because for the first time in years we had our destiny in our own hands. In my pocket I clutched a bar of chocolate from my father. It was his way of supporting me - I'd never tasted chocolate before.

During the Cultural Revolution, normal learning at schools and universities was interrupted, teachers and intellectuals found themselves publicly humiliated and beaten; some were driven to suicide. It was not a good time for those who valued a formal education.