The Typical Way to Accelerate the Rural Development in China & Reflections on How to Be a Leader

by Zhe Sun, China, ELP 2015
Written on July 10, 2015.

On July 6th, I attended the lecture addressed by Kihwan Kim, which was very fantastic and thus impressed me a lot. The most unforgettable part of his presentation was the background music he used to assist his expression of commiseration to those miserable kids who survived the war, and aroused my sympathy instantly.

Image iconzhe-1-1024x768_2.jpg Figure 1. Kihwan Kim’s lecture on SMU in Korea

At the beginning, I need to make a brief summary about Kim’s lecture. Major reasons for the rising of Korea is their transplantation of the Saemaul Undong (SMU), a movement originated in Africa. SMU advocated a Community Business Model and Capacity Building Program which appealed women to be involved in Korean rural areas. By means of the movement, the economic situation and construction quality improved more rapidly than the pace of ever-increasing demand of the population, especially in the rural regions. That evolutionary trend eventually led to the prosperity of Korea, and changed it into a developed country. A successful country will never abandon the undeveloped district forever.

As for the workshop in that class, I was assigned to participate in the group discussion on systematic monitoring and evaluation of the rural rising. At last, my group came to a common conclusion that we need to supplement bureaucracy to realize the efficiency of rural management. We were supposed to set a chief minister who can either be a position or an organization of which the function is to conduct macro-control and to adjudicate all the proposals supremely. Then we expected to set a series of directors in a secondary place whose target is to specify the order and demand given by the superior officers and assign tasks to the inferiors. In that case, we also suggested that coordinators should be set to make sure the instructions from above be carried out successfully. In this circumstance, government monitoring can be achieved effectively by stepwise commands, and evaluations can be finished accurately and timely due to the progressive feedback.

Image iconzhe-2-1024x768_2.jpg Figure 2. Kihwan Kim’s lecture on current rural constructions in Korea

In China, the only way to settle the rural problems is Rustication, a special program that demands the graduates to go downtown and to the countryside for work, usually voluntarily for at least two years, and then they can be sent back to the urban area to get new work, maybe in a higher position and salary, according to the contribution they have made during the process of countryside volunteering work. To use the conclusion obtained in our workshop for further analysis, I think that the monitoring and evaluation systems that China’s national government is using now run efficiently and smoothly. The volunteer graduates are getting senior because of the experiences accumulating with the time going by, so senior graduates will be sent to administrate larger areas while juniors take charge of smaller areas. Local government staff can supervise their jurisdictions and report to the superiors, and so forth. Under such circumstances, information can be collected exhaustively from each small region units, and finally achieve the monitoring effect. As for the evaluation system, nowadays we have constructed adequate signal stations in the countryside, so it is possible for us to use the Internet for feedback collecting. But the challenge is that we cannot make sure that every family has Internet access. So it is the graduates’ work to hold regular meetings for the neighborhood committees in order to learn whether the current policy is useful or not. Feedback information will thus be collected separately and combined and submitted to the higher hierarchies to the central authority. So, in those off-Internet regions, volunteer graduates act as communication and feedback media.

Image iconzhe-3-1024x768_2.jpg Figure 3. Part of our discussion results on monitoring & evaluation of rural areas

Another remarkable lecture that week was the Collaborative Leadership for Sustainable Changes given by Professor Susan Carpenter on July 8th. Susan focused on the exploration of characteristics which an excellent leader should have, and divided all the participants into four groups with different personality traits through the world-wide famous test named the Keirsey temperament sorter.

Image iconzhe-4-1024x768_2.jpg Figure 4. Susan Carpenter’s lecture on the basic characters of leaders

There is always more than one way to succeed, just as the fact that great leaders can also have various characteristics. Though people with different inborn temperaments can be cultivated into good leaders in several styles, we still cannot deny the fact that people with some certain characters like cooperativeness, communicability and logic are more inclined to be leaders in many situations. As for me, I got “INTJ” finally through the interesting test, which found me to be a rational.

I have been studying chemistry and mathematics, so it was not so surprising to get the result. I hope to be a professional in my field and be recognized by others on my research projects. That is also to say I would be annoyed if my work, to which I devoted much effort, time and energy, was rejected by others. So, at many times I would like to work alone, including studying and experimenting. I know that is a negative for me if I want to be a leader, although I have close logic and diligent attitude towards my tasks. On that condition, I need to learn from those who are outgoing and extroverted because they are more charismatic and own plenty of skills for communicating with others, including expressing their opinions and making others understand. In addition, cooperation with them is another feasible choice for me to harvest more. According to the fact, I should learn to be a better eclectic listener in order to accept proposals and trenchant advice.

Image iconzhe-5-1024x768_2.jpg Figure 5. Part of our discussion results on three questions

In a nutshell, I have to admit the fact that everyone with different temperaments each has his or her unique advantages and disadvantages. The optimal way to achieve a goal is just to learn from and complement each other.