I am the son of a Chinese democracy activist. My father went into exile in 1988; I was born in China and raised in England. But today, my father and I find ourselves back in the motherland.My family’s struggle for freedom was a quest to escape what they saw as a narrowing reality. My father’s decision to seek refuge, and his independence from a brutal government, led to my upbringing in England. But having returned to China, in 2012, of my own free will, I have come to realize that the struggle for most young people in China isn’t a political one — it’s a generational clash against the stifling influence of parental expectations.Before he left China, my father was an assistant teacher of law at a university in the southern city of Guilin. In the late 1980s he started distributing pamphlets and writing letters calling for democratic reforms. In those days, the winds of change were blowing hard. The slaughter near Tiananmen Square in June 1989 was the culmination, a savage eradication of the democratic movement that had swept across China.
It’s Not Communism Holding China’s Youth Back. It’s Their Parents.