“CHINA on my eyes” —— A Door to a New Planet

  • Yudong TAN
  • Published: 2018-09-29
  • 1415

When I was very young, I was taught that there are eight planets in the universe. But, now at this point, I can say there are nine of them. So, is it fair enough to call China as ‘the ninth planet’? Well, it might seem surprising to many of you who are reading this essay. Trust me, if you keep reading this article, you will realize that I am right. I am Pralhad Gupta, an international Ph.D. student at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences under CAS-TWAS Fellowship Program 2018, from Nepal. If I remember correctly, I completed 771 days today of my stay in China, which is equal to 66,614,400 seconds; and each second, I felt satisfied with my choice of choosing China. The story started about two years ago. Today, I will take you to my journey, where all it began.    

I have been in China for two years. Back in June 2016, I got an email after finishing the examination of my last undergraduate course. It reads “Congratulations, you have been awarded Chinese Government Scholarship to pursue Master’s at Department of Automotive Engineering in Tsinghua University”. Millions of things started to flow through my brain cells, and the most important thing going on mind was pursuing study at Tsinghua University, the heart of China, and one of the best universities of the world. After my arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport, the only two words I could speak were “nĭ hăo” and “xièxie” and trust me it worked at least to get a taxi and arrive my university. This is the story of my journey to China-part I.


@Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution

There were so many questions I had about China and thousands of unexpressed secondhand feelings that were killing me inside to know China better and to explore China more in order to convert the secondhand feelings I had from some people around me into my real life experiences. I believe that ‘the world is like a book, and those who don’t travel knows only the first page’. The life working for my master degree in China was amazing. I, who was the hunger of learning, lived my life here; it’s not only the quality education I got there, it’s the life I lived there and the memories I made in China. I studied; I lived my hobbies; I traveled, and I did so many things which have helped me to get a deeper insight into China.



Kǒng miào, Qufu, Shandong

The old orphanage, Danzhai County, Guizhou


Danzhai Wanda Village, Guizhou


In the summer of 2017, I got a life-changing opportunity to participate in Jinhua Summer Practice Program 2017 with a team from all over the world including Chinese and international students. If you look into China forty years back from you, you will know the definition of pain, struggles, challenges, and so many things which the present generation youths may not know about China. The journey of ‘reform & open up’ began forty years ago, and how this journey ended is clear crystal now. These theoretical understandings became prominent when I noticed the e-commerce development in Jinhua, Dongyang, etc. and Yiwu International Trade City in Yiwu. I was astonished to visit some villages such as Huayuan and Beihouzhou in Zhejiang which they call it a village, but to me, they are quite developed, highly rich and sustainable. The thing that surprised me was that one of the government officials replied to us that they are proud to be called as villagers, they love their culture and old traditions. This is the reason they call it a village although they have a strong potential to be called as a city. Let’s add some spices to this essay. Our team was asked to shoot for a short movie “huáng fēi hóng shí sān yí”, and I was in the eyes of the director due to the immense amount of energy and vibes I spread, and the way I use my emotional intelligence into the acting. I misspelled many words which I was supposed to speak. So, the director said, “you are made for something else, why don’t you try stunts?” I broke my silence with a thunderous laugh when he asked me to act as a leading gangster. With a sword in my right hand, I did some stunts of flying kick, and it was the tenth time after which the director said, “well done, you did it”. I never did acting in a movie or short film before, and I did not know that I really can do it well. You know what, I could not have got such opportunity if I had not been to Zhejiang. Thanks to ‘Hengdian World Studios’ for making this possible.


While I acted as a gangster in a Chinese short movie “huáng fēi hóng shí sān yí


In this trip, I was very thrilled by the rich culture, and old traditions which have been safeguarded continuously generation-by-generation in parallel with the sky-rocketing progress China has been making at this adventure.

 The Monkey King Costume, Jinhua County, Zhejiang

Making Traditional Soya Milk, Beihouzhou Village, Jinhua County, Zhejiang


This story is incomplete without one more statement I would like to make here; the warm hearts of Chinese people and the way they treated us made us emotional when we were departing. Our host families were there until the bus engine started waving their hands, wishing us a happy journey and hoping to see us again in their beautiful village. The tears fell from my eyes on the ground when the mother of my host family hugged me, and I pretended to laugh with my wet eyes so that she would not cry any longer; she was old, she was weak; but, her heart was warm, and her arms felt like a heaven for me.


Host mother, Beihouzhou, Jinhua, Zhejiang

Elderly Couple, Wuhan, Hubei


People might consider China as a manufacturing hub, a digitally transformed nation, a rapidly developing country and as a whole, a powerful nation. But, apart from all of them, China is a country with Chinese life, a life that is determined by Confucianism and is unique in its own way that mesmerizes the people like me who like to understand people-to-people relation in a rational and lucid way.


Graduation celebration at Tsinghua University (One of memorable days)

China, at present, is giving opportunities to thousands of foreign studies to pursue their studies and to pursue their dreams. This might not be everything to everyone, but this means a lot for youths who dream to bring change in the society especially from underdeveloped countries, and underprivileged communities. In a nutshell, a quality education and a quality lifestyle are what these youths need to bring them a step closer to their dreams. With a hope to serve the nation, these youths aspire themselves to leave their comfort zone, come to China, and what they take with them is a lot of lessons learned; a lesson to make every breath count. Well, that’s what we get now, think about forty years ago, forget about bringing foreigners in China, China itself was a victim of extreme poverty and illiteracy. Now, at this era, where Chinese universities fall under the top-level institutions around the world and no matter where you, you will always find researchers, academicians, scientists, a top-notch businessman from China and Chinese universities. Giving an example of our university, Tsinghua University is one of the world-class research universities to talk about. At the beginning of this paragraph, it sounds like I was a too self-centered person. Well, the fact is here. And, I represent a Tsinghua alumnus here. Two years ago, I chose Tsinghua, and now Tsinghua will stay with me forever. I lived my life here; I studied, traveled, and lived all the hobbies I had. Each and every step I made, every drop of sweat that fell off on the ground, and every sleepless night I spent at the last made my presence count. Opportunities knock for them those who strive. I got to say, millions of Chinese people worked together to build a modern China, and there are millions of Chinese youths who worked hard day-nights as I did to make this country a better place to live in.

I have shared a table with many successful entrepreneurs, businessman, researchers, and academicians from all around the world during various occasions. And trust me, what I understood from them is “if your business is successful in China, you are successful in the world”. This is a country with more than 1.5 billion people and definitely a booming market for every technology and business. China has opened itself to the world, and no doubt it’s going to get the title of “superpower” in the coming future. China is progressing with a rate as the speed of light, China is getting greener, China is getting sustainable, China is fighting hard against all its odds. It is the same country which had millions of people under vicious circle of vicious poverty, it is the same country which does not have innovative technologies, it is the same country were people were dying because of diseases spread through plague, it is the same country where it used to take several years to recover natural disaster. Credits go to the Chinese government, and most importantly to the Chinese people whose sacrifices and hard work have made China, a home for 1.5 million of hopes within China as well as several thousands of international students and workforce who live their life of purpose here with one common; LET’S MAKE CHINA GREAT TOGETHER. We are different in many ways, but we are the same in only one way, that is our blood is red, it’s the same. We are brothers from different mothers.


SET2018 Conference fellows, Wuhan, Hubei


Nothing is more critical than time, and TIME has changed now. This is the 21st century in which speed is very important. If you don’t move with the pace of your competitors, you will be a loser because when you are sleeping, someone might be working to pursue their goals. In this regard, China has set a mission for itself to move continuously, it fell down many times, it failed even more, but never stopped. Every time it stood up, it grew stronger and made its footprints vibrant. At present, the Chinese government and Chinese people have left no stone unturned to make China even stronger, sustainable, and prosperous. Let’s conclude this here. No matter what topics you raise, economy, environment, and sustainability, China has been dominating the statistics strongly as one of the leading nations from the frontier point.  

There are so many things to write about my experience here. As I am not a student of history and philosophy, I am unable to write about it too long. Because there are few things which cannot be explained through words, words are limited to describe everything. Being an engineer, I love mathematics and my mathematics skills say that the coming future is going to be very competitive, more digitalized, and automated and China is going to play a vital role along with other powerful nations. At the last, hard work and perseverance always pays back, if not now, certainly in future. BE LIKE CHINA, MAKE SKY YOUR LIMIT.


With the hope to continue my studies further, and make myself a capable person to serve the society and nation, I came to UCAS, and I wish to improve myself every pulse of time I stay here. Thank you, UCAS for choosing me. 谢谢中国科学院大学!Proud to be a UCASian.


Written by Pralhad Gupta(Nepal)