From the NYT, Wary of Future, Professionals Leave China in Record Numbers:
BEIJING — At 30, Chen Kuo had what many Chinese dream of: her own apartment and a well-paying job at a multinational corporation. But in mid-October, Ms. Chen boarded a midnight flight for Australia to begin a new life with no sure prospects.
Like hundreds of thousands of Chinese who leave each year, she was driven by an overriding sense that she could do better outside China. Despite China’s tremendous economic successes in recent years, she was lured by Australia’s healthier environment, robust social services and the freedom to start a family in a country that guarantees religious freedoms.
Awesome! Except... there's something strange in that summary. We'll get back to that.
Continuing through the article, there's some explanation of the details:
“It’s very stressful in China — sometimes I was working 128 hours a week for my auditing company,” Ms. Chen said in her Beijing apartment a few hours before leaving.
Interesting. Ms. Chen continues:
“And it will be easier raising my children as Christians abroad. It is more free in Australia.”
A bit further on, we see:
Few emigrants from China cite politics, but it underlies many of their concerns. They talk about a development-at-all-costs strategy that has ruined the environment, as well as a deteriorating social and moral fabric that makes China feel like a chillier place than when they were growing up.
Based on the article, I'd say it's safe to say that Ms. Chen - and, by implication, many of the professionals leaving China - are looking for an increase in personal liberty with and emphasis on political, economic and religious freedom.
Now go back to the second paragraph of the article, and you'll see that it mentions all of these elements in one way or another... plus something that, to my mind, seems particularly odd:
Despite China’s tremendous economic successes in recent years, she was lured by Australia’s healthier environment, robust social services and the freedom to start a family in a country that guarantees religious freedoms.
I can give the Times a pass on the "healthier environment" comment - that may be a portmanteau phrase meant to encompass physical, business, and social environment all in one handy phrase.
But... "robust social services"?
If you read through the article, there is no other mention of social services. None at all. There's discussion of corruption and political instability in China, the difficulties of finding business opportunites when state-run corporations dominate the economic landscape, and even mention of unease with social and moral decay in modern China.
Not a single person said, "Well, what we're really looking for are better social services." Now, I may be crazy, but I imagine that may be because they're coming from a communist country where every "social service" is a branch of the government.
Makes me wonder how in the world that ended up in the article at all. I mean, it's almost as if the NYT simply can't imagine an individual who wouldn't just love them some "robust social services".
Nah, that couldn't be it. Nobody's that dense.