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Adam Minter

China's Lost Generation Finds Itself in Ukraine

China's latest viral story shows that, for anyone who doesn't have elite academic credentials and a big bank account, it's easier to find success in Kiev than Shanghai.
Dreaming of Ukraine

Dreaming of Ukraine

AFP/AFP/GettyImages

The latest viral story in China is the rags-to-riches tale of a young man named Mei Aicai. A working class high-school graduate who scored abysmally on China's college entrance exam, Mei now owns his own business, claims title to three-quarters of an acre of land, lives in a split-level house, and is married to an eighteen-year-old who -- the Chinese internet universally agrees -- looks like a model. One more thing: Mei achieved all his good fortune after leaving China for Ukraine.

For the Chinese public, the moral of Mei's story is clear: for anyone who lacks family connections, elite academic credentials, and a big bank account, it's now easier to achieve upward mobility in Kiev than Shanghai.