Introduction to Chinese language, life and culture. A look at life on the university campus and in Beijing's booming business world, plus formal introductions.
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At the start of the new academic year,
students pour into Beijing from all over China.
In this programme, the ups and downs of life on campus,
a look at Beijing's booming business world,
plus the fortunes of factory workers,
and what to say when you're formally introduced.
Beijing University is the Oxbridge of China,
with over 35,000 students.
Graduating here is the ultimate passport to success.
For new students, it's just the beginning.
As soon as they arrive, they must sign up for their courses
and move into their dormitories.
Students are from many different provinces.
Literally - I'm a Shandong person.
I come from Hunan.
Since the 1990s,
the number of students studying at university has tripled.
Competition for places is fierce
and, since the government cut back on subsidies,
most students have to pay towards their courses.
The better off you are, the more likely you are to get to university.
Your behaviour and moral conduct will also be taken into account.
There's none of the political fervour that existed back in the 1980s.
Getting involved in green issues is as militant as it gets.
For most, what's important is having a good social life
and making new friends.
If people ask you how you are,
you can say -
The word for friend is -
This is my friend.
He is called... or she is called...
Her surname is...
Her full name is...
With families pinning all their hopes on their sons and daughters,
often only children,
the pressure to succeed is enormous.
I'm studying finance.
I'm studying law.
I'm studying philosophy.
I'm studying Chinese literature.
Chinese universities produce
some of the finest engineers and mathematicians in the world.
Even so, many students still dream of studying in the West
with the benefits that this can bring.
20 years ago, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping famously said,
"To get rich is glorious."
Like a true Chinese sage, he foresaw the transformation that would happen
when China opened its doors to the West.
Now foreign capital is pouring in,
joint ventures are taking off
and state-run businesses are struggling to keep up.
As more and more foreign companies establish themselves,
the international community is growing.
These ex-pats are French, Canadian and British.
The word for the Chinese language is -
I can speak Chinese.
Shuo means to speak.
I can speak a little Chinese.
Mr Yang and Miss Li have an appointment
to meet Mr Gao.
When you are formally introduced to someone, use the polite term.
If you're speaking to more than one person.
Mr Gao, this is Miss Li.
Beijing's Grand Capital seafood restaurant.
A group of business people have arranged to meet for dinner.
This is my wife.
This is my colleague.
Very pleased to meet you.
Jobs in private companies are what many Beijingers now aspire to.
I work for a company.
I work for the Bank of China.
I'm an accountant.
I'm a company manager.
Ying is typical of a new breed of Chinese entrepreneurs,
ambitious and highly motivated.
She's studied and worked abroad and has just completed an MBA.
As well as running an interior design business
in Beijing's prestigious World Trade Centre,
she's a partner in a highly successful restaurant.
How does she see women's chances in the Chinese business world?
China's vast supply of cheap labour
and the strength of foreign investment
is rapidly turning it into the workshop of the world.
Clothing manufacture is one of the biggest earners.
With this kind of style and quality, it's hard to recall
that this is a nation once identified
with Chairman Mao's blue cotton suits.
Miss Chang is late for her business meeting
and makes her apologies.
It doesn't matter.
Smart Garments is a joint venture between China and Singapore.
The company has recently invested in computer-aided design
and training up their staff,
even sending them to Japan, the firm's main customer.
The factory's in the industrial outskirts of Beijing
and workers come from local villages.
Most are glad to get jobs here
despite the pressures of doing piece work.
To earn around £100 a month,
they have to produce up to 500 pieces a day.
Lunch is nutritious and free.
But gone are the days of the iron rice bowl
when workers could expect not just food but a home provided by the firm
and a job for life.
Shufang comes from a peasant family and used to work on the land.
She learned to sew on a local training scheme
and since joining the firm has been promoted to unit manager.
Managing director of the firm is Dorothy Seet from Singapore.
She started the company 16 years ago
and it's been a tough learning curve.
Working in China is like an acrobat performing an act on a tightrope.
You have to always keep a balance.
You have to adapt to the conditions here.
One cannot set very high expectations
and come in and say, "These are my rules and these are my principles."
Depending on circumstances, you have to bend a little.
Over the years that I'm here, I've learned a lot.
And with that, I think things have smoothed out
a lot more than what they used to be.
At Beijing's university for teacher training it's an important day -
the celebration of their 100th anniversary.
New libraries, lecture theatres and social facilities have been finished
for the centenary.
Education is now universally valued
as China's fastest route to first-world status.
BAND PLAYS Within China,
you never look to the future without honouring the ancestors.
A new statue of Confucius is about to be unveiled.
Confucian thinking is the bedrock of the Chinese education system
and learning's long been regarded as the passport to a better life.
This theme is played out later
in a centenary dance spectacular by the students.
In the 20th century,
millions of Chinese got their first real taste of education.
Today's generation have their sights set on even greater achievements.
Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing by Red Bee Media Ltd
Real Chinese is an up-to-the-minute introduction to Chinese life, culture and language. This ten-part series is for anyone travelling to China for holidays, study or work - and anyone else who simply wants to find out more about this fast-changing nation. The programmes are set in and around Beijing, with visits to mountains, countryside and a popular beach resort.
The series covers the language essentials needed to get the most out of a trip and explore beyond the usual tourist trail: how to greet people in Chinese, order food and drink, ask the way, travel around, hold simple conversations and enjoy sports and nightlife. Each 15-minute programme also offers insights into the culture, both past and present, from ancient arts, architecture and beliefs to current tastes in shopping, fashion and entertainment.
In this episode, a look at life on the university campus and in Beijing's booming business world and, on the city's outskirts, the fortunes of factory workers making top quality suits. Plus, what to say when you are introduced formally.