Wang Huiyao: a scholar or a social entrepreneur?

China Plus Published: 2018-12-14 11:04:09
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Wang Huiyao is the founder of the Center for China and Globalization, an influential think tank in China. When we asked him if he prefers to call himself a scholar or a government advisor, Wang rejected both of these labels. Instead, he prefers the term "social entrepreneur". What does that mean? Wang Huiyao explains this and much more in our series "Deep Dive: Talks with Chinese Internationals".

Wang Huiyao: a scholar or a social entrepreneur?

Wang Huiyao, Founder and President of Center for China and Globalization (CCG) [File photo: provided to China Plus]

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A Man Who Knows His Mission

by Manling, host of China Plus

It is always the prepared who are able to take advantage of the opportunities life sends our way. Wang Huiyao, founder and president of an independent think tank, The Center for China and Globalization (CCG), is such a man. Forced to go to the countryside to receive re-education from peasants to toil fields, life was already beyond the hardships a city youth could have imagined and endured, yet he was still reading books and memorizing English words. This seemingly neither practical nor hopeful obsession with learning was actually the influence from his father who had participated in the building of the Tanzania-Zambia railway, who had traveled outside of China and therefore advised his son that English was so widely spoken and it might be very useful one day.

Wang Huiyao: a scholar or a social entrepreneur?

Wang Huiyao, Founder and President of Center for China and Globalization (CCG), takes an interview from China Plus. [Photo: China Plus]

On top of that Wang Huiyao was lucky to have an intellectual and exceptionally generous mother who considered knowledge more important than subsistence. She spent 20 percent of her monthly salary and went out of her way to find a source of academic stimulation and bought an English-Chinese dictionary for her son, at a time when each household was put on a limited ration and money was never enough to cover decent meals for family members.

This little dictionary was Wang's most luxurious property in the countryside and on the campus. It was actually the "magic wand" for him to make wonderful things happen in life. With the little book, life in the countryside was no longer that unendurable, even though it could mean that he had to drink hot water with pepper to keep his body warm in extremely cold winter. To this day, he has carefully kept the first dictionary of his life intact as a token of parental love and positive influence, which is the best gift a child can receive from parents.

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