Class reunion is emerging quietly in China, is it the proof of economic development or a sign of ageing? Shanghai resident Zhang Dongguang has, since recently, frequently participated in high school class reunions. Last Sunday, he revelled till mid-night. A week ago, he participated in several similar gatherings too. In late April, he was also ready to participate in a Two Days, One Night "classmate tour". Three months ago, Mr. Zhang began to participate in various class reunions, whose number of attendants would reach more than 20. He often went home late and was scorned by his wife. However, he would rather face complaints than give up the fulfillment of participating in these reunions. He said that the relationship between classmates is completely different from that between superior and subordinate, they can speak out their mind freely.
So, why is the class reunion gaining popularity in China? There are several reasons. First, the smartphones have become popular. According to a survey, 55% of Chinese adults now have smartphones. In large cities, many of the elderly also love using smartphones. People create WeChat groups so that they can get in touch with each other at any time, which reduces the difficulty of organizing class reunions greatly. Second, Chinese people are getting richer. According to Mr. Zhang, the per capita consumption of each class reunion is 100 yuan. Drinking and karaoke after dinner cost them more, than they usually spend in a month. However, Mr. Zhang and his classmates don’t care much. The more important point is that the generation that received education after the Cultural Revolution has now already reached retirement age. Plenty of leisure time makes the class reunion gradually become a trend of memorizing the past and enhancing current friendship.
However, the emerging class reunions also reflects a problem that may occur in China in the future. As China has implemented the one-child policy for decades, its ageing process has overtaken that of Japan. The number of people aged over 60 exceeded 200 million in 2013. The labor force is starting to shrink and some people think that China’s "demographic golden period" has ended. Just like public square dancing that has caused social conflicts, the emerging class reunions also reflect the fact that China’s current society is facing many changes