Made in China: from toys to Long March-5 series |
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Made in China: from toys to Long March-5 series

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By Spoldi Giada | | Updated: Apr 10, 2023

[Italy] Spoldi Giada, Capital Normal University

When I was a little kid, the first time I saw “Made in China” products were socks and toys we bought in Chinatown. Small commodities produced in China are popular for their cheap prices. Represented by the spaceships, today’s “Made in China” products are a symbol of advanced technology. It is a long way from production of socks and toys to manufacturing of spaceships.

Meanwhile, it did not take a long time for China to accomplish the brilliant feat. “Made in China” products have turned over a new leaf.

Spoldi Giada [Photo provided to]

One day in May 2021, when my parents and I were having dinner together, my father turned on the television. A news item was broadcast at that moment: “According to orbital calculations, it is possible that the wreckage of the Chinese spacecraft Long March-5B rocket will land in southern Italy.” It sounds a little appalling, but my family and I weren’t too worried. We all know that these types of calculations are often based on assumption and that the likelihood of rocket debris landing on our heads is slim.

The next day, we heard the news that “the wreckage of the Long March-5B rocket crashed into the Indian Ocean,” and the reporter made it clear that “no harm was done to the ground.” Knowing little about China, my father was amazed by the news and said, “These Chinese are marvelous, from making toys in the 1980’s to making rockets now. They have developed so fast!” The “toys” my father mentioned were the first Chinese goods he saw, and they were the first Chinese goods exported to Italy after China’s Reform and Opening-up. I turned my head to my father and said, “Yes, Dad. In the 1970’s, TV sets, refrigerators were articles of luxury in the eyes of the Chinese people. Nowadays they’ve gone to space!” My father smiled and nodded, “I agree. I also remember the news related to China in the 1970’s, when China was regarded as a underdeveloped third world country. And now you see, their economic power has enabled them to build space ships. The achievement that China has made in the past 30 or 40 years is equivalent to the development process of Western countries in hundreds of years.” My mother also agreed.

Capital Normal University [Photo provided to]

After watching the TV news, I went to check the label on our TV and found that it was also “Made in China.” Today “Made in China” home appliances have entered each household of Italian families because of the good quality and their competing prices when compared with those produced in other countries. Many Italian people can buy them.

To this day, we often see news about Chinese spaceflight on Italian TV shows and newspapers, and the “Made in China” story continues to be written.

The story is from "My Beautiful Encounter with China" Essay Competition organized by the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchanges (CSCSE).