Contributors were asked to send photos and comments about the hardest thing they faced at age 15 via Twitter or Instagram — which are both blocked in China. Really, NPR, what were you thinking?
I didn’t come across the project until late in the month, but I posted it in my Qzone 说说 (shuo shuo “say say” — which is like Facebook’s Status), and said I could relay any contributions through my Twitter account.
Only one person responded: one of my students, Tina Li ShaoLi, sent me a contribution, which I posted to Twitter in a somewhat abbreviated form. You can see it here and in the screencap above.
This is Tina’s original contribution:
The hardest thing for being 15 is that I fell in love with a boy but however hard I tried I still couldn’t be together with him. I fell in love with him at the age of 13. However, in our country, people believe that falling in love with people at such an early age is a complete mistake. So I kept my love in silence and waited for the graduation [from junior high school]. When I reached 15, I tried all kinds of things to save my love, but just found that everything had changed its original face. He became a money-maker and got a new girlfriend, and I still lived a school life with new classmates.
Tina is referring to Chinese adults discouraging teenagers from having boy- or girlfriends. Some parents even forbid college-age students from having romantic relationships as well, because they fear romance will interfere with their children’s studies.
It may come as no surprise that many Chinese teens ignore these injunctions. However, I cannot say if Tina is involved with anyone at this time.