Article of the Week #5

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

欢迎来上大学,你的家长就住在隔壁的帐篷里

Welcome to College. Your Parents Are in the Tents Next Door.



欢迎来上大学,你的家长就住在隔壁的帐篷里

欢迎 huān yíng Welcome

家长 jiā zhǎng Head of a household

隔壁 gé bì Next door

帐篷 zhàng peng Tent





TIANJIN, China — When Yang Zheyu arrived at Tianjin University this fall for the start of his first year, he had all the essentials. Winter coat. Dictionary. Four pairs of shoes. Toothpaste.


中国天津——今年秋天,当杨哲宇来到天津大学,开始他的第一年大学生活时,他已经拥有了所有的必需品。冬天的外套。字典。四双鞋。牙膏。

天津 tiān jīn Tianjin

秋天 qiū tiān Autumn

开始 kāi shǐ To begin

必需品 bì xū pin Necessities; essentials

字典 zì diǎn Dictionary

牙膏 yá gāo Tooth paste






And a few hundred yards from his dormitory, in a cobalt-blue tent set up on the floor of a gymnasium, he had his mother at his beck and call, ready to bring him bowls of instant noodles, buy him soap and scrub the floor of his new room.


在距离宿舍几百米远的地方,他的母亲在体育馆地板上搭的一个钴蓝色帐篷里待命,随时准备给他送方便面,给他买肥皂,为他的新房间擦地。

距离 jù lí Distance; to be at a distance of

米 mǐ Meter

体育馆 tǐ yù guǎn Gymnasium

地板 dì bǎn Floor

撘 dā To put up; to set up; to build

钴蓝色 gǔ lán se Cobalt blue

待命 dài mìng To be on call; to be on standby

肥皂 féi zào Soap

擦地 cā dì Scrub the floor






“I feel safer when she’s here,” said Mr. Yang, 18, from a central Chinese town more than 700 miles away. “I’ve never been away from home before.”


“她在这里我觉得更安全一些,”18岁的杨哲宇说。他来自700多英里(约合1100公里)外的一个中国中部城镇。“我以前从来没有离开过家。”

英里 yīng lǐ Mile

约合 yuē hé Approximately

公里 gōng lǐ Kilometer

中部 zhōng bù Central; middle section

城镇 chéng zhèn Town

离开 lí kāi To depart; to leave











Mr. Yang’s mother, Ding Hongyan, a farmer, was one of more than 1,000 parents of the class of 2022 who camped out in tents this month to watch over their children as they settled into college.


杨哲宇的母亲丁红燕是一名农民,本月她跟其他1000多名2018级新生的父母一起,住在帐篷里,方便照顾孩子。

新生 xīn shēng New students

照顾 zhào gù To watch over






The parents came bearing bags of sunflower seeds, Hello Kitty backpacks stuffed with toilet paper and unsolicited advice on a variety of topics: the acceptable price of steamed dumplings ($1.50), the most lucrative college majors (engineering was a favorite) and the appropriateness of dating (best to be avoided while studying).


家长们带着一袋袋的瓜子,Hello Kitty背包里塞满厕纸,还有各类不请自来的忠告:蒸饺的公道价格(1.5美元)、最赚钱的大学专业(工科是最爱)、能不能谈朋友(上学时最好避免谈恋爱)。

袋 dài Bags

瓜子 guā zi Sunflower seeds

背包 bēi bāo Knapsack; backpack

塞满 sāi mǎn Stuffed full with; to stuff full

厕纸 cè zhǐ Toilet paper

各类 gè lèi All kinds of; all categories

不请自来 bù qíng zì lái Unsolicited

忠告 zhōng gào Advice

蒸饺 zhēng jiǎo Steamed dumpling

公道 gōng dao Fair; equitable

价格 jià gé Price

最赚钱的 zuì zhuàn qián de Most lucrative

工科 gōng kē Engineering (as an academic subject)

谈朋友 tán péng you Dating

避免 bì miǎn To avoid

谈恋爱 tán liàn ài To be dating; to court







Since 2012, Tianjin University, about two hours southeast of Beijing, has offered the “tents of love” free with the aim of making it easier for poor families to take part in the move-in tradition.


自2012年以来,位于北京东南方向约两小时车程的天津大学一直在免费提供“爱心帐篷”,目的是方便贫困家庭参与到迎新传统中。

位于 wèi yú To be situated at

方向 fāng xiàng Direction

车程 chē chéng Travel time

免费 miǎn fèi Free (of charge)

提供 tí gōng To supply; to provide

目的 mù dì Purpose; aim

困难 pín kùn Impoverished; poverty

家庭 jiā tíng Family; household

参与 cān yù To participate inl to have a hand in

传统 chuán tǒng Tradition











But the phenomenon, which has spread to several universities across China, has prompted debate about whether parents are coddling the generation of only children born after China’s one-child policy was adopted in 1979, and undermining their independence. The policy was abolished beginning in 2016.


这一现象已传到了中国多所大学,并且引发了一场争论:1979年中国实施独生子女政策后,父母是否在溺爱独生子女一代,并削弱了他们的独立性。该政策已于2016年废止。

现象 xiàn xiàng Phenomenon

传到 chuán dào Spread to

引发 yǐn fā To prompt; to trigger

争论 zhēng lun Debate

实施 shí shī To implement

独生子女政策 dú shēng zǐ nǚ zhèng cè One-child policy

是否 shì fǒu Whether or not

溺爱 nì ài To spoil; to dote on

一代 yī dài Generation

削弱 xuē ruò To weaken

独立性 dú lì xìng Independence

废止 fèi zhǐ To abolish; to nullify






Older generations of Chinese, who suffered through extreme poverty and the chaos of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, have criticized parents who make long, arduous journeys to live in the tents, saying they are raising children unaccustomed to hardship, or “little emperors,” as they are derisively called.


中国老一辈人在上世纪60年代和70年代的文化大革命中经历过极端贫穷和混乱,他们批评那些长途跋涉、住在帐篷里的父母,说他们正在养育吃不惯苦的孩子——这些孩子被戏称为“小皇帝”。

老一辈 lǎo yī bèi Older generations

世纪 shì jì Century

年代 nián dài Decade

文化大革命 wén huà dà gé mìng The Cultural Revolution

经历 jīng lì To experience

极端 jí duān Extreme

贫穷 pín qiong Poverty

混乱 hùn luàn Chaos

批评 pī píng To criticize

长途跋涉 cháng tú bá shè To travel a long way

养育 yǎng yù To bring up; to raise; to rear

小皇帝 xiǎo huáng dì Little emperor; spoiled child






Younger Chinese, who grew up in China’s boom years, say they are decidedly self-sufficient.


年轻一辈的中国人在经济繁荣时期长大,他们说能够自立。

年轻 nián qīng Young

经济繁荣 jīng jì fán róng Economic boom

能够 néng gòu To be capable of

自立 zì wèi Self-sufficient






“I will learn to take care of myself,” Mr. Yang said. “I’m not worried about anything.”

“我要学着自己照顾好自己,”杨哲宇说,“我不担心任何事情。

照顾 zhào gù To take care of; to watch over

任何 rèn hé Any






”The debate over the tents, which has also played out online, reflects the rapid pace of change in China and the relative novelty of the college experience and its various rituals.


关于帐篷的争论也在网上展开,反映了中国快速变化的步伐,以及相对新鲜的大学经历及其各种仪式。

展开 zhǎn kai To carry out; to play out

反映 fǎn yìng To reflect

快速 kuài sù Rapid

变化 biàn huà Change

步伐 bù fá Pace

相对 xiāng duì Relative

新鲜 xīn xiān Novelty; new; fresh

仪式 yí shì Rituals





Many young people in China today are the first in their families to go to college. The government has opened hundreds of universities in recent years, and enrollment has surged, reaching 37.8 million students last year, up more than 20 percent since 2010.


在今天的中国,许多年轻人是家里第一个大学生。近年来,政府设立了数百所大学,入学人数激增,去年达到3780万,比2010年增加了20%以上。

许多 xǔ duō Many

政府 zhèng fǔ Government

设立 shè lì To Establish

数百 shù bǎi Several hundred

入学 rù xué To enter school

人数 rén shù Number of people

激增 jī zēng To increase sharply

达到 dá dào To reach; to attain

以上 yǐ shàng (of number or quantity) more than; over






At Tianjin University, parents said they had signed up for the tents because they were nervous about sending their children long distances and couldn’t afford accommodations in big cities. Many come from rural areas, where they work as farmers, teachers and construction workers.


在天津大学,家长们表示,他们之所以报名住在帐篷里,是因为对于送孩子去遥远的地方念书感到担心,加之负担不起大城市的住宿费用。他们中许多人来自农村地区,在那里从事农民、教师和建筑工人的工作。

之所以 zhī suǒ yǐ For the purpose of

报名 bào míng To sign up for

遥远 yáo yuǎn Far away

念书 niàn shū To study

加之 jiā zhī In addition to; moreover

负担不起 fù dān bu qǐ Cannot afford

住宿 zhù sù Accommodations; lodgings

费用 fèi yòng Expenses

农民 nóng mín Farmers; peasants

教师 jiào shī Teacher

建筑工人 jiàn zhu gōng rén Construction worker





Many families were lost amid the lakes and willow trees of Tianjin, one of China’s oldest universities, with more than 17,000 undergraduate students. The city of Tianjin, which overlooks the Bohai Sea, is a cosmopolitan port city, dotted with skyscrapers as well as churches and villas built by foreign powers that ruled the city in the late 1800s and early 1900s.


天津大学是中国最老的大学之一,有1.7万多名本科生,许多家人在校内的湖泊和柳树之间迷了路。天津市俯瞰渤海,是一座国际化的港口城市。高楼大厦星罗棋布,还有许多19世纪末、20世纪初由外国人修建的教堂和别墅。

本科生 běn kē shēng Undergraduate student

校内 xiào nèi On campus

湖泊 hú pō Lake

柳树 liǔ shù Willow tree

迷路 mí lù To get ost; to be lost

俯瞰 fǔ kàn To overlook

渤海 bó hǎi Bohai Sea

国际化 guó ji huà Internationalization; cosmopolitan

港口城市 gǎng kǒu chéng shì Port city

高楼大厦 gāo lóu dà shà Tall buildings

星罗棋布 xīng luó qí bù Scattered like stars in the sky

世纪末 shì jì mò End of the century

世纪初 shì jì chu Beginning of the century

修建 xiū jiàn To build; to construct

教堂 jiào táng Church

别墅 bié shù Villa






Qi Hongyu, a kindergarten administrator from the eastern province of Jiangsu, said he had made the journey to Tianjin because he was proud of his daughter and wanted to see what the university looked like. “She is realizing my dream,” he said.


齐洪雨是一名中国东部江苏省的幼儿园管理员。他表示,他之所以来到天津,是因为他为女儿感到骄傲,并想看看大学是什么样子的。“她实现了我没有实现的梦想,”他说。

江苏省 jiāng sū shěng Jiangsu Province

幼儿园 yòu ér yuán Kindergarten

管理员 guǎn lǐ yuán Administrator

骄傲 jiāo ào Proud; pride

实现 shí xiàn To realize; to actualize; to achieve

梦想 mèng xiǎng Dream






Mr. Qi, who grew up working on farms, said his daughter and her classmates had more comfortable lives than previous generations. But he said he hoped they would grow more independent by living farther from home.


齐洪雨在农村长大,他说,他女儿和她的同学比前几代人过得更舒适。但他说,他希望他们能通过在离家更远的地方生活而变得更加独立。

舒服 shū shì Comfortable

变得 biàn de To become

独立 dú lì Independent






“They grew up in greenhouses,” he said. “They have never experienced real life. They have always been studying.”“


他们就像长在温室里的花朵,”他说。“没有经历过真正的生活。他们一直都在学习。”

温室 wēn shì Greenhouse

花朵 huā duǒ Flower

真正 zhēn zhèng Real; genuine






As dusk fell, hundreds of parents, blankets and pillows in hand, filed into a gym to stake out their territory, jostling for spots near the bleachers. They washed their faces and brushed their teeth in nearby locker rooms.


夜幕降临时,数百名家长手拿毯子和枕头,列队进入体育馆,给自己占位,争夺看台附近的位置。他们在附近的更衣室里洗脸刷牙。

夜幕降临 yè mù jiàng lín Nightfall; dusk

毯子 tǎn zi Blanket

枕头 zhěn tou Pillow

列队 liè duì In formation

争夺 zhēng duó To fight over; to contest

看台 kàn tái Bleachers; viewing platform

更衣室 gēng yī shì Locker room

洗脸 xǐ liǎn To wash one's face

刷牙 shuā ya To brush one's teeth






The gym echoed with a cacophony of dialects from across China, and many parents struggled to understand one another.


体育馆里回荡着天南地北的方言,许多家长都难以听懂彼此说的话。

回荡 huí dàng To echo

天南地北 tiān nán dì běi All over the country

方言 fāng yán Dialect

难以 nán yǐ Have trouble to; struggle to

彼此 bǐ cǐ One another






As they prepared to sleep, the parents talked about the best breakfast places and where to buy cheap bedding for their children’s dorms. They compared their children’s scores on the college entrance exam and discussed how to encourage them to go into high-paying industries.


准备睡觉时,家长们还在讨论哪家早餐店最好,哪里又可以买到便宜床品给孩子宿舍里置备上。他们对比着各自孩子的高考成绩,聊着如何说动小孩,让他们将来在高薪行业里工作。

讨论 tǎo lùn To discuss

早餐店 zǎo cān diàn Breakfast place

便宜 pián yi Cheap

床品 chuáng pǐn Bedding

置备 zhì bèi To purchase (furniture etc.)

高考 gāo kǎo The Gaokao (college entrance exam)

成绩 chéng jì Grade; score; achievement

说动 shuō dòng To encourage

高薪 gāo xīn High salary; high paying

行业 háng yè Profession; industry






Yang Luping, an English teacher from rural China, reminded her daughter that soon she would have to learn to do her own laundry now that she was in college. “I already know how,” her daughter, Lu Yizhuo, interrupted.


杨鲁平是一位中国乡村英语老师,她提醒自己的女儿,现在是大学生了,以后要学会自己洗衣服。“我知道怎么洗,”她的女儿吕亦卓打断她说道。

乡村 xiāng cūn Rural

提醒 tí xǐng To remind

洗衣服 xǐ yī fu To do the laundry

打断 dǎ duàn To interrupt






Ms. Yang is a self-described “tiger mom” who worked for years to ensure that her daughter got into a good university. When her daughter was young, she bought her Barbie dolls to encourage her studies. She sent her to boarding school and washed her clothes every weekend when she came home.


杨鲁平说自己是个“虎妈”,许多年来始终在工作,就是为了保证女儿能上一所好大学。当女儿还小的时候,她给女儿买芭比娃娃来鼓励她好好学习。她还把女儿送进寄宿学校,每周末给她洗从学校带回来的脏衣服。

虎妈 hǔ mā Tiger mom

始终 shǐ zhōng From beginning to end; all along

保证 bǎo zhèng To guarantee

芭比娃娃 bā bǐ wá wa Barbie dolls

鼓励 gǔ lì To encourage

寄宿 jì sù xué xiào Boarding school











Ms. Yang refers to her daughter as a “gift sent to me by the heavens.” She said it was important that her daughter began the school year with a sense of support from her family.


杨鲁平说,女儿是“上天赐给她的礼物”。她表示,在女儿开始学习前,让她知道自己的家庭是支持她的,这一点很重要。

赐给 cì gěi To bestow; to give

礼物 lǐ wù Gift





“I want to be next to her to make sure she is safe and happy,” Ms. Yang said. “I always tell her that I wish that even in the next life we can be mother and daughter again.”


“我想在她身边确保她安全和快乐,”杨鲁平说,“我总是告诉她我希望在来世我们依然做母女。”

确保 què bǎo To ensure

来世 lái shì The afterlife

仍然 réng rán Still





For many parents, having a front-row seat at move-in provided an opportunity to set a few rules.


对于许多父母来说,在入学时盯紧一点,就可以有机会定些规矩。

盯 dīng To watch attentively

紧 jǐn Close

定 dìng To set

规矩 guī ju Rules





Ms. Ding, the farmer, said she worried about how her son, Mr. Yang, would fare in a city with so many skyscrapers and distractions. He came down with fevers frequently as a child. And he sometimes seemed addicted to his cellphone, she said, playing games and devouring sci-fi novels.


身为农民的丁红燕表示,自己很担心她的儿子会在这个充满了摩天大楼和干扰的城市里适应不好。他从小就爱生病,她说,而且还爱玩手机、爱打游戏、痴迷科幻小说。

身为 shēn wéi As a...

摩天大楼 mó tiān dà lóu Skyscraper

干扰 gān rǎo To disturb

痴迷 chī mí Obsessed; addicted to

科幻小说 kē huàn xiǎo shuō Science fiction novels






After the more than 36-hour journey by train and bus from their hometown in Hubei Province to the tents in Tianjin, Ms. Ding offered some advice. No video games. No lazy friends. And no romantic relationships.


在坐了超过36小时的火车和汽车后,丁红燕终于从河北老家来到了天津的小帐篷里。长途奔波后,丁红燕劝告儿子,不要打游戏。不要交懒散的朋友。不许谈恋爱。

长途 cháng tú Long distance

奔波 bēn bō To be constantly on the move

劝告 quàn gào To advise

懒散 lǎn sǎn Lazy; negligent





Mr. Yang, with thick black frames, a bright yellow T-shirt that said “RESURRECTION” and a faint mustache, looked skeptical. “That’s not necessary,” he said.


杨哲宇是一个戴着厚厚的黑框眼镜、穿一件亮黄色写着“RESURRECTION”(复活)字样的T恤、有一点胡子的男孩,他看起来并不同意母亲的建议。“没必要,”他说。

框 kuàng Frame

眼镜 yǎn jìng Glasses

复活 fù huó Resurrection

字样 zì yàng Slogan

胡子 hú zi Mustache





They agreed to disagree, and promised to stay in touch regularly by phone and by WeChat, a popular messaging app. So long as it did not interfere with his studies.


他们各自保留意见,并保证在不打扰他学习的情况下,会定期打电话或者通过微信——一个大家常用的聊天软件——联系。

保留 bǎo liu To maintain

打扰 dǎ rǎo To interfere

软件 ruǎn jian Software; App





10 views