“What do you think about China?” the older seed salesman suddenly asks me. He’s a balding man, with a kind face, who says his name is Zhou.
“Wo hen xihuan.” I smile inanely. “I like it.”
There’s a brief pause. I’m tired of asking the same questions, so I try to think of something new. “What do you want most from the West?” I ask Mr. Zhou.
He doesn’t hesitate. “What we want most is respect,” he blurts out, as though he has waited all his life for a foreigner on a bus to ask him this question. “Yes, we want respect more than anything. I want to go abroad, like you people when you come here. You come to China, and we respect you because you are wealthy and civilized. That’s what I want too. I want to go to your country, and be respected, and get a good job there and not be looked down on.”
The old couple seem slightly surprised by both the passion and the eloquence of Zhou’s response, but they are nodding their heads. So is everyone else.
— Rob Gifford, China Road (2007), p.200.