Across China: E-commerce teaches inmates a new lesson

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-27 09:54:02|Editor: zh
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BEIJING, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- In a jail in east China's Zhejiang Province, Zheng Susu lectures about what users care about the most when shopping online. The learners are a crowd of inmates in green uniforms.

"This is a souvenir produced by the Palace Museum in Beijing," she says in a viral video posted on microblog platform Sina Weibo. "They use funny images of an emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to help sell the product online."

Zheng started her online business in 2003 after quitting her job, and opened a store on, an online platform of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

In 2012, she became a certified lecturer of Taobao University, an education unit under Alibaba. The university uses a variety of courses to help train online business owners.

It also has a team specializing in teaching inmates certain skills so that they can live a good life after leaving jail.

"What we need to do is to inform them about the changes in the outside world and help them build self-confidence," Zheng says.

Zheng says that when she first went to teach in prison, she was quite anxious.

"All of us lecturers thought it would be too scary and serious to teach the inmates," she says. "But our students were quite curious about the outside information; they have very strong desires to learn."

When Zheng started her classes in the prison, she taught very fundamental knowledge to the inmates because she thought everyone should start from the basics.

It turned out that the inmates were quite well-informed about e-commerce.

"Through newspapers and all kinds of lectures, they have a basic understanding about the world outside their cells," she says.

On classes, the students raise all kinds of questions to understand what is going on on the Internet, Zheng says.

For instance, the inmates would often ask her about the government's latest policies on trade and about changes in E-commerce Law.

"Through easy methods like e-commerce, I hope that these people can restart their lives after returning to the society," she says.

Zheng says e-commerce is a great platform for people to realize their dreams.

China's e-commerce has been expanding at a break-neck pace since 1999 and creating jobs for tens of millions of self-employed individuls. E-commerce transaction totaled 22.69 trillion yuan (3.3 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of 2018, up 11.2 percent year on year.

"No matter what kind of person you are, and whatever past experience you have, you can still shine like a diamond as long as you continue to learn," Zheng says.