Ever since I was born, every day news in TV is good news – what a wonderful world we live in! But all of a sudden, everything changed as we start to hear bad news from “net-people” who become “reporters”, and then realized that things are not always so perfect. However, in order to access these bad news, there is a small price to pay.
My typical day of work starts with the following conversation.
“Why can’t I access google, youtube and twitter in here?”
“Well, these sites are blocked in China because of the GFW.”
“What is GFW?”
“It is Great Firewall of China, so you need to use VPN to access the web”
“What is VPN?”
“It is Virtual Private Network, a software – almost everyone use it in China to access blocked sites, pay 5 dollars and there you go.”
After 5 minutes, the conversation is always ended with a question regarding why Gov. still try to blocks it while everyone can get around it by VPN…..
High Tech, Low Life follows two of China’s first citizen reporters as they travel the country and document the underside of China’s rapid economic development. A search for truth and fame inspires young vegetable seller “Zola” to report on censored news stories from the cities, while retired businessman “Tiger Temple” makes sense of the past by chronicling the struggles of rural villagers. Land grabs, pollution, rising poverty, local corruption and the growing willingness of ordinary people to speak out are grist for these two bloggers who navigate China’s evolving censorship regulations and challenge the boundaries of free speech.
From the perspective of vastly different generations, Zola and Tiger Temple must both reconcile an evolving sense of individualism, social responsibility and personal sacrifice. The juxtaposition of Zola’s coming-of-age journey from produce vendor to internet celebrity, and Tiger Temple’s commitment to understanding impact of China’s tumultuous past reveals a striking portrait of a new China in flux and of news-gathering in the 21st century.