Shanghai Pathways Blog

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Plastic China


Currently the most popular documentary movie in China. The Douban rating for this movie is 9.5, compare with the average Chinese movie rating is just around 5 this year.  Continue reading “Plastic China”


Regarding successful artist like Ai Weiwei, people in mainland China always hold different opinions, some say that he is a genius and get inspired from his art, the other think that he is simply good in marketing and creating cheap news. From my point view, contemporary art is defined as art that is current, offering a fresh perspective and point of view – in this way, he is more than successful.

Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.

AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China. Her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.

High Tech Low Life

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.

The People’s Republic of Capitalism

Perhaps a good way to understand modern China is simply to go and visit Chongqing –A city of 35 million which you’ve never heard of, it has been referred to as the “Chicago on the Yangtze”. When China grow in such rapid speed, it seems that people are busy rushing forward, moving on from their old poor life and welcoming a richer more exciting future.

Over four episodes, Koppel reveals increasing economic interdependence between the United States and China, and daily business for the American furniture maker is a case in point. While couch bases are made in Chinese factories using cheap labor, those bases are then sent to the U.S. to be assembled with other components. The finished couches are then sent to China to be sold to a growing middle class with money to spare. Such is the cycle of globalization, pushing the U.S. and China into a necessary partnership that has an upside for some and a profound downside for others.

In order to understand that complexity, Koppel tells us, it’s important to grasp rapid changes in China, which has forsaken socialism—the very idea of a classless society—for a fervent embrace of new values and the goal of becoming an economic superpower. Koppel shows viewers how China, on one hand, micro-manages people’s lives in very real ways, such as the country’s notorious “one child” policy for families, which is designed to lower the nation’s enormous population in time. On the other hand, Chinese are enjoying the freedom to pursue aspirations toward economic success and the (sometimes illicit) fruits of hard work. But others don’t manage quite as well: Chinese factory workers who battle fatigue to make the equivalent of $20 per week, and the American workers who lost their jobs to their overseas counterparts. This eye-opening series is truly helpful toward understanding our complicated new world.

American Dreams in China (2013)

american dreams in china

It begins in 1985, during China’s national study-abroad craze: a time when undergraduates are infatuated with America and believe it is their only hope of a good future. Three close buddies at Beijing’s prestigious Yanjing University — Cheng Dongqing, Wang Yang and Meng Xiaojun — have comical yet fateful interviews with U.S. immigration officials. Naive country boy Cheng’s visa applications are repeatedly rejected; cinephile/lady-killer Wang foregoes his application to stay home with his American girlfriend, Lucy; and golden boy Meng coasts through his interview and takes off for New York, hoping to land on the cover of Time magazine.

Everyone knows about American Dreams, but more and more, people around me have started to talk about “Chinese Dreams”. This movie is actually based on a real story. There is a private language school in China, known as the New Oriental School. The headmaster is Minhong Yu and he was born into a poor family in a rural area of China, His father’s innovation and determination inspired Yu to consistently pursue his dream. Yu overcame many obstacles in his life, including childhood poverty, two failures of the university qualification exam, a one-year delay in university due to sickness, and several refusals for over sea’s study visas. Although Yu never had a chance to study abroad and fulfill his American Dream, he made up his mind to become an English teacher and help Chinese students learn English so that they could follow their dreams.

Today, Yu is known as the “richest teacher in China”, and the “Godfather of English Training”. He has a network of 57 schools, 733 learning centers, 32 New Oriental bookstores and more than 5,000 third-party bookstores, in excess of 17,400 teachers in 50 cities, as well as an online network with over 8.3 million registered users.

All around me, I have seen and heard numbers of such cases in Shanghai – it is a city full of possibilities and always open to new ideas.

A Bite of China


A Bite of China, a televised documentary with the delicacy theme, became a new CCTV evening program since May 14th, 2012. No one would expected that this documentary series soon turned into the hotspot on the screen. Those epicureansgourmet gourmet who promised they would never watch TV began sticking in front of their televisions on time, waiting for this program starting from 22:30 every night on CCTV channel 1.

Never before in Chinese history has a documentary film aroused so much public enthusiasm. In my case, as someone who is trying to stay away from TV, I only heard about this documentary from people around me, over and over again, which caused me to search the 7 series online and started to watch it….so far only made to the 3rd part but it has been an amazing experience and the food has made my mouth watering. At a point, I felt a need to follow the movie travelling around China in order to meet these local people who made these yammy food.

There are many TV programs on Chinese cuisines, but few are like A Bite of China. The majority of Chinese audience sees this program as more than just the regular food show; they see it as a revolutionary program to reflect the value and quality of Chinese food and societal changes. It is a serious documentary providing a unique view of Chinese as well as the relations between people and food and between people and society from the perspective of food.

More interestingly, according to Taobao, China’s biggest online retail website, just five days after the series began to air, nearly 6 million people went to the site in search of various local specialties, particularly those mentioned in the documentary. More than 7.2 million deals were concluded.

Lost by director Zhou Xiaowen

Shenzhen, China, the present day. Nineteen-year-old Wang Baihe (Wang Zitong) is a migrant worker from a village in Shaanxi province. She has a baby son from a one-night stand with a man from Hong Kong and a small income from making Chinese decorative knots at home. Her dream is to open a noodle restaurant and “make lots of money and become a city person” but she finds it difficult to find regular employment because of her baby boy. Her story emerges through interviews with journalist Liu Nan (Lü Liping), who is writing a book about her. When Baihe discovers her son has congenital heart disease, she tries desperate ways to raise the RMB80,000 (US$12,000) for the operation, helped by her friend and fellow migrant worker Hu Jinling (Zhao Yaqi). 

Excavate the issue of humanity

At the moment,  four types of films prosper more so than others within the current context of the Chinese film market: patriotic “red” movies, crime thrillers, action movies and romance stories. There are few films that truly concern common people and disadvantaged groups such as women and children. Sometimes I wonder if there will be a situation where these movies disappear altogether.

Eating bitterness

China is now experiencing the fastest economic growth in recorded history. Little known however is the fact that millions of young women from poverty-stricken areas have migrated to the more developed coastal regions trying to make it in the cities. Many of them have to endure all kinds of miseries and humiliations in order to live better lives. Some of them become rich men’s mistresses while others work 16 hours a day at the cost of their health. There are also a great number of them who become single mothers. The population of such single mothers has reached three hundred thousand and the number is still growing.

Though intimate in its portrayal of a village girl’s yearnings for success in the big city despite her increasingly dire social circumstances, Lost (Baihe) offers a thought-provoking case study that suggests that this is not just the story of one fictional woman, but of a vast (and largely unspoken) cross-section of modern Chinese society.

Here is a better idea: Chinese official government estimates put migrant workers in China at 221 million (16.5 % of the total population) and expected to grow another 100 million over the next 10 years.

There, but for the grace of God

Watching this movie, I can’t help but think that this could happen to me or just any person. We are who we are because of where we are, when we are born and who we know. In the end of the movie, we have 3 totally different endings and all seems true and highly possible.

Globalization to One Country

It is pretty strange but everyone around me has been talking about globalization and telling me 2012 is going to be a BAD year. The house price is slowly dropping in China, living cost is going up and the min. wage in Shanghai has just raised 15%. Same as most people, I wish that I could forcast the future and know how to fix the problem.

Inside Job is such a great film to help people understand what is happening and it teaches us that Nothing Comes Without Consequences. When China joins WTO in 2001, Chinese people have little to none idea regarding what is going to happen and how much of it will effect with our day to day life. If the real estate price in Ireland raised 100% is considered as abnormal, Chinese real estate price probably is MAD. The interesting thing is that the price is regulated and hugely depending on the Chinese Gov. policy. Everyone knows there is a bubble but policy maker turned a blind eye on it and think it is okay to ignore. In the end it is the mid-class and workers to pay and endure. 

In China, certainly things here are still manageable and people’s over all mood is still quite good and positive. But in Europe, looking at what is happening with Greece is worrying. UK decided to run away from the mess and Merkel as the Chancellor of Germany is telling people to cut costs and stop borrowing and lending money. But there is no creative solutions to really solve the problem, what we have so far is just a very bad cycle – cut costs -> lay off workers -> people stop spending money -> no business -> lay off more workers. This feels like the End of the World.

The Type A Personality

Lagarde’s nomination as the first female head of the IMF is a good sign since there are just too many type A guys in the money world and they become out of control. Watching the ENRON story of the smartest guy in the room feels like reading a science fiction story, very intriguing and hard to believe that this really happened.

Let’s ask ourself why the financial engineer who is building dreams is getting paid so much more than the real engineer who is building bridges. If the bridge broken, the real engineers will be jailed, but if the dreams turn into nightmares, who is responsible?

China’s Capitalist Revolution

Older Chinese are the ones who went through all of the changes in China during the past 30 years. Sometimes I wonder if they could believe that things can really change in such fast pace. One minute everyone wanted to join the army, work in the factory and proud of becoming a farmer, the next minute the same group of people want money, open business, buy LV and drive BMWs.

China’s Capitalist Revolution is an interesting movie on Deng Xiaoping’s reforms during the 80s. It tells the a gripping tale of the path that China took to opening up its economy, with plenty of anecdotes (e.g. the novelty of synthetic t-shirts), how people made a lot of money, but also how the changes created social unrest through corruption, inflation and unemployment…

From Chairman Mao’s little red book to Apple’s IPhone 4s in just 30 years and all these changes made China as one of  the most exciting countries in earth.

About this movie:

When Chairman Mao died in 1976, he left China in chaos and poverty. He was succeeded by Deng Xiaoping, who overturned Maoism and taught the Chinese to love capitalism, creating special investment zones for the West. But Deng’s crash course in capitalism went wrong when inflation grew and workers lost jobs. By 1989, China faced disaster. Now, 20 years after the tragic events in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, this programme reveals an interpretation of the motives of the demonstrators that may well overturn the conventional view in the West.  The demonstrators did not begin by demanding democracy. Corruption, inflation and the hardship caused by economic reforms drove students and workers to confront the government and the army. Students went on hunger strike, and troops killed more than 2,000. Deng Xiaoping gave the order to fire, but his ideas prevailed. This film argues that Deng’s capitalist revolution created today’s China.

Brits Get Rich in China

Perfect documentary to watch during the weekend, not strictly a serious finance documentary, but particularly relevant in these times as China progresses in its economic evolution, and some parts of this documentary is so real and funny. Indeed, China is becoming increasingly important in global business, and particularly in global finance and investing. China has seen wild gyrations in its stock market, and has rewarded many investors, but what is it really like doing business in China?

The documentary follows 3 British entrepreneurs who go to China to make their fortunes. For those with any interest in China it is a very interesting and at times entertaining film. It reveals how tough doing business in China can be, but it also shows the rewards and triumph of those who make a real go of it. If you’re investing in China or thinking about business in China then you must see this documentary.

Meltdown: The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse

2011 is a very interesting year but there are many questions left behind in China, one major question is WHEN or IF the house price in Shanghai is ever going to meltdown?

Six months ago, Shanghai’s property market was the hottest on the planet. The story was compelling: the most dynamic city in the most dynamic economy, with affluent Chinese from both the mainland and abroad eager to pour their capital into the latest deal. Even foreigners were getting into the act: Morgan Stanley was part of a $90 million real estate fund for Shanghai, and individual Americans were plunking down their bucks for Shanghai flats and houses.

The whole world, it seemed, wanted in on the game. Who cared if speculators were buying and selling apartments within days? Prices had been clocking 30% annual increases from 2002 on.  

To stop the increase, real estate control measures was applied among major cities  in April 2011, and Shanghai is the latest victim of the government’s effort to cool a rocketing economy. Today, not only have prices of some luxury apartments dropped by as much as 30%, but sales volume is off by 70%. A deal on an apartment at Rainbow City Apartment complex: $1,840 per square meter, down from $2,215 in March.

As in every real estate bust, buyers are waiting for prices to fall further, while sellers are unwilling to make additional cuts for fear of fueling the downward spiral. 

So who’s going to blink first? We will discover the answer in 2012 and it is a good time to review what happened in 2008.

Doc Zone has traveled the world – from Wall Street to Dubai to China – to investigate The Secret History of the Global Financial Collapse. Meltdown is the story of the bankers who crashed the world, the leaders who struggled to save it and the ordinary families who got crushed.

September 2008 launched an extraordinary chain of events: General Motors, the world’s largest company, went bust. Washington Mutual became the world’s largest bank failure. Lehman Brothers became the world’s largest bankruptcy ever – The damage quickly spread around the world, shattering global confidence in the fundamental structures of the international economy.

Meltdown also tells the stories of desperate foreclosed homeowners in California, disillusioned autoworkers at the end of the line in Ontario and furious workers in France who shocked the world by kidnapping their own bosses.

1. The Men Who Crashed the World. Greed and recklessness by the titans of Wall Street triggers the largest financial crash since the Great Depression. It’s left to US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, himself a former Wall Street banker, to try and avert further disaster.

2. A Global Tsunami. The meltdown’s devastation ripples around the world from California to Iceland and China. Facing economic ruin, desperate world leaders are at each other’s throats.

3. Paying the Price. The victims of the meltdown fight back. In Iceland, protesters force a government to fall. In Canada, ripped off autoworkers occupy their plant. And in France, furious union members kidnap their bosses.

4. After the Fall. Investigators begin to sift through the meltdown’s rubble. Shaken world leaders question the very foundations of modern capitalism while asking: could it all happen again?

China From The Inside

It is GREAT and I loved all of the 4 episodes. This documentary movie provided some great insights towards the problem and issues of current China.  Chinese usually are very patriotic and not good in dealing with critics but it is important to understand about what is becoming of China and what we could do to improve things around the country.  If there is a 5th episodes, I’d be very interested to see more of the major city life and people who live in Shanghai or Beijing, this could be mind blowing as well.

In four episodes of about 55 minutes each, this PBS documentary examines some of the major challenges facing contemporary Chinese society.

Episode 1, “Power and the People,” focuses on the Communist Party’s rule of China. Topics include government opposition to separatism in the heavily Muslim province of Xinjiang; the Party’s efforts to create a prosperous society; the governance of Tibet; the National People’s Congress, which puts the Party’s decisions into action; the election of a village committee; and corruption in the Party.

Episode 2, “Women of the Country,” focuses on the difficulties faced by Chinese women, especially in rural areas (where two-thirds of China’s population lives). The episode examines birth planning, marriage, women who live in the country while their husbands work in the city, women in Tibet, the hopelessness of many young women in China, the Muslim women of Xinjiang, and the opportunities and hardships for women in cities.

Episode 3, “Shifting Nature,” focuses on pollution brought on by rapid industrialization and on massive water diversion projects that involve resettling the populations of entire towns.

Episode 4, “Freedom and Justice,” examines the limits on religious freedom and freedom of the press, AIDS deaths that the government could have prevented, the displacement of poor people by land “development,” and injustices in the justice system.

This is an interesting, informative, and thought-provoking documentary.

The Chinese Are Coming

Travelling across three continents, Justin Rowlatt investigates the spread of Chinese influence around the planet and asks what the world will be like if China overtakes America as the world’s economic superpower. In the first of two films, he embarks on a journey across Southern Africa to chart the extraordinary phenomenon of Chinese migration to Africa, and the huge influence of China on the development of the continent.While many in the West view Africa as a land of poverty, to the Chinese it is seen as an almost limitless business opportunity. From Angola to Tanzania, Justin meets the fearless Chinese entrepreneurs who have travelled thousands of miles to set up businesses.

I think this movie’s idea is from “The Russian Are Coming”. It was actually very funny to watch. I was amused and laughed a lot when Justin Rowlatt trying very hard to taste which chicken is better, the Chinese chicken or the African chicken (based on that the chicken is provided by African farmer who don’t like Chinese). He also tried to prove that the Brazil bikini is better than the ones made in China but he forgot that the point is how much money people are willing to pay, quality always comes with a price.

The movie shows Chinese are taking over the world. Justin investigated what Chinese influence meant for African countries, nicely skewering racist presumptions about China as he travelled. Intriguingly, the Chinese have often revivified old British colonial infrastructures. But are they as rapacious as the British were?  Could the Chinese do the same for Britain? Probably not. At least Africans have stuff – copper, cobalt, cheap labour – that is what the Chinese want and paying for. What does British have? Maybe celebrities?!

In America, Justin visited factories which were out of business and workers blaming Chinese stole their jobs. But they forgot to talk with the American bosses who made tons of money, they were also not interested to discuss about how much money Chinese factory worker are getting paid and why American company don’t want their factory to be based in US. It is all about the profit. Today it is made in China, tomorrow it is maybe made in Thailand, North Korea, etc…

The other new idea is learning Chinese means being possibily brian washed by Chinese communist party, and it has something to do with confucianism(that’s a really big joke).

In the end, my question is that why can’t the producer from BBC do better? Please, make them visit Shanghai and I’d be so happy to give them a tour .

China Blue

CHINA BLUE takes viewers inside a blue jeans factory in southern China, where teenage workers struggle to survive harsh working conditions. Providing perspectives from both the top and bottom levels of the factory’s hierarchy, the film looks at complex issues of globalization from the human level.

After the book of Factory Girls, this movie is still interesting enough by looking into the life of not only the workers but also the factory owners. In the year of 2012, for just 5 years since the release of the book and movie, the change of China is breath taking. 

In the first half of 2008 about 67,000 small- and medium-size companies closed, including more than 10,000 textile firms, due to cash flow problems. More than 100,000 firms were expected to close by the end of 2008. The manufacturing centers in Guangdong Province and around Shanghai were particularly hard hit. In Guangdong more than 62,400 businesses closed in 2008, with more than 10,000 factories closing in the Dongguan area alone during a six week period at the end of 2008. Some factories were closed with shocking suddenness. They were humming one moment and closed down with owners skipping town the next, without warning. Not only were the owners, managers and workers hurt by the closures so too were the shops, restaurants and businesses that surrounded them.

In early November 2008, China announced a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package worth 13 percent of GDP, over two years. The money was spent mostly on infrastructure and social welfare, particularly on railways, highways, low-cost housing, and rural infrastructure, and given to banks to provided low interest loans for home and car buyers and companies in need of financing.

After the economic stimulus packages was approved in early 2009, China built and expanded 35 airports, opened 557 kilometers of railways, including the world’s fastest high-speed train, paved 98,000 kilometers of highway and picked up the pace on subway projects from Shenyang in the north to Guangzhou in the south—all within a year.

In March 2009,the Chinese government announced that the economy was responding well to stimulus measures and that no other stimulus measures were necessary. The Shanghai Stock Market was up 85 percent in first eight months of 2009. Property sales jumped 75.5 percent to $645 billion in 2009 on coat tails of a record number of loans.

Of the 20 million migrant workers that lost their jobs as of early 2009 about 14 million had found work by June according to the National Bureau of Statistics, which said about two thirds found jobs in the eastern coastal areas and a third got jobs in the central and western China.

By autumn 2009, firms that had feared going bust were looking for migrant workers to fill their Christmas orders. Some in the Pearl Delta area around Guangzhou and Shenzhen were having a hard time finding workers because the stimulus package was creating more opportunities in the interior. At the port in Shanghai container ships lay idle and empty while bulk carriers laden with raw material were backed up because they couldn’t be unloaded fast enough—signs trade was still hurting but manufacturing was preparing for a rebound. By December 2009, orders were surging and production reached an all-time high.

China achieved 8.7 percent growth for 2009 despite the economic slump. Growth was 6.8 percent in the last quarter in of 2008, 6.3 percent growth first quarter of 2009, the lowest in a decade, 7.9 percent growth in second quarter, 9.1 percent in third quarter in 2009 and 10.7 percent in the 4th quarter.

In 2009, the worlds three largest global banks measured by market capitalization, were all Chinese. In 2006, China didn’t have a single bank in the world’s top 20.

China resilience to the economic crisis in 2008 and 2009 was so strong many wondered whether it could pull the world out its slump. According to the IMF China is likely to account for almost three quarters of global growth between 2008 and 2010.  Everyone want to know the same thing: Can China save the world?

There were worries that high stock prices and booming real estate would create a bubble. A lot of stimulus money flowed into assets markets for quick profits rather the real economy. By early 2010 there were worries that the economy might overheat. The central bank took measures to control the surge in bank lending by raising the amount of money that banks must keep in reserve, and the government raised interest rates and let the yuan appreciate to keep things from getting out of hand. Inflation also became a concern as rising prices accompanied the surge in orders.

Growth of China was 10.3 percent in 2010. GDP was $5.88 trillion, ahead of Japan’s $5.45 billion. Growth 9.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011 and 9.5 percent in the second quarter of 2011.

In 2012, China’s growth rate may fall to about 8.5 per cent if the EU crisis deteriorates into a global meltdown.  Serious concerns about overly rapid growth, China’s real estate market, and reduced manufacturing and exports could delay the super-sized economy imagined a few years ago.

There’s no present doubt, however, that when China sneezes, the world catches a chill.

The Flowers of War

Zhang Yamou’s fact-based drama The Flowers Of War is China’s entry into Oscar’s foreign-language race and the nation’s most expensive movie ever at a budget of almost $100 million.

It was not the ideal Happy New Year’s movie, but I have wanted to check it out for a week, so why not do it in the last day of 2011?  In the end, I used lots and lots of tissues…

Based on Yan Geling’s novel “13 Flowers of Nanjing”  In 1937, Nanking stands at the forefront of a war between China and Japan. As the invading Japanese Imperial Army overruns China’s capital city, desperate civilians seek refuge behind the nominally protective walls of a western cathedral. Here, John Miller (Christian Bale), an American trapped amidst the chaos of battle and the ensuing occupation takes shelter, joined by a group of innocent schoolgirls and thirteen courtesans, equally determined to escape the horrors taking place outside the church walls. Struggling to survive the violence and persecution wrought by the Japanese army, it is an act of heroism which eventually leads the seemingly disparate group to fight back, risking their lives for the sake of everyone.

Last Train Home


Got to know this movie from a German friend, it is depressing but fascinating at the same time. We all know about the problem, but what can we do to solve it? Can we still afford to have dreams? Do we really know what we want in life?

Every spring, China’s cities are plunged into chaos, as all at once, a tidal wave of humanity attempts to return home by train. It is the Chinese New Year. The wave is made up of millions of migrant factory workers. The homes they seek are the rural villages and families they left behind to seek work in the booming coastal cities. It is an epic spectacle that tells us much about China, a country discarding traditional ways as it hurtles towards modernity and global economic dominance.

Last Train Home draws us into the fractured lives of a single migrant family caught up in this desperate annual migration. Sixteen years ago, the Zhangs abandoned their young children to find work in the city, consoled by the hope that their wages would lift their children into a better life. But in a bitter irony, the Zhangs’ hopes for the future are undone by their very absence. Qin, the child they left behind, has grown into adolescence crippled by a sense of abandonment. In an act of teenage rebellion, she drops out of school. She too will become a migrant worker. The decision is a heartbreaking blow for the parents. In classic cinema verité style, Last Train Home follows the Zhangs’ attempts to change their daughter’s course and repair their ruptured family. Intimate and candid, the film paints a human portrait of the dramatic changes sweeping China.

City of Life and Death (Nanjing! Nanjing!)

Yet another movie which I had to watch to fully understand the Nanjing massacre. It’s gruesome suffering all the way so my friend did not finish it, I guess it is not the best kind of movie to watch during the weekend or in the evening if you want to have a good sleep.

Harrowing and unflinching, a savage nightmare so consuming and claustrophobic you will want to leave but fear to go, “City of Life and Death” is a cinematic experience unlike any you’ve had before. It’s a film strong enough to change your life, if you can bear to watch it at all.

The third film by formidable Chinese director Lu Chuan, “City of Life and Death” takes as its subject the infamous atrocity known as the rape of Nanking. That was the 1937-38 Japanese takeover of China’s then capital city that led to the deaths of an estimated 300,000 civilians as well as sexual assaults said to number in the tens of thousands.

Shanghai/China in 10 minutes

About China


About Shanghai

They Chose China

Who would believed that such story happened in China? I wonder…. In the end, people are alike.

In this feature documentary, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Shuibo Wang (Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square) aims his camera at the astonishing story of 21 American soldiers who opted to stay in China after the Korean War ended in 1954. Back home in the United States, McCarthyism was at its height and many Americans believed these men were brainwashed by Chinese communists. But what really happened? Using never-before-seen footage from the Chinese camps and interviews with former prisoner of war (POWs) and their families, They Chose China tells the fascinating stories of these forgotten American dissidents.

Please Vote for Me

It’s about the class monitor elections for a class of Chinese elementary school students in Wuhan.  On a philosophical level, it’s about elections, choice, and the extent to which people manipulate systems.

Actually it is a lot of fun to watch the Chinese 3rd grade students elect their leaders. There are three children involved in the film’s class monitor race: Luo Lei, the incumbent, Cheng Cheng, a chunky little guy with his eyes on the prize, and Xiaofei, a sweet girl whose mother teaches music at the school. Cheng Cheng is the nastiest of the bunch, displaying a disturbing amount of political verve for an eight-year-old. From one day to the next, the same kid will change their loyalty based solely on who’s been the nicest to them that day—whether it’s Luo Lei giving out goodies in class, or Cheng Cheng reminding them that Luo Lei frequently beats them up for disobeying. It gets really confusing once the winner of the election is declared—the classmates don’t know whether they should be crying in sympathy for the losers, or cheering for the one who succeeded, so they do both. And in the end, one of them was able to win by giving everyone a mooncake coupon after the final speech. 

Well, it seems so true that democracy is based on popularity which breeds corruption.

Today, a friend asked me “What is the most popular thing in the world?”

Guess what is the answer?

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