Frontline Film Response – A New Generation

The generation this film seemed to focus on was the generation that was just starting, or in the middle of, college during the Tiananmen square incidents of 1989. This specific event has had significant impact on their opinions and views of the Chinese government and society. As mentioned, this generation can still remember food rations from when they were young, but are now living in a society where surplus is possible. Many of this generation are coming back from abroad as well, with different views on life, business, and love from the west. There are big dreams with an increasingly vocal middle-class. While the older generation seems caught in tradition, young adults are challenging some of those views. One thing that I definitely believe has a huge impact on the lives of the Chinese people at the time, is the large portion of the population, near 70%, that does not have health insurance. There’s also the enormous number of migrant workers pouring into the city from the countryside, looking for better opportunities and money.  Another change in society is the young generation choosing work over their spouse and family, along with the take off of Internet relationships, such as Wang Xiaolei’s.  Lu Dong and his emphasis on Christianity also interested me, as none of the other interviewees mentioned their religious beliefs and it’s impact on their everyday life. I was especially impressed with Ben Wu, whom I found one of the most interesting people in the film. I was happy to hear him talk about the business of bribing officials and how he struggles with that idea, as it goes against his morals. He also was working with foreign investors for his Internet café, which I understand was becoming much more common at the time. Another fascinating part of his life was his relationship with his wife, who was living in the states, along with his parents and brother. This new faction of the generation, where couples live apart from each other, both working, seems to be becoming more common. I’m glad they mention the one child policy, as I am curious to see what happened with Xu Weimin and his wife as they were expecting a second child at the end of the film. I think another huge impact on society would be the changing view on relationships. As mentioned by a few of the interviewees, many believe in marrying for money now, as stability is craved. Less and less are looking for love, but rather money and competency. I’d love to be able to follow up with the interviewees now, in 2014. I’m curious to see if Ben Wu got his solar power business running, whether or not Lu Dong has found a relationship, how well Wang Xiaolei’s rapping career has taken off, whether or not Yang Haiyan has left her home for work, and more.


One thought on “Frontline Film Response – A New Generation

  1. melaniehouston

    I like the end of your blog post the best because you mention how you would love to follow up on their stories; you want to see where they are today. You are not alone! I am very curious to see how the Communists rise in China has impacted their lives. Are their lives better now? Are their lives worse now? Though I strongly doubt it will happen, It would be nice if the producer of this film did a part two just so the world can observe how the “new” China was changed society.

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