Chasing Dreams: The Common Man In China Today

What exactly are the dreams of the Chinese nation?

Since Xi Jinping’s ascension to power in 2012, the leader of China’s Communist Party has often spoken about the Chinese dream, in both speeches as well as books. At the core of Xi’s dream for China is a vision to solve the nation’s problems and thereby return the country to its former global dominance. “Realising the great renewal of the Chinese nation is the greatest dream in modern history,” he writes in The Governance of China. That is Xi’s dream, but what exactly are the dreams of the rest of the nation? Asia House is pleased to welcome Alec Ash and Rob Schmitz, two writers with books recently published on China, who will discuss the topic. Through the people they have interviewed for their books, both authors offer fresh and detailed perspectives on China from the bottom up. In Street Of Eternal Happiness: Big City Dreams Along A Shanghai Road, Rob Schmitz follows a series of people who live on the same street as he does in Shanghai. They’re a mixed bag and through their tales, as well as through Schmitz’s own insights as a journalist in China, a picture emerges of 21st century China. Moving north to Beijing, the characters we meet in Alec Ash’s book Wish Lanterns: Young Lives In New China are equally varied, urging readers once again to resist generalisations, but they do all have two things in common: they’re all born between 1985 and 1990 and have all been to university. Ash talks to them about their dreams and their realities. Like the characters in Schmitz’s book, their stories are at times sad, at times happy and at times funny. Chaired by Jemimah Steinfeld, the Literature Programme Manager at Asia House, this invigorating talk will be followed by a Q&A with both authors. Runtime: 6:45pm-8pm. Please note: proof of membership must be provided for those purchasing members tickets.


Asia House, Marylebone

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