Transcript: The Other Half of the Sky: Stories of Chinese Business Women | Oct 16, 2018

A caption reads "Pic Film presents, in association with Salto Film, RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera."

A clip shows Zhang Lan in a car on a traffic jam.

Zhang is in her fifties, with long wavy black hair in a side ponytail and wears a black and White dress, a black floppy hat, a black shearling coat and pendant earrings.

She says THE TRAFFIC IN CHINA IS HORRIBLE.
CAN WE GO THIS WAY?

Her driver says I'LL TAKE THE NEXT EXIT.

Zhang says WHEN I THINK OF TODAY'S BEIJING
AND THE BEIJING OF 30 YEARS AGO...
EVEN IF YOU DREAM YOU CAN'T IMAGINE IT.
THE WILLOWS, THE MOAT,
THE SMALL BRIDGES,
IT REALLY WAS BEAUTIFUL.
MANY NATURAL RESOURCES WERE DESTROYED
TO MAKE WHAT YOU NOW SEE ALL AROUND US.
I THINK, LIVING IN THIS WORLD,
IS NOT REALLY THAT EASY.
BUT THEN AGAIN I THINK IT'S ALSO VERY WONDERFUL.
BECAUSE IN MOST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES,
THESE OPPORTUNITIES NO LONGER EXIST.

Zhou Yi sits in another car.

Zhou is in her fifties, with short straight black hair in an uneven bob cut. She wear a black power suit and an orange scarf.

Another woman says IN THE 1980'S YOU BEGAN TO SEE CARS,
SMALL CARS ON THE STREETS.
MORE AND MORE PEOPLE BEGAN USING CARS
INSTEAD OF A BICYCLE.
IN THOSE YEARS I WAS AT THE UNIVERSITY,
THE MILITARY SCHOOL.
I STUDIED LITERATURE, ENGLISH THEATRE.
I DID MY MASTER'S DEGREE
ON SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS.

On the phone, she says I ALREADY SAW THE SCHEDULE FOR TOMORROW.
BUT YOU'VE ALREADY SET UP
THURSDAY AFTERNOON'S, RIGHT?
AND ON FRIDAY WE SHOULD ADD THE DC REVIEW.

The woman gets out of the car and enters the IBM building. She says I WANTED TO WORK FOR
A COMPANY WHICH ALLOWED ME
TO SEE THE WORLD.
AND SO I BEGAN WORKING IN THE IT SECTOR
WHICH HAD ABSOLUTELY
NO RELATION WHATSOEVER WITH MY MAJOR.

Dong Mingzhu is in her sixties, with mid-length wavy black hair and wears a gray jacket and a black scarf.

In another car, Dong Mingzhu says TODAY THE WEATHER IS BAD.
IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME
SINCE IT'S RAINED LIKE THIS.
WHEN I CAME TO ZHUHAI FOR THE FIRST TIME,
IT WAS A SMALL FISHING VILLAGE.
THERE WAS NO INDUSTRY HERE.
AND ITS POPULATION WAS VERY SMALL,
ONLY A FEW TEN THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.
BUT I LIKED IT HERE VERY MUCH,
IT GIVES PEOPLE A SENSE OF TRANQUILITY, OF PEACE.
ORIGINALLY, THIS VILLAGE WAS A VERY SCENIC PLACE.
FROM ANYWHERE YOU COULD SEE
THE MOUNTAINS AND THE SEA.
AND THE ONLY TALL BUILDING WAS A HOTEL.
I THOUGHT IF I WANT TO LIVE IN THIS CITY,
I HAD TO FIND A JOB.
WHEN I ARRIVED AT THIS COMPANY
IT ONLY HAD A BIT MORE THAN 200 PEOPLE.
A VERY VERY SMALL COMPANY.

Yang Lan walks in a TV studio.

Yang is in her late forties, with short slightly wavy black hair and wears a brown skirt, a black shirt and a burgundy cardigan sweater.

A woman in her thirties with short black hair walks in a studio.

She says HELLO. YOU LOOK VERY NICE!
THIS AFTERNOON IS THE FILM'S PREMIERE, RIGHT?

An older man in a suit says YES, THIS AFTERNOON.

The woman says AH, CONGRATULATIONS!
THE CHINESE NATIONAL TELEVISION CCTV,
WAS HOLDING A PUBLIC RECRUITMENT.
TO SHOW CHINA'S ATTITUDE
TOWARDS OPENING UP THE COUNTRY,
THEY MADE A PRIMETIME PROGRAM
CALLED 'THE ZHENG DA SHOW'.

Yang and the man, her guest, get hooked with microphones.

She says THEN, I WENT TO ONE OF THOSE AUDITIONS.
WHEN IT WAS MY TURN TO SPEAK, I ASKED:
'WHY MUST THE GIRLS ON CHINESE TELEVISION
BE ONLY PRETTY, INNOCENT AND SWEET?'
WHY CAN'T THEY HAVE
THEIR OWN OPINION AND EXPRESS IT?'
MY CHALLENGE MUST HAVE LEFT
A POSITIVE IMPRESSION
ON THE EXAMINERS,
WHO INVITED ME FOR A SECOND INTERVIEW.

On the air, the woman says 'GOOD EVENING EVERYONE.
WELCOME TO 'YANG LAN ONE ON ONE'.
TODAY, OUR GUEST IS THE FILM DIRECTOR JOHN WOO.

Off the air, she says AND SO I WENT THROUGH A TOTAL OF SEVEN ROUNDS
OF INTERVIEWS ONE AFTER ANOTHER.
IN THE END I WAS THE ONLY SURVIVOR,
THE WINNER OUT OF
MORE THAN A THOUSAND CANDIDATES.
THAT'S HOW MY TV CAREER STARTED.

(music plays)

The name of the show reads "The other half of the sky. Stories if Chinese business women."

A caption reads "With Zhang Lan, Zhou Yi, Dong Mingzhu, Yang Lan."

The opening credits roll.

Director of photography, Sven O. Hill.

Executive producer, Nicola Bernasconi.

Produced by Nicola Genni.

Written and directed by Patrik Soergel.

A caption reads "Zhang Lan."

She walks in one of her restaurants and says EVERY DAY, WE RECEIVE MORE THAN 20,000 CUSTOMERS.
EVERY DAY WE SERVE 200-300 DIFFERENT KINDS OF DISHES...
FROM MEAT TO VEGETABLES.
EVERY PAINTING IN EACH DINING ROOM
TELLS THE STORY OF A MAGNIFICENT PLACE.
I FEEL VERY GLORIOUS ABOUT THE RESTAURANT
AND I BELIEVE THAT THE STAFF FEELS THE SAME,
AND I BELIEVE THAT WHENEVER
CHINESE BUSINESSMEN INVITE FOREIGNERS HERE,
THEY ALSO FEEL THAT GLORY.

A caption reads "At the age of 31, Zhang Lan lived with her toddler son in a small room, struggling to make a living. When a chance to go to Canada came through her uncle, she seized it, leaving her son with her mother."

Zhang says AS A YOUNG GIRL, I CARRIED WITH ME A DREAM.
AFTER ARRIVING IN CANADA,
I WAS CONFRONTED WITH REALITY.
NOW I HAD TO SURVIVE.
I WAS TOLD TO GO TO CHINATOWN
AND LOOK FOR WORK AND I SAID OK.
ASKED IF IT MEANT EVEN WORKING ILLEGALLY
I SAID THAT WOULDN'T BE A PROBLEM.
THEY SAID: 'IF YOU WORK ILLEGALLY,
THE SALARY WILL BE VERY LOW'.
'ABOUT THREE BUCKS AN HOUR FOR WASHING DISHES.'
AND AGAIN I SAID THAT WOULDN'T BE A PROBLEM.
IN ONE HOUR I COULD EARN THE SALARY
OF ONE MONTH IN CHINA.
AND SO I WORKED 18 HOURS A DAY.
I HAD THREE, FOUR JOBS AT THE SAME TIME.
I WENT FROM ONE RESTAURANT TO THE NEXT TO WORK.
BUT I COULD ENDURE
AND ACCEPTED IT ALL.
I THOUGHT, WITH MY ABILITY TO MAKE MONEY,
INCLUDING THE SKILLS I WAS ACQUIRING,
I SHOULD GO BACK HOME
AND OPEN MY OWN BUSINESS.
SO I SET MYSELF A GOAL:
ONCE I WOULD HAVE EARNED 20,000 DOLLARS,
I WOULD GIVE UP MY LIFE IN CANADA
AND RETURN TO CHINA TO START MY OWN BUSINESS.
SO WORKING VERY HARD,
AFTER NEARLY TWO YEARS,
I REACHED 20,000 DOLLARS,
I HAD EARNED ENOUGH.
AFTER ARRIVING BACK IN CHINA,
I SEARCHED AGGRESSIVELY
FOR SOME KIND OF OPPORTUNITY.
THEN, I FOUND AN EMPTY SHOP TO RENT.
THERE WAS NO HEATING, NOTHING AT ALL.
I SAID, WELL, LET'S OPEN
A RESTAURANT AND GIVE IT A TRY.
FROM THEN UNTIL NOW,
IN MORE THAN 20 CITIES
ALL ACROSS CHINA
I OWN MORE THAN 90 RESTAURANTS.

(music plays)

A caption reads "When Dong Mingzhu started working for Gree Electric, it was just a small state owned company. Today it is the world's largest producer of air conditioners, with 80,000 employees."

Dong says WHEN I ARRIVED HERE, I WAS A SALES PERSON.
SALES ARE AT THE CORE OF ANY COMPANY.
FURTHERMORE, IN THE PAST,
THE CHINESE ELECTRIC APPLIANCES INDUSTRY
DIDN'T HAVE THEIR OWN TECHNOLOGY.
THEY WERE JUST ASSEMBLED AND THEN SOLD.
AND THIS WAS A PROFITABLE BUSINESS.
HOWEVER, IN THAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT,
THE ONLY THING I COULD DO WAS TO DO MY JOB WELL.
AFTER FOUR YEARS AS A SALES PERSON,
I BECAME A MANAGER AT HEADQUARTERS.

The caption changes to "Dong Mingzhu."

Sitting at her desk, Dong WHY DID YOU CHANGE THE MUSIC?
IN THE FIRST TWO VERSIONS THERE WAS ANOTHER ONE.

A man says YES, WE CHANGED IT.

Dong says THE SOUND IS HORRIBLE.
THE PRODUCT DOES NOT SHOW
IN THE CLIP OFTEN ENOUGH.
THIS IS WORTHLESS.
THIS WORK IS NOT READY YET.

The man says I JUST WANTED TO SHOW IT TO YOU.

Dong says NO, IT'S USELESS. YOU CAN THROW IT AWAY.
GO BACK TO WORK!

Dong says MANY PEOPLE THINK THAT GENDER IS IMPORTANT,
BUT IN MY EYES, IN MY BRAIN,
I NEVER SAW THIS AS A DECIDING FACTOR.
I THINK ANY PERSON IN A HIGH POSITION
SHOULD BE ABLE
TO GET A JOB DONE IN THE BEST WAY.
IT'S NOT THE GENDER THAT DECIDES.
IT'S THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE JOB THAT DECIDES.
SO I NEVER TOOK IT AS AN EXCUSE LIKE OTHER PEOPLE,
'OH, IT'S BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN,
I'LL FORGIVE HER'.
I DON'T BELIEVE THIS.
A NORMAL WORKER, CAN DISTINGUISH
BETWEEN WORK AND PRIVATE LIFE.
BUT IN A POSITION LIKE MINE,
IT'S NO LONGER POSSIBLE TO SEPARATE THE TWO.
IN REALITY, I THINK THE ONLY TIME
I SEPARATE THEM IS WHEN I SLEEP.
ONCE I OPEN MY EYES,
ALL I THINK ABOUT IS WORK, ABOUT THE COMPANY.
THE GOVERNMENT
SETS VACATION DAYS FOR US.
WE CAN ASK FOR VACATIONS.
BUT IT'S AN INDIVIDUAL CHOICE.
I OFTEN HEAR THAT IN MANY COMPANIES IN ZHUHAI,
MINE INCLUDED,
WHEN YOU SEARCH FOR SOME EMPLOYEE
THEY ARE ON VACATION.
AS FOR ME, IN THE LAST 20 YEARS,
I HAVE NEVER TAKEN ANY VACATION.

She has lunch with some colleagues at the company.

She says to a man sitting next to her DO YOU REMEMBER THIS FELLOW NAMED ZHEN?
I WAS TOLD HE DID A GOOD JOB.
WE SHOULD ARRANGE A MEETING WITH HIM.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The caption changes to "At the time Zhou Yi entered IBM in the 1990s, it was one of the first foreign companies to access the Chinese market."

The caption changes to "Zhou Yi."

Zhou says WHEN WE WENT TO WORK FOR A FOREIGN COMPANY,
IT WAS SIMPLY BECAUSE WE THOUGHT THAT WE
COULD EARN MORE THAN WITH A NATIONAL COMPANY.
WE COULD WEAR PRETTIER CLOTHES,
TAKE BETTER CARE OF OUR PARENTS
AND THE FAMILY'S LIVING EXPENDITURES.
AND FOR OURSELVES, WE GAINED
A SECURE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL STATUS.

At a meeting, a woman says WHEN HE WENT ON THE STAGE,
YOU WOULDN'T THINK
THAT HE HAD JUST ARRIVED IN CHINA.
IT SEEMED HE ALREADY UNDERSTOOD
THESE CUSTOMERS VERY WELL!

Zhou says ON THE WAY BACK HE TOLD ME ONE THING.
HE SAID: YOUR TEAM IS NOT LIKE THE JAPANESE.
HE MADE AN EXAMPLE:
'THE JAPANESE ARE LIKE YES YES YES'.
BUT THEN THEY DO IT THEIR OWN WAY.
THERE IS NO COMMUNICATION,
NO CONSENSUS.
HE SAID: WE DISAGREE, WE ARGUE, WE FIGHT,
AND EVENTUALLY, WE (UNCLEAR)
I THINK, BEING A FEMALE MANAGER
IS A GREAT FORTUNE.
BECAUSE IN CHINA THERE IS
NOTHING LIKE A GLASS CEILING.
WHEN IN 1994 THEY TOOK ME FOR THE FIRST TIME
TO CHICAGO TO TAKE PART IN A GLOBAL MEETING,
I WAS SO EXCITED. 'THE FIRST TIME I COULD GO
ABROAD AND I CAN ALREADY GO TO THE U.S.!'
WHEN THE PLANE WAS APPROACHING THE AIRPORT
AND WAS ABOUT TO LAND,
I SAW MANY, MANY BLUE DOTS.
FROM THE PLANE,
I WONDERED WHAT THEY WERE.
MY BOSS NEXT TO ME TOLD ME:
'THOSE ARE SWIMMING POOLS!'
AND I SAID: 'WOW! IN THE US EVERY HOUSE
HAS ITS OWN SWIMMING POOL! IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL!'
AND THE GROUND, IT WAS ALL BLACK.
FOR ME IT WAS A CULTURE SHOCK.
THIS TYPE OF SCENERY, MADE ME WONDER
WHEN OUR CHINA WOULD BECOME LIKE THIS AS WELL.
I NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT
IT COULD HAPPEN THAT FAST.
TODAY, TEN YEARS LATER,
CHINA HAS ALREADY CHANGED
BECOMING WHAT IT IS TODAY...
THE SECOND LARGEST ECONOMY IN THE WORLD,
A SUPER POWER.

The caption changes to "Yang Lan."

Yang sits in her office and plays a clip of herself at the news show.

Her cohost says GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME.
TODAY OUR PROGRAM ZHENG DA
CAN BE SEEN ALL OVER CHINA.

Yang says WITH THIS SHOW WE HOPE TO SHARE
SOME HAPPY MOMENTS AT THE END OF YOUR DAY.

The clip ends.

Yang says AFTER BECOMING THE PRESENTERS OF THE SHOW,
MY COLLEAGUE AND I INTRODUCED
A NEW WAY OF PRESENTING.
OUR TEXT WASN'T PREPARED BY OTHERS,
WE WROTE IT OURSELVES.
THAT WAS ALSO THE FIRST TIME IN CHINA
THAT PRESENTERS COULD STATE
THEIR OWN OPINION AND VIEWS ABOUT THE WORLD AND LIFE.

Old clips show Yang hosting a TV show.

Yang says SO THIS PROGRAM BECAME VERY SUCCESSFUL.
THERE WERE TWO TO THREE HUNDRED MILLION
PEOPLE WATCHING IT WEEKLY.
AFTER FOUR YEARS OF BEING THE PRESENTER OF THE SHOW,
I DECIDED HOWEVER TO LEAVE THE JOB
AND GO TO AMERICA TO STUDY.
BECAUSE I WAS VERY CONSCIOUS OF THE FACT
THAT MY KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD WASN'T SUFFICIENT.
IF I DIDN'T INVEST IN MY OWN FUTURE
WHILE I WAS STILL YOUNG,
I WOULD REMAIN JUST ANOTHER YOUNG PRESENTER
WITH A PRETTY FACE.
SO I WENT TO AMERICA, TO COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
AND GRADUATED IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS.
IN THIS WAY I VASTLY OPENED MY HORIZONS.
EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY,
IN A MELTING POT LIKE NEW YORK
AND IN THE VERY FREE ENVIRONMENT
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY,
I LEARNED TO RESPECT DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS,
DIFFERENT VISIONS
AND DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW.
AFTER COMING BACK TO CHINA, TO HONG KONG,
I STARTED MY SHOW ON PHOENIX TELEVISION.
IT WAS THE FIRST SHOW ON CHINESE TV
OFFERING IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS
WITH INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE OF INTEREST.
IT IS ALSO THE ONE OF THE LONGEST
RUNNING PROGRAMS: 'YANG LAN ONE ON ONE'.
IT STARTED IN 1998 AND SINCE THEN,
16 YEARS HAVE ALREADY PASSED.
I'VE CONDUCTED INTERVIEWS WITH MORE THAN
800 PEOPLE FROM VERY DIFFERENT FIELDS
FROM POLITICIANS TO ARTISTS.

A clip from the show shows Yang and guest Keanu Reeves.

She says LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, KEANU
REEVES!
(APPLAUDING)

Keanu says NICE TO SEE YOU.

Now a clip shows Zhang cooking in her kitchen.

She says IN THE PAST EVERY CHINESE
ENTREPRENEUR MADE IT ON THEIR OWN.
THE ENTREPRENEURS OF OUR GENERATION FOUND
THAT BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT A 'PACK OF WOLVES'.
YOU REALLY HAD TO STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE,
THAT ENVIRONMENT WAS REALLY HARD.
YOU HAD TO WORK HARD TO FIND A WAY
TO STAY ON YOUR FEET
TO KEEP STANDING UNTIL TODAY.
WELL, I THINK THAT THOSE
WHO ARE STILL STANDING TODAY
ARE NOT SO MANY.
I HAVE A BIG ENTERPRISE
WITH NEARLY 10,000 EMPLOYEES.
AT THE BEGINNING,
OUR BRANDS FOUND PRECISE POSITIONING.
IT WAS THE DAWN OF THE GLOBAL BUSINESS ERA.
NOW THE ECONOMY IS A BIT UNSTABLE.
AS IS THE CONSUMPTION OF BUSINESS PEOPLE.
THEIR BUSINESS IS NOT AS MUCH AS BEFORE.
BUSINESS EVENTS ARE LESS, TOO.
THE COMPETITION IS GETTING TOUGHER AND TOUGHER.
IN THE PAST, I WAS 100 PERCENT IN CONTROL OF THE COMPANY.
BUT NOW, I'M NO LONGER THE MAJOR SHAREHOLDER
AND AM TRYING TO JOIN TOGETHER WITH
OTHER PARTNERS TO PERFECT OUR ORGANIZATION.
IN THIS WAY OUR RESTAURANTS OF CHINESE CUISINE
CAN BE RECOGNIZED BY THE CAPITAL MARKET.
IN TERMS OF STANDARDIZATION,
AS WELL AS IN TERMS OF CENTRALIZATION.
THIS IS WHAT WE ARE WORKING HARD ON NOW.

A caption reads "By 2020, Zhang Lan plans to have 500 restaurants around the world."

At a large conference, attendees applaud as Dong walks in the room.

Dong says I THINK, THE TIMES OF THE REFORM
WERE A BIG CHANGE IN CHINA
AFTER THE PLANNED ECONOMY.
IT WAS HOPED TO PUSH TOWARDS A MARKET ECONOMY,
ESPECIALLY THOSE COMPANIES WHO IN THE PAST
MERELY FOLLOWED THE GOVERNMENTS DIRECTIVES.
THEY ONLY PRODUCED THE AMOUNT OF GOODS
THEY WERE ASKED TO PRODUCE.
NOW WE NEED TO CREATE A MARKET.
WITH THE ARRIVAL OF A TRUE MARKET ECONOMY
WE NO LONGER
HAVE TO ONLY TAKE CARE OF PRODUCTION.
BECAUSE IN FACT
THE PRODUCTS ARE NO LONGER SOLD BY OTHERS,
BUT ALSO WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF SALES AS WELL.
I THINK THAT'S AN ENORMOUS CHANGE.
IN THE ERA OF THE PLANNED ECONOMY,
WE STILL HAD COUPONS FOR GRAIN, FOR OIL, FOR COAL.
THE AMOUNT OF COAL TO BE BURNED WAS SPECIFIED.
WE DIDN'T HAVE A CHOICE.
IT WAS ALL ACCORDING TO DIRECTIVES.
WHAT WE WERE DOING PASSIVELY BEFORE,
WE NOW HAVE TO DO ACTIVELY.

(music plays)

Yang says IN CHINA ALL THE TELEVISION CHANNELS
ARE CONTROLLED BY THE GOVERNMENT.
I THINK, THAT WE ARE DOING PIONEERING WORK
IN A MARKET THAT IS NOT AT ALL MATURE YET.
IN A MARKET WHICH STILL HAS
MANY RULES, REGULATIONS
AND CERTAIN RISKS,
WE HAVE TO WALK A VERY THIN LINE.
THEREFORE, IN 2005,
I CHOSE THE FEMALE COMMUNITY
AS MY TARGET AUDIENCE.
I NOTICED THAT WOMEN IN CONTEMPORARY
CHINESE SOCIETY WERE VERY VITAL, VERY DYNAMIC.
THEY COULD DO MANY THINGS,
THEY HAD THE RIGHT TO MAKE CHOICES.
AT THE SAME TIME THEY NEED
TO BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES,
AND THEN THEY COULD REALLY LEAD
THE TRANSFORMATION OF SOCIETY.
THIS IS WHEN I STARTED A TELEVISION PROGRAM
CALLED 'HER VILLAGE'.

On a stage, Yang the audience says HERE AT 'HER VILLAGE', WE ARE GOING TO HEAR
MANY DIFFERENT STORIES OF WOMEN,
INCLUDING STORIES OF EACH OF YOU,
WHICH I'D LIKE TO KNOW.
WE CAN DISCUSS THE PROBLEMS OF OUR SOCIETY
FROM A WOMAN'S POINT OF VIEW.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME WE CAN ALSO
SHARE THE WISDOM AND JOY OF LIFE.

She takes a picture with a group of people.

She says COME ON LET YOURSELVES GO.
YOU'RE ALL SO SHY.

The people cheer.

Yang says AT TIMES I WISH MY DAYS HAD MORE THAN 24 HOURS.
DURING THE 365 DAYS OF A YEAR,
I'M TRAVELLING FOR NEARLY A FOURTH OF THAT TIME.
I DO INTERNATIONAL TRIPS
AS WELL AS TRIPS WITHIN THE COUNTRY.
SOMETIMES I REALLY FEEL PHYSICALLY EXHAUSTED.

She takes pictures with fans.

She says I'VE EXPERIENCED HOW
DIFFICULT IT IS TO MANAGE MY TIME,
ESPECIALLY WHEN MY KIDS WERE STILL SMALL.
IF THEY GOT SICK OR IF THERE WAS
A PARENT-TEACHER MEETING,
I HAD TO URGENTLY ADJUST MY
WORKING SCHEDULE TO TAKE CARE OF THEM.
SOMETIMES I REALLY
COULDN'T DEAL WITH EVERYTHING,
AS IF I WAS JUGGLING AND THERE WERE
MORE BALLS IN THE AIR THAN I COULD CATCH.
SOMETIMES I WAS REALLY FRUSTRATED.

Zhou says I HAVE TO BE A MOTHER,
A WIFE, A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW,
A DAUGHTER, A BEST FRIEND, A LEADER.
SO THE QUESTION IS,
HOW CAN YOU DO ALL THOSE ROLES WELL
AND AT THE SAME TIME ENJOY IT?
SOMETIMES, YOU JUST SUFFER,
IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME.
WHEN YOU ARE WITH YOUR SON,
STUDYING WITH HIM
AND SPENDING TIME WITH HIM,
YOU HAVE TO GO TO WORK.
IT'S NOT THE SAME FOR EVERYONE.

Dong says SOMETIMES, YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP ON SOMETHING,
YOU CANNOT ACHIEVE EVERYTHING.
IF YOU WANT TO PURSUE YOUR CAREER,
YOU HAVE TO PUT MORE EFFORT
INTO YOUR JOB THAN INTO YOUR FAMILY.
HERE, THERE ARE TWO POSSIBILITIES.
ONE IS, YOUR FAMILY UNDERSTANDS YOU,
YOUR CHILDREN UNDERSTAND YOU.
THE OTHER IS,
YOUR FAMILY DOESN'T UNDERSTAND YOU,
AND THEN YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP YOUR JOB.
OF COURSE, THE MOST PERFECT SITUATION
IS IF YOU CAN BALANCE THEM BOTH.
BUT WITHIN THIS BALANCE,
ONE WILL BE MORE IMPORTANT, THE OTHER ONE LESS.
SO IF YOU WANT TO SUCCEED
IN HAVING A PERFECT COMPANY,
YOU HAVE TO GIVE MUCH MORE WEIGHT
ON THE COMPANY THAN THE FAMILY.

A caption reads "At the age of 30, Dong Mingzhu was a widow with a 2-year-old son. She then moved far away and started her career at Gree. He son grew up with his grandmother."

Zhang MANY OF MY FRIENDS TELL ME: 'WOW LAN,
WHEN YOU LOOK AT YOUR SON YOUR EYES LIGHT UP!'
LIKE MY PARENTS, BEFORE ME, I OBLIGATED HIM
TO CULTIVATE HIS SELF-CONFIDENCE,
TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON HIS PEERS.
I LEARNED THAT CHILDREN
HAVE TO CULTIVATE THEIR OWN SELF-CONFIDENCE.
WHEN MY MOTHER WAS PREGNANT WITH ME,
MY FATHER WAS PART OF THE CONSERVATIVE RIGHT WING
AT QINGHUA UNIVERSITY IN BEIJING.
THE YEAR I WAS BORN, MY FATHER
WAS SENT TO PRISON FOR BEING RIGHT WING.
SO, SINCE I WAS BORN,
I HAD TO DEPEND ON MYSELF
AND I GREW UP WITH MY GRANDMOTHER.
SO I WASN'T LIKE NORMAL CHILDREN
WHO GOT MILK TO DRINK
AND HAD THEIR MOTHER'S AND FATHER'S LOVE.

Zhou goes for a power walk in the park.

She says MY MEMORIES ARE MAINLY GREY, BLUE AND BLACK.
BECAUSE THE CLOTHES PEOPLE WERE
WEARING BACK THEN WERE ALL THE SAME COLOR,
THOSE SO CALLED MAO-STYLE UNIFORMS.
WHEN MY PARENTS WENT TO BUY THINGS,
THE SUPPLY DEPENDED ON VOUCHERS.
TO BUY PORK YOU NEEDED A VOUCHER,
TO BUY TOFU YOU NEEDED A VOUCHER.
EVERYTHING WAS RATIONED.
I ALWAYS FELT I NEVER HAD A FULL STOMACH.
EVERY DAY I THOUGHT I WANTED TO EAT
MORE SWEETS, MORE MEAT.
MY MOTHER WAS A DOCTOR,
MY FATHER A TEACHER.
WE WERE A VERY NORMAL FAMILY OF INTELLECTUALS.
MY FATHER, HAD A TENDENCY TO SPEAK BLUNTLY,
HE WAS ALWAYS READY AND WILLING TO TALK.
SO DURING THE TEN YEARS OF THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION
HE CAME UNDER HEAVY CRITICISM
AND FOR PUNISHMENT HE WAS SENT
TO A CORRECTIONAL LABOUR CAMP.
FOR THREE YEARS HE COULDN'T RETURN HOME.
MY MOTHER WASN'T ABLE TO DO ANYTHING,
SHE MISSED HIM SO MUCH.
SO SHE TOOK MY SISTER AND ME
AND TOGETHER WE WENT TO SEE HIM.
I REMEMBER, THAT DAY
WE TOOK A LONG-DISTANCE BUS
AND WENT FAR, FAR AWAY.
THEN WE ARRIVED AT A SMALL TOWN.
FROM AFAR WE SAW MANY PEOPLE WITH DIRTY FACES,
LIKE THE MIGRANT WORKERS YOU NOW SEE EVERYWHERE.
WHEN WE ARRIVED THERE, WE ASKED:
'WHERE IS TEACHER ZHOU?'
'TEACHER ZHOU IS RIGHT OVER THERE,
THE PERSON THERE IN FRONT OF YOU IS HIM'.
THEN AFTER WALKING OVER,
CLOSER AND CLOSER,
WE SAW AN OLD MAN BENT OVER AT THE WAIST.
AT THAT TIME MY FATHER WAS ONLY
A LITTLE MORE THAN FORTY YEARS OLD.
HE WAS THERE LIFTING A LARGE STONE WITH DIFFICULTY,
A VERY HEAVY ROCK,
AND MOVING IT INTO A CART.
THEN I HEARD MY MOM CALLING HIM,
CALLING MY FATHER.
SO THAT MAN STILL BENT OVER, TURNED HIS HEAD,
STOPPED LIFTING THE ROCK,
STOOD UP,
TURNED AROUND AND LOOKED AT US.
I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE MY FATHER AT ALL,
BECAUSE MY FATHER WAS AN EXTREMELY HANDSOME,
AND VERY ELEGANT SCHOLAR.
IN MY MEMORY HE WAS A VERY,
VERY HANDSOME MAN.
THAT OLD MAN WHO STOOD UP AND LOOKED AT US,
I COULDN'T RECOGNIZE HIM AT ALL.
I WAS STILL VERY YOUNG THEN.
BUT I SAW THE TEARS
FALLING FROM MY MOTHER'S EYES.
I SAW MY SISTER CRYING NEXT TO ME...

She tear up and says BUT STILL, THERE WAS NO WAY FOR ME TO TELL
THAT THIS WAS MY FATHER.
HE HAD BECOME THAT OLD MAN,
AFTER THREE YEARS OF MALTREATMENT,
AND WE HADN'T HAD ANY NEWS FROM HIM.
MY FATHER SAW THE THREE OF US THERE,
MOTHER AND DAUGHTERS.
IN THAT MOMENT I THINK I SAID:
'BUT IS THAT MY GRANDFATHER OR MY FATHER?'
THERE IS NO WAY FOR ME TO EVER JUSTIFY
THE HURT THAT THIS PERIOD CAUSED MY FAMILY.
MY MOTHER LOOKED AT HIM AND SAID:
'SO HERE WE MEET'.
MY FATHER WOULD NEVER HAVE THOUGHT
THAT WE COULD GO THERE TO SEE HIM.
MY SISTER, WHO'S FOUR YEARS
OLDER THAN ME, WAS STILL CRYING.
LATER, I SAID THAT WHEN I GREW UP,
I WOULD NEVER WANT
TO BE ONE OF THOSE MOVING THE ROCKS;
I WANTED TO BECOME A PROFESSOR,
LIKE MY FATHER,
TO REALIZE THE IDEAL
THAT HE HADN'T BEEN ABLE TO REALIZE.
AT THAT TIME, WE DIDN'T SEE ANY FUTURE
AND WE THOUGHT: HOW WILL WE BE ABLE TO LIVE?
AFTER SOME TIME,
THE GANG OF FOUR CAME TO POWER.
THE MEMORIES OF THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION
BECAME PART OF THE PAST.
THEN, A NEW LIFE BEGAN WITH THE REFORM
AND THE OPENINGS OF DENG XIAOPING
BRINGING US ALL A LOT OF HAPPINESS.

A billboard appears with the caption "Stick to the basic party line for 100 years. Deng Ziaoping."

A clip shows images of people walking on the Street at night.

(music plays)

Dong says EVERYONE'S LIVING CONDITIONS ARE BETTER NOW.
OUR MATERIAL LIFE IS RICHER NOW TOO.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME,
IT ALSO HAS BROUGHT SOME NEGATIVE ASPECTS.
ALL THAT MANY PEOPLE SEE NOW IS THE MONEY.
THEY NO LONGER SEE THE PERSON.
WHO IS THE PERSON THAT IS MOST SUCCESSFUL?
IT'S THE ONE WITH THE CAPACITY TO GO
AND HELP OTHERS,
WHO DOESN'T JUST TAKE BUT ALSO GIVES.
NORMAL PEOPLE ARRIVING AT A COMPANY
THINK THAT IF THE SALARY IS HIGH,
THEN IT IS A GOOD COMPANY.
BUT I THINK WE SHOULD
GIVE THE EMPLOYEES A FEELING OF SECURITY,
WE HOPE TO GIVE THEM A NICE PLACE TO LIVE.
FOR EXAMPLE, EVERY EMPLOYEE
GETS A SINGLE ROOM APARTMENT JUST FOR THEM.

Dong walks in the Factory and asks one of the employees
ARE YOU TIRED?

The employee says YES. DEFINITELY.

Dong says ALL DAY LONG DOING THE SAME MOVEMENT.
WHAT TIME DO YOU FINISH?

The employee says 7:30 PM.

A man next to her syas THEY ARRIVE AT 7.
AT 7:10 THERE'S A MEETING.
THEN THEY START AT 7:30.
THE MACHINES ARE ALWAYS RUNNING...

Dong says DO YOU LIVE HERE IN OUR CAMPUS?

The employee says NO.

Dong says WHY NOT?

The employee says IT'S TOO NOISY. PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS MOVING.
SOME LEAVE, NEW ONES ARRIVE.
BUT NOW EVERY WORKER CAN GET A SINGLE ROOM.
ARE YOU INTERESTED?

The employee says I DON'T KNOW.

Dong says WHAT?

The employee says I NEVER CONSIDERED IT.

Dong says WHY NOT?
WHY DO YOU WANT TO LIVE OUTSIDE?

The employee says BECAUSE I HAVE MORE FREEDOM.

Dong says BUT HERE YOU ALSO GET YOUR FREEDOM.

The employee says I WAS NEVER CHOSEN TO GET A SINGLE ROOM.

Dong says ALL OF YOU SHOULD HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITY.
OK WE'RE LEAVING NOW.
COME FIND ME IF THERE'S ANY PROBLEM.
DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?

The employee says YES!

Dong says NOW THAT YOU KNOW ME
YOU CAN COME AND SEE ME.
WE WANT TO HEAR THE OPINIONS OF ALL OUR EMPLOYEES.
BYE BYE.

Yang and her husband meet another man.

Yang says MY HUSBAND.

Yang's husband is in his late forties, with short black hair and wears black trousers, a white shirt and a black overcoat.

She gives the man a flower bouquet and says HELLO AND CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SHOW.

The man says OH, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Yang says HAVE YOU BEEN DOING THIS SHOW FOR A LONG TIME?

The man says I WILL TRY TO.

Yang says LET'S MEET LATER.

The man says OK, BYE BYE.

Yang says OUR DAILY LIVES HAVE UNDERGONE BIG CHANGES.
WESTERN CULTURE HAS MADE
ITS WAY INTO OUR EVERYDAY LIVES,
FROM MCDONALD'S TO HOLLYWOOD MOVIES,
FROM EUROPEAN LUXURY BRANDS
TO MANY OTHER ASPECTS,
LIKE FRUITS, OTHER MARKET GOODS ETCETERA.

Yang and her husband sit in the audience to watch the man host his show.

Yang says AND AT THE SAME TIME, OUR NATIVE CULTURE
HAS EXPERIENCED A LOT OF DAMAGE.
MOST OF THIS DAMAGE
HAS BEEN DONE BY OURSELVES,
BECAUSE WE THOUGHT OF IT AS OLD-FASHIONED,
OBSOLETE AND COULD NOT MAKE OUR LIVES BETTER.
CHINESE, FOR A LONG TIME, HAVE BEEN LIVING
IN THIS NON-MAINSTREAM ERA
OF JUST TRYING TO GET SUFFICIENT FOOD AND CLOTHES.
NOW, THAT PEOPLE CAN PURCHASE MORE,
THEY WANT TO FOLLOW THE LATEST TRENDS.
THEY THINK,
THAT WEARING AN OMEGA OR A ROLEX,
ALREADY GIVES THEM A LOT OF DIGNITY.
I THINK THAT UNTIL TODAY,
CHINESE WERE JUST RUSHING TO BUY LUXURY GOODS,
BUYING LIKE CRAZY,
BUT NOT REALLY UNDERSTANDING ANYTHING.
ALL THOSE MISMATCHES,
THINGS NOT REALLY SUITABLE FOR THEM.
TODAY WE ARE ENTERING
INTO A MORE REASONABLE ERA.

A newscaster says 'SOUTH BEAUTY' CAN BE CALLED
ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS FOOD BRANDS IN CHINA.
THE BRANDS FOUNDER MRS. ZHANG LAN,
IS DESCRIBED AS A VERY DRIVEN PERSON BY MANY PEOPLE.
THE SIGN OF 'SOUTH BEAUTY'
IS THIS MASK FROM THE BEIJING OPERA.
IN VIEW OF THE NEW SICHUAN CUISINE
AND ADDING THIS MASK,
ONE MIGHT THINK THAT
IT IS ABOUT SICHUAN SPECIALTIES WITH A NEW FACE.
WHAT WE WANT TO FOCUS ON TODAY HOWEVER,
IS NOT THE CHANGE OF CUISINE
BUT RATHER ITS FOUNDER ZHANG LAN,
WHO PROBABLY HAS CHANGED NATIONALITY,
BY CANCELLING HER PERMANENT RESIDENCE.
WHAT IS GOING ON?

Zhang says HAS ZHANG LAN ALREADY CHANGED HER NATIONALITY?
ZHANG LAN HAS CANCELLED
HER REGISTERED PERMANENT RESIDENCE.
THESE KIND OF HEADLINES
ARE BEING SEEN IN THE MEDIA.

A clip shows Zhang at an inauguration ceremony.

She adresses employees and says WE NEED TO INCREASE OUR MARKET!
THIS TIME WE SAIL THE OCEAN!
WE HAVE THE WIND AT OUR BACK
AND WE WILL BREAK
THROUGH THE WAVES.
ALL RIGHT?

The employees say YES!

Zhang says YOU ARE NOW PART OF THIS NEW BRANCH.
WHICH IS THE PROUD RESULT OF 12 YEARS OF WORK.
OK?

The employees say OK!

Zhang says WHY DID I GIVE UP ON MY CHINESE PASSPORT?
I CRIED FOR THREE DAYS, I RARELY CRY.
TO RENOUNCE MY PASSPORT IS LIKE RENOUNCING MY LIFE,
BUT I DID IT FOR MY COMPANY.
BECAUSE I WANT MY COMPANY TO BE LISTED
ON THE STOCK EXCHANGE IN HONG KONG.
ONLY AFTER ENTERING THE STOCK MARKET
CAN WE REALIZE OUR DREAM
OF BECOMING A COMPANY
THAT CAN LAST FOR A 100 YEARS.
AS A CHINESE CITIZEN I COULD NOT HAVE
A COMPANY TRADING
ON A FOREIGN STOCK EXCHANGE.
SO I THINK, I HAD TO TAKE A PIONEERING INITIATIVE
AND SINCE THERE WAS THAT LAW HERE,
I COULD NOT BREAK IT.
I AM THE ONLY ONE OF THE CHINESE
ENTREPRENEURS WHO GAVE UP THEIR CITIZENSHIP.
MANY PEOPLE ARE MISUNDERSTANDING ME.
IT WASN'T FOR MYSELF,
IT WAS TO PROTECT THE COMPANY, THE BRAND.

A caption reads "Zhang Lan became a citizen of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean. She then sold 80 percent of South Beauty group to a European Firm."

Yang and Dong attend an awards ceremony.

Yang's husband stand on stage alongside Martha Stewart and says TONIGHT, WE GATHER HERE
TO CELEBRATE A WOMAN WHO
DEDICATED HERSELF TO THE CHINESE
ELECTRONIC APPLIANCE INDUSTRY
FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS.
UNDER HER LEADERSHIP, SHE TURNED
THE CHINESE ELECTRONIC APPLIANCE
INDUSTRY FROM "MADE IN CHINA."
TO NOW, A NEW ERA OF "CREATED IN
CHINA."
(APPLAUDING)
I'M VERY HONOURED TO INTRODUCE
OUR MAKERS, MADAM DONG MING ZHU.

Dong walks on stage, gets the award and FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
IT IS AN HONOUR FOR ME
TO BE HERE FOR THIS OCCASION.
TODAY, WE ARE ALL WOMEN,
ALL OF US HOPING TO RECEIVE RESPECT FROM OTHERS.
WOMEN OFTEN CONSIDER THEMSELVES WEAK.
AT TIMES I THINK...
THAT A REAL WOMAN IS FULL OF WISDOM
AND CAN HOPE TO MOVE OTHER PEOPLE
AND RECEIVE THEIR RESPECT.
SO I OFTEN THINK:
IN WHAT WAY
CAN WE WOMEN OBTAIN RESPECT?
PERHAPS ALL OF US PRESENT HERE
COME FROM VERY DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES.
I COME FROM A VERY COMPETITIVE INDUSTRY,
ONE FULL OF MANY CHALLENGES.
SO IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO JUST USE A WOMAN'S
APPEARANCE OR BEAUTY TO CONVINCE OTHERS.
YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO CONFRONT THEM
WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND ABILITY.
SO, AS I OFTEN SAY TO MYSELF,
I AM A WOMAN BUT I WANT TO FIGHT LIKE A MAN.
IN THIS INDUSTRY, YOU ABSOLUTELY
HAVE TO USE YOUR OWN TENACIOUS SPIRIT
AND CONTINUE TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF
IN ORDER TO BECOME A LEADER OF A COMPANY.
I THINK THAT TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF
IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL WAY.
THANK YOU!

Yang's husband says THANK YOU AND CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN!

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Copyright 2016, PIC Film.

Watch: The Other Half of the Sky: Stories of Chinese Business Women