Transcript: China's 3 Dreams | Nov 13, 2018(music plays)
A black slate appears with the caption that reads "This observation of China follows the dreams and dilemmas of its ordinary citizens over seven years."
A clip shows people crowded in a cable cart.
Lei is in her thirties, with very short black hair and wears a blue shirt.
She faces the camera and says "People say that the gap between our past and our future is getting bigger. In the past 100 years China suffered through so many traumatic events but today the younger generation knows almost nothing about this and the older generations are silent."
The name of the show appears against images of a big city at night. It reads "China's 3 dreams."
Clips show young children throwing stones through school windows and saying "Boycott classes! Boycott classes!"
A caption reads "'The Blue Kite', Tian Zhuangzhuang 1993."
Lei enters a house and says to a girl "Hurry up and do today's homework or you won't finish in time. Go and finish it now. Don't wait until the deadline."
The girl says "We have three PE classes a week and two normal classes
One is Latin but we don't want to take Latin."
Lei says "Let me tell you, Latin will make you elegant."
The girl says "But it's too hard!"
Lei grinds coffee at her shop.
A caption reads "Lei, café proprietor. Ciqikou old town."
When I was young my parents neglected me. They were only 18. Both of them believed in Chairman Mao and they devoted themselves to the revolution with their hot blood boiling."
A clip shows soldiers dragging a woman onstage as the crowd chants "Down with Lu Wei! Down with Lu Wei!"
A song plays that says "The new dawn is dying on the far side of night."
As the soldiers hold the woman facing down, the crowd chants "Cut her hair off!"
The woman says "Students! Don't do this!"
The song continues "Shattering the sky into sparkling sad longings. This is an endless road, searching for dreams. I bury love amid an endless search for dreams."
A still image shows a man held by his hair.
Lei says "But afterwards – I mean when they woke up and found that all those experiences were now a painful joke they no longer had a reason to stay together. They didn't even look after their children."
A young woman at her shop asks her "Are you talking about your parents?"
She says "Yes."
Lei welcomes a customer and says "Hello."
She says to other customers "Yes you had tea and coffee."
Lei says "I'd say the lives of my parents were completely destroyed It's the same for most of that generation. Even now I really don't know what they went through at that time or what really happened."
Archive clips show people held on their knees with signs around their necks.
Lei says "China's problem is that there is no complete or reliable record of our history. So much has been hidden or deliberately covered up I really don't know what they went through at that time or what really happened. We don't know the facts even for what is happening now. That is the biggest problem in China."
The caption changes to "Ciqikou: 1000 year-old community within Chongqing City."
Lei and other people sit at a table.
As a girl walks in, Lei says "What are you doing?"
The girl says "I'm going to sell you pancakes."
The people at the table laugh.
A woman laughs and says "Excellent! Good one!"
The girl approaches Lei.
Lei says "What is it?"
The girl speaks in her ear.
Lei says "I love to live in Ciqikou. I go to the city just briefly, to get something done and come back quickly. This is my home."
Lei says "In the 1970s Chinese people had three dreams: a watch, a radio and a bicycle. Since then many dreams came into China to make China wealthy through government-controlled Capitalism. This intensified a second dream. The dream of a better life."
A clip shows a girl trying to ride a motorbike on a field.
Shuli is in her thirties, has mid-length straight brown hair in a ponytail and wears a white top, a black cardigan sweater and a silver necklace.
She says "Girls born in the 1990's say what they want. Like 'I'd rather cry in a BMW than laugh on a bicycle'."
The caption changes to "Beowulf and Shuli. Chongqing."
Shuli says "If he proposes we will marry next year and have a baby the year after. The crucial part is if someone actually asks me to marry them! That's it."
Beowulf is in his thirties, clean-shaven and with short straight black hair. He wears a black and red jacket.
Now Shuli and Beowulf ride the train.
Beowulf says "She's worried about her future husband looking for a new job at age 30, I can feel her worry daily. But she hasn't abandoned me."
Shuli says "My father thought I could find a better boyfriend. Both of our parents were divorced so marriage really matters for us. We were not well cared for by our parents."
Zhou Qun Lian is in her fifties, with short black hair and wears a blue shirt and a black blazer.
At dinner with Beowulf, she says to him "Especially Xiong Wei. You can only know someone by being together. You build feelings by being together. You've been living with her – I haven't. I only know what you tell me."
The caption changes to "Zhou Qun Lian. Beowulf's mother."
Zhou says "And you've changed! People have different thinking and values. And dreams. What are your dreams? I want just freedom and equality."
Beowulf says "Freedom and equality. Which is most important? Most important."
Zhou says "What do YOU think is most important?"
Beowulf says "I asked you."
Zhou says "You have to ask me?"
Beowulf says "American people, some other foreign peoples their information is very different from our Chinese people just like Tian-anmen Square."
The caption changes to "Google. Hong-Kong."
On the search engine, Beowulf types in "Tian-anmen Square massacre in 1989."
A message reads "This line cannot be displayed."
Beowulf says "Government they always cover up these things. They don't want to ... let that be played on television, otherwise it will have some terrible influence on people's minds."
Music plays as clips of people hanging on the street at night rolls.
Lei says "Actually, while we were all looking for a better life some new problems appeared."
Pictures of girls in very little clothes appear.
Shuli says "Many people think that a better life just means getting richer. Because money can buy your desires."
Shuli says "Oh normally I spend money on dresses, shoes and purses, handbags. I feel ... pretty good. I can buy whatever I like because my parents are well off. I don't have much to consider. Once I see anything I like, I just buy it
Zhou says "If you are not born in a good family, even if you're talented, you have to admit defeat. You will always struggle. Connections are always important in China. Dragon is born dragon. Phoenix is born phoenix. Mice are born mice."
Lei says "Actually I was very sad when I was young. I developed rickets from malnutrition. I couldn't walk until I was two. Events in history affected our family badly. My grandfather wasn't in our life for many years. But when I was four, he was allowed a visit home."
Lei has a conversation with her cousin Zhang at her café.
Zhang is in his twenties, clean-shaven and with short black hair. He wears glasses, a blue plaid shirt and a denim jacket.
Lei says "What do you know about our grandfather?"
The caption changes to "Lei's cousin. Zhang Mian."
Zhang says "Grandfather was branded a Rightist and it had a big effect on us all. We often talked about it."
Lei says "How much do you know about it?"
Zhang says "He spent about 20 years in a hard labour camp and couldn't take care of my father's generation."
Lei says "It's important to say that during the Great Cultural Revolution, parents and children would inform on each other
if they had the same ideals they were comrades. Otherwise they were enemies. Families were destroyed – they fell apart."
Pictures show two men with signs around their necks that read "Counter-revolutionaries. Execute immediately!"
A still shot shows men lined up on knees about to be executed.
A clip shows soldiers shaking a man and captions that read "Come on! Get up! Come on! Still not up? If he can't walk, get a stretcher. Hurry!"
Another clip shows soldiers punching a man and saying "Little counter-revolutionary!"
Zhang says "But why were they so driven by that ideology? Didn't they think for themselves?
Lei says "They were taught to follow the Party's thinking and they did that. So now our traditional culture is gradually being destroyed."
Zhang says "But nobody tell me when I was young and I can't get this information. I only get the history of what government want us to know, but maybe it's not the truth."
Lei rides the train.
Lei and Zhang go to a cemetery.
A caption reads "The Red Guard Graveyard."
They see chains around the gate.
Lei says "It was open before."
She points at a sculpture at the top of a column and says "Look the top words are 'Eight One Five. The martyrs will never die'."
Zhang says "We know almost nothing about this! This history has been buried with these people and has turned to dust like them."
Lei says " Many people don't talk about their experiences. Even my parents. I believe it hurt everyone so deeply first the victims and later the murderers. They also became victims."
Zhang says "The gate's closed and history is locked in."
Zhang Hong is in his late forties, with short black hair and a shadow of a beard. He wears glasses and a gray and brown jacket.
He says "The ancient Chinese said: 'Using history as a mirror you understand the past and the future.' But I think we Chinese – especially our leaders are afraid of history. They don't want to study our history or analyse it. They don't want the mirror to reflect themselves. The mirror of history is covered with dust."
Lei polishes a mirror and says "Zhang Mian I want to ask your father what happened to our family when we were too young to know know he's been thinking about what happened to our family and our country
The caption changes to "Fourth uncle, ZHANG HONG."
Lei interviews Zhang Hong.
Lei says "During the anti-Rightist movement did people join in with much enthusiasm?"
Zhang Hong says "Their enthusiasm was massive and heartfelt. That earlier movement was relatively small. It targeted only the intellectuals. Only about one million were criticised."
A clip from an old film shows a man addressing an audience and saying "The Party is our Saviour! How can you say it's a thousand miles away from us?"
A caption reads "Anti-Rightist Movement 1957. Criticism of staff, Beijing University."
Another man on the film says "I said that, because I felt the relationship between the Party and the people is not as close as before liberation. The words that I used may seem to overstate this."
The first man says "Whose side are you on?"
The audience applauds.
Zhang Hong says "During the Anti-Rightist years my father, an editor for the Worker's Daily was declared a Rightist for publishing some articles."
Zhang Hong's father says "I denied the accusation but I was forced to accept it."
The caption changes to "Grandfather, Zhang Yan."
Grandfather, ZHANG YAN
Zhang Yan is in his eighties, with receding white hair and wears a gingham shirt and a gray vest.
He says "I was 30 when I lost my freedom. 30 is a golden time for a person. When I was a teenager, I could edit a paper write articles, poems and novels."
Zhang Hong points at an old, abandoned building and says to Zhang Mian "This was the Sichuan Workers' Daily. My father, your grandfather, worked in that building I was 5 years old and your aunt was 3. We were playing with our friends in the sand. Suddenly I saw my father coming through the gate. And my father's expression was strange. I couldn't run to him. Then I saw two men with him, one on each side."
He stands straight and says "He walked like this and the two men took him."
Zhang Hong puts his wrists together, as if handcuffed.
He says "In the end he was exiled for 22 years to the remote Yi region of Sichuan, to a hard labour camp."
In a car, Lei says "We'll to go third uncle's now. When grandfather was in the labour camp, he went to visit him there."
The caption changes to "Third uncle, Zhang Haixing."
Zhang Haixing is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short black hair. He wears jeans and a black jacket.
Lei says "Was he a real Counter-Revolutionary or just accused of that?"
Zhang Haixing says "He was accused but he was not a Counter-Revolutionary. He really was on-side with the Communist Party. He supported the Party. Your grandmother raised 6 children by herself. Our family was almost the poorest in the area. Your grandmother refused to let him come home. One more mouth to feed and he would worsen discrimination against us. Your grandfather was disappointed and very angry. I wanted to see him. He left us in 1958. I stayed in his room. There was just one plank bed. While he was out labouring I had nothing to do. So I began to sketch – I drew a lot. Then somebody reported me. Investigators found some drawings. They said it was a military secret. No drawing permitted."
A set of Zhang Haixing's military themed drawings appear.
Zhang Haixing says "I managed to keep four of them."
Lei points at a baby in a picture and says "This is me. This is Grandma. I was two years old. She was 52."
A picture of Shuli in a wedding dress appears.
Shuli says "In China young couples take the wedding photos before the wedding. Then at the wedding party they can show everyone the photos. So we've already taken ours."
At a table, Shuli's mother says "If America attacks China, Russia will help us because chaos in China would affect them."
Beowulf says "China helped America beat their financial crisis. Right?"
The father says "Yes."
Beowulf says "So they must fix their financial problem."
The father says "If Taiwan and America join military forces we could never win, even with all Asia in support."
The mother says "But if China helped fix the US financial crisis..."
Shuli says "So what? Taiwan is still challenging China."
The mother says "But the Taiwan threat would go away."
Shuli says "At first my parents didn't let us live together. He was only a bartender and I was a...waitress. We started from almost nothing. For two years we saved our money and we bought this tiny flat."
Shuli and Beowulf work with their computers on a coffee table.
Zhou says "What – move that? Yes it should be over there
Beowulf says "Okay I'll do that."
Shuli says "We could move the computer over there. Then we reconnect the phone over here."
Later, Beowulf plays ping pong in the building patio.
Shuli says "I want my grandmother to see a wedding. But I'm upset – he hasn't asked me to marry. I don't know if he's just going along with me. If he asked me to marry, I'd feel much better."
Lei says "We now live in an era where love is free and unrestricted but real love is lacking. People feel confused because love has become so shallow. I want to trace the source of these things and find what happened to my parents. There is serious conflict between us. Now I understand that my mother didn't get much love."
Lei's daughter says "Mama I need a bowl."
Lei says "A bowl for what?"
The girl says "I just need it."
Lei says "Get it for yourself."
Lei says to Zhang Mian "What do you think of me as a daughter? What did I do that's good or bad? How do we relate to each other? Except for superficial conversations there is no communication between us."
In a car, Lei says "Before the Cultural Revolution they didn't know their lives would change so drastically. She lost her sense of trust even for me and my brother. There must be something that she wants to say but she never does. There's a saying that their generation was nurtured by wolves."
Lei and Zhang Mian go to Lei's mother's house.
Lei knocks and says "Mum?"
Her mom says "Hello! Hello. This is a great place Have you been here before?"
Zhang Mian says "Just once!"
Lei says "Mum? Did the Cultural Revolution madness change you and the society?"
A caption reads "Zhao Zhenghua."
Zhao is in her fifties, with short straight black hair and wears black trousers, a cream and purple printed sweater and a gray blazer.
She says "I haven't thought about it. Anyway..."
Lei says "When did you start to doubt the Cultural Revolution?"
Zhao says "Never. It's always...I've been trying, there's a lot I couldn't understand."
Lei says "So you couldn't understand but you didn't think deeply about it?"
Zhao says "I could not and I dared not. If I did, I would become reactionary."
Lei says "I thought you were rather pessimistic. I think you didn't even trust your own children . Can you talk about how you felt about us?"
Zhao says "In general I worry about your brother's health and how you make a living. I worry about you indulging in bad habits because I would be held responsible."
A clip shows musicians playing under a shelter in an open square.
Lei says "People ask me why I am so tangled up. They think I am obsessed. Propaganda makes us chase negative goals rather than the precious ones like the value of life and a meaningful existence."
A man opens a bar.
The caption changes to "Lao Bu and Lao Tang."
Lei says " What do you think about corruption in China?
Is it common?"
Lao Bu is in his forties, clean-shaven and with short black hair. He wears a blue shirt.
Lao Tang is in his forties, clean-shaven and with short black hair. He wears glasses and a checkered red and green shirt.
Lao Bu says "It's very common."
Lao Tang says "Very common."
Lao Bu says "I'm a businessman. I've dealt with hospitals also government officials, corporations. It's very normal. Nowadays corruption acts as a lubricant. When you do business. If you are ethical like me you'll face many obstacles. If you don't pay bribes. That's ok but you won't get any second orders. To reform we must implement the Constitution completely. Then limit government power give more rights to the people and empower the workers."
Lao Tang says "Then we'll see how our government can protect its political institutions. We know this process – we always have
Lei says "Can you tell me that process?"
Lao Tang says "I could tell you only after I left China."
No Lei is on a train.
Lei says "I think our society has serious problems and people live without happiness."
Zhang Mian says "My parents divorced when I was little. I was brought up by my Grandma."
A clip from a film rolls. Two women sit on a bed and talk.
A woman says "There'll be no end to it."
A younger woman says "Ma, you mustn't talk like that outside the family. You must have the right attitude."
The mother says "I'm nearly in my grave. What do I have to fear?"
The caption changes to "Zhang Jianzhi."
Zhang Jianzhi is in his sixties, with short wavy gray hair and wears a white shirt and a red cap.
Lei says "Dad, can you tell us why people in those years were so fanatical?"
Zhang Jianzhi says "First of all...It's the personality cult. Mao raised his hand, we marched forward. His words were infallible laws. He was the leader of revolution.
Lei says "Any other reasons?"
Zhang Jianzhi says "Teenage hormones gave us boundless energy. Boundless energy! All classes were suspended. Imagine the entire high school population left school and they had a new direction. Mao was unique! What would they do instead? Make Revolution!"
Lei says "I understand now."
The caption changes to "Liu Hongzheng. Former Red Guard."
Liu is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short black hair. He wears a coral T-shirt and a gray blazer.
He says "We were all kids at that time and hadn't formed a world-view. We just followed the fashion so we joined the Red Guards. Mao's mistake was being dictatorial. He worried what would happen after he died. He didn't want to be denounced like Stalin was and for his Revolution to be derailed. So he came up with the idea of 'a continuing revolution under a proletarian dictatorship. 'This became the Cultural Revolution."
Zhang Mian says "Do you remember the Cultural Revolution?"
The caption changes to "Grandma Tan."
Grandma Tan is in her nineties, with straight gray hair and wears a gray hooded coat.
She says "I don't remember. I'm old."
Zhang Mian says "I don't remember things."
Shuli says "It was mentioned at junior school but not much at university. We were not told the whole truth."
Lei says "Uncle, we talk about the Cultural Revolution. Could you suggest more people to talk to?"
Zhang Hong says "Han Pingzao. Han was in those armed battles – as a Rebel."
Han Pigzao is in his sixties, clean-shaven and with short black hair. He wears a red plaid shirt.
He says "But everybody understood it differently. All had different opinions on how to follow Mao. So we fought each other as rebel factions. They threw Molotov cocktails into the truck."
The caption changes to "Han Pingzao and He Shu. Former Red Guards."
Han says "That began the attack."
Lei says "What is that Mister Han and Mister He?"
Mister He is in his sixties, with short graying hair and wears glasses, jeans, a blue gingham shirt, a gray sweater and a black zip up jacket.
Han shows Lei some pictures on newspapers and says "These are people from school who were killed during the faction wars."
Lei says "My god!"
Han says "These people were shot dead the next day."
He says "July 25 was the first time guns were used. The first time we saw gun attacks."
Lei says "To attack whom?"
He says "Their school."
Han says "When the artillery barrage started a shell hit the windowsill and his chest. The side of his chest was hit by the shrapnel. It hit him right in the chest. The surviving classmates often get together. It's a very special friendship. They used their own money to fund a Teahouse. Every Monday afternoon they gather there. You should talk with these surviving students and other friends."
A caption reads "The Red Guard Social Club."
A clip shows people sitting in the lounge area of a club and playing board games.
Lei asks a former red guard "Could I ask a question? What do you remember most?"
He says "I remember my classmates were killed. Seven of them from school."
Lei says "All were students?"
The Red guard says "Yes."
Lei says "Why?
The man says "The battles."
Lei says "Armed fighting?"
The man says "During the fight the 'Fandoudi' faction shot them with machine guns while they were moving their possessions."
Han says "Everyone was mad then."
The Red guard says "Every year we visit their graves in Shapingba. It's the only Red Guard Graveyard in China. I have dozens of classmates buried there."
Han says "About this graveyard, I wrote of a man named Zheng Zhisheng. Some of my classmates were captured by him. He made them bury corpses. He treated them like slaves. He was called 'The Leader of Corpses' I can contact him and suggest that he shows you this graveyard later on."
Lei says "When you did these things, like torture did you feel conflict?"
Han says "No, no, no. No conflict at all."
Lei says "At that time it felt very natural."
Han says "From the start, we heard Mao Zedong's calls and having that education you were already brainwashed."
Zhang Hong says "There was a popular Mao quotation: 'Revolution is not a dinner party'."
Lei says "Ten years of Cultural Revolution what is the impact on China today?"
Zhang Hong says "An enormous impact. The destruction of culture and tradition was profound. It shattered beliefs and caused a landslide in morality."
Han says "After this destruction, he didn't establish a really new, noble civilisation. What came after was a state of vacuum. Because of this, most Chinese people and our whole society lost faith. We don't have faith. Then came the open market and the commercial tide. So what happened was worse than in the worst capitalism. Our lack of credit, forgery making fake products, no honesty, no credibility making just for profit – fake pharmaceuticals, toxic rice, toxic milk powder ... The seeds of all this are in that revolution. It destroyed our basic moralities."
Lei says "Do you know whether schools and universities discuss these things now?"
Han says "Not the universities. They're ruled by the Party. This is a taboo. It's taboo to study the Cultural Revolution. Don't mention it!"
A man climbs up the stairs of a cemetery.
The caption changes to "Zheng Zhisheng. Leader of Corpses."
Zheng is in his seventies, with short white hair and wears a military uniform.
He says "Every grave has many stories. Every corpse tells its tale."
Lei says "You spent 6 years in prison."
Zheng says "Thirteen years!"
Lei says "The judgement said you killed 6 people but two deaths are disputed."
Zheng says "I admitted to killing two men. But I took the blame for another four. We supported the Party completely. Chairman Mao called out at Tian'anmen Square. 'You must care for our nation and carry the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution through to the end'. The youth below were shaking with emotion. They shouted: "Long live Chairman Mao! Long live Chairman Mao!'I am no more a fanatical follower of Mao Dezong but I still love him. How could I forgive him after suffering so much? Because I love our motherland and I love the Party and the people. I want absolution. Doesn't everyone? Though I live okay now I never forget the Communist Party's mistakes. It's hard for China's people to overcome the past but I believe we can reach a grand Socialism and achieve the great revival of China."
He wipes off his tears.
Clips show people dancing on the streets, children going to school and food vendors cooking at their stalls.
In a small room, Beowulf and his mom have an argument.
Zhou says "What? I shouldn't speak at your wedding?"
Beowulf says "Too many people!"
Zhou says "If you don't want me to speak, I give up. Buddha preserve us! And I stand on the platform?"
Beowulf says "You don't stand on the platform. No one does. You'll sit in front of it."
Zhou says "Why don't I stand there to make a speech?"
Beowulf says "No. You won't stand there. Just sit in front. We step down to serve you tea."
Zhou says "And my red dress is no good? Look at the dress in my bag!"
Beowulf says "Don't wear that red dress."
Zhou says "Why not? I receive my daughter-in-law."
Beowulf says "Why did you buy that red dress? You're not young. Young women wear red dresses."
Now Shuli gets her nail done.
The manicurist says "You want ordinary wax yes?"
Shuli says "Yes, I seldom wax my nails. This is for my wedding."
The manicurist says "For the wedding ceremony?"
Now at the rehearsal, Shuli and Beowolf stand on a stage with the celebrant.
The celebrant says "You go one step ahead, then hold her shoulders."
Shuli says "Hands on my shoulders!"
The celebrant says "Then turn around and bow."
On the street, Lei says "Look, here is says 'DEMOLISH number 249.'
The triangle sign means these will be torn down first. The circle means 'DEMOLISH NEXT'."
Lei walks past a group of men on the street and says "It's better to ask women. They discuss real things. Let's look down there. Are you being moved?"
A woman on the street says "Yes we're looking for a new home
You have to accept this?"
The woman says "Have you seen the paper?"
A man says "'Residents must move' – but it doesn't say why. That's all it says."
The woman says "That place has been knocked down already."
Another woman says "Yes it's been demolished."
A clip shows Shuli getting her makeup done for her wedding.
At the door, someone throws red tickets to a squealing and screaming group of relatives in the room.
Shuli's father says "You cannot pass this door. Not past this door!"
Shuli gets in her dress.
A man says "I love you."
They drive to the venue.
Shuli and Beowulf say their vows.
The crowd cheers.
On the phone, Lei says "But it's too short notice for me to leave my shop. I spent all of my savings to fix this place up."
Lei sits at her shop with a group and says "Actually I have no power to resist. It's like an egg trying to break a rock. There's no law that gives you the right to resist."
A young woman says "They are very professional."
A young man says "Some are in charge of tearing down the houses. Some drive out the residents. They'll find a way to drive you out at the lowest cost.
Lei says "Three months ago they made a plan to turn the whole town into a huge commercial district."
The young man says "It's a bad decision. Chongqing lacks historic places like this."
Lei walks on the street and says "Look there's graffiti here. Whoever destroys this ancient town will be condemned for all time. Here's another one. Be strong and fight the developers. They deceive both their bosses and employees to exploit us in the government's name."
A black slate appears with the caption "2 years later."
Beowulf and Shuli now have a toddler.
Beowulf types on his computer and says "We feel the top leaders' thinking is so different from ours as ordinary people. They're not in the real world! We don't know if the new leaders will change things. All we can do is dream of a better life."
A banner reads "Zhang Yan's 90th birthday, 75 year writing career."
Zhang Yan says "The longest I will live is 95, the shortest 93. But I will enjoy stability in the next two years."
Zhang Hong says "Dad the three generations have questions we never asked. We would like to take this opportunity to ask."
Lei says "How were you branded a Rightist? I mean who announced that to you? Did you lose your freedom straight away? How did you know you were a 'Rightist'?"
Zhang Yan says "It was people at my work. There were only five million intellectuals then about the same number as PLA soldiers. If one or two million were taken half of China's intellectuals were eliminated
A man at the party says "People were always talking about grandfather, that's how I learned your story.
A young man says "I don't remember when I became aware of it."
A woman says "You didn't know it until just now?"
The young man says "They could charge you with any crime they liked."
Lei says "I was not allowed to go to school. My parents were not allowed to college. They were sent out to the country."
Zhang Yan says "I couldn't even go to primary school."
Zhang Hon says "Children of workers were poor, children of peasants were poor."
Zhang Yan says "And children of intellectuals too."
Zhang Hon says "Only cadres' children were slightly better off. The difference was that my father was a Counter-Revolutionary. In other words, a politically evil person. The discrimination was not only against him but against his children, his wife and all his family."
Lei sits with Zhang Yan and says "This atmosphere is wrong!"
Zhang says "Very irritating. You shouldn't bring up these old issues. Why this questioning? You have a chance any day. It's so unreasonable. Why raise them on my birthday?!"
Zhang Hon says "Your grandmother raised 6 children by herself. Our family was almost the poorest in the area. Her leaders criticised her, my father scolded her and her children fought each other. She carried all the pressure and the suffering."
At her grandmother's grave, Lei cries and says "You're the mainstay of our family. This family has suffered a lot since you died. Today we all realise the importance of staying together as family. Grandma, I know you forgave me and understood my rebellious years but I still owe you an apology."
Lei stares at the camera and says "The third dream is the very great
but almost impossible dream. It's the dream of meaningful existence. China's social problems are huge and difficult to solve but I believe this will change. When people have satisfied their material needs
they may start to pursue a meaningful existence."
A black slate appears with a caption that reads "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past. George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-four."
Music plays as the end credits roll.
A film by Nick Torrens.
Produced by Nick Torrens in association with TVF International, Julian Chou-Lambert.
Copyright 2014, Nick Torrens Films and Screen Australia.