China's Future

The stories of three young people fighting against the norms of a life in China.

China's Future China’s young generation is richer and more advanced than their parents’, but there is still a struggle to find their own identity amid pressure to achieve and conform.
Follow three young people – a student, a farmer and a shopkeeper – who are each attempting to forge their own path in a nation which increasingly values conformity over individualism. ’[Society] judges you with its rules. But what if I don’t think this is good? Why can’t I be my own ‘good’?’, asks Tutu, a student who has found his place in the ‘voguing’ subculture in Shanghai, born out of the queer scene in 1980s New York. He chose not to take part in the compulsory military training that all university students are required to undertake. Meanwhile, Zhao Jia gave up her successful life in the city to return to farming. She uploads her farming life onto TikTok and other platforms: ’When young people come back to do agriculture, we must distinguish ourselves from the older generation of farmers. Otherwise, there will be no point.’ Li Chuang felt anxiety in his job in the city, so has opened a corner shop and balances his mental health by practising tai chi and playing music. ‘Both the opportunities and the challenges we face are probably greater than before.

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