A Different Side of China

The Economist this week featured an article about Chinese consumer spending titled “Doing it Their Way”. The article is a response to the release  of the documentary film “Tiny Times” by Guo Jingming.  The film follows the lives of China’s  young elite.  The film shows a the high life of China; a side rarely shown. The Economist article focuses on “China’s rush towards consumerism” and its global implications.

However after reading the article I  brought up questions in regards to what this revelation means for China’s public diplomacy efforts. China a country hyper-aware of its global image now has to deal with the burden of being perceived as an rich and powerful country.   China, a country that has an ambivalent  stance, markets its self to the worlds as both developed and developing may no longer be able to fake the ladder. China’s  has contributed more than any other country to the growth in global consumption between 2011-2013. (Economist).  Even some of its poorest cities are quickly increasing  consumer spending.

China  is indeed a developed country and  people are beginning to take notice.  From a public diplomacy stand point that could challenge China’s public diplomacy efforts and outreach to the worlds poorer countries.   When China courts potential developing countries to make  trade deals and lure medical practitioners , China will have less of a case that it is any “different” from the Western world.  Evidence of this trend has already begun to appear on social media sites where many people have took to different platforms to criticize the lifestyle and materialism of China’s elite as documented in Guo’s film.

3 thoughts on “A Different Side of China”

  1. It is really interesting that you mentioned the film “Tiny Times”. However, this film was actually risen quite a chaos and being criticized a lot since its first release. Official media such as China Daily comment the film is “awful” and “pointless” since its promote an “unhealthy” ideology of consumerism to the youth. It also reminds me that I was actually one of the young people went to the movie on the first day. In the cinema, I saw tons of teenagers (mostly high school girls), who’s much younger than me, with really nice make-ups and nice luxury bags (LV, Prada, Miumiu, etc.) on them.

    On the other side, Tiny Times soon soared beyond Man of Steel to box-office No. 1, having brought in RMB 468 million. Two months later Tiny Times 2 was released, and the sizzle continued. The first two days of screening had ticket sales hitting RMB 97 million, running rings around two other films competing at the same time.

    The two Times are, however, wildly contentious. There are those who love the films dearly and others who sneer at them as trash. Both sides expressed strong opinions, their disputes almost boiling over on the Internet.

    Tiny Times was the directorial debut of post-1980s writer Guo Jingming, who has a strong fan base among Chinese youth. The whole story can be simply summarized as Guo’s personal epitome, while he himself as a great example of the first group of people in 90s being success along with the developed China. Fitting its plot and youth genre, the film is glutted with sassy sexy girls and boys clad in luxury brands head to toe. A heroine, supposedly of the working class, owns several handbags all priced over RMB 10,000, and one cup shown in the film, as spotted by some viewers, was price-tagged at about RMB 4,800.

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