Video

China Bound, 1964

Beijing before the start of the Cultural Revolution – a video by Bill Callahan

In the early 1960s, after being embarrassed at diplomatic events by the mistakes of his interpreters, Zhou Enlai decided that the Foreign Ministry needed to recruit English native speakers to train a new cadre of translators. Australians Colin and Alyce Mackerras answered Zhou’s call, and in August 1964 went to teach English at the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute for two years. Bill Callahan’s short video ‘China Bound 1964’ explores Colin’s experiences as he encountered a radically different way of life. Leaving China in September 1966, he witnessed the transformation of Chinese society provoked by the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

Video

Portrait of a Beijinger: Raise the Red Flag

A car collector builds an empire of Communist relics – Tom Fearon

In the final episode of the four-part series ‘Portrait of a Beijinger,’ Tom Fearon and Abel Blanco profile Luo Wenyou, a classic car enthusiast who leaves the civil service in his rear-view mirror, instead collecting the classic “Red Flag” cars that were the stalwart of Communist officials. The video is on Youku for streamers in China, and on Vimeo as embedded below. Keep reading for Tom’s essay about Luo.

Video

Portrait of a Beijinger: Call of Duty

An amateur collects war relics in his bunker – Tom Fearon

In this second episode of the four-part series ‘Portrait of a Beijinger,’ Tom Fearon and Abel Blanco profile Yang Guoqing, a deli owner who sweeps for war relics in the mountains near Beijing. The video is viewable on Youku for streamers in China, and on Vimeo as embedded below. Keep reading for Tom’s essay on meeting Yang, and why he is so fascinated by wartime China.