The dramatic economic development of China in recent years has been fueled in large part by aggressive development policies that seek to modernize the nation at the expense in some instances of disrupting traditional villages and communities.
Zhao Qi, a distinguished documentary maker from China who is a visiting scholar at the Graduate School of Journalism this year, will provide a rare look at the tension between progress and cultural conservation in a special screening on April 28 of his award-winning video “The Chinese Mayor.”
“The Chinese Mayor” describes the efforts of the mayor of Datong (220 miles west of Beijing) to modernize a city that served as the imperial capital of China 1,600 years ago in the Northern Wei Dynasty. In seeking to remake the ancient capital as a destination for tourism and business, the mayor embarked on an ambitious and expensive effort to rebuild it – resulting in the displacement of thousands of people from their homes and traditional communities. The mayor’s bold initiative has won him accolades in some quarters and criticism in others.
The film will be shown for free at 7p.m. on April 28 in Room 105 North Gate Hall. It will be followed by a discussion with Qi, who won a Special Jury Prize for the project at the Sundance Film Festival.
Qi’s award is the latest in a string of honors for him at the prestigious festival, where he previously exhibited “Last Train Home” (2010), “China Heavy Weight” (2012) and “Fallen City,” which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in 2013. He also won two Emmy Awards in 2012 for his television documentary “P.O.V.”
Prior to coming to Berkeley as a visiting scholar, Qi served as a senior commissioning producer at CCTV, the predominant broadcaster in China.
You can read more about “The Chinese Mayor” here: