Portrait of a Beijinger
This is a series of episodes about Beijing citizens. We follow a day in the life of one Beijinger in each episode. I created this project with my colleague Tom Fearon in the end of 2014, and we are currently working on the next delivery. Each protagonist’s story highlights his or her unique perspective on Chinese history and culture. It is about who they are within Beijing’s ever changing landscape.
Lü Yan was the youngest member of the Beijing Wushu Team when she joined during the Cultural Revolution. In 1974, she and Jet Li took part in “wushu diplomacy” by performing for President Richard Nixon at the White House
Luo Wenyou turned his back on a promising career in the civil service in 1978 to pursue his passion for cars. In the following decades he ran several successful businesses, investing huge sums of money to buy more than 200 rare vehicles today displayed at his personal museum in the northeast outskirts of Beijing.
In the first episode, we get to know Liu Xinran, a self-taught Peking opera performer who specializes as a nandan, a man who portrays a female role on stage. He is one of the few remaining artists who keeps alive this disappearing artform.
In his spare time, deli owner Yang Guoqing has recovered over 3,000 wartime relics from around the Great Wall with the help of his metal detector. Mr. Yang created a museum using these pieces with the hopes of educating future generations about the cost of war and the value of peace.