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China Undergroundby Zachary Mexico
Synopses & Reviews
"Collected through intimate encounters over an impressive range of travels, Mexico's menagerie of voices tell the unique story of contemporary China's seismic social shifts from the point of view of the marginalized and disaffected. A musician and writer, Mexico is a remarkably eloquent and perceptive participant-observer. Focusing on and dissecting broader cultural, political and economic issues in episodic chapters, he puts faces and names to the staggering statistics. We learn about the government-estimated '5 to 10 million active homosexuals,' through the story of a closeted graphic designer. We meet an infamous photojournalist who chronicles China's mining disasters, corruption, car accidents and environmental degradation. We encounter bohemians — 80-year-old women selling marijuana on the side of busy streets and slackers whose indolence is a protest against the frenzied consumerism that surrounds them. One such self-proclaimed 'social parasite' opened a bar in a trendy area of Beijing to sell drinks at cost and only to his friends. The overall effect is a seamless portrait of a complex modern society in which an ancient culture persists in spite of lightning-speed economic changes." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
At the beginning of the 21st century, it is hard to imagine a place more exciting than China. Westerners hear much about Chinas role as the next global superpower,” but they know less about the young people who make up Chinas varied and fascinating subcultures.
Drawn by the streets humming with the energy of constant change, Zachary Mexico, who had spent two years in China, returned there in the summer of 2006 to conduct formal research on how the changing environment has affected the Chinese of his generation. Readers are introduced to a wannabe rock star from the desert of Xinjiang, trying to make it big in Shanghai; a disillusioned journalist; a budding screenwriter; a vagabond ladies man; a straight-A student at Chinas best university; a Chinese mafia kingpin; a punk band trying their best to stay relevant; a prostitute; the worlds most polluted city; Beijings drug-fueled club scene; and many others.
This is an engaging firsthand account of a young American writers encounter with the new China and the young people who are pursuing their future there. China Underground tells their stories, and some of Mexicos own.
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