Until recently China has been a firmly closed door to those of us in the West. Whilst the Administration’s new openness towards business and trade has lead to it becoming one of the most powerful economies in the world, not everyone is happy about the change. Zhao Chantong is a young patriot who rails against his country’s flirtation with capitalism. He’s an angry young man who dons an old military uniform and shouts old slogans in the street about the greatness of China.
Du Haibin’s documentary, A Young Patriot, follows him as he begins his journey into adult life at university. The young zealot struggles to marry his passionate nationalism with the realities in modern Chinese society. His views gradually soften over time, and freed from his isolated youth he begins to see the many problems there are in his country. When the state begins to demolish his parent’s houses he rails against the corruption inherent in local politics and government activities.
A Young Patriot is a fascinating insight into the changing nature of life in China and the effect it’s having on the population. Zhao sees poverty and corruption everywhere whilst big corporations are flourishing in the fading twilight of Communism. His anger grows at the injustices around him, moving its focus away from the negative influences of capitalism to the political regime. Du tackles the subject in an original and novel way which gives a unique insight into 21st century life in The Red Dragon.