Documentaries Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Reform and Opening-up
An innovative micro- documentary series allows foreign friends to tell their stories of life in Beijing during the period of reform and opening-up.
Beijing has made remarkable achievements over the past 40 years since reform and opening up began. It has developed from an ancient capital with profound history to an international metropolis with extensive influence at home and abroad, and is marching towards the goal of developing into a world-class, harmonious and liveable capital.
The story of Beijing's reform and opening-up has been written by tens of thousands of “Beijingers,” among whom have been many foreign experts. The series of short documentaries 40 Years On—beijing Blooming with Us features 40 foreign experts who narrate their experiences of living and working in Beijing and the changes in lifestyle, urban landscape, innovation ability and foreign exchange that they have perceived during 40 years of reform and opening-up. Through what they have done, seen, heard and thought, they have publicised a real, threedimensional Beijing to the world. In this series of short interviews, they pay tribute to Beijing, its reform and opening-up, and to the people who made the city what it is today.
Saluting Reform and Opening-up
Beijing is a city with a long history, full of vitality and hope. Over the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, Beijing has gone through an extraordinary and glorious journey together with China, and achieved unprecedented historical reform. Behind the economic and social progress, many foreign experts have considered China as their second home, cared for, backed and participated in the construction of China. During the press conference and promotion ceremony for the 40 Years On—beijing Blooming with Us series, Du Feijin, member of the standing committee of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and Director-general of the Publicity Department of CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, delivered a speech, saying “They are doers and have given full play to their specialties to contribute to this land; They are dreamers, have made their life shine and written a glorious chapter in a foreign country to realise the value of life. They are the messengers of friendship, the bridge of communication, the bond of civilisation and the power of development. What they have seen and heard has taught
the world about China.”
On May 11, 1978, Guangming Daily issued a special commentator's article “Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing Truth,“which triggered a great discussion on the issue of truth standards and could be called the first “ray of light” of the “new dawn” of reform and opening-up. A good summary of the experience and inspiration of reform and opening up, such as this video series, is the best form for celebrating 40 years of arduous exploration and hard work, and can provide a powerful impetus to continuing the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. At the promotion ceremony for the documentary series, Zhang Zheng, the newspaper's editorin-chief, said: “Guangming Daily has been a loyal chronicler and a driving force during 40 years of spectacular reform. In the new era, Guangming Daily has clearer positioning and characteristics as an ideological and cultural newspaper. We have kept improving our media products, and this series of micro videos isthe spark of collision between the Guangming style and Beijing theme.” Lu Xiangao, deputy editor-in-chief of Guangming Daily, added, “This is a special gift from this newspaper to commemorate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up.”
Showcasing Affection for Beijing
The 40 Years On—beijing Blooming with Us series is jointly produced by the Information Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality and Guangming Online (gmw.cn). A total of 40 foreign experts from 22 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America and Latin America were invited to join. The 40 foreign experts combined their experiences of living and working in Beijing to expose the great changes and fruitful achievements of Beijing's reform and opening-up in the past 40 years for viewers at home and abroad.
Among the 40 foreign experts, there are representatives of United Nations agencies, other foreign agencies in China, representatives of foreign news media in China, and some professionals in economics, culture, science and technology, sports and other fields. Interviewees range from about 30 to over 70 years old. Half of them can tell their stories in fluent Chinese. The oldest foreign Beijing resident in the documentary series is Jaime Florcruz, CNN'S former Beijing Bureau Chief, who has lived in Beijing for 47 years. He said, “I have changed with the reforms in Beijing and China, and my life has changed just as much as the Chinese people's.” Stephon Marbury, an Honorary Beijing Citizenship holder and former NBA and CBA star, stated, “Now it is evolving into this city that is really becoming a magical place on earth. I can never ever repay Beijing. I can never repay China for showing me the love that they showed me.” Nicholas Rosellini, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative, recalled the experience of China's 40-year reform and opening-up and said, “It is a remarkable achievement and unprecedented for China to lift 800 million people out of poverty.” According to Richard Robinson, cofounder of renren.com (former xiaonei. com), Beijing is “not only the silicon valley of China, but the silicon valley of Asia. Beijing and China have attracted global attention and become a colourful chapter of my life.” “I feel I'm a Beijinger,” “I love Beijing” and other similar words were frequently heard in interviews with the foreign experts, who have already integrated themselves into Beijing life.
Documenting Beijing’s Growth
Over the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has made remarkable achievements in various fields. As the capital, Beijing has always been at the forefront, unswervingly promoting institutional reform and opening-up, harvesting remarkable fruits in economic and social development, and realising the historic transformation of people's livelihood from subsistence to a moderately prosperous society. This series of short videos leaves a unique growth diary for the city.hu Baijing, executive dean at the School of Journalism and Communication, Renmin University of China, said, “They talked about entrepreneurship, their careers, their families and their children. They have linked China, Beijing and the world.”
Yu Yunquan, deputy director of the Modern China and World Academy (former Center for International Communication Studies) under the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration, evaluated the documentaries as a researcher of international communication theory and practice. He discussed them according to three aspects. Yu thought that the short documentaries would be credible to the public because they have resident international friends telling their real stories. From the point of popularity, he felt that because they were well-made in the popular microvideo form, the short documentaries could go viral. In terms of influence, this type of micro-video documentary could become the inspiration for similar projects. He also said this programme was a fine piece of cultural and ideological communication and a tribute to the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up.
Huang Chuxin, deputy director and secretary general of the New Media Research Centre of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that this series of micro documentaries reflects new media's movement toward micro communication, and follows the current trend of video communication. “The 40 videos are the simultaneous voices of foreign experts, reflecting the true, objective, fair and threedimensional dissemination of news communication. They also showcase the great achievements of China's reform and opening-up through the window of Beijing,” Huang said. “These videos have been shot with professionalism and dedication. They are expected to be all the rage following the release of 5G communication technology next year.”
Foreigners share stories about living and working in Beijing