By Zachary Mexico
(Soft Skull Press, Paperback, 9781593762230, 320pp.)
Publication Date: January 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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At the beginning of the 21st century, it is hard to imagine a place more exciting than China. Westerners hear much about China’s role as the next global superpower,” but they know less about the young people who make up China’s 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 China’s best university; a Chinese mafia kingpin; a punk band trying their best to stay relevant; a prostitute; the world’s most polluted city; Beijing’s drug-fueled club scene; and many others.
This is an engaging firsthand account of a young American writer’s encounter with the new China and the young people who are pursuing their future there. China Underground tells their stories, and some of Mexico’s own.