Wish Lanterns

Young Lives in New China

If China will rule the world one day, who will rule China? There are more than 320 million Chinese between the ages of 16 and 30. Children of the one-child policy, born after Mao, with no memory of the Tiananmen Square massacre, they are the first net native generation to come of age in a market-driven, more international China. Their experiences and aspirations were formed in a radically different country from the one that shaped their elders, and their lives will decide the future of their nation and its place in the world.

Wish Lanterns offers a deep dive into the life stories of six young Chinese. Dahai is a military child, netizen, and self-styled loser. Xiaoxiao is a hipster from the freezing north. Fred, born on the tropical southern island of Hainan, is the daughter of a Party official, while Lucifer is a would-be international rock star. Snail is a country boy and Internet-gaming addict, and Mia is a fashionista rebel from far west Xinjiang. Following them as they grow up, go to college, and find work and love, all the while navigating the pressure of their parents and society, Wish Lanterns paints a vivid portrait of Chinese youth culture and of a millennial generation whose struggles and dreams reflect the larger issues confronting China today. —Arcade Publishing

Book Review: 

Gail Pellett, Los Angeles Review of Books (December 2, 2016)

Nicholas Gordon, South China Morning Post (July 7, 2016)

Jonathan Fenby, Financial Times (May 27, 2016)

Related Reading:

Talking ’Bout My Generation: Chinese Millennials,” a Sinica Podcast with Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn, David Moser, and Alec Ash, ChinaFile, January 31, 2017

A Portrait of the Millennial Generation Changing China,” by Ian Johnson, The New York Times, July 14, 2016

Alec Ash’s ‘Wish Lanterns’: Portraits Of Telling New Sides of Chinese Millennials,” by Marianna Cerini, Forbes, June 6, 2016