"Chinese Mayor": Retooling China's Heartland

February 2, 2017


Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Prereq: None

While the prosperity of coastal China’s export-oriented economies have captured international attention, much of the country’s old industrial heartland lags behind. Plagued by pollution, declining heavy industry, and corruption, how can these cities be transformed? Preserving the stability and prosperity of China will rely on how well that question can be answered. 

Zhou Hao’s 2014 documentary, “The Chinese Mayor,” offers and intimate view of this problem and a frank picture of Chinese government in action. Granted unusual access to Geng Yanbo, the 54 year old mayor of Datong, a prototypical rustbelt city—China’s most polluted—of 3.5 million, it follows his struggles to transform the city. The mayor grapples with local businesses in decline, angry and dispossessed residents who protest, and complicated national-level politics.  

Participants will watch a documentary film, share a meal of Chinese food, and discuss these questions. No prerequisites; all welcome.


Sponsor(s): History
Contact: Christopher Leighton, E51-288, 617 324-5134, cleight@mit.edu