During the Chinese government's national campaign on "equal" education, discover the different reality of a city versus a countryside boy as they both go to school. 

"What an interesting and heartbreaking film!"

Rhonda Rosen, Loyola Marymount University - Circulation Services Librarian

In 2014, the Chinese government started a new national campaign on equal elementary education, but at the same time strengthened the residential registration system to segregate the rural and urban areas. Through this observational documentary we watch as class and regional lines collide to debunk the Chinese propaganda about equality.

The truth is revealed that the elementary education in China puts young children under unbearable and shocking pressure, which is what I’ve personally suffered from while growing up. Now as an adult, in reviewing the education I received in China I discovered the influence it had on me and what it is still doing to children today that come from different backgrounds.


"I couldn't get enough of it… great film… very realistic… exquisite."

Dr. Yu-Hua Guo, Professor of Sociology, Tsinghua University.

The film has a natural style…the social issue this film focuses on is the most important aspect that people who care about the education system in China should worry about.

Xuehui Xiao, Professor of Ethics and Sociology, Southwest University for Nationalities

The filmmaker captured the unfiltered life of two children in the most natural way…the film has an interesting structure where we travel back and forth between the contrasting lives they lead. 

Mrs. Qi, Librarian, National Library of China

The disparity between city and rural area students is shocking.

Dallas King, Film Director, UCLA and LMU Professor

Under the same sky, lives are different. Who takes responsibility?....


Mrs. HuiYa, Assistant Librarian - National Library of China
Director's Commentary: 

3 years ago, I went back to Xi’an, China, the city I grow up in to retrace my own childhood steps of my elementary education. However, while shooting I personally discovered that the faulty education I received has shaped my own mind and I witnessed how it is still influencing the Chinese children today. As the country grows so fast, the struggle of young children is shocking as the equality between the urban-rural gap widens. I took it as my duty to use my directing and shooting skills to expose the daily “norm” of the elementary education in China to the world. 

Being a DP and director of a documentary for the first time has become an incredible experience and even after I started editing this project. I realized that the feelings I had at the moment i was shooting affected the frame I was capturing subconsciously. Through this process, the picture gains the power to evoke those personal emotions I had while filming and conveys my own experience to the audience, which is what I have come to understand the beauty of self-discovery within cinema.