Short Takes: “High Tech, Low Life”

High Tech, Low Life

MUD HORSE PICTURES

“I live in an environment where most of the news is good news,” writes Zhou “Zola” Shuguang, a gangly 27-year-old blogger from the Hunan province. “In my opinion, this news is crap.” High Tech, Low Life filmmaker Stephen Maing tails two of China’s best-known citizen reporters, weaving a restrained and quietly compelling narrative about getting scoops under the threat of brutal state reprisal. Zola alternates between his mundane day job and traveling in rural areas to expose shady land developers. “I used to be a nobody…until I discovered the internet,” he says. The other rebel, Zhang “Tiger Temple” Shihe, is a 57-year-old Monet-loving, harmonica-playing, cat-owning retired ad man. “Just remember,” he reminds a pal, “this old geezer’s going to tell the truth until he dies.”

This review originally appeared in our July/August issue of Mother Jones. 

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