“China is changing rapidly, and so are the people of China. In the process of urbanization, how do the citizens of China keep up with the pace of the current culture?” (from Li Zhengde’s afterword)
With “The New Chinese”, Chinese photographer Li Zhengde provides a beautiful and succinct miniature of the effects of China’s growth and adoption of Western lifestyles within China itself. Shot between the years 2006 and 2016 in Shenzen, primarily at opening parties of new housing projects, Zhengde captures the unusual mingling of different social classes that takes places at such events – from government officers to artists, workers, rich kids and entrepreneurs. According to Zhengde, Shenzen, one of China’s most rapidly developing cities, is populated by migrants from “second-tier” cities, small towns, and villages, looking to make a place for themselves, thereby taking part in the city’s development. At the parties, different people do different jobs, others drink and converse while some look on bored. With his book, Zhengde is able to provide a sympathetic look at the new lives of the Chinese, who try to find sense within rapidly changing (financial and cultural) conditions.