A young man is standing chest-deep in a grassy field poring over an electronic tablet. Living in the neglected backwoods of China, Zhou Shuguang (alias "Zola") is one of more than 500 million Internet users in the country. Harnessing the power of instant information access and dissemination through networks like Twitter, he and other citizen journalists have learnt to bypass the strict codes of conventional Chinese media to provide readers with first-hand, unmediated accounts. Tiger Temple, a 50-something activist with a legacy of political dissidence in his family, reports on plights faced by farmers in the agricultural hinterland, whereas Zola, a back-chatting blogger with a slightly inflated ego, gravitates towards more urban and sensational stories. Lioness director Stephen Maing follows them over an extensive period, through arrests, airport inquisitions, and nagging parents. It's a fascinating, all-access story of how two people fueled by idealism cope with pervasive state control.
- Steve Maing
- 88 min