Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China by Alec Ash [Book Review]


Despite the fact that they live in one of the world’s most important—and most rapidly changing—economies, the motivations and beliefs of the “post-80s generation” largely remain a mystery. They are certainly not “democrats-in-waiting,” as many hoped they would be. But nor do they unthinkingly support the Chinese state.

Alec Ash, in his debut work Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China, helps to illuminate the lives of some of the “post-80s generation” by following six young Chinese through their twenties. Ash describes their lives as they leave for university, find their first jobs, and grow up in the Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping administrations.

This is an excerpt from a book review of Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China published in the Asian Review of Books on July 6th, 2016. The review can be found here.