Editor's Note
"If you love him, send him to New York because it is a paradise. If you hate him, send him to New York because it is hell." This is one of the impressive lines of the 1990s' blockbuster TV drama Beijinger in New York or A Native of Beijing in New York, which was the first ever Chinese TV play filmed in a foreign country. The series will be filmed again 20 years after its groundbreaking debut in 1993.
The drama cast a spotlight on the early Chinese immigrants' life in the US through the story of Wang Qiming (王启明) and his wife Guo Yan (郭燕) as they strived to realize their American dream, through their toil and moil, success and tragedy, as well as the culture shocks between East and West. On the 20th anniversary of the play, the China Press revisited the scenes, protagonists and directors to reminisce about this masterpiece.
Paradise or hell: Is it worth immigrating to America?
曹桂林 Cao Guilin
Cao Guilin: Chinese immigrants in US still attached to motherland
Cao Guilin, or Glen Cao, is the author of the novel Beijinger in New York, which reflects on the life of immigrants in New York. He will publish Beijinger in New York II in November.
Having lived in the US for 30 years, Cao still speaks perfect Beijing dialect. “I am not a professional writer. I just write about myself. Only those Chinese immigrants of my age could feel the “twist” from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.【More】

郑晓龙 Zheng Xiaolong
Zheng Xiaolong: It was a tough time in US
Zheng Xiaolong is the director of the Chinese TV drama Beijinger in New York. He worked as associate producer for TV drama Ke Wang (渴望) or Yearning in 1990. He directed the TV drama Golden Marriage in 2007 and the costume TV drama The Legend of Zhenhuan (后宫·甄嬛传) in 2011.【More】

Robert Daly committed to Sino-US exchanges
Robert Daly, an Irish American, played the role of David, the owner of a clothing factory, in Beijinger in New York. Daly said he didn’t take interest in China until he started to work as a diplomat in China for the US Information Agency in 1986. He was invited by the lead actor Jiang Wen to act in the Chinese TV drama when he was working in China.【More】

Jiang Wen returns to New York with his movies
Beijinger in New York, in which Jiang Wen played the role of Wang Qiming, is considered one of Jiang’s first TV productions. In recent years, a number of his movies have hit the screen in North America.
In 2008, Jiang was invited by Columbia University Asia-Pacific Development Society (CUASIA) to give a lecture and exchange ideas with students of the university. When talking about shooting in New York, he said crew members there were more professional than in China. “Crew members always happen to be newcomers because experienced members get promoted after several years of work. However, a senior member responsible for pushing the cart is gets a lot of respect and is given greater responsibility,” he said.【More】

严晓频 Yan Xiaopin
Yan Xiaopin: Reflecting real life experiences in drama
Yan Xiaopin played the role of Guo Yan in Beijinger in New York. Twenty years ago, the audience couldn’t understand why Guo betrayed her two husbands. But Yan said she sympathized with Guo because Guo was only a weak woman who didn’t know what she was supposed to do in a new environment.【More】

王姬 Wang Ji
Wang Ji: I am Chun
“It is the Beijinger in New York which took me to the top of my profession,” actress Wang Ji said, talking about her rise to fame. But back in the 1990s when the TV drama was made, Wang was not as famous as she is now. In fact, she was among those who were finding it difficult to make ends meet. Sino-us.com met with Wang Ji while he was at the set of a TV drama Youth Marriage.
Born on July 20, 1962, Wang Ji grew up in Beijing and fell in love with arts at an early age. She joined a Military Arts Troupe at the age of 14. She was invited by Feng Huang Motion Picture Company to play a role in the movie Saiwai Duo Bao in 1980.【More】
Revisiting the set

It is a nondescript residential building on the east of Manhattan. Hidden below the scaffoldings is an entry to the cellar. Following the steps down into the basement, the China Press reporter was greeted with a flow of dust as a few Spanish workers were renovating the walls. This is where Wang Qiming and his wife Guo Yan were lodged on their arrival to New York, a place that gripped millions of the Beijinger in New York viewers in China.

It was also the place where artist Ai Weiwei, composer Tan Dun and directors Chen Kaige, Feng Xiaogang and Ang Lee pursued their dream before rising to their fame. Now it has become a trendy community of cafeteria and bookstores.

The basement was leased to an Indian as his warehouse and office in 1998. Taking advantage of the reviving house market, the landlord now plans to revamp it into a residence and sublease.

Off the basement, China Press set out to meet the play actors and directors to mark the 20th anniversary of the Beijinger in New York.

Classic lines of Beijinger in New York

Achun: The US is neither a hell nor a paradise, it is a battlefield.

Achun: In the US, success or failure is the only thing to believe.

Achun: Put on your clothes. Money is unclad. And I do not want to talk about money with a naked person.


Achun: I hate a loser, as he will bring me bad luck.

Wang Qiming: Who is the loser? I am not a loser. I am just tired. I hate fuxxxxx New York. I hate fuxxxxx America. I hate everything here.

Achun: Only a successful man can say these words.

Wang Qiming: You are too snobbish.

Achun: Really? Well, you are right. I am snobbish, so I can stay here and do not need to go back to China.


Guo Yan: Why didn't you come and find me?

Wang Qiming: I am busy.

Guo Yan: For what?

Wang Qiming: For a living.


Legend of Wang Qiming lives on

Deng Zuolie: From civil servant to gallery operator

Zhao Wei: A detective borne out of circumstances

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