Beijing Center Stories: Zak Dychtwald CC'12

Zak Dychtwald CC '12 is the author of Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World (St. Martin’s Press; Feb 2018). Zak shares his recent book at the Beijing Center and talks about his observations on the Chinese generation born after 1990, from money and sex, to the government, the West, and China's shifting role in the world.

July 15, 2018

On July 15, Columbia Global Centers | Beijing hosted a book talk featuring Zak Dychtwald CC'12 and his recent book, Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World.

Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World is a close up look on the Chinese generation born after 1990, using personal encounters to explore how young Chinese people feel about everything from money and sex, to their government, the West, and China's shifting role in the world--not to mention their love affair with food, karaoke, and travel.

“I didn’t originally want to write this book. I’m not exactly a writer, though my whole life I’ve been a big reader,” said Zak. “When my friends in China finally convinced me to write Young China, I felt like a lifelong fan of the opera who had just been handed a cello – I know how it should sound, but how do I play it?”

However, Zak and his friends agreed that this book had to exist because, as Zak mentioned, “I wanted to change the way the western world sees China. I wanted to focus on the ordinary, the down to earth life, love, feelings, fears and dreams of a collection of normal people my age in China.”

Zak believes good relationships are based on understanding. While his friends in China spend a lot of their time learning about western culture and history, he hopes that through his book, the West can learn more about China.

More than 80 people attended the book talk while more than 99,000 watched the event live through the Beijing Center’s live-streaming platform.