Punk is as far from the picture of the model Chinese citizen as you can get, and the reason for its appeal to the youth of Beijing. Though not against the law, it is anything but socially acceptable to be a punk in China. Set this against the backdrop of extraordinary state control and you have an environment that is ripe for outrageous rebellion where stakes are as high for the bands as they are for their followers. Flaunting freedom and outrage in public spaces in a country where the Internet and YouTube are still being blocked is hugely seductive. It is this flagrant disrespect for the old, staid and conformist that is stoking the desires of China’s youngest generations. And it can get them arrested.
Australian filmmaker Shaun Jefford has been inspired by such defiance and real danger to make his documentary film called Beijing Punk. “These guys are headed for trouble sooner or later, lets hope it’s later” says Jefford. Drawn in by Leijin’s guts and charisma and the sizzling energy of punks and skins like him, Jefford has captured on film Beijing’s brazen version of an underground revolution that runs directly counter to the mass culture and the deeply felt restraints of an aged communist regime.