The story of Shi Ming’s family covers a wide range of societal transformation and geopolitical changes in China and around the world. Looking at their journey, in this chronological form, gives us a different understanding of the complex determinants that affect larger populations of migrants and society. We integrated some elements in the film, and here is a more comprehensive family history that includes more historical moments related to their life.
Mr. Deng Qian Hui (鄧前煇) is born in Guide Town (歸德鎮), a small village in cental Sichuan (四川) Province, China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, between 1937 (some say the true start date is 1931) and 1945.
Mr. Deng’s father passes away. Sino-Japanese War ends in China.
Ms. Li Xue Mei (李雪梅) is born in a small village in Mentougou (門頭溝), a mountain area north of Beijing, during the civil war in China fought between the Kuomingtang (KMT 國民黨)-led government of the Republic of China (中華民國) and the Communist Party of China (CPC中國共產儻) from 1945 to 1949.
The Communist Party gains control of Mainland China and establishes the People’s Republic of China (中華人民共和國), forcing the leadership of the Republic of China to retreat to the island of Taiwan.
Korean War breaks out.
Mr. Deng leaves his village with his uncle and moves to Chengdu (成都), in Sichuan Province, to study, while the Korean War is in its last year.
Ms. Li moves to Beijing with her entire family.
Mr. Deng moves to Chongqing (重慶), the biggest city in Sichuan Province, to study.
That same year, Chairman Mao Zedong (毛澤東) launches the political Anti-Rightist Campaign (反右運動) in China.
Chairman Mao launches the Great Leap Forward campaign (大躍進運動) during the early stages of the Sino-Soviet split.
1959 – 1961
The Great Famine (三年困難時期) happens due to the massive ecological mistakes of the Great Leap Forward as well as the Anti-Rightist Campaign.
Mr. Deng passes national exams and moves to Beijing to study at the China University of Geosciences (中國地質大學).
Ms. Li is enrolled in a teachers college for training.
The same year Chairman Mao launches the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (無產階級文化大革命).
Mr. Deng graduates from the China University of Geosciences and begins working at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics at the Chinese Academy of Science. Ms. Li becomes an elementary school teacher.
Mr. Deng and Ms. Li are married in Beijing.
On October 13, Canada and China officially establish diplomatic relations.
Ping-Pong Diplomacy and the visit of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in China marks the beginning of a warm relationship between China and the United States.
The United Nations recognizes the People’s Republic of China.
Shi Ming is born in Beijing on November 9.
Earlier in February, US President Richard Nixon visits China and meets Chairman Mao.
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau visits China.
Chairman Mao dies on September 9. The Gang of Four (四人幫) is arrested in October, marking the end of the Cultural Revolution in China.
Led by the new Chinese prime minister Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), the Communist Party initiates economic reform and ‘opening-up’ to the world (改革開放).
In the same year, Xiao Lingtong Travel to the Future (小靈通漫游未來) , the first and most influential children’s science fiction book, is published in China.
Shi Ming is accepted into the best elementary school in Beijing.
In the same year, U.S. President Jimmy Carter grants China full diplomatic recognition, and Chinese prime minister Deng Xiaoping visits the United States shortly thereafter.
Shi Ming’s family moves from their one-room residence in the old siheyuan (四合院 quadrangles) to a new two-bedroom apartment.
In the same year, U.S. President Reagan issues the “Six Assurances” to Taiwan.
Mr. Deng buys Shi Ming his first watch. In the same year, the first major overpass bridge is built in Beijing.
In the same year, Reagan visits China in April, and Cui Jian (崔健) performs Nothing to My Name (一無所有), marking the birth of Chinese Rock and Roll.
Shi Ming is accepted into Beijing No. 5 School, one of the best junior high school in China.
Space shuttle Challenger disaster happens on January 28.
Mr. Deng leaves China for the first time to visit Germany.
Tiananmen Square Protests (天安門學生運動) occur from April 15 to June 4.
Chinese Rock and Roll is booming in China. Shi Ming starts learning guitar and music.
Shi Ming quits school completely and starts a band with the dream of becoming a rock musician.
In the same year, retired Deng Xiaoping makes his famous southern tour of China to reassert Chinese economic reform. From then on, Chinese economic development accelerates.
Shi Ming starts working in a foreign company in Beijing.
In July, the United Kingdom returns Hong Kong sovereignty to China.
On August 18, Shi Ming comes to Canada as an international student.
Shi Ming gets married in Vancouver and becomes a Permanent Resident in Canada in September.
In the same year, 911 happens in the United States. On December 11, China officially becomes the member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Shi Ming separates from his wife.
From early this year, the acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spread to 32 countries and regions of the world. On March 20, the United States launches war on Iraq.
Shi Ming is apprehended by the Vancouver Police Department at a bar fight and is diagnosed schizophrenia.
Shi Ming dies by suicide in Vancouver.
Mr. Deng and Ms. Li come to Vancouver to seek the truth behind Shi Ming’s death.
On May 12, Sichuan experiences devastating earthquake. In July, Mr. Deng goes back to his hometown to visit his mother.
In August, China hosts the summer Olympic games in Beijing, and in September, China surpasses Japan to become the largest holder of U.S. debt.
The Supreme Court in Canada rejects Deng’s appeal application.
China hosts Expo 2010 in Shanghai and becomes the world’s second largest economy.
Mr. Deng returns to China. In the same year, Xi Jinping (習近平) becomes the new President of China.
Shi Ming’s grandmother Zhang Shun Hua (張順華) dies in Sichuan at the age of 92.
On October 30, Ms. Li returns to Beijing. In December, Mr. Deng has a major stroke that paralyzes his ability to speak and walk.
In September, a family friend helps Shi Ming’s parents to submit a new application to the Federal Court of Canada.
In the same year, Donald Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States of America.
On April 10, the Federal Court of Canada holds a hearing in Toronto in regards to Deng’s new application. In May, the Federal Court strikes down the case.