Reporter's notebook on 'Beyond the Wall'
Updated 12:01, 10-Sep-2018
By Han Bin
When we look back at China's fast growth, what's behind the miracle is breaking through the old norms and liberating people's minds.
There had been fierce debates over certain boundaries, like "whether to seek truth from facts or follow whatever Chairman Mao had instructed", "which economic form belongs to socialism or capitalism",  and "is private economy a disaster or a boost"… Such kinds of debates have never stopped in modern China.
No reform is successful without a change in mindset in advancing with the times. 
What we wanted to do is something different – this series is not about achievements or simply economy and trade. It’s about overcoming numerous walls: some are too high, some are too wide, some are invisible and some are just inside us.

Breakthroughs require a new mindset

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, which has transformed the country into the world's second largest economy.  
These four decades have taken China from an isolated nation to an economic dynamo. They have also brought about the liberation of mind and redefinition of socialism. But many walls still stand in the way, and future success lies in pushing boundaries to go beyond these walls.
One of the biggest challenges in news reporting is not about China's core strength, but the barriers and obstacles that prevent China's further growth.  
There are always different opinions on quite a number of issues. This shows the huge challenge facing the government in its new attempt to bring prosperity and sustainable growth to the country and its people.
CGTN crew is filming the sunrise at the Jinshanling Great Wall. /CGTN photo by Lan Hao

CGTN crew is filming the sunrise at the Jinshanling Great Wall. /CGTN photo by Lan Hao

People are feeling the changes of time

We've profiled a number of ordinary people in a variety of groups. They are the ones providing answers for China's future. 
Farmers in north China's inner Mongolia hope reforms could ease the rural land transfer to create more family farms and co-ops, and truly end the status differences between rural and urban areas.
Startups in south China's Shenzhen, China's model for opening up, are creating wealth in the new economy. A horse breeder in China's northwest frontier is waiting for new chances with horse-racing in Hainan, a testing ground of new reforms. 
Drug addict-turned- volunteers are calling for peer education instead of building more walls, while a marginalized group in society is calling for breaking prejudices.
Amid all the uncertainties, Chinese people have never stopped pursuing their dreams. 
CGTN wants to document their lives, and give them a chance to share their perspectives on how China should take the next round of reforms.

What the future holds for China

For the past three months, we've been travelling across the country, pushing the envelope to learn what the lies beyond the many walls in China's next round of reforms.  
It was an incredible experience. I'm so grateful to the production team, especially chief cameraman Huang Xiaodong and senior script consultant Laurie Lew. Laurie came up with the title Beyond the Wall, after many brainstorming sessions.  
We ourselves have had to get past a number of walls restraining our thoughts, to touch upon key issues that may interest our viewers. I hope we have in some way achieved this goal.
Above all, we want to present an authentic picture of China. There's a price to pay with progress; there are unintended consequences which are sometimes new problems. 
China is at the crucial stage of reform and opening up, and we will follow the ever-evolving story.
Chief Cameraman Huang Xiaodong is working on the field at Shangkuli Farm in Inner Mongolia, China. /CGTN Photo by Lan Hao

Chief Cameraman Huang Xiaodong is working on the field at Shangkuli Farm in Inner Mongolia, China. /CGTN Photo by Lan Hao