Chimerica: Series Synopsis

Category: Press Pack Article

Beijing, 1989. As the Chinese army violently forces protestors out of Tiananmen Square, a man carrying two shopping bags stands in front of a line of tanks. Young, frightened LEE BERGER reaches for his camera and takes a photo that will change his life forever.  

New York, 2016. Presidential candidate Donald Trump wages war on the established media. Seasoned photojournalist Lee Berger’s career is put in jeopardy when rumours circulate that he digitally manipulated his award-winning image of a Syrian war victim. Recalling the photograph that launched his career 27 years ago – the Tank Man of Tiananmen Square – Lee comes up with an idea that he hopes will both salvage his reputation and serve as an inspiring form of protest against Trump: to find the Tank Man and show that this icon of democracy has not, and will not, be silenced.

Lee joins journalist Mel on a trip to China where he meets British business consultant Tess. There, he reconnects with old friend Zhang Lin whose wife was killed in the 1989 massacre. Zhang Lin berates Lee for his Western guilt over Tiananmen but lets slip that the Tank Man is now living in New York City.

Lee returns home with a renewed sense of purpose and begins the search, delving deep into New York City’s underground Chinese community as Trump’s rise leads to heightened fear for illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, Tess begins a relationship with Lee as her business trips to China bring her closer to Zhang Lin.

Zhang Lin’s long-dormant passion for standing up to the authorities re-awakens when his sick neighbour’s daughter, Joy, disappears. When Joy’s mother, Ming Xiaoli, dies from ‘Beijing Lung’, Zhang Lin decides to fight for the China his lost wife dreamt of, defined by people not profit.

Back in the States, Lee faces a series of setbacks in his mission to find the Tank Man as he begins to uncover the inherent dangers in the search for this long-buried secret. As Trump claims victory at the polls, Lee finally learns the shocking truth about the Tank Man.