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Interviewer listens to learn as talk-show format changes

By Xing Wen | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-02 11:46

Talk show host Li Jing (left) goes mountain climbing with her interviewee, musician Zhu Zheqin, in Hebei province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Used to hosting talk shows primarily featuring celebrities from the entertainment industry, in her latest venture, Li has chosen a different path, opting to interview individuals from a variety of fields who pique her curiosity.

"This time, I want a show that's mine. It should captivate viewers not by relying on a guest's fame, but by expressing its own charm, bit by bit," Li says.

For the first episode, Li set out before dawn to climb a mountain with Zhu Zheqin, experiencing the sound of mountain springs and the gentle breeze with the musician, who is also known under her stage name of Dadawa.

Zhu has traveled around Africa and lived in Indonesia, Nepal and the United States and has been involved in documentary filmmaking, collecting endangered folk songs and preserving traditional handicrafts in recent years.

It was only last year, when she sang the closing theme for Mongolian director Wuershan's hit film Creation of the Gods I: Kingdom of Storms, that she reentered the public eye.

The two women discuss breaking free of the constraints of social expectations and the ticking of the social clock (a set time schedule the mass expect one individual to follow), and the struggle to become themselves.

In subsequent episodes, Li interviews various people, including well-known financial commentator Ye Tan, who is battling breast cancer, former Chinese goalkeeper Zhao Li'na, actor-turned-businessperson Ren Quan, director Wang Chaoge and photographer Chen Man.

The in-depth conversations also resolve Li's own confusion. She recalls visiting Liu's residence in Yanjin and discovering it still filled with simple furniture from some 40 years ago. Even with such humble surroundings, Liu is still able to focus on his writing. Liu's dedication to writing despite changes to the environment impresses Li.

"This inspired me to single-mindedly persist in making the new show according to my own ideas, without worrying about sponsors or whether it would be popular with the audience. I wanted to enjoy the process," she says.

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