Poster children of the post-80s

Updated: 2007-10-31 07:15

Han Han, writer, born in 1982

Han rose to fame when he won first prize at the 1999 New Concept Composition Contest, the most important writing competition in China. The next year, he dropped out of high school.

His first novel Threefold Door (San Chong Men), published in the same year, was an instant success. In the following years, Han kept writing and started to race cars as a hobby. In 2006, Han released a music album.

Han was in the spotlight again in 2006, due to an online spat with critic Bai Ye, who called Han and other post-80s writers hacks whose works had little to do with real literature. Han is now a professional race car driver.

Liu Xiang, athlete, born in 1983

Liu Xiang made his name by winning the 110-meter hurdles gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. This was the first time an athlete of non-African descent had gone under 13 seconds for the event. In the same year, Liu set a new 110-meter hurdling world record at the Super Grand Prix in Lausanne, with a time of 12.88 seconds.

Guo Jingming

, writer, born in 1983

Like Han Han, Guo was a superstar among young writers until in December 2004, when a Beijing court ruled one of his novels Never Flowers in Never Dreams (Meng Li Hua Luo Zhi Duo Shao) to be a plagiarization of Inside and Outside the Circle (Quan Li Quan Wai) by a female writer named Zhuang Yu. Guo was fined 200,000 yuan ($26,000). Although he accepted the judgment, Guo refused to apologize.

Lang Lang, pianist, born in 1982

Lang Lang began piano lessons at age three. His father quit his job to accompany his boy to Beijing, where Lang Lang studied at the primary school affiliated with the esteemed Central Conservatory of Music. At 11, Lang Lang was awarded first prize for his outstanding performance at the Fourth International Young Pianists Competition in Germany. In 1995, at 13, he won first place at the Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians' Competition in Japan.

At 17, Lang Lang made his breakthrough in the West with his last-minute substitution for the indisposed Andr Watts at the Ravinia Festival. Lang Lang has since performed with many of the world's major orchestras.

Li Yuchun, singer, born in 1984

Born into a middle-class family, Li was not encouraged by her parents to pursue a career in entertainment.

The turning point came when she entered the Super Girl contest, the Chinese version of American Idol, in 2005. This competition drew the largest audiences in Chinese television history. She rose above 120,000 applicants with her tomboy style and Latin-flavored performance. Her win came as a surprise to many people because she didn't fit the stereotype of female singers. She has millions of fans of all ages across the country. Her haircut and mannerisms have been copied by tens of thousands of girls.

In October 2005, two months after the contest, she started her professional singing career. Her debut album sold more than 430,000 copies in the first month.

Ding Junhui, snooker player, born in 1987

Ding quit school at 13, after his father insisted he concentrate on snooker. His parents then sold their house to help Ding kick-start his career.

In March 2005, he celebrated his 18th birthday by reaching the final of the China Open in Beijing, along the way beating world top-16 ranked players Peter Ebdon, Marco Fu and Ken Doherty. In the final, he defeated the then world No 3, Stephen Hendry, to score his first ranking tournament win. After shooting to fame, questions were raised over the father's decision for Ding to quit school.

China Daily

(China Daily 10/31/2007 page20)