Like A Flowing River (Chinese Drama Review & Summary)


Like A Flowing River (Chinese Drama Review & Summary)

Like a Flowing River poster

  • Genre: Business, Historical, Romance
  • Release Date: December 2018
  • Origin: China; Based on the novel by A Nai called  Big River Goes East
  • CDrama: 47 Episodes


  • Wang Kai as Song Yun Hui
  • Yang Shuo as Lei Dong Bao
  • Dong Zijian as Yang Xun
  • Tong Yao as Song Yun Ping
  • Jin Chen as Liang Si Shen
  • Zhou Cassie as Cheng Kai Yan

Quick Precis:

Three men with their individual personality pursue their goals during the economic reform of 1978-1992.

This would be a lovely drama, it has Wang Kai and Tong Yao, who is currently playing the princess of Tang in Ever Night.

Episode 1

Song Yan Hui was a genius 19 years old boy who top the examination in their country, making him eligible for entrance to a university.

Together with his sister, Song Yun Ping, they apply to their local communist leader to submit their application to their ruling party.

They, however, received only negative feedback from the director and leader.  Apparently, they were not university material because they were too poor plus the fact that universities teach pro-social democracy mentality.

At the same time, a newspaper had published a new governmental edict that leading cadres of the community should support young people’s entrance into college in compliance with long-term modernisation of the country.  This was in 1978.

Despite being turned down, the brother and sister did everything they could to change the mind of Director Li.

Episode 2

Director Li changed his mind.  Unfortunately, from advisement of his elders, it was decided that only one from Ping Ping and Yun Hui can go to the university because of their family situation.

Ping Ping, though her heart was breaking decided to withdraw her claim and allow her younger brother to go to college.

When Yun Hui found out what his sister did, he was distraught and blamed his father for giving them such a poor life.

The father felt so guilty he was hospitalised.

Yun Hui promised his sister that he will study so hard to repay her and their parents and that was he did.  He hardly socialise his university but had his head buried in books.

Episode 3

Dong Bao has just come out of the army after many years of service.  He met Ping Ping who just came back from visiting her brother from the university.

Ping Ping heard from a woman seller that rearing long tail rabbits can be profitable.  So as a start-up, Ping Ping bought four rabbits.

Someone bumped into her causing her to drop the cage and the rabbits got away.  Dong Bao kindly caught each of the rabbits except for one that he stepped on and died.

He offered to pay Ping Ping for it bit all he has under his name is 20 cent. He does have the money until his army pension comes through.  Ping Ping said for him to just forget about it.

Dong Bao went to his uncle to ask for a job.  His uncle promptly made him his assistant secretary of their village commune and gave him a document, which he had to do a feasibility study on how to make their village prosper.  Compared to other nearby villages where the minimum wage if 32 cents per hour, their village only averages at 2 cents.

Dong Bao did not know where to start.

But as luck would have it.  He met Ping Ping again and Hun Yui was with her.  He mentioned about the land/village reform document which Hun Yui said he knew something about it.

Over a few hot boiled sweet potatoes, Hun Yui discussed the basics of the village reform.

Episode 4

With some insight from Hun Yui, Dong Bao went back to his uncle and advised him to adopt a new system of tenanting the lands equally to the people.  It would not be a group system because giving lands to individuals have been found to yield better harvest rather than if a group work on a land.

His uncle is very old school communist and very set on his way.  He likes the idea of progress in theory but actually, imposing is another matter.

Dong Bao then had to be sneaky and was economical with the truth so his uncle would approve their new land regime.

Ping Ping seemed to have become Dong Bao’s muse and when he brought her to the village centre with her brother, his comrade started teasing him and called Ping Ping as their sister-in-law.

Hun Yui was more upset than his sister, who actually asked her family before if they had someone like Dong Bao as a member of their family, would their standing in the community increase?

29 December 2018 update!

This drama is such a massive hit that a second season is already under planning stage!

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