As China demonstrated its space credentials by landing a lunar probe on the far side of the moon in January 2019, a science fiction movie was hitting mainland cinemas that could also redefine China’s credentials as a maker of global cinema. The Wandering Earth, directed by Frant Gwo is the world’s highest-grossing film so far in 2019 with box office takings of almost US$700m at last count – mainly from China itself. Liu’s first full-length novel China2185, written in 1989, combines a utopian futuristic vision with critical commentary on the social and political issues facing China. A United Earth Government takes the decision to propel the planet to another system by using enormous thrusters running on fusion power built across the planet but coordinated by China – now the dominant global power. Only China has engineers capable in solving this complex problem. Only China has the will and the leadership to see the world through a crisis so huge that even the artificial intelligence that has been harnessed to help has told the rest of the world to just give up. As well as China itself, the film has been released in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand where it is doing brisk box office.

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