In 1984, architect Scott Warren comes to China on a scholarship to study Daoist buildings, just at the time when the liberalisation policies of Deng Xiaoping are unfolding and Chinese people are experiencing new freedoms. Twenty-three years later he returns, to honour his dead wife's request to take her ashes back to China. He encounters a country that has been propelled into international commerce, culture and politics that has Western-style prosperity yet continued human rights restrictions and one-party rule. In this complexity, Scott confronts painful memories and revisits the past, which merges dangerously with the present.
Mark Sweet (Nga Mahanga) was born in Napier, and raised in Waimarama. In the 1980s he lived in Hong Kong and travelled extensively in China, returning in 2007 to study Tai Chi and Quigong. With photographer Richard Brimmer he created the book Portrait & Opinion. After careers in the property sector and restaurants, he is now devoting his time to writing.