​Fans and sci-fi enthusiasts celebrate China's 1st 'Star Trek Day'

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, September 13, 2023
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More than 100 fans and sci-fi enthusiasts from all over China gathered in Beijing on Sept. 9 for "Star Trek Day" to celebrate the beloved brand. There, they immersed themselves in the wonders of science fiction culture alongside scientists, sci-fi writers, and filmmakers.

Fans, scientists, sci-fi writers, and filmmakers gather for a group photo following the inaugural Star Trek Day Fans Convention in Beijing on Sept. 9, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Paramount]

"Star Trek Day in China" was initiated by Paramount and co-organized by Geek Movie, leading Star Trek fan communities in China, and streaming site Youku. The event received significant support from the China Science Writers Association and was livestreamed globally via the official Star Trek Douyin and Youku channels.

"'Star Trek' represents a generation's memories, and its spirit of exploration and optimism inspires us to delve into the unknown and pursue new worlds," said Wang Jinkang, an eminent Chinese sci-fi writer, in a greeting video played at the event. As he spoke, he made the iconic "live long and prosper" hand gesture known as the Vulcan salute.

At the event, fans admired premium Star Trek collectibles, including a figurine of Emperor Philippa Georgiou portrayed by Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh. Enthusiasts also shared their passion for the show and reflected on the franchise's legacy, with highlights including the "Star Trek" theme being played on Chinese instruments and the unveiling of a Star Trek poster in the style of a traditional Chinese painting. Additionally, Youku announced the acquisition of the initial seasons of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" and "Star Trek: Picard."

From left to right, senior film critic Wang Shuang, "The Wandering Earth" concept designer Zhang Bo, director and screenwriter Zhang Xiaobei, and sci-fi writer Jiang Bo join a discussion panel during the "Star Trek Day" event in Beijing on Sept. 9, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Paramount]

Prominent figures from the realms of science, technology, and science fiction also attended the event. Among them, Gou Lijun, a researcher at the National Astronomical Observatory and a professor at the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Cheng Wei, the director of the China Exploration Association and president of its Deep Space Branch, both delivered keynote speeches, sharing the significant impact of "Star Trek" on technology and life. Subsequent to their speeches, a panel titled "Finding China's Hardcore Space Science Fiction" took place, featuring notable personalities like Zhang Bo, the concept designer and storyboard director for "The Wandering Earth," Zhang Xiaobei, a distinguished director, screenwriter, and film critic, as well as Jiang Bo, the author of the novel which inspired the acclaimed sci-fi film "The Soul."

"I still remember how I first became aware of 'Star Trek' through a book in the 1980s," said Zhang Xiaobei. "I had always imagined what a film based on the book would be like. It wasn't until I entered university that I actually saw the films and TV series. I was stunned. It felt like I had been a farmer imagining how an emperor lived his life."

For Jiang Bo, "Star Trek" signifies a vast universe filled with myriad wonderful ideas. "I hope it becomes a permanent part of human spiritual culture and is passed down forever," he noted. 

The "Star Trek" franchise, which began with "The Original Series" in 1966, has grown into a global sci-fi phenomenon. It encompasses 13 TV series, 13 films, novels, comics, games, and an extensive range of collectibles. With its foundation in scientific and humanistic values, the franchise delves into themes such as human nature, friendship, and social responsibility, highlighting the courage and wisdom of humanity's journey into the unknown. The films have collectively grossed $2.26 billion worldwide – the last three alone earned 860 million yuan in China, according to Paramount.

Fans admire collectible figurines during the "Star Trek Day" event held in Beijing on Sept. 9, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Paramount]

"'Star Trek' is becoming increasingly popular in China, and we are excited at the opportunities that this brings for our business as well as for our partners and licensees – from content, to merchandise, to live events," said Jonathan Greenberg, executive vice president of regional sales North Asia and international TV licensing at Paramount Global Content Distribution. "We are thrilled to see the fandom of Star Trek come to life through this event, which provided fans with a deeper connection to the show and their favorite characters."

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