China Town

A film crew from mainland China comes to St. Louis to make a movie about the cultural conflicts that occur when East meets West

As East and West commit to a fuller economic relationship -- even as the ghosts of the Cold War still rattle -- the benefits and mysteries of Chinese medicine, both gua sha and the more familiar acupuncture, might serve as an apt metaphor for the precarious bridge between cultures. "Acupuncture is unexplained," says Zheng. "In the U.S., everything is based on science, facts. Chinese acupuncture is based on knowledge. All these pressure points, you can't explain through dissection. All Chinese traditional medicines are based on handed-down knowledge. The deep-down basis for knowledge in the U.S. and China is different but parallel -- one based on fact, one based on knowledge."

Then, after this brief comparison of philosophies, Zheng sounds like the bottom-line Western pragmatist: "Whichever works is better."

Tony Leung and Xu Zhu between takes of a scene in Gua Sha.
Jennifer Silverberg
Tony Leung and Xu Zhu between takes of a scene in Gua Sha.
St. Louis' Dennis Zhu: The 5-year-old actor gets more attention on the set than the international film star.
Jennifer Silverberg
St. Louis' Dennis Zhu: The 5-year-old actor gets more attention on the set than the international film star.

"Whichever works" might be the universal truth to break down all ideologies.

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