1950 – He was born in the Shaanxi region of China. His family suffered derision and exclusion because of their association with the Kuomintang (Nationalist) Army.
1966 – He was in secondary school when the Cultural Revolution started.
1974 – At the age of 24 he became a photographer, buying his first camera.
1979 – He entered the Beijing Central Film Academy the only film school in china. After a long struggle to be admitted, his initial applications were summarily rejected because he was older than the regulation application age.
1982 – He graduated as a member of China’s Fifth Generation of filmmakers, and was assigned to the Guangxi Film Studio in Southern China where he worked as a cameraman and a cinematographer.
1989 – He made Ju Dou with Japanese funding and moved the time of the story which was set originally in the 40’s in Liu Heng’s novella to the pre-communist in the 20’s to avoid Chinese censorship.
1991 – He made “Raise the Red Lantern” with Taiwanese funding.
1992 – He made “The Story of Qiu Ju”, under the auspices of a Chinese owned company.
1994 – He made a trouble again when he made To Live. To Live got when its Hong Kong based Production Company was criticized for allowing its sale and distribution without Chinese censorship and approval.
1997 – He made “Keep Cool” which the Chinese propaganda has tried to keep it from Cannes’ screens, but failed and it has even won the Grand Prix du Jury.