Yu Yan is a fictional character from the time period of 1966-76 when the Chinese Cultural Revolution occurred. She goes through several difficulties and tries to make her way through the revolution while writing this journal. She goes through several losses but continues to fight for herself.
Since the revolution ended, some things have changed but some have stayed the same. China remains as a communist government and citizens still have great respect for Mao Zedong. But now, China is tolerant about foreigners (mostly) and tolerates foreign influence.