BREAKING WITH OLD IDEAS - OUTLINE OF FILM STORY
In 1958, the Communist Party of China sends Long Guozheng (Guo Zhenqing), a graduate of the Counter-Japanese Military and Political University, to head the newly established Jiangxi Communist Labour University (today's Jiangxi Agricultural University).
The school's more conservative elements, aiming for high academic standards, refuse to admit poorly-educated peasants, but Long advocates the opposite: after all a Communist Labour University should only admit students from the working class.
Long also begins innovative changes—to the dismay of many other staff—such as putting more emphasis on hard labor than classroom learning, switching courses to accommodate experiential learning, removing impractical sections from the curriculum, holding lessons in the field, and excusing students who miss exams to work for the commune.
Later, a student Li Jinfeng (Wang Suya), whom Long considers an exemplary follower of the educational revolution, faces expulsion and is put on trial. In the end, she is saved by a pronouncement from Chairman Mao himself