The story takes place in wartime Guangzhou before the country’s liberation by the Communist Party of China in 1949. A young woman named Qiu Xi is a “boat person”, or Tanka, living in the coastal area of Guangdong Province. Qiu Xi becomes a servant to Yan Haiqing, played by actor Guo Xiaodong. She finds herself falling for the undercover communist agent who works with the Kuomintang regime that ruled China until 1949. The story unfolds as the two fall for each other but are kept at distance because of the wartime situation.
A teacher opens a time capsule that has been dug up at his son's elementary school; in it are some chilling predictions -- some that have already occurred and others that are about to -- that lead him to believe his family plays a role in the events that are about to unfold.
Aliens land in South Africa and have no way home. Years later after living in a slum and wearing out their welcome the "Non-Humans" are being moved to a new tent city overseen by Multi-National United (MNU).