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.