The musicians don't see themselves as revolutionaries, their lyrics don't preach freedom, but nevertheless they are a thorn in the communist regime's side. Every sentence of their lyrics has to pass through the censorship committee. Their music is not played on radio or TV. These measures are driven by the intention to constrict and control rock musician China. The rock musicians can just about keep their head above water by giving small live concerts that are kept well hidden from the authorities. The documentary paints a picture of China that goes beyond the new sparkling façade and beyond the wide-spread reports of change. Instead it highlights China's underdog music scene and reveals a hitherto unknown side to the People's Republic. "China's music underground" features musicians that have shaped China's rock history that so far looks back on a period of just twenty years. Pioneers such as the grandfather of Chinese rock, Cui Jian, and the first all-female rock band Cobra reminisce about the years in which the scene first emerged, when for instance the first mix tapes from abroad arrived in China in the 80s, and also talk about how rock musicians supported the student protests in 1989 and the fact that the scene has since been stigmatised as "politically unreliable". From the outset Chinese bands have sought ways to avoid censorship. For instance, young bands such as the "Retros" sing songs with titles like "Hang the police" in English rather than Chinese. But even more than politics in its classic sense it is the search for orientation in a country stuck between communism and turbo-capitalism, where striving for money seems to be the only purpose in life, that is important to the musicians and fans. Punk singer Kang Mao and her band Subs see their music as a means to encourage listeners to choose their own way of life. It is the musicians that set an example against conformity, but due to a lack of distribution channels their message only reaches a small audience. The female rock band "Hang on the Box" earns their money by performing, "but the money only pays the taxi to the club and back". The documentary shows how by making music the bands defy the restraints of the system and establish themselves in a niche where individuality and autonomy are possible.