From the Archives: Chinese Writing, Banned and Otherwise

By Susan Harris

Mo Yan's Nobel turned a spotlight on Chinese writers and literature, and the continuing controversy over his selection has prolonged, and intensified, that focus. Our timely current issue of banned writing represents only a fraction of the Chinese work on the site; so if you’ve worked your way through this month’s offerings and find yourself hungry for more, do check out our rich archive, where close to a hundred pieces across all genres provide a wide-ranging survey of Chinese literature, history, and culture. You can warm up with our first Chinese issue of May 2004, with its mix of classical poems, contemporary fiction, and an up-close profile of China's first rock star. From there, move to the wealth of women writers presented in April 2008, then explore the many pieces we've published in other issues over the years.  Gao Ertai's harrowing "Sunset over Barren Mountains" documents the harsh fate of intellectuals in the Cultural Revolution; Wang Dan's prison memoir does the same for the leaders of the Tiananmen student movement; and Eric Abrahamsen's "Broken" considers writers forced to choose between silence and exile. For comic relief with a political edge, check out graphic artist Wei Tsung-cheng's campy satire of Mao and Chaing Kai-shek, "King Ma Has Come." If science fiction is more your speed, switch to Liu Cixin’s electrifying "Ball Lightning." If you're looking for a tale of a paternal boast gone bad, turn to Yu Hua's hilarious "Appendix." And stay tuned for next month's crime issue, which introduces the young sensation Sun Yi-Sheng.


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