The big backdrop world

CHINA: Yu Hua shows how today's economically controlled China of 40 years has moved from peasant society to the most economically powerful country

Carnera is a freelance writer living in Copenhagen.
Published: 2020-01-13
China in ten words
Author: Yu Hua Translator Anne Wedell-Wedellsborg
Klim Forlag, Denmark

Yu Hua (1959), who grew up during the Cultural Revolution, describes in ten personally reflected essays China's dramatic development - in just 4-5 decades. He does not put his fingers in between, and depicts a society behind Shanghai's shiny economy facade hiding on a country at war with itself and the world. The book is also not published in China, but in Taiwan. Hua, who is both essayist and fiction writer, began his «career» as a dentist. As a twenty-year-old, he was appointed a dentist. During the Cultural Revolution one could not choose what one wanted to be, so the aspiring author spent, without dental education, a number of years pulling teeth out on people. That's what the treatment consisted of.

Hua made his international breakthrough with the novel To live (1993; Danish 2015), which deals with the absurd life of China's Cultural Revolution. The book was also filmed by Zang Yimou with To Live (1994). Hua's newly translated essays showcase a China whose tiger leap to economic miracle in its wake leaves a nation of extreme inequality, old-fashioned and corrupt office and a back-to-back world of copy and scam.


The book tells the story of China before and now through ten words: people, leder, read the changing, write, Lu Xun, research formal, revolution, græsrødder, coffee, bluff. The people were once identical to the great Chairman Mao, his way of waving and The little red, which stood in every home. And those who walked on the streets in the famous riot at Tiananmen Square in Beijing were not the people, but enemies of the people, in this case students. The history of the people is about language, corruption and not least historical oblivion. The uprising in which hundreds of thousands of students walked the streets and fought and in a flash saw a new flourishing time, in a few weeks was crushed and destroyed. The day-to-day reports of the riots and the resulting inspiration were replaced from one day to the next with the overarching narrative: The prosperous prosperity of our fatherland. The blackout was total.

Back then there was accuracy, today everyone wants more.

25 years after the uprising, the new young generation has no knowledge of the days in 1989. The historical oblivion is total. According to Hua,…

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