Servant of the State: Zha Jianying on Wang Meng

Confucius was also an indefatigable traveller, and Wang himself shows no signs of slowing down. In September, two weeks before Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Prize was announced, Wang gave a talk at Harvard’s Asia Center. Before he arrived, he lamented to me how little dialogue there had been, in the post-1989 era, between Chinese and American writers—less, he said, than between Chinese and American military officials. He had prepared his talk in English, in the hopes of speaking across a chasm. At Harvard, he described his childhood deprivations and his youthful involvement in the Chinese revolution. He recalled a conversation he had had when his grandson turned fourteen, the age at which Wang joined the Communist Party. When he criticized the boy for spending too much time on computer games, he replied, “Poor Grandpa, I’m sure you had no toys when you were a kid. If you had a childhood without toys, what else could you do except join the revolution?”

attached to: Wang Meng


# 1.   

Zha Jianying sketches a portrait of a Wang Meng who has proven over the years to be the archetypal mainstream mainland China writer willing to loyally serve the state, despite some misgivings he may have had about certain policies.

More recently, he has launched a novel set in Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution, and allowed himself to become part of the government's campaign aimed at reviving nostalgia for earlier times when Uyghur-Han relations were more civil, even warm.

For details, see The Scenery Over Here

Bruce, December 29, 2014, 1:53a.m.

# 2.   

I posted this mostly to have the link saved for posterity -- it's not new, but it's a pretty damned interesting article, and a very welcome, sober-headed assessment of the subtleties of political compromise in China. Zha also mentions Wang's relationship with Uighur society.

Eric Abrahamsen, December 29, 2014, 12:37p.m.


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