The Spirit of May 35th, article by Yu Hua (translated by Allan Barr)
You might think May 35th is an imaginary date, but in China it’s a real one. Here, where references to June 4 — the date of the Tiananmen incident of 1989 — are banned from the Internet, people use “May 35th” to circumvent censorship and commemorate the events of that day.
Earlier this year I visited Taiwan, where my book China in Ten Words had just been released. “Why can’t this book be published in mainland China,” I was asked, “when your novel Brothers can?”
That’s the difference between fiction and nonfiction: Although both books are about contemporary China, Brothers touches on things obliquely and so slips through the net, whereas China in Ten Words, by straight talking, goes beyond the pale.
“Brothers does a May 35th,” I explained, “and China in Ten Words is more like June 4th.”
attached to: Yu Hua