The (Bio)political Novel: Some Reflections on *Frogs* by Mo Yan

By Helen Wang, published

Article: 'The (Bio)political Novel: Some Reflections on Frogs by Mo Yan', by Yinde Zhang, tr. by Jonathan Hall

Published in China perpectives [Online], 2012/4 | 2011, Online since 30 December 2014, connection on 14 October 2012. URL :

Abstract: The political concerns underlying Mo Yan’s creative work come to the fore in his latest novel, Frogs (Wa), which gives the reader an unusual perspective on the complex relations between fiction and politics. This novel harshly criticises a state whose coercive population control policies are responsible for some murderous consequences. This denunciation is also aimed at the economic ultraliberalism that is complicit with the totalitarian inheritance in destruction of human dignity through the alienation and commercialisation of the body. The complex symbolic structure of this work brings out the need for life itself to be rehabilitated in accordance with basic human rights and membership in the human community, and to be strongly defended against political attack and moral decay. Far from being an essentialist communitarian ethics, however, the bioethics proposed by the author offers the possibility of social reconstruction of the bios.


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The alienation and commercialization of the human body is essentially a consequence of the capitalist system of political governance which uses money power of the private capital to exploit the human body. The communistic system of China that borrows capitalistic ethics resorts to the same kind of perversions that exist in capitalistic societies.Mo Yan has done a wonderful job in FROGS to highlight the moral squalor of China's bureaucrats and politicians.

Bhagwat Goyal, October 20, 2012, 6:33a.m.


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