China in Ten Words
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From one of China’s most acclaimed writers: a unique, intimate look at the Chinese experience over the last several decades.
Framed by ten phrases common in the Chinese vernacular, China in Ten Words uses personal stories and astute analysis to reveal as never before the world’s most populous yet oft-misunderstood nation. In "Disparity," for example, Yu Hua illustrates the expanding gaps that separate citizens of the country. In "Copycat," he depicts the escalating trend of piracy and imitation as a creative new form of revolutionary action. And in "Bamboozle," he describes the increasingly brazen practices of trickery, fraud, and chicanery that are, he suggests, becoming a way of life at every level of society. Witty, insightful, and courageous, this is a refreshingly candid vision of the "Chinese miracle" and all of its consequences.
heard my inquiry, for it was most likely the first time they had ever been asked such a question. They would nod their heads: “Yeah, we do.” But when I ran to their houses, full of excitement, all I saw was that familiar four-volume edition of Selected Works of Mao Zedong—always a new, unopened set. This taught me a lesson, and so the next time one of my respondents told me he had books at home I stuck out four fingers. “Four books, you mean?” When he nodded, my hand would drop to my side. “New
hands, inspecting the dishes on other tables as we ate up the food in our own bowls. I was always quick to finish my meal; then, after putting down bowl and chopsticks, I would pick up Selected Works and read it avidly by the light of the setting sun. The neighbors all sighed in wonder, impressed that at such a tender age I was already so assiduous in my study of Mao Zedong Thought. My parents brimmed with pride on hearing so much praise. Privately they began in hushed voices to discuss my
sleepless vigil. Many of us remained huddled outside the bookstore and watched as people came out, proudly brandishing their purchases. We would gather around somebody we knew and enviously reach out a hand to touch their reprints of Anna Karenina, Le Père Goriot, and David Copperfield. Having lived so long in a reading famine, we found it a matchless pleasure just to feast our eyes on the new covers of these classics. Some generously held the books up to our noses and let us sniff their subtle,
were taking place in Germany, Cui’s miniature Long March expedition arrived at an impoverished area in China’s southwest, and there he had a sudden inspiration: to organize a soccer match for the local primary school children. Even if it was a far cry from the passions in Berlin, he thought, at least it would create a little ripple of World Cup excitement in this backward hinterland county. He immediately encountered two problems. The first was that no soccer ball could be found in the stores of
“How could your mom have so much blood?” One morning when the guard was in the toilet, the man made good his escape, fleeing along the seawall for a good five miles before he finally came to a stop. There he stood, gazing blankly at the boundless sea, oblivious to the waves crashing on the shore. Head bowed, he walked over to a corner shop, stood at the counter for a minute, and emptied all the cash out of his pockets. He bought two packs of cigarettes and a box of matches, then returned to the