Writers can help the world adjust to impossible facts and injured societies to heal but, for Chinese writers, censorship makes exploring “the fate of humanistic values in post-Mao society” problematic. How can authors be candid and avoid punishment?
Famed Chinese journalist and environmentalist Dai Qing, on her 70th birthday, reflects on the words of Confucius, who said: “When you’re 70, do as you please, as long as it doesn’t break the rules.” Dai, however, decides she was born 2,500 years too late. “I embody the cultural atmosphere of the ‘People’s Republic,'” she says. “With all its hidden rules.”