• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    The HKIA brings Hong… on [788] Island and Peninsula 島與半…
    Adamos on The Master and Margarita:…
    sumithra MAE on D.H. Lawrence’s Why the…
    To Kill a Mockingbir… on [35] To Kill A Mockingbird…
    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    Minnie on [367] The Rouge of the North 怨…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,083,145 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,710 other followers

Secret Meeting

I woke up to a draft seeping in through the tiny gap of the sliding door that communicates with the balcony. Cold air aloft but sunny. I’ve started off the day, coldest one since I arrived, temperature dipping down to the teens, with home-made pork porridge thanks to my friend’s housemaid. Then I’m on my Mongo-coffee-want routine in order finish waking up! Digressing from The Bookworm Beijing this morning, I had coffee at a different joint, one that has more of a local flavor and is a shorter of walk from my friend’s apartment. No sooner had I walked in than I was startled by a conversation that I would never imagine hearing right here in Beijing, at least not in the public. Liu Xiaobo—the dissident writer who was recently awarded Nobel Prize for Peace.

I have been all ears to a possible allusion of the democracy activist, who is locked in jail on an 11-year sentence for spurious subversion charges. The Chinese government has remained adamant in its stance, despite international pressure on its releasing Liu for the award ceremony in Norway. The bunch that gathered at coffee here obviously adopted a polarized view. They thought Mr. Liu and the Chinese should be proud. Beijing should be ashamed, reiterating that the choice “desecrates” the prize, and thus compounding that shame. While the country has lifted millions from poverty and hosted events (Olympics and World Expo) that cemented its position as a superpower, China’s leaders cannot continue to repress their people by constant bullying. Yesterday I was too hopeful, or rather, naive, to even look for “reactionary” and banned literature at the bookstore. No double reading materials and publications are closely monitored and censored by the state. But I did find translations of the biographies of President Obama, Hilary Clinton and Bill Clinton—bright and shiny, placed on the side of their originals in English. (At least the Chinese don’t see the ugly side of American politics.)

Meanwhile, The Likeness continues to thrill and dazzle. The second day of reading has put me just over halfway through the book. It turns out that the murder victim had appropriated several fake identities to dodge her purveyor. The undercover agent who assumed her identity is reeled in danger. Speaking of Tana French, her first book, In the Woods is available in Chinese (but traditional Chinese?) as I saw it at the bookstore. Guess her fame has gone global.

2 Responses

  1. Hope you are enjoying your trip to China! It is nice to hear about your trip through these posts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: