Emerging novelist - deputy director of Langfang City’s Environmental Protection Bureau Li Chunquan’s Smog is Coming reprinted another 8000 copies yesterday
Langfang is a city in Hebei province, adjacent to the south tip of Beijing. Last June Smog is Coming written by deputy director of the Langfang’s Environmental Protection Bureau Li Chunyuan was published over 10,000 copies. Yesterday the Writers’ Press reprinted another 8000 copies. Li says this is a fiction but based on reality. He says he has changed or used letters to replace certain names but still receives phone calls from colleagues complaining that he has revealed too many details. Some officials in Environmental Protection departments consider this book a “Work Guideline”; some readers consider it a reference to fight against smog; some environmental protection companies consider it a guideline to develop new products. Li says Smog is Coming is not the end, and his second book on environmental protection is “on its way”. He may also write a trilogy, or even 4, or 5 related volumes.
I came across an excerpt of this long essay of memories and critiques written by lieutenant Liu Yazhou. It was originally published by Ming Pao, but I couldn’t find the original link. I have copied the whole article on my Google Drive from someone’s blog, in case this Sina blog entry be deleted in the future.
Reflecting on the drama of CCTV host Bi Fujian’s misfortune because of his joke on Mao Zedong, Liu Yazhou seems indeed interesting and important, particularly because his background.
Here is a good long intro of Liu Yazhou published on Jamestown. I have copied and pasted the first 3 paragraphs:
Liu Yazhou, a 53 year-old PLA general, (Liu was born in 1952 - ZX’s note) erstwhile novelist, and rising political star, has published a series of frequent and provocative essays in China over the last few years to considerable acclaim—and controversy. In a regime where political expression is strictly limited, and where discussion of political issues may be construed as “revealing state secrets,” for someone to speak with establishment credentials and without censorship can be a startling indication of policy discussion and change.
Liu’s essays violate many taboos and restrictions, covering a wide range of topics such as strategy, geopolitics, the nature of war and conflict, and China’s relations with Taiwan, Japan, and the United States. His underlying theme is unvarnished distress with corruption and conformity, and a plea for accelerated political reform to remedy China’s ills. While laced with reverent quotations from top Chinese leaders, Liu’s writings can be construed as indirect and direct criticisms of their policies. These arguments have dazzled as well as upset his readers; supporters praise his boldness and insight, and detractors condemn his alleged militarism and demagoguery.
A son-in-law of the late Chinese president Li Xiannian, Liu is a “princeling” (privileged offspring of a high official) who was promoted quickly and is now Deputy Political Commissar and a Lieutenant General in the PLA Air Force. He has traveled extensively overseas, including a term as a visiting professor at Stanford University, and is one of the few PLA officials to have visited Taiwan.
Here is some quotes from this recent article Liu Yaozhou’s thoughts on Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, as well as Chinese people’s characteristics
1, Father-in-law (Li Xiannian) used to say: “Chairman Mao is perfect but he did one thing wrong: he agreed to give Mongolia out.” I would always remember father-in-law’s words. For a strong and powerful country, it firstly needs to have a gigantic coverage. Your forefathers had built up the legacy, but the descendents were not successful at keeping it, but rather lost a huge deal.
2, Throughout his lifetime Mao Zedong was very dedicated to anti-feudalism. However, he himself was deep in the mud of feudalism and didn’t know how to get out. He even expanded this muddy business. He was sick. Sick of what disease? The “Eastern disease”, or “Asian disease”. The fundamental characteristic of “Asian disease” is authoritarianism. Its reflection on leaders is lifelong tenure and hereditarianism. As long as the leader can still breathe, he will hold his power until the end of his life.
3, The root of all problem is not because of the dictator, but because of the people. Certain kind of people will choose certain kind of system. Certain kind of system will also nurture certain kind of people.
4, Today’s Beijing is like a little businessman with gold inlay teeth, though shiny, but utterly uncultured.
5, Once (during the Great Famine), Mao Zedong asked father-in-law to dance. Father-in-law signed, “such good people”. Upon hearing this, Mao Zedong was stunned, “Why do you say so?” Father-in-law said: “Ask these girls to take off their shoes.” Mao Zedong said, “Do what deputy premier told you.” So all the girls took off their shoes and their feet were all swollen. There was a dent once you press there and it took a while for it to come back. Mao Zedong’s face sank and said, “Don’t come to dance anymore.” All the girls said, “We all want to come.” Mao Zedong said, “why?” Girls answered: “If we come to dance, at least we get a meal.”
6,#15 Doufuchi Hutong used to be the house for Yang Kaihui’s father and Mao Zedong lived there before when he was young. When his overweight body crossed that big door, he crossed in history as well. Over 60 years ago it must have occurred when someone asked “Is Mao Zedong home?” Mao Zedong at that time was a dumb boy with heavy Hunan accent. He was still a small tree that couldn’t stand out in the forest; he was a little drill that couldn’t breakthrough a pocket. When he came to Beijing to study, he was not good; when he wanted to find work, he was not good. Professors looked down upon him and fellow students made fun of him. Mao Zedong didn’t like intellectuals throughout his life. He said: “the more knowledge people have the more they want to revolt”. During the Cultural Revolution, what intellectuals endured was worse than any time in history. Mao Zedong’s resentment towards intellectuals were seeded during that time in Beijing.