Reading between the Party Lines – China’s books boom and what it means

Can China control what its authors write as tightly as President Xi might want? Writers have found dazzling ways to sidestep the “literary president”’s clampdown on free expression. China expert and Times book desk veteran Megan Walsh tells Andrew Harrison how the Chinese are reading everything from world-beating subversive science fiction… to lurid pot-boilers with titles like ‘My Dangerous Billionaire Husband'… to anarchic works of online fiction that often run longer than the Bible. What does it tell us about the world’s rising superpower?

“Xi Jinping has put himself forward as literary president.” 

“People don't think that fiction from authoritarian regimes is worth reading… but they’re wrong.” 

“Chinese readers are very good at reading between the lines.” 

“We expect Chinese writers to always be political, but that’s not always why people write.”

Presented and produced by Andrew Harrison. Assistant producers: Jacob Archbold and Jelena Sofronijevic. Audio production by Jade Bailey. THE BUNKER is a Podmasters Production
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