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Evening Chats with Perry Link: "Liu Binyan and Chinese Reportage Literature"

Feb 06, 2019 06:00 pm to 08:00 pm
Organiser: Barbara Mittler, Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies
Institute of Chinese Studies, Room 208


Liu Binyan (1925-2005) was twentieth-century China’s exemplar of “reportage literature,” a form of non-fiction that engages social and political issues from the viewpoint of victims and underdogs.  Liu’s “People or Monsters?” in 1979 had a huge nationwide impact that led, in 1985, to his being elected by free popular vote to the post of Vice President of the Chinese Writers Association.  In 1987 his continuing challenges to authoritarian rule led to his expulsion from the Communist Party (for the second time—he had been expelled once before, in 1957, for similar reasons) and, in 1989, to lifetime exile after he denounced the June Fourth massacre of 1989.  Although fierce and unrelenting in his criticisms of the Communist Party, he remained until his death and advocate of “socialism with a human face.”

Why Evening Chats?  

Chinese intellectuals have a traditional duty, for which there is no equivalent in the West: to worry, to “take responsibility for all under heaven,” to argue the question “What can we do with China?” In his 1992 classic Evening Chats in Beijing, an “utterly absorbing gem of a book” (Library Journal), Perry Link conveys the worries besetting China’s most prominent writers, journalists, scientists, professors, and contentious officials. Link creates “an invaluable opening onto China’s best and brightest hearts and minds” (Kirkus Reviews), allowing the Chinese themselves to tell us what happened in Beijing throughout the Cultural Fever. Now that Perry Link will be in Heidelberg, he is letting us in on his readings of Chinese intellectual fervours and the possibilities of thinking across borders. He will offer a series of interactive lectures where colleagues and students are to take an active part. 


Overview of the lectures including all readings:



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