Tag Archives: Ma Jian

Ma Jian Introduces Madeleine Thien: Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Monday 18th July 2016 7pm – 8pm 107 Charing Cross Road Literary Event, Chargeable Event
Madeleine Thien’s third novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, is an epic, resonant novel about the far-reaching effects of China’s revolutionary history. Spanning the decades since 1949, it tells the story of two inter-linked musical families, from the Shanghai Conservatory in the early years of Mao’s ascent to the tumult of the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations, as a vibrant cast of characters deal with the Cultural Revolution’s impact on their artistic selves, personal relationships and national identity.
The daughter of Malaysian-Chinese immigrants to Canada, Madeleine Thien is uniquely placed to tell this story, and has crafted a novel that deals with epic themes on an intimate scale, flawlessly weaving a Chinese philosophy and sensibility with Western narrative traditions.
At this exclusive event, the acclaimed author of Beijing Coma and Red Dust Ma Jian introduces us to Madeleine and her work. Joined by his wife and translator Flora Drew, Ma Jian and Madeleine will discuss Do Not Say We Have Nothing and the real-world events that it draws upon.
Don’t miss this opportunity to hear one China’s most important cultural commentators in conversation with a striking and important voice in Canadian literature. Their discussion will be followed by a Q&A with the audience and a book signing.
Venue: The Auditorium at Foyles, Level 6, 107 Charing Cross Road
Tickets: FREE. Simply book below.
Please note, no physical tickets will be issued, the email confirmation you receive is proof of your booking.
We are unable to issue refunds to customers unable to attend the event without at least 24 hours’ notice. To request a refund of your ticket purchase or purchases, email [email protected] with your details and request

Ma Jian: A Son of Cultural Revolution

Fifty years ago this month, Mao Zedong launched China’s Cultural Revolution – a decade of chaos, persecution, and violence, carried out in the name of ideology and in the interest of expanding Mao’s personal power. Yet, instead of reflecting on that episode’s destructive legacy, the Chinese government is limiting all discussion of it, and Chinese citizens, focused on the wealth brought by three decades of market-oriented reforms, have been content to go along. But at a time when President Xi Jinping is carrying out ruthless purges and creating his own cult of personality, burying the past is not cost-free. Continue reading

Ma Jian: The howls of China’s prisoners will haunt this royal welcome for Xi Jinping

The Chinese president’s state visit coincides with the biggest crackdown on his country’s civil society in years. This fawning insults the people of both countries
Chinese flags fly side by side with union flags on the Mall ahead of Xi Jinping’s state visit. Photograph: Lauren Hurley/PA

Eighteen years ago, I stood at dawn in the driving rain and watched with dread as the tanks and trucks of China’s People’s Liberation Army rolled into Hong Kong, reclaiming sovereignty over the British colony. It was clear at once that Hong Kong’s fledgling democracy was doomed. To escape Big Brother’s gaze and retain the freedom to think and write, I moved to London. Continue reading

No. 17 Fu Zheng Ming:Motamorphoses, Alienation and the Return of Human Essence

-On the Philosophical Implications of Ma Jian’s Novel Beijing Coma

Twenty five years have passed away since the massacre on the June Fourth 1989 in Beijing. The history provides inspiration for many stories. However, the dictatorial suppression by the Chinese authorities is still alive. The Chinese writer Ma Jian’s novel Beijing Coma (2009) is an epic novel focusing on the June Fourth Tragedy. Today it draws more attention to its meanings in both history and reality and its literary values. In my opinion, it is a novel with philosophical implications. Continue reading

Ma Jian: Tiananmen Square 25 years on: ‘Every person in the crowd was a victim of the massacre’

In June 1989, the novelist Ma Jian was among the million freedom protesters who gathered in Tiananmen Square. The brutal response shocked the world and crushed the Democracy Movement. But, he says, its spirit and aspirations live on
The Guardian, Sunday 1 June 2014 12.59 EDT Continue reading

“Sexual love as an antidote to totalitarian control”

JUNE 4, 2011 · 9:50 AM

In memoriam of those who perished on 4 June 1989 on Tiananmen Square. An accidental cross-examination with the Chinese exile author Ma Jian, who dares to remember China’s past in his novel Beijing Coma.
by Julie O’Yang © 2011

The first time when I met Ma Jian, it was two years ago on a wintry day in Brussels. We were both at Europalia, Festival biennal des Arts et de la Culture hosted by the European capital. It sounds better than it is. While a cold wind blew outside the large windows of Royal Museum of Fine Art, the vibes inside reminded me somewhat of Commissaire Maigret coloured haphazardly with a child’s felt pen set. Two days before my publisher had phoned to ask me if I could help a Chinese author named Ma Jian, who was on
the Continent to be interviewed by Dutch/Flemish media. “He needs an interpreter. You get paid for the job,” my publisher had said. Certainly, I had answered. The same afternoon I set out to do my research.

I knew Ma Jian from my high school years in China. His short story collection about Tibet, Stick Out Your Tongue, caused quite a stir at the time. “Stick out your tongue” is what a doctor says when you go to a hospital in China as part of forming a diagnosis. In his stories, the author portrayed a Tibet and Tibetan Culture in a harsh, unpretty but honest way, contrary to the popular, romantic version a la Heinrich Harrer. I don’t remember if I particularly liked the book, but back then I read China’s literary avant-gardists with gusto and devoured every letter that came my way. The fact that language became an enjoyable game, and the outcome excited me and brought me sensational shocks. Six months after the military crash on Tiananmen Square, I went abroad to study. Consequently, I lost track of the literary
scene from my motherland as I myself was left to the hand of fate. I needed to fill some serious gaps, that’s for sure.

Continue reading

Ma Jian:The Dark Road from China

Ma Jian:The Dark Road from China

Amy Hawkins talks to the Chinese writer and exiled dissident about China’s one child policy, and how he still hopes to go home

by Amy Hawkins   

Thursday 30th January 2014, 18:05 GMT

Ma Jian has not been allowed to return to China since 2011
“I write for the weak and vulnerable, those who have no voice in China,” says Ma Jian, speaking through an interpreter. This is what drives him to write. Considering that his work has been banned in China for the last 25 years, and he
himself has been banned for nearly three, it would seem safe to say that he is the one who has been silenced. However, he does not see it this way. Although an unpopular figure with the Chinese Communist Party, he continues to write prolifically, having recently published his sixth novel, The Dark Road.

“Government is temporary, literature is forever,” he tells me, drawing an analogy between his works and the historically banned Soviet literature that is now freely available to Russian citizens. One day, he hopes, his words will reach those who inspired them.

Continue reading

ICPC’s Road of A Decade: Harmony Within Differences

By Ma Jian

This year, Independent Chinese PEN Centre is 10 years old. It has developed from 30+ members to nearly 300, from a baby starting its steps to the one going to the world, having experienced all the ups and downs of growth. Today, I will only talk about my personal experience at ICPC Board as I may be the only founding member there. Continue reading