I first learned of Wei Hui and her first book Shanghai Baby on NPR a few years ago. According to the story, Wei Hui is among a “group of young, attractive women known as the ‘beautiful writers’ churning out novels that graphically describe the hedonism of modern urban China.” Wei Hui’s book was so controversial that it Chinese authorities banned it, causing a nearly immediate surge in popularity at home and abroad.
Now, I still haven’t read the book, but what most amused me at the time was the criticism leveled by the Chinese goverment, who labeled Hui: “decadent and a debauched slave of foreign culture.”
About such writing in general, AsiaTimes reported:
“Chinese leaders don’t like these new trends,” said one foreign diplomat. “It is quite contrary to the kind of Confucian morality which they are trying to promote.”
Addressing writers last month, Jiang said: “Literary and art workers should adhere to the truth, oppose falsehood, glorify beauty and goodness, advocate science and combat foolishness.”
And so it occured to me why the Bushies like China so much: controlled economic freedoms, limited individual liberties. That’s the sort of environment conservative politicians want. Decadent, debauched slave to monied interests. That’s what connects the other book cover at the top of this story.