People’s for wish for democracy remains: Chinese writer Bi Feiyu (Interview)January 14th, 2012 - 12:48 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) People’s wish for democracy has no end, so days of revolution still exist in China, says writer Bi Feiyu, who won the Man Asian Literary Prize for his book “Three Sisters” in 2010. He also points out that Chinese youth are more keen to make money now, but women get less of a chance.
The cultural revolution is over and “today’s Chinese politics is much better than during that time. But we cannot be happy about that because people’s wish of democracy and liberation have no end,” Feiyu, 47, told IANS in an interview here.
He was in the country to release the Indian edition of the English translation of his book published by Om Books International.
“I believe the days of the revolution are still existing because there is no multi-party system in China, the army does not belong to the country - but to the party. The media is not yet free. All these are the wishes that the Chinese people hope can be solved,” Feiyu said.
So one cannot assume or feel that the cultural revolution is over “because that means you will be happy”, the writer felt.
Opening a window into the state of Chinese socio-economic psyche post-Tiananmen Square in 1989, the novelist said, “Many Chinese, including the knowledgeables, have put their excitement in making money and not on politics.”
“I feel that after the Tiananmen uprising, youth’s passion towards politics has reduced considerably. They want to be rich while they are very young,” the writer said.
His novel, “Three Sisters” explores the life of three sisters, Yumi (corn in Chinese), Yuxiu (beauty) and Yuyang (earth) who find their ways out of the petty treachery of the village to the slogans of the cultural revolution and the mad pace of city life. The lives of the three sisters change with their journey from the village to the city.
The novelist in the course of his narrative from rural to urban China unravels the contrasts in the situations - the quirks in lifestyles and the rot that the Communist regime had bred in 1970s’ China.
The socio-political movement that took place in China led by Mao Zedong from 1966 through 1976 to enforce socialism had left its imprint in almost every sphere of culture - not even sparing the women folk whose lives were dictated by the party.
Comparing his three heroines, Feiyu said “Yumi has more socialism, while Yuxiu is more natural. Yuyang does not have any of the characteristics of her two older siblings, but even then the politics does not leave her alone.”
Feiyu said he had “deliberately created three different women in his novel - and all the three could avoid the autocratic politics of the people who had started the cultural revolution”.
“Through the real life of these girls in the book, I am letting people know that this kind of life cannot go on… When the youth of today’s China see (read) the book, they will tell themselves that the three sisters are not far away from us,” Feiyu said.
Feiyu said “the resources that the women get in education are the same in both genders”. “But the problem for Chinese women begins when they are going into society,” the writer said.
For example, “when a boss wants to hire two workers, he chooses two men instead of women because a woman has a family and she has to be a mother,” Feiyu said, pointing out the roots of the problems for women in Chinese society.
“It is not that the women are not independent, but they get less chances in the process of capital creation and making money,” Feiyu said.
Feiyu said the cultural revolution in China had led to a lot of differences between his generation and the next.
“Both the generations have their pros and cons, while the advantages of our generation is that we have more dreams, more ideals and a desire for perfection and more responsibility towards society,” the writer said.
The cons “are in the way our generation looks at society,” the writer lamented.
“We are not very generous or large-hearted. And have a very rough judgment, when we face a person or the world, we feel if it (or the person) is not right, it must be wrong. But the new generation knows there is a shade of grey,” Feiyu said.
The writer is working on a new novel on contemporary China.
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at email@example.com)
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Tags: chinese politics, chinese writer, chinese youth, contrasts, cultural revolution, democracy, excitement, liberation, narrative, New Delhi, novelist, pace, psyche, quirks, slogans, three sisters, tiananmen square, treachery, uprising, urban china