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When Literature Intersects History: On Beijing Coma

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Hang Tung Chow.

A Talk by Dissident Writer, Ma Jian

Ma Jian was born in Qingdao, China, in 1953. He worked as a watch-mender’s apprentice, a painter of propaganda boards, and a photojournalist. At the age of thirty, he left his job and travelled for three years across China. In 1987 he completed Stick Out Your Tongue, which prompted the Chinese government to ban his future work. Ma Jian left Beijing for Hong Kong in 1987 as a dissident, but he continued to travel to China, and he supported the pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989. After the handover of Hong Kong he moved to Germany and then London, where he now lives.

His latest novel, Beijing Coma (2008) revolves around the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and explores the ability to remember and the inability to act through a comatose narrator. The book has been translated into over 10 different languages, and is the recipient of the 2009 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards.

In Chinese with English Translation. Free admission. All welcome.

Organised by CU Amnesty International and Chinese Salon, with support from CU Hong Kong and China Affairs Society

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Also at the same weekend: Voices of Tiananmen – Tiananmen Incident 20th Anniversary Memorial Exhibition

”Once in a while – perhaps every ten years, or even a generation – a novel comes along that profoundly questions the way we look at the world, and at ourselves. BEIJING COMA is a poetic examination not just of a country at a defining moment in its history, but of the universal right to remember and to hope. It is, in every sense, a landmark work of fiction.” – The Daily Telegraph

This talk is part of the Chinese Salon series.

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