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A: Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China

Working Around Chinese Censorship of Literary Works

2002
<p>Author Hao Qun, known by the pen name Murong Xuecun</p>

Author Hao Qun, known by the pen name Murong Xuecun

In 2002 Chinese novelist Hao Qun, under the pen name Murong Xuecun, published his first novel, Chengdu, Please Forget Me Tonight, on the website tianya.cn

"Mr. Murong owes his commercial success to the fact that he has found ways to practice his art and build a fan base on the Internet, outside the more heavily policed print industry.

"He addresses political issues on both a blog and a microblog account that resembles Twitter, which has nearly 1.1 million followers. He posts his novels chapter by chapter or in sections online under different pseudonyms as he writes. This Dickens-style serialization generates buzz, and the writing evolves with reader feedback. Once the book is finished or nearly so, Mr. Murong signs with a publisher. The censored print editions make money, but the Internet versions are more complete" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/world/asia/murong-xuecun-pushes-censorship-limits-in-china.html?hp, accessed 11-10-2011).

The uncensored version of Murong's novel was translated into English by Harvey Thomlinson, and published in 2010 as Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu.

"Thirty-six year old Murong - Chinese literary superstar and reclusive celebrity - twenty eight and working as a sales manager in the car industry when he started posting his first novel Chengdu Please Forget Me Tonight on the internet. In 2002 it became a cult hit amongst young middle class Chinese looking for writing that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable literature. Chengdu Please Forget Me Tonight was eventually posted on almost all of China's online bulletin boards, and attracted around 5 million online readers. Thousands of web commentaries and impassioned debates about the book appeared, while 'formal' commentaries and critiques amounted to more than 50,000 words. The novel won Murong the New Periodical 'Person of the Year', Xinliang website's 'Most popular novel', and the China Literary Journal's 2003 literature prize" (Amazon.com, accessed 11-10-2011).

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