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Lions Roar : November 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2009 87 firstname.lastname@example.org www.worldspirit.org.uk ++ 44 161 928 5768 South India ayurveda & temple january 2010 Jung Chang continued from page 61 will forget but (A), people won’t forget, and (B), we need to talk about these things in order to purge them from our system. In my view, this cruel quality is still lying latent. Under normal circumstances it doesn’t come out but when the society is in crisis, it will come back again. Though your books are officially banned, copies exist in China. What’s the reaction of people there? Enthusiastic readers have scanned my books into computers for others to download. Of course, the internet po- lice are vigilant and they’re constantly deleting the texts and closing down bloggers. But still, many people—at least hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of people—have read or heard about the books. I’ve encountered fantastic reactions when I’m in China. People have said wonderful things and been extremely kind to me. On the in- ternet, however, I’ve also received abuse, insults, threats. Abuse from the Chinese government? I can’t say for sure, but apparently there are people whose job it is to write ter- rible follow-ups to things such as my book. They even have a name for these internet agents, which refers to the sum of money they get paid. Other insults are probably written by people who aren’t getting paid. Brainwashing is still going on in China, and under those circumstances people don’t always have intelligent, well- informed views. I understand you’re allowed to go to China. I go to China with restrictions. I can go there to see my mother and my friends, but the Chinese media isn’t allowed to write about me and I’m banned from at- tending public events. You don’t feel nervous in China? Worries are always in the back of my mind, as they are in the minds of other people in similar circumstances, but I’ve always lived with that. I knew when I was writing my books this was the price I’d pay. Chances are, though, that nothing will happen to me. China is different now. It’s not at all like China under Mao. Although it’s still repres- sive, the government does want to work toward building a civilized society and they do want good press from outside China. How did you feel when you first arrived in England? London was like another planet. I felt this was a place where I could let my hair down, put my feet up, and relax. It was wonder- fully classless compared with China. I was in the first group from Communist China to come to the West, and when I got my Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of York, I was the first person from Commu- nist China to get a doctorate from a Brit- ish university. I did many firsts. Another was to go into an English pub. Because the Chinese translation for “pub” suggests an indecent place with nude women gyrating, I’d been told not to go. But I was torn with curiosity and I sneaked out of the college. Of course, I didn’t see any gyrating. A pub can be pretty boring. Yes, I was disappointed [laughs]. I was Jung Chang with her husband, British historian Jon Halliday