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Who knows China like 'God Knows China?'

(Global Times)

14:10, June 25, 2012

Cover of God Knows China

The word "politics" carries loaded meanings, and Chinese politics, which has endured thousands of years of dynasties and numerous power struggles is fascinating to many outsiders.

God Knows China, Wang Meng's latest book discussing Chinese politics, was released earlier this month. Born in 1934, Wang joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) when he was 14 years old, personally experiencing many of China's most recent historic events.

"I was a witness and participant of China's revolution, construction and modern development. I like to [reflect] and contemplate Chinese politics," he writes in the book's introduction.

Writer and politician

Politics are divisive. Take China's modern history as an example, Wang said. Some think of it as a violent game, a competition for cheaters, or a cruel power struggle.

"I'm obligated to tell the truth about China's historic events, rather than listen to irresponsible remarks," he said. Indeed, Wang is possibly the ideal and most authoritative writer in China to interpret domestic politics, as politics and literature are inseparable in his life.

Wang is a highly prolific writer. Since the release of his first novel, Xiaodouer in 1955, he has published over 60 books, including six novels, 10 short story collections, as well as other works of poetry, prose and critical essays. His works have been translated and published into 21 different languages. Popular books include Long Live Youth, Metamorphosis, and My Life Philosophy.

Wang has an active political life. He joined the CPC in 1948 and worked as an underground party member before the country was liberated. In the late 1950s, he was wrongly labeled as a rightist for his book, A New Arrival at the Organization Department (1956), consequently suffering nearly two decades of hardship.

In 1963, he was sent to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to be "reformed" through hard labor, working there for over 10 years. When his case in the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) was redressed, Wang was elected as a member of the CPC Central Committee until the end of his term, 1992. From 1986 to 1989, he served as Minister of China's Ministry of Culture.

Now 78, Wang tackles politics again in his book. Without taking sides, his book is based on personal narration interspersed with comments, offering a unique view on China's modern history.

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