Made in China: “Contemporary Chinese literature should have the self-confidence to forget what it is and where it came from.” Julie O’Yang, novelist

*In memoriam of the May 4th Movement*

May Fourth Movement, intellectual revolution and sociopolitical reform movement that occurred in China in 1917–21. The movement was directed toward national independence, emancipation of the individual, and rebuilding society and culture.

In 1915, in the face of Japanese encroachment on China, young intellectuals, inspired by “New Youth” (Xinqingnian), a monthly magazine edited by the iconoclastic intellectual revolutionary Chen Duxiu, began agitating for the reform and strengthening of Chinese society. As part of this New Culture Movement, they attacked traditional Confucian ideas and exalted Western ideas, Mr. Sci(ence) and Mr. De(mocracy). The movement also marked the birth of the Chinese Communist Party.

Chen Duxiu: the founding father of New Culture Movement/May 4th Movement. May 4th served as turning point in China; it was a seminal event that radicalised Chinese intellectual thought. Their “new thought” and “new literature” would inspire and dominate the intellectual revolution and sociopolitical reform for decades to come.


Newspaper ads from the New Era
Newspaper ads from the New Era

julie 超辣

Determined dreamer. Published author in English, Dutch, and Chinese. Former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) captain turned artist entrepreneur and screenwriter. She survived the Cultural Revolution as a baby. In the 1990’s she left for London and has lived and worked in free exile ever since. Her work covers a wide spectrum. As journalist, she creates content covering a range of topics on contemporary China from an insider perspective. In 2008, during the Beijing Olympics, she hosted a 5-episode talk show TV China for Netherlands’ national broadcaster and discussed China’s media landscape with media stars and experts from both China and the Netherlands. From 2013-2016 she was the Editor-in-Chief of the English/Chinese bilingual magazine XiN 新, focusing on today’s China shaped by consumerism. O’yang contributes a weekly column to Hoje Macau on contemporary Chinese art and culture. Her English language book titles include: Butterfly, a historical crime love story set in the Second World War. Since May 2016 O'yang has been collaborating with Flemish photographer Filip Naudts on an art project, which has resulted in the photo novel The Picture of Dorya Glenn. Julie works from the Netherlands and Denmark.

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  1. Did Duxiu write a short story called “Diary of a Madman” and notes against parallelism in Chinese literature?

    1. Diary of a Madman is one of my favourite short stories, it is written by another giant from New Culture Movement, Lu Xun.
      “Read as few Chinese books as possible, or even not at all, but instead read more foreign books.” Lu Xun .

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