The Belt and Road of Banned Chinese Literature: The Global Receptions of Yan Lianke

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: The Belt and Road of Banned Chinese Literature: The Global Receptions of Yan Lianke
Stream: Literature
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Howard Choy, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong (organizer, chair, presenter)
Shelley W. Chan, Wittenberg University, United States (presenter)
Carole Hang-fung Hoyan, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (presenter)
Kevin Ting Kit Yau, Academia Sinica, Taiwan (presenter)
Carlos Rojas, Duke University, United States (discussant)


After Gao Xingjian and Mo Yan became the Nobel laureates in 2000 and 2012, respectively, Yan Lianke has been considered by literary scholars to be the next award candidate. While banned at home in mainland China in recent years, Yan’s publications and recognitions have been found in the peripheral and foreign lands, from Hong Kong and Taiwan to America and Europe. The panel studies the global receptions of this controversial Chinese writer and their significance at the time of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

We begin with Shelley Wing Chan’s examination of the reception dynamics of Yan’s fiction in China and abroad through an analysis of (self-)censorship and other factors causing the nonequivalent receptions that form a dialogue inside and outside China. Then Carole Hang-fung Hoyan investigates the reception of Yan in Hong Kong from a cross-regional perspective by resituating Yan in the context of world literature and probing into the dynamics of how his writings travel from the mainland to Hong Kong and beyond. Kevin Ting Kit Yau continues with his collection of book reviews, journal papers and dissertations, aiming at the reception of Yan in Taiwan, a key geographical position to publish Yan’s novels, and its meaning to the Chinese publishing industry under China’s censorship. Finally, Howard Yuen Fung Choy traces the journey of Yan’s idea of shenshi zhuyi, translated as “mythorealism,” to the West and examines how he is put on a par with American, British, Kazakhstan, Polish, Russian authors and artists and received by Italian scholars.