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  • Christopher G. Moore

Looking to fiction for a guide to political truth

Corruption in Asia is opaque. Behind the fogged window deals are cut, payments made, transfers to offshore accounts. If it were a large, open field, then one might say the press occasionally digs around the corners, sometimes striking a small root. In the International Herald Tribune Friday 3 November 2006, in an article captioned: “In Shanghai, a prism of fiction reveals truth.” Correspondent Howard W. French read Qui Xiaolong’s novel When Red is Black.

French quotes Qui Xiaolong, who is a reporter for a Saint Louis newspaper and living in the United States, who was interviewed on NPR, “Everywhere, at every level you meet with different kinds of corruption.” He also notes that while Qui Xiaolong’s detective novels haven’t been ban in China, the local publisher changed of the city where the detective works from Shanghai to a nonsense name. “They changed a lot,” Qui said. “Some paragraphs or sentences they simply cut.” French writes Qui’s novels can be read “as a sort of almanac of today’s corruption scandal.”

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