The Fat Years: Chan Koonchung

Something odd is afoot in Beijing. The most troublesome bits of Chinese history have disappeared from the bookstores. The month of February has been scrubbed from the memories of the masses. And everyone is incredibly happy thanks to the right drugs in the water supply. And If that sounds like fiction, it is. That's the plot of a novel that is one of the most popular in China today but also one that no one would publish. Instead, it is available only online. Novelist Chan Koonchung's, China of-the-very-near-future asks hard questions about what his fellow citizens are choosing to forget in the real world as China ascends globally, politically and financially.

Part Three of The Current

The Fat Years: Chan Koonchung

Chinese writer Chan Koonchung worried his country was on a dangerous path. But he couldn't find a way to make other Chinese men and women share his worries. At least he couldn't until he wrote his new novel The Fat Years. It's set in China in 2013. He writes how an economic collapse has wrecked most of the world, leaving China the dominant power. Criticism of the state has melted away.

And the overwhelming majority of the population believes it's living through a Golden Age of Ascendancy. But there are problems; to start with, an entire month is missing from everyone's memories. The novel has yet to find a publisher on the mainland -- but a lot of people have found ways to read it.

Chan Koonchung was in Beijing. His latest novel The Fat Years is the first of his novels to be translated into English.

This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott.

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Today's last word goes to Wiebo Ludwig. The oil patch activist and polarizing figure died Monday following a struggle with cancer of the esophagus. He was seventy years old. In April 2000, Mr. Ludwig was convicted on charges related to sabotaging oil and gas infrastructure in northwestern Alberta. He served 19 months in jail.

And on January 11th of 2010, The Current spoke to Wiebo Ludwig following his arrest in connection with the string bombings of EnCana pipelines in British Columbia. In the end he was released without charge. We aired an excerpt of Wiebo Ludwig talking about those events from his home in Trickle Creek, Alberta.

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