Q&A: China’s fading hinterland

Liang Hong tells Roxanne Escobales about the changes in Chinese rural life at the heart of her book ‘China in One Village’

The World Today Published 4 June 2021 3 minute READ

Roxanne Escobales

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

China in One Village charts the changes in rural life through oral histories of its residents recorded by literary scholar, Liang Hong, on a return visit home. It found instant popularity after publication in 2010, helping to kickstart a literary trend for non-fiction storytelling. The first English translation will be available in June. 

We have a saying in English that ‘you can’t go home again’. In your own homecoming, you describe a changed landscape: the river has dried up; the roads are new, paved, wide and plentiful; the waterfowl have disappeared. Even your childhood home is abandoned and in disrepair, an apt metaphor for village life. What was the most challenging aspect of returning home – and memorializing your village with this book? 

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