Under the Jade Vault Lei Feng Salutes Mark Twain

Krysl, Marilyn
September 1984
Journal of Higher Education;Sep/Oct1984, Vol. 55 Issue 5, p555
Academic Journal
The article presents the author's experiences of six months in 1982 when she lectured undergraduates in the People's Republic of China on the American short story and taught a refresher course for Chinese teachers of English at the Tianjin Foreign Language Institute. Friends distinguish between the U.S. government and the American people. Newspapers and grammar books at the Institute still refer to the United States as a government of imperialists, aggressors, and bourgeois capitalists. The same labels are used for the Russians. Twice a week the author goes to the hospital for acupuncture. She goes to the Chinese section, not the special area for foreigners. Poetry is still associated with the scholar-official class and is pretty much considered beside the point. Fiction is in because--so the reasoning goes--it can teach. Chinese think of America as imperialist, but at the same time they think of America as their ally against the Russians. There is comparatively little violent crime here. And morality is so tight as to make sexuality invisible. Male or female, one goes among the masses genderless. When a corrupt cadre is arrested, people set off strings of firecrackers in the street. Every day the press reports cases of graft involving government officials. Three cadres who visited a commune but failed to pay for their meals are brought to trial.


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