Posted by: Third Tone Devil | 16 November 2007

Wolfgang Kubin: Banning Lu Xun

Wolfgang Kubin, a professor of “Sinology” at the University of Bonn, is giving a lecture in Sydney on 6 December on Lu Xun’s reappraisal in the Chinese official literary canon. He says that Lu Xun is now being replaced by Jin Yong in the textbooks of Chinese schools. That would make sense, and it echoes curiously the Zhu Dake book I am reading, in which he deals with the dual heritage of etatism and rebellion that the Communist Party is trying to deal with (in art and literature as elsewhere). Clearly, the iconoclasm of the May 4 Movement and Lu Xun’s explicit anti-Confucianism are hard to reconcile with the current official promotion of “Asian values.” Though, obviously, the state gets away with promoting elements of ideology that are mutually exclusive, and the newest Lu Xun theme park — where the famous “man-eating society” is not a metaphor for Confucian China but a cannibalistic display — does a great job of disassociating the canon of Lu Xun from his social criticism.

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