The controversy over Fang Fang’s ‘Wuhan Diary’: A conversation with the translator, Michael Berry

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This week on Sinica, Kaiser speaks with Michael Berry, the translator of the Wuhan-based writer Fang Fang’s controversial Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City. Michael discusses Fang Fang’s body of work and how her daily online posts on WeChat (which were compiled to become her book) drew the ire of critics who have denounced the diary as an act of national betrayal and have even leveled threats against both the author and the translator. Michael Berry is a professor of contemporary Chinese cultural studies and the director of the Center for Chinese Studies at UCLA.

5:21: Reflections on Fang Fang’s Soft Burial

10:42: Fang Fang’s diary, and its backlash

21:08: An excerpt from Wuhan Diary

31:07: COVID-19: The common enemy of humankind

Recommendations:

Michael: The album Free Spirit, by the band Chandresh Kudwa. For a taste, you can listen to the title track here.

Kaiser: The mockumentary TV show called What We Do in the Shadows.

This podcast was edited and produced by Kaiser Kuo and Jason MacRonald.

264 episodes