The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China From the Bottom Up
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The Corpse Walker introduces us to regular men and women at the bottom of Chinese society, most of whom have been battered by life but have managed to retain their dignity: a professional mourner, a human trafficker, a public toilet manager, a leper, a grave robber, and a Falung Gong practitioner, among others. By asking challenging questions with respect and empathy, Liao Yiwu managed to get his subjects to talk openly and sometimes hilariously about their lives, desires, and vulnerabilities, creating a book that is an instance par excellence of what was once upon a time called “The New Journalism.” The Corpse Walker reveals a fascinating aspect of modern China, describing the lives of normal Chinese citizens in ways that constantly provoke and surprise.
So I came to Chengdu to file a petition with the provincial supreme court. I want to sue the police for illegally detaining me. I also want to sue the detention center for secretly encouraging detainees to extract confessions from their fellow detainees. Those bullies in the detention center had turned the Communist jail into a living hell. Last, I want to sue the local Public Security Bureau for embezzling the gold coins. Nobody knows where the confiscated gold coins have gone. Those involved in
LIAO YIWU: How did you end up here? CUI ZHIXIONG: I have committed the worst crime under heaven. I have cracked many safes and stolen millions of yuan. I'm waiting to be executed. This is the second time I've been locked up in a prison. Three years ago, I got busted for the first time and was locked up at a detention center on Gele Mountain. That was an old-style prison built by the Nationalists in the 1940s. Even after fifty-some years, the structure was still solid. The walls were built with
night. I also asked my neighbor to lock our door from the outside. In this way, even if he sleepwalked, he would end up walking around the house. He is not a detail-oriented person at all. He didn't know about the sleeping pills, but just said his water tasted a little strange. He never bothered to probe further. As time went by, I began to notice a pattern. As long as his mood and emotions were under control, he was OK. Guan Dong loved writing. After the new Communist government was established,
get over her. I began to hang out with her in 1956. LIAO: I can imagine the challenges of dating someone who was incompatible with you politically. My sister used to date a military officer during the Cultural Revolution. Before a military officer or a government official got married, the Party had to conduct thorough background checks on the future spouse's family before granting approval. My sister's boyfriend had to break up with her because my grandfather used to be a landlord. In your case,
enemies. Because of that, I became a little complacent and didn't monitor my third son as closely as I should have. That little devil also became bold. In late October, he stayed with his stepbrother for over three weeks. I was worried to death and went up there to bring him home, but he didn't want to leave. My stepson begged me: Please let him stay with me for a couple of more days. If it hadn't been for my little brother, I wouldn't know how to speak anymore. I will try to teach my little