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Copycat China

From replica White Houses to Chairman Mao impersonators, the “copycat” phenomenon is sweeping China. Is it an excuse for pirating or an inspiring challenge to authority?

By Yu Hua   198

“Hands up if you’re Chairman Mao”: a lookalike competition in 2008 in Hunan, Mao’s home province

In China in Ten Words, the prize-winning novelist Yu Hua sets out “to compress the endless chatter of China today into ten simple words.” His book has been called a “much needed, and hugely subversive, dose of reality,” and invaluable for understanding modern China. The extract below deals with the copycat phenomenon, a sign of the moral confusion that threatens China’s future.

The story of contemporary China can be told from many different angles,…

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