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When China’s dream becomes a nightmare

In Ma Jian’s vision of China the past has never truly been addressed

Xi Jingping dominates modern China

Xi Jingping dominates modern China

China Dream by Ma Jian, translated by Flora Drew (Chatto & Windus, £12.99)

What is China’s future? In this novel, the question is asked through Ma Daode, a pot-bellied local government official recognisable in plenty of small towns today—about 50 per cent corrupt, juggling mistresses, but also with a human heart.

Ma wants to roll out a “China dream” neural implant, a device that can wipe memories and instead install a pure devotion to…

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