Believe it or not Words on a night breeze was the title of the ground breaking talk back radio show that Chinese writer Xinran hosted at the end of the 1980s. A daring new venture in China at the time, the callers and letter writers opened Xinran’s eyes to the struggles, tragedies and hard lives of many ordinary Chinese people (particularly women), and set her on the path of recording their stories. A city dweller, Xinran was shocked when she began to travel in the Chinese countryside and she says “I have been educated by Chinese peasants”
Her passion is to tell these stories to explain the struggles of the past to the current generation in China amongst whom there seems to be a terrible ignorance of such things as the early years of Mao’s reign and the Cultural Revolution. I think those Westerners who read her books will begin to understand a little about what for many of us is a mysterious and rather frightening culture.
I loved Xinran’s session – she shone through as a passionate, humane person, overcoming the sound system in the Limes Room to connect with her audience. Read her books, and investigate her charity The Mothers’ Bridge of Love for Chinese Children which helps different groups of Chinese children. Projects include helping Chinese children adopted abroad to travel to China to discover their birth culture and to give disabled children in China a better future.