Mai Jia: A Chinese spy novelist’s world of dark secrets

MaiJiaMai Jia, a top-selling Chinese espionage novelist and former soldier, has been writing about secrets for years.

In his half-dozen novels, Mr. Mai, who has sold millions of books and won many Chinese literary awards, including the Mao Dun Literature Prize, describes intrigue at home that most Chinese, let alone non-Chinese, know nothing about.

But his work has taken on a new sense of urgency as the world adjusts to the scale of surveillance by American intelligence agencies that has been revealed by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency in the United States.

Mr. Mai says his message, available for the first time in English next month when his novel ‘‘Decoded’’ comes out in the United States and Britain, is about more than China; it’s about the world.

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