July 25, 2021

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Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Orwell in China: Big Brother in every bookshop

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Michael Bank in The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 23, No. 2, June 9, 2014

As I was researching Nineteen Eighty-four in Chinese, I wondered whether Orwell ever wrote about China. His interest in India, where he was born in 1903, is well known, and he served in the Burma Police after leaving school and before becoming a writer, but my guess was that China didn’t concern him greatly. But when I went to the British Library to check in his massive, 20-volume Complete Works [CW], I was surprised to discover that he wrote quite a lot about China and its fate under Japanese occupation, in particular when he was working for the BBC’s Eastern Service during World War II.

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