Chinese Spring: profound insights into modern China and Hong Kong

Posted on May 20, 2019

As the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Square approaches, Christopher New’s Chinese Spring, published by Contraband on 30 May, offers intelligent, enthralling literary fiction that combines a moving family saga with profound insights into modern China and Hong Kong.

Set in the years leading up to the 2014 Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, and in the context of new human rights abuses being widely reported, Chinese Spring explores what life is really like in China:

Hong Kong, 2012. Dimitri Johnson learns that he is dying. Stunned by his doctor’s prognosis, he nevertheless makes his ritual annual pilgrimage to the candlelight vigil for the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. But this year, he thinks, may be his last. So little time remains.

Over on the mainland, Chinese academic Yu Guodong is arrested for protesting against an official land grab in his ancestral village. Guodong’s wife appeals to Dimitri’s family for help, but taking on the forces of the state is fraught with danger. And isn’t it simply a fool’s errand, anyway?

A powerful family drama set against the backdrop of the burgeoning protest movement that led to Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution, Chinese Spring explores the reality of democracy and dissent in modern China. And begs the question: have things really changed for the post-Tiananmen generation