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Tea Leaves

Censorship and apathy strip China's branches bare

Jia Pingwa's 'Broken Wings' delivers a harsh take on rural realities

Jia Pingwa is a popular and critically acclaimed Chinese author, but are his days of literary freedom numbered? (Courtesy of Nicky Harman)

"If you come here rescuing kidnapped women, we won't have any wives left! Pull harder!"

So speaks a character in Chinese author Jia Pingwa's novel "Broken Wings," flavorfully translated into English this year by Nicky Harman. A policeman and a journalist have accompanied a woman into the Loess plateau of north-central China. The woman has traced her kidnapped daughter, Butterfly, to a village there, where she has been sold as a "wife."

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