Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Tuesday, July 18, 2023


"George Orwell's novel tops all of the Russian bestseller lists in 2022. Really?" Raising her voice on the last word, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman reacts to the West’s latest report on what's happened in Putin's Russia.

"I remember in the 1990s within the public school system," the spokeswoman pauses to clear her throat, then continues, "we were drilled that Orwell was describing the horrors of totalitarianism, instead of how liberalism would lead humanity to a dead end." 

"We now know that all the powers of liberal Europe had entered into an unholy alliance to corrupt the Russian youth who were hungry for truthful knowledge at the time. As Orwell wrote in his novel, 'There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.' This is our Russian stance." The volume of her last statement is amplified by the clicking of cameras.

a pink-haired teen
held face down in the mud
by plainclothes cops
her Nineteen Eighty-Four
torn apart page by page