Why Chinese do not read books anymore – Zhang Lijia

On 16/08/2013 by Site Default

In volumes, quality and quantity China’s book industry might have exploded, but Chinese are no longer reading books, concludes The Atlantic, quoting the author Zhang Lijia on how a changing China changed book-reading habits.


The Atlantic:

Why are the Chinese turning away from reading books? The question has prompted soul-searching among the country’s intellectuals, many of whom, like Yu Hua, lament how things have changed since the relatively liberal 1980s. Zhang Lijia, a freelance writer based in Beijing, who wrote a memoir of coming of age during the initial years of the reform period, reminisced fondly about people’s passion for reading: “I often had get-togethers with friends where we talked about politics and discussed the books we were reading ,” she recalled. “There was such a strong spirit of inquiry.” That spirit was decimataed, Zhang says, by China’s single-minded pursuit for economic prosperity, which has left its people with little regard for anything else. “People are too restless, too utilitarian,” she reflected. “You need some peace in mind in order to be able to sit down with a book.”

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