HU JIAN (1983— )
HU JIAN (1983— ). Fiction writer. Born in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Hu Jian became known first in cyberspace where he began posting his work in 2001, attracting a sizable following among young readers. When his novella “Chong’er” (The Favorite Son) appeared in 2002 under the pen name Ci Xiaodao in Mengya (Sprouts), a journal geared to young readers, Hu’s reputation grew. In the same year, a collection of novellas, Fen qing shidai (The Era of Angry Youths), about rebels and heroes in Chinese history, also came out. Promoted as a ticket that would win the author admission to Beijing University, the book caused a media storm around the criteria of Chinese college admissions. In the end, Hu was accepted by Wuhan University, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Chinese.
Hu has been influenced by Wang Xiaobo, whose highly imaginative prose and sardonic wit find their way into Hu’s Fen qing shidai. Hu’s essay “Du mu qiao shang de baogao” (A Report on the Single-Plank Bridge), which exposes the problems in the Chinese education system, also shares Wang’s characteristically rigorous and unrelenting style. Qiang huo: jianmie feitu shouce (Gunfire: A Handbook for Annihilating Mobsters), a collection of essays about crimes, terrorism, and weaponry that he had published online and in his column in Nanfang dushi bao (The Southern City Daily), came out in book form in 2006.
Characterized as a young man with an old soul, Hu is admired for his sophisticated intellect hidden behind a humorous and playful language. His observations of history and reality reveal an understanding about life and its sufferings.