Blog post

Scattered Sand in Literary Review and on BBC Radio 3's Night Waves

18 September 2012

Scattered Sand, Hsiao-Hung Pai's exposé on the phenomenon of Chinese migration, has received further praise from Literary Review. In his review, Jonathan Mirsky writes with a new understanding of modern China, the China detailed in Pai’s book. The reality goes far beyond the myth of the economic miracles reportedly taking place. "Will she ever get another Chinese visa?" writes Mirsky comically, astonished by the depth of Pai's research and the accounts that can only come from first hand experience. Mirsky details Pai’s discovery of the many instances of AIDS-related deaths in China, as the blood donation trade acts as a deadly means of securing any sort of stable income for the poorest Chinese workers. Qi Cheng is one example: He sold up to 800 centilitres of blood per day and earned enough money to build three homes, but left four children behind after he and his wife died of AIDS. His story is just one of many. The aims of the book appear to have been met, with Mirsky noting that:

Pai's book is suitable for anyone with even slightly interested in China and worried about this becoming the Chinese century, and it may jolt academic specialists clinging to the conviction that the Chinese 'economic miracle' is widespread.

Hsaio-Hung Pai also appeared on BBC Radio 3's Night Waves. Dispelling the myth of China's burgeoning middle classes, Pai spoke further about the blood trade, recollected the protest songs of China from the late 1980s and recounted further stories of the poorest workers who continue to build the skyscrapers but are abandoned by the Party they brought into power.

Listen to the entire interview here.

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