Sha Li at 5th Annual Literary Festival

“It’s not enough that you’ve been a tough champion of the people and rooted out gobs of corruption.  You have to tell them what you’ve done.  And video.  Really powerful stuff.  Can we use any of the bust video from Xi’an?”

The really powerful video from Lianyungang has already filtered through the selection committee.  Mai doesn’t know it, but the tee-shirt contest clip has made the rounds.  HUANG paid 1,000 yuan to the karaoke host for a copy of the video made by the sleazy entrepreneur.  He knew it was a matter of time before it would circulate farther.

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Sebastopol, California


Born Maia Perizzolo, she shortened her name to Mai legally when she married Rick. Classic Gen-X’er, she was born in 1972 to hippie parents enrolled at Cal Berkeley who then migrated with the back-to-the-land movement to the Northern California idyll of Sonoma County. She grew up in a geodesic dome her parents built from recycled beams and hand-hewed redwood, with solar-powered lights and a composting toilet. The commune was a short drive from Sebastopol up Highway 12 in the Redwoods, called New World Utopia. It attracted dreamy idealists from the city who wanted to get in touch with their inner wa—harmony and peacewith the help of a little LSD, plenty of pot, a couple of hot tubs, and free love. 

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What do people say?

Mai packages her first report, which inadvertently includes forbidden keywords, and hits the print command. She had been careful not to search on the permanently disallowed three Ts: Taiwan, Tibet, and Tian’anmen Square. But an article mentioning Beijing University had popped up several days after the controversial announcement that Liu Xiaobo, an imprisoned Chinese dissident, had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Unbeknownst to her, Nobel Prize had become a forbidden keyword phrase, and she triggers a violation.

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