CHINESE WRITERS UNDER THE COMMUNISTS
Liu Bolin, China’s Invisible Man artist Writers were singled out in the anti-rightist campaign in the 1950s and banished to remote labor camps and harassed and humiliated in the Cultural Revolution when intellectuals were branded the “The Stinking Ninth”---the last and worst category of class enemies. About 2900 writers were killed or driven to suicide, including the great novelist Lao She who drowned himself in Taiping Lake after being attacked by Red Guards at Beijing’s Confucius Temple.
During the Tiananmen Square demonstrations 100 or so of China’s most successful writers marched out of the Chinese Writers Association building and called for political reform and an end to corruption. After the protests were crushed essayist Liu Xiabo and novelist Zheng Yi and other named as ring leaders were imprisoned or forced into exile. Gao Xingjian, who later won the Nobel Prize for Literature, resigned from the party, left for France and never has been allowed back to China.
The London-based Chinese writer Ma Jian wrote in Times of London: “No sooner had the Government washed the blood from the streets that it began to wipe the tragedy from history. Numbed by horror and fear, most writers fell silent. Some even parroted the party line that the demonstrations amounted to a “counter-revolutionary riot” and that violent suppression had been essential to return the nation to order. They turned away from the real world and retreated into the cozy confines of their silk-padded prison, They chose to write melodrama about the imperial or republican past.”
Ma Jian criticized one Chinese writer who referred to himself as a dissident writer and boasted he was asleep during the Tiananmen massacre and didn’t join in the march because he were too exhausted.
Chinese Writers Today
“The idealistic writers who marched in 1989 are now luminaries of the literary establishment,” Ma wrote. “The Chinese Writers Association has provided them with rural villas equipped with saunas and gyms, and almost limitless expense accounts. When they go to give lectures, police cars with blaring sirens clear the roads for their chauffeur-driven limousines.” When they travel abroad they are told by their party handlers to ‘speak about what you should speak about and not speak about what you shouldn’t speak about.”
Many of the writers that receive no state support are referred to as “hooligan writers” who often “focus on the alienation of urban youth” and “beautiful women writers” who produce reams of narcissistic chick-lit.”
Liu Bolin, China’s Invisible Man artist
preparing for a piece Writers born in the 1970s are known as “70-hou” in Chinese. Although they get published many feel neglected and don’t have big numbers of readers. A typical “70-hou” writer keeps a day job. Many are public servants, or minor officials, and others are newspaper and magazine editors. The 36-year-old Xie Zongyu is a policeman in Changsha. The job gives him an endless supply of unusual crime stories, which he can adapt into fiction.
He started by contributing to Zhiyin, a popular magazine that pays a good price for this kind of story. One day, he witnessed the bloated corpse of a young woman floating down the river. She was one of a pair of lovers who committed suicide because they could not see any future for their love. The man's body surfaced soon after drowning, but it took 10 days for the woman to be found. When people used a forklift that pierced into her body to drag it ashore, he could not help pondering the meaning of life.
Why should I spend my life churning out words that do not express the profundity of the human existence, he asked himself. He turned to serious writing, which often pays 100 yuan ($15) or less for every 1,000 Chinese characters. But he has no regrets. Unless you're a best-selling writer, he says, the money from creating literature does not make a difference to the quality of your material life.
However, people like Xie do care about fame and feel their writing can bring about change and gain them more respect. “What we want most is the recognition and applause from peers,” said Zhe Gui, the 35-year-old from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, a place with a pervasive business culture.
Mao Zedong’s 1942 “Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art?
Nobel-Prize winner Chinese writer Mo Yan said that Mao Zedong’s 1942 “Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art,” is “a historical document whose existence is a matter of historical necessity.” In his speech, Mao Zedong said, "Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause; they are, as Lenin said, cogs and wheels in the whole revolutionary machine." As a result, Mao demanded writers in the socialist regime write for the masses: "China’s revolutionary writers and artists, writers and artists of promise, must go among the masses; they must for a long period of time unreservedly and whole-heartedly go among the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, go into the heat of the struggle. Only then can they proceed to creative work." Not any kind of creative work, but work that serves the "proletarian revolutionary cause."
Charles Laughlin of the University of Virginia wrote: “We teach Mao’s “Talks” not only in my “Introduction to Modern Chinese Literature,” but also in our much broader survey “East Asian Canons and Cultures,” designed and taught by my colleague in traditional Japanese literature, Gustav Heldt. Mao’s “Talks” played a key role in the formation of the modern Chinese literary canon; as Mo Yan puts it, the new writers of the 1980s were very much focused on breaking through the limitations the “Talks” placed on literature, and yet there is still much in the “Talks” that he can accept. [Source: Charles Laughlin, MCLC List, October 12, 2012]
Mao’s “Talks” does not lay down rules that must be obeyed, nor does it prescribe torture, incarceration, ostracism or death as penalties for disobedience. It is clear that Mao was concerned with discipline among intellectuals in Yan’an, and we know that he held the Forum as a pretext for criticizing Ding Ling, Wang Shiwei and other intellectuals who Mao thought were getting out of line. Wang was even executed, presumably for ideological sins, but it would be a mistake to lay the blame for the violence of Rectification on Mao’s “Talks.” The Forum and Mao’s “Talks” were political theater, meant to lend the appearance of interactivity, if not democracy, to the Rectification campaign. [Ibid]
The interesting thing about Mao’s “Talks,” though, from today’s perspective, is that in them, Mao emphasizes how writers who have come to Yan’an from all over China during World War II were entering into a new, unfamiliar rural environment, and that new literary works should reflect that change of space. They should abandon the environment of urban life, themes of social disintegration, and bourgeois consciousness that characterized much Chinese literature of the 1930s. Mao insisted that writers immerse themselves in this rural world and to look at China through the eyes of peasants. The new literature should abandon negativity and emphasize politically heroic characters and more optimism for the future. While this often led to insipid literature, it also had much in common with 1938 Nobel Prize for literature winner Pearl Buck’s way of writing China, and also something in common with Mo Yan’s rural fictional world. [Ibid]
Other see “Talks” in more sinister terms.Perry Link wrote in the NY Review of Books, “Talks” were the intellectual handcuffs of Chinese writers throughout the Mao era and were almost universally reviled by writers during the years between Mao’s death in 1976 and the Beijing massacre in 1989. Mo Yan has been widely condemned for saying the “Talks,” in their time, had “historical necessity” and “played a positive role.” [Source: Perry Link, NY Review of Books, December 6, 2012]
Censorship in Chinese Literature
Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times, “Chinese rulers have long had a complicated relationship with books, promoting ones that enshrine official thought and history while banning or destroying others. Qin Shihuang, ancient China’s unifier, burned books and buried scholars alive. In the 18th century, the Qianlong Emperor purged thousands of texts and their authors for treasonous ideas while assembling a vast imperial collection to be printed. Mao Zedong and his comrades were no different. [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, November 6, 2011]
As intellectual discourse began to flower again in the 1980s, writers like Yu Hua, Mo Yan, and Su Tong cast a critical eye on Chinese history and rural society. Wang Shuo wrote urban “hooligan” literature. But it was the spread of the Internet in the late 1990s that really opened the floodgates. Younger writers went online to tell tales of boom-era China. One Web site, Rongshuxia, was particularly influential, carrying novels by Annie Baobei, Ning Caishen and Li Xunhuan (the pen name of Lu Jinbo, now a prominent publisher who supports Mr. Murong). In recent years, the Internet has popularized genre fiction, and bookstores here now stock the whole gamut: science fiction and fantasy, horror, detective, teenage romance and, most lucrative of all, children’s stories.
Dissident writers that are well-known outside of China and have large numbers of readers abroad are largely; unknown in China. If they are known they have little sympathy. In February 2007, China prevented 20 China writers from attending an international conference in Hong Kong.
The Chinese Press and Publications Administration is the official watch dog and censor of the publishing industry. Even though many kinds of books have to be approved by the agency, these days so many books are being published it can't keep track of them all. Still in late 2006 it banned eight books---including a novel about a man who lived through the Communist Revolution and the Great Leap Forward and a book about Peking Opera stars---and threatened publishing houses with severe penalties if they published works the government didn’t like.
Liu Bolin, China’s Invisible Man artist
and his take on censorship
Writers often write keeping in mind how the censors will react, Some write two parallel versions of their work: one for the censors and one themselves or the foreign market. A writer whose book was banned told the New York Times, “Nothing is communicated formally to the writer. Nothing is committed to paper. It’s all done in a secretive way, through oral communications. In my case I found out about my book’s banning on the Internet.” When asked how he knew for sure his book had been banned, the writer said, “Many thing in China can’t be verified, but they are carried out very clearly in reality.”
“Writers have to ensure that they do not broach sensitive topics, or only tackle them obliquely. The internet and rampant piracy means many banned books do not stay unread for long. Yet the threat of a book being shut out of the main domestic market means authors have to step carefully if they want to make a living from their art, even if the censorship system today is not the terrifying beast it was during the hardline Maoist era.” [Source: Ben Blanchard, South China Morning Post, Reuters, May 4, 2009]
“Wang Gang, the quick-witted, urbane author of the Chinese best-seller English, a semi-autobiographical novel about growing up in Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution, admits he had to self-censor his book to get it passed by the authorities.” Generally speaking, there is freedom, but there are things I did not write about,” Wang says at the launch of the English-language translation of his book. “For example, I did not mention the missionary background of the English teacher [in the novel] nor ethnic problems in Xinjiang. I feel regret about that." On how he was able to write so candidly about a period all but removed from government-vetted history texts, Wang said "Officials don't read any more,” he says. “That's how this book had a chance to come out.” [Ibid]
Censorship Process in China
On why his reformist magazine? Annals of the Yellow Emperor” seems to enjoy more leeway than other Chinese publications, Yang Jisheng told the New York Review of Books, Because we know the boundaries. We don’t touch current leaders. And issues that are extremely sensitive, like 6-4 [the June 4th Tiananmen Square massacre], we don’t talk about. The Tibet issue, Xinjiang, we don’t write about them. Current issues related to Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin and their family members” corruption, we don’t talk about. If we talk just about the past, the pressure is smaller.
Describing how the censorship process works, Internet writer Murong Xuecun said in a speech at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong: “My new book tells the story of my time spent undercover inside an illegal pyramid-sales organization. It included this phrase: “This group, mostly made up of people from Henan, was called the “Henan network.”“ To the editor, this harmless sentence aroused safety issues because the phrase “Henan people” carries an air of regional discrimination. He suggested that we rework the phrase as: “They were all Henan peasants, and so this network was called the Henan network, and was made up of mostly Henan people.” I asked him why. He said that by changing “people” to “peasants,” more sophisticated Henan people would not feel slighted.[Source: Murong Xuecun, International Herald Tribune, February 23, 2011]
“I tried to bargain with him: “In my original version there were two sentences, it would be too wordy if there were three. Why don’t we cut the first one?” He thought about it for ages and then agreed, and so we arrived at the final version: “This group, called the “Henan network,” was made up mostly of Henan people.” In the end, all that changed was the word order. As you may have guessed, this editor didn’t just cut a few words like “Henan people,” but also many sentences, paragraphs and even whole sections and chapters.” [Ibid]
“From my many years” experience in writing and publishing, I could compile a Sensitive Words Glossary, in which you would certainly find the words ‘system,” “law,” “government,” as well as a large number of other nouns, several verbs, quite a few adjectives, and even a few special numbers. The glossary would also include all names of religions, all names of important people, all countries, including of course China, and also the phrase “Chinese people.”“ [Ibid]
Liu Bolin, China’s Invisible Man artist
“In many places in my new book, “Chinese people” was changed to ‘some people,” or even “a small number of people.” If I critiqued some part of traditional Chinese culture, the editor would change it to “the bureaucratic culture of ancient China.” If I brought up anything contemporary, he would ask me instead to refer to Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, or Wu Zetian, a notorious Tang dynasty empress, or Europe of the Middle Ages. Readers of my book may think I’m mad. Obviously I’m writing about contemporary things so why am I repeatedly criticizing Empress Wu” Well, the reader may be right: At this time, in this place, Chinese writing exhibits symptoms of a mental disorder. I am not a Chinese writer so much as a person with a mental disorder.” [Ibid]
“Unfortunately, I have dedicated great effort to the task of compiling this Sensitive Words Glossary, and I have mastered my filtering skills. When I wrote my latest book, I knew which words had to be cut, and I accepted the cutting as if that was the way it should be. In fact, I will often take it on myself to save time and cut a few words. This is castrated writing. I am a proactive eunuch, I castrate myself even before the surgeon raises his scalpel. Our language has been cut into two parts: one safe, and the other risky. Some words are revolutionary, and others are reactionary; some words we may use, and others belong to our enemies.”
“The most unfortunate thing is that despite my experience, I still don’t always know which words are legal and which illegal, and as a result I often unknowingly commit a “word crime.” When I stand at a podium to receive a prize, I feel uncomfortable calling myself a writer---I am merely a word criminal.... This is our great language, the language of the philosopher Zhuangzi and the poets Li Bai and Su Dongpo and the grand historian Sima Qian. Maybe our grandchildren and the children of our grandchildren will rediscover many beautiful words and phrases that no longer exist. But sadly, even now, we continue to arrogantly proclaim that our language is on the rise.” [Ibid]
Government Control of Publishing in China
Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times, “More books are being printed now than at any time since the Communist Party took power in 1949. In 2010, about 328,000 titles were published, more than double the number in 2001, according to official statistics.But the government still wields important instruments of control. The agency overseeing the industry, the General Administration of Press and Publication, has not allowed real growth in the houses officially allowed to publish books. Last year, there were 581 such houses, just 19 more than in 2001. All are state-owned, and the government is moving to consolidate them. [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, November 6, 2011]
Those numbers do not capture an important phenomenon: Market demand has led to a boom in private houses. To publish, they must either form joint ventures with the state-owned houses or, more often, buy from them International Standard Book Numbers codes, one for each title. On paper, this practice is illegal, but the authorities turned a blind eye to it for years. A tightening could be in the works---this year, officials have said they prefer that the private houses enter into joint ventures, which would mean more oversight and would help push state-owned enterprises toward the market.
As for censorship, chief editors act as the ultimate gatekeepers. They know they could lose their jobs if published material raises the ire of officials. Nonfiction books on special topics like the military or religion go through additional vetting by the relevant ministries. In the industry, “there is a shadow over the hearts of everyone,” said Mr. Lu, the publisher. In June 2011, officials made an example of Zhuhai Publishing House, a small state-owned company, by abruptly shutting it down. Zhuhai had published a memoir by Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong newspaper publisher reviled by some Chinese leaders.
Liu Bolin, China’s Invisible Man artist
Self Censorship and Writing in China
Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times, “Writers looking to avoid these difficulties end up doing the government’s job for it. Mr. Murong said he had abandoned two novels-in-progress that he suspected would never get published. One was called “The Counterrevolutionary.” [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, November 6, 2011]
“The worst effect of the censorship is the psychological impact on writers,” Mr. Murong said. “When I was working on my first book, I didn’t care whether it would be published, so I wrote whatever I wanted. Now, after I have published a few books, I can clearly feel the impact of censorship when I write. For example, I’ll think of a sentence, and then realize that it will for sure get deleted. Then I won’t even write it down. This self-censoring is the worst.” Mr. Murong argued with Mr. Lu when they were completing plans in 2008 to publish “Dancing Through Red Dust,” about the corrupt legal system. Mr. Lu, who had bought an ISBN code from Zhuhai Publishing House, told Mr. Murong that he wanted to limit the print run because the book was too sordid. In an interview, Mr. Lu said Mr. Murong was “the best writer under the age of 40,” but added that “Murong has one problem: his writings are too dark.” “He’s a loner nihilist who believes in nothing,” Mr. Lu said.
Chinese Writers Persecuted by the Communist Government
Except for Liu Xiabao, the jailed Nobel laureate, most Chinese writers who cross the authorities suffer in relative anonymity. Their works are banned, employment opportunities dry up and their daily movements are constrained by security officials who prevent them from leading normal lives. [Source: Andrew Jacobs, New York Times July 23, 2011]
Jiao Guobiao, a Beijing journalism professor who lost his job after writing a critique of the Communist Party, offered a precise tally of the restrictions on his movements. In 2010, he said, he was confined to his home for 249 days. On other days, he was required to receive permission to meet with friends. “On the days I could go out, I had the feeling I was being followed,” he said.
In 2010, Cui Weiping, a poet and film scholar, Cui was prevented from going abroad to attend a film conference in the United States; the nonfiction writer Liao Yiwu was pulled off a plane that was to take him to a literary festival in Germany. After 17 failed attempts to leave China, Mr. Liao surprised the authorities this month by secretly making his way to Germany, via Vietnam and Poland, and declaring himself an exile.
Dai Qing, a journalist who wrote scathingly about the environmental impacts of the massive Three Gorges Dam, has described the indignities of having her phone calls monitored. Once when she was invited to a meeting with writers at the American embassy, a security official---tipped off by monitoring her phone calls” arrived in her living room with a warning that disobedience would lead to even more draconian surveillance “including a carload of police parked outside her Beijing home day and night. “That’s just trouble for everyone,” she said the official told her apologetically.
Liu Bolin, China’s Invisible Man artist
Chinese Writers and the PEN Writers Organization
Andrew Jacobs wrote in the New York Times, “For Chinese authors who join the international writers” organization PEN, membership would appear to have very few privileges. Many of its members are subjected to frequent harassment; four of them are currently in prison, including one of its founders, Liu Xiaobo, the essayist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate serving 11 years for subversion. All told, the group counts 40 journalists, novelists and historians imprisoned because of their writings.” [Source: Andrew Jacobs, New York Times July 23, 2011]
In July 2011, “the authorities once again demonstrated their displeasure with the organization by barring three writers from joining Independent Chinese PEN Center’s 10th anniversary celebration in Hong Kong. Those prevented from attending were Zhuang Daohe, a Hangzhou lawyer and essayist;Jiao Guobiao, a Beijing journalism professor who lost his job after writing a critique of the Communist Party; and Cui Weiping, a poet and film scholar who was to receive an award.
Mr. Jiao, like the others, had bought a plane ticket but was prevented from leaving his apartment by a contingent of security agents. “I don’t know how much longer I can put up with this,” Mr. Jiao said in an interview via Skype on Saturday. “It’s getting worse and worse.”
In July 2011, a delegation from the PEN American Center that came to Beijing last week had a firsthand encounter with the growing stranglehold on dissident writers. The group invited 14 people to a roundtable discussion on free expression at the American Embassy in Beijing. Only three arrived.
Since 2008, after the police forced the cancellation of yet another seminar in Beijing, the Independent Chinese PEN Center moved its annual events to Hong Kong. Asked about the logic behind the increased government restrictions, the group’s president, Tienchi Liao, said she thought Beijing was simply trying to show writers it still held all the cards. “They decide when people can write, when they can publish and when they can join literary activities,” said Ms. Liao, who lives in Germany. “For us, this is really, really sad.”
Liu Bolin, China’s Invisible Man artist
Tiananmen Square on May 35th: Addressing Controversial Issues in an Oblique or Direct Way
Yu Hua, author of the novel “Brothers” wrote in the New York Times, “You might think May 35th is an imaginary date, but in China it’s a real one. Here, where references to June 4 “the date of the Tiananmen incident of 1989 “are banned from the Internet, people use "May 35th" to circumvent censorship and commemorate the events of that day. [Source: Yu Hua, New York Times, June 24, 2011]
Earlier this year I visited Taiwan, where my book “China in Ten Words” had just been released. "Why can’t this book be published in mainland China," I was asked, "when your can?" That’s the difference between fiction and nonfiction: Although both books are about contemporary China, Brothers touches on things obliquely and so slips through the net, whereas China in Ten Words, by straight talking, goes beyond the pale."Brothers does a May 35th," I explained, "and China in Ten Words is more like June 4th."
To express oneself in May 35th terms is standard practice these days. According to the latest figures, there are 457 million Internet users in China, and 303 million Chinese can access the Web on their cellphones. It’s a big job to keep all these onliners in line, and the government’s most effective control mechanism is to designate certain words as unacceptable and simply prohibit their use on the Internet.
I once tried to post online a literary essay of mine. Though it made no reference whatsoever to politics, an error message kept popping up. Innocently, I assumed I must have miswritten a character or two, and marveled that technology could detect typos so easily. But after careful proofreading and revision of the odd phrase here and there, that frosty error message continued to appear. Finally I realized that the text had violated several taboos. Though widely scattered in different paragraphs, the offending words left the automated censors with little doubt that I was indulging in political dissent.
We have no way of knowing how many words have been blacklisted, or which once-banned words can now be used. Sometimes you can manage to avoid all the taboos and post your opinion, but if it is couched in too explicit an idiom, it will get deleted almost right away.
Yu Hua on Getting Around the Censors and the Great Firewall
So we adapt. With the Chinese government so bent on promoting a "harmonious society," Internet users slyly tailor the phrase for their own purposes. If someone writes, "Be careful you don’t get harmonized," what they mean is "Be careful you don’t get shut down" or "Be careful you don’t get arrested." Harmonize has to be the word most thoroughly imbued with the May 35th spirit. Officials are aware, of course, of its barbed meaning on the Internet, but they can hardly ban it, because to do so would be to outlaw the "harmonious society" they are plugging. Harmony has been hijacked by the public.
Such is China’s Internet politics. Practically everyone has mastered the art of May 35th expression, and I myself am no slouch. I’ve had a go at broaching freedom-of-expression issues. I once posted an article referring to a talk I gave in Munich. The post said: "I was asked: “Is there freedom of expression in China?” “Of course there is,” I replied. “In any country,” I went on, “freedom of expression is relative. In Germany you can curse the chancellor, but you wouldn’t dare curse your neighbor. In China we can’t curse our premier, but we’re free to curse the guy next door.” "
On the concentration of power in China, I wrote: "In Taiwan I told a reporter, “You need to wear gloves when you shake hands with politicians here, because they are always out canvassing and shaking hands with people. You don’t need gloves on the mainland, because our politicians never have to press the flesh. You won’t find many germs on their fingers." Since the first remark seems to emphasize that everything is relative and the other appears to focus on matters of hygiene, both were posted on the Internet without incident. My readers know what I’m getting at.
Liu Bolin, China’s Invisible Man artist
I have always written much as I please in the May 35th mode, and for that I have the fictional form to thank, since fiction is not overtly political and by its nature lends itself to May 35th turns of phrase. Writing in the June 4th mode, as I did in China in Ten Words, was a departure from my normal practice. The question asked most often in Taiwan was, "If you had an 11th word to describe China, what would it be?" "Freedom," I answered. What I meant by that, of course, was not the familiar June 4th sort of freedom, but this more recondite May 35th kind.
Nobel-Prize Winner Vargas Llosa Speaks Out Against Authoritarianism in China
In what could be read as criticism of China, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa launched a broadside against authoritarian governments in a speech in Shanghai yesterday, saying they corrupt and degrade society. Local media reported on the visit by the 75-year-old Peruvian writer but carried no mention of his criticisms. He was speaking at Shanghai International Studies University, which named him an honorary professor. [Source: Clifford Coonan, Irish Times June 16, 2011]
Without specifically naming China, he said how “a dictatorial and authoritarian government corrupts all the society” and “effectively poisons the less political activities, those activities that are further from politics, corrupting and degrading them. “Politics should not be left only in the hands of politicians because then politics start to go wrong,” he told the students. “Every single citizen should participate in the political life of his time and from that participation the best choices can result.”
His remarks come at a time when China is trying to keep a lid on dissent and muzzle any urges to revolt spurred by the “Jasmine Revolutions” against authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and north Africa. Many dissidents, lawyers and other activists have been rounded up as part of a crackdown, the most high profile of them being the controversial artist Ai Weiwei, who has been detained since March without charge.
What is surprising is that Vargas Llosa was allowed to travel to China to make a public address. Last year he expressed his support for the jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who China claims is a criminal. Vargas Llosa received his Nobel Prize for Literature in Oslo this December and hailed Mr Liu as “a Chinese fighter, who is a champion of democracy in his country.”
Image Sources: Liu Bolin, China’s Invisible Man artist, Global Times Chinese: photo.huanqiu.com
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated December 2012