Books · China

Party Members- book review

Modern China can be a nasty, immoral and crude place. All of this is amply illustrated in Party Members, a crass tome that its own author, writing under a pseudonym, described as a “one long dick joke.”
Basically, protagonist Yang Wei is a petty Chinese Communist Party bureaucrat muddling through life without any joy or meaning until one night, he gets some sense slapped into him, figuratively, by his … penis. From that moment, his “member” starts giving him tips and advice on how to get ahead in Chinese society, exploiting underlings, sucking up to bosses, abusing the poor, discarding his wife, and being corrupt like hell. Yang Wei transforms from a nobody into a somebody, while his “member” grows in length until it becomes disgustingly like a person. As Yang Wei grows more successful and his “member” becomes more assertive and nasty, Yang questions whether he is being dominated by it or it is being driven by his own dormant urges. But then, a fateful collision with a little girl, who then suffers the tragic fate that many Chinese accident victims experience after they get knocked down (if you’ve read news about China, you know what I mean), marks a turning point for Yang Wei.
While I intensely dislike China and much of what its government and society stand for, I found this book a little disturbing, even if some of it was entertaining and a lot of the corruption, immorality, and violence does happen for real. Yes, Chinese bureaucrats are often lazy and corrupt, a lot of men keep mistresses and a lot of women actively cultivate sugar daddies, and people let their kids pee and crap everywhere including in restaurants, but the problem is the book spells it all out. The plot gets more vile and while I don’t want to go into detail, rape, murder and a bizarre and disturbing transformation are involved.
The book may have been intended to be a direct over-the-top satire of contemporary China but the laughs and lessons easily get lost amid the vileness.

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5 thoughts on “Party Members- book review

  1. Very extreme book. I’m in the middle of it now. It goes from funny to disturbing at parts, but the disturbing outweighs everything else even any smart satire. I’ll say more when I finish. It certainly is possible to overdo the China criticism and this more than went too far. But can’t deny it’s something of an interesting book…

    Also I do believe that thing about China car accidents is something of an urban legend in real life.

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    1. Yes, definitely. It’s funny in some parts but that’s overshadowed by the vile stuff.
      There’ve been news reports of drivers deliberately running over people who they hit so they wouldn’t have to pay injury compensation for the victim’s whole life, and telling the police this when they were caught.

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        1. I read these two links and this one isn’t exactly a valid article, and the snopes one doesn’t exactly disprove it either. It says the 6 cases might be explained by varying circumstances, which may or may not be true. However, its claim that China is a huge nation and 6 cases is too little to prove something is nonsense.
          Another thing is that news is heavily censored, which is one reason rumors flow easily in the first place, and there could very well be a lot more of these incidents but which the authorities censored or the media overlooked.

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