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Digital Subscriptions > China Report > Issue 49 > Pulp Fiction Frenzy

Pulp Fiction Frenzy

Chinese serialised web novels are gaining traction in the English-reading world. Can Chinese pulp fiction enter the Western cultural market just as Japanese manga did twenty years ago?
Adapted from the same-titled web novel by Chinese author Tang Qi, fantasy television drama Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (2017) became instant hits not just with local audiences but also abroad

Chinese Online Novels

An article titled “Chinese Web Novels Help Young American Quit Drugs” appeared in the Southern Weekly on March 16 and promptly went viral across China’s social media. It says a young Californian, Kevin Cazad, used to do drugs to ease the pain of a breakup, but ever since he came across a translated Chinese web novel, Coiling Dragon (Panlong, 盘龙), on Chinese web novel translation website Wuxiaworld.com, he was “completely intoxicated” and “totally forgot about cocaine.” “[Chinese web novels] are as addictive as drugs but at least they won’t kill me,” Cazad was quoted as saying.

As founder of Wuxiaworld and translator of Coiling Dragon, Lai Jingping, sees it, this novel-beats-drug story sounds somewhat selfaggrandising. But it is undeniable that a new craze for Chinese web novels has already swept a circle of Asian literature lovers in the English- reading world since late 2014, thanks to the efforts of various translation websites.

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About China Report

The Belt and Road forum held in Beijing in May heralds China's strategy of globalisation 2.0. How much China has invested in the BRI? How can other countries along the routes join in and benefit from the opportunities? (p.20-25) Technologically China has often been perceived as playing the catch-up game. Not in Artificial Intelligence, which the country's tech giants are spearheading with some success. (p. 34-43) A migrant worker has taken the country by storm in her Dickensian essay about her hard life in modern Beijing. (p.52-55)
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