China Dispatches

China Dispatches: the best creative non-fiction available now

Paper Republic, One-Way Street Magazine and the LA Review of Books’ China Channel publish new essay by Chinese writer Liang Hong, translated by Michael Day. 

Paper Republic is delighted to announce the publication of a new creative non-fiction essay.

This marks the launch of a second series of Read Paper Republic: China Dispatches, a unique three-way collaboration between Paper RepublicOne-Way Street Magazine (单读) and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ China Channel. The series focuses on translating the best non-fiction coming from China right now – and making it available online, completely free to read.

The first instalment – “A Fortune-teller in a Modern Metropolis” by Liang Hong– is translated by Michael Day. The essay tells the story of Xian Yi, a man in an old profession that is curiously out of step with modern China.

“It seems unbelievable, but Xian Yi is a fortune teller. I’ve never really shaken off the shock of it. I can’t quite convince myself that Xian Yi has taken up a folksy, out-of-its-time occupation rejected by the modern world. If you’re anything like me, you envision a fortune teller as a dark, slender figure with a black skullcap and fingers like dry twigs, an old man with a whiff of black magic about him. That’s the image I saw instinctively when I heard Xian Yi was a fortune teller. But as far as I can see Xian Yi is cheerful, cultured, understated, good at conversation, his looks and mannerisms exuding intelligence. Only when I watch the prayer beads sliding rhythmically through his fingers do I catch a glimpse of the occult.”

It’s available to read in full on Paper Republic, and a shorter version can be found on the China Channel.

Over the next few months we will be publishing one new article a month.

And you can see Liang Hong and Paper Republic’s Nicky Harman in conversation tonight, March 14th, at Guanghwa bookshop in London. Tickets are free and available here:

Notes to Editors

About Paper Republic

Our mission at Paper Republic is to promote Chinese literature in English translation. We focus on new writing from contemporary Chinese writers. For more information, contact Nicky Harman or Eric Abrahamsem at or visit our website at

Posted by: Nicky Harman <>

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