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When Handong, a ruthless and wealthy businessman, is introduced to Lan Yu, a naïve, working-class architectural student—the attraction is all consuming.
Arrogant and privileged, Handong is unsettled by this desire, while Lan Yu quietly submits. Despite divergent lives, the two men spend their nights together, establishing a deep connection. When loyalties are tested, Handong is left questioning his secrets, his choices, and his very identity.
Beijing Comrades is the story of a tumultuous love affair set against the sociopolitical unrest of late-eighties China. Due to its depiction of gay sexuality and its critique of the totalitarian government, it was originally published anonymously on an underground gay website within mainland China. This riveting and heartbreaking novel, circulated throughout China in 1998, quickly developed a cult following, and remains a central work of queer literature from the People's Republic of China. This is the first English-language translation of Beijing Comrades.
Square to look for you. I might have gotten killed. Did you ever think about that?” “You were really going to go there?” he asked in wonder. “You mean, you really—you really care for me that much?” The word care came out very quietly, as if he was somehow afraid to say it. Afraid of showing my true feelings, I squeezed him tight and adopted a blithe tone. “No,” I said, “I hate you! In fact, now that you’re not dead, I’m gonna kill you!” With the fear of death behind us, our bodies came
friend?” For the first time in my life I didn’t have an answer. Lan Yu must have sensed this because he kept going. “Listen, Handong. Firing him is not going to bring the money back. Liu Zheng is a good man. If you just show him a little mercy, think of how grateful he’ll be.” He waved his hand as he spoke, accidentally knocking over a bowl of paint. “Fuck! I fucked it up!” Lan Yu didn’t swear often. I dropped the subject. I needed more time to decide what to do. With each passing day, I
vacation; it was finally our chance to take the long-awaited trip to Southeast Asia. On the way back we stopped for a few days in Hong Kong. Lan Yu had always wanted to go there. It was a fantastic trip. Everywhere we went we just blended into the crowd. No one knew us there and my constant worries about being spotted together dissolved. Southeast Asian culture is different from China’s, and for the first time since we had met, Lan Yu and I could actually express a little affection in public.
Eventually, we broke up, and I never made an effort to find another friend. The loneliness I felt during the final months of my marriage was at times unbearable, but isolating myself both emotionally and sexually was the path I chose. At that juncture, my way of dealing with the pressures of life was to throw myself into work. If I was honest with myself, I had to admit my involvement in the joint-venture cosmetics factory wasn’t working out. Operations management simply wasn’t my strong point.
and handed them to me. “Hold on to your money. Sooner or later I’ll get to America on my own.” He stood up from the bed to get dressed. I got up, too, and threw on a shirt, but dug around in the pocket of my trousers before putting them on. “Here,” I said. “This is her card.” I handed him the thick rectangular paper. “When you have your passport, call her. I’ve already talked to her. She says she wants to help.” Lan Yu looked at the card skeptically, visibly reluctant to take it. “This is your