Travels with My Censor

My Chinese censor is Zhang Jiren, an editor at the Shanghai Translation Publishing House, and last September he accompanied me on a publicity tour. It was the first time I’d gone on a book tour with my censor. When I rode the high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing, Zhang sat beside me; at the hotel in Beijing, he stayed on the same floor. He sat in on my interviews with the Chinese media. He had even prepared the tour schedule on a spreadsheet, which was color-coded to represent five types of commitments, with days that lasted as long as thirteen hours. Other authors had warned me about such schedules, so before the tour I sent Zhang a request for more free time. His response was prompt: “In my experience, the tours in China are always tough and exhausting. Hope you understand it.”

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