“For Chinese people, the obsession with power is in the bones. The only way for China to improve its political system is to choose a democratic and statutory process —that is how the world is developing,” Wang said.
Wang points out that of his 13 books, 11 have been critical of the officialdom system. He is prone to lofty statements about his work and his literary method but rejects the “absurdist” tag that some have given it (even the stationary talks in The Civil Servant’s Notebook).
“When this book was first published in China in 2009, the media suggested that I had distorted and uglified the image of civil servants, that I had used the absurdist method of writing. But what I’ve written here is derived completely from true life stories,” he said.
Others have suggested that Wang’s books serve as guides for advancement among official ranks, labeling him king of the “officialdom” genre. The Chinese version of The Civil Servant’s Notebook carries quotes of approval from Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶).
“That’s one way I can protect myself,” Wang said with a laugh, stressing that they are not friends. “But officialdom fiction makes no contribution to art or literature,” he said.
“I am deeply suspicious of writers who cannot talk about the evil that is surrounding them. The biggest problem with Chinese literature right now is that it’s all the same — everyone is just copying each other. I have created a new style and that is my contribution,” Wang said.
Wang’s visit to Hong Kong came ahead of Chinese writer Mo Yan’s (莫言) Nobel literature prize victory on Thursday, a result that provoked some academics and dissidents to accuse the author — known for exploring the brutality of China’s tumultuous 20th century — of being a stooge for officialdom.
Wang says he has four more books in the pipeline, but that the political environment is “too sensitive” for them at present.
One of them, he says, is called Oil Painting, which he describes as being about victims of an injustice who go to Beijing to complain, but then disappear.
“Perhaps it was God’s intention that someone with the ability to write was immersed in this world of power and corruption,” Wang said. “To steal secrets from this hidden world and reveal it through the form of literature.”