City Weekend

City Weekend was one of Beijing’s best-loved expat magazines. Each monthly issue covered food and drink, things to do, arts, and literature. My interview with Lijia Zhang featured alongside a review of her new novel, Lotus, in February 2017.

Mother of Invention: Author Interview with Lijia Zhang

Lijia Zhang explores sex and aspirations in southern China. But how true to life is the story of this starry eyed prostitute?

[excerpt] China is going through a sexual revolution. Studies show that a much higher number of people are having sex before marriage than previously. In sociologist Li Yinhe’s 1989 study, 85 percent of people claimed they had no sexual experience before marriage. Among the sexually active 15 percent, some were already engaged, which means that they are already a couple by Chinese standards. According to 2012 statistics, 71.4 percent of people were sexually active before marriage.*

This means more prostitutes, more pornography, more sex before marriage, more sexual partners, and a higher divorce rate. A woman can divorce her husband if he cannot satisfy her. Women will not stand for second-best because they don’t have to any more.

This interview featured in the February 2017 issue of City Weekend magazine, and was released on City Weekend online in March 2017. Unfortunately, online version is no longer available. Luckily, you can read it here instead.

The above is just a short excerpt from our lengthy discussion about Lotus, China’s sexual revolution, and women’s rights in contemporary Shenzhen. Read the whole interview in three parts:

Identity, Breast Implants, and Wanting More from Life: Lijia Zhang on her Debut Novel Lotus (Part I) 

Sexuality, Contraception, and Challenging the Patriarchy: Lijia Zhang on her Debut Novel Lotus (Part II)

Hedonism, Reproductive Health, and Fighting Repatriation: Lijia Zhang on her Debut Novel Lotus (Part III)