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Lake with No Name

by Diane Wei Lang

Beijing University, 1986. The Communists were in power, but the Harvard of China was a hotbed of intellectual and cultural activity, with political debates and "English Corners" where students eagerly practiced the language among themselves. Nineteen-year-old Wei had known the oppressive days of the Cultural Revolution, having grown up with her parents in a work camp in a remote region of China. Now, as a student, she was allowed to immerse herself in study and spend her free hours writing poetry -- that bastion of bourgeois intellectualism -- beside the Lake with No Name at the center of campus. It was there that Wei met Dong Yi.

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