Beijing Comrades by Bei Tong
《北京故事》 北京同志 著
Translated by Scott E. Myers
Afterword by Petrus Liu
Publication: March 15, 2016 by The Feminist Press at CUNY
Written pseudonymously and posted on the internet in 1998, Beijing Comrades by Bei Tong is among mainland China’s earliest, best known, and most influential contemporary gay novels. It is also a path-breaking work of tongzhi (gay) fiction from the PRC. Set in Beijing, it opens in 1987 and tells the story of Chen Handong and Lan Yu, two men from very different social classes. Handong is a wealthy businessman in his late twenties, the spoiled offspring of elite Communist Party officials with a string of male and female lovers whose affections he secures by means of a generous stream of money and gifts. Lan Yu is a university student from a working class background who has just arrived in Beijing from China’s far northwest. Naïve but by no means dim, Lan Yu finds himself in Handong’s bed when he is alone in the capital and unable to make ends meet. Narrated by Handong, the story chronicles the joys, hardships, and no small amount of sexual bliss the men share as they navigate the uncharted terrain of a same-sex relationship in the time and place where they live.
In 2001, Hong Kong filmmaker Stanley Kwan made a movie based on the 1998 internet novel titled Lan Yu 《蓝宇》. In 2002, a revised, paper book version of Beijing Comrades was published by Tohan Taiwan.
Beijing Comrades is the first full-length queer novel from the PRC published in English.
In 2018, Beijing Comrades was published in French by Calmann-Lévy. Titled Camarades de Pékin, the book is a French translation of my English translation of the Chinese novel.
Also in 2018, a Philippines edition of Beijing Comrades was published by Anvil Publishing.
Beijing Comrades Reviews, Articles and Mentions
Out Magazine (November 2016)
Gscene (October 2016)
The Gay and Lesbian Review (September 2016)
Players Magazine (August 2016; in Italian)
Manhattan Book Review (August 2016)
motthegioi.vn (August 2016; in Vietnamese)
Literary Hub, "10 Books to Read for Pride Month" (June 2016)
CounterPunch (April 2016)
The Rumpus (April 2016)
The Los Angeles Review of Books (April 2016)
The Millions (March 2016)
The New York Times Sunday Book Review (March 2016)
Broadly/VICE (March 2016)
Lambda Literary Foundation (March 2016)
weixin (March 2016; in Chinese)
Gay Star News (March 2016)
Publishers Weekly (January 2016)
The Advocate (January 2016)
Kirkus Review (January 2016)
jiemian.com (July 2015; in Chinese)