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Fiction Traps Woman Writer into Court

Britain-based writer Hong Ying will appear in court to face allegations that her novel "K" slandered the reputation of deceased literary couple Chen Xiying (1896-1970) and Ling Shuhua (1900-90).

Based on details about Bell Julian (1908-37), nephew of British novelist Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), Hong Ying wrote her novel "K," which is about an affair between Julian and a Chinese woman named Lin.

Chen Xiaoying, daughter of the couple Chen Xiying and Ling Shuhua sued Hong Ying, claiming the novel "K" involved her parents and has very pornographic descriptions about the affair between Julian and the woman Lin.

Chen has also brought a lawsuit against "Writer" magazine and Sichuan Youth Daily, which published selected parts of the novel, and demands that the magazine and newspaper stop publishing the novel and, together with writer Hong Ying, pay her 200,000 yuan (US$24,000) in compensation.

Hong Ying maintains that "K" is a fiction and the real names of Chen Xiying and Ling Shuhua have not been used. Much of the plot is imaginary.

Hong said she does not think the heroine Lin in the novel is a lascivious woman; instead she is very brave in the pursuit of true love. "Lin is one of the very few women at that time to shake off the shackles of traditional ideas; she should be considered as a heroine of feminism," Hong Ying said.

Hong Ying said she feels sympathetic towards Chen Xiaoying if Chen feels she has been badly hurt. However, Hong said that Chen should carefully read the novel again, which is about love, Chinese culture and the relationship between China and the West.

"The result of this case concerns how far a novelist can go in using her imagination when her writing is related to real people," Hong Ying said.

(China Daily 08/06/2001)

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