Skip to navigation – Site map

HomeIssues2011/4ArticleThe (Bio)political Novel


The (Bio)political Novel

Some Reflections on Frogs by Mo Yan
Yinde Zhang
Translated by Jonathan Hall
p. 53-61


The political concerns underlying Mo Yan’s creative work come to the fore in his latest novel, Frogs (Wa), which gives the reader an unusual perspective on the complex relations between fiction and politics. This novel harshly criticises a state whose coercive population control policies are responsible for some murderous consequences. This denunciation is also aimed at the economic ultraliberalism that is complicit with the totalitarian inheritance in destruction of human dignity through the alienation and commercialisation of the body. The complex symbolic structure of this work brings out the need for life itself to be rehabilitated in accordance with basic human rights and membership in the human community, and to be strongly defended against political attack and moral decay. Far from being an essentialist communitarian ethics, however, the bioethics proposed by the author offers the possibility of social reconstruction of the bios.

Top of page


Bibliographical reference

Yinde Zhang, « The (Bio)political Novel », China Perspectives, 2011/4 | 2011, 53-61.

Electronic reference

Yinde Zhang, « The (Bio)political Novel », China Perspectives [Online], 2011/4 | 2011, Online since 30 December 2014, connection on 26 October 2021. URL : ; DOI :

Top of page

About the author

Yinde Zhang

Professor of Chinese studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3, where he is also senior researcher of the Centre for comparative research studies and a member of the Centre for the study of modern and contemporary China (EHESS/CNRS). His own research is in the field of contemporary Chinese literature and Sino-Western relations in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

By this author

Top of page


© All rights reserved

Top of page
  • Logo CEFC – Centre d’études français sur la Chine contemporaine
  • OpenEdition Journals
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search