Triad Dramas as Commentaries on Revolutionary Disharmony, Totalitarian Nostalgia, and a Yearning for Past Chivalry

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3 Citations (Scopus)


In 2007, amateur on-line writer Kong Ergou’s triad novel series, Past Events of the Northeast: Twenty Years of the Triads, became a hit as a piece of network original literature. Five years later, the first volume of the book series was adapted into a network television drama of the same title. Focusing on the television drama, this paper examines three interrelated “dimensions” of the text. The first “dimension” relates to the correspondence between the inception and development of underworld gangs, and the vicissitudes experienced by the Chinese people during the harsh and unprecedented economic and cultural conditions that were introduced during the post-Mao era. A second “dimension” of this dramatic text finds that the nostalgia for and admiration of totalitarian times, together with a postmodern parody and deconstruction of Maoist society and its ideology, are juxtaposed in contemporary popular cultural products such as Past Events, thus demonstrating the complex and obscure emotions of ordinary Chinese people in relation to socialist revolutionary times. The final “dimension” compares the chivalrous spirit espoused by the gangsters with the ever-deteriorating morality and ethical values prevalent in present-day China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-119
Number of pages14
JournalAsian Studies Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • chivalry
  • on-line novels
  • popular culture
  • post-Mao
  • postmodern parody
  • television
  • totalitarian nostalgia
  • traumatised persona
  • triads

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