Wang Xiaobo is one of the most well-known contemporary Chinese authors. Born and raised in Beijing in the 1950s, Wang was sent down to the countryside as a "rusticated youth" in his late teens where he lived in both Yunnan and Shandong before returning to Beijing in the early 1970s. In the mid-1980s he spent time in the United States doing academic work before returning to Beijing where he gained recognition through the next decade in part for pieces like this one.
Although Wang Xiaobo died of a heart attack in the late 1990s, his literary reputation has only continued to grow after his death, surviving in a sizable collection of short essays which are frequently read and often compared to the works of Kafka. Wang also continues to be widely cited as a literary influence by contemporary authors and popular bloggers like Han Han.