No livro China in Ten Words, Yu Hua refere o dia em que conheceu Pankaj Mishra, um autor indiano que viajou até Pequim para o conhecer. Num link do New York Times, de 2009, pode ler-se o resultado dessa visita e das horas que Pankaj Mishra passou com Yu Hua, conversando sobre o seu trabalho e sobre a China. Um excerto:
He paused, and then jumped 13 years to a memory of another momentous — and more traumatic — event in China’s modern history. In the spring of 1989, when tens of thousands of protesters filled Tiananmen Square, Yu was living in Beijing, partaking of the cultural excitement and political hopefulness of post-Mao China. Already a major figure in the city’s artistic avant garde, Yu biked every day to Tiananmen Square to express solidarity with the student protesters.
As Yu described the widespread civilian support for the students, a note of passion entered his voice, and the menu he had elegantly snagged off a passing waiter lay open and unread in his lap. “The word ‘people’ was much used in the Cultural Revolution,” he said. “It is a very loaded term in China, it is used a lot, but until the mass protests in 1989 I did not realize what the word meant.” His voice grew louder as he recalled the bloody suppression and aftermath of the protests.
I became nervous. Yu, a short, thickset man with bulging eyes, could easily pass unnoticed in a crowd of Chinese peasants and workers, but he does not exactly strive for self-effacement. We were sitting in the corner of the hotel lobby, partly concealed by a large pillar and surrounded by a thick fog of cigarette smoke. Yu, a restless chain smoker, insists on ignoring China’s new ban on smoking in public places.