Beijing Comrades

Beijing Comrades


Bei Tong
The first gay novel from mainland China: a tale of capitalism, love, power, and secrecy.

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Paperback Edition
ISBN: 9781558619074
Publication Date: 03-15-2016

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Translated by Scott E. Myers
Afterword by Petrus Liu

When Handong, a ruthless and wealthy businessman, is introduced to Lan Yu, a naïve, working-class architectural student—the attraction is all consuming. 

Arrogant and privileged, Handong is unsettled by this desire, while Lan Yu quietly submits. Despite divergent lives, the two men spend their nights together, establishing a deep connection. When loyalties are tested, Handong is left questioning his secrets, his choices, and his very identity. 

Beijing Comrades is the story of a tumultuous love affair set against the sociopolitical unrest of late-eighties China. Due to its depiction of gay sexuality and its critique of the totalitarian government, it was originally published anonymously on an underground gay website within mainland China. This riveting and heartbreaking novel, circulated throughout China in 1998, quickly developed a cult following, and remains a central work of queer literature from the People's Republic of China. This is the first English-language translation of Beijing Comrades.


"One of the most significant Chinese novels of our time." New York Times

"While Beijing Comrades provides a meaningful excavation of homophobia and daily life in a rapidly changing China, it is ultimately a traditional story of forbidden love in all the most classic, wonderful, and devastating ways.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Beijing Comrades is both a valuable piece of global gay history and a political phenomenon... But the universal themes, and the deeply personal rendering of the story, endear the characters to us in ways quite distinct from the book’s importance as a monument of literature and queer theory." Lambda Literary Review

"The novel moves seamlessly from humor to frantic passion to sorrow, and Myers’s use of language captures these disparate emotions perfectly.” LA Review of Books

"The book falls significantly higher on the erotica spectrum than Fifty Shades of Gray.... Created on a website, crowd-sourced in serial, Beijing Comrades is the people’s public fantasy of intimacy." The Millions

“A melancholic parable in which desire and self-interest reconfigure revolutionary ideals and unbridled investments in a neoliberal new world order.” —David L. Eng, author of The Feeling of Kinship

"Scott Myers's translation of this landmark work of Chinese queer fiction does not disappoint. A pure joy on a literary level, this is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding sexual diversity beyond the West." —Fran Martin, author of Backward Glances: Contemporary Chinese Cultures and the Female Homoerotic Imaginary

"A candid, courageous exploration of the conjunction of love, money, and politics in a pivotal moment in postsocialist China." —Sheldon Lu, author of Chinese Modernity and Global Biopolitics