In the early 1950s, Liu Binyan was a tall, eloquent young man deeply devoted to the ideals of socialism and set for a brilliant career in the People’s Republic of China. When he was purged from the Communist Party in 1957 for writing about corruption and banished to a poor mountain village, he suddenly found that there were “two diametrically opposed kinds of truth” in China. The “longings of the peasants” formed one kind, the “policies of the higher-ups” another. The rest of Liu’s life”his sufferings as well as his remarkable achievements”followed from his choice to side with the first kind of truth. Many Chinese saw a widening gap between the language of socialism and the hard, sometimes disastrous, realities of daily life. While some chose to lie low and compromise, Liu insisted on writing about what he saw. If there is bullying, say so. If corruption exists, give the details. If newspapers carry falsity, don’t pretend it’s a different kind of truth.