The January 2009 issue of Hong Kong’s Mingpao Monthly published an article titled “For Today’s Yesterday and Tomorrow” by poet Liao Weitang. It reports on the celebration activities for the 30th anniversary of Today magazine in Hong Kong during December 11-13. The celebration was initiated by Bei Dao, and many Chinese poets participated, including my old friends Zhai Yongming, Ouyang Jianghe, Meng Lang, and a new friend Xi Chuan (whom I met in Beijing in summer 2007).
American readers probably know nothing about Today, the once extremely influential “underground” literary magazine in China. Nobel nominee Bei Dao was one of the founding editors of the magazine, and his poetry first became known to us through Today. When I was a university student in China, in the early 1980s Bei Dao’s sorrowful lines such as “Privilege is the passport of the privileged / low is the epitaph of the lowly” were recited on every campus I visited. Whoever got hold an issue of the mimeographed Today magazine, it was quickly grabbed by another student.