BETTER RED THAN UNREAD

BOOKS Early in The Incorporation of Eric Chung, a novel by STEVEN C. LO of
Richardson, the protagonist, a young Chinese student, witnesses one of the miracles of Western technology. When a more
experienced Chinese friend casually hits a button to splash some water on his windshield, Eric is flabbergasted.

“How come the water comes up from the bottom?” he asks.

“Everything in this country is upside down.” his friend explains.

Lo. who was born and raised on the non-Communist island of Taiwan, was recently reminded that America is not the only
place where things are pretty topsy-turvy. As owner of an international business consulting firm, Lo frequently visits
the People’s Republic of China, often representing Trammell Crow. On a recent trip to Shanghai, he got some national
news play about his current mission for the giant developer, a huge office project. Soon afterward, he agreed to
receive a visitor at his hotel.

The man turned out to be a professor who was preparing a pirated edition of Eric Chung and wanted to
change a few politically sensitive phrases. For instance, he didn’t think it was such a good idea to refer to the
Communist leaders as ’’Red bandits.” Would the author kindly grant permission-and maybe even help with the changes?

“I asked him why he wanted my permission to make changes when they hadn’t even gotten my permission to do the book,”
says Lo, laughing.

The translator, who had done an earlier unauthorized version of George Bush’s autobiography, admitted that everyone
was more leery since the June 1989 violence in Tiananmen Square and the resulting crackdown on dissidents. Lo,
realizing that the rip-off was a fait accompli, did what he could to help despite the lack of capitalist
royalties.

“As a writer, I felt flattered,” he says. “The more readers, the better.”

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