Long Ling

Long Ling is a government official in Beijing and a member of the Chinese Communist Party. Jonathan Flint is her translator.

Diary: At the Temple

Long Ling, 21 January 2021

Onthe evening of the fifteenth day of the seventh month, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the gates of hell open, disgorging spirits to roam the earth for one night. It’s celebrated as the Zhongyuan (‘Hungry Ghost’) Festival. Last year hell had more inhabitants than usual, as was evident from the many small fires burning on the pavement of Zhuankou Street in...

In Beijing

Long Ling, 4 June 2020

One​ morning in mid-March, somebody knocked on my door. Since the apartment community where I live had been closed to the outside world for two months, this was unusual. Through the spyhole I saw a woman wearing a mask and a protective suit that looked a bit like a raincoat: standard gear in an epidemic. She was holding a folder and had a pen in her hand. I put on my mask and opened the...

The government’s priority was to show how active and responsive it was. But what was the real number of casualties? Why were those industrial parks still running after years of poor safety? News about the explosion soon died down. It was said that the public security bureau took measures against those who ran the industrial park. Later on, the park was closed. Whether the closure is temporary or permanent isn’t clear. In my mind I can see the hundreds of civil servants in related departments who worked hard to manage the crisis. They did it skilfully and to the appropriate standards. I think those on the front line must have sympathised with the people affected by the disaster, and considered themselves lucky not to live near hazardous industrial parks. I believe they must have done as well as I did in the civil service examination. It is unfortunate that the accident they dealt with wasn’t just a ‘rumour’.

Diary: Drowning in the City

Long Ling, 6 June 2019

At a conference​ in Bangkok five years ago our Chinese delegation of about a dozen civil servants was having dinner with four American delegates from the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. The United States and the European Union have had to negotiate, however reluctantly, with the Chinese for many years, so we have got to know delegates from the developed world...

Diary: Death at the Banquet

Long Ling, 29 June 2017

Although the events described here occurred only about three months ago, the man’s name escapes me. I’m not at all certain my memory is correct, and of course no one will confirm my recollections. Who wants to remember what happened? Like me, everyone wants to forget. At the time I was working in the western part of a remote province in China, under an arrangement intended to allow government officials from developed areas to work in economically backward regions. I was frequently invited to banquets.

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