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Eileen Chang

The Unknown Story:

The Rice-Sprout Song


the Naked Earth


the USIS Book Translation Program

Mei-Hsiang Wang

Institute of Sociology, National Tsing Hua University

No. 101, Section 2, Kuang-Fu Road, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan



This essay mainly deals with the relationship between Eileen

Chang’s two novels

The Rice-Sprout Song


The Naked Earth


the United States Information Service




in Hong Kong. I argue

that these two novels were commissioned and authorized under the

USIS Book Translation Program. Moreover, they are products of anti-

communist propaganda promulgated by the U.S. Aid Literary Insti-

tution. However, their production processes and properties were

not identical under the translation program.

The Rice-Sprout Song

began as Chang’s independent writing, but was later incorporated

into the USIS Book Translation Program. On the other hand,


Naked Earth

was originally a writing of

Farewell to the Korea Front

which applied by the Hong Kong political commentator Hsu

Tung-Pin. This story was written in close collaboration with USIS.

Chang took over the writing project and she continued to write un-

der the same outline. Then,

The Naked Earth

was broadcast under

the China Reporting Program. Finally, I emphasize that Chang still

retained her own distinctive writing style under the U.S. Aid Literary

Institution producing, in a sense, free writing under an unfree insti-


Key Words


Cultural Cold War, U.S. Aid Literary Institution, China

Reporting Program, Anti-Communist Literature