Literary periodical
When first published in Haikou, now the capital of Hainan province, in 1980, Tianya was just an average literary bimonthly, but it was transformed after 1996 when its editorial staff was changed and the writer Han Shaogong became chief editor. It is now regarded as the most important intellectual as well as literary magazine in south China.
As with many other literary quarterlies, Tianya’s format is 16 mo, but the publishing capacity of each issue is only 192 pages at present, with approximately 30,000 subscribers (2001). Publishing short stories, poems and essays, Tianya has also featured two special columns since 1996, which have strongly attracted the sight line of the society: one is ‘Zuojia lichang’ [Writers’ Stands], usually the lead, in which the writers and scholars from across the country and overseas express their views on literary or cultural subjects, and even on economic and political situations in China and the world; another is ‘Minjian yüwen’ [Popular Language] that publishes various informal, ‘non-official’ writing, including private letters, diaries, wall slogans and local slang (see minjian).
Probably because of its location in Hainan, the southernmost province of China, Tianya has been freer to publish what it wants than comparable periodicals in Shanghai or other central cities. It was the first magazine on the mainland to publish a post-1989 essay by Bei Dao, the famous exiled poet whose work had been banned, and the first to publish those of his writings that originally appeared on the Web.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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