The Lust Of Comrade Lu

| December 18, 2015

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The Lust Of Comrade Lu

A young communists cadre’s uncontrollable desire for a girl, who is a fellow member of a guerrilla group fighting the Japanese in Southern China during World War Two, leads to a sequence of events in rural Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong over a period of several decades, culminating in him being accused of three “horrendous crimes”. Today, the former cadre, Wang Sanwu, is a senior Chinese Communist figure, who poses a threat to Hong Kong’s freedoms with a plan to abrogate its special status. But the allegation that he is guilty of “horrendous crimes” has raised the possibility that, if proven, they could sink his plan for the former British colony. A retired journalist heard the accusation from a sick friend, who died before he could provide details. The journalist, Simon Crerar, seeks the help of a former Hong Kong police officer, Mark Evans, to uncover the alleged offences. Mark’s investigation focuses on relatively recent events but he believes the seeds of the Chinese official’s obsession with Hong Kong – and, perhaps, his alleged criminal acts – lies in the past.

Mark was a guerrilla in the same group as Sanwu, which was headed by a British army officer, who had escaped from Hong Kong after it fell to the Japanese. The guerrillas were joined by a young Chinese woman, Mary Wong, whose father had been killed by the Japanese. After the war, stories circulated in Hong Kong about the group’s activities, including the young communist’s lecherous aspirations towards the girl, amid a budding romance between her and the British officer. The reports inspired a popular Hong Kong movie, The Lust of Comrade Lu. Although it was supposedly fiction, the film infuriated Sanwu, by then a rising member of the Communist Party, because it was popularly believed to be based on fact. The three met again in Shanghai, after the communists seized power in China, while Sanwu came, unwanted, into the life of Mary years later in Hong Kong. Her bizarre death had left Mark baffled. But now he wonders if it was one of the crimes attributed to Sanwu. There are many elements in Mary’s life that Mark finds puzzling. Gradually, with the help of Simon, he begins to discover answers and, most importantly, unearths an astonishing secret, which she kept from everyone until shortly before her death, when she revealed it to Sanwu. It proves to be the key to resolving all the questions with which Mark and Simon have been wrestling.

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