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Biography's Source: From the publisher
Ma Jian was born in Qingdao, China in 1953. He worked as a watchmender's apprentice and a painter of propaganda boards. Later he was assigned the job of photojournalist for a state-run magazine. Aged 30, he left work and travelled for three years across China -- a journey later described in his book Red Dust, winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. He left Beijing for Hong Kong in 1987 but continued to travel to China, notably to support the pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989. After the hand-over of Hong Kong he moved to Germany and then London, where he now lives.