Ha Jin’s “Saboteur” is the story of a university lecturer in China who is arrested and accused of being a saboteur, through no fault of his own, after being attacked by two police officers. The story is an examination of the abuses of police power and judicial authority, and the distrust of intellectuals by the state. “Saboteur” originally appeared in The Antioch Review in 1996. It was republished in Jin’s short story collection The Bridegroom (2000), a collection of stories set in the fictional Muji City in China.


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See a complete list of the characters in “Saboteur” and in-depth analyses of Mr. Chiu and The Chief.

Literary Devices

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Deeper Study

Enhance your understanding of “Saboteur” by learning more about Ha Jin and historical context related to the Chinese Cultural Revolution.