Vincent Ng
Vincent Ng asked:

is it supposedly a satire on the decay of the qing dynasty,as direct criticism of the ruling class can be deadly?

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PaulESchilling When the author wrote it, he was already depressed and on his way down, so I'm not surprised he died before finishing the book. And I think it was a critique of Chinese culture generally rather than any particular dynasty. Even today Chinese people still relate to the book.
Amanda Cai Not really. It is mainly about how four big gradually declined in that environment. Some hidden criticism but not obvious.
Edzy It may be, but we'll never know since the last 28/30 chapters of the book are lost.
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