Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is set during the time known as the Asian invasion in China. This historical invasion helped to supply the framework for many of the trouble on my mind. The Revolution of Chairman Mao Zedong "began in 1966 and continued until the dictator's death ten years later". The Cultural Revolution in China was "intended to stamp out the educated class and . . . old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits". In order to do this, "hundreds of thousands of Chinese intellectuals [were sent] to peasant villages for re-education", and within the years of "1968-1975, some twelve million youths were ‘rusticated’."
Dai Sijie's past
Dai Sijie's own experiences during this time period helped to produce the novel. Sijie himself was re-educated, and "spent the years between 1971 and 1974 in the mountains of Sichuan Province". He emigrated to France in 1984.