European Enlightenment thought was the privileged model upon which intellectuals built a Chinese modernity since the decline of the Qing dynasty in the late nineteenth century. Aesthetically, a turn towards literary realism was successfully implemented. These Western legacies dominated the literary field until they lost their persuasive power in the 1990s. Beyond cultural production, the entanglements of a nation in transition with Eurocentric ideological paradigms influenced statecraft and nationalistic thought to our days. In his novel Frogs Mo Yan revisits the heritage of May Fourth modernism to expose its transmogrification into the dehumanizing reality effects accompanying birth control from Mao to the Deng regime and thereafter. Employing images that suggest recent, science-based governance to have triggered local regimes of cosmic un-creation, the novel focuses on a global modernization that is perceived as socially as well as environmentally destructive.