Red China Blues

Red China Blues

My Long March From Mao to Now

Book - 1996 | 1st DoubledayAnchor Books ed.
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Jan Wong, a Canadian of Chinese descent, went to China as a starry-eyed Maoist in 1972 at the height of the Cultural Revolution. A true believer -- and one of only two Westerners permitted to enroll at Beijing University -- her education included wielding a pneumatic drill at the Number One Machine Tool Factory. In the name of the Revolution, she renounced rock and roll, hauled pig manure in the paddy fields, and turned in a fellow student who sought her help in getting to the United States. She also met and married the only American draft dodger from the Vietnam War to seek asylum in China.

Red China Blues begins as Wong's startling -- and ironic -- memoir of her rocky six-year romance with Maoism that began to sour as she became aware of the harsh realities of Chinese communism and led to her eventual repatriation to the West. Returning to China in the late eighties as a journalist, she covered both the brutal Tiananmen Square crackdown and the tumultuous era of capitalist reforms under Deng Xiaoping. In a wry, absorbing, and often surreal narrative, she relates the horrors that led to her disillusionment with the "worker's paradise." And through the stories of the people -- an unhappy young woman who was sold into marriage, China's most famous dissident, a doctor who lengthens penises -- Wong creates an extraordinary portrait of the world's most populous nation. In setting out to show readers in the Western world what life is like in China, and why we should care, Wong reacquaints herself with the old friends -- and enemies -- of her radical past, and comes to terms with the legacies of her ancestral homeland.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday/Anchor Books, 1996.
Edition: 1st DoubledayAnchor Books ed.
ISBN: 9780385256391
Characteristics: x, 405 p. : ill.


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Dec 15, 2015

Thoroughly enjoyed this book as it opened my eyes to what really happened in China during the tale end of the Communist Revolution. For example, a sit-in at Tiananmen Square where students were fasting to protest the government were not exactly fasting but their efforts are, nevertheless, brave. The true opinions of people too afraid to comment publicly.

Feb 27, 2012

A taste of modern Chinese history and culture.

Jan Wong is incredibly interesting, brave, naive, kind, cruel, and brilliant. An honestly written piece of literature.

Nov 01, 2010

A very interesting insight on Communist China from early 70's to the Tiananmen Square protests. The author recalls her experiences in a way the average Canadian can relate. She tells it as it happened, even when her actions may be embarrassing, foolish or immature in hindsight.

Sep 13, 2010

read early 2010

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