Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Myths abound about China: all Chinese everywhere are united in a community of enduring culture; Western-style democracy is unsuited to China, as it would bring only chaos and the disruption of unity. In this brilliant report of his encounters with Chinese dissidents, rebels and democrats those blessed or cursed with "sheer cussedness" veteran journalist Buruma (The Wages of Guilt, etc.) brings into question such generalizations. There are, it seems, many Chinas and many Chinese willing to risk all in the name of individual freedom and the rule of law. In the U.S., Buruma visits exiled veterans of the 1989 Tiananmen protests who have adjusted well to their new lives and older exiles lost in the impatient busyness of America. He travels to Singapore an antiseptic and intolerant blend of the market and one-party rule where dissidents risk not only prison but extreme marginalization within a conformist society. He then moves on to Taiwan, with its lively if banal democracy (of banners and campaign buttons and staged rallies) and the men and women who, under the island's Nationalist Party rule, faced lifetimes of torture, prison and exile to bring democracy to life, and then to Hong Kong, where democrats try to keep the rule of law alive under China's new rulership. Finally, he travels to the center, the motherland, China. Buruma detects the stench of political decay as the Communist Party drifts into dangerous irrelevance, but amid the decay are rebels fighting battles big and small, for the simple right to criticize, the grand right to choose their leaders. Whether he's describing the noble melancholy of an exiled Chinese rebel or the unbridled joy of free elections in Taiwan, Buruma's writing is as elegant as Chinese calligraphy and as potent as Chinese wine. It is hard to imagine anyone in the West beginning to understand China without first reading this book. (On-sale: Nov. 20)
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
After the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations and bloodshed in Beijing, Chinese dissidents dispersed, either going underground in China or escaping to the United States, Europe, or other parts of Asia. Buruma (The Missionary and the Libertine) seeks out "the rebels" of Tiananmen to find out what happened to them and how they feel about the future of human rights in China. Buruma's study is both engaging and deeply informed. As cultural editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review, he has closely followed developments in China, and for this book he interviewed approximately 60 dissidents in Chinese. Robin Monro and George Black attempted a similar analysis in The Black Hands of Beijing (Wiley, 1993) but could not offer much more than a cursory sketch of the dissidents' lives. Buruma found that some of the rebels had turned to Christianity, believing that China needed some "positive" form of religion in order to form liberal democratic institutions. Others spoke firmly against the myth that economic prosperity will lead to democratic reform. In the end, Buruma decides that the real myth that keeps China from progressing to a state of political freedom is that of national unity the idea that Chinese everywhere should demonstrate loyalty to the motherland. Highly recommended for all collections.
- Peggy Spitzer Christoff, Rockville, MD
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
1. Was there a topic at all here? So there are some Chinese dissidents in China. So now what? Will they make a difference? Read morePublished on April 29, 2009 by Lemas Mitchell
Ian Buruma gives us a penetrating portrait of all kinds of modern Chinese rebels against authoritarianism ('A human being should have the right to choose his own destiny'). Read morePublished on February 18, 2004 by Luc REYNAERT