âWhat freedom the Chinese people now enjoy has come only because individuals have demanded and fought for it, and because the party has retreated in the face of such pressure,â Pan writes. The dream of a completely free society, however, has not yet accompanied a free marketâ"despite the growing efforts of everyday men and women fighting the system. Through detailed and illuminating interviews with artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, and peasants, Pan reveals a country filled with local government corruption, human rights violations, and collusion between the Party and the private sector. While Panâs exposÃ© on China left a few critics feeling hopeless, most took away a more optimistic message about Chinaâs future. In either event, they agreed that Out of Maoâs Shadow
achieves âthe immediacy of first-rate reportage and the emotional depth of field of a novelâ (New York Times
).Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
How is the world’s most populous and emerging global power managing to counterbalance the freedoms of capitalism—and the Internet age—against the continued restrictions of authoritarianism? For seven years, Pan, former Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post, traveled China and talked to officials, journalists, artists, entrepreneurs, and ordinary citizens to get a portrait of an extraordinary time in that nation’s—and the world’s—history. Pan begins by examining how the Chinese are preserving their most recent history of fighting resistance to authoritarianism, including a young entrepreneur’s account of openly defying the police by attending the funeral of Chinese official Zhao Ziyang, who was sympathetic to the Tiananmen Square protest 15 years earlier. Pan goes on to explore how the Communist Party has evolved since the death of Mao, including recollections of factory workers who have not benefited from the new emphasis on capitalism and tycoons who are thriving. Finally, Pan presents the perspective of Chinese with hopes for a democratic future in China, even as that nation struggles to reconcile its past and future ambitions and its place in the broader world. --Vanessa Bush