- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (November 20, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679457682
- ISBN-13: 978-0679457688
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,176,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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 mobile phone number.
Bad Elements: Chinese Rebels from Los Angeles to Beijing 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
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.
From Library Journal
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.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
These dissidents represent 'the first principle of good governance: the freedom to be critical and in this respect, they are an example not just for China but for all of us.'
Among the most fascinating interviews are those with the Tiananmen rebels more than ten years after the bloody events. These dissidents are now more or less troubled men in exile, full of disillusion and desperation, even fleeing into religion, but still bickering with and criticizing their fellow travellers.
Although they showed enormous courage, the truth is that they were not really a threat for the regime. As Ian Buruma states rightly: 'The Communist government fears rebellious workers far more than students and intellectuals.'
This book contains a wealth of information on China and the Chinese Diaspora.
It contains painful interviews with victims of the Cultural Revolution who suffered horrifying tortures, as well as a harsh report on the Shenzhen zone and a correct evaluation of the Falun Gong movement.
The author sketches a terribly bleak picture of Singapore's dictator Lee Kuan Yew, who couldn't support the slightest criticism and who crushed even the mildest of his opponents.
He gives us also an excellent historical and actual portrait of Taiwan with the bloody Kuomintang invasion and the brutal dictatorship of Chiang Kai-shek.
One minus point: in his distinguished portrait of Tibet he fails to mention the fact that Tibetans were trained by the CIA as invasion troops for an attack on Mao's China.
With every report and interview, the author illuminates different aspects of the Chinese mentality (Confucianism, zige, xenophobia, self-loathing ...)
This book is a magisterial achievement and a must read for all those interested in the history of China.
It is the personal element that makes this book as captivating as it is. We hear not only each dissident's words but also Buruma's reactions to them and sometimes arguments against them. His long experience in Asian affairs and understanding of Western and Asian societies make his thoughts as illuminating as the stories of the dissidents themselves. The book is not a travelogue but has elements of one. He meets old friends and strangers, eats new foods, and ruefully observes changes in urban landscapes. His brief descriptions of Singapore, Taipei, Hong Kong and other cities on his route capture them in their essence.
"Bad Elements" is informative, horrifying, inspirational, and even funny at times. Anyone with an interest in Chinese culture, Asian politics, or modern history will find it enlightening.