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Download Red China Blues ePub

by Jan Wong

Download Red China Blues ePub
  • ISBN 0385476795
  • ISBN13 978-0385476799
  • Language English
  • Author Jan Wong
  • Publisher Doubleday; DoubledayAnchor Books Ed edition (April 1, 1996)
  • Pages 405
  • Formats azw lit doc mbr
  • Category Biography
  • Subcategory Historical
  • Size ePub 1615 kb
  • Size Fb2 1604 kb
  • Rating: 4.8
  • Votes: 169

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 un-happy 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.

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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.

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Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now is a 1996 book by Chinese-Canadian journalist Jan Wong. Wong describes how the youthful passion for left-wing and socialist politics drew her to participate in the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now is a 1996 book by Chinese-Canadian journalist Jan Wong. Wong describes how the youthful passion for left-wing and socialist politics drew her to participate in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Speaking little Chinese, she became one of the first Westerners to enroll in Beijing University in 1972. However, her idealism did not survive the harsh realities and hypocrisy she saw in the China of the 1970s, and she abandoned her support of Maoism

Jan Wong, a Canadian of Chinese descent, went to China as a starry-eyed Maoist in 1972 at the height of the Cultural Revolution

Jan Wong, a Canadian of Chinese descent, went to China as a starry-eyed Maoist in 1972 at the height of the Cultural Revolution. In the name of the Revolution, she renounced rock & roll, hauled pig manure in the paddy fields, and turned in a fellow student who sought her help in getting to the United States.

Jan Wong, a Canadian of Chinese descent, went to China as a starry-eyed Maoist in 1972 at the height of the Cultural Revolution

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. 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.

About Red China Blues

About Red China Blues. Jan Wong, a Canadian of Chinese descent, went to China as a starry-eyed Maoist in 1972 at the height of the Cultural Revolution.

Talk about Red China Blues


funike
In her autobiographical “Red China Blues,” author Jane Wong does what the much more vaunted Jung Chang and her similar “Wild Swans” did not. Specifically, she injects much-needed humor and self-effacement along with the obligatory tale of hardship during China’s Cultural Revolution. To be fair, Wong also plays things almost problematically middle-of-the-road, never fully condemning Mao’s edicts nor providing readers, especially bewildered Westerners or seething Chinese the kind of good vs. evil narrative that Chang does. In fact, she gets downright wistful for Mao’s socialist extremism as she frets about the dramatic economic changes that transform China following “The Great Helmsman’s” passing.

Yet, I’m giving her a pass for several reasons, mainly that her honesty is never in question. She tells things as she saw them and doesn’t spare self-condemnation. While she does blame the propaganda she eagerly devoured at the beginning for the climate of frenzied paranoia that defined the Cultural Revolution, she admits that she was a true believer in the promises Mao made. She ends up sadder but wiser even as she strives to make it clear that she doesn’t regret much from her years in China, and I respect that level of personal integrity. Whereas Jung Chang railed at Mao for turning her into a bad person, Jane Wong takes the blame for willingly being duped.

Engrossing, particularly when describing the rigors of life in rural China or the Tiananmen Square nightmare, Wong uses the skills she has as a journalist (and the rigorous journals she kept during her years of indoctrination) to give the reader a genuine first-hand experience. The book tails off a bit during the post-Tiananmen chapters, wherein she chronicles the economic changes in China during the era of Deng Xiaoping, but it’s still an interesting look back at the antecedents that have led to today’s economic circumstances in China. There are a lot of books about the Mao years and their effects on individual Chinese people, yet this is one that not only provides insight, but also a sense of wry humor to what is often written of in angry, bitter, and stark terms.
Bajinn
I marked up this book all over with highlights and notes. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time, whether fiction or non-fiction. Yeah, it's over twenty years since publication, but I recently had some close family members move to China and this book was recommended to me so I'd be more informed and less worried. That goal was accomplished AND I learned so much reading this book. Jan Wong can truly write and I appreciate all she went through for my benefit all these years later.
Maucage
As a personal memoir, it is a reasonably well told story of a teenager who learns that her idealized vision of China isn't real. On the other hand, most people already know that the implementation of communism invariably lead to authoritarian states. I was especially disappointed at the lack of insight as to the future evolution of Chinese society after the massive disruption caused by Chairman Mao.
Manarius
An enthusiastic young activist, Jan Wong left Canada for Beijing in 1972, in hopes of simultaneously aiding Mao's cause and pursuing her ancestral roots. This well-written, enlightening account of her "journey from Mao to now" takes readers through her six years as a student and subsequent six years as a reporter in Red China's capital city.

Wong was uniquely qualified to write this book, which privileges readers with deep insights into why things were the way they were then, and are now, in China. Having Chinese parents, but being raised in the West, rendered Jan part of both worlds. She experienced the Cultural Revolution and post-Mao China as both an insider and a "foreigner," resulting in a perspective on those periods that only a few can claim, and fewer still have written about.

The first part of the book tells the story of the author's Beijing University days. In 1972, armed with only the vocabulary she had acquired in Mandarin 101, Wong left the comfort and security of her Montreal life to spend a summer in China. Inspired by what she observed in Red China, she found it a natural progression to move from worrying about feminist issues to supporting Maoism. So she petitioned and won permission to stay in the country to study at Beijing University for the next two years. Anti-establishmentarianism was "in," and "China was radical-chic" at the time, she explains. Western youth looked to the East for answers and antidotes to racism, "exploitation" of the masses, and materialism. Becoming a journalist seemed like the perfect job for a young woman seeking to change the world, so she decided to remain in China to learn Mandarin, Chinese history, and Maoism. Her goal was to bring knowledge of all that she thought China was doing well to the West.

As a starry-eyed young Maoist, Wong did not realize how miserable people really were. Instead, when she discovered that she and the other foreign students were being given better rooms and special food privileges, they protested until they were allowed to eat the miserable starvation-level rations given to the rest of the students in their dingy canteen. Then she and her foreign friend petitioned to join their Chinese classmates in undertaking the required physical labor projects they had been exempted from. She was finally allowed to dug ditches, haul bricks, and harvest crops with everyone else.

The author's first clue that Communist China might not be the paradise she had dreamed of came when the school asked her to end her friendship with a young Swedish man or be expelled. The school actually played a distressing mind game with her over this issue. From this experience she learned that in China people were not only unable to do what they wanted, but they were also not free to think what they wanted.

Yet, Wong remains zealous in her attempts to prove that she is a good Maoist. In fact, Part One of the book culminates in her informing on two students who asked for her help to leave China for the US. At the time Wong thought she was doing the right thing by turning them in, but now she regrets her decision and feels great remorse for the terrible fate that probably befell these people after that.

In Part Two, Wong returns to Montreal to complete her McGill University degree. Still supportive of Red China, she lectures locally in an effort to muster public support for the country and its political agenda. After graduating in 1974, Wong won a Canadian government scholarship to study at Beijing University, and off she went for more of the same. In addition to learning more about her school experiences and deepening understanding of what was happening on a personal and political level, the author meets and marries Norman Shulman---an American. After her studies end, she takes a job as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times. She finds that her Chinese appearance and fluency with the language give her a unique ability to get the local people to open up to her, when other reporters are unable to get interviews or comments.

Wong reaches a turning point when Madame Mao and the rest of the Gang of Four are arrested. As she watches people rejoice in the streets, it dawns on her that the people hadn't believed in the Cultural Revolution for a long time. She feels betrayed and foolish because of her blind faith.

Wong left China in 1980 to pursue a journalism degree at Columbia University, and then worked at various prestigious publications in the US and Canada for seven years. But in 1988, she was too curious to know what was really happening in China, so she asked her employer, the Toronto Globe, to transfer her. The third section of the book thus covers the late 1980s and early 1990s. The highlight of her career was covering the Tiananmen Square protests, the resulting massacre, and resulting fall out. This event served as the catalyst for shattering the last of Wong's illusions about communism in China. She declares herself no longer naïve and believes that she finally has a clear view of the "real" China.

The last portion of the book presents some of Wong's most interesting interviews and perspectives on life in China, centering on human rights issues and social problems like how to uncover how many people really died in the Tiananmen Square massacre, poverty, the effects of the economic boom, retardation, drugs, prisoners, kidnapping women as brides, and the new robber barons of China.

Wong left China in 1993 with no regrets. She concluded that without having spent 12 years living in and observing Red China, she would not have realized that what she was striving for all along was the socialist life style she enjoyed in Canada.

Filled with interesting stories and well told, this book is a must read addition to your "good books about China" collection. As more and more people with Chinese roots return to this country, hopefully more voices like Wang's will emerge to give us perspective on what's happened between 1993 and the present, picking up where she has left off.