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Culture Matters

June 27, 2013

Yan Zhengxue, "A Refusal to Forget: Casting Statues for the Soul of China"

The painter Hu Jie once lived in the Yuanmingyuan Artists’ Village1. Later, he filmed a documentary called “Seeking the Soul of Lin Zhao.” I saw it at a gathering of painter friends in Song Village2 and was quite shocked by it. More »

Hu Ping reviews Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

Ezra Vogel said that in writing Deng Xiaoping’s biography, he tried to narrate the political life of Deng from an objective and neutral position, that the book does not include moral judgments of what Deng did—but that he has woven his understanding of Deng’s thoughts and actions into his narrative. More »

Yawei Liu reviews China’s Search for Security

I began to read China’s Search for Security by Andrew Nathan and Andrew Scobell on a flight from Chicago to Beijing via Alaska, the North Pole, and Siberia. While reading the book in the dimly-lit cabin filled with passengers who were going to China to do business, study, attend meetings, or look for employment, I could not help thinking about several seemingly unrelated episodes in contemporary U.S.-China relations. More »

Excerpt from For a Song and a Hundred Songs: A Poet's Journey through a Chinese Prison

Liao Yiwu is a poet, musician (Chinese flute player), novelist and documentarian from Sichuan Province, in southwestern China. He was born in 1958, the year that Mao Zedong launched the Great Leap Forward, a campaign that led to a great famine that killed tens of millionsof people in the following years. Liao barely survived his infancy. In 1966, at the start of the Cultural Revolution, Liao’s father, a school teacher, was accused of being a counter-revolutionary. His parents divorced to protect their children. More »

Andrew Nathan reviews The Thought Remolding Campaign of the Chinese Communist Party-State

Hu Ping’s painful experiences as a middle school student and sent-down youth in the 1960s and early 1970s lie in the background of this book, but he mentions them explicitly only once, describing himself during the Cultural Revolution as having been “a pious disciple of official ideology. More »

Paul Mooney reviews My 1000 Days' Ordeal: A Patriot’s Torture

In April 2005, Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong was detained by China’s dreaded security apparatus as he was about to cross the border from Shenzhen to return to his home. Charged with what appeared to be trumped-up charges that he provided state secrets to Taiwan, he soon finds himself serving a three-year prison sentence. More »

Hu Ping reviews My 1000 Days' Ordeal: A Patriot’s Torture

In One-Sided Statements,1 I wrote this: “People who believe in God are fortunate: fortunate people have no need to believe in God.” More »

Jonathan Mirsky reviews Beyond Shangri- la: America and Tibet’s Move into the Twenty-First Century

Like its counterparts throughout the West, the United States fears upsetting Beijing. For decades, American policymakers have set aside or sacrificed the human rights of those under the Chinese heel, especially in Tibet. No one knows more about this shameful subject than John Kenneth Knaus. A forty-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, he was personally involved in the Agency’s operations inside Tibet from the 1950s to 1971, the only time in over a century that Washington altered its practice of kowtowing to Beijing or, in Manchu times, Peking. Knaus’s book is comprehensively documented. With a few exceptions, when he lapses into government-speak, his narrative will carry along even readers new to this subject. More »

Jonathan Mirsky reviews F: Hu Feng’s Prison Years

Before you read this review, and, I hope, F, remember that Mao Zedong’s giant portrait still gazes down on Tiananmen Square. On the book’s jacket there is this statement by the Great Teacher: “What kind of people are those we don’t execute? We don’t execute people like Hu Feng, not because their crimes don’t deserve capital punishment but because such executions would yield no advantage. Counterrevolutionaries are trash, they are vermin, but once in your hands, you can make them perform some kind of service for the people.” More »

Staff Picks

Staff recommendations for books, articles, films and more.

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Error | Human Rights in China 中国人权 | HRIC


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