23 March 2008

Speaking of China

Mrs. Neo, who has an insatiable appetite for the written word... is currently plowing through the collected works of Canadian journalist Jan Wong... pausing occasionally, to offer up the ripest morsels from the feast...

"Like lots of resident Western journalists, my phone had been tapped, my mail opened. The secret police tailed me, interrogated my sources and sometimes arrested them."
And like any good writer... she gets up close and personal.
"In 1989, a few days after the massacre at Tiananmen Square, plainclothes police mistook me for a student and tried to kidnap me. I fought back, screaming–in English. The agents stopped trying to stuff me in the back of the unmarked car."

"Still shaking on the sidewalk, I belatedly realized that if only I had gone along with them, I would have had a great story."
I'm obviously gonna have to read this one myself.

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UPDATE: An excerpt from the book...
"But on this trip I’m nervous, because I’m returning to Beijing for another reason. I am not only planning to chronicle the future of this great city; I also need to come to terms with my own past."

"For this, I want moral support. I need my family to reassure me that I’m not a horrible human being. Or that, if I am, they love me anyway. Thirty-three years ago, in one thoughtless, misguided moment, I destroyed someone’s life."

"This is what I did: in 1973, I ratted out a stranger at Beijing University who wanted to get to America. At the time I did not give it much thought. I certainly did not understand the enormity of what I had done. I recorded the incident in my diary, and forgot about it."
Except that she could never really forget.

Fascinating read.

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now that is 'investigative journalism'! Sounds like she has what it takes to get to the heart of a story.

Neo Conservative said...

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she doesn't spare herself either... it's a pretty gripping story...

"In the early 70s, Jan Wong travelled from Canada to become one of only two Westerners permitted to study at Beijing University."

"One day a young stranger, Yin Luoyi, asked for help in getting to the United States. Wong, then a starry-eyed Maoist, immediately reported Yin to the authorities."

"Thirty-three years on, and more than a decade after the publication of her bestselling Red China Blues, Jan Wong revisits the Chinese capital to begin her search for the person who has haunted her conscience. She wants to apologize, to somehow make amends."

"At the very least, she wants to discover whether Yin survived."


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James Goneaux said...

Well, Warren Kinsella doesn't like her, which should be a very good selling point for anyone.

Of course, Wong has actually faced more adversity in one day than Kinsella has in his life, which should be another...

justfrank said...

And if Yin didn't survive, perhaps boycotting the 2008 Olympics and bringing the Olympic Torch to the top of Mount Everest would help to heal that open wound?

"Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principals."

Make our world a better place - boycott the 2008 Olympics...

Anonymous said...

I've read that book - a MUST read for every Commie-lover in Canada.