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.


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.