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China Witness


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About the Author

Xinran was born in Beijing in 1958 and moved to London in 1997 to write for "The Guardian." She is author of "The Good Women of China," a seminal book about the lives of Chinese women, and "Sky Burial." Her charity, The Mothers' Bridge of Love, was founded to help disadvantaged Chinese children and to build a bridge of understanding between the West and China.


"Xinran's interactions are extraordinary...[she] uses a wide range of stories -- of public-works projects and persecutions, romance and reeducation -- to show how China's masses clung to scraps of individuality amid the deadening conformity of the communist system." -- "New York Times Book Review ""As Xinran crisscrosses the vast country, she proves herself to be a tenacious conduit for gently urging remarkable histories onto the page and even on film, recording the memories and lives of her elderly Chinese witnesses." --"The San Francisco Chronicle " "Xinran . . . doesn't treat her subjects like something from a 1945 newsreel, the dutiful witnesses of history's march. She pokes them and flatters them; she gets excited by their stories and on occasion cries along with them. [In this book] we see the red lines that many Chinese still draw for themselves in public discourse, or even privately, the boundaries they dare not cross even today. No other style of storytelling could have exhibited them with more clarity or greater rawness." --Oliver August, "The Times" (London) "An invaluable social history that textbooks don't reveal."--"Kirkus Reviews" "Extraordinary in-depth interviews with a dozen unlikely survivors of the cultural revolution (the Policeman, the Acrobat, the Lantern Maker . . .). This brilliant work of oral history-by a sort of Chinese Studs Terkel-gives a completely riveting glimpse of everyday life behind Mao's bamboo curtain and subtly reflects on the politics of memory and what may be yet to come."--"The Guardian," Best Books of 2008 "[A] stirring, startlingly honest account of life under Chairman Mao and the current reformers revamping the socialist state. If the reader wants proof of how resilient and tough the Chinese people are, witness the incredible stories related by Lin Xiangbei, a loyal Communist later branded a counterrevolutionary, or Teacher Sun and her husband, former political prisoners, or

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