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Culture Matters

November 20, 2012

The Killing Fields of China - A Review Essay by Roger Garside

These books present a wealth of evidence that in the “Great Leap Forward” of 1958 - 60 the Communist Party of China caused the greatest catastrophe ever inflicted upon a society by its own rulers. More »

A Review by Andrew J. Nathan

What most people know about Liu Xiaobo is that he was a courageous writer who challenged the Chinese government, won a Nobel Peace Prize, and ended up in jail. But there is a great deal more to know—about Liu, his activities, his social circle, his trial, and about the implications of his case for China’s future. To explore these wider themes is the purpose of this valuable book. More »

Book Review by Jonathan Mirsky

Pekingologists, those busy-bees who scan every word and gesture of China’s leaders to uncover what is really going on in China’s capital, should compare the jacket of this new biography of Mao Zedong with the one wrapping Jung Chang and Jon Haliday’s Mao: the Unknown Story. There is no doubt about what Mr. Pantsov and Mr. Levine want us to know straightaway. Their cover says it all, especially the word “Real.” On the jacket of each book is a portrait of Mao. On Mao: the Real Story, Mao is dignified, perhaps slightly smiling. On the Chang and Haliday cover, Mao looks enigmatic. While there are many biographies of the Chairman, and some are cited in the book, in the copious footnotes of Mao: the Real Story, Chang and Haliday alone are dismissed as factually unreliable. More »

A Review by Jonathan Mirsky

What if every Chinese who committed the crime of paying a prostitute for sex were sentenced to six months in prison? Immediately, “. . . the vast majority of male authors, businessmen, singers, actors, athletes, directors, and officials are out of circulation . . . . Of the eighty million Communist Party members there will be only 20,080,000 left, and of those, all but 80,000 will be women. . . . there will be no [TV] programs . . . and practically all the men on the Forbes list of millionaires will have disappeared . . . . Worst of all you won’t be able to find your dad.” More »

A New Listening Experience

For several years now, the 798 Art District in Beijing has been a place where art happens. I have been there to see various art exhibitions, installation art, and performance art. But this was my first time going to an open-air, live musical performance, the “Liu Sola & Friends Ensemble.” As soon as I saw the name I knew it would be a very avant-garde, experimental performance. Plus, the special guest was Lao Wu of Tang Dynasty (I had heard he quit the band a long time ago), whose own unique guitar techniques are very innovative. More »

Staff Picks

Staff recommendations for books, articles, films and more.