Black hands of Beijing: lives of defiance in China's democracy movement

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John Wiley, 1993 - History - 390 pages
This vivid chronicle of the lives of three indomitable Chinese compatriots reveals the defiant spirit that drives the struggle for democracy in China. No other book has so expertly rendered the inner workings of the Chinese democracy movement from its first inspiring tremors in 1976 to the present. Who are these heroes, who were all branded chief conspirators behind the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989? Among them are the fiery and charismatic Wang Juntao and the brilliant theorist Chen Ziming, founder of China's most important independent think tank. Through their eyes the first momentous demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1976 spring to life and we share in the heady excitement of the Democracy Wall movement of 1978-79, when critical voices suddenly burst forth on posters all over China. As the Beijing regime cracks down on the movement, we sit in on Chen and Wang's secret strategy sessions, identified as the nerve center of the 1989 protests. On the eve of the '89 protests, we meet Han Dongfang, the fiercely determined Beijing railroad worker, known as the "Lech Walesa of China". As the workers become a potent force in the Square, triggering the worst fears of the communist regime, it is Han who emerges as their leader. We follow his deepening commitment to the movement as he inspires the workers in their protests through his stirring speeches. In the central section of the book, re-created with painstaking precision, the exact course of events in those riveting days in the Square unfolds as never told before. Step by step, the protests take on a life of their own, climaxing at the crucial turning point when compromise with the regime becomes impossible and the use of forceinevitable. The final chapters recount the gripping stories of life on the run of those targeted by the regime in the crackdown after the protests. We follow Wang Juntao from one hiding place to the next, and Chen Ziming as he winds his way from Inner Mongolia to the South China Coast, and learn about the elaborate escape networks devised to ferry protesters to safety in the West. Finally we witness the tragic fates of all three men as they are apprehended and imprisoned under cruel conditions. With a mastery of style, George Black and Robin Munro narrate the pulse of the politics coursing through these men's lives, detailing every move in the elaborate political machinations at the highest levels of the Party leadership as well as the groundswell of protest building on the campuses and in the streets. Black and Munro have traveled extensively in China and interviewed hundreds of participants, from leading intellectuals to rank-and-file workers, uncovering crucial elements of the story of the movement never revealed before. With a wealth of detail unmatched by any other book on the subject, Black Hands of Beijing will stand as one of the finest works on the complex and bitter politics of China in our time.

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Black hands of Beijing: lives of defiance in China's democracy movement

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Black and Munro's account of the 1989 democracy movement uses segments of dialog between China's best-known reformers--in particular, Wang Juntao, Chen Ziming, and Han Dongfang--to render a surreal ... Read full review


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About the author (1993)

George Black is a writer on foreign affairs issues, currently in the field of human rights. He has published a number of books by prestigious houses. Currently Senior Policy Analyst with the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, he lives in New York City and is a fly fisherman.

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