Critical Book Review Red China Blues Essays

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Stephen Mendoza, HIST 2312 Wong, Jan. Red China Blues. Toronto: Doubleday/ Anchor Books, 1996. 395 pages. $11.95 In Jan Wong’s entrancing expose Red China Blues, she details her plight to take part in a system of “harmony and perfection” (12) that was Maoist China. Wong discloses her trials and tribulations over a course of three decades that sees her searching for her roots and her transformation of ideologies that span over two distinctive forms of Communist governments. This tale is so enticing in due part to the events the author encountered that radically changed her very existence and more importantly, her personal quest for self-discovery. Jan Wong starts out as a naïve, nineteen year old, Canadian student who is displeased…show more content…
The economy of China boomed once Deng opened its market to foreign investment. It was this shift that caused Wong to start to feel “schizophrenic” (186), and made her reflect on exactly who she was and what she truly believed in. It was also here that a small sentiment of democracy begin to upheave. The apex of Wong’s book is how she displays the emotional overtones in reciting her account of the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. She tells of being holed up in a hotel across the street from the square and actually being able to see the violence between the protesting students and citizens, and the soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army. When she describes bodies falling from gunshot wounds, people being squashed by tanks, and the bullets ricocheting off their hotel walls, it produces multiple senses of horror, sorrow, and absolute terror. She further hammers this point across by displaying two images taken from the scene (245). The first is of a PLA platoon leader who was beaten, set afire, disemboweled, and to add further insult, positioned so that he would serve as an example of what the proletariats were capable of. The second, was of PLA soldiers examining the destruction of Tiananmen Square after they seized the square. Smoke and debris from the protestors are widely prevalent, and the image was even used in a propaganda brochure for the government. Wong alludes to the fact that the Tiananmen

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