|About the Book|
Translated and Edited by Nancy Yang Liu, Peter Rand, and Lawrence R. Sullivan with a Foreword by Ian Buruma Dai Qings ideal, as a public intellectual, can be summed up in her own words: `Freedom of thought and independence of personality. ThisMoreTranslated and Edited by Nancy Yang Liu, Peter Rand, and Lawrence R. Sullivan with a Foreword by Ian Buruma Dai Qings ideal, as a public intellectual, can be summed up in her own words: `Freedom of thought and independence of personality. This might seem like a modest ambition, banal almost, but in China it is actually very hard to achieve from the Foreword by Ian BurumaThis memoir by Dai Qing, Chinas best-known investigative journalist, offers insight into the mental and physical tribulations that accompany imprisonment by an authoritarian government devoted to squeezing out confessions of wrongdoing by its political opponents. Written in the early 1990s during her incarceration in Beijings notorious Qingcheng prison, this is a mournful and courageous document about her struggle with the travails of imprisonment for unstated crimes following the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square.Along with personal letters to her family and descriptions of her cell and the numbing routine of prison life, this book contains verbatim translations of Dais forced confessions to her jailers and the top political authorities in China. At times quite unflattering to the author, these documents show how difficult it was to stand up and explain away her actions during the hectic months from April to June 1989 when she and other intellectuals tried to stave off a confrontation between the government and the students occupying Tiananmen. Against the governments claim that a widespread conspiracy existed to overthrow the regime, of which Dai was a purported central figure, her confessions are a marvelous example of just how difficult it is to exculpate oneself from a political apparatus that marshals enormous evidence that paints any persons actions as conspiratorial and anti-Party. Despite her obvious innocence, Dai gets caught in the web of accusations that all prosecutors bring to any persons actions that are under investigation: She finds that escape is nearly impossible, and so begins to accept the governments view on certain matters, ending up fingering others in a manner that suggests previous collaborationist actions in China, the Soviet Union, and the West (the McCarthy hearings, for example) when an individual is isolated by political authorities bent on condemning its detractors.Prison Memoirs and Other Writings remains witty and filled with vivid descriptions of the absurdities of political imprisonment in any system. It is the final chapter in Dai Qings transformation from a beneficiary of the regime to one of its victims.