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Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Philip P. Pan

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17. Juni 2008
The struggle for political change in China is reaching a crescendo. From the booming cities to the rural communities, "Out of Mao's Shadow" introduces us to some of the courageous people who are dedicated to building a more democratic China despite the grave dangers they face in doing so. Written by one of the leading China correspondents of his generation, this book brings together compelling individual testimonies, taking us into the lives of people struggling to come to terms with the nation's past, and to take control of its future. 'A reminder that even in a nation of 1.3 billion people, individuals can make a difference - and that China still has plenty of heroes left' - "Time". 'Pan takes the reader into bustling cities and into the vast tracts of countryside in search of those determined to preserve the memories of folk martyrs and to win freedom for the generations to come' - "Good Book Guide".
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


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"Phil Pan is one of the finest American correspondents to have worked in China, a penetrating reporter who works from the ground up. This is an extraordinarily important book about China's unfinished politics." -- Steve Coll, author of The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century

"Out of Mao's Shadow is a stunningly researched and crafted book, filled with tales of individual heroism, triumph, and heartbreak. Pan shares his subjects' relentless curiosity and drive to find truth; the result is a book that's immediate, moving, and ultimately thrilling." -- Rachel DeWoskin, author of Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China

"As correspondent for The Washington Post, Philip Pan covered China like no one else, using his fluency in the language to penetrate Chinese society. He goes beyond his newspaper reporting to tell the story of Chinese people pressing unsuccessfully for political change. Pan's book gives lie to the notion that China is inevitably heading toward democratization." -- James Mann, author of Rise of the Vulcans and The China Fantasy

"Philip Pan's book is a masterpiece of reportage, revealing the layers of dirt and pain that lurk just beneath the shiny surface of modern China." -- Rob Gifford, National Public Radio correspondent and author of China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power

"Philip Pan has brought great patience and a rare sensitivity to political reporting in China.This is the story of how power actually works there." -- Peter Hessler, author of Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .


An analysis of modern cultural and political upheavals in China describes the power struggles currently taking place between the party elite and supporters of democracy, the outcome of which will significantly affect China's rise to a world super-power. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: MP3 CD .

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Buchdeckel | Copyright | Inhaltsverzeichnis | Auszug | Stichwortverzeichnis | Rückseite
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Amazon.com: 4.4 von 5 Sternen  45 Rezensionen
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Fresh Look at Freedom in China 28. Juni 2008
Von Nicholas MacDonald - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
As an American living in Shanghai, I've been impressed by the freedom that many people seem to enjoy here. Contrary to the Cultural Revolution, "RED COMMUNIST CHINA" image that many Americans have, the people of the middle classes in the huge coastal metropoli of this country live lives little different from those of their peers in the west, at least on the surface. The young people I meet scoff at the Little Red Book and the patriotic posturing of the Communist Party; they tend to be as cynical about politics as Americans, if not moreso. At the same time, however, there is a detectable current of discontent lurking below the surface.

Phillip Pan's "Out of Mao's Shadow" blows the lid off this discontent and reveals the dynamics of law and power in China's contemporary civil society. He shows a country that has left behind totalitarian ideology and control and replaced it with an elaborate system of amoral authoritarian gangsterism. Behind such catchphrases as Deng's "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics", Jiang's "Three Represents", and Hu's "Scientific Development Perspective", there's little true substance other than a massive kleptocracy's attempt to get rich quick off of exports and labor exploitation, or so Pan contends. At the same time, however, there is a growing middle class civil society- lawyers, journalists, filmmakers, bloggers, labor organizers, environmental activists, artists, and other troublemakers quietly pushing for change in a rapidly changing and increasingly liberal society. "Out of Mao's Shadow" is about what happens when the people and the party clash, told in a series of stories about these individuals, a small selection of modern China's heroes and villains:
-Zhao Ziyang, the liberal former General Secretary of the Communist Party, who spent the last 15 years of his life on house arrest after taking the blame for the Tiananmen Uprising.
-Hu Jie, a filmmaker who digs up the compelling story of a feisty Cultural Revolution martyr.
-Zeng Zhong, a chronicler of a period of history that the government would rather forget.
-Xiao Yunliang, a daring labor organizer from China's northeastern rust belt.
-Chen Lihua, China's richest woman, a wealthy land developer who made her millions through government connections and forced evictions.
-Zhang Xide, a party cadre who leads a brutal tax crackdown on an impoverished county.
-Jiang Yanyong, the courageous surgeon and PLA general who ended the government's SARS coverup- and then attempted to get them to come clean on the casualties at the Tiananmen massacre.
-Cheng Yizhong, a maverick newspaperman who starts China's freest and most provocative tabloid.
-Pu Zhiqiang, the weiquan (Right's Defense) lawyer who takes on a case against Zhang Xide- and almost wins.
-Chen Guangcheng, a blind student of medicine and law who takes on the country's forced sterilization program.

While there are many books on China hitting the shelves right now, there's only one like this. Pan combines incisive political commentary with personal profiles in a style that smacks of Peter Hessler (River Town, Oracle Bones) meets Fareed Zakaria (The Future of Freedom, The Post-American World). In between optimistic "business hype" titles and political paranoia tracts, Pan's "Shadow" is something completely different- a "boots on the ground" look at the untold stories of modern China. While there are a few places where I disagree with Pan's tone; while the CCP is undoubtably very corrupt, I would not characterize them as evil incarnate; there are many elements to their rule that are quite benevolently paternal, and, as Pan points out in several places, the country is progressively liberalizing under their administration, if at a fairly slow pace. Despite this minor critique, I give this book five stars for great writing and unique material you won't find anywhere else.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in contemporary Chinese politics and society.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Not for the weak 30. August 2009
Von Peking Duck - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Perhaps the most unforgettable scene in the movie Alien, hands-down the greatest science fiction movie ever made, is the attempt by the fast-disappearing crew to resurrect the decapitated robot, Ash, whom they beg for an answer to their simple question:

Ripley: How do we kill it, Ash? There's gotta be a way of killing it. How, how do we do it?

Ash: You can't... You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? A perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.

Lambert: You admire it?

Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.

This unforgettable episode kept replaying in the back on my mind as I read through Philp Pan's unforgettable new masterpiece, Out of Mao's Shadow. This is a book about heroes, about the brave souls in China who dare to stand up to one of the world's most formidable political machines, the Chinese Communist Party. We know one thing in advance: none of them will win. Some do indeed make a huge difference, and nudge the monster toward reform, usually by raising public awareness. But they cannot beat the party. The party will always win. It is too perfect, too self-protective and self-sustaining to tolerate defeat, and it knows no sense of morality or conscience.

A fluent Chinese speaker and former Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post, Pan has won the confidence of these people and, often at considerable personal risk, takes us into their homes, into their lives to give us an intimate portrayal of what they do and why they do it.

There are some whose stories we've discussed on this blog before, such as Jiang Yanyong, the doctor who leaked to the Western media the fact that SARS was spreading in Beijing, and who later spoke out on the carnage he witnessed in the emergency room on the night of June 4, 1989. And Cheng Yizhong, the editor of Southern Metropolis Daily who first challenged the government's insistence that SARS was under control and later helped bring the murder of Sun Zhigang onto the radar screen of the Chinese people and ultimately the world.

Each of the subjects in Pan's book takes it upon himself to stand up to the government, fully aware of the inherent risks. As Pan tells us their stories, he manages to paint an historical picture around them. For example, as he details the work of blind activist Chen Guangcheng against the evils of the one-child policy, Pan takes the reader through a brief and hopelessly depressing history of one of "the most ambitious experiments in social engineering ever attempted," and highlights just how tragic it was, mainly for Chinese women, half a billion of whom were either sterilized, made to endure forced abortions or sloppily fitted with IUDs that led to more misery for them.

Pan weaves history into each story he tells, and nearly all of it is grim. I have to admit, it's a painful and frustrating read. And there are no happy endings. To go through each of the chapters and tell you which ones moved me the most is too daunting a task - i have earmarked nearly every page.

It is not an uplifting book, but not a hopeless one, either. Remember, in the end Ripley does outsmart the creature despite its perfection. And each of these activists makes small dents in the party's armor, and it tells us something that each is still alive and able to talk about it (though quite of few of the characters alluded to along the way are not so lucky, serving lengthy prison sentences). So Pan allows us a glimmer of hope at the end. Reform is real, even if its pace is snail-slow. People are getting bolder, and some of the lawsuits against the government are being won. There is more freedom of speech, though that can be unpredictable. China is no longer totalitarian. But it's in no way democratic.

Pan writes in his epilogue, "What progress has been made in recent years - what freedom the Chinese people now enjoy - has come only because individuals have demanded and fought for it, and because the party has retreated in the face of such pressure."

I hope we never forget that. That's the answer to the question we hear a lot, "if you like China so much why do you criticize it so harshly?" Harsh, consistent criticism based on fact and made with conviction has proven to be the only winning formula in pushing reform ahead.

In my conversations with other expats in China, one thing we all seem to agree on is that Philip Pan is the best reporter who has ever covered China. Longtime readers know how highly I regard Pan's predecessor John Pomfret, who I still see as one of China's most perceptive critics. Pan is in a different category, however. While both Pomfret And Pan are master reporters, Pan is also a beautiful writer. (You don't read Pomfret for style or prose.) Each story in Out of Mao's China is told with an understated eloquence and poignancy - clear-headed and straightforward, but also genuinely poetic. And that's a balance few journalists can strike. It's a suspenseful book, a page-turner, if you will, that keeps you thoroughly wrapped up. Just as he does in the article I refer to more than just about any other in this bog, so too does Pan in his book keep you spellbound, incredulous that this could really be happening in a nation trying so hard to convince the world of its love of peace, of its good intentions, of its glorious reforms.

So many books on China and its transformation since passing "out of Mao's shadow." Get a copy of China Shakes the World, Oracle Bones and Out of Mao's Shadow - it's all there. Of the three. the latter is the most haunting and painful to read, but you'll emerge from it a lot more sober about China's progress, and a lot less patient when it comes to the naive insistence of the anti-CNN crowd that any negative perception of China's government is the product of biased reports in the Western media. There's a lot to be negative about and a lot to be scared of, despite the very real reforms of recent years. Get the book today, and prepare to have some illusions shattered.
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen casting light on a shadow. 19. September 2008
Von Brendan Osberg - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
A mix of history and political analysis from a region and period in which records are systematically destroyed, and authors like Pan are fighting to preserve the truth.
The book paints a picture of a modern Orwellian state, describing, in detail, the contortionist social policies of a communist party that managed to cling to power long after communism became internationally discredited.
For example: the distortion of language for propaganda, the exploitation of nationalism, the systematic partitioning of farmers and peasants away from the central power structures, and the kidnap and remorseless torture of dissidents; Pan lifts all of these elements from the pages of '1984' and moves them to the non-fiction section with this expose'.
The story is also predictive. Pan casts serious doubt on the hopeful -possibly naive- assumption that capitalism will inevitably democratize China. Pan describes modern life in China as more free than it has ever been, though the story he tells is still draconian by most western standards, and his work gives good reason for the rest of the world to be gravely concerned about the future of world's next superpower.
At the same time, however, a powerful human element is brought to the fore: Pan interviews ordinary and extraordinary citizens and shows how the pain and despair of the last 5 decades, on both the individual and social scale, have led to a culture of citizens disengaged from politics.
Pan provides a scathing indictment of the officials and opportunists who exploit the status quo, but also a tribute to the courage and sacrifice of the few people willing to challenge the system; the painful decisions they make and the prices they pay are both inspiring and heartbreaking.
After reading, one is left cheering for the unsung heroes of a far away nation, hoping that eventually their stories will be revered at home, and that their images will be used to replace that of big brother over-looking the blood-soaked ground of Tienanmen square.
22 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Amazing book 28. Juli 2008
Von S - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
There are a lot of excellent books on modern China out there, but this one is a cut above. I think, as a newspaperman, Mr. Pan knows how to grab and hold his reader's attention. I was unable to put it down for a few days. He also gets very deep into the story, talking to the affected people, but also putting everything into historical context. Lastly, I'm glad this book doesn't try to shoehorn everything into some grand hypothesis about China's imminent superpower status. I was happy to learn about the general trends of public discourse and human rights since the Mao era through the stories of some particular citizens who turn out to be heroes in their own way.
28 von 34 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Brilliant insightful truth-telling and reporting - compulsively readable! 4. Juli 2008
Von CH - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I finished this book in two days because I couldn't bear to put it down and it was completely engaging on both intellectual and emotional levels. It's compelling, heart-breaking, compulsively readable and an incredible piece of reporting. Phillip Pan is an amazing writer/reporter and this book allows him a larger canvas to showcase his talents. But what Mr. Pan does best is that he lets others speak: he gives voice to the many individuals who have attempted to stand up to the Chinese government in order to better Chinese society. He also places this struggle in the context of Chinese history, exposing how the Chinese government's authoritarian rule is a betrayal of its original communist ideals. The stories in his book are moving and inspiring. This book is a must-read for those interested in contemporary Chinese politics and society.
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