In the Shadow of the Rising Dragon: Stories of Repression in the New China
Edited by Xu Youyu and Hua Ze; Introduction by Andrew J. Nathan and Foreword by Jerome A. Cohen; Translated by Stacy Mosher
Over the last decade China has undergone a transformation. After the dark days of the Cultural Revolution, it has emerged as one of the twenty-first century’s most powerful economies, with millions of citizens now entering the middle class. Yet, despite these rapid changes, China’s human rights record remains abysmal, and a heavy shroud of secrecy protects the one-party system from accountability. In In the Shadow of the Rising Dragon, Chinese citizens from all walks of life share their stories of brutality and oppression. While inconceivable in the West, public beatings, grueling official questioning, unexplained detentions, and house arrest have become common-place occurrences, requiring only a minor infraction to set into motion. Those that dare to push the boundaries of the totalitarian regime, including one essayist’s visit to the human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, are sentenced to life-long imprisonment, subjected to physical and psychological torture, and, frighteningly, made to “disappear.” What emerges is a pattern of harassment directed, not at opposition figures, but ordinary citizens who live in crippling uncertainty of their future. Edited by two Chinese scholars, both of whom have experienced surveillance, control, abduction, and detention, this is a probing and revealing look at life under the police state of the world’s most populous country.
Xu Youyu is one of the signatories of Charter 08, a manifesto drafted by Liu Xiaobo and other intellectuals calling for substantive political reform in China. Xu received a human rights prize on behalf of Liu Xiaobo in 2009, and he publicly supported Liu’s Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.
Hua Ze is also a signatory of Charter 08 and filmmaker that exposes China’s human rights transgressions. She has been detained in police custody and is currently a visiting scholar at Columbia University.
Update: This book was reviewed in the November 7 issue of the New York Review of Books. To read, click here.