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My Life in Prison: Memoirs of a Chinese Political Dissident
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My Life in Prison: Memoirs of a Chinese Political Dissident (Hardback)

£37.95
Usually despatched within 2 weeks.

Synopsis

In 1999, the tenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, leading dissident Jiang Qisheng was given a four-year sentence for inviting the Chinese people to light candles to honor the victims. Drawn with indignant intensity from Jiang's time in prison, his memoirs offer compelling observations of two of the three modern, "civilized" Beijing jails in which he was held. Along with intriguing vignettes of his fellow prisoners, Jiang describes both brutally dehumanizing conditions and rare moments of unexpected kindness. Prisoners, used as slave labor, become "skinned" through malnutrition and exhaustion, while facing new depths of mental degradation. Throughout, however, Jiang retained his dignity, detached and perceptive intelligence, and concern for his fellow sufferers, guards included. Writing in his signature light and ironic style, Jiang's stories of prisoners, who come from the most primitive and impoverished layer of Chinese society, are related with vividness, insight, humor, and compassion. Dismayed by their fatalistic docility, the author asks, "Where lies China's hope? Can democracy ever take root in China?"

The answers, surely, lie in the voices of those, like Jiang, who dare to speak out.

Jiang Qisheng was born in 1948. After ten years of hard agricultural labor during the Cultural Revolution, he obtained a master's degree in aerodynamics, which led to a university teaching post and work toward a PhD. However, for his involvement in the Tiananmen student prodemocracy movement, he was jailed for 18 months. Denied employment on release, he became a freelance writer. In 1999 he was given a longer sentence, which is the subject of this book. With Nobel prizewinner Liu Xiaobo, Jiang was one of the drafters of Charter 08 and remains an outspoken writer on civil liberties and human rights in China.

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