Following the earlier title "The Crippled Tree", this book covers the period 1979-1991. The author recalls the trial of the Gang of Four in 1981 and takes tea with Prime Minister Li Pen but central to the book is the tragedy of Tiannanmen Square.
The fifth volume of Han Suyin's autobiography and history of China covers the years from 1977 to 1991. It is an invaluable interpretation of the enormous changes which have taken place during this time. Han Suyin has personally become involved in many aspects of these changes and, with her specialized knowledge, she examines the conflicts of China itself, in the Party, and the haunting fear of many older leaders of losing power and risking a repetition of the Cultural Revolution and its chaos. She looks back to Zhou Enlai and compares, with perceptive analysis, Deng Xiaoping and his attempts to reconcile the many divergences in the country and bring about economic reform before attempting political change. She recalls the televised public trail of the Gang of Four in 1981; revisits her home in Sichuan following the devastating floods; and recounts her personal interviews not only with China's leaders but with intellectuals, economists, ex-Red Guards, artists and writers, scientists, and managers of new enterprises. Han Suyin is a sought-after lecturer in universities and institutes where she meets thousands of young Chinese confused by the swift changes in the world; she explains the benefits of China's 'opening to the West' and the drawbacks, and on her travels up and down the country warns of the dangers of desertification and population increase, and of new diseases such as Aids. The statistics are sobering; China has to feed 22 per cent of the world population on 7 per cent of the world's arable land; 60 per cent or more of the population is under thirty-five years old, with around 300 million young people under eighteen, all needing education, food and jobs, yet now unwilling to leave the big cities and their amenities - including disco clubs and halls - to take jobs in faraway provinces or towns.
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The first four volumes of Han Suyin's autobiography and history of China are: The Crippled Tree, A Mortal Flower, Birdless Summer and My House Has Two Doors.
Wind in My Sleeve by Suyin Han
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