The story of Robert Davies, who first went to China in 1988 as an overland backpacker, fell in love with an Uighur lady who was already married with a daughter, became embroiled in drug trafficking and ended up serving over seven years in prison in Shanghai.
Robert Davies first went to China in 1988 as an overland backpacker. After a hair-raising two months touring Pakistan, he found himself in Kashgar, the fabled Silk Road city. It was here that his life would be irrevocably changed. He fell in love with Sharapet, an Uighur/Uzbek lady who was already married with a daughter. Love made them blind to the bureaucracy they had to deal with and the thousands of miles they had to travel to obtain permission to marry. Sharapet's ex-husband returned from jail and sought revenge. Yet their love endured and cushioned the fall that came after Robert got involved in the trafficking of hashish. Arrested and taken 2,500 miles across China to Shanghai, he was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years behind bars in an Asian prison. He had suffered a legal system where law is merely a word and justice is as elusive as the holy grail. Fate, however, gave him a unique opportunity to observe a little-known world - one that he and only three other Britons had seen since China's Liberation in 1949. He eventually served seven-and-a-half years in Shanghai Tilan Qiao Prison and Shanghai Qing Pu Prison where, along with the other western inmates, he fought against a corrupt system in grim and draconian conditions, with death a constant threat. These memoirs serve as an indictment against the Chinese legal system which, he feels, blatantly used him and other foreigners as propaganda tools. But they are also about the deference he concedes to a prison system that fed him well, allowed him the chance to learn three languages and hone his skills in oil painting and playing the guitar. The book is a story of fatalism and inevitability; of international drug smugglig and the horrors of prison, and of a love that endured years of separation and hardship.
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