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80 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995© 1995 by University ofHawai'i Press Dai Qing. Yangtze! Yangtze! Translated by Nancy Liu, Wu Mei, Sun Yougeng, and Zhang Xiaogang. Edited by Patricia Adams and John Thibodeau. London and Toronto: Earthscan Publications, Ltd. (London), and Earthscan Canada, 1994. xxvii, 295 pp. Paperback $14.95. This book, originally published in Chinese in March 1989 by Guizhou People's Publishing House, was banned in China in October 1989, when authorities accused the book offanning the antigovernment pro-democracy movement in China, which culminated in the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square killings of students and workers in Beijing. The author, Dai Qing fÜcBft, was later arrested and imprisoned in the infamous Qin Cheng Prison until 1991. She managed to get a few copies of the book smuggled out to Britain and Canada, where it was translated into English by a team offour Chinese and edited by Patricia Adams and John Thibodeau of Earthscan Publications. In 1994 it was simultaneously published in London and Toronto by Earthscan. It was through the singular courage and determination of the author that this book got to be published. Who is she? Why is she so concerned about whetiier the Three Gorges dam on die Yangtze River should be constructed—hence the original Chinese tide and theme of the book? Dai Qing, born in 1941 and die daughter ofa revolutionary martyr, was adopted by a famous marshal in the People 's Liberation Army (PLA) and trained at an elite military academy. She was employed as a military intelligence agent in the PLA before joining the Guangming ribao (Enlightenment daily) as a reporter and columnist. She had a devoted following in this newspaper, one of China's largest dailies, until her arrest and imprisonment in 1990. Following an invitation from Harvard University, she was released so that she could spend 1992 at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow in journalism . She then became a fellow at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York in 1993, where she researched materials for the publication of her book Wang Shiwei and "Wild Lilies": Reflection and Purges in the Chinese Communist Party, 1942-1944 (ïWftM "KF&aTE" ), published by M. E. Sharpe in 1993. This book, too, is a criticism ofMao and die Chinese Communist Party, in its Yan'an days, for the wrongful execution in 1947 of a bright young Communist writer named Wang Shiwei, who had die audacity to audior a book (in Chinese) titled Wild Lilies, which exposed die fact of the hierarchical inequality (access to better food and living quarters, women, and otìier perks on the basis of rank) of life within die Communist Party, which had been propagandized as an egalitarian "classless society." Reviews 81 It can be seen from the above that Dai Qing is not, as referred to in some quarters, exclusively either an "environmentalist" or a "pro-democracy activist," as she was accused ofbeing by the Chinese government in 1989. Dai Qing is dedicated to "truth in news reporting" and fights for "freedom ofthe press" in reporting on any important issue of the moment. For this dedication to truth she has been called China's "mass media historian." Let us examine the issues underlying the book's Chinese title, "Should the Three Gorges Project be Undertaken?" Factual Background to the Debate Since the early 1950s China has, on several occasions, renewed the debate over the building ofthe Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze, for which the Nationalist government in the 1930s had engaged J. L. Savage, the noted American engineer and audiority on dam construction, to make a feasibility study. Beijing's interest in this project has been on and off, interrupted by many nationwide political campaigns such as die Anti-rightist campaign, the Great Leap Forward (attended by the great famine of 1959-1961), the Great Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), as well as an increasingly weakening national economy during Mao's regime. Since 1978, under Deng Xiaoping's modernization policy, the economy has greatiy improved , creating the atmosphere of social stability and financial capability necessary to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. As a pilot project on a small scale...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 80-86
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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