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by Nien Cheng


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Nien Cheng, an anglophile and fluent English-speaker who worked for Shell in Shanghai under Ma. As I started reading, I quickly got drawn in by the vivid narration. It felt like I am there in Shanghai in the late 1960s, watching the Chinese Cultural Revolution unfold in front of my own eyes. While I could not break away from reading the book, something nagged me to doubt the perspective of the autobiographer, who was a member of the privileged class, and therefore seen as a "class enemy" by the Red Guard and the Chinese authority.

Nien Cheng (1915–2009) was the author of the, international best-selling memoir Life and Death in Shanghai. Released from prison in 1973, Cheng emigrated in 1980, first to Canada and then to the United States, where she became a . Cheng died at her home in Washington, . in 2009 at the age of 94.

Nien Cheng speaks about her book,. The book is about her imprisonment during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She answered questions from the audience

Nien Cheng speaks about her book,. She answered questions from the audience. Nien Cheng spoke about her book, Life And Death in Shanghai.

I still am in awe of he. nd going to be for the rest of my life. This woman transcends everything I have read about human resilience.

Life and Death in Shanghai is an autobiography published in November 1987 by Yao Nien-Yuan under the pen name Nien Cheng. Written in exile in the United States, it tells the story of Cheng's arrest during the first days of the Cultural Revolution, her more than six years' confinement, release, persecution, efforts to leave China, and early life in exile. Cheng was arrested in late 1966 after the Red Guards looted her home

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Nien Cheng, an anglophile and fluent English-speaker who .

Nien Cheng, an anglophile and fluent English-speaker who worked for Shell in Shanghai under Mao, was put under house arrest by Red Guards in 1966 and subsequently jailed.

It felt like I am there in Shanghai in the late 1960s, watching the Chinese Cultural Revolution unfold in front of my. .The way she carefully chose her words.

It felt like I am there in Shanghai in the late 1960s, watching the Chinese Cultural Revolution unfold in front of my own eyes. She was brutally persecuted and spent years in solitary detention.

Nien Cheng tells the story of her suffering at the hands of Mao’s Red Guards. The last fifty pages of Life and Death deny its chances of perfection. The story’s structure succumbs to its potential weaknesses, and Cheng starts rambling

Nien Cheng tells the story of her suffering at the hands of Mao’s Red Guards. The Red Guards were human nature in action, responding to the circumstances of social revolution and empowered by a man they considered a hero - a man of courage, self-sacrifice and intellectuality gone rotten - Mao Zedong. The story’s structure succumbs to its potential weaknesses, and Cheng starts rambling. The last three chapters are quiescent and garrulous; Cheng rambles on about personal business that doesn’t seem to fit into the book.

This is a first-hand account of China's cultural revolution. Nien Cheng, an anglophile and fluent English-speaker who worked for Shell in Shanghai under Mao, was put under house arrest by Red Guards in 1966 and subsequently jailed. All attempts to make her confess to the charges of being a British spy failed; all efforts to indoctrinate her were met by a steadfast and fearless refusal to accept the terms offered by her interrogators. When she was released from prison she was told that her daughter had committed suicide. In fact Meiping had been beaten to death by Maoist revolutionaries.

Life and Death in Shanghai epub download

ISBN13: 978-0006548614

ISBN: 000654861X

Author: Nien Cheng

Category: Social Sciences

Subcategory: Politics & Government

Language: English

Publisher: Flamingo (October 1, 2007)

Pages: 496 pages

ePUB size: 1532 kb

FB2 size: 1549 kb

Rating: 4.4

Votes: 209

Other Formats: lrf doc mobi txt

Related to Life and Death in Shanghai ePub books

Lahorns Gods
It is very unlikely that would have discovered this book if not for a Chinese friend of mine who strongly recommended this book to me. While I learned to trust her literary taste, this was one time when I was a bit skeptical. The brief description of the book didn't seemed to agree with many things that I had learned during my formative years. Still, based on my past experience with her recommendations, I wanted to give it a try.

As I started reading, I quickly got drawn in by the vivid narration. It felt like I am there in Shanghai in the late 1960s, watching the Chinese Cultural Revolution unfold in front of my own eyes. While I could not break away from reading the book, something nagged me to doubt the perspective of the autobiographer, who was a member of the privileged class, and therefore seen as a "class enemy" by the Red Guard and the Chinese authority. She was brutally persecuted and spent years in solitary detention.

Just when all this was happening in China, I was growing up in Calcutta. During those early days of the Cultural Revolution, a political movement gathered steam in my part of India. Locally termed the Naxalite movement, it was the action of the Maoist faction of the Communist Party of India. At the same time similar movements were growing up in many parts of Europe, Latin America, and the rest of the world, all inspired by Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution in China. This movement, mostly led by the college students in and around Calcutta, eventually took a huge toll and thousands died as a result of clashes with police, rival political groups, or in police custody.

In those days it was hard to find a single building in Calcutta where the walls were not covered by stenciled images of Mao, with the absurd sounding slogan "China's chairman is our chairman". The little Red Book of Mao's quotations were omnipresent. Romanticized stories of the Cultural Revolution floated in and energized a whole generation of bright young people. Many believed they were witnessing the start of an ideal society with brand new values.

This book told a very different story. It told the story of a time when a bunch of young people were convinced that almost anyone outside of the working class was not to be trusted. Intellectuals and teachers were forced to give up their professions and pick up hard labor, all foreign books, music, art was abandoned and destroyed. Almost anyone with any past western connection were seen as spies. Thousands were jailed or killed simply on the basis of suspicion. Gangs of Red Guards roamed the streets and took whatever action they felt was necessary to punish and destroy the "Counter Revolutionaries". As a result of all this, people stopped trusting anyone, even closest family members, because under pressure anyone could point fingers. Those were horribly brutal times in China.

Six years later we came to know of the ouster of the Gang of Four in China, the mastermind behind the horrible atrocities that happened in the name of the Cultural Revolution. Even though the authorities never directly blamed Mao or denounced the Cultural Revolution, all the old policies were reversed, and today's China is very far from the days of the Cultural Revolution. In spite of all that, somewhere deep in my mind, the romantic notions probably persisted. That was perhaps why my initial reaction was slightly doubtful. But as I read more, and also based on many other books I have read recently about that time in China, I realized that even if you discount the political beliefs of the writer, one cannot deny the inhuman conditions that prevailed, and the sheer madness of the ideology.

What is most sobering is the fact that perfectly smart and well meaning people are capable of being blinded by a powerful ideology where we stop to question the facts. Anything that does not fit the ideological mold is ignored or explained away. That is the danger of an ideology, any ideology. Our intelligence is no guarantee that we would not fall victim of its anesthetizing effect. Ideologies are the thinking crutch of the intellectually lazy, where once you accept the framework, you don't have to do much critical thinking anymore, as the ideology does it for you. It is a black box where you can throw in your problems and the moral answer pops out.

In 1977, just after the ouster of the Gang of Four, my parents visited China for the first time. At one point they visited Mao's mausoleum, who died an year earlier. My mother, not a particularly political person, saw the body of the man and started to weep. When I asked her what made her cry, she said she was thinking of the the thousands of young people in Calcutta who gave their lives believing in this man. I wonder what would have been her reaction if she also knew that thousands of innocent people were tortured and killed in China under his rule, and perhaps with his knowledge. Such are the complexities of history.
Lahorns Gods
It is very unlikely that would have discovered this book if not for a Chinese friend of mine who strongly recommended this book to me. While I learned to trust her literary taste, this was one time when I was a bit skeptical. The brief description of the book didn't seemed to agree with many things that I had learned during my formative years. Still, based on my past experience with her recommendations, I wanted to give it a try.

As I started reading, I quickly got drawn in by the vivid narration. It felt like I am there in Shanghai in the late 1960s, watching the Chinese Cultural Revolution unfold in front of my own eyes. While I could not break away from reading the book, something nagged me to doubt the perspective of the autobiographer, who was a member of the privileged class, and therefore seen as a "class enemy" by the Red Guard and the Chinese authority. She was brutally persecuted and spent years in solitary detention.

Just when all this was happening in China, I was growing up in Calcutta. During those early days of the Cultural Revolution, a political movement gathered steam in my part of India. Locally termed the Naxalite movement, it was the action of the Maoist faction of the Communist Party of India. At the same time similar movements were growing up in many parts of Europe, Latin America, and the rest of the world, all inspired by Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution in China. This movement, mostly led by the college students in and around Calcutta, eventually took a huge toll and thousands died as a result of clashes with police, rival political groups, or in police custody.

In those days it was hard to find a single building in Calcutta where the walls were not covered by stenciled images of Mao, with the absurd sounding slogan "China's chairman is our chairman". The little Red Book of Mao's quotations were omnipresent. Romanticized stories of the Cultural Revolution floated in and energized a whole generation of bright young people. Many believed they were witnessing the start of an ideal society with brand new values.

This book told a very different story. It told the story of a time when a bunch of young people were convinced that almost anyone outside of the working class was not to be trusted. Intellectuals and teachers were forced to give up their professions and pick up hard labor, all foreign books, music, art was abandoned and destroyed. Almost anyone with any past western connection were seen as spies. Thousands were jailed or killed simply on the basis of suspicion. Gangs of Red Guards roamed the streets and took whatever action they felt was necessary to punish and destroy the "Counter Revolutionaries". As a result of all this, people stopped trusting anyone, even closest family members, because under pressure anyone could point fingers. Those were horribly brutal times in China.

Six years later we came to know of the ouster of the Gang of Four in China, the mastermind behind the horrible atrocities that happened in the name of the Cultural Revolution. Even though the authorities never directly blamed Mao or denounced the Cultural Revolution, all the old policies were reversed, and today's China is very far from the days of the Cultural Revolution. In spite of all that, somewhere deep in my mind, the romantic notions probably persisted. That was perhaps why my initial reaction was slightly doubtful. But as I read more, and also based on many other books I have read recently about that time in China, I realized that even if you discount the political beliefs of the writer, one cannot deny the inhuman conditions that prevailed, and the sheer madness of the ideology.

What is most sobering is the fact that perfectly smart and well meaning people are capable of being blinded by a powerful ideology where we stop to question the facts. Anything that does not fit the ideological mold is ignored or explained away. That is the danger of an ideology, any ideology. Our intelligence is no guarantee that we would not fall victim of its anesthetizing effect. Ideologies are the thinking crutch of the intellectually lazy, where once you accept the framework, you don't have to do much critical thinking anymore, as the ideology does it for you. It is a black box where you can throw in your problems and the moral answer pops out.

In 1977, just after the ouster of the Gang of Four, my parents visited China for the first time. At one point they visited Mao's mausoleum, who died an year earlier. My mother, not a particularly political person, saw the body of the man and started to weep. When I asked her what made her cry, she said she was thinking of the the thousands of young people in Calcutta who gave their lives believing in this man. I wonder what would have been her reaction if she also knew that thousands of innocent people were tortured and killed in China under his rule, and perhaps with his knowledge. Such are the complexities of history.
Painbrand
Bought this book to share after a friend lent me a copy to read. I wanted to lend it to friends/relatives as I was so impressed with Cheng Nien's story and her amazing spirit. The way she carefully chose her words and her great reasoning ability gave us a glimpse into a country where words matter more than most of us in the West can imagine. My favorite part of the book was on page 538, where the author compares her new life in America to life in her beloved China. To watch the nightly news, you would think we in the U.S. live in a terrible place, but Cheng Nien reminds us how valuable freedom is, and the many things our country does right. Reading books from those with such strength of character and courage in an inhumane world is uplifting, and quite educational.
Painbrand
Bought this book to share after a friend lent me a copy to read. I wanted to lend it to friends/relatives as I was so impressed with Cheng Nien's story and her amazing spirit. The way she carefully chose her words and her great reasoning ability gave us a glimpse into a country where words matter more than most of us in the West can imagine. My favorite part of the book was on page 538, where the author compares her new life in America to life in her beloved China. To watch the nightly news, you would think we in the U.S. live in a terrible place, but Cheng Nien reminds us how valuable freedom is, and the many things our country does right. Reading books from those with such strength of character and courage in an inhumane world is uplifting, and quite educational.
Wel
This book is one that should be required for every student to read to give them an idea
of what this Country did to destroy their citizen's lives and freedoms. We must be aware
when government gets too much power. There was no way it's citizens could protect
their family or freedoms. They had no second amendment to protect their rights to
bear arms. It was an awful time in China and if you had any ambition to work hard and
get ahead it was considered against the government in power.

Read it...you will want to be aware of what could happen when we take our liberties for granted...
Wel
This book is one that should be required for every student to read to give them an idea
of what this Country did to destroy their citizen's lives and freedoms. We must be aware
when government gets too much power. There was no way it's citizens could protect
their family or freedoms. They had no second amendment to protect their rights to
bear arms. It was an awful time in China and if you had any ambition to work hard and
get ahead it was considered against the government in power.

Read it...you will want to be aware of what could happen when we take our liberties for granted...
Freaky Hook
She lived through HELL, but outsmarted all the commies -- a brave soul. All the young know-it-alls who think communism is acceptable should read about conditions under Mao and much of it in China today, where they track your every move. It's amazing what whiners and complainers they're turning out of our EXPENSIVE universities -- it's scary.
Freaky Hook
She lived through HELL, but outsmarted all the commies -- a brave soul. All the young know-it-alls who think communism is acceptable should read about conditions under Mao and much of it in China today, where they track your every move. It's amazing what whiners and complainers they're turning out of our EXPENSIVE universities -- it's scary.
Tiv
I must commend Ms. Cheng for her ability to write about her experiences during the Cultural Revolution with such candor and courage given the many devastating events. I was quite amazed at her ability to hold strong throughout her incarceration and rejoiced at her final vindication, even while saddened at the loss of her daughter. As a Westerner, I was informed of the political situation in China via the various media at the time but could no way have understood the intricacies from those sources as was detailed in this book. Perhaps it will sound strange but I feel, in some way, honored and privileged to have read this book.
Tiv
I must commend Ms. Cheng for her ability to write about her experiences during the Cultural Revolution with such candor and courage given the many devastating events. I was quite amazed at her ability to hold strong throughout her incarceration and rejoiced at her final vindication, even while saddened at the loss of her daughter. As a Westerner, I was informed of the political situation in China via the various media at the time but could no way have understood the intricacies from those sources as was detailed in this book. Perhaps it will sound strange but I feel, in some way, honored and privileged to have read this book.
Nuadazius
What a horrible story! She must have been some kind of Saint to have endured what they put her through. She had steel too; she maintained throughout the ordeal that she'd done nothing wrong; which she hadn't (other than "Thought-crime" perhaps...)

It starts out well enough, and the state tolerates her after the 1949 Revolution because of her foreign contacts. She had a taste for fine things and had collected many. Then the Cultural Revolution comes along and her life goes utterly to Hell... and stays that way for the better part of 20 years. They killed her daughter.

Only a truly noble Human Being could emerge from such a nightmare of a tale without being poisoned in their innermost being. Ms. Cheng is one of those kind of people. What a lady! Makes me proud to be a human; a feeling I don't get much these days!
Nuadazius
What a horrible story! She must have been some kind of Saint to have endured what they put her through. She had steel too; she maintained throughout the ordeal that she'd done nothing wrong; which she hadn't (other than "Thought-crime" perhaps...)

It starts out well enough, and the state tolerates her after the 1949 Revolution because of her foreign contacts. She had a taste for fine things and had collected many. Then the Cultural Revolution comes along and her life goes utterly to Hell... and stays that way for the better part of 20 years. They killed her daughter.

Only a truly noble Human Being could emerge from such a nightmare of a tale without being poisoned in their innermost being. Ms. Cheng is one of those kind of people. What a lady! Makes me proud to be a human; a feeling I don't get much these days!