An Amazon user named Xuemin Lin has gone ahead and helpfully provided a list of must-read China books, though that likely wasn’t his intention. Including such banned-in-China favorites as Zhao Ziyang’s Prisoner of the State, Richard Macgregor’s The Party, and Jung Chang’s massive Mao: The Unknown Story, Lin goes to some pains to stress the same classic governmental talking points ad nauseam.
“…why the United States you continue to publish only anti-Chinese book? Why only the negative aspects of China history interest western readers? Why do Westerners so much focus always on Tiananmen Incident and the Cultural Revolution?
These books on my list are the bad books, the lying books. U.S. media continue to lie in a negative way against China. Your publishing industry only publish dishonest books portray China wrong…Chinese people must unity to stand up together against American publisher and these kind of lying authors. Do not support these books on list, they are the bad books anti-China.”
Judging by his summaries, the only thing Lin dislikes more than Americans is the fact that the West seems to be fixated on peasants:
“Why photo-journalist Tom Carter show just barefoot peasants and ethnic minorities? China is rich and middle class have too, but he ignores us.”
“Leslie Chang tries to make the factory worker seem abused and looked unhappy, but the reality is that girls have a worse life in their villages.”
We recall that Zhang Yimou caught quite a bit of flak back in the day, when his early 90’s films (Raise the Red Lantern, Ju Dou) were unabashedly critical of China’s traditional patriarchy. Zhang was accused of focussing too much on the backward and uncivilized peasantry of China, to cater to the China-hating juries at Western film festivals. Which, according to Zhang, was much the same criticism that was directed at Akira Kurosawa by Japanese critics.
Overall though, Lin’s summaries don’t stray too far from the mainstream of Chinese opinion, which believes that writers from Europe and America only want to focus on China’s ugly points, and are never willing to just go ahead and be a cheerleader for China’s ever-harmonious peaceful rise.
Lin (if he is indeed for real) seems like a typical enough mainland student who has read books that are mostly unavailable in China, understands the rough gist of things, and completely disagrees with everything. We get the distinct feeling he would be a great fit at the Foreign Ministry.
Perhaps if we’re lucky, and Xuemin Lin gets wind of our humble little blog, then you’d see yours truly on a list of the Top 10 Untrue lying blogs about anti-China.
To see the original list and purchase the books from Amazon, click here.
None of the quoted text has been altered whatsoever.