This book offers snapshots, on many different topics, of what life was like in China during the first four decades of Communist rule. The author, a diplomat with a background in Chinese studies and a keen interest in Chinese society, reaches his purpose sharing with the reader many newspapers’ clips he collected while he was posted in the People’s Republic. Several of those clips are letters that ordinary people wrote to the editor of the People’s Daily to voice their opinions on the issues of the day or to complain about specific wrongdoings. Well aware of the limited reliability of newspapers in a controlled society, the author has analysed his material with a detached eye and often with gentle humour, relying on his considerable powers of deep observation.
Pini has penned a must-read for anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of Chinas’ very recent past, a past that inevitably influences the present of a country which, after a long history of failures and humiliations, has manged to achieve an enormous relevance on the world stage.
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