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By Yang Jisheng

The much-anticipated definitive account of China's nice Famine

An predicted thirty-six million chinese language males, girls, and youngsters starved to demise in the course of China's nice breakthrough within the past due Nineteen Fifties and early '60s. one of many maximum tragedies of the 20 th century, the famine is poorly understood, and in China remains to be euphemistically known as "the 3 years of traditional disaster."

As a journalist with privileged entry to respectable and unofficial resources, Yang Jisheng spent two decades piecing jointly the occasions that resulted in mass national hunger, together with the loss of life of his personal father. discovering no typical factors, Yang attributes accountability for the deaths to China's totalitarian process and the refusal of officers at each point to worth human existence over ideology and self-interest.

Tombstone is a testomony to inhumanity and coffee heroism that pits collective reminiscence opposed to the old amnesia imposed by way of these in energy. gorgeous in scale and arresting in its targeted account of the unbelievable human rate of this tragedy, Tombstone is written either as a memorial to the lives lost—an enduring tombstone in reminiscence of the dead—and in hopeful anticipation of the ultimate death of the totalitarian process. Ian Johnson, writing in The ny evaluation of Books, referred to as the chinese language version of Tombstone "groundbreaking . . . essentially the most vital books to return out of China in contemporary years."

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Extra info for Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962

Sample text

Irrepressible Liao Siguang, four or five months pregnant, was married to the officer in charge of youth activities and had herself done valuable underground work for several years in Shanghai. Zeng Yu had been a partisan on Jinggangshan and had attached herself to the Brigade against orders: she was seven months pregnant to one of the divisional commanders and had decided to run the gauntlet of communist disapproval rather than risk the sword of I W T vengeance. One woman who did obey the order to stay behind was the prominent union activist Huang Changjiao, whose pregnancy had been discovered during the recent medical many women had undergone.

However, quite early on, nineteen-year-old Li Jianhua, a student and assistant telegraphist, did become pregnant. She had married the army's telegraphist just two months before leaving Ruijin. She had heard that a folk remedy for an unwanted pregnancy was to tie musk to the waistband of your trousers, but when this inevitably failed she had no option but to let nature tale its course. One young woman who was not required to live separately from her husband was Xiao Yuehua (Moonlight Xiao), also nineteen years old, whose height and strength were necessary attributes for the job she had been given, which was to satisfy the sexual needs of the Comintern7s representative Otto Braun (a small irony: his Chinese name Li De meant 'Virtuous Li').

He managed to escape but their younger LOVER, M O T H E R , WIFE 13 brother, just barely into his teens, was executed when he was caught carrying messages for the communists. The local people rose up and wrested Yongxin from IUVIT control in an incident commemorated as the Yongxin Uprising. When news of these disturbances reached He Zizhen, she walked for three days from Ji'an to help defend her hometown from the IUVIT troops. With the gates of Yongxin closed against the enemy He Zizhen and thirty or forty others climbed onto the walls of the town to station themselves above the south gate.

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