China Witness is the personal testimony of a generation whose stories have not yet been told. Here the grandparents and great-grandparents of today sum up in their own words - for the first and perhaps the last time - the vast changes that have overtaken China's people over a century. The book is at once a journey by the author through time and place, and a memorial to those who have lived through war and civil war, persecution, invasion, revolution, famine, modernization, Westernization - and have survived into the 21st century. We meet everyday heroes, now in their seventies, eighties and nineties, from across this vast country - a herb woman at a market, retired teachers, a legendary 'double-gun woman', Red Guards, oil pioneers, an acrobat, a female general, a lantern maker, taxi drivers, and more- those whose voices, as Xinran says, 'will help our future understand our past'.
"Right here we see the red lines that many Chinese still draw for themselves in public discourse, or even privately, the boundaries they dare not cross even today. No other style of storytelling could have exhibited them with more clarity or greater rawness"
"An incredibly moving and ambitious collection... There is a great deal of light in this powerful book"
"Another excellent book...ambitious"
"These stories are often heart-rending, but are recounted in a very self-effacing way by the subjects themselves... [The book] is deeply engaging and focuses almost exclusively on issues and experiences rarely discussed in China or elsewhere. It takes people to places they would not otherwise have been able to go: into the minds of previously silent witnesses... a stunning insight into its [China's] people"
"If you loved Jung Chang's Wild Swans you'll love this book"