Critical Book Review Red China Blues Essay

Words: 1580
Pages: 7

Stephen Mendoza, HIST 2312
Wong, Jan. Red China Blues. Toronto: Doubleday/ Anchor Books, 1996. 395 pages. $11.95

In Jan Wong’s entrancing expose Red China Blues, she details her plight to take part in a system of “harmony and perfection” (12) that was Maoist China. Wong discloses her trials and tribulations over a course of three decades that sees her searching for her roots and her transformation of ideologies that span over two distinctive forms of Communist governments. This tale is so enticing in due part to the events the author encountered that radically changed her very existence and more importantly, her personal quest for self-discovery. Jan Wong starts out as a naïve, nineteen year old, Canadian student who is displeased
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Although still a Communist nation, it started to show evidence of capitalism. Corporations like McDonalds started inhabiting street corners, entrepreneurs became the first to rise up as millionaires, and people began to be accustomed to the idea of wanting something for pleasure, instead of necessity. On the contrary, other undesirable social aspects arose. Most importantly, a selfishness begins to surface amongst the Chinese that was never seen during the Uber-Communist times of Mao’s leadership. Also, crime rates soared due to the lost purity of the nation. Wong states that “Communists had rounded up opium addicts, prostitutes, and beggars and transformed them with strong doses of hard labor and Mao Zedong Thought” (319). Without the strict practices of The Helmsman, Man’s carnal indulgences became prevalent. Wong also makes a correlation towards parenting that came to be after the Massacre. Due to Beijing’s policy of single child families, kids grew up being overly doted on. This was due to the fact that people didn’t want to see their children suffer the way they did growing up in the strict Communist regime. To quote Wong’s British friend, “It’s China’s salvation. If you have a population of Little Emperors, you can’t have little slaves. Everyone will want to tell everyone else what to do. You’ll have democracy” (384). The author beautifully summarizes her feelings towards her own personal