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Business as Usual at the ‘People’s Daily’

Jasper Becker: The Chinese cultural revolution, 29 July 1999

The Origins of the Cultural Revolution. Vol. III: The Coming of the Cataclysm 1961-66 
by Roderick MacFarquhar.
Oxford, 733 pp., £70, October 1977, 0 19 214997 0
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... What do we know of recent Chinese history and how do we know it? This third, massive volume of Roderick MacFarquhar’s Origins of the Cultural Revolution, the first volume of which appeared in 1974, completes what is perhaps the most ambitious effort yet undertaken to unravel why and how this great and confusing event came about ...

Some must get rich first

Colin Legum, 15 March 1984

The Heart of the Dragon 
by Alasdair Clayre.
Harvill, 281 pp., £12.95, January 1984, 0 00 272115 5
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The Origins of the Cultural Revolution. Vol. II: The Great Leap Forward 1958-1960 
by Roderick MacFarquhar.
Oxford, 470 pp., £22.50, June 1983, 0 19 214996 2
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Son of the Revolution 
by Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro.
Chatto, 301 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 7011 2751 1
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Shenfan 
by William Hinton.
Secker, 789 pp., £15.95, November 1983, 0 436 19630 1
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The Messiah and the Mandarins 
by Dennis Bloodworth.
Weidenfeld, 331 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 297 78054 9
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The Cambridge History of China. Vol. XII: Republican China 1912-1949, Part I 
edited by John Fairbank.
Cambridge, 1002 pp., £50, October 1983, 0 521 23541 3
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The Middle Kingdom: Inside China Today 
by Erwin Wickert.
Harvill, 397 pp., £12.50, August 1983, 0 00 272113 9
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... of the Great Leap is described with authority and a wealth of detail in the middle volume of Roderick MacFarquhar’s formidable Origins of the Cultural Revolution. It was a failure which left the country in a state of near-chaos. The mortality rate, nationwide, had doubled from 1.08 per cent in 1957 to 2.54 per cent in 1960 – a year in which the ...

Zhao’s Version

Andrew Nathan: Zhao Ziyang, 17 December 2009

Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang 
by Zhao Ziyang, translated by Bao Pu, Renee Chiang and Adi Ignatius.
Simon and Schuster, 306 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 1 84737 697 8
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... been the leader of the reforms and denigrates Deng’s role. This may have arisen from a line in Roderick MacFarquhar’s foreword, in which he says it was Zhao ‘rather than Deng who was the actual architect of reform’. But MacFarquhar is speaking for himself, not for Zhao, and in any case what he means is only ...

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