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The Man on Mao's Right: From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, My Life Inside China's Foreign Ministry

The Man on Mao's Right: From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, My Life Inside China's Foreign Ministry

Written by Ji Chaozhu

Narrated by Norman Dietz


The Man on Mao's Right: From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, My Life Inside China's Foreign Ministry

Written by Ji Chaozhu

Narrated by Norman Dietz

ratings:
4/5 (5 ratings)
Length:
14 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 25, 2008
ISBN:
9781400178230
Format:
Audiobook

Description

No other narrative from within the corridors of power has offered as frank and intimate an account of the making of the modern Chinese nation as Ji Chaozhu's The Man on Mao's Right. Having served Chairman Mao Zedong and the Communist leadership for two decades, and having become a key figure in China's foreign policy, Ji now provides an honest, detailed account of the personalities and events that shaped today's People's Republic.



The youngest son of a prosperous government official, nine-year-old Ji and his family fled Japanese invaders in the late 1930s, escaping to America. Warmly received by his new country, Ji returned its embrace as he came of age in New York's East Village and then attended Harvard University. But in 1950, after years of enjoying a life of relative ease while his countrymen suffered through war and civil strife, Ji felt driven by patriotism to volunteer to serve China in its conflict with his adoptive country in the Korean War.



Ji's mastery of the English language and American culture launched his improbable career, eventually winning him the role of English interpreter for China's two top leaders: Premier Zhou Enlai and Party Chairman Mao Zedong. With a unique blend of Chinese insight and American candor, Ji paints insightful portraits of the architects of modern China: the urbane, practical, and avuncular Zhou, the conscience of the People's Republic; and the messianic, charismatic Mao, student of China's ancient past-his country's stern father figure.



Ji is an eyewitness to modern Chinese history, including the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Nixon summit, and numerous momentous events in Tiananmen Square. As he became caught up in political squabbles among radical factions, Ji's past and charges against him of "incorrect" thinking subjected him to scrutiny and suspicion. He was repeatedly sent to a collective farm to be "reeducated" by the peasants.



After the Mao years, Ji moved on to hold top diplomatic posts in the United States and the United Kingdom and then served as under-secretary-general of the United Nations. Today, he says, "The Chinese know America better than the Americans know China. The risk is that we misperceive each other." This highly accessible insider's chronicle of a struggling people within a developing powerhouse nation is also Ji Chaozhu's dramatic personal story, certain to fascinate and enlighten Western audiences.
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 25, 2008
ISBN:
9781400178230
Format:
Audiobook


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  • (3/5)
    It was very interesting to read about so many facets of China's history and political strife from an insider such as Ji Chaozhu.
  • (4/5)
    The man on Mao's right. From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, my life inside China's Foreign Ministry by the Chinese author Ji Chaozhu 冀朝铸 has remarkably few readers on LibraryThing; only about 30 to date, nearly eight years since its publication in 2008.That was the year of the Beijing Olympic Games, a time presumably many people would be interested to pick up a book about China. The title of the book refers to the author, shown on the cover standing to Mao's right, a somewhat enigmatic title, of course. The subtitle is long and complicated From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, my life inside China's Foreign MinistryMr Ji Chaozhu is of course a rather insignificant figure, not a politician but an interpreter wo served Chinese political leaders for several decades. However, Mr Ji was mostly employed and enjoyed the protection of Prime Minister Zhou Enlai while he only occasionally interpreted for the Great Helmsman, Mao Zedong. Nonetheless, his position gave him a unique perspective, as he could not only observe the unfolding of Chinese contemporary history, but see it from the rostrum of the Meridian Gate, right next to the men who made history.Although the author largely received protection from China's Prime Minister, he did not escape hardship and suffered greatly during the Cultural Revolution, as he was sent to the countryside for reform through labour with the peasants.The man on Mao's right is very well-written, and mainly a factual account of Chinese modern history. It describes many of the well-known episodes with great detail, and probably more accuracy than many western authors who tend to exaggerate and speculate more. Mr Ji Chaozhu is never really critical or hostile to the Chinese leadership, but neither tries to cover things up.Before publication by Random House, The man on Mao's right was published in two earlier, presumably different editions in China. These editions sold very well, although it is not explained in which was those Chinese editions were (if so) different from the current edition.For readers with an interest in Chinese contemporary history, particularly the period from 1949 till 1980, The man on Mao's right. From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, my life inside China's Foreign Ministry is warmly recommended. The subtitle of the book quite incorrectly suggests that the book would describe Chinese history up till 1989, whereas there is just a short coda describing the authors career as an ambassador after 1982.
  • (4/5)
    Interesting memoirs of a man who survived many years of the turmoils of being in China's leadership. Good stories and lessons throughout. "Survival diplomacy", as he says, is required in these circumstances.