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Unfree Speech: The Threat to Global Democracy and Why We Must Act, Now by Joshua Wong

Books like this are difficult to review: do I review the book? or review of the topic presented? How about I do both?


The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke

The dastardly history of the deeds behind the Chinese village of Explosion and its meteoric rise to become a city metropolis like Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo. It's written in the form of a dynastic history that court scribes were usually ordered to write on behalf of a Chinese dynasty, though this one is not flattering to the leaders of Explosion.


The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan's Defense and American Strategy in Asia by Ian Easton

A well-researched, look at PLA strategies that may be used against Taiwan, and ways Taiwan has planned to repel the invaders. Of course, many of the exact plans are unknown, but by reading PLA strategy manuals, Easton gives us the popular thoughts and attitudes on a possible invasion against Taiwan. There is also a chapter on America's strategy in Asia.


The CCP Virus

Right now, it's all anybody in the world is talking about. For future me, I will lay down my thoughts on this Corona virus/COVID-19/Wuhan Flu/Chinese Virus.

My personal beliefs: (1) China shoulders a large portion of this pandemic going global as they were busier 'protecting their image' than saving lives and stopping the spread of the virus. (2) This virus will be a net positive for the future of our planet. (3) Capitalism is to blame for also hampering swift virus response.


China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh

Cool book. Strange title. It's an alternative future where USA went through a 'Communist revolution'. China is looked up to for their well run society. The main character is 'bent' (homosexual). Some of the stories take place on the communes on Earth, and others in New York and in China. There are a few characters that are sort of interlinked in these stories. They were very interesting vignettes of life in a world dominated by 'Communism' where USA is not the global hegemon.

Rating: ★★★★ Book #24 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #China #Mars #SciFi #MaureenFMcHugh #SpeculativeFiction

Chinese Spies: From Chairman Mao to Xi Jinping by Roger Faligot

Incredible book about the secret world of Chinese spies. The author has been researching the secret security service in China for decades and the depth of his knowledge is on display in this novel.

I am well versed in the history of China, but it's really interesting to hear about the history behind the history. For example, there is a chapter on Tiananmen Square where he describes the discussions and role of the security service behind the scenes and everything that led to the decision to attack the students.


As Long as There is Resistance, There is Hope by Kong Tsung-gan

Essays on the Hong Kong freedom struggle in the post-Umbrella Movement era, 2014-2018

I got this as a 'gift' for donating to the Hong Kong Free Press which is an not-for-profit English-language newspaper. I was already a fan of this author after reading his book, Umbrella: A Political Tale from Hong Kong, and wanted to read his latest essays. The author is a passionate supporter of HK and is an active participant in the demonstrations, and marches he writes about. His essays at times repeat certain events and positions of his because these essays were all previously published elsewhere.


Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan, Ken Liu (translator)

I discovered Qiufan's work in Ken Liu's sci-fi anthology, Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. I've been turned onto Chinese sci-fi ever since. I was enthralled by Liu Cixin's “Three Body Problem” series. I devoured Liu's 2nd Chinese sci-fi anthology too, Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. I guess living in a repressive, authoritarian regime produces good sci-fi?

But I digress, this novel Waste Tide is a great novel. It's about set in the not-too-distant-future where Silicon Isle (somewhere in China) is a e-waste hell hole. Migrant workers, 'waste people', move there to make their fortunes by sorting the e-waste. They eek out a living, quickly succumbing to illness and death, while the 'clans', comprised of locals, reap the vast rewards. The conflict in the novel is an American recycling company that is looking to help modernize the e-waste recycling program in Silicon Isle. This would upset the balance of power with the 'clans' of course. Mixed in there is a bit of mysticism/magic with VR headsets and some other things I won't spoil for you.


The Stone of Heaven: The Secret History of Imperial Green Jade

by Adrian Levy, Cathy Scott-Clark

This book is the history of Imperial Green Jade but really it's a history of greed. This was the favoured type of jade that comes from Burma/Myanmar. It starts off as a history book of Chinese emperors and their obsession for the stone, but near the end turns into a travelogue of the authors going to the present day mines in Myanmar.

The story of jade is filled with so many twists and turns, it's hard to accurately describe this book. It's a long book, and filled with minutiae about famous people who collected jade, or were jade traders. It's about drug lords extracting the stones. It's about famous people who owned jade. I almost gave up halfway through when they kept talking about Hutton and other rich people who were addicted to buying jade jewellery but I'm glad I didn't because I would've missed the story of how they visited the mines.


Once Upon A Time in the East: A Story of Growing Up by Xiaolu Guo

A story so fantastical, it's hard to believe it's not fiction. Xiaolu had quite an upbringing. This book is her memoir and it doesn't hold back. She includes some real pictures from her life and even calls out the person who sexually assaulted her as a teen.

In China, creativity mean compromise. Creativity no longer bore it's original and intended meaning. Creativity under a Communist regime requires the struggle to survive under such rigid rules, and for all creative thoughts to be kept to oneself.

This is a page turner with just enough drama, passion, and politics to keep it humming along. The main character is the author, but she also goes into the backstory of her grandparents, and parents as well so this book has quite a bit of depth. This means that she touches upon different experiences in her family members lives that help you feel a little bit what it was like to live in Mao's China: the census, one child policy, Tiananmen Square, and cultural revolution.