Bad Elements: Chinese Rebels from Los Angeles to Beijing
By Ian Buruma
These are among the questions that Ian Buruma poses in this enlightening and often moving tour of Chinese dissidence. Ranging from the quarrelsome exile communities of the United States to Singapore and Hong Kong and from persecuted Christians to Internet “hacktivists,” Buruma captures an entire spectrum of opposition to the orthodoxies of the Communist Party. He explores its historical antecedents, ints conflicting notions of freedom, and the paradoxical mix of courage and cussedness the inspires its members. Panoramic and intimate, disturbing and inspiring, Bad Elements is a profound meditation on the themes of national identity and political struggle.
Who speaks for China? Is it the old men of the Politburo or an activist like Wei Jingsheng, who spent eighteen years in prison for writing a democratic manifesto? Is China’s future to be found amid the boisterous sleaze of an electoral campaign in Taiwan or in the maneuvers by which ordinary residents of Beijing quietly resist the authority of the state?